This is a mobile proxy. It is intended to visit the IOMfAtS Story Shelf on devices that would otherwise not correctly display the site. Please direct all your feedback to the friendly guy over at IOMfAtS!

I Want to Hold Your Hand

by Victor Thomas

June 2019


I first laid eyes on Donald Millman back in June when his family moved into the house across the street from me. I just couldn't believe how good looking the boy was. I mean, there's plenty of good-looking boys out there, but Don is exceptionally cute in my opinion, what with his blond hair and beautiful green eyes. Quite a contrast to my dark hair and eyes.

The house had been for sale for a few months, ever since the older couple who had lived there had decided to move to a smaller place and I was quite pleased when I saw a minivan pull up front one day and a family got out. There were five people total, the parents, two girls and then Don. Oh, my fucking god, I thought.

My first instinct was to run over and introduce myself and welcome them to the neighborhood. Well, maybe not my first instinct. That would be to run over and drop to my knees but that's hardly a good way to introduce myself. I know what you're thinking. I don't even know this boy's name yet or anything about him or his family and I'm already fantasizing about sucking his dick. Well yeah, I'm not going to lie. That's exactly what I want to do. But it's not gonna happen, probably not anyway, and certainly not until I get to know him. Jesus, I may be a horny fifteen-year-old gay boy but even I know that I have to be careful.

Although Chouteau High School is mostly accepting of it's gay students, we still have the occasional incident. And the townspeople, especially the older people still cause the occasional problem, especially one of the local churches. We have it better than a lot of places but we still have the occasional bullying and other problems.

I love sucking dick, eating ass and fucking and getting fucked, or at least I think I do. The truth is, I've never actually touched another boy, but I sure do fantasize about it when I'm alone in my room at night watching porn and jerking off.

That may be too much information for you, but that's too bad. If you don't like it, I don't care. It's my story and I'll write what I want. You can always go somewhere else. Just kidding. You wouldn't be reading this sort of stuff if you didn't approve.

I thought I'd give them a couple of hours to get settled in before going over to introduce myself. I don't want to rush things too much, no matter how badly I want to meet this boy.

Finally, about two that afternoon I decided to go over and meet my new neighbors. I was a little nervous, but not much. Besides, I really wanted to meet this kid.

Just as I opened the door, I saw him walk out his front door as well and look over at me. I pulled the door closed and started across the street. He stood on his porch looking at me and I noticed he was smiling as I approached.

"I saw your family pull up earlier and I thought I'd come meet you," I said. "I'm Aiden Burton. Welcome to the neighborhood."

"Thanks," he said. "I'm Don Millman. It's nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you as well," I said. "Where you guys coming from?"

"Norfolk Virginia," he said. "My dad just retired from the navy two weeks ago. He grew up and went to school here and said it's a nice place to live, so here we came."

"It's not bad," I said. "There's not a whole lot to do and it is kind of boring at times, but it's alright I suppose."

"That's sort of what I expected," Don said. "It will be a big change from where I used to live but I expect I'll get used to it. I hated leaving all my friends behind, but I'm not sorry to leave my last school. I hope to make new friends here. It looks like I have at least one so far."

"Of course, we'll be friends," I said. "No reason why we can't that I can think of."

Unless you turn out to be an asshole, I thought, but so far that doesn't seem likely.

"You want to come in for a while?" he asked. "The moving truck hasn't arrived yet so we have no furniture or anything but I can at least show you my room, such as it is."

"Sure," I said. "When's the truck supposed to be here?"

"Later this afternoon," he said. "They're about twenty miles out they said, some place called Baxter Springs."

"I know where that's at," I said. "They should be here in half an hour or so."

"Good. I want to get my room set up and get everything unpacked as soon as I can."

Sure enough a big semi-truck pulled up in front of the house about fifteen minutes later. I don't know how they managed to maneuver that big truck down the street, but they managed. They're probably used to driving in tight places.

As soon as they heard the truck, Don's mom and dad came out of the kitchen and Don introduced them to me.

"Mom, dad, this is Aiden, our neighbor from across the street. I just met him a few minutes ago. Aiden, this is my mom, Janet, and my dad, Marc."

"It's nice to meet you, Aiden," Ms. Millman said, holding out her hand to shake.

"It's nice to meet you as well, Ma'am," I said, shaking her hand. "And you as well sir," I said to Mr. Millman.

"Thank you, Aiden," Mr. Millman said, shaking my hand. "I'm glad to see Don is already making friends. I better go out and talk to these guys."

He walked out the door and over to the truck where he greeted the two men who would do all the unloading and set up. A few minutes later they had opened the back of the trailer and then he led them into the house to show them where to put everything.

Just then Don's two sisters walked into the living room. One was older, maybe sixteen and the other was probably thirteen, maybe fourteen. Don was the middle child at fifteen.

"Aiden, this is my older sister, Suzanne and my younger sister, Ashley," he said. "This is Aiden from across the street."

"Hi," they both said grinning and giggling like teenage girls do.

They kept looking at me and looking at each other and then at Don and back at me. I think they might like me, I thought, but if so, they're in for a big disappointment. We can and hopefully will be friends but that's all it can ever be. Now if their brother is interested…

Ms. Millman was showing the movers where she wanted all the furniture in the living room and Don went back to his room for a couple of minutes to show where he wanted his bed and desk set up.

"Now, you guys need to stay out of their way and let these guys do their job," Mr. Millman said. "They'll do all the carrying and setting up and it'll be up to us to unpack once they're gone."

"You want to come over to my house?" I asked Don. "I'll show you my room and then I can show you around town. It isn't much, but we have a decent park down by the river, and I can show you the school as well."

"Sounds like fun." Don said. "Is that alright dad?"

"That's fine, son," he said. "Have fun."

"Can we go too?" asked Ashley.

"As if," Don said, looking at them. "We don't want you girls hanging out."

You're right, I thought, but I wasn't going to say anything.

"You know he doesn't want us around, Ashley," said Suzanne. "He probably wants to be alone with Aiden. You know…"

"Don't say it," Don said. "Please."

I wonder what that's all about.

The two of us walked across the street and I led him up to my bedroom. I'm a bit of a nerd and I hope that Don isn't turned off by that. For all I know he may be a star football player or something and might not care for someone like me, but better to find out now I guess before I invest too much time and energy into our friendship.

I guess I have nothing to worry about. The first thing he noticed when he walked into my room was my model of the USS Enterprise from Star Trek.

"The Enterprise!" he exclaimed. "Cool! I like that. I love that show and all the others as well."

"Really?" I asked. "I'm glad somebody besides me likes Star Trek . Most people just laugh at me. Even my best friend Jack thinks I'm a little crazy."

"I'm not like most people" he said. "And I love the show. I was a little skeptical about Discovery at first but it's kind of grown on me. I can't wait to see what they do with it."

"No doubt," I said. "And I can't wait for Picard to come out in January. That should be good."

"Should be very good," he said. "We'll have to watch it together."

He continued looking around my room and noticed some of the books on my shelf. A lot of science fiction and a few science and general fiction. But I also have a large collection of gay fiction, especially books by Mark Roeder, my favorite author, along with others like John Goode, Jeff Erno, Mark Zubro and others. What can I say? I like to read.

He pulled a few of the titles off the shelf and read the descriptions and slid them back in place, but didn't comment. That gave me hope that even if he wasn't gay, at least he didn't seem to care. I wasn't ready to say anything just yet. After all, we'd only known each other for an hour.

Just then my phone beeped. I looked at it and saw a text from my best friend Jack.

'You home?'


'Be there in ten minutes.'


"That was my best friend Jack," I said. "He's on his way over. I hope that's okay."

"That's fine," Don said. "It'll be nice to meet him.

A few minutes later I heard the front door open and close. Jack always comes straight back to my room when he comes over and it's the same when I go to his house.

"Aiden, what's up with that big truck across the street," he yelled as he walked toward my room.

"We got new neighbors," I yelled back. "Come on back. There's someone I want you to meet."

"Jack, this is Don," I said as soon as he stepped into my room. "Don, this is Jack, my best friend. Don and his family are just moving in today."

"Nice to meet you, dude," said Jack. "How the hell did you end up in bumfuck Kansas?"

"My dad is from here originally," Don said. "He wanted to come back home."

"Whatever," Jack said. "I can't wait to get out of here myself."

"I was going to show Don around town if you want to come along," I said. "We'll probably stop and get a bite to eat as well."

"Yeah, I'll go," Jack said. "It should be fun. So, where you guys coming from?"

Don explained about his father recently retiring from the navy and moving back here.

"That sounds like fun." Jack said. "I think I'd like to see a little of the world."

"It is interesting," Don said. "I was born in Japan and we lived in Italy for a couple of years, as well as San Diego, Jacksonville and Norfolk. I've seen quite a few places."

Jack looked at me and winked, but didn't say anything. Even though him and me have been friends for ten years he doesn't know about me. Not that I think he'd dump me as a friend but I've just never felt the need to tell him. I suppose I should. After all he talks about girls all the time, the pervert.

"You have a bike?" I asked.

"It's in the truck," Don said. "I'll go see if they've unloaded it yet."

He ran over to his new house to check. Jack looked at me and laughed.

"What?" I asked.

"You really want him, don't you, Aiden?"

"I don't know what you're talking about," I said.

"Give me a fucking break, Aiden," he said. "I know you're hot for him. Hell, I don't blame you. He is very good looking."


"I know you're gay, Aiden. Hell, I've known for the last six months."

"You do? You don't care? How did you know? I've only been out to myself for less than a year."

"I figured it out a few months ago. I've seen the way you look at other boys at school or when we go out. I noticed how you looked at Don just now, the hunger and lust in your eyes. I'm not blind, Aiden and I'm not stupid."

"I never thought you were, Jack," I said. "And this doesn't bother you?"

"Of course not. If it bothered me you wouldn't still be my best friend. Maybe it was a little weird at first, and it still is to a certain degree I suppose, but no, it doesn't bother me. I just wish you would have told me.

"I wanted to," I told him. "I thought about it all the time but I wasn't sure how it would affect our friendship."

"What kind of friend would I be if I couldn't accept you for who you are?" he said. "I like girls. That's just the way I am. You like boys. That's just the way you are. I can't hold something that you can't control against you. Besides, with you out of the picture that means less competition for me finding a girlfriend."

Damn! I guess I knew in my heart all along that Jack was accepting, but a small part of me always had doubts. Well, now he knows and nothing seems to have changed.

"Thanks, Jack."

I leaned over to hug him but he backed up a step, looked at me and smiled.

"None of that gay shit with me, Aiden," he said.

"Okay," I said, pulling back.

"I'm joking," he said, grabbing me for a quick hug. "We'll always be friends, Aiden."

I could feel tears forming in my eyes but I held them back as best I could. My best friend was okay with me being gay and I had met a cute boy as well. How much better could my day get?"

"Besides what you already told me, what else made you realize I was gay?" I asked.

"All those books on your shelf were kind of the first clue," he said. "I mean, how many straight guys do you know with almost a hundred gay books. Then there's the pictures and videos in your computer. That's a pretty good sign."

"You saw those, huh?"

"I didn't mean to find them," he said. "I was just clicking through your computer one day while you were in the shower and I came across them. I expected to find pictures of girls, like I've shown you in my computer. Boy was I surprised by what I found. Do gay guys really do all that shit?"

"I bet you were," I said. "And yes, we do do all that shit. Well, I haven't done anything yet, but I want to, especially with Don. But why didn't you say something?"

"I started to," he admitted, "but I decided to let you tell me in your own way when you were ready."

"Thanks," I said. "So, what do you think about Don?"

"I think he's extremely good looking," Jack said. "If I was gay, I could certainly go for him."

"He is that," I agreed. "I'm just surprised to hear you say something like that about another guy."

"Yeah, but don't tell anyone else. I know when a guy is good looking. You're good looking, Aiden. I could see going for you as well, if I liked boys that is."

"You sure you wouldn't like to try it?" I joked. "I could…"

"Thanks, but no thanks. Maybe a small part of me is curious, but you're my best friend. I wouldn't want things to get weird between us."

"I understand."

Just then the doorbell rang and Jack and I walked out of my room to answer it. Don had returned with his bike.

"I see you found it," I said.

"Yeah," Don said. "They had just unloaded it from the truck. It was waiting in the driveway."

"Well, you guys want to get something to eat?" Jack asked. "I'm hungry as hell."

"Sure," both Don and I said at once.

The three of us rode to the Hornet's Nest , the local hamburger joint, about a mile from the house.

We walked in and ordered our food at the front counter and sat in one of the booths while it was being fixed. The place was decorated with pictures of the local sports teams, the upcoming football schedule and other school memorabilia. There was also a big hornets nest hanging from the ceiling near the front.

"So, what's up with this place?" Don asked. "Where'd they come up with a name like this?"

"The school mascot is a green hornet," I said. "The Chouteau Green Hornets . This place has been here forever. It was here when mom and dad went to school."

"Yeah, my dad graduated in 1998," Don said, "so he'll remember it."

Just then our order was brought to the table by Caleb, one of the guys I went to school with. He was one of my friends that I sat with every day at lunch, although we rarely hung out other than as a group.

"Don, this is Caleb, one of my friends," I introduced. "Caleb this is Don. He just moved here from Virginia today. He'll be starting school with us at the end of August.

"Nice to meet you," Caleb said.

He stood there and talked to us for several minutes before heading back to work. I watched as he walked away. The boy has a nice ass! I thought I noticed Don watching as well, but I couldn't be sure. Jack just smiled and shook his head.

"So, what did you do at your last school?" Jack asked. "You play any sports or anything?"

"I played soccer, but that was it" Don said. "I never got into football, basketball or any of that."

Damn, I'd like to see him in his soccer uniform, I thought. I bet he looks hot.

"We don't have a soccer team here," I said. "All we've got is football, basketball and track in the spring. If you're interested in any of those."

"I didn't figure you would have a team," he said. "I like to run so maybe track is a possibility. I run most mornings before school if you want to run with me that is."

"Sure" I said. "I don't' really run or anything but I've been thinking about it."

Jack started to laugh at that but he covered his mouth and turned away. He turned back, looked at me and suppressed another giggle.

Afterward we rode toward the river, about two miles from the Hornet's Nest . We parked our bikes in the bike rack and walked around the park for a few minutes before sitting down at one of the picnic tables under a big tree.

"I'll sure be glad to get my driver's license," Jack said.

"When can you get it?" Don asked.

"By the time school starts back at the end of August we should have them," I said. "Driver's education starts next week."

"I wonder if it's too late for me," Don said. "I'd like to get mine as well."

"You should be good," I said. "Just have your mom or dad go up to the school tomorrow and get it set up."

"Thanks," he said. "I will."

The three of us sat there talking for the next two hours before deciding to head for home. Don was anxious to start unpacking all his stuff and getting it put away.

"I usually start running around seven if you're still interested, Aiden," Don said.

I wasn't really I said to myself, but I wanted to spend as much time with this beautiful boy as I could. Besides, I really did need to get more exercise.

"I'll be ready," I said.

As soon as Don entered his house and closed the door, Jack looked at me and laughed.

"You lying sack of shit," he giggled. "You ain't no runner. You just want to get in his pants, that's all."

"You're right about that," I said, "but I do need to start doing something. This will be a good excuse to start. Besides, what's wrong with that? Don't tell me you wouldn't do the same thing if Patricia asked you to. You know you would."

"You're damn right I would," Jack said. "She's hot. I'd do just about anything to get with her."

"I know you would. Why don't you just ask her out? It's the same with gay boys. I'd do a lot to get with Don, Dave, Steve, or any of more than twenty guys at school."

"Including me?" Jack asked.

"You are a very nice-looking guy, Jack. If you weren't my best friend, I wouldn't hesitate for a second."

Jack didn't look to comfortable with that statement so I decided to drop it.

"I better get home I guess," he said. "I'll see you tomorrow sometime."

"Yeah, see you tomorrow, Jack. And thanks again."

"For what?"

"For being my best friend. For accepting me as I am."

"You're welcome," he said and rode off toward his house three blocks over

That night as we were sitting down at the supper table mom commented about the new neighbors.

"I noticed they had moved in when I got home from work," she said. "You know anything about them?"

"I met them briefly," I said. "They have a son my age and two girls. Their name is Millman."

"Your mother and I went to school with a guy named Millman," dad said. "Marc was his name. If I remember right, he joined the navy right after graduating."

"That's him," I said. "Don said they are coming from Norfolk Virginia where he was stationed. Mr. Millman just retired."

"We'll have to go over tomorrow," mom said. "Welcome them to the neighborhood. I'll invite them over for supper tomorrow night."

"That's a good idea, mom," I agreed. "They just arrived today and the moving truck brought all their stuff. They're probably busy unpacking everything right now."

The three of us continued talking as we finished eating. My younger sister was staying at our grandparents house up near Kansas City right now but she would be back in a couple of weeks. Jennifer world no doubt find Don as cute as I did.

I sat in the living room watching TV with mom and dad until ten o'clock when I decided to head up to my room. I wanted to do some reading before going to sleep, plus I needed to release a little tension, if you know what I mean. Ever since I first laid eyes on Don my balls have been kind of tight and I wanted to relieve the pressure before going to sleep.

Normally I would watch one of the scenes from 8teenboy that I have on my computer but I didn't need that tonight. Don is every bit as hot as any of those boys and god knows that isn't easy.

I stripped naked, lay back on my bed and took matters in hand. About ten minutes later I had left a sticky mess all over my stomach and chest. I grabbed some tissue from my night stand, cleaned up, got dressed in my sleep shorts and t-shirt and read for about an hour before finally falling asleep. It had been a very good day and hopefully tomorrow will be even better.

I suddenly remembered to set my alarm for tomorrow morning so I sat up, turned on the light and set it for six thirty. I wasn't looking forward to waking up that early but what the hell. Summertime is for sleeping in but if I could spend more time with Don it was worth it.

"God damn it!" I said to myself as the alarm went off. "It's to fucking early for this shit."

I reached over, shut off the alarm and reluctantly rolled out of bed. Normally I could sleep till nine or ten but I wanted to get up and go running with Don.

What the hell was I thinking when I told him I would, I thought. I know what I was thinking or rather what my dick was thinking. It seemed like it controlled a lot of what I do anymore. Just like it was calling for attention right now. I was so hard with morning wood I had to relieve myself before I even got out of bed. I quickly took care of that, went to the bathroom to take care of my morning routine and returned to my room. I dug out a pair of running shorts and t-shirt, got dressed and walked into the kitchen where my parents were eating breakfast.

"You're up early," dad commented as I walked in. "What's up with that?"

"Don asked me to go running with him this morning," I said. "I foolishly told him I would."

"Good for you, son," dad said. "It'll be good for you."

"Don is the new boy across the street, right?" mom asked. "The one you told us about last night."

"That's him," I said.

Just then the doorbell rang.

"That must be Don," I said excitedly.

"Well, invite him in and introduce us," mom said.

"Yeah, okay," I said reluctantly.

I opened the door and there he stood. Good lord Jesus, I thought. He was wearing a pair of blue shorts and a white tank top. God he was hot! I led him into the kitchen.

"Mom, dad, this is Don," I introduced. "Don, his is my mother Cheryl, and my dad, Nathan."

"It's nice to meet you, Mr. and Ms. Burton," said Don.

"It's nice to meet you as well, Don," mom said. "I think we went to school with your father."

"Yeah, he mentioned that last night," Don said.

"Well, tell both your parents that we'll be over later this afternoon," mom said. "And tell them they're invited to supper tonight."

She turned to look at me and smiled.

"I can see why you like him," she teased. "He's very…"

"Mom, please," I pleaded.

"Sorry honey," she said. "We've got to get to work. It was nice meeting you, Don."

"Yes, nice meeting you, Don," dad said.

They then turned and walked out the door into the garage and left about a minute later.

Mom and dad both know that I'm gay and they're cool with it. I can't believe what mom was about to say, or maybe I'm being a little paranoid. I'd like to get to know Don a little better before I say anything, just to kind of get a feel, so to speak, about how he might react. If he turns out to be straight that's fine as long as he isn't an asshole. If he is then I want nothing to do with him but I need to find out in my own way.

"You ready?" he asked.

Not really, I thought, but I wasn't going to say anything. But then I thought, maybe I should.

"Just so you know," I said, "I'm not really much of a runner, but I'm going to try. Don't let me hold you back."

"I didn't think you probably were," he said, "but thanks for letting me know. I think you'll like it once we get started. Just let me know and we can slow down or stop. I'm in no hurry. I usually run about a mile most mornings."

"I'll try and keep up, but if I can't just go ahead. I'll catch up with you."

"We don't have to do this, Aiden," he said.

