The following story is for adults and contains descriptions of bisexual contact between adult males and females. If you are a minor, then it is illegal for you to read this story. If you find the subject objectionable, then read no further. All the characters, events and settings are the product of my over-active imagination. I hope you like it. Mail me or if literary analysis interests you visit me at Eliot's Space. I encourage you to also join the Nifty Writers Forum where you can contribute to the conversation.


by Eliot Moore


In Roman mythology, Janus (or Ianus) was the god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings and endings.


Story Menu

Sunset, 9:15 pm

The soft yellow sun touched the black horizon. A solitary bluff of poplars broke the wavering line marking land and sky. Seaborg's Trees marked the traditional party spot. Michael took a sip of coffee and checked reflexively for the telltale twinkle of a bonfire. His classmates had likely moved down to the lake some five kilometres farther west. Michael ran his fingers through damp bangs and took another contented sip. He studied the flaming sky. The thin curtain of western cloud reflecting the mellow light complemented the deep violet-blue of approaching night. Altostratus , the term popped into Michael's head, no rain there to spoil his solitary evening. There would be a full moon later.

Michael stepped lightly off the deck and onto the freshly watered grass. It was cool against his bare feet. The dry evening breeze tickled the hair on his legs and sucked the last of the moisture from his skin. The camp lantern was lit and after a final sip of coffee Michael turned to the task of building a fire in the pit. A soft smile played across his lips as he went about the familiar routine. First, a mound of shredded paper, then twigs from deadfall making a perfect tepee to catch the first flames; one match placed in the heart of a well-built fire could start an unstoppable inferno. He made a few minor adjustments to his creation and retreated to the small wood pile to select more kindling and wood. In the growing darkness, Michael laid a crib around the central cone. When he judged it ready, he paused to admire his creation and take a long pull from the quickly cooling coffee.

Michael left the coffee mug in the kitchen while he scouted out his book. Mingled voices from the family room competed with the muted sound of his father's baseball game. The book was where he had left it in the living room, Scarrow's Centurion , freshly delivered by Amazon; something of a reward to himself for finishing his first week of manual labour. He brought it back to the kitchen and listened to the voices as he refreshed his coffee. Ashley had breezed back from St. George for some week end party. His sister's cheerful voice contrasted with Acton's polite responses delivered in his West Indian accent. Michael recognized the measured tones of his mother and father's counterpoint. His experienced ear picked up the polite caution in his parent's voices. They thought themselves accepting, but Acton was something to be adjusted to, an unexpected diversion from their eldest child's usually tranquil progress through life. Nothing would be said about the young man of course.

Michael wondered briefly what Ashley had said to disrupt the Wa of the Novak household. He suppressed a whisper of dissatisfaction before it could find voice. The Novak's had used the same cautious tone with Michael when he suggested tentatively that he would prefer to take an Arts degree at the University of Assiniboia in the fall. Literature was his passion. He had been overwhelmed quickly by practicalities. What could he do with an Arts degree, they asked reasonably. The four-year education degree at the University of St. George would leave him with a marketable skill. There was the family condo in St. George and of course Medicine Hat with its larger campus would be overwhelming to him. They thought the matter closed. Michael picked at a small blister on his palm. When he heard his name mentioned he retreated to the back yard.

Three matches; one would be optimistic but that was what you wanted. Michael drew the first wooden match from a pocket and ran his thumb over its tip. He examined its spent end by the light the camp lantern and frowned. The second match was good so he squatted down. Michael tested the air waiting for a moment when the slight breeze might die away. With a practiced motion, he struck the match against a block and touched off the waiting timber. Paper curled instantly and the small flame expanded up the side of the cone licking at the bark on the small twigs. The flames illuminated Michael's face briefly but as he watched the small conflagration subsided unexpectedly. It had travelled the surface of his structure and failed to burrow in. It happens from time to time with the best prepared fires. Michael stood and reached for his third match.

"Mikey!" Michael paused when he heard Ashley sing out his name. She had stopped on the deck. When he turned to smile at her she bounced down onto the lawn and ran over. "What are you doing Mikey?" He gestured at the kindling with a smile and turned back to light the third match. Ashley hugged him from behind. Michael endured her squeeze. "Oh my look at all these new muscles popping out!" She ran her palms across his flat stomach and patted his shoulders.