"I know, but I want to. I need to get more exercise anyway."

"Let's go then," he said, turning and running to the street.

I quickly followed him and we ran side by side for about six blocks before I started breathing hard and slowing down. I kept going but I could tell that Don was slowing down for me. Finally, I had to stop. He stopped and walked over to me.

"You alright, Aiden?" he asked.

"I will be," I said. "You go ahead. I'll catch up with you."

"That's alright," he said. "That's almost a mile anyway. We'll walk the rest of the way and run part of the way back if you feel up to it."

"Okay," I agreed.

"You'll get used to it in a few days. It took me a couple of weeks to get up to a mile, but I've been doing it for a while. I played soccer at my last school and that involves a lot of running so I'm used to it. Don't worry."

We finally made it to the river and then turned around and started running back home. I made it about halfway before I had to stop again. Finally, we made it home.

We sat on my front porch for about twenty minutes cooling off before Don stood up.

"I think I need to go take a shower," he announced. "I must smell like shit."

"Yeah you do," I teased, waving my hand in front of my face.

"You don't smell any better," he teased back. "Why don't you go clean up and come over. You can help me finish unpacking my stuff. I got a lot of it last night but I want to finish up today if possible."

"I'll see you in about an hour then," I said, standing up and going inside.

"Yeah, I'll see you in a few."

First things first I thought as I stepped into my room. Seeing Don in those shorts and him being all sweaty made me horny as hell. I quickly stripped down, flopped down on my bed and jerked out a quick load. I then walked down the hallway toward the bathroom where I took a long hot shower to wash all the sweat and cum off my body.

I returned to my room, dug through my drawer to find the sexiest pair of boxers I had which wasn't easy because they're all just plain ordinary boxers. I finally settled on a blue pair that were a little tight. I don't know why I bothered. It's not like he's going to see me in them anyway. But I guess maybe I'm just hoping that somehow he will.

I then pulled out a t-shirt that was a little tight and pulled it on. Again, I don't know why I bothered. It's not like I have six pac abs or a lot of muscles or anything. I guess I've got a decent body but I'm nowhere near like a lot of the boys I see on various web sites of some of the ones at school.

I also put on a pair of shorts, again a little tight in the ass. What can I say? Hope spring eternal is the old saying. He's probably not even gay. I mean, the odds are against it. But god, what if he is?

I checked myself out in the mirror one final time and walked out the door and across the street. I rang to bell and was greeted by Ms. Millman.

"Hello, Aiden," she said.

"Hello, Ms. Millman," I said. "It's nice to see you again."

"You as well, Aiden," she said. "Don is back in his room. You can go on back."

"Thank you," I said. "Mom and dad said they would drop by later this afternoon. And they also told me to invite you over for dinner. We usually eat around six."

"Thank you, Aiden," she said. "We look forward to it."

I walked back to Don's room and knocked on the door.

"Come in," he yelled.

I opened the door and stepped into the room to be greeted by a sight I'll never forget. Don was standing next to his bed shirtless with just a towel wrapped around his waist. There really is a god I thought and he's standing right in front of me half naked.

"Oh my god!" I said before I could stop myself. I then looked at him embarrassed. "Sorry."

"That's alright, Aiden," he said. "I take it you like what you see."

"God yes!" I practically shouted.

"I thought you probably would," he said, grinning. "I just had a feeling about you after our meeting yesterday. I guess I was right."

"But how did you know?" I asked. "We only met yesterday and I haven't said anything. I was waiting to see what happened first."

"That wood you popped as we were talking was my first clue," he said. "That in itself isn't unusual. Most guys our age sprout wood if the wind blows in the right direction."

"That's true," I said, feeling my face turn red from embarrassment.

"No need to be embarrassed," he said. "It happens to all of us."

"You said that was your first clue," I said. "Was I that obvious?"

"Well, maybe not to most people, but I noticed the way you looked at me a few times, the way you licked your lips. I could see the lust in your eyes."

"Damn, I was trying not to be obvious, but I guess it didn't work. I can't help myself, Don. You're a hot guy."

I could feel my dick growing in my shorts and I could see that Don was sprouting wood underneath his towel.

"Thanks. You're pretty hot yourself, Aiden."

"Me? No way."

"Yes way," he said. "Don't underestimate yourself, Aiden. I know hot and believe me when I say it, you're hot."

"Thanks. I like to think I'm decent anyway."

"You're more than decent."

Holy shit I thought. I've known this guy less than twenty-four hours and he's already coming out and coming on to me. Never in my wildest fantasy did I imagine something like this. Well, I did fantasize about it but never dreamed it would actually happen.

"I hope you don't mind," he said.

"Oh, hell no," I said, practically shouting.

He quickly dropped his towel and stood there in all his naked glory. I'm happy to say he's completely blond all over, what little hair he has down there. And he was sprouting about five inches, completely hard. He quickly turned around and showed me his ass as well.

Any doubt I may have ever had about being gay was lost at that moment. There is nothing I wouldn't do to this boy right now. I could suck his cock for the rest of the day and bury my face in that ass for the next hour.

"Jesus!" I said. "I just want to… I just want to…"

I couldn't even finish the sentence I was so flustered.

"I know, Aiden," he said. "I want the same thing."

"But we can't do anything now," I said. "Your mom is home."

"Both her and dad are home," he said. "But we could always go over to your house. If you want to that is."

"Your god damned right I want to," I said. "Throw on some clothes and let's go."

Don quickly threw on a pair of shorts, minus his underwear, and a t-shirt, and slipped his shoes on. Then we headed out of his room and into the living room.

"I'm going over to Aiden's for a while," he announced as we headed out the door.

"Have fun dear," his mom called back. "You guys coming back for lunch?"

"Yeah we'll be back around noon," Don said closing the door.

"Come on, hurry," I said, reaching for his hand.

He jerked his hand away before I could grab ahold. I guess I can understand that. He probably doesn't want his parents to notice. He's probably not out them yet.

As soon as we stepped into my room, he placed his hand on the bulge in my pants. He gave it a light squeeze, then kneaded it.

I reached down and caressed the front of his shorts. Like I said earlier, he's got an average size dick. He's the only guy I've ever seen in real life, up close and rock hard. Sure, soft cocks in the showers after gym class and stuff, but that wasn't a time for inspecting. I'd seen enough porn to know he's special. I'm pretty average myself, but I don't think he'll complain.

He quickly dropped to his knees, unbuttoned my shorts and…

Suddenly a loud noise startled me. I quickly sat up in bed and realized it had all been a dream. An incredibly vivid, incredibly hot dream, but a dream nonetheless. Damn was I pissed.

"Fuck!" I said. "Of all the times for that damn alarm to go off."

Don and I finished our run, but I was really struggling by the end. Don was patient with me and assured me that if I kept running, I'd soon get to where I could keep up.

I finished cleaning up and went over to his house about half an hour later. His mother let me in and told me to go on back to his room. I knocked on his door and he told me to come in.

I entered the room and the first thing I noticed was all the boxes scattered throughout. There was maybe ten or twelve total. I also saw that Don had already unpacked several of them yesterday and started putting his stuff away, including several books, as well as his laptop computer, printer and television.

I also noticed a poster of William Franklyn Miller on one wall and another poster of Carson Lueders on the other wall. They looked like they had come from one of the teen magazines like the ones my sister has and that I like to look at as well.

That seemed strange for a teenage boy to have something like that on his wall especially a straight teenage boy. I would expect something like that on his sister's wall, like the ones in my sister's room. It made me wonder.

"Excuse all the mess," he said as I entered. "I'm still trying to unpack everything."

"Don't worry about it," I said. "I understand. You don' have all that much left."

"Just a few clothes and other stuff. I'll get it put away in the next day or two."

"I can help if you want."

"Maybe later," he said. "Right now, I just want to get out of the house and do something."

"Good luck with that," I said. "Chouteau is not exactly a big city like Norfolk. The only excitement around here is when someone catches a big catfish or one of the teams wins a game or something. It's boring as hell most of the time."

"Maybe we could go to a movie or something."

"You'd have to have a car to do something like that," I said. "Joplin is the closest place with a movie theater and that's over forty miles from here."

"Damn, that sucks. I can't wait to get my driver's license."

"Drivers Ed starts July the 8 th ," I told him. "Your mom or dad needs to go to the school and get you and your sisters enrolled. Then you can get your license before school starts."

"They plan on doing that first thing Monday morning."

"The fourth of July celebration is next Thursday," I said. "Not that that is all that exciting, especially after where you're coming from."

"You're probably right, but I still want to see it."

"Why don't I call Jack and the three of us can ride down to the river," I suggested. "We can show you the school, such as it is, as well as main street."

"Sound's good."

I pulled out my phone and called Jack and told him we were on our way to his house, then we headed out.

Jack only lives three blocks from me so we were there five minutes later. Jack was already waiting outside for us.

"What are you guys up to?" he asked as soon as we rode up.

"Bored as hell," I said. "I thought we'd ride around town a little and show Don the school."

"Yeah, that sounds really exciting," Jack said, rolling his eyes. "Let's go then."

We rode toward the school which is located a block north of Main Street and takes up an entire block. There's the main school building, which has all the grades from kindergarten to senior in high school under one roof. There's also the FFA building, the old gym which was built sometime back in the 1930's, which also houses the music room. Next to that is the new gym which is less than twenty years old. That's pretty much it. Probably around five hundred students total in all grades. Don told us there were over five hundred students in just his freshman class back in Virginia.

"That's it?" Don asked.

"Yeah, that's it," said Jack. "Not much is it?"

"Not compared to where I was last," Don said. "This should be a piece of cake."

"It's pretty good most of the time," I said. "Our school is very accepting of most people. We've had a few gay students in the last few years and they are pretty much left alone, plus others as well."

I looked right at Don as I said this and saw a small grin on his face. I didn't know if that was a sign of anything or not.

"Don't get me wrong," I continued. "We have a few bullies as well, but the principal doesn't tolerate a lot of that shit."

"That's nice to hear," Don said. "We had a lot of bullies at my last school. I hated being bullied."

"Yeah, it does suck," Jack said, "but like Aiden said, it's not so bad here. Besides, I would think someone like you would have a lot of friends."

"What do you mean someone like me?" Don asked.

"You're a very good-looking guy, Don," Jack said. "You probably had all kinds of girls crawling all over you. And probably a few boys that wanted you as well."

Don seemed embarrassed by this. He looked so cute when his face started turning red.

"Well yeah, I did," he admitted. "You think I'm good looking?"

"Yes, I do," Jack said. "And I like girls. Aiden thinks you're cute as hell."

"Jack…" I started to say, but stopped when I saw Don looking at me and grinning.

"Sorry Aiden," Jack said. "That slipped out."

Don looked at me, smiled, and asked, "so, are you gay Aiden? Not that it matters."

I hesitated for several seconds and briefly considered lying to him but I knew I couldn't do that. I'm gay and saying I'm not makes me sound like I'm ashamed to be gay and I'm not. I'm proud to be gay even if I'm not out at school. Maybe I'll come out this year. Maybe the time is right. It's not like I would be the only gay guy in school. I know of at least six other gay boys who are out so it's not like I should have any problems.

"Yes, I am, Don," I said. "You said it doesn't matter. I hope you really mean that."

"Cool," Don said. "I thought you might be and I was hoping you would be. I am too you know."

"I was hoping you might be," I admitted, "although I figured the odds were against it. When I saw that poster in your room, I knew you almost had to be. I mean, who else but a gay boy would have a poster like that?"

"You liked that, huh?" he asked.

"Who doesn't like William Franklyn Miller and Carson Lueders?" I said.

"Who the hell are they?" Jack asked.

"William is this really cute actor and model from Australia I think," Don said. "You've probably seen his pictures. He's all over the internet these days, and in all the teen magazines. Carson is a singer and songwriter, also cute as hell."

"I think I know who you're talking about," Jack said.

"So, I take it your parents know?" I said.

"Yeah, they know," Don said. "They are surprisingly supportive with all this. More than I had expected."

"Mine are the same way," I said. "My sister is going to be a little disappointed, as are all the girls at school, but I expect they'll get over it soon enough."

"That just lessens the competition and leaves more for me," Jack said, laughing. "I need all the help I can get."

"Poor pathetic straight boys," Don said, looking at Jack and grinning. "Maybe I'll direct some of them your way."

So now I know. What next? It's kind of early to start dating, let alone anything else, although I really, really wanted to do the anything else stuff. I could feel my dick growing harder and harder at the thought.

"Thanks," Jack said. "So, does this mean you guys are going to be boyfriends now?"

"I think we should just remain friends for now," Don said. "Not that the idea of having a boyfriend doesn't sound nice, but let's just see where things take us." He looked at me. "We can still go out and do stuff together, just the two of us, but I don't know if I'm ready for the whole boyfriend thing yet. And I'm definitely not ready to come out at school. Not yet anyway."

I was a little disappointed I suppose, but what Don was saying made sense. We had only known each other for two days and only been out to each other for ten minutes. Why rush into things?

"That's probably a good idea," I agreed. "We'll see what happens at school and then go from there. We can still go out together to see a movie or something if you want."

"I want to," Don said. "I'd like to tonight but we're having dinner at your house later so that's out. How about tomorrow?"

"If we can figure out a way to get there, that would be fun," I said.

"Maybe I can get my brother to take us over there," Jack said. "We can drop you guys off and come back and pick you up afterward."

"I'd hate to just leave you hanging like that, Jack," Don said.

Jack laughed.

"Don't worry about it," Jack said. "I'd dump your dumb asses in a second if I had a date with a girl."

We all laughed at that.

"Like you're ever going to get a girlfriend," I said. I looked at Don. "Jack has a crush on Patricia at school but he's to chicken to ask her out. He really likes her."

"Just you wait, Aiden," Jack said. "I'm going to get her. You'll see."

I really do wish Jack could find himself a girlfriend. He's my best friend and he deserves to be happy.

The three of us rode down to the park and then over the bridge to the other side of the river. There's another park on the east side but it's mainly for camping and fishing which I have absolutely zero interest in.

Finally, I looked at my watch and noticed it was after four so I announced that we needed to head for home and get ready for dinner with the parents at six.

I won't bore you with the details because dinner is dinner, but I'll skip ahead to later that evening.

Don and I were in my room talking. I just couldn't stand it anymore so I leaned over and kissed him. We started making out right there on my bed. I think we both wanted to do more, I know I did, but we controlled ourselves somehow. I don't think my cock had ever been so hard in my life and I could feel Don's was as well. After about an hour we sat up and a few minutes later Don got up to go home.

I walked him to the door and quickly ran back into my room. I really needed to relieve the pressure in my nuts, if you know what I mean. I'm sure Don is probably doing the same thing right now. God, I wish I could be in that room with him right now. Just the thought made me shoot my load all over my stomach and chest. I cleaned up, put my sleeping shorts and t-shirt on and crawled into bed. I woke up the next morning with another sticky mess to clean up. God what a night!

The two of us got a ride with Jack's older brother Kelly on Friday over to Joplin where we saw Spiderman: Far From Home , the latest movie in the Marvel series. Afterward we walked over to NorthPark Mall and ate at the food court. True to his word, Jack left us to ourselves and we caught up with him and Kelly afterward for the ride home.

Don and I got home from Joplin and went straight to my room. As soon as we stepped through the door, I immediately wrapped my arms around him and kissed him. In seconds we were making out like mad. Still kissing him, I pulled him toward the bed. I ripped his shirt over his head and ran my hands over his chest. I pulled my own off, and we made out some more.

The sight of his bare torso filled me with desire. He wasn't muscular like some guys, but he was firm, compact, and defined. I loved the V shape of his torso and especially the contours of his chest. Don was so sexy. His face and form were beautiful.

I pushed him back on the bed and tore at his pants. I had his belt undone and his jeans unbuttoned and unzipped before he knew what happened. Don pulled me down on top of him. We kicked off our shoes as we continued to make out.

I kissed my way down his neck and onto his chest. I kissed him all over. I pulled down his jeans and boxers. For the first time I saw him naked. He was beautiful and his cock was as hard as a rock, all five inches of it.

Don wasted no time in stripping me naked, too. Both of us were worked up. We weren't gentle. We went at it like wild boys!

For the first time, I both gave and received head. For the first time, I allowed another access to the most private parts of my body. Don and I reveled in the pleasure we gave each other. That's what excited me the most; making him moan and squirm with delight.

I climaxed quickly, and Don wasn't far behind. That wasn't the end of things. It was only the beginning. We went right back at it. We explored each other with fingers, lips, and tongues. I'd never shared such intimacy. I'd never been so completely focused on someone else. My first time was incredible!

When we had exhausted ourselves, we lay back panting. We smiled at each other. Don pulled my face to his and kissed me again. We kissed each other softly until sleep finally took us.

I awakened a short while later and felt Don's warm body spooned up against me. I smiled with contentment and immediately fell asleep again.

Don was gone when I woke up later but there was a note on his pillow. It said simply 'I love you.' I smiled. I was truly happy.

The next week was the annual Independence Day celebration at the park. It was the typical small-town event, booths set up by various churches and other local organizations, along with a band later that evening, followed by the fireworks after dark. It's pretty much the same all over the United States so I'll just leave it at that.

Monday was the big day. That was the day we started our driver's education classes. In Kansas you can get a restricted license at fifteen. You're supposed to have an adult twenty-one or older with you and you can only go back and forth to school or work, but that's one of those areas where it's not really enforced all that hard unless something were to happen of course. God I can't wait to be able to drive.

Dad has been taking me out on some of the country roads for the last several months letting me practice, plus I've been studying all the laws and proper procedures so I think I'm ready. I just have to pass the formal class and of course pass the test at the DMV but that should be easy enough.

I'm sure everyone reading this has had some form of driver's training at some point so I'm not going to really get into it that much. I know you're probably more anxious to hear what happens with Don and me once school starts so I'm just going to say that Jack, Don and I all passed our classes and are now licensed drivers in the state of Kansas. I even got myself a car, even if it is a ten-year-old hand me down from dad. It still looks decent and it runs and that's all that matters. Now, Don and I will be able to go out and do things without having to try and beg a ride from somebody. That's if we can convince our parents to let us drive because we still technically have to have an adult with us. Now that's freedom and independence.

Don and I still aren't officially boyfriends although we might just as well be. We go out every weekend, usually to Joplin to see a movie, but also other things as well. Even when we're alone he doesn't seem to want to hold my hand for some reason. I can kind of understand when we're back in Chouteau or around our friends, but not when we're at the mall or in the movie theater. I get frustrated at times but I'm not going to stop being with him over something like that. Hopefully he'll come around soon.

On a more positive note, him and I have had sex a few times. Well, if you want to call jerking and sucking each other off sex. I guess it depends on your definition. We haven't actually fucked but we've done everything just short of that, and I do mean everything. Fingers, tongues, just use your imagination. And it's just as hot as you imagine it is. We plan on fucking eventually, but the time just hasn't been quite right yet, that and the fact that we have to be careful since we don't want our parents to catch us. I'm sure they suspect something is going on between us but we've never actually said anything. My parents may get on my nerves at times but they're not stupid and they are about as good of parents as a kid could hope for. Not that I'll ever admit that to them though.

Mom, dad, Jennifer and me were just finishing supper. I took a deep breath to calm myself. I had something I needed to tell both of them. I hesitated at first because I still remember how dad had reacted back in May when I had told both of them that I was gay. Don't get me wrong, he hadn't reacted badly, just more shocked and a little disappointed, but it isn't like he had hit me or cussed my out of anything like that. He got over it that same day and things have been good between us ever since.

But it's one thing to know that your son is gay and quite another to find out he has an actual boyfriend. But they're bound to find out soon anyway, so Don and I had decided the best thing to do was to let them know so they won't think we're trying to hide it from them.

"Mom, dad, I need to talk to both of you after supper," I announced as we were finishing up. "Alone," I said, looking at Jennifer.

"Are you going to tell them about Don?" Jennifer asked.

"What about Don?" mom asked.

"That's what I want to talk to you about," I said. "Can we go into the living room?"

The three of us walked into the living room while Jennifer went up to her room. Dad walked back into their bedroom for a few seconds and returned holding a small bag in his hand before sitting in his usual recliner while mom and I sat on the couch.

"So, you have something you want to tell us?" dad asked. "Something about Don."

"Yes, dad," I said. "You remember back in May when I first told you that I am gay?"

"Yes, we remember," mom said. "Your father wasn't very happy at first, but he's okay now."

"Yes, I know," I said. "Thanks both of you for being so accepting."

"I'm going to be completely honest with you, Aiden," my father said. "You deserve the truth. I don't like that you're gay. I don't like it at all. Some of the things I'd heard about gays was very disturbing. But your mother got on the internet and printed out a bunch of stuff and made me read them with her. There's a lot I still don't understand but one thing I do understand is that you didn't make a decision to become gay. You had no more choice about your sexual orientation than you did your height or eye color. I can't fault you for something you have no control over."

"I'm glad you understand that, dad," I said. "A lot of people don't."

"I kept wondering what we'd done wrong, what we'd done to turn you gay, but I know now that it was nothing we did," he said. "You simply are as you are. I'm not comfortable with it, but I wouldn't be much of a man if I didn't try to understand and be reasonable. It's actually a relief to know for sure. I've wondered since you were a little boy. I hoped I was wrong. I don't want that life for you. It may be a hard life, Aiden. You're going to have to be strong."

"I'm a lot stronger than you think, dad. I may not be physically strong, but I'm emotionally strong. I've had to be. You have no idea how hard it's been to live with this secret. For most of my life I've had to wonder if you and mom would love me if you knew the truth. I've had to wonder if my friends would still be my friends. I've had to put up with listening to gay jokes and put downs. I've had to just stand there and take it because I didn't dare let anyone know what I was."

"Do the kids at school harass you?" mom asked.

"Some, but I can handle it. Nobody at school knows I'm gay, although I expect that to change when we start back up at the end of August. Things aren't like they used to be back in your day. Being gay isn't such a big deal today. I expect a few of the jerks who always cause problems will give me a hard time but I can take it. I have friends who I'm confident will support me. Jack is the only one who knows so far and he's been completely cool."

"Is Jack…" dad started to ask.

"No," I said. "Jack is completely straight. In fact, he has a crush on Patricia but is to chicken to ask her out. Don is another matter, however, and he's the reason I wanted to talk to both of you."

"Is Don gay?" my mother asked.

"Yes, he is, mom and he's also my boyfriend," I said. "Me and him have been together for about three weeks now. We both decided that we needed to tell you before you found out on your own."

Mom and dad just looked at me and said nothing for several seconds.

"Well, at least you picked a cute one," mom finally said. "A lot of girls are going to be disappointed when they find out."

"I know," I said. "Jennifer already is, but she understands. I know this is difficult for you both. I know you probably wanted me to marry and have children. I could never be happy like that, though. It's not me. That life would probably be easier, but then I wouldn't be me anymore. I don't think I'd want to give up who I am. I like being me. I couldn't change if I wanted to, anyway, so there's no use in even thinking about it."

"As long as we're being truthful, it is hard," mom said. "I did have dreams of grandchildren. I guess we'll just have to wait until Jennifer gets married and has kids of her own."

"I understand," I said. "It's not impossible that I could have kids one day. Things are different today then they used to be. There are options. But like you said, Jennifer will probably get married in a few years. Don and I might not even be together five years from now. I'd like to think we will be, but who knows."

"So, does everyone know?" dad asked.

"Not everyone," I said, "although I expect that will probably change once school starts back up. Jennifer knows as well as Don's two sisters, and of course Jack. But Don is telling his parents so they'll know as well."

"I wonder what the family will think," dad said.

"Who cares?" mom said. "Aiden is our son. If they don't like it, then tough!"

I smiled. I liked it when mom got spunky.

"Thank you for being so understanding," I said.

"Thank your mother," dad said. "She's been the understanding one and helped me to understand."

"While we're talking about this, is it okay if Don spends the night with me occasionally," I asked.

"Yes," mom said. "He already does anyway and you spend the night at his house, but things are different now."

Dad didn't disagree.

"There will be some rules," mom continued. "I'll expect you to keep your door open when he's in your room, and he'll have to sleep on the floor."


"Don't mom me. It would be exactly the same if you had a girlfriend. The same as it will be with Jennifer when she gets a boyfriend, except he won't be spending the night. You are fifteen. That's much to young to be… sexually active."

If she only knew.

"Do you really think that's necessary, Cheryl?" dad asked. "If he had a girlfriend I could understand. We're talking about two young men here. It's different."

My mouth dropped open. I gawked at my dad in complete and utter shock. I never would have thought he'd say something like that.

"Yes, it is necessary," mom said. "I know Aiden is a young man, but he will always be my little boy. There are some things a mother doesn't ever want to think about. The door stays open."

"Sorry, son. There's no arguing with your mother when she gets riled up."

Dad winked at me. Mom tried to pretend to be angry, but she grinned a bit anyway.

"This is for you," dad said, scooting a paper bag across the table toward me.

I opened it. I couldn't believe it! My dad bought me condoms! I could feel my face turning red.

"This is in no way an encouragement to have sex," said mom. "You're too young, and it's too dangerous. Neither your father nor I condone the idea of you being sexually active."

I already am, I thought, at least somewhat, but Don and I have never gone that far. Not yet anyway. I didn't say anything.

"We know what teenage boys are like, however. I used to be one, remember."

Mom and dad exchanged a look that made me uncomfortable. I knew they were remembering some long-ago sexual encounter when they were both teenagers. Parents having sex! Eww! Eww!

"Just remember the even thought there is no chance of pregnancy, there are plenty of sexually transmitted diseases," mom said.

"I know."

I was extremely uncomfortable talking to my parents about sex, but all things considered, things were going well.

We talked some more and then the ordeal was finally over. First mom and then dad hugged me and told me they loved me. I felt as though I could walk on air.

The first thing I did when I left the room was call Don and tell him that everything was cool. He told me that everything had gone well with his parents as well. We were both relieved that it was finally over.

We talked for an hour or so. I loved just hearing his voice. I wish I could sleep with him tonight. I wondered what mom and dad would think if they knew I'd already had sex with Don. We hadn't gone all the way, but we had done everything but. At least I think we had. It was possible that there were some things I just didn't know about.

I began to get aroused as Don and I talked and I thought about the things we had done. I quickly got up, made sure my door was locked and then stripped naked and flopped back onto my bed. Don told me he was doing the same thing over in his room. Just the thought aroused me even more.

Both of us quickly knocked one out before finally going to bed. I'm sure Don and I will get together tomorrow after our parents have gone to work.

"I feel as if the weight of the world has been lifted from my shoulders," I said to Don the next day. "It was kind of weird in a way. When I asked if you could still continue to spend the night, mom said I had to keep my door open when you're in my bedroom, and he has to sleep on the floor. Dad acted as if it was okay if we messed around, because we're two guys and not a guy and a girl. Can you believe it? My dad thinks it's okay for me to mess around with my boyfriend!"

"Did he really say that?" Don asked.

"Well, he didn't out and out say it, but when mom said my bedroom door would have to be open, he asked if it was really necessary. I about fell out of my chair. I was surprised at how much they understood. I think dad realized that I am what I am and there is no way I can change. He does love me. I used to wonder about that, but he does. I think he decided that even though I am gay, he's going to be supportive. This is really big. I used to worry about my parents kicking me out if they found out about me. Instead, they're being really understanding. They don't want me to be gay. They don't like it. They love me though, and they're trying to make the best of it. I feel like… well… like I said before, I feel as if the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders."

Don put his arm around my shoulder and hugged me. I could feel the heat of his body as we walked side by side. I wished he could stay overnight every night and sleep with me, but I wasn't going to push it. My parents were already being more understanding than I ever imagined. I wasn't greedy. I was very content with what I already had. I had heard somewhere the secret to happiness; not getting what you want, but wanting what you get.

"So, what about your parents?" I asked. "What do they think about us being together?"

"They seemed mostly fine with it," Don said. "I didn't bring up the sleeping together part. Maybe I should ask dad just to find out for sure what he thinks."

"It couldn't hurt, I suppose," I said.

"We'll do that later tonight after we get home," Don said.

"What kind of father would I be if I let you sleep with your boyfriend?" Don's father asked. "You're only fifteen."

"Come on, dad," Don said. "We're not going to have sex. We're just going to sleep together. The only thing we do is make out."

That was a half-truth. Don and I had not made love, but our make out sessions did involve roaming, sometimes groping hands and even blow jobs and other stuff short of actual sex. I got a little excited just thinking about it.

"I used to be a teenage boy. I know what it's like to be horny all the time. If you two are in the same bed, alone, and start making out, you're likely to proceed onto other things."

"Hey, just because you had no will power as a teen doesn't mean I don't," Don said. "Besides, what would it hurt if we did want to do more?"

Ouch! Big mistake. That sealed our fate.

"Forget it," Mr. Millman said. "If Aiden stays over, one of you sleeps on the floor."



"It was worth a try," Don said, turning to me.

"You two get out of here," Mr. Millman said, smiling.

He looked like he was going to give us some kind of warning about not fooling around but thought better of it. Yeah, he had been a teenage boy once. He knew such warnings from parents were completely disregarded.

"Just keep anything you might do to yourselves," Mr. Millman said as we were walking away. "And your mother doesn't need to know about this conversation, son. Now get out of here."

He winked at us and we both smiled.

Don and I walked to his room. At least we'd have some time alone. All that talk about sleeping together had me excited.

Don pulled me to him and kissed me. I kissed him back, slipping my tongue into his mouth. We stood there, French kissed, and pressed our bodies hard against each other.

"I wish I could sleep with you tonight," I said.

"Who says you can't?"

"I'm supposed to sleep on the floor. Remember?"

"Nothing says you have to stay there. Besides, you heard dad. Just keep things to ourselves. I think he's okay with it. He just couldn't come right out and say it."

"Are you trying to corrupt me, Don?"



We made out more. Don's sexy body drove me crazy. I wanted to rip his shirt off and lick his torso all over. I blushed even thinking such thoughts, but I enjoyed thinking them.

We kicked off our shoes and lay on the bed. We kept our clothes on but I don't' know if there had ever been such a make out session. I grew bold and rolled over on top of Don. I pressed my crotch against him. He kissed me back with even greater passion then before.

After several moments, I pulled my lips from his and gazed into his eyes.

"I want to make love to you," I said.

Don moaned.

Just then there was a knock on the door. Don and I smoothed out our rumpled clothing and tried to make it appear we hadn't just been making out. Don opened the door.

"Supper will be ready in about ten minutes," Mr. Millman said.

He gave us the once over as he spoke. I was sure he knew we'd been kissing. He didn't mention it.

Don and I made out a little more and before we knew it, ten minutes had passed. We put our shoes back on and walked downstairs and sat down at the table, with Don's parents and sisters.

"So, what are your intentions toward our son?" Mr. Millman asked.

I froze. He laughed.

"Marc, don't be cruel," Ms. Millman said. "Aiden could be our future son in law."

"I'm very sorry, Aiden," Don said. "Sometimes they try to be funny. They aren't very good at it."

I smiled. Don turned to his parents.

"I should tell you; Aiden and I may have to get married. I think I might be pregnant."

I was just taking a sip of soda. Unfortunate timing to be sure. I choked and Don had to pat me on the back to help me recover.

"Try not to kill him before the ceremony," Ms. Millman said.

Suzanne and Ashley were laughing so hard at all this they were practically rolling on the floor. I guess it was pretty funny.

I liked Don's parents. I liked how they kidded us. It made me feel accepted.

After supper, Don and I went back to his room to watch a little television and of course making out some more.

Finally, around ten we decided to go to bed. We were both temped to sleep in the same bed but he had little doubt that his dad would check up on him. Instead, he got some extra sheets and a blanket out of the linen closet and made a sleeping area next to his bed on the floor. I had no doubt I would end up in his bed later tonight, but for now I was content on the floor.

Finally, around midnight, Don leaned down and woke me up and told me to climb into his bed. I immediately wrapped my arms around him and kissed him. In seconds we were making out like mad. Still kissing him I ran my hands over his bare chest. I pulled my shirt off, and we made out some more.

The sight of his bare torso filled me with desire. He wasn't muscular like some guys, but he was firm, compact, and defined. I loved the V shape of his torso and especially the contours of his chest. Don was so sexy. His face and form were beautiful.

I pushed him back on the bed and tore at his shorts.

Finally, at the end of August it was time to start back to school. Why they start school the last week in August instead of waiting until after Labor Day is a mystery. I guess there must be a reason but it seems kind of silly. But whatever.

As predicted, Don was a hit with the girls. Most of them were practically drooling. I mean, who can blame them. He may be the hottest boy in school now and that's saying a lot. I also noticed a lot of the guys eying him as well as he walked down the hallways, no doubt realizing they had just dropped down a few notches on the cuteness scale. Other's looked at him with interest, no doubt wondering if hanging out with him would increase their popularity and their chances of getting laid. Boys know when other boys are hot even if most of them are too chickenshit to admit it, and Don was definitely hot.

I wondered if any of the guys are lusting over him or are just jealous. There was no way to tell, but I knew there were at least six other gay boys in Chouteau High School, and I knew they were no doubt lusting. Too bad, because he's all mine, and I mean all. We've done everything with each other sexually except for one thing and we are both wanting to do that as well. I think you know what I mean so I won't say it. Let's just say that Don has a very nice body and I've explored every inch of it with my hands, fingers and tongue, and I do mean every inch.

I nearly laughed when a couple of girls stopped dead in their tracks when they spotted Don. I might have the same reaction myself if I didn't already know him.

Don and I had a couple of classes together and of course we always ate lunch together, me, him, Jack and all of our friends at the same table. There had always been girls that ate with us but now we were swarmed with a whole flock of them, or rather Don seemed to be.

The first time we ate together I warned Don what he should expect for lunch.

"I have to warn you," I said. "The C.H.S. cafeteria isn't one of the finer eating establishments in Chouteau. Sometimes you get lucky and sometimes, well… let's just say some things are not meant to be eaten."

"Yeah, I remember," Don laughed. "My old school was like that too."

"I guess they're all pretty much the same," I said.

Don liked to flirt with the girls and he seemed to really enjoy having them around. If I didn't know better, I'd swear he was a straight boy. He would even walk with them between classes sometimes, completely forgetting about me, or so it seemed anyway.

I guess I was a little jealous, okay a lot jealous, but I knew he still liked me. Every time he would see me his entire face would light up with the biggest smile. I so badly wanted to hold his hand and let the entire world know that we were a couple except we weren't, officially anyway. Don was new in school and just wasn't comfortable with being out even though I assured him things would be okay.

I understood. I was never one of the popular kids in school and was bullied on occasion, along with Jack and our friends. Not all the time, but it did happen more than I care to think about. Bullying is not really tolerated in our school, but what the teachers don't see they can't do anything about, and there's still a few of them that will turn their backs.

Gay bashing is especially frowned upon. In the last eight or ten years there have been quite a few openly gay kids in our school, even a few athletes. Several of the football players have come out over the last few years and even our football coach is gay and he doesn't allow any kind of abuse. From what I've been told one of his players killed himself several years ago and that was what really changed the whole attitude of the school and a lot of the townspeople, and is what led to him coming out.

He'll put you on report in a second if he finds out and he will even kick you off the team if you play for him. He gets results on the field however and that's all that matters.

Ever since Don and I had come out to our parents we had been allowed to stay overnight with each other as long as one of us slept on the floor, not that we ever let that keep us apart. We continued to go at it after school most days. Normally we just have time for a quick fuck before our parents get home from work and occasionally at night if our parents happened to be gone, usually on weekends. Nothing can help relieve the stress of a long, hard school day like a mind-blowing orgasm. There isn't much need for a lot of foreplay, because we're both tired and just want to get off.

Like this weekend. Both our parents had decided to go to Branson for the weekend so we would be left alone. Jennifer was staying with one of her friends so there would be no one to bother us.

As we headed up to my bedroom Friday after school, I knew this wasn't going to be a wham-bam-thank you-sir kind of night. I grabbed his shoulders as he moved toward the bed and pushed him into the bathroom.

"What's up?" he asked, confused about me pulling his clothes off.

"We're taking a shower," I explained, tossing his shirt over my shoulder. "Get naked already," I added before I turned the shower on.

"Do I stink or something?" he asked, raising his arm and sniffing.

"You're a guy. We always stink. So, get in the shower."

I was shirtless already and shucking my pants off.

"Aiden, I'm not…" he started.

I pulled his pants down to his knees.

"Get in the shower," I growled.

He rolled his eyes, stepped out of his pants, and got under the water.

I slipped in behind him and pulled the shower door shut.

"Okay, so I'm in the shower," he said. "Now what?"

I reached around him and grabbed the body wash.

"Now we get clean," I said, pouring some into my hand and lathering up.

Starting at his chest, I rubbed around and over, getting him nice and soapy and feeling him up. Don has a great body and he has been really working on it. The shower was as much for me as it was for him.

Okay maybe more for me, but whatever.

I got down to his waist and stopped just as I touched his pubes. He wasn't hard yet, but parts of him were paying more attention to me than other parts. His shoulders were like rocks, and it took a lot of strength to start kneading the knots out of his back. From the grunts and gasps, I could tell he needed this more then the rest of the night I had planned.

But we were still having crazy monkey sex. I'd give him a backrub tomorrow night.

My hands went lower and lower until I got to his ass.

Now let me tell you something about Don's ass. There are butts in the world. They are things people sit on and that's about it. Then there are asses. An ass transcends the function of a butt and causes you to pause for a moment in it's perfection. A nice ass is a work of art, and I am a patron of the arts. Then there are goddamn asses; these asses can make a straight guy pause. They can make a blind woman gawk, and they can make a gay man fall to his knees.

Don has an 'oh my fucking god!' ass.

Years of running has turned it into a force of nature. I mean, a category five ass, hands down. I've told him this a million times, and each time he'd blush and tell me to shut up, but it's true. The boy has all the right junk in his trunk. So… being a gay boy, I did what I had to in the face of such perfection.

I knelt in front of it and gave it praise.

"Aiden, what are… oh fuck!" he exclaimed as I began my work.

His hands reached out to steady himself on the shower wall, and I tried to bury my face as deep as I could.

Now, I'm no going to brag… well, yes, I am. I'm pretty good with my mouth. You can take that anyway you want, but it's all I'm going to say on the subject. Within a minute he had relaxed, and by two minutes, he was banging his head against the shower wall asking me for more.

I was more than willing to grant his wish.

Some more soap and a couple of fingers later, he was speaking in tongues as I moved up against him.

"You ready to get out of the shower now?"

"Yes, please," he replied in a weak voice.

We rinsed each other off and practically broke the sound barrier drying off and leaping into bed. He expected me to just go to work and mount him right there, but like I said, this was not going to be one of those nights. I spent the next fifteen minutes between his legs, showing him exactly how skilled a mouth I had.

Finally, he grabbed the top of my head and pulled me by the hair.

"Aiden! Fuck me already!"

The very words I was waiting for.

We started around five, and we weren't completely done with each other until nine. That wasn't nonstop, of course. Let's remember things like friction and the laws of thermodynamics, please. In those four hours, we had actual sex twice, two blow jobs, and a rim job that could have sucked the chrome off a tail pipe.

A few hours later when we woke up, I turned over to see him with a huge grin. We repeated everything again and then fell asleep for the rest of the night.

Saturday morning when we again woke up, I turned to him and said, "good morning."

"Good morning," he said back.

We tried everything again and managed to do it a third time, but couldn't manage a fourth time, at least right away.

It was Sunday night and we went at it just like we had the night before, and it was no less wondrous. We didn't do anything new, yet it all felt like it was new.

After we finished, the second time, we showered together. That led to the third time right there in the shower. We simply couldn't keep our hands off each other. We dried off and walked naked back to my room. We climbed in bed, held each other, and lay there until sleep took us.

I was awakened the next morning by a knock on the door. I looked over at my alarm clock.


I hopped out of bed and slipped on my boxers. Don stirred beside me. There was another knock. I answered. It was dad.

"I came up to check on you. You're late for breakfast."

Dad's eyes looked past me to Don just rousing himself from my bed. Uh-oh.

"Um, I guess I forgot to set my alarm last night."

"I can see why you were distracted."

I wondered just how much trouble I was in. I looked back into the room just in time to see Don's bare butt being covered by his boxers as he slipped them on.

"Are you mad?"

Dad stepped into the room and closed the door.

"Have a seat, guys," dad said.

Both of us sat on the edge of my bed in our boxers.

"I'm not going to lecture you about the desirability of abstinence. I know what it's like to be your age. I know the reality of the situation. I also know there is nothing I can do to keep you apart. If you want to be together, you'll find a way. It would be wrong of me to even try. Instead, I want the two of you to think before you act. Don't take any unnecessary risks. Now, I'm not trying to encourage you, but you do have those condoms I gave you the other day, Aiden. You should get into the habit now. I hope… well… being a father isn't easy…"

Dad grew silent for a few moments.

"Dad," I said. "I really love Don. We're careful. We haven't… gone all the way. We don't plan to do that for a long time."