"Hardly Ash," He knew he was the same slender person he had always been. Ashley was fashionably slender too. They were much alike. They shared the same broad mouth, straight nose and narrow face. Ashley's eyes were browner but she would have shared the same auburn hair if she had not been changing hers since she was fifteen. Michael thought his sister was beautiful.

Ashley noticed the book on the lone chair by the fire. "Oh my God Michael, you cannot be serious!" She gave him a playful punch. "Why aren't you out?"

"It's been a long week, I'm tired."

"As if," but it was very much her brother to go his quiet way. He had almost skipped his graduation party two weeks before. "Come with Acton and me."

"I don't know about that," Michael protested. He was ready to argue the point when Ashley stopped him with a cool hand to his chest.

She opened her mouth, then paused squinting at his bare chest. "Wait a minute; is this manliness I feel on my baby brother's chest?" She picked at the shallow valley bisecting his chest, "Nope, just my imagination." They matched smiles. "Come with us Michael, it will be cool. You are in university now; you have to meet new people. We'll have a riot together."

Ashley would have a riot, she always did. Michael was sure he would be what he always was, a quiet bystander watching the fun. "Not so sure of that Ash," he murmured.

"I need a DD," Ashley added.

"That I can believe," Michael replied with a grin, "You have Acton."

"You don't have to be designated driver," though she knew he would be. Michael rarely drank. It was the reason he seemed to avoid the bush parties, "but come. You should meet some new people."

"These are your friends Ashley."

"They like you Michael, besides; there will be all sorts of people there. You remember Mark Reisner?" Michael shook his head. "Maybe not, he was two years older than me. He just graduated from the University of Saskatchewan. They have a place out by the lake. Just come Michael, this isn't some bush party with puking kids. You need to get to know people like this before September. What do you say?" Michael looked helplessly at his carefully prepared fire pit and then gave in.

9:50 pm

Nine thirty and it was still light enough to see a small herd of antelope in the field as they jolted along the grid. Michael bounced off the seat as Ashley lifted through another intersection. He wished he was driving. His cell phone vibrated so he dug it out. "Mike do you have the Dodge?" It was his dad.

"Yeah dad,"

"Are you driving?"

"No Ashley's driving," Michael waited out the long pause. They had to take the truck. Ashley would have torn the bottom off Acton's Mazda two kilometres out of Vimy. The Reisner farm was half a kilometre short of the lake at the end of old highway nine; seven sections out of town. The antelope were long gone when Michael's father spoke again.

"You will be driving on the way back." It was not a question. The sun might rise and fall on Ashley, but Michael was the steady one. He agreed and snapped the phone shut. Ashley swung the truck over toward the side of the road and they all felt the back end slip on the loose stone.

"Eh eh," Acton remarked absently from where he sat beside Ashley. He had a hand braced against the dashboard. Michael grinned at the man and stretched his leg across the cramped back bench. His sister was not trying to kill them. The world just needed to ramp up to her speed for its own safety. Acton turned around. His eyes seemed to appraise Michael's lanky frame from his Reef sandals up to his thick Bay Store hoddie. "Mookie, its good you're going to lime with us tonight. We're all going to have a fine time." Michael's smile faded slightly. He nodded his head to acknowledge the remark. The Trinidadian left Michael lost for words sometimes. He was not comfortable with the man yet. Not for his parent's reasons though, Acton Heighes had poise and the body to match it. With little effort he commanded attention. The family had met Acton at Michael's graduation. Michael had been off with Kara and the other Vimy grads primping themselves when Ashley swept into the gym with Acton's arm possessively on her hip. Michael imagined that had derailed more than a few small town conversations. It was Michael's grad, but Ashley and Acton effortlessly danced their way into the centre just as Ashley always had.

"Acton's moving into the condo Mikey," she glanced in the mirror as it to catch Michael's eye.

Acton was still looking at him so Michael raised an eyebrow, and with a shrug said, "That's cool." It was not really. Acton's smile was warm but when he turned back to Ashley. Michael felt he had been dismissed in some way. Like they had just measured cocks and Michael, four years younger, came up short. He wondered if this was Acton's way or if the man wrapped himself in confidence to insulation himself against the herd of pasty faced Western Canadians crowding in on him. Michael studied Acton's aristocratic face as the man smiled softly at his sister. It was an unguarded moment. Chip away at the newness of it all and Michael thought he might like the man.