"I think you're both intelligent young men. Remember that even intelligent young men can make mistakes. I did when I was young. I just don't want to see either of you pay for a mistake with your life."

"We'll be careful," I said. "If you think about it, Don and I don't really have to be careful. Don's a… well, I'm his first. He's my first too."

"I still want you to be safe. It's just a good habit to get into. Sometimes you aren't as safe as you think. Some people will lie to you. Some will cheat on you. You can never assume. I'm not saying that either of you would lie or cheat. I'm saying that someday you may trust someone only to find out they aren't trustworthy. Always being safe is a way of protecting yourself even when you're sure it isn't necessary."

We both nodded.

"Now you two need to get dressed, eat some breakfast, and get your butts to school. And Aiden, your mother doesn't need to know anything about this."

"Yes sir," Don said.

Dad nodded and left us alone.

"Oh, my god," Don said when dad had gone. "He caught me naked in your bed. He knows we had sex!"

"I think that goes without saying, Don. It's okay. Don't worry about it. You heard him. I don't think he's happy about it, but he's realistic. Come on, we've got to get a move on."

It had been some morning, but then it had been some night, too. I was kind of embarrassed to be caught in bed with my boyfriend. It was a private matter, after all. In a way I didn't mind. Dad really cared about me. That made me feel so good inside that a bit of embarrassment didn't matter.

It's now October and the weather has started to cool. Normally fall is nice but there's been a few cold days mixed in. I just hope that it's not going to be a hard winter this year.

The weather is so unpredictable this time of year. Just today, three days from Halloween it turned cold. I had forgotten to bring a jacket of any kind, figuring I wouldn't need it. When Don saw that I was cold he actually took off his hoodie and let me wear it. That was so sweet of him, yet he still doesn't want to officially be boyfriends and refuses to let me hold his hand. But he has the biggest smile on his face whenever we see each other in the hallway. I know he cares about me but just doesn't want to be open about things.

Some of the other kids are starting to notice however, or at least the suspect. Or maybe it's just jealously. Don is probably the hottest boy in school and he always has a flock of girls hanging on his every word. No doubt he could fuck any one of them if he chose. He'll flirt with them and string them along, but that's as far as it goes. That alone has people wondering about him. I mean, what normal, red blooded high school boy is not interested in dating almost any girl he wanted without being gay?

A few of the other boys are constantly calling him a fag or something similar and he does get pushed around on occasion, and I do as well since I'm his friend. He tends to just ignore it when it happens and bitches about it after school. There's never been a real fight, not yet anyway, but I can see it coming.

Things finally came to a head in mid-November. The bullies were becoming more and more bold in their name calling and shoving since Don and I never did anything. Even Jack, being my best friend was being shoved around on occasion. I still don't know what happened that made this incident different, but Don seemed to snap one day.

Anyone who's ever been a high school student knows there's a certain social order. Always has been and probably always will be.

All the popular kids, the athletes, cheerleaders and that sort all tend to congregate together and have their own tables during lunch or any other school gathering. Then there's the nerd table which is where me and my friends sit and there's a few others, the druggies and other losers.

Anyway, one day I made the mistake of wondering too close to the jock table as I came out of the lunch line. Travis, one of the main instigators immediately jumped to his feet and confronted me. Travis was a short, stocky guy who was known more for his ability on the football field, but he was still one of the best-looking guys in school. He was a total dick however, which took away from his attractiveness.

If you close your eyes and imagine every single movie bully you've ever seen pushing nerds, throwing people in garbage cans, and shoving geeks into lockers, then you've got a good impression of what Travis was like to be around. I hadn't noticed him, though, because all I saw was Don smiling as he waited for me to join him.

I got to within nine steps of the jock table before I heard a voice call out, "hey, queerbait, where the hell you think you're going?"

There wasn't even a tiny doubt in my mind as to whom those words were directed at.

As is the case in any high school or prison on earth, there is nothing more desirable to the general populace than free drama. There is a pack mentality that exists in those places that can only be rivaled by a group of people watching Christian's being fed to lions. They want blood and lots of it. My head snapped up to see Travis standing in front of me, blocking my way like a rude and abusive bouncer stopping me from entering a night club.

I looked past him and saw that everyone in the cafeteria had frozen in mid-sentence to look at me. Don's eyes went wide as we made eye contact and he realized what was going on. His face was carved out of marble as Travis knocked the tray out of my hands.

"I asked, where do you think you're going?" he said, his body drawing in close to mine.

I winced as anyone with a badger in his face would. Not a good move as everyone knows. In the dog eat dog world of high school, the paramount rule is never show fear.

"Oh! What's wrong, bitch?" he taunted, his chest bumping mine now, pushing me back a few stumbling steps, since he had at least forty pounds on me. "Not used to having a real man up in your face?"

I don't know if it was fear, anger or just straight up loathing that made me respond with, "why? Have you seen a real man around here?"

If it had been a movie, you would have heard the record scratching sound effect as the assembled student's processed what I had said.

And then came the laughter.

From the look on Travis' face this was the first time it had happened to him; the abject shock he displayed made staring at him akin to staring down a corpse. He looked to his left and right, verifying that everyone was, indeed, laughing at him. It was not a localized catastrophe involving just those people closes to us. I suppose I should have felt the flush of victory at that moment as the bully was hoisted by his own petard, but to be honest, all I felt was sick to my stomach at the thought of the very same thing happening to me.

And then he hit me.

One second I felt the blood race to my face as I realized I was inadvertently the center of attention, and the next I was on the floor. My left hand was clutching my chest where he had punched me. The look on my face must have trumped Travis' by a country mile, as the laughter got louder, and I realized it's focus had shifted to me.

I only knew two things.

One, this was the worst moment of my life.

And two, this was actually just the worst moment of my life so far.

"How's that for a real man, you fucking fag?" he had begun to taunt as he stood over me.

Suddenly his head snapped to the left, the sound of flesh hitting flesh echoing like a gunshot through the cafeteria. The laughter had stopped as Travis stumbled sideways and finally crashed. I looked up and saw Don standing over him, fists clenched, face etched with fury. He looked like an angry god fuming, deciding his vengeance. I looked around and saw people with their hands over their mouths trying to cover their delight at the new violence lest they be pulled into it. Everyone loved seeing someone get their ass kicked. No one wanted it to be them.

Travis started to rise to his knees. Don looked down at him and growled.

"Stay down there."

It wasn't a request. It wasn't even a suggestion. It was obviously a command, and he expected it to be followed. Travis paused; his head still down as drops of blood pooled beneath his face.

"You think it's funny going around picking on people smaller than you, Travis?"

Again, not a question.

"Well, I'm smaller than you." Don knelt down and locked eyes with him. "Pick on me."

It was true that Don was a few inches shorter than Travis and thirty pounds lighter, but that didn't seem to matter right now. I was both shocked and amazed by what I was seeing, as were the rest of the students.

Travis' eyes watered as Don thrust his face closer to him, just as Travis had done to me. His abject fear was tangible as no one in the cafeteria dared to breathe.

"Come on, big man," Don said casually, as if they were just discussing a sports score or the weather. "Pick! On! Me!"

He emphasized each word with a poke in Travis' chest.

Travis shook his head, blood from his nose and lip spraying as he babbled.

"I didn't mean anything by it, Don!" he said.

His voice cracked and it must have been obvious even to his own ears that he sounded like a little bitch. He swallowed and tried to control his tone.

"I mean I was just having fun…"

And he could instantly tell that was the wrong thing to say.

"Fun?" Don asked as his eyes flashed with rage.

I had never seen anyone that angry this close up before unless their anger was directed at me. He grabbed the front of Travis' shirt and hauled him to his feet as if he weighed nothing. No one Travis' size could be used to being manhandled like that, and from the way his feet refused to steady themselves under him, he wasn't. Don pushed him toward where I still sat on the floor, no doubt in the same level of stupor as the rest of the crowd.

"Let's have some fun then," Don hissed harshly in his ear from behind. "Look at him and apologize."

I felt my throat go dry as Travis looked down at me, and I became the totality of his universe for the next few minutes. I knew people were staring. I knew I should get up and run, but I couldn't. Instead, I just sat there like a lump. Speechless.

In a voice barely above a mumble, he said, "I'm sorry."

Don's knee came up against the small of Travis' back, making him bark out in what was probably more shock than actual pain.

"I said apologize," Don ordered through gritted teeth. "Not just say sorry like a fucking girl. Try it like a man."

I saw Travis' face redden in both anger and embarrassment as a few people in the back laughed. As he looked at me again, I saw the coldness in his eyes, and my chest tightened. I could tell this was not the end. This was not even the middle.

"I apologize for knocking you down and being a dick," he said in a monotone voice.

I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was just the beginning.

"And I'm a fucking tool," Don said softly as he shook him.

"And I'm a tool!" Travis said, almost shouting.

"And I have a little dick, and it makes me do crazy things!"

Travis's head sagged down, and in the most defeated voice I have ever heard another human being use, he echoed, "and I have a little dick and it makes me do crazy things."

The crowd exploded in howls of amusement as Don pushed Travis to the side. He fell hard to the floor. I was horrified, not just by the attention, but by the knowledge that Don had just made things a hundred times worse than before. He took a step toward me and held out his hand.

"Come on," he said to me in a low voice. "Let me help you up."

I looked up at him in shock for several seconds before I pushed myself to my feet, trying not to wince as my body screamed in protest. I stopped there for a moment, inches from Don's face. His eyes belonged to a stranger, and I realized I didn't know him at all.

Just then, one of the teachers came running into the cafeteria, followed by Coach Barrett. They walked over and sat Travis still laying on the floor, blood running from his nose.

"What's going on here?" the coach asked, looking down at Travis. "I heard there was a fight."

As soon as the teachers had entered the cafeteria the crowd had left. While everyone enjoyed a good fight, they didn't want to be involved afterward.

"Those two faggots attacked me, Coach," Travis shouted. "I was just sitting here eating lunch when they came up and started hitting me."

"Bullshit!" I shouted. "He attacked me and called me a fag and Don came to my defense. Ask anyone. They saw it."

I looked around and saw there were only about five people left in the room.

The coach looked around and asked, "is that what happened, Jack? What about you, Carla? Is that what you saw?"

Coach Barrett clearly didn't believe Travis' version of events. I mean, come on. Two shinny little nerds attacking a football player in front of his teammates.

"That's not what happened, Coach," said Carla. "Just the opposite actually. Travis started in on Aiden because he walked by their table and looked at them. He's constantly harassing Don, Aiden, Jack, and several others in our little group. Ask anyone and they'll tell you. And I know there's cell phone footage of the whole incident."

As if to emphasize her point she held up her own phone as proof.

"She's right, Coach," Jack said. "Travis is a lying sack of shit and everyone knows it. He's forever trying to intimidate anyone he thinks is weaker than him, or who he thinks might be gay."

The coach looked over at Travis who was now back on his feet, trying to clean up the blood on his face.

"Is that true, Travis?" he asked. "This is not the first report I've had about you." He then looked at two of the other players who were still standing there. "Is all this true, Chad? What about it, Cliff?"

Both boys looked at each other, then at Travis.

"It's true, Coach." Cliff said. "Travis is a dick. He's always picking on people, especially Don there. I think he's jealous because Don seems to attract all the girls."

"Pretty much," said Chad. "He's lying, Coach. Travis started it all."

Coach looked at Travis and said, "I told you guys at the beginning of the practice season that I didn't tolerate bullying or gay bashing or any other sort of harassment. Clean out your locker at practice today and turn in all your equipment. You're off the team as of now."

"But Coach…" Travis started to say, but the coach cut him off.

"No buts, Travis," he said. "You knew the rules."

"You'll pay for this, Millman," he said, looking right at Don. "And you better watch your back as well, Burton."

With that he stormed off.

Coach Barrett then turned and looked at both Don and me and said, "I'm sorry about that, guys. Let me know if Travis gives you any more problems." He then turned to Cliff and Chad. "And thank you guys for being honest with me about Travis. I've been hearing rumors about him for weeks."

With that, Coach Barrett turned and walked away.

"Damn, that was awfully brave of you, Don," said Chad. "I'm glad to see one of you guys finally standing up to that asshole."

"Awfully brave or awfully stupid," Don said. "I'm not sure which."

"Just be careful around that crazy fucker," said Cliff. "I know he's going to try something. You made a laughing stock out of him and he's not going to just let it go."

"He'll probably come after you guys as well," I said. "You're the ones who confirmed what happened."

Both boys just shook their heads as they walked away.

"What the hell just happened?" I asked Don. "Where did you learn to fight like that?"

"No shit!" said Jack. "That was awesome!"

Don looked slightly embarrassed at all the attention.

"Thanks," said Don. "As you know, my dad was in the navy, but he deployed with the Marines to Afghanistan and Iraq several times. They taught him all kinds of ways to fight and defend himself. He taught me after I started having problems at my last school."

"What kinds of problems?" I asked.

"Basically, the same as we've been having here, except on a much larger scale," he said. "Name calling, harassment, bullying, that sort of stuff."

"What made you finally decide to fight back?" I asked. "I mean, they've been after you and all of us since school started. Why now? Not that I mind. I'm glad you put that asshole in his place."

"I just got tired of it," Don admitted. "Travis just finally went to far when he started shoving you around today."

"Well thanks," I said. "Hopefully he learned his lesson."

"I hope so," Don said, "but I doubt it. Guys like Travis rarely change. They're too stupid. Just make sure you guys watch your backs."

"We will," said Jack. "And you watch yours as well, Don."

"I will," Don said. "Now we better get to class before we're late."

With that, the three of us turned and left the cafeteria. I had no sooner arrived in the classroom when I was summoned to the office to tell the principal what had happened. I assumed that Jack, Don, Cliff, Chad and the others would be there as well but it was only me for now. When I arrived, I saw that Travis was also waiting, along with Carla and a couple of others.

"I thought pussies like you were too afraid to fight," Travis' voice said from behind me.

I forced myself not to tense up or turn around to confront him. I simply picked a point in front of me and concentrated on it as if it was the center of the universe.

"Don't pretend you can't hear me, you little faggot," he said, whispering harshly as the various people who worked in the office milled about us. "I know you can."

I continued to stare straight ahead as though Travis had not spoken. His elbow impacted the small of my back, something between a nudge and a punch.

"You got me kicked off the football team. Don't' think I won't kick your ass," he warned darkly. "Your boyfriend Don isn't here to save you."

I spun around, dropped my backpack, and shoved him as hard as I could with both hands.

Travis fell back on his ass with a loud thud as the people behind him backed away in startled panic. However, if anyone was going to take home the award for most shocked, the race was a tie between Travis and me. He gaped up a me, eyes wide, not from fear or pain, but from complete an utter outrage. My eyes were wide, not from anger or frustration but from complete and utter terror.

"What the fuck did I just do?" I muttered under my breath.

"What the fuck did you just do?" Travis roared, jumping to his feet.

He looked like a bull charging, his face red, nostrils flared. I suppose a quicker man than I would have moved out of the way, but frankly I was still too stunned.

If I had ever held any illusions about my ability to play football, they were quickly shattered as his head, fist, arms, and shoulders made contact with my abs, and I felt what air I had left in my lungs relocate to someplace less violent than my body.

I went down like a straw man, Travis' momentum throwing us into the principal's office door. The secretary let out a screech as she stared down at the nightmare sight of two teenagers struggling for dominance at her feet. I couldn't draw a breath to save my life, but the fact that I wasn't fighting back wasn't slowing Travis down in the least. He connected two solid hits to my face before Mr. Haynes pulled him off me.

My body curled automatically into a fetal position as I struggled to haul any oxygen in the vicinity into my lungs. I could already feel the side of my face pulsing from his punch. Part of my brain judged it to be a solid six out of ten, good impact, decent follow through, bruising for the next two weeks, and tenderness for at least a month.

It was the second time today I had to be saved from that troll, and it was getting old fast. As I hesitantly began to draw breath again, I forced myself up off the floor, pushing past the pain that made up my face. I saw that the principal had came out of his office and was holding Travis.

Travis saw me turn toward him and, the second before I swung my fist into his balls, tried to get free of Haynes' grip. I had never thrown a real punch before, but I had been on the receiving end of more than enough blows to know how to hurt someone. Operating on pure instinct, he jumped back, trying to avoid as much of my hand's impact as he could. Travis' legs propelled him back into the principal who hadn't even been aware that I had taken a swing. The two of them fell back into a tangle of screams and cursing.

It took everything I had not to jump on Travis when he was prone and keep whaling on him. My mind refused to recognize what we were doing as a scuffle or even a fight. Travis wasn't just another guy who was picking on me; he wasn't just a homophobic douche who would not let up on me. I was done putting up with his shit!

"Touch me again and I swear to you I'll kill you," I snarled as Travis rocked back and forth on the floor, his hands cupping his aching testicles.

I'm not sure if he heard what I was saying, but it didn't matter. I wasn't saying it for his benefit.

"I don't care who you are; leave me the fuck alone!"

I looked up in time to see someone hold their cell phone and snap a picture. The flash made me blink a few times as I tried to clear my eyes. The faces of the people in the office were burnt into my mind in that split second. The look of abject horror and shock on every single one of them stopped me cold in my tracks.

I looked down and saw Travis still gripping his crotch, his eyes closed in obvious agony. And here I was, standing over him, screaming at him. The same way he had been in the cafeteria.

One of the many adults who had come rushing at the sound of a fight clamped a hand on my shoulder and led me away. I was tossed into an empty office.

Twenty minutes later, Principal Haynes walked in. His face showed that this was far more serious than two students fighting. He had a file in his hands, and before addressing me, he had to look down and check my name.

"Aiden, can you tell me what happened?"

I said nothing. If he had been expecting an answer, he didn't give any indication as he kept flipping pages.

"Travis is the same boy you had a problem with in the lunchroom earlier, isn't it?"

Again, I said nothing.

"Look, Aiden," he said, sighing as he closed the file. "You seem like a good kid. Good grades, no tardiness or absents; before today I don't think I've ever seen you in here. What's going on?"

I decided I had to say something. This school has a very low tolerance for bullying and gay bashing and it was thanks to Mr. Haynes and Coach Barrett and a few others. I wanted to let him know what had happened, to explain my side of the story.

"Ever since this school year started Travis has been harassing me, Don, Jack and the rest of my friends," I said. "Nothing really major, just the usual name calling and the occasional shoving."

"So, what changed today?" he asked.

"Travis is jealous of my friend, Don," I explained. "Don is very good looking as you no doubt have noticed."

He nodded.

"Anyway, Don tends to attract a lot of girls and a lot of the guys don't like it. Travis started picking on him and then me and all our friends. He started calling us fags and other stuff like that."

"Did any of you report that to anyone?" he asked.

"No," I admitted. "It didn't seem necessary and why call attention to ourselves?"

"I see," he said. "So, what changed today?"

"I'm not sure exactly," I said. "It was the usual trash talking. I walked to close to the jock table and Travis started in on me. He actually stood up and got in my face today."

"And that wasn't his usual way?"

"Not normally. Usually it was just remarks in the hallway or in the cafeteria as he walked by. I don't know what changed today."

"I've had reports in the past about Travis," he said. "Not to get into much detail, but he's been in here before for bullying. And I've talked to Coach Barrett and some of his teammates. I gather he can be somewhat of a jerk at times. The coach told me he's been kicked off the team as of today and I'm sure that's what set the incident a few minutes ago off."

"So, what's gonna happen to him?" I asked.

"He'll be suspended for the next three days.," Mr. Haynes said. "After that hopefully he'll straighten up. The next stage would be expulsion but I hope it doesn't come to that. I'm not sure if you're gay or not, Aiden, and it doesn't matter, but I won't tolerate gay bashing in my school."

"Thank you, sir," I said. "What about me? Am I suspended as well?"

"Since this is your first incident Aiden," he said, "and I have numerous witnesses, I'm not going to suspend you. But I will have to give you after school detention for the next three days. I can't have my students fighting, even if I do understand the reason. Do you feel up to finishing the rest of the day?"

"Sure," I said. "And thanks for understanding."

"You're welcome. Just don't let me see you in here again or I'll have no choice but to suspend you."

"I understand," I said. "And thanks again."

With that I grabbed my backpack, turned and walked out. It was too late to go to my current class so I just went back into the lunchroom and waited.

By the time I walked into my next class everyone knew what had gone down. They all stared at me, whispering. I didn't like my new found celebrity at all. I didn't want to be stared at, and I certainly didn't like being talked about. The worst part was that their buzzing was just below my threshold of hearing. I caught my name, Travis', once even Don's, but anything else drowned itself out into the repetitious droning that made me think of grown ups talking in the Peanuts cartoons.

I looked at Don who just gave me a big smile and a little wave. Jack glanced at me and gave me a thumbs up.

After class was finally over Don caught up with me and even grabbed my hand briefly but then he let go as we walked into the hallway toward our final class of the day.

"So, what happened?" Don asked as him, Jack and I were walking down the hallway. "I heard some crazy shit went down."

"Did you really hit that asshole in the balls while Mr. Haynes was holding him?" Jack asked.

"Yes, I did," I confirmed.

"Good for you," Jack said. "He deserved it."

"So, what exactly happened?" Don asked.

I explained what had happened after I had hit Travis.

"So, all you got was three days detention?" Don asked. "You got lucky."

"Don't I know it," I said. "Travis got suspended."

"Serves him right, the asshole," Jack said.

"Yeah, but he's going to be madder than ever," Don said. "You especially Aiden, but all of us need to watch our backs. There's no telling what he might do next."

Jack and I nodded in agreement. I attempted to hold Don's hand again and again he rebuffed me.

The rest of the week went by without incident. I had become somewhat of a minor celebrity as had Don after the incident with Travis, but I knew that would eventually die down. High school drama seldom lasted for more than a few days because something else always comes along and grabs all the attention. That's fine with me. The less attention I get the better. But then I found out that the video of the fight in the cafeteria and then later in the principal's office had been posted to YouTube . Suddenly I was all over the internet. The videos had gotten several thousand comments, most of them positive, stating I had done the right thing and that Travis had gotten what he deserved. Hopefully all this will die down soon as well.

There were already all kinds of rumors about Don and I, and this had only made them more common, but he prefers to not confirm any thing and just ignore them. I myself would be fine with coming out but that's not only my decision to make. I keep hoping that Don will relax and acknowledge that him and I are together but he keeps hesitating.

The following week Travis came back to school following his suspension, madder than ever. He would look over at Don and me and we both knew that he was just waiting for an opportunity. He would also threaten us in the hallway between classes.

I thought that maybe Travis would let this go after being threatened with expulsion but I guess he was just too stupid.

About two weeks after the incident as everyone was calling it, I was walking toward the door to the school when Travis spotted me from across the parking lot. He was obviously sick of having to explain his side of the story to every person who walked up and asked him. Punching Travis was either an act of incredible bravery or plain stupidity. Either way, I had no proper response for people's questions. From the viewpoint of Travis' friends and teammates, him being hit by me was a different story. For that news, there was only one reaction that seemed proper, laughing out loud combined with a huge amount of pointing.

So, when he saw me, he knew he was being given one chance to change the story once and for all.

"Hey!" he screamed as he made a beeline toward me. "Where you running to, fag," he added.

I stopped and turned to him.

He had brought a crowd, of course. There was no way anyone was going to miss what people sensed was coming next. Normally people paid good money to see a fight like this on pay per view. To find it free in your own backyard, well, that was just too tempting.

I should have been scared; I should have been terrified by the attention. Half the school was staring at me, every person waiting for me to get my ass kicked. But I wasn't, not scared, not terrified. I'd had enough of this bullshit.

Travis started off by pushing me, which as first moves go, has been a steadfast classic for boys since the second grade. I didn't go flying back; I didn't cry out from the impact. I braced myself and pushed him back as hard as I could. His eyes widened as he realized I wasn't going to beg for mercy in front of everyone.

What Travis didn't see was that I was no longer just standing up to him and his actions of the past few weeks. In my mind, this wasn't about him and me and what we had done to each other. This was about a life spent in fear. A fear of people finding out who and what I really was. A fear that if I ever exposed who I really was, I would be shunned and hated for it. A fear that mom and dad would hate me. That fear had turned out to be nonexistent, but the rest was still valid, even in Chouteau High.

"So, you think you're a tough guy now?" Travis sneered, jabbing another finger against my chest to make his point.

I slapped his finger away and took a step toward him.

"I didn't start this, Travis," I said in a calm voice. "But if you think I'm afraid of you, you're nuts."

He jumped at me suddenly, and I jerked back, realizing too late he was only trying to get a reaction out of me. He laughed and everyone echoed him.

"You seem pretty scared to me there, fairy."

"What the fuck is your problem?" I roared back, the words clawing up from deep inside me.

Travis flinched and brought his fists up to defend his face automatically.

"What did I do to you, Travis? What have I ever done to you?"

"Queers like you make me sick," he said, almost spitting.

"Why is that? Why do you care about what I am, Travis?" countered.

His eyes narrowed.

"You're saying you're queer?" He looked around him. "Did you hear that? He admitted it!"

"So, what if I am?" I said, not caring anymore. "How does that affect you?"

His expression froze as he realized I wasn't going to argue with him about my sexuality. And I understood suddenly that mocking my sexuality was the only club in his bag.

"I mean, seriously, Travis. Why would you care about what I do or don't do? Are you so messed up that just having someone different around you is a threat? Are you that scared about catching the gay that your only answer is to start hitting people?"

There were a few chuckles from the crowd as it started to turn on Travis.

"I don't give a damn what you do," he shot back.

"Then why are you always in my face about it? I mean, come on, Travis, what have I ever done to you?"

He sputtered as he tried to rattle off something, but I didn't give him a chance.

"People are different, you douche bag. Every single one of us likes what we like, and no one ever asked you for permission."

There were a couple of "yeah's!" from the back of the crowd and I felt emboldened.

"I don't care if you like me or not, Travis. And I don't care if you like the way I live my life or not. But I'm not going to run scared every time you feel threatened by my sexuality. Real men aren't scared of things like that."

"You saying I'm not a real man?" Travis growled, and I realized I was about to get punched.

"I'm saying you're not a real man," Don said from the side, grabbing everyone's attention immediately.

"You don't have to do this," I said to him quietly, trying to give him a way out.

"Yes, I do," he said to me solemnly.

"What is your problem anyway, dude?" Don asked as he strode toward Travis. "You think anyone who likes guys is a girly guy? Some kind of fag that you can just beat down whenever you want?"

Travis laughed.

"You calling that a real man?" he said, pointing at me.

Don looked back at me and smiled.

"I think he's the only real man here right now."

And then he turned back to Travis.

"He is standing here, unafraid, backing up who he is and what he believes in. if that doesn't make him a man, I'm not sure what does."

"Slobbering on some guy's knob sure doesn't," Travis answered.

"Why Travis?" a voice called out from the crowd.

I looked around and saw both Trevor and Lucas step forward to stand next to Don and me. Both boys were out football players and both were looking very hot, as usual.

"When we were in football camp earlier this summer you slobbered on both mine and Trevor's knob's," said Lucas.

There was an explosion of stunned gasps and laughter as Travis' face turned dark red.

"Bullshit! You can't prove that!"

Both boys shrugged.

"Don't have to," said Trevor. "Why would he lie about something like that?" he said more to the crowd than to Travis. "You wanted a threesome and we indulged you. What's the big deal?"

The entire crowd instantly went silent when they heard Trevor's words. A couple of seconds later there was laughter and a lot of loud comments about Travis. He was as red faced as anyone I had ever seen and was clenching and unclenching his fists. If looks could kill both Lucas and Trevor would be dead right now.

"Who cares?" Don finally said. "No one here is who they say they are. And we all know it." He began looking around the crowd. "Some of us throw up to stay skinny, some of us have sex to stay popular, some of us beat up people to hide what's inside." He paused and looked at me. "And some of us hurt the ones we care for just to stay hidden."

I shook my head no, but he ignored me.

"I like guys too, Travis," he said still staring at me.

You could have heard a pin drop in the shocked silence.

"And if you have a problem with Aiden, you have a problem with me."

"I don't need you to save me," I said softly.

"I'm not," he said, taking another step closer. "I'm saving myself."

And he kissed me.

Some people looked away, some people stared, and others cheered as I felt myself kiss him back. Time seemed to stop in that moment, and it was just the two of us, caught forever in that kiss.

He pulled back and said out loud, "so anyone else wanna call me or Aiden here a fag?" No one said a word. "Because the next time I hear it, I'm not going to let it slide."

Travis gaped at Don and then at me, and damned if he didn't look a little jealous.

"Fucking queers," he said before pushing his way out of the circle of people.

The crowd began to disperse as the first bell rang for class, leaving just him and me standing there.

"Why did you do that?" I finally asked.

"Because I wanted to," he said, moving closer, putting his hands on my shoulders. "Because I'm tired of being scared of what might happen with these assholes. And you made me realize that I don't have to be scared."

"I did?" I asked, still feeling a little fear.

He nodded and leaned in for another kiss.

"So, what do we do now?" I asked.

He shrugged again.

"I don't know," he answered honestly. "But I know one thing."


"We do it together."

And he kissed me again, reached out and took my hand and together we walked toward out first class, hand in hand.

For the rest of the morning Don would kiss me every chance he got as we walked hand in hand between classes. I knew there were a lot of disappointed and jealous girls in school, knowing they had no chance with Don. I'm sure there were also a couple of boys who were thrilled at the prospect of someone as hot as Don being gay. The events of earlier this morning was all anyone seemed to talk about.

As I was sitting in my last class before lunch an idea popped into my head. Don and I had been going out for the last three months but we had actually never said we were boyfriends. I decided I wanted to make things official.

I pulled out a little post it note pad from my backpack and wrote 'will you be my boyfriend?' on it. I then drew two little boxes and wrote yes by one and no by the other. I'd give it to Don at lunch.

As soon as we sat down at our usual table, I handed the note to Don. He took one look at it, smiled and said loud enough so everyone could hear, "yes, I will be your boyfriend."

I felt my eyes start to sting as they teared up. I just nodded since I was incapable of actually making any sounds resembling speech. He pulled me into a hug.

"I love you," he whispered in my ear.

I had never believed it so much as I did right then and there.

All our friends were clapping and offering congratulations, but I honestly couldn't hear them over the sound of Don's voice in my ear telling me again and again that he loved me.

It was the first perfect moment I could ever recall having.

There was a collective sigh from all the girls who usually sat with us, and even some of the boys had the same reaction. Jack looked at both of us, grinned and gave us a thumbs up. My best friend was happy for us and that meant everything to me.

"Finally," Jack said. "It's about time you two made it official. Now if I could just find myself a girlfriend everything would be right with the world."

He made a point of looking over at Patricia as he said this. Jack has had a thing for her since the end of school last spring but is always too shy to approach her. I noticed she also looked at him and smiled. Maybe between Don and I we can help them get together. We'll see.

After lunch was over the two of us walked together, hand in hand, toward our next class. Do you have any idea how wonderful it feels to have your boyfriend holding your hand? Let me tell you, it's one of the nicest feelings in the world, second only to kissing each other. Well, maybe third. Sex is a lot of fun as well, probably the most fun two people can do together.

"Are you sorry you said anything this morning?" I asked.

He smiled and shook his head.

"No, I'm not sorry at all," he answered, leaning over and kissing me again. "The only thing I'm sorry about is that I didn't say anything earlier. We're together, Aiden, and I don't care who knows. I love you; you know."

"I know," I said, "and I love you as well. You have no idea how long I've wanted to hold your hand and walk down the hallway with you, to let everyone know you're my boyfriend."

"Yes, I do," he said. "As long as I've wanted to do it with you. I've always been to scared up till now."

"I know you've said you had problems at your last school, but what exactly happened. You've never really said."

"I just never wanted to talk about it before," he answered, "but maybe it's time." He paused for a second. "Two of my friends were outed in school and their lives became a living hell. You think it was bad being picked on here. Trust me, you have no idea."

"How bad was it?"

"It was bad, Aiden," he said. "They were both beaten up really bad and had to spend several days in the hospital. They couldn't walk down the hallways without being verbally harassed or pushed and shoved. The school authorities refused to do anything about it. It got so bad that Brad finally ended up killing himself one day. Through it all they somehow managed to stick together. When Darrin heard about Brad's suicide, he followed him that very night. It was terrible."

Don had tears in his eyes as he told me what had happened.

"I'm so sorry, Don," I said, hugging him. "I had no idea. We don't have to talk about this if you don't want to."

"I want to," he said. "I'm finally ready to tell someone. Even after all that, very little changed. Oh sure, the school administration apologized and said they would look into it, but it was all bullshit. Everyone knew that nothing would change and it didn't, at least for long. They cracked down on bullying for a month or so but eventually things died down and went back to the old ways. It's still that way even now."

"Oh my god!" I exclaimed. "No wonder you were scared to come out. I would have been as well."

"I was scared," he admitted, "and I still am, at least a little. But things are different at this school. We have several out gay boys here, such as Trevor and Lucas, or Andrew and Tristan, and Cole and Dakota. I know they probably get harassed somewhat, but I've noticed not a whole lot. It just doesn't seem like it's cool to harass the gay kids here. I've always wondered why."

"Cole and Dakota are not boyfriends," I said. "They're just friends who happen to be gay. As far as why none of them seem to get harassed I don't know myself. Something happened a few years ago and things slowly began to get better. We still have assholes like Travis, but it's not tolerated as much. If only everywhere was like that."

"If only," Don agreed.

"On a lighter note, a lot of girls were disappointed today. But I bet there were one or two boys who were thrilled by your announcement."

"Oh well, they'll get over it," he laughed. "As for the boys, hopefully our rather dramatic coming out will help them if they're having any issues."

"Hopefully," I said. "I wish we could find poor Jack a girlfriend. The boy is really wanting someone bad."

"He wants Patricia," Don said. "You ever notice how he looks at her."

"I've noticed. I think she may like him as well but is just waiting for him to ask her out."

"I think you're right," Don said. "I've got an idea about how we can help them get together. Tomorrow at lunch I'll see what I can do. He's been a good friend to me ever since I met him and he did get us together, even if it was inadvertent."

"He sure did, and thank god," I said. "He's been my best friend since we were in kindergarten."

By now we had arrived at our first class after lunch, just as the bell rang. We walked in to applause from some of our classmates and friends. The teacher finally got everyone calmed down and started his lecture. I kept looking over at Don and he would always give me a big smile. God, he is so cute when he smiles like that.

Jack caught up with us after school and the three of us started walking home. We hadn't even gotten out of the parking lot when Trevor and Lucas rolled up.

"You guys need a ride?" Trevor asked.

The three of us looked at each other and then at them.

"You guys go ahead," Jack said. "I'll catch up with you later."

"No, Jack," said Don. "We'll squeeze in. Aiden can sit on my lap if necessary."

Or he can sit on my lap, I thought. Or my face, although that wasn't really possible in a car. Nice thought though.

The three of us quickly climbed into the back seat. It was a tight fit but we managed.

"Trevor and I are going to the Hornet's Nest ," Lucas said. "We thought you guys might like to join us. We're gonna meet Andrew and Tristan there, as well as Cole and Dakota."

"I guess I'll be the token straight boy," Jack said with a laugh. "Are you sure you want me along?"

"That's up to you, Jack," said Don. "You're our best friend and you're always welcome. Well, maybe not always, but you know what I mean."

"I know what you mean," Jack laughed again, "and I definitely don't want to be there for that."

"You should try it, Jack," Don teased. "Who knows, you might enjoy it."

"Thanks, but no thanks," Jack said. "I will admit I've wondered a time or two what it might be like, but I like girls. Now if I could just find myself a girlfriend. Maybe you guys should try a girl. You might like it and switch."

"Ooh," I said. "I don't think so. I just don't understand the appeal of pussy."

"You're not even a little curious?" Jack asked.

"Not in the least," Trevor said, and Don, Lucas and I all agreed.

"One thing I am curious about," Jack said. "How do you guys figure out who the girl is going to be?"

"No one is a girl," I said.

"Well, one of you is if the other one is… I mean… you know what I mean."

"You really want me to go into detail about how Don and I decide who's going to bottom?"

"Oh god no!"

"Then shut up."

Everyone, including Jack laughed at that.

Five minutes later we arrived at the Hornet's Nest and ordered some ice cream before sitting at the large table in the corner. A minute after we sat down, Andrew and Tristan joined us, and then Cole and Dakota.

To say that Tristan is different is an understatement. The boy is cute, no doubt, if you like EMO guys, which I kind of do. He has black hair and today he has a few red highlights throughout it. Somedays they might be blue, or blond, or even green on occasion. He also wears these big ear rings, which there's nothing wrong with. Hell, I wear a small stud in each of my ears, as does Don and most of the guys at school. But not the kind that dangle from your ear lobes. And he has black eyeliner under each of his eyes. Like I said, he is cute, just different. I like it.

His boyfriend, Andrew, in contrast, is just an ordinary looking boy. A very cute boy, but ordinary looking nonetheless. Sort of like Trevor and Lucas, both blonds, and all three of them play football.

Cole had brought along his friend Dakota. Both boys are gay but they're not boyfriends, just best friends.

It was a regular convention of gay boys, quite a sight I'm sure for a little town like Chouteau. Eight gay boys. I know that Jack must feel out of place but to his credit he hung around anyway.

"Congratulations you guys," Tristan said as soon as everyone sat down. "That was quite the coming out this morning."

"Yes, it was," Cole said. "That was very brave of you, Aiden, the way you stood up to that asshole."

"And you as well, Don," said Dakota.

"Thanks," I said. "I don't have to tell you I was scared shitless the whole time."

"That makes you even braver," Tristan said. "I know how you feel. I still get scared occasionally."

"I like the way you look, Tristan," I said. "To me that takes bravery just to be yourself."

"He is awfully cute, isn't he?" said Andrew. "It took me a while to get used to it, but I wouldn't have him any other way."

"Thanks guys," Tristan said, clearly embarrassed.

"So, is what you guys said about Travis really true?" Don asked, looking over at Lucas and Trevor.

"It's true," Lucas said. "He's a closet case."

"The three of us fooled around a little earlier this summer at football camp," Trevor said. "Jerking off together, the occasional blow jobs, but that was it. Travis was really into it though. Lucas and I let him suck our dicks almost every night and we returned the favor. We saw nothing wrong with it since we were both in on it together."

"Travis may be an asshole now, but he wasn't always like that," Lucas said. "I mean he was always kind of a bully, but he's gotten worse."

"It's too bad," Andrew said. "He goes to my old church and I think he's got problems at home. His dad's a drunk from what I hear."

"That's still no excuse for being an asshole," said Cole.

"Maybe, maybe not," said Andrew. "You forget, I went to that same church and my dad was an asshole as well. I could have very easily turned out like him. I'm just saying, we don't know his situation at home."

"I'm sorry we outed him today," Lucas said. "I didn't intend to, but it just came out. I hope that doesn't make things worse."

The nine of us sat there for another hour enjoying each other's company. Jack didn't appear to be comfortable, especially when we would talk about boys, but to his credit he stayed, and even joined in when we talked about other things.

We finally decided to head for home. Tomorrow was another school day and everyone had homework to do. Lucas and Trevor offered us a ride home, but Don and I decided to walk. Jack however took them up on it, sensing that we wanted to be alone.

Don and I walked, hand in hand toward home. It was so nice to do that, and the think that just yesterday he had always refused to hold my hand.

The next day was more of the same. Don's and my dramatic coming out yesterday was still big news. It tripped along the school grapevine with the usual speed of rumors which was about the same speed as light. A video had also been posted to YouTube, Twitter and Facebook and had already gotten several thousand likes. Like it or not, Don and I were now out to the entire world, giving our classmates something new to talk about. We weren't the first gay boys in our school to come out, but the way it had happened was still news.

The only real change was that more people gawked at us, and more girls giggled as we passed.

Don and I walked to our lockers. I mechanically dialed the combination and opened the door. I unloaded books and notebooks from my backpack and then retrieved my text for my first class. I slammed my locker shut and turned.

Don was standing less than a yard away, waiting for me. I gazed into his eyes.

"Ready to go to class?" he asked.

"Yes," I answered.

We began walking down the hallway together, hand in hand. Some of our classmates watched as we passed but I paid them little heed. Just before we reached our classroom, Don halted, looked at me, then grabbed me and kissed me on the lips. It was just a quick kiss, but he'd kissed me, right there in the hallway where our classmates could see! Some of them were no doubt staring at us, but I had eyes only for Don. He smiled at me, took my hand, and pulled me into the classroom. My heart soared as I took my seat next to Don. He smiled back and nodded.

The teacher entered just then and the classroom grew quieter. I felt as if I was ready to burst with happiness. It was a struggle to remain in my seat. I wanted to get up and dance! There was no way I could concentrate during class. I kept gazing at Don. The teacher locked eyes with me briefly and smiled. I grinned back.

I was at Don's side the moment class ended. We lingered as the other's left. Don smiled at me again. I hugged him tightly, not caring what anyone thought. I wanted to kiss him so badly I couldn't stand it, but the teacher was watching. I knew he didn't mind us being gay, but he was a teacher after all. Don and I walked out of the room together and then went our separate ways.