"You'll know a few people I think Mikey. John's back on the farm for the summer, you know John?"

"Yeah I remember John." Michael looked out the back of the cab. The dry prairie dust boiled up behind the Dodge in a grey cloud obscuring the grid road before the night snatched it away. The full moon lay close to the horizon, its presence not yet felt across the broad prairie landscape. Michael was glad Ashley had talked him into coming. Since the let down of grad night he had felt a pressure building inside him. John was a year older than him and he was as familiar as Michael's own smile. Michael was tired of all that. Besides, he felt cut loose, he was a tumbleweed lightly snagged to the ground waiting for a strong wind to blow him somewhere new. He needed to shake the familiar dust of Vimy off his sandals and get on with it; get on with whatever comes next.

The Dodge's tires rumbled over the gravel suddenly as Ashley hit the brakes. Michael instinctively gripped the back of the bench as his momentum threatened to drag him off the seat. "Eh, eh," Acton offered and Michael laughed. He liked Acton just a little more seeing how well he took his sister. Ashley cut the corner and accelerated on toward the farm yard glowing a few hundred metres up the road. Michael shifted on the bench and hung onto the front seat. Ashley flashed him a smile. He eyed the approaching farm and all the newness it might offer.

10:05 pm

There was a respectable crowd. The vehicles, mostly cars, were parked randomly. Ashley tolled off the names as she recognized vehicles. They were strangers to Michael and he stirred with interest. Ashley had brought him, not so very far from home, into unfamiliar territory. Vimy bush parties spanned the years. Michael had attended his first party in grade nine as a freshie, but it was not unusual to see seventh graders mingling with graduates. Alcohol and isolation seemed to be the great leveller in rural Assiniboia. Michael trailed behind Ashley. He measured the unfamiliar faces and caught fragments of conversation. Ashley distracted him from time to time with introductions but mostly he was content to remain her shadow while he accustomed himself to this older crowd.

"Yucca Flats?"

"Pardon?" Michael stared blankly at a man grinning at him.

"You have to be Ashley's kid brother." Michael confessed that he was. "Yeah the face, I can tell. I'm Mark. You need a drink buddy, follow me." His host snagged a loose fold of Michael's hoody and pulled him away from the group Ashley was with and toward a table where a lone girl was busy cutting fruit. The rhythmic churning of a paint mixer caught Michael's notice. "Almost ready dude; should've had two of them. You know Lauren don't you?" and Michael did. Lauren Mercer graduated a year ahead of Michael and they had taken a creative writing class together. She smiled brightly at him.

"Hey Little Keith," She held his gaze a moment, "Good to see a familiar face here."

"Sure," he agreed. Lauren cut at the fruit distractedly between watching Michael. She stirred his interest. He liked the simple cut of her long brunette hair. It was parted down the middle and framed a soft face. She was wearing a simple black top that emphasized her breasts and a pair of fitted blue shorts. "You're at St. George aren't you?" Michael cast about for some connection between them. She nodded, so he added "I'm there too. I mean next year, in the fall, Education," he trailed off.

"Awesome, I'm taking Commerce. So do you guys have a major or something?" Lauren popped a cherry into her mouth. She offered Michael a chunk of pineapple. Michael moved to take it from her but she pulled her hand back, "It's messy. Just take it." She held it out toward his mouth. A shiver travelled down his spine that curled back up into his groin when her fingers touched his lips. They smiled shyly at each other.

"Yeah sure I guess I'm in the high school program, science major and math minor."

"Seriously? I remember Delgado reading us one of your poems. She raved over it. I figured you would be planning to be all artsy or something. You know, grow your hair long; be the Beat poet."

"Well they say the jobs are there for science teachers. I have to be practical." Lauren agreed with Michael quickly. The mixer shuddered to a halt at Michael's feet and Mark bounced back into his life.

"Done, grab a glass buddy and let's fill it up." Michael took a plastic beer glass from the stack. He noticed an open cooler of ice and beer cans and scooped a glass full. Mark was cradling a four litre sealer jar swaddled in a towel when he turned back. When Mark had the lid off the jar, he took Michael's glass. "Pish dude," The young man dropped half the ice onto the grass and slopped the glass full of a swirling mass of broken fruit and vodka. Michael took it gingerly and tried a sip while Mark refilled Lauren's glass. With a shout toward Ashley and Acton, Mark abandoned them to their conversation.

The fruity concoction was heady stuff. Michael listened as Lauren carried the conversation back to shared acquaintances in Vimy. They exchanged gossip as they stood by the table. Michael moved a little closer, picked a cherry out of his drink and then offered it to her. They shared a laugh when she nipped his finger.

Their privacy was ruined soon after when the table was swamped by people freshening their drinks. An elbow jostled Michel and the drink splashed his hand. He set it down and moved back. Lauren smiled at him over the broad shoulder of some university athlete and Michael realized he was flushed. He pulled the hoody off and cast about for some place to leave it. He settled on a gnarled branch close to the fire pit. Beyond the tree was a small group playing Bache Ball to the dim light of a circle of flickering citronella torches. He stepped toward them drawn by their laughter.

Three of them stood arguing lightly over the placement of the closest balls. The word ball seemed to set them off and the trio tried to work it into the conversation in different ways. A fourth player stood behind hefting a yellow ball as if it was a shot put. It hardly mattered to the men whose ball lay closest to the white pallino. One of them noticed Michael and waved him over, "Hey man, these dicks wads are never going to agree, you decide."

"Don't get me in the middle of this," Michael smiled at the four faces turned his way. It reminded him of the fun he had with his friends curling in school during the winter. The young man laughed at him and told him there was no pressure so he came over to look at the spread. The red ball was clearly closer to the pallino. He toed it tentatively, "Red guys."

"No!" The young man wailed and clutched at his t-shirt. The other two laughed it off. His attacker quickly let go and made a show of straightening Michael's shirt. "Okay, not a big deal. I'm Nevin," he waved his hand lazily in the other men's direction as he continued; "Scott," and then he paused in consternation. He turned to the other two players, "Sorry I forgot already."



"Nevin, Scott, Sanil and Gavin," Michael repeated the names back to them, "hey, I'm Michael." The men collected their balls and one of them tossed the small pallino over towards the house. Michael stood among them as they continued to play. He checked his phone and noticed it was half past ten. A light skiff of cloud obscured the full moon still so the four men had to pace across the expanse of lawn to find their target. It did not seem to matter much. The play absorbed their energy. The young men exchanged information and argued cars, music and summer jobs. Working construction was Michael's first job and he took quiet satisfaction that it travelled well with the other jobs these older men disparaged. Only one of them seemed satisfied with his job. Michael let them talk, absorbing their greater experience and confident opinions like a sponge. After a time two abandoned the game for a group of women heading into the house.

Nevin turned on Michael, "Want to play buddy?"

"Sure," Michael nodded.

"Cool, Scott let me be yellow." Nevin gestured for the other young man's balls.

"No I'm good here," the tall man named Scott replied reasonably. Michael picked up the pallino and the red pair as he listened.

"Be the green, green's a nice colour."

"You be the green, I want to be the yellow. I can see the yellow."

"I can't see the fucking green. I can't see the white ball either," Nevin's whine was playful.

"Then let's go inside," Scott countered with a laugh.

"It's no big deal guys, we don't have to play," Michael interjected shyly. He kicked at the blue Bache balls at his feet nudging one closer to the other. He juggled the red pair against his side with one hand and held the pallino up. Scott stared at him in fascination. "Look, we could toss the white ball towards the back steps." All three turned toward the pool of light illuminating the lawn.

"Good thinking Mitch," Nevin exclaimed brightly. He was on his second beer since Michael had joined the group.

"It's Michael," Scott and Michael responded simultaneously.

Michael swivelled toward Scott and flashed a broad smile. Scott returned a slightly abstracted look that melted into a soft smile when his eyes met Michael's. He was standing with his pair of Bache balls pressed firmly into his thighs. This emphasized his broad shoulders, developed biceps and strong hands. Michael recognized the easy build of a high school athlete, narrow hips and long legs. He judged Scott too lightly built for college sports. He looked the sort to spend an evening playing football with friends. He had about six centimetres on Michael. Scott grinned at the sudden scrutiny; Michael was flustered.

Michael tossed the pallino into the pool of light cast by the back door light. He followed with his first ball. Scott was an engineering student, Michael wasn't sure where. Scott was working for some oil company in Alberta and the Territories. He was the one who liked what he was doing. Michael's first ball touched the pallino softly. "Very nice Mitch," Michael shook his head and laughed at Scott's friend.