I walked down the hallway alone, but Don was still with me. He was in my mind and heart. I felt stronger than I'd ever felt in my life. I felt as if I could stand up to anything because Don was in my life.

We met up again at lunch and strolled hand in hand into the cafeteria, got our food and sat at our usual table with our friends.

"So, how did the make out session go?" Patricia asked.

Don turned slightly red, which made him look cuter than ever.

"That was a kiss," I said. "The make out session, among other things, comes later, after school."

"Ohhhhhh," Jack said. "Man, why won't girls go for making out as easily as you gay guys?"

"Maybe they don't like you, Jack," Don said.

Jack threw his napkin at him.

"Aren't they cute?" Patricia said, gazing at Don and me.

"What about us?" Robert said, pretending to be hurt.

"Oh, you and Jack and all you guys are cute, too," she said.

Robert laughed. I noticed that she looked right at Jack as she said his name. I think she likes him as much as he likes her but he's too shy to say anything.

After school, Don met me at my locker. While I was gathering my books, Travis marched up to us.

"So, you're fags, huh?" he asked.

Jesus, will this guy never learn.

"The term is gay," I said.

Travis shot me a smirk and turned to Don.

"I always suspected you were a faggot," Travis said.

Don stood his ground, then stepped in between us, facing Travis.

"Oh, the blond faggot has balls. Standing up for your boyfriend, huh?"

"My name is Don, not blond faggot. And yes, if you want him, you have to go through me. And you know what happened the last time you fucked with me."

"Leave them alone, Travis," said Nancy.

"What's it to you?" Travis asked her.

Just then Sheila joined her.

"Is there a problem?" she asked.

"No. I'm just gonna take care of these faggots here."

"What's wrong, Travis?" Sheila asked. "Are you mad because you have a crush on Aiden and this blond stud muffin got to him first?"

Travis turned red. Don puffed out his chest a bit at being referred to as a stud muffin. I'm sure he enjoyed that.


"Come on, Travis," Nancy said. "You always used to pick on the girls you liked in grade school. It looks to me as if you're doing the same thing, only now you like boys. Everyone knows you follow Aiden around and pick on him."

"No! I don't like guys!"

"Come on, Travis," Sheila said. "These two were brave enough to come out. Aren't you man enough to do it, too?"

"Yes! I mean, no! I mean… just leave me alone!"

Travis left flustered, angry and embarrassed.

Don and I had been fighting not to laugh during that part of the encounter. As soon as Travis walked away, we lost it. When I could speak once again, I gazed at both girls.

"Thank you so much," I said.

"Thank you even more for ripping on Travis," Don said. "That was the best. You two are awesome."

"We're always glad to help out cute boys," Sheila said.

With that, they were off.

"I wish I had a girlfriend," Jack said to us out of the blue as we were walking home.

That didn't surprise me. Jack had wanted a girlfriend for the last year.

"A girlfriend or a dog," he added.

"A dog?" I said, confused. "What does a dog have to do with a girlfriend?"

Jack's brain was like a giant ball of string; in the end, everything tied together, but it was impossible to see exactly how. This was actually one of the things I liked most about him.

He sighed.

"Every popular guy I've even known has had a girlfriend or a dog. Sometimes both. But the best I can hope for is a girlfriend who is a dog."

"You don't want a dog," Don said. "They spend half their time licking their butts, and they still stink."

"Fine, forget the dog. But I do want a girlfriend."

"Because it means you're not a loser," I said.

"Exactly! And don't deny it, because you know it's true."

"Kind of crass," I said. "What if the girl finds out you're only dating her to be more popular?"

"Are you kidding me, Aiden? Girls already know it. it's even worse for them. After all they don't have the dog to fall back on."

Even when I was almost positive Jack was making a joke, I couldn't be certain he was. But I knew he wasn't joking about the added status he thought a girlfriend would give him. And to be absolutely frank, Jack was right about the whole girlfriend status connection. He was also right that status was something he could have used a little more of. Him and all my friends were far from being the most popular in school, but we weren't completely at the bottom of the social ladder either.

"So," Jack said as we reached his house, "will you guys help me?"

"Help you with what?" Don asked.

"Help me get a girlfriend!"

"Why us?" I asked.

"I don't know," he said. "You both seem more relaxed around girls."

That was true, I guess. It was some of the guys at school who tied my stomach in knots. Being openly gay meant Don and I had no ulterior motive when it came to girls. They knew they could be friends with us and not be pressured into anything they didn't want to do.

"What about Patricia?" I asked.

"What about her?"

"He means as a girlfriend," Don said. "You're forever talking about her. Just ask her out someday. She'll say yes, I'm sure."

I thought Jack and Patricia would make a very cute couple.

"So, you guys will help me?" Jack said.

"Sure," I said. "Whatever we can do."

This was an easy promise to make. Jack had been trying to get a girlfriend forever, and he'd never even come close.

By the third day things were starting to get back to normal, at least somewhat. People still talked about Don and I but not nearly as much. By now we were starting to become old news.

Don and I were walking between classes, hand in hand now, when he looked around and then leaned in and kissed me. Several of the other students noticed but just ignored us.

Everyone except for Travis who just couldn't seem to let it go.

I was jerked away from my thoughts when my left shoulder was slammed into a locker. I looked up. My eyes narrowed. Travis.

"I heard what you did, faggot. We don't need any of that fag shit going on here in school.

He closed in. I could feel his hot breath on my face. I tried to push him off me, but he slammed me back up against the lockers. The metal door clanged as my head smacked it.

"Get off me!" I yelled.

Travis laughed in my face. He held me against the lockers. I struggled but he was too strong for me. Inspiration struck me. I darted my head forward and kissed him right on the lips.

Travis stumbled backward as if I'd struck him a hard blow. He wiped his lips and snarled. He came after me. I bolted.

"You're dead, you fucking queer!"

I ran for my life, but a smiled curled up the edges of my mouth. Several of my classmates had witnessed the scene. They had seen me kiss Travis the bully right on the lips. I couldn't wait until the story spread. I just hoped I'd live long enough to enjoy hearing it.

"Out of my way! Let go of me!" Travis growled.

I turned at the sound of his voice. I could see him several yards back. Two of the football players had Travis by his arms, one on each side. Travis struggled ineffectually against them.

I smiled. I walked on toward class. I knew I was safe for the moment.

"Have you been cheating on me?"

I turned at the sound of Don's voice. I was just gathering the books I needed to take home with me.

"Huh? Cheating on you?"

"Rumor has it you've been making out with Travis."

Don had a small smile on his lips.

"Well, he is kind of irresistible," I said. "I just couldn't help myself."

Don laughed.

"Damn, you're brave," he said. "I don't know anyone who would do something like that. You know he'll be out to kick your ass now."

"He already was. There is no one freer than he who has nothing to lose."

"Still I would never have had the courage."

"I wouldn't say that, Don," I said. "You've already stood up to him twice and managed to beat him both times. That's pretty brave to me. Besides, it was more an act of desperation than courage. He had me up against the lockers, and I couldn't break free. It was my only weapon."

"Mmm. I had no idea your lips were considered a weapon," Don said.

"I'll be happy to demonstrate later this evening," I said.

"I can't wait to get you alone after school," he said.

"We are now observing the rare homo mating ritual," Jack said as he walked toward us.

I had to admit, he did a good impression of a nature program narrator. Don laughed. That's one of the things I loved about him, his sense of humor.

"Jealous?" I asked Jack.

"Hey, if I could find a girl as good looking as either of you, I'd be very happy," he said.

"You think we're good looking, huh?" Don asked. "Are you sure you don't have a little homo in you?"

"You wish," Jack said.

"No, you wish," Don said as he looked Jack up and down.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Jack asked.

"What do you think it means?" Don asked.

"Don, quit playing with the poor boys mind," I said. "We have better things to do."

"Spare me the details, please!" Jack said, but he still looked a bit confused.

"Later, Jack," I said. "Go stalk Patricia.

"Good idea," he said.

I turned my attention to Don.

"Ready to go home?" I asked.

We shouldered our backpacks and walked out the door. I kept my eyes out for Travis, but didn't see him. Maybe he decided to leave us alone. Or maybe he was just waiting for the right opportunity. Either way we were careful.

Don and I walked toward home, enjoying the fall weather. Before we knew it, winter would be here. I wasn't looking forward to that, except for Christmas, but there was nothing I could do. If only it didn't get so cold after autumn ends. I think we should have autumn, then a couple of weeks of serious winter around Christmas, then move right into spring.

The next morning Don and I walked together to our first period class. We talked and laughed. Our classmates watched us, but I ignored them. No one else mattered when I was with Don. We were in our own little world. Being with him felt almost dream like. When I walked with him, I felt lighter than air. I was deliciously happy during most of the school day. Just seeing him for a few brief moments made me brighter.

Don had a big dopy grin on his face as we walked along. Travis walked by just at that moment. He frowned, but something was different. He didn't stop to harass us. He looked… frightened. Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised. Don had publicly humiliated him twice in the last two weeks, and then the kiss yesterday, and Travis didn't know how to deal with it. Not to mention what Trevor and Lucas had said about him and his situation at home. Perhaps he was beginning to see Don and me, not as friends exactly, but not enemies either.

Time seemed to pass at an accelerated rate. Before I knew it, Don and I were walking toward the cafeteria for lunch. We went through the line together and sat side by side at our usual table.

"If you two get any happier, I'm going to puke," Jack said. Just look at them! They're so gushy it's almost obscene."

"I think it's cute," Patricia said.

Were we acting that sappy? Were Don and I one of those disgustingly cutesy couples who were constantly fawning over each other? Did I care if we were? No! I leaned my head against Don's for a moment.

"Do they even know we're here?" Jack asked.

"Did you hear something?" I asked Don.

"I thought I did, but I'm not sure," he said.

"Funny guys," Jack said.

"You need a girlfriend," I said, pointing my fork at Jack.

Jack looked toward Patricia before he could stop himself. She pretended not to notice but grinned slightly. She was definitely onto him. How could she not be? Just maybe, she returned his interest.

"Just you wait," I said. "I bet when you get a girlfriend, the two of you will be the sappiest couple ever. We'll all need insulin shots just to be near you."

"Really, Jack, you should stop worrying about others," Don said. "Ask Patricia out already."

Jack turned scarlet.

"Go on," Don said.

"I… uh… uh…" Jack stuttered.

"Just say, Patricia will you go out with me," Don said.

Jack was in a state of panic.

"I… uh… uh…" he stuttered again.

"I'd love to," Patricia said, taking pity on him.

"You would?" Jack asked, instantly brightening. "I mean… great!"

He smiled from ear to ear.

"I think I see the sappiness taking over already," Todd said.

"Yeah," I said. "Look at the gushiness creeping up his neck."

"We'll be able to use him as a sugar substitute soon," Paul said.

"Will you guys stop!" Jack asked.

He was flaming red with embarrassment.

"Oh no," I said. "You started it."

"Truce! Truce!" Jack cried.

"Only until we work up some really good material," I said.

Jack ducked his head, but he was smiling.

I was happy. I don't know if I'd ever been happier in my life! I had a boyfriend who loved me. Everyone at school knew about me, and no one was giving me too much trouble. Well except for Travis, but even that was starting to die down a little. My friends had stuck by me. My parents knew I was gay and were actually supportive!

I wasn't the only one experiencing happiness. At lunch, I quickly noted Jack had moved from his usual seat to sit next to Patricia. She didn't seem to mind either. She had not paid much attention to him for a long time but I think his continuing adoration increased her fondness for him. It's kind of hard not to like someone when they're practically in love with you. In Jack's case, perhaps the practically should be rewarded. The boy had it bad!

Don and I received a few not so friendly looks as we walked down the hallway together after lunch. A few boys even muttered 'faggots' as we passed. We just ignored them. Don and I even dared a quick kiss in front of my locker.

"Gay boys are so hot," said a passing girl.

I looked up and grinned at her. She winked.

"Hey Don, you guys busy tonight?" Tristan asked right after school was out. "I thought we could go catch that new horror film that just came out, right in time for Halloween next week."

Ever since the little get together a few ago, right after our dramatic coming out, we had become friends with the rest of the gay boys in school. We didn't really hang out together or anything like that, at least not on a regular basis. They were after all seniors and Don and I were sophomores. But we did talk to each other all the time in school.

Don looked over at me and I nodded my head yes.

"Yeah, sure Tristan. Maybe we can all grab a pizza after the movie or something."

"Great," he said. "Andy and I will pick you guys up around six then."

I was excited. It would be really fun hanging out with these two. Normally I'd have wanted it to be just Don and me, but those two might be fun as well. We could all be ourselves without worrying about what anyone thought. Don and I went home, did our homework really quick, gave each other a quick blow, showered and changed, then waited until we heard a car horn outside. We ran out and hopped into the back seat.

I looked at both Tristan and Andrew. Both boys were looking fine as usual. I never failed to notice when I saw a boy who was good looking. Both of them were talking loud to each other, trying to be heard over the radio. I guess it didn't occur to them to turn it down. We sped off toward Joplin, the car rocking with loud music and crazy boys. In mere seconds I was having a good time.

An hour later we reached the theater and took our seats right before the previews came on. Tristan and Andrew were sitting next to each other, naturally, and they got into a small popcorn fight. They calmed down as the screen came to life. The first preview was for a great action film with lots of destruction and violence. It was my kind of thing. I wanted to see that one for sure. The next was for some drama that I didn't think looked to interesting. I didn't usually get into that kind of thing. I liked science fiction the most, then action or comedy, or both. Horror could be pretty good too. I was really looking forward to the new Star Wars movie coming out right before Christmas.

The movie started. I got into it right from the beginning. Two teenage couples had a car wreck and were forced to take shelter from a wicked thunderstorm in a big old abandoned mansion. I loved the whole idea of a haunted house in a storm. The darkness, the flashes of lightening, all of it was just so cool.

Of course, it didn't take long for one of the couples to start making out. While exploring they old mansion they had conveniently found a bedroom and just couldn't resist lying down to do a little tongue wrestling.

I didn't exactly think it was the right time for such a thing, but hey, it was a movie. Lightening flashed as the two teens undressed each other and really got down to business. The boy had a nice smooth chest. What a waste. I jumped a little every time there was a bright flash of lightening and peal of thunder. I knew something was going to happen. The music was building too. I sat there in anticipation, almost as if I were in that room.

Sure enough, a dark figure jumped out of the shadows and stabbed right through both lovers as they lay naked, pinning them to the bed as they screamed in terror. I jumped a little in my seat. Don jumped even more. So much for those two; teens could never have sex in horror movies. Anytime they tried it they ended up dead.

Soon the murderer was after the other couple, even though they were not having sex. It almost didn't seem fair. The boy bolted out the front door in terror leaving his girlfriend behind. What a pussy! The girl almost escaped, but naturally she was wearing high heels and tripped at the last second. And of course, it took her forever to get back up. She was slashed to death before she even got off the floor.

Maybe it wasn't very realistic, but it was a good film anyway. It scared the crap out of me at times. It scared Don too. He actually grabbed me once or twice. I thought it was funny as hell.

After the movie we all went to Pizza Hut and ordered two large meat lovers pizzas. None of us could keep our eyes off a cute boy who was working there. I think he knew we were looking because he would just smile at us as he walked around. I wondered briefly if he might be gay.

We laughed and ate and joked around. I loved being out with these guys. We piled in the car after devouring the entire two pizzas and Tristan drove us toward home. It was getting late but no one wanted to go home just yet. It was a Friday night and it was meant for fun.

"Man, you'd have to be an idiot to have sex in a haunted house," said Don as we continued to drive. "Why do they always do that?"

"Because it's a movie, Don," I said. "You've gotta have sex."

"I'd be willing to take the risk," said Andrew. "Did you see that guy? What a fucking waste."

"Yeah, no doubt. Wasting his life with that stupid bitch," I said.

"Damn straight!" said Don. "I'd risk getting murdered for a piece of ass like that."

"The sounds of desperation," said Andrew. "Aiden not enough for you?"

"Fuck you!"

"That's what Tristan intends to do with me as soon as we get home."

I looked over at Don and smiled.

"I think we'll probably be doing the same thing ourselves," I said.

The next week passed rather uneventfully. Don and I were old news by now. Even Travis left us alone. Everyone in school had heard what Lucas and Trevor had said and his friends and teammates had teased him relentlessly for several days afterward, but even that had died down. He hadn't bothered to deny anything. He was still off the football team but the season was practically over by now anyway. Chouteau had a good season but had failed to make it to the playoffs this year.

There was an underlying sadness about Travis every time I saw him in the hallway. Part of me understood and part of me felt like he got what he deserved. I don't know his situation at home other than what Andrew had told us, but it can't be easy being a closeted gay boy in a position like that. I wonder if I maybe wouldn't lash out at others. I'd like to think I wouldn't but who knows. I felt sorry for him in a way.

Don was still as popular as ever with the girls, maybe more now than before. They knew they had no chance with him but that still didn't keep them from flirting occasionally. Even a lot of the boys who had been so resentful before started talking to us. We would likely never be friends with the jocks but at least they talked to us. A few of then had ulterior motives. They had Don and even me occasionally put in a good word with the girls. Poor pathetic straight boys. They had tried the same thing with the other gay boys with some success as well. Whatever works I suppose.

Things were going so well it almost seemed inevitable that something or someone was going to mess things up.

As the events with Travis died down Don and I noticed that him and Dave, one of our friends, had been hanging out occasionally. I didn't think anything of it at first, other than the fact that it seemed a little strange. After all, Dave had been one of the guys that Travis had liked to bully occasionally.

Dave finally confirmed it to Don and I when he noticed us looking at the two of them.

"Yes, it's true, Travis and I are dating," he told us one day between classes. "He wants to keep it a secret for obvious reasons."

"His secret is safe with us," Don said, "but why Travis. He's kind of an asshole, isn't he?"

"He has been," Dave said, "but he's trying to change. He has a fucked-up home life. His father is a drunken asshole who likes to beat on him occasionally. He was very pissed off when he heard about what happened between the three of you. He threatened to kick him out or kill him if he found out that Travis is gay."

"Why would you want to get involved in all that bullshit?" I asked. "Surely there must be another guy you can date."

"If there is, he's not out," said Dave. "Besides, Travis is a decent enough guy once you get to know him. He's just doing a lot of that crap to protect himself."

"That's still fucked up," Don said.

"I agree," Dave said. "Travis is hurting. He doesn't want to be gay but he's beginning to realize that he can't change the way he feels. I'm trying to help him deal with it as best as I can. It isn't easy."

"Just be careful, Dave," I said. "I'd hate to see you get hurt."

"If you guys ever want to get together and just talk, let us know," Don said. "We can figure out something so no one has to know."

"I'd like that," Dave said, "and I think Travis might as well. He seems genuinely sorry about everything that happened with you."

Just then the first bell rang so the three of us split up and made our way to our next class. I was a little worried about Dave and hoped he knew what he was doing, but hopefully him and Travis would work out.

It was the first week in December now. I had enjoyed Thanksgiving at my grandparents house up in Parsons. It had been my family, my dad's brother and his family, and his sister and her family. Then on Saturday we had went up to my other grandparents and had the same dinner with mom's two brothers and their families. It was all good but I've about had my fill of turkey and ham, at least for now anyway.

Don and his family had stayed home and had a big gathering of all his family. It had been several years since they had all been together.

Now it was time to start back to school. I had enjoyed having four days off. I just wish it had been longer.

I was walking down the hallway between first and second period when I first saw Travis. The first thing I noticed was that he had a big bruise on the side of his face, a black eye, and he was waking with a limp. He looked like he had been beaten up pretty badly.

"Did you guys see Travis?" Jack asked as he caught up with us. "It looks like someone beat the shit out of him."

"I'd say that's what happened," I said.

"Fucking asshole probably deserved it," Jack said.

"I would have probably said the same thing a month ago," said Don, "but I'm not so sure anymore."

"Why would you say that, Don?" asked Jack. "He threatened to beat you up, both of you, and bullied both of you as well as me and our friends. Fuck him!"

"But he hasn't bothered us since," Don said. "He's trying to figure things out. It's not easy being gay, you know."

"So, Travis is gay?" Jack asked.

"I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure he is," I said. "I think his father probably found out and he's the one who beat him up."

"We'll probably find out for sure by the end of the day," Don said.

That was all anyone could talk about at lunch. Most of our friends were of the opinion that Travis deserved it and there was little sympathy. Dave was very upset as you might expect, but he didn't say anything.

Dave caught up with us after school and asked if we could all go to the Hornet's Nest and talk. Don and I got into his car and Dave followed us there.

The three of us walked to the counter, ordered a hamburger, fries and a coke and then found a booth in the back where we could sit together and talk.