12:10 am

It was colder when Michael came back outside seventy minutes later. He wondered over to the tree where he left his hoody and pulled it over his head. He glanced around and found Scott near the back door wreathed in the smoke from a barbeque. Michael had lost track of Scott. After tossing balls around the yard the three young men followed the crowd down to the basement. Michael played the little brother and fell into the rambling conversation surrounding Ashley and Acton. He nursed a Sprite with a few chunks of fruit he had fished from the dregs in the over-sized jar of vodka-fruit punch. He was caught up in the vibrant conversation and alcoholic humour until Lauren snagged him. She drew him into a corner where a few Arthur Curry School alumni sat catching up. Vimy gossip and retread stories of parties past wearied Michael but he tolerated it for Lauren's sake. He was conscious of her closeness and captivated by her smile. Around the room, he caught glimpses of affectionate hugs and kisses. Michael sat calculating the odds Lauren would give him a kiss before he had to leave. By the time they were talked out, the party crowd had thinned considerably. The stuffiness of the basement family room drove Michael and the others out into the fresh night air.

He was pleased Scott had not left. The tall engineering student's friend Nevin, Michael suddenly remembered his name, was poking at the barbeque grill. Lauren was hovering over their host Mark trying to supervise construction of a bonfire so Michael drifted over to the two young men. Scott seemed to sober when he noticed Michael. "I'm glad to see you didn't take off," he tried to encompass both men in his greeting but it seemed natural to end looking into Scott's blue eyes.

Scott's friend punched Michael in the shoulder playfully, "Christ it's still early buddy."

"Nevin is Mark's cousin. We are staying for the weekend," Scott added quietly. Michael remembered to stop looking at Scott's eyes. He switched to the grill where Scott's friend was herding a pair of alarmingly charred burgers and one desiccated Smokey around the grill. "Are you hungry?"

"Not for those, but yes I could eat something," Michael decided with a laugh.

"Tons of fresh ones here, what will it be?" Scott's friend started scooping up burnt patties and flicking them off into the night. He scraped the grill industriously.

"Just a burger I guess," Michael watched as the heavy set man slapped two burgers on the fire.

"You want anything Scott?"

"Maybe a Smokie," Scott's friend dropped a fresh sausage link on the grill.

"Let me see that for a moment. Do you have a knife?" Michael quizzed the two young men. While Scott's friend cast around the barbeque looking, Scott slipped a clasp knife out of his pocket and handed it to Michael. Michael's buttocks brushed against the front of Scott's pants as he edged the two young men away from the grill. The pair watched as Michael quickly began slashing the skin along the side of the Smokie link.

"Ouch that's gotta hurt. What are you doing buddy?"

Michael paused to move the two burgers away from an eruption of flame before replying. "If they are cut, they don't burst when they get hot." It was an elementary cooking trick like not reducing a patty of ground beef to charcoal.

"Hey, the juice has to come out of the dog somehow."

Michael ignored the observation. "Besides, it's easier to eat."

"So you prefer yours cut?"

Michael finally relented and grinned at the young man, "Sure if it's easier to swallow."

"Scott, he swallows," Scott's friend followed this up by giving Michael a friendly shove that knocked the lighter Michael into Scott. Scott steadied him with a hand on the shoulder. "Where's my drink? Scott, buddy, dude I'm out; back in a sec."

Scott dropped his hand and moved next to Michael. "Do you want anything to drink?"

"Sure, can you get me a soda? Sprite or something," Michael looked up at Scott before rolling the Smokie link and flipping the burgers.



"You don't drink?"

"Oh sure," but Michael found it boring, "I'm DD," he added feeling pressured to give a reason. Ashley was over with the group by the bonfire swilling Yuka Flats. Acton had been drinking heavily too, but Michael saw no evidence it was having any impact on the man.

"That's cool Mike," Scott followed his friend over to the drinks table and Michael played with the meat. Loud whoops of excitement followed a sudden explosion of brilliant light over at the fire pit. The assembled young people danced back as gasoline flames licked at the low branches of a gnarled Maple two and a half metres above the pit. Michael could see Acton with his arm draped over Ashley through the shifting flames. The chemical fire faded quickly and someone giggled a warning that the bonfire was going out. A few people tossed their drinks onto the logs, small flashes of blue light erupted. There was a suggestion to add more gasoline but Mark forestalled the plan by dragging a propane tank toward the fire.

"Now that is the way to start a fire," Scott's friend laughed beside Michael. They watched as their host ignited a Tiger Torch and stuck the fierce heat into the center of the haphazard pile of logs. Before long the intensity of the blue torch ignited the fuel. "Want some cheese buddy?" While Nevin dropped cheese on the two patties Michael searched the debris on ground for buns. He glanced toward the drink table and saw that Scott was heading back. He had the burgers off before Scott reached the back door. The three juggled full drinks and snacks back and forth for a moment and then abandoned the barbeque for the group around fire.

"That looks good," Lauren's face glowed as the light from the bright flames played across her face. Her eyes glittered.

"Do you want it?" Michael was distracted as a feminine hand holding a beer bottle reached up to brush some brunette strands away from soft eyes.

"I'll just take a bite thanks." She took the burger from Michael and he watched as her lips wrapped around one side and pulled a bit free. She held it out to him and then he was rewarded with a smile when he encouraged her to keep it. His heart quickened when she offered one last coy look and turned slowly away. Michael memorized the curve of her hourglass shape as she stood talking to a group of girls.

"She wants your hot meat." Michael turned back and looked past Scott to his friend with a grin. He shrugged, not wishing to put the idea of Lauren and him into words. He covered his embarrassment at the transparency of his feelings with a sip from the drink Scott had brought him.

"You want to share some of my Smokie Mike?" Scott asked in a low voice.

"Sure," Michael said. Scott rested the hand holding his own cup lightly on Michael's shoulder as if to steady the younger man and then brought the bun up to Michael's mouth. He watched as Michael bit a section away.

"That's it Mike, open wide, you take Scottie's cut wiener; juicy and hot. Oh God," Scott's friend moaned grotesquely, "It feels so good," he crooned.

"Shut up Nevin," Scott retorted mildly, "Just because this'd be the closest you'll get to sex."

Michael chewed the spicy meat slowly. People were gathering lawn chairs and a bench closer to the fire. There was the odd exclamation as a log exploded, otherwise the group of fifteen young adults settled into the primal pleasure of an open fire. Michael cleared his mouth with a sip and looked through the branches of the old Maple. The fire's glow blinded him momentarily, and then his vision cleared and he could see the bright stars above. Toward the south the full moon dimmed the constellations. A light prairie breeze lifted the slightest hint of moisture off the nearby lake and rustled the leaves. The voices around the fire seemed almost muted to his ears. Scott's friend stepped closer to the fire to pass a comment to Mark. The party rustled in its own way around him but Michael did not move. Scott's hand was still a comfortable weight on his shoulder.

Scott nudged his shoulder slightly to get his attention. When Michael looked, he was offering another bite of his Smokie. Michael accepted the offer with a tilt of his head. As the bun was gently presented, Michael felt the back of Scott's fingers move lightly over his cheek. The fingers lingered after he had bit down and then Scott pulled away. Michael smiled his thanks. Scott was staring at the dancing flames, his eyes seeking something in the coals. Michael stepped closer to the fire and tried to follow him into the blistering labyrinth of charred wood and orange embers. When he did, he felt Scott step closer.

Michael was aware now that the young man by his side was experiencing something of the same tremendous draw he was feeling. It was the warmth of friendship combined with an intense curiosity about all things Scott. It seemed natural to Michael to like the guy. Scott combined an easy humour with restraint and sensitivity. It was hard to imagine the confident university student taking a misstep or being at a loss for words. It was as if he managed his life as easily as he managed his long limbs and muscles. Scott seemed to welcome the magnetic pull between them. Michael was not sure why he would.

The eighteen-year old turned his attention to Ashley across the fire. Her hair shone in the firelight as she turned to one friend or another. Michael thought her easily the most interesting girl at the party, if not the prettiest. Acton sat complacently by her side, not the first handsome man his sister had attracted; they had all been good looking, but certainly the first to match her incandescent personality with his own fire. When Michael was small, he worshipped Ashley. As Michael watched, she paused in her conversation long enough to meet Acton's lips. She caught his face across the fire and shouted, "Mikey," gathering him into her joy as she always had as long as he could remember. His broad smile mirrored back her delight and their brown eyes twinkled. People directed friendly looks his way. You must be Ashley's little brother ; the comment always came quickly and he never seemed to mind.

Michael joined the conversation around the fire. The chairs were taken so he requisitioned a heavy log and propped it near the fire where, like a number of others, he could play with it. Gradually the conversation coalesced into one. They were fifteen people brought together from across two provinces by degrees of separation. Curiosity fuelled the conversation and their similarities and differences was grist for the mill. Tired jokes and reminiscences floated with a new audience. Michael was shy that he had spent his eighteen years in stuffy Vimy, the young men and women had opened a door. He asked questions and people welcomed the opportunity to demonstrate their greater experience.

Lauren waited until Michael went to the drink table to grab a soda. She slipped an arm around his waist, and he hugged her. "Hi," he greeted. Her body felt good against his. She did not pull away so he let his hand drift down to the swell of her hip.

She pressed closer with her hands on his chest. "Let's go down to the beach." She made it sound like a great adventure.

"What, now?" It would be a long walk and even with the moonlight it would be awkward in this unfamiliar location. Michael wavered between a chance to be alone with Lauren and stumbling through the bush blindly seeking the path down to the lake shore.

"The party is at Elk Cove tonight. Kelly and Shareen have been texting me to come join them." Michael felt more ambivalence. Lauren shifted slightly against him and he was conscious of a pressure on his groin. "We'll just go down for a few beers, say hi to everyone and come back. It's early."

"Okay," Lauren reached up and kissed his cheek, "I'll just tell my sister," he added. Michael worked his way over to Ashley. After he told her, he noticed Scott slouched in a lawn chair listening to Mark describe tubing with Nevin when they were twelve. Michael squatted down beside Scott. "I'm running Lauren down to the lake. I just wanted to say goodbye in case you were gone when I got back. It was really great meeting you."

"Remember, we're staying here tonight."

"Oh right, cool, I'll see you when I get back then." Michael felt a flush of relief. He had forgotten what Scott's friend had said by the barbeque. They smiled at each other wordlessly. "Behave," Michael frowned sternly.

Scott laughed and looked over to where Lauren waited. He surprised Michael when he reached over and ran a hand through his hair, "Have a good time Mike." Scott smiled softly at him.

On impulse, Michael grabbed Scott's forearm, "Come with us."

Scott glanced back at Lauren "You just go Mike. She's waiting for you not me."

"Maybe, but she wants to go to a high school party."

"Cool, be with your friends."

"No seriously, it will be lame, if you come along I won't get stuck there," Michael forced the issue by calling over to Lauren, "Scott's coming with us." She was intent on her phone and simply nodded.

12:45 am

Scott and Lauren walked ahead of Michael. The breeze was stronger on the beach and the flames of the bonfire licked at the shifting group of teenagers. He could hear the excited shouts of the younger boys and girls. Figures moved down by the water. Michael wondered if Kara was with the others. He had not talked to her since the clean-up after grad. He had pulled her aside thinking her announcement was some drunken mistake. It was not. He was off to university in St. George and she was staying home with her junior and senior years ahead. It was over, she said. After sulking for three days it occurred to Michael that that he was fine with that.

There was a sudden whoop down by the water and two figures started racing across the sand toward Michael, "Novak, Novak." He kept walking toward the fire. They hit him hard, his feet flew out from under him and all three young men collapsed back into the soft sand. A cold wet body reeking of beer pressed down on him, "Good to see you man." Michael laughed and waited patiently for his friends to get off. "You bastard, you never come anymore. Ah, Lauren Mercier, I get the picture. Now I see why you wanted to come." Suddenly Michael was being humped violently.

"Get the fuck off you guys," Michael pushed his friend away with a laugh, "you're getting me wet." Michael accepted a helping hand and the three young men greeted each other properly. Scott was standing nearby so Michael drew his friends closer. "Gord, Allan, this is Scott."

"Another college boy?" Allan asked.

"Scott Rutherford," Scott added and Michael realized he had not known Scott's last name, "Yes, I'm at the U of A in Medicine Hat." Gord asked if Scott had graduated. "God no, I have at least two more years of engineering," and that elicited a groan from both Vimy teens so recently liberated from cramped school desks. Scott laughed, "It's not that bad. It's a blast most of the time."

"You and Novak, I'd rather ranch with the Rents," Gord interjected. Scott glanced at Michael before turning back to his friends.