About ten minutes later, Estell, the owner, brought our order out to the table and sat it down in front of us.

"Anything else?" she asked.

"Not right now," Dave said. "Thanks." Then he looked at Don and I. "I know you're wondering what happened to Travis so I thought I'd give you the details. What I know anyway."

"Yeah, we were kind of wondering," I said. "The whole school is."

"His dad found out he's gay and beat the shit out of him," Dave said.

"How did he find out?" Don asked. "If you don't mind my asking."

"He caught the two of us in his bedroom making out," Dave said. "He threatened to beat me up, but Travis jumped in front of me to stop him. Travis ordered me to leave which I did. I should have stayed and helped but I was scared."

"I don't blame you," Don said. "I would have been scared too."

"I heard his dad yelling and calling Travis every bad name in the book and Travis was yelling back. Then around midnight last night I heard a loud knocking on the front door. I got up to answer it, but my dad beat me to it. When dad opened the door there was Travis with blood on his face and bruises all over his face."

Dave started to tell us more when we were rudely interrupted by a male voice from the front.

"Why in the fuck are those queers in here?"

All three of us turned to see what the commotion was this time. Standing in the middle of the restaurant was Travis' father. I hadn't said a word to Travis since he had almost beat me down outside the school three weeks ago. We just kept our distance since there was nothing much to say. I'd never noticed Mr. Wright before, but as he glared at us, I realized for the first time how big he really was. Where my dad had just grown soft and fat, Mr. Wright looked like he was still a linebacker. His fists looked like they were shaved ape paws as they trembled at his sides.

Don began to stand up but I clasped his jacket to prevent him. I looked over at him. His eyes were wide with fear, and he shook his head very quickly.

"I'm talking to you three!" the man said, slamming his hand down on the table.

My head spun around as I looked to see who else was there. I noticed that Travis was standing behind his father, looking like a scared little boy. Not that I blame him after being beaten up the night before.

"What is your problem?" I asked, trying to keep my temper under control before I said something we would all regret.

"You are," he sneered at me. "You and your queer friends here are making everyone sick to their stomachs."

Travis pulled at his dad's sleeve and this time I could hear him.

"Come on dad, let it go."

But he was not letting it go. In fact, he was doing the exact opposite of letting it go, by punching his son.

"Shut the fuck up you fucking faggot," he yelled. "I told you last night, I will not have a faggot for a son. No one wants to watch you and your faggot girlfriend kiss. You people disgust me. You're not welcome here."

Don pulled away from my grip and got to his feet.

"But they allow you in here without a leash; go figure!"

Don started toward him, and Mr. Wright pushed him with the palms of both hands. I was expecting King Kong to take a swing or something; the slap fight was straight out of a nine-year-old girl's playbook and caught Don by surprise. He tumbled back onto the table but caught his balance quickly and came up ready to swing.

Which was when Estell appeared out of nowhere.

I mean it. One second she wasn't between them, and the next she was. Don towered over her, and Mr. Wright was even taller than Don was, so when I say she was looking up at him, it isn't a joke. If she was aware of the size difference, it didn't show in her voice as she began to berate them.

"Anthony Wright, you should be ashamed of yourself! What do you think you're doing?"

You could visibly see the gears in the man's mind try to downshift as he looked at the wagging finger of the woman as she dressed him down.

"Where do you get off coming in here harassing my customers?"

"Th… they're queer!" he cried out as if even saying it out loud was a threat to his manhood.

"And you're an asshole, but I've served you for fifteen years," she shot back in a flash. "But that's about to change. Listen to your boy and get out of here. And never return."

Mr. Wright just stood there in slack jawed shock for several seconds.

"I mean it," she said, making a shooing motion with her hands at him. "Do not ever come back in here again. Ever." She then looked around him and addressed the entire restaurant. "That goes for anyone else as well. This place is a place couples have come and eaten since before most of you were born. In fact, looking at a few of you, I can tell you with some certainty if it wasn't for this place, you all wouldn't be here to bitch. I have never once stopped a couple from stealing a kiss now and then, and I'm not going to start now. So, if you are like this idiot and have a small mind when it comes to what makes a couple, then start eating somewhere else." She looked back at Mr. Wright and Travis. "What are you still doing here? Get out!" she barked at him.

"You're serious," he said numbly.

"In a second I'm going to be past serious and move right on into pissed, and at that point I will go in the back, and when I come out, I will have my shotgun. Get out! And never return!"

"Let's go, Travis," he said, not taking his eyes off Estell. "I don't want to eat anywhere they'd serve queers."

"But dad…" Travis started to say.

"Don't dad me you little faggot," Mr. Wright to his son. "Now do as I say and go get in the truck."

Mr. Wright grabbed Travis' arm and forcefully pulled him toward the door, shoving him as they went out.

"Fucking bitch," he said under his breath as he exited.

Someone in the back of the restaurant shouted, "and stay out, asshole," which got some people laughing and then clapping.

By the time he slammed the door behind them, the entire place was clapping and hollering at him as he got into his truck.

"Are you guys okay?" Estell asked as she made sure Mr. Wright was truly gone.

"I think we will be," Dave said.

Her face got serious for a moment.

"You do know there are more people like that asshole in Chouteau than people like me."

We all three nodded.

"Things are not as bad as they once were," she continued, "but there are still plenty of people like that out there. Just be careful."

"You be careful as well, Estell," Dave said. "I can't imagine that he's going to just let this go being publicly humiliated like that."

"I deal with people like that all the time," she said. "Take it from me, everything passes. You three will always have a place here. That's a promise. I just feel sorry for poor Travis. That man's already beaten him up more than once."

The three of us stood up and gave her a quick hug. It's nice to know there are some people on our side.

"Thank you, Estell," I said. "You rock."

She hugged us back.

"Let me go check on your order," she said, before turning and walking toward the kitchen area.

"Here you go," she said about thirty seconds later. "Enjoy."

"So, you were telling us about Travis before we were so rudely interrupted," said Don.

"Yeah, he showed up at my house around midnight, having been beaten up by his father," Dave said. "Mom and I helped him clean up while he explained what happened."

"Did you guys call the cops?" I asked.

"Dad wanted to," Dave explained, "but Travis convinced him not to. He stayed for a couple of hours while he calmed down and decided he needed to go home. Mom and dad offered to let him stay and he might have to later, but for now he's going to try and deal with his father."

"Damn, that's fucked up," Don said.

"I agree," I said, "but what can we do?"

"Just be there for him," Dave said. "I kind of understand why he's like he is now. I might be an asshole as well if my parents were like that."

"I originally thought he got what he deserved, but now I'm not so sure," I said. "Just tell him we'll be there for him if he needs us."

"I will, and thanks," Dave said. "He hates himself right now. I hope he doesn't do anything stupid."

The three of us sat there talking as we finished our meal. Just as we were finishing up, Estell walked back over.

"Can I get you boys anything else?" she asked. "Maybe some ice cream?"

"Ice cream sounds good," Dave said.

We all ordered ourselves a frosty sting , which is just vanilla ice cream with cookies or candy mixed in.

She brought them back out about five minutes later and the three of us sat there enjoying our ice cream while we continued to talk.

About twenty minutes later Estell walked back over to our table.

"Is that it guys?" she asked.

"I think so," I said. "We'll take the check now."

"It's on me," she said. "I'm sorry that dick head went and ruined your meal."

"Thank you, Estell," we all said at once.

"You're welcome," she said. "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

We all gave her a confused look and she laughed.

"It's from Shakespeare. It means there is more to life than what you expect it to be. Chouteau is not the world. Things out there do get better."

We nodded, thanked her again and left to go home. Don and I went to my house and since my parents weren't home, we went up to my room, closed and locked the door and proceeded to make love. After everything that had happened today that was just what we needed. Not to be crude about it but sometimes we just fuck and other times we take our time and prolong it as long as possible. There's a big difference between the two, even if the mechanics are the same.

Things were more or less the same at school the next day. Travis getting beaten up for being gay is the big story. But even that turns out to have a somewhat happy twist.

While Travis is still somewhat of an asshole at times, he has changed a lot. He hasn't publicly come out as gay, but is making no real effort to hide it either. Him and Dave sit together sometimes at lunch, but Travis also sits with all his jock friends as well. Even Lucas and Trevor have commented on the change.

He hasn't been hit by his father again and all the bruises are starting to fade. When I asked Dave about him, I was told that Travis had actually stood up to his father and beat him back last night when Mr. Wright had been drunk. Ever since they had left each other alone.

So anyway, enough about Travis. I'm happy for him and for Dave. I just hope that things work out. Time will tell.

This coming Friday is Don's birthday. He'll turn sixteen on Friday the thirteenth. That's kind of fucked up I suppose, but he's really looking forward to it. He'll be able to legally drive without an adult now and the two of us are planning on going out on a date that night. We'll probably go to dinner and a movie, but we won't have to worry about someone driving us. That means we can go where we want, when we want. I can't wait until I turn sixteen in February.

The rest of the week was uneventful so I'll skip ahead to Don's birthday. I have a very special present for him after we get back home. I think you can probably figure out what it is but I'll tell you about it later. Right now, we're just going to see Terminator: Dark Fate . I wish the new Star Wars movie was out but that won't be until next Friday. Of course, we'll go see that one as well that weekend, but this one should be really good as well. I've liked all the previous Terminator movies even though I'm not sure exactly how many there are.

We left as soon as school was out, just going home long enough to drop off our backpacks and change out of our school clothes. I wanted to wear something that I thought Don would enjoy. I normally wear boxers but I had bought some tight bikini style briefs recently and intended to wear a pair to show off my butt. Don says I have a nice ass and he likes to play with it so I want to make sure he notices. I also found an old pair of jeans that were a little tight and slipped them on. Unfortunately, the weather outside is cold, although we've managed to avoid any snow so far, so I found a long-sleeved t-shirt that's a little tight as well. I topped that off with a warm flannel shirt.

I then went back into the bathroom. I ran my hands through my shaggy black locks. Mom and dad were always nagging me to cut my hair, but it wasn't going to happen. I liked my hair, and who knew how long I'd have it. Dad still had nearly all his hair, but one of my mother's brothers is nearly bald, and he's like forty something. You just never know. My long hair does increase my morning prep time a good deal, but hey, I'm gay! I have no objections to mirror time. I don't' see how guys or girls with really long hair take care of it. My hair just barely covers my ears, but taking care of it is time consuming enough.

I finished getting dressed, checked myself out one final time in the full-length mirror in the bathroom, and walked across the street where Don was waiting for me.

"You look good enough to eat," he said as soon as I walked in.

"So do you," I said. "Maybe we can eat each other after we get home."

"I'm counting on it.

We started kissing and making out right there and let's just say we didn't make it to Joplin for another two hours, but that's alright. This was certainly better than some silly movie, although we did see it.

We finally arrived at NorthPark Mall . It was great to get out and just wonder around the mall holding hands, something Don wouldn't do with me until just recently. I really enjoyed being with him and I didn't care who saw us. Him and I didn't get to come over here very often because it was an hour's drive from home and we usually had a hard time finding someone willing to drive us. Thankfully we wouldn't have to worry so much about that now that Don was finally sixteen.

We shopped for some clothes, but neither of us really needed anything new. We both have more clothes than room to store them so we didn't actually buy anything. We checked out Vintage Stock , a movie and music store and looked through the DVD's as well as some computer games, just killing time before the movie starts.

We spent most of our time checking out cute boys. There were a lot of them in the mall tonight. Quit a few were with girls, but that didn't matter. We were just looking, window shopping you might say. We did that a lot.

"Cute boy alert! Take a look at the one coming up," Don whispered to me, as he tugged on my sleeve.

I didn't have to ask which boy he meant. There was a real cute blond boy coming our way, wearing very baggy pants and a shirt that hung almost to his knees. He had long bangs that mostly hid his face and was carrying a skateboard. He was hot! He smiled at us when he passed and I wondered if maybe he wasn't gay too. Don and I both looked around as he passed. He looked back at us and smiled again.

"Whew!" I said, fanning myself for comedic effect.

"Yeah, that boy was definitely hot. I'll give him a ten point oh for sure."

"Perfect score, unanimous decision," I said.

I suddenly had the desire to kiss Don right then and there, but that wasn't too smart in a mall. There were people who wouldn't approve. Just holding hands was pushing it. That thought made me stop. What did I care if they approved or not? I leaned over and gave Don a kiss right on the lips. He kissed me back and smiled. Just to our left, a couple of old ladies looked at us, but no one gave us any crap.

"Let's get something to eat. I'm starving," I said.

We headed for the food court. We each got a whopper value meal at Burger King . We sat in the crowded court and ate, while we checked out more guys. Much to our amusement, two girls sitting at the next table were checking us out. From their expressions and the sound of their giggles, they weren't exactly trying to hide it, either. After just a bit, both of them came over and sat down with us. One of them was looking Don over good. That was no shocker. Don was hot! What surprised me was the other girl who was focusing her attention on me. I was flattered… more like flabbergasted.

They talked to us for a while, about nothing much in particular. I had a feeling they were working up to something. It didn't take them long to get there.

"We're going to see a movie later. Would you like to come with us?"

Laura, the girl who did the asking, put her hand on Don's forearm. Rachel, her friend, was smiling at me. I had the feeling I could have a girlfriend pretty easily if I wanted one, at least a temporary one. That totally floored me.

"Um…" said Don. "That's really cool, but um…"

Laura leaned over and whispered something in his ear. He turned slightly pink. I had a feeling I had a good idea of what she'd said, or at least the kind of thing she'd said. I was pretty sure Don had just been offered some action.

"Um…" said Don. "Listen… going to a movie with you would be cool, but it would have to be just that. Aiden and I are, ah, involved."

"I should have known you'd already have girlfriends," Laura said.

Don smiled shyly.

"Well, we don't exactly have girlfriends," he said.

Laura looked confused.

"But you just said, ohhhh…"

"What?" asked Rachel.

Laura kind of bugged her eyes at Rachel and raised her eyebrows.

"Aiden is my boyfriend," Don said, laughing.

The girls looked a little surprised, but that was the extent of their reaction.

"Maybe it's true, all the cute boys are gay," Rachel sighed.

"I'm not cute," I protested.

"Oh, yes you are," said Rachel.

I smiled and turned a bit red.

"Now you're even cuter," she said. "You've even got dimples!"

I turned redder still.

"How about you guys come to the movie with us anyway?" asked Laura as she stood up. "I promise to behave."

Don looked at me and I nodded.

"Sure," he said.

The theaters in Joplin are a block behind the mall so we walked back toward the car and drove there. We could have walked but it was rather cold outside. We all agreed to see the Terminator and then got some popcorn and drinks. Don and I sat beside each other and the girls sat on either side of us. It was a blast. I didn't know girls could be so much fun. Well, that wasn't really true. Some of our best friends at school are girls.

After the movie was over, we dropped the girls off at their car. Laura gave Don a kiss on the cheek when we parted, and Rachel kiss my cheek too.

"Not to bad for girls, huh?" asked Don after they'd drove away.

"You aren't going straight on me, are you?" I asked warily.

"No way! Not even bi."

I grinned.

"That's good. I don't want some girl stealing away my boy.

Don put his arm around my shoulder and put his lips up to my ear.


After we left the mall, we stopped at Pizza Hut and had a large meat lover's pizza. We didn't arrive home until almost midnight, well past my normal curfew of ten o'clock. Since it was Friday and also Don's birthday all of our parents had agreed that we could say out till midnight.

My parents were already in bed by the time we got home so Don and I were quiet as we made our way to my bedroom. While our parents approve of our relationship, they don't approve of us having sex, although they surely must know we do. I mean, there's no possible way they can be that naïve. All our fathers had said was to keep it discrete and quiet. How cool is that?

I have cool parents most of the time but for Christ's sake don't let them know I said that. I could have ended up with a father like Travis' so I count my lucky stars.

Dad and I trudged about fifty yards through the snow but already our cheeks were rosy and our breaths created small clouds of white in the frosty air. When we returned it would be time for hot chocolate in the kitchen, but until then the cold would seep through our gloves and up under our coats. I shivered slightly, but I didn't mind the cold.

It was nearly Christmas. We were at the Granger farm outside of town to pick out a Christmas tree. Before us was an undisturbed blanket of sparkling white, covering the fields where in warmer weather, wheat, corn, and soybeans reached for the sun. All of nature was dormant now. The trees were sleeping and even the deer and other animals didn't leave their warm beds for long at a time.

"How about that one?" I asked, pointing to a great pine in the near distance. It was beautiful, half covered in snow.

"Not unless we set it up outside," dad laughed. "It's got to be at least ten feet tall."

"I'd have thought it was six, tops."

"Everything looks smaller under the open sky, so keep your eyes out for a little tree. One that looks too small will probably suit us just fine."

Dad and I strolled along from tree to tree. None quite suited our purpose. Most were far too large, like the first, while others were misshapen or just didn't have quite the right look. The tree we selected had to be just so. The shadows were beginning to lengthen and the snow took on a golden glow.

In only a few more steps we both lifted our heads and spotted it, our perfect Christmas tree. It was sitting on a small hill, in the shadows of it's larger cousins. We approached it and found it was an ideal height. It was just a bit taller than me. I stood back while dad took his ax in hand and swung for the trunk. It wasn't long before the tree began to tilt, and then fell upon it's side.

Dad and I both lifted the trunk from the ground and pulled our tree back toward the entrance of the farm. An icy wind hit our faces and our fingers became numb. Our breaths rose up in great clouds of white steam as we continued to drag our tree closer. I hummed ' Oh Christmas Tree ' as we grew even closer to our destination. We dragged the tree up to the entrance where Noah, the owner and operator of the tree farm helped us secure it on top of the car for the drive into town. We paid for it and drove home.

Upon our arrival at home we untied the tree and dragged it right up to the front door, pulled it inside and set it up in a stand with minimal loss of pine needles. We placed it before a large window so it could be seen from the outside when it was ablaze with bright lights.

We were as eager as small children to decorate the tree, but we were chilled to the bone. We pulled off our coats, scarves, boots and gloves and made our way to the kitchen. A scent of chocolate permeated the air. Mom and Jennifer had hot chocolate waiting on us, with tiny marshmallows on top. Dad and I sat and sipped cocoa with them while feeling returned to our fingers and toes. The wind was blowing outside and it had begun to snow once again. It felt so cozy and warm in the house with a winter storm howling just beyond the walls. We'd returned just in time.

While dad and I made the annual trip to the attic for Christmas ornaments and lights, mom and Jennifer made Christmas cookies. They used my grandmother's recipe for sugar cookies and cut out Santa, angel, and Christmas tree shapes with cookie cutters. They baked them in the oven and then the four of us decorated them with red and green sugar. In only a few minutes the scent of Christmas cookies mingled with that of pine and filled the whole house. Jennifer and I sampled them, and then found our way to the living room to transform our tree into something more.

I helped Jennifer as she wound the lights round and round the tree. She had a bit of trouble as she reached the top of the tree. I put her on my shoulders and she finished wrapping lights on the uppermost branches. I could've just done it myself, but it was more fun to hold her on my shoulders while she finished the job. We were both giggling before we were done. Jennifer plugged in the lights and the tree was ablaze with a rainbow of colors.

We opened the boxes dad had placed near the tree and began pulling out ornaments of all shapes and sizes. Some the them were plain balls in blue, red, yellow, or green. Others were shaped like Santa's, angels, snowmen, or sleighs. We found hooks in the bottom of the boxes and together decorated our tree. We invited mom and dad to help, but they just left it to us kids. I walked over to the stereo and put on a Christmas CD. Soon, ' Deck the Halls ,' and other Christmas music played gently in the background. As each ornament was placed just so on the tree, it's beauty grew.

I loved Christmas, and there was something special about a gaily decorated tree. This year it was all the more special because Don was in my life. It was our first Christmas together and hopefully the first of many, many more. As the stereo played 'Silent Night,' 'Silver Bells,' and 'I'll be Home for Christmas,' we finished placing bulbs on the branches. There wasn't room for an ornament more. We took out a box of icicles and carefully draped the on the tree.

I felt like my heart was glowing warm in my chest. I wanted to freeze time and be trapped in that moment forever. Snow was falling outside; Christmas music was playing and I was decorating the tree with my family. Nothing could be better than that. When the tree was finished, we grabbed a plate of cookies from the kitchen and sat side by side on the couch.

We gazed dreamily at the tree, while we munched on angels and snowmen. We just sat there in silence, luxuriating in the beauty and comfort of the moment. We sat there until we grew sleepy, and then climbed the stairs to bed. I lay in my nice warm bed, while the wind whipped the snow about outside.