"My parents ranch down near East End." That began a conversation Michael could only listen to. He had a brief vision of Scott as the Marlborough Man riding the slopes of Cypress Hills, only Scott did not appear smoke and Michael imagined him in the worn Medicine Hat Tigers ball cap he was wearing. Scott went on to say he was not interested in ranching and his reasons revealed he knew the business. Besides, Scott had older brothers. Gord and Allan warmed to Scott quickly. Michael learned more about Scott in that brief exchange than he had learned all evening. He realized he was tongue-tied around Scott. Scott met his eyes and the friendly smile Scott offered Michael's friends melted away into a thoughtful stare before he seemed to recollect himself and replied to Gord's latest question.

"Michael dude," Michael turned toward a drunken fourteen-year old boy with a girl flowing out of her tight hipsters and halter top. Michael knew the girl. She was fifteen going on tramp-ho. The boy came to a shaky halt half a metre away with a partial erection. "Long time no ... I'm really drunk," the boy concluded solemnly, "Really drunk," he added for emphasis. A year ago the tousle-headed Riley might have slipped over from next door to share a fire with Michael till his mother finally dragged him home. Riley fell into Michael's arms for a limp hug and then staggered back a step. His companion tugged on his arm. Riley gave her a smile and turned back to Michael, "Later, call me dude." Riley raised a hand to his ear mimicking a phone with two fingers, pointed once at Michael, and then stumbled away with the girl. The girl guided him toward the fire, her corseted hips tight against Riley's skinny butt.

Lauren brought Michael a beer. "Thanks for bringing me down." He took the beer realizing he needed a drink. Kara was somewhere over in the darkness. It came to Michael he was not quite free of their relationship yet. Appearing at the beach with Scott and Lauren verified that he was not alone. His friends readily accepted Scott but Lauren had a double edge. He could flout her as a demonstration that he had moved on yet she represented exactly what Kara likely expected from him now that he was going away. Michael tried to push his ex-girlfriend back through the doorway into his past. "It is so beautiful down here," Lauren sighed turning to the lake. Her comment brought Michael out of his reverie. "I feel so connected here, you know?" She held out her hand invitingly. He took it and allowed her to lead him down to the water's edge. "This is what I like, seeing the old gang, sharing news."

"Yes it's cool," Michael nodded. He took a long pull at the beer. The handy reply, cool , it masked his real feelings. He had lived with these people and their relationships every day of his life and he needed to disconnect. If he kissed Lauren this moment Kara would notice and so might Lauren's nineteen-year-old ex boyfriend back by the fire. It was all a little incestuous for Michael. The only one not entangled here on the beach was Scott. Lauren lifted her lips and kissed him without warning and all reservations were driven from his mind.

Lauren did not give Michael a chance to react. With her lips pressed to his, she moved into him. Her softness made him hard as she hooked his shoulder with her beer bottle and ran her free hand up the inside of his hoody and T-shirt. Her fingernails scratched his flesh lightly and the movement encouraged him closer. Lauren swayed slightly allowing Michael's erection to rub back and forth across her shorts. She knew he was hard and exploited the knowledge. Lauren finally broke the kiss and met his eyes. There were no words between them, just the sounds of the lake water and the laughter back at the fire. Lauren considered his face as the hand beneath his shirt slid around his side, tickled his arm pit and then she scraped his sensitive nipple with her nails. Michael retaliated. His fingers fluttered on her smooth hip and then they curled up into the hem of her shorts and he pulled up until he reached the line of her panties. He could feel the first swell of her firm buttocks. Lauren's hand hooked his neck and he was dragged down for a second kiss. Michael thought she might pull him down right there in the sand and he was half willing for her to do it.

After they broke the kiss, they stood fingers twined watching the light on the water. Lauren's perfume, now inexorably linked to the moist lake air, still lingered. Lauren's cool fingers contrasted with the memory of the liquid warmth of her lips. On an impulse, Michael brushed her long hair back and kissed her cheek. "It's cold," she commented. Michael responded by drawing her in front and wrapping his fleece-lined arms around her. She snuggled back into to his body. He nuzzled her silken hair memorizing her scent.

"Lauren get over here girl." A girl's voice disturbed their moment together. Lauren walked out of his embrace. To soften his disappointment, she turned and held out her hand. He took it and they walked back to the group by the fire