I thought about Don and wished he were snuggling beside me. He was an angel himself. I looked to the window and saw the snow drifting down in the moonlight. There was nothing quite so beautiful as falling snow, except for my Don, of course. Just a few more days I told myself. Just a few more days until Christmas. I drifted off to sleep, dreaming dreams of Christmas I had not dreamt since I was a little boy.

You remember back a few weeks ago when me and Don were having all the problems with Travis, and then his father? Well, guess what? It was the damndest thing. Right before school let out for Christmas the week prior, Travis, who has been sort of secretly dating our friend Dave came up to Don and I after school.

"Can I talk to you guys for a few minutes?" Travis asked. "I'm not here to mess with you or anything. I just want to talk."

Don and I looked at each other and then at Dave who just nodded.

"Okay, Travis," Don said, "but we're not looking for any problems, so don't fuck with us."

"I promise I won't," Travis said. "I just wanted to apologize for the way I treated the two or you, and your friends as well."

Talk about shocking. Travis hasn't said or done anything for over a month but I never thought I'd actually hear him saying he was sorry.

"Okay…" I said. "What's going on, Dave?"

"Please, just let him explain," Dave said. "I don't blame you guys for being skeptical. I was too at first when we started going together, but Travis has changed, or he's trying to at least."

"I'm not going to make any excuses about what I said or did," Travis said. "I'm sorry about all that, but Dave here has really been trying to make me a better person."

Don and I both nodded.

"So anyway," Travis continued, "as you saw that day, my dad is an asshole and a drunk and I was just following in his footsteps. He would even beat me on occasion as you saw, although he was usually careful not to leave any signs."

"That's what we've heard," I said.

"Dad was a hot shot football player in high school who turned into a loser after he graduated," Travis said. "I was determined that I wasn't going to be like that, but I was headed that way."

"As you noticed, dad is a big man, but he's at least thirty pounds overweight and really out of shape, where I'm in as good of shape as I've ever been in and twenty years younger. I came home earlier this week and got into another confrontation with him. He had been drinking as usual and started questioning me about Dave here."

The three of us looked over at Dave and he smiled back at us.

"He started calling Dave all kinds of names, you know the ones, and then he started in on you guys and the rest of the gay kids in school. I stood there for a few minutes listening to him rant, until I finally just got fed up."

"'I'm gay,' I yelled at him."

"His face was pale as he stared at me, his mouth open. 'What did you say?'"

"'You heard me,' I said. 'I'm gay, dad.'"

"He swung his hand at me but I wasn't going to let that happen ever again. I caught his hand and held it there, trying to make it look as effortless as possible."

"'Next time you swing at me, I'm going to swing back,' I said. 'And trust me. I hit a lot harder than you do.'"

"He tried to pull his hand back, but I refused to let it go."

"'You wanna take my car away? Fine. You wanna throw me out of the house? Great. But you don't get to hit me anymore.' I twisted his wrist and made him cry as he turned, trying to ease the pain. 'Got it?'"

"He nodded silently, and I let him go, then headed to my room. I expected him to scream at me as I walked away. I fully expected to hear him cursing and threating me as I took the stairs two at a time. But he said nothing as I closed the door behind me and locked it for good measure. I sat on the edge of my bed and realized I was shaking."

"So, did he kick you out or anything?" Don asked.

"I kind of expected he would, but I later heard him and mom arguing down in the living room when she got home. She threatened to divorce him if he ever touched me again or threw me out. I'm surprised she didn't leave him years ago. I wouldn't have blamed her."

I just looked over at Don and shook my head. Neither one of us could believe what we were hearing.

"Later that night my mom came up to my room," he continued. "At some point I had fallen asleep. She woke me up when she knocked on my door."

"'Travis,' she called. 'Are you in there?'"

"She knew I was in my room unless I had crawled out my window and somehow found a way to get down from the second story without breaking my legs. I sat up, rubbing my eyes, looking over at the clock on my nightstand. 'Yeah, hold on,' I said, getting up and unlocking the door.'"

"'Are you hungry?' she asked, worried."

"We both knew her being in my room wasn't about dinner, but asking if I was hungry was the excuse she needed to knock on my door."

"'No, I'm good,' I said, sitting back down on my bed. There was no way my dad hadn't told her what I'd said earlier and I knew that's what they had been fighting about."

"She took two steps and stopped just inside my room. 'Your father said you guys got into another fight. You want to talk about it?'"

"'No,' I answered."

"She walked across the room and sat next to me, her hands in her lap. 'I don't blame you,' she said."

"I wasn't sure if she was waiting for me to say something, but it was very uncomfortable sitting there saying nothing. I wished she would just get to her point and then leave, but we just sat there and continued to say nothing, waiting."

"Finally, she started talking again. 'I know your father has been a real bastard to you and maybe I haven't been the best mother, but the only thing I want is for you to be happy. Nothing else matters.' Tears were falling down her cheeks now, her makeup smearing."

"'I want to be happy,' I said, the sheer weight of everything that's been happening lately finally crashing down over me. I felt myself too tired to keep moving. 'I don't know what to do to be happy,' I finally crocked. She pulled me into a hug, and I finally just began to sob as she rocked me."

Dave leaned over and pulled Travis into a hug as he continued to tell us what had happened.

"'Stop living our expectations,' she said as she comforted me. 'And start living your own life.' She smoothed my hair absently. 'Just be yourself, Travis. You can never go wrong with that.'"

"She pulled back and picked up my phone. Dave's face looking at her brought a little smile to her eyes. 'This is the boy?'"

"I nodded."

"'He likes you?'"

"I nodded again."

"'You like him too?'"

"I smiled and looked away as I gave a quiet, 'yeah.'"

"'Then do something about it,' she said, handing me my phone. 'If you don't, you'll spend the rest of your life wondering how things would have been different if you had.'"

"I couldn't say anything as I took what solace I could from my mother's permission."

"So, what happened next?" Don asked.

"I called up Dave and we got together the next day and I told him what had happened," Travis said.

"And then he introduced me to his mother," Dave said. "His dad is a lost cause but at least everything is out in the open now."

"I think dad will leave me alone from now on," Travis said. "He'll never admit it, but I saw a slight look of fear in his eyes whenever I stood up to him and threatened him."

"I'm glad to hear that," I said. "So, what happens now, if you don't mind my asking."

"I don't know if I'm completely ready to come out yet," Travis said, "but at the same time, I'm not going to deny it anymore either. I'm gay. Do you have any idea how liberating just saying that feels?"

"Yes," Don, Dave and I all said at once.

Travis laughed.

"So, I'm asking you guys to forgive me for the way I treated you earlier and to help me out if I need it. I intend to apologize to the rest of your friends as well."

"I forgive you," Don said. "And if you ever just want to talk, all you have to do is ask. I don't know how much help I can be, but I'll do what I can."

"Same with me," I said. "If you and Dave want to hang out once in a while, go see a movie or whatever, just let us know."

"I think we'll take you up on that," Travis said. "The new Star Wars movie is coming out tomorrow. You guys interested. I know Dave is a big Star Wars geek so we're planning on being there."

"Don and I were planning on seeing it as well, so sure, we'll go with you," I said. "I'm more of a Star Trek geek myself, but I like Star Wars alright."

"Aren't they more or less the same thing?" Travis asked.

"Oh, hell no!" Don said. "There's a big difference. Maybe we'll explain it to you sometime."

"Whatever," Travis said, laughing. "We'll see you later then. And again, I'm sorry for everything. I just need to find the coach and apologize to him as well. Football season is over so it's to late for this year, but maybe next summer I can play again."

"Good luck with that," I said.

With that, Don and I turned and walked to the car to go home.

"What do you think about that?" Don asked.

"I don't know, to be honest," I said. "He sounded sincere, but I'll have to wait and see what happens. Dave seems okay with him."

"I know what you're saying," Don said. "I want to believe him but I'll reserve judgement for now."

Christmas this year was extra special because I had Don in my life. The two of us spend as much time as possible together, even if we're just sitting at home doing nothing, which is most of the time. With the cold weather I don't really like to be out any more than I have to. We take advantage of every opportunity to make out, or make love, which is more often than you might imagine since all four of our parents work all the time.

This Christmas, like usual, we spent at my grandparent's house up near Kansas City. Although it had snowed earlier in the month, Christmas day was clear for the three-hour drive north and surprisingly warm for this time of year.

We woke up early like always, opened our presents, ate breakfast and then loaded up the car and headed out around nine that morning. We arrived just in time for mom and Jennifer to help grandma finish dinner. Dad, grandpa and me all sat in the living room, watching TV and talking.

About an hour after our arrival, Jennifer came into the living room and announced that dinner was ready. All of us got up and went into the dining room where we feasted on turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, and all the usual stuff associated with a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. Everything was delicious as usual, and we sat around talking and eating for over an hour, enjoying each other's company.

Back when I was a kid, I would have been in a hurry to finish so we could open presents. Not that I wasn't looking forward to that this year, but now that I'm a little older it was more important to me to enjoy family time. The presents would come soon enough. Besides, I pretty much knew what I was getting from my grandparents, more clothes like usual. Not that I mind getting clothes so much, but let's just say that their fashion sense is about twenty years out of date and leave it at that. I'll just hang everything in my closet and maybe one day everything will come back into style. Or, I'll just get older and not care what I wear. Either way, I'm always happy to get something.

Finally, around four o'clock it was time to open presents. All of us gathered around the tree and Jennifer started passing everything around. As expected, I got more clothes, but this time it was a pair of jeans that I might actually want to wear to school. I also got a couple of decent shirts, and a sweater that I wouldn't want to be buried in. I just kind of rolled my eyes but pretended to enjoy it, even putting it on to wear around the house.

We always spend the night when we go to our grandparents, so around ten I decided to go to bed. I get to sleep in my uncle's old room and Jennifer sleeps in our aunt's old room. Mom and dad sleep in mom's old room. Some years in the past the entire extended family has been here, all the aunt's and uncle's and their kids, so we would either have to sleep on the floor or sometimes we would just go ahead and drive home early, if the roads were good that is.

The next morning, we woke up, had a big breakfast of eggs, bacon, hash browns and biscuits and gravy. It was more than enough to keep us until later this afternoon after we had arrived back home.

When we arrived back home that afternoon, I noticed that Don and his family were home as well. I wanted to go give him his present as soon as I could but I also knew I needed to stay and spend time with my family. I compromised and stayed home until it started getting dark and then walked across the street and knocked on Don's door.

As soon as he opened the door, I handed him his Christmas present and said, "Merry Christmas."

It was a day late, but so what. It's the thought that counts, right?

I had spent several hours trying to figure out something to get him. I had thought about some games, but like me, Don isn't really all that into video games. They have their place I suppose, but I never really got into them. I finally settled on a couple of books and movies. I knew Don liked to read almost as much as I do so I thought that was perfect. Something he could actually enjoy hopefully.

"Thanks," he said. "You didn't have to get me anything."

"I know I didn't, but I wanted to," I said. "You're my boyfriend and I love you."

"I love you too," he said, leaning over and kissing me.

He then led me to his room, closed the door, locked it, and then we proceeded to make out for the next several minutes before finally coming up for air. He then walked over to his closet and pulled a gift out for me as well.

We both tore our presents open, looked at each other and laughed.

"I guess great minds think alike," he said.

"It looks like it."

Don had also gotten me a couple of books and movies.

"We'll have time for these later," he said.

He then reached over and pulled my shirt over my head, and then I did the same with him. We then dropped our jeans and flopped down onto the bed and began to really make out like crazy. Ten minutes later we were completely naked and in a sixty-nine position, sucking each other for all we were worth.

We finished each other off and then fell asleep in each other's arms. Ever since we had announced to our parents that we were in fact boyfriends we had been allowed to stay overnight at each other's house, on the condition that one of us slept on the floor. Of course, we didn't actually do that, and I'm sure they knew we didn't, but everyone just pretended and we were mostly left alone.

We both woke up about three hours later and this time we actually made love or fucked I suppose if you want to be crude about it. Whatever. We both liked giving and receiving equally so that's what happened. This time after we finished, we went to sleep until late the next morning. By then everyone was up so we quickly got dressed and went down to the kitchen to find something to eat. We were both starving after a night of hot sex.

Mr. and Ms. Millman just looked at both of us, shook their heads, but said nothing. I guess that means they heard us last night. We had tried to be quiet but apparently not quiet enough. I could feel my face turning red from embarrassment and I looked at Don and saw he was the same way.

Just then Suzanne and Ashley walked into the kitchen, looked at us and giggled. Oh my god! They had heard us as well.

"Sit down, you two," Mr. Millman finally said. "Aiden, I called your parents. They should be here any second."

Oh boy, I thought. We really fucked up last night. I just wonder how much trouble we're in. I hope they don't force us to quite seeing each other or anything like that. Well, fuck that! I'm still going to keep going with Don. We'll just have to go behind their backs, that's all.

Just then there was a knock on the door and Ms. Millman got up to answer it and led mom and dad into the living room. Don, his father and I got up and joined them. Mom and dad didn't look all that happy, but they also didn't seem nearly as pissed off as I expected they would be.

"I'm just going to say that I'm a little disappointed in you, Aiden," dad said. "But I'm not really surprised. You mother and I, as well as Don's parents suspected you were probably having sex ever since you first told us about yourselves."

"And last night just confirmed it," Mr. Millman said. "I'm a little disappointed as well, but I would have been more surprised if you weren't fucking."

"Marc, please," Ms. Millman said. "Do you have to use such language?"

"I'm sorry, dear," he said. "Just habit I guess." He then looked at Don and I again. "As for you two, well, Nathan and I have discussed it briefly before last night and we decided that while we wouldn't encourage it, we wouldn't be able to stop it either."

What the fuck! Our fathers were talking about Don's and my sex life. That's just to weird to even think about.

"As hard as it is for you to believe," dad said, "Marc and I were both sixteen-year-old boys at one time. Always horny, wanting to fuck just about anything that might have been available." Mom started to say something but dad just looked at her and said, "sorry, honey."

Both dads looked at us and smiled.

"We're not going to make you guys break up or anything like that," dad said. "But for Christ's sake, be a little more discrete. From what Marc told me, everyone in the house knew what you two were doing last night."

"We can't stop you," Mr. Millman said. "You'd just go behind our backs anyway and we want you just keep that shit to yourselves. I'm not necessarily against you guys fu… having sex, but we just don't want to know about it, and we certainly don't need to hear it."

"Any questions?" dad asked.

Don and I looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders. Jesus, how fucking embarrassing, talking to our parents about sex and gay sex at that.

"Not that I can think of," Don said. "Thanks, dad. You seem pretty cool with all this."

"Well, I'm not comfortable," Mr. Millman admitted, "but I'd rather all this be out in the open."

"Thanks, dad," I said.

"You're welcome," dad said. "You guys go enjoy the rest of your day and remember what we talked about. Just be more discrete in the future."

Don and I looked at each other, still red from embarrassment, stood up and left the room.

"Oh my god!" Don said as soon as we were alone. "I thought we were in big trouble there for a few minutes."

"No doubt," I said. "How embarrassing. But I guess they did have a point. At least they weren't jerks about it. I wasn't sure what to expect either, but I wasn't expecting that."

"Me either," Don admitted. "But at least they were cool about it even if they didn't like it. It could have been a lot worse."

"A lot worse," I agreed.

"Let's get out of here and go do something," Don suggested.

"Like what?" I asked.

"I don't know, but let's just get out of the house. We'll figure something out."

The weather was fairly nice for the day after Christmas so we threw on our coats and walked over to Jack's to spend some time. We thought about telling him what had happened but decided he didn't need to know. Even thought Jack was completely cool about Don's and my relationship, he was still a little freaked out on occasion about gay sex. I guess probably no more than Don and I were about straight sex. I mean, that shit's gross in my opinion.

The next week was rather uneventful so I'll just skip ahead to New Year's Eve. Mom and dad were going away for the night and Jennifer was staying with some of her friends so Don and I had the house to ourselves. I think you know what that means.

No, we're not going to have our friends over and have a big drunken party or anything like that, and we're not inviting all the gay boys of Chouteau over for a big orgy, as hot as that would be. No, we're just going to spend the night together by ourselves, watching movies and making love, multiple times I'm sure.

Mom had gone out and bought some frozen pizzas for us, as well as other junk food and we were just gonna sit in front of the TV, making out until we watched the ball drop at midnight and then probably go to bed after that. Sounds exciting right?

Well it turned out to be a fun night. We turned on the TV and scrolled through Netflix until we found a movie to watch. Since we knew we had the house to ourselves Don wanted to get naked while we lay on the couch together, so that's what we did. Don't ask me what movie we watched because I have no idea. It wasn't long before Don was fucking me right there on the couch and then I did the same to him.

Our parents would absolutely freak out if they knew we did something like that, but they have to know, right. Even so they left us alone in the house for the night.

Finally, around ten o'clock we switched over to regular TV and watched New Year's Rocking Eve with Ryan Seacrest. I guess I hadn't thought about it but the ball dropped in Time's Square at eleven, an hour early. Well it was midnight on the east coast but we're in the central time zone so it was an hour earlier.

The station then switched over to a live show from New Orleans. Finally, at midnight, they dropped what's called a fleur-de-lis instead of a ball like they did in New York. I had never heard of such a thing before although I had seen pictures of it. I had to google it to even find out what the hell it is. It turns out that it's some sort of a flower associated with royalty in France, Spain and other European countries, as well as French speaking areas of North America, like Quebec and Louisiana.

After watching that we went up to my room and continued with our love making until we both fell asleep from sheer exhaustion.

No matter how often we have sex, and so far, it's almost every day after school, there was always a hunger for more. In fact, on New Year's Day we fucked for like, two hours. I almost passed out for an hour or so, and when I got up to go to the bathroom and saw Don sleeping nude… I wanted him again.

Thankfully when I woke him up, he wanted it again as well. Right now, all I could think of was hearing him moan in ecstasy with me. Since we were our only sexual partners, we hadn't been using condoms, which was kind of a good thing because I'm pretty sure by now we'd have gone through at least a case, if not more.

We had become aware of what each other enjoyed early on but these last few months we had really explored the depths, and I knew exactly how to make him crazy.

I knew when he was close from the way he panted my name, the way his legs would tighten around my waist, the look on his face as he clenched his eyes shut and bit his bottom lip to keep from screaming. Watching him explode was almost as pleasurable as getting him there, and no matter how far away I might have been before he climaxed, I always followed within seconds.

Today was different though.

He was way into it, most likely a reflection of the holiday spirit. The way the sun shown on his sweaty muscles made him look like a fucking god. He had me sitting on the floor, my back against my bed as he faced me, pretty much doing all the work while I watched him grunt.

Once he found the perfect angle, I heard him call out to god and throw his head back in delicious pleasure. I could see the freckles on his shoulders from summer under the hot Kansas sun and wanted badly to taste them. The only sound was the slapping of our flesh and the jingle of his necklace as it slid from pec to pec when he moved up and down.

Normally I wouldn't go into such detail, but I have a purpose.

In the middle of all this, I was struck by how incredibly beautiful he was, and it was surprising. I mean, I knew Don was hot, sure, but for the past six months the things inside were so powerful to me that I had honestly stopped looking at the outside.

I reached up and grabbed his face and pulled him closer and kissed him. How this… perfect person had chosen me to be with I would never know, but I did know I wasn't going to waste a second with him.

Because there was no way to know how long this was going to last. If I had my way it would be forever, but we were only sophomores in high school and a lot can change in the next two years, and especially after graduation. I wanted to make the most of what Don and I had together right now.

The End


This story is part of the 2020 story challenge "Inspired by a Video: Be My Boyfriend". The other stories may be found at the challenge home page. Please read them, too. The voting period of 31 January to 21 February is when the voting is open. This story may be rated, below, against a set of criteria, and may be rated against other stories on the challenge home page.

The challenge was to write a story inspired by this video:

The video is provided here under the doctrine of 'fair use' which is believed to apply since it is the basis for a discussion or an educational work. It is not the site's intent to infringe copyright, which belongs to the tik tok user credited upon it. There is no imputation that any actor or other character in this video has any particular sexuality.

I Want to Hold Your Hand

You may tick as many statements as you wish. Stories my also be discussed in detail on the Literary Merit forum

It grabbed my attention early on
I had to know what happened
I identified with at least one of the cast
Gritty - it had an edge to it
Realistic - it could have happened that way
I found it hard to follow
Good characterisation
I feel better for having read it
It was romantic
It was erotic
Too much explicit sex
It had the right amount of sex, if there was any
Not enough explicit sex
I have read and enjoyed other work by this author
I will seek this author's work out

Current Results

Read More Stories by this Author
Talk about this story on our forum

Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.

[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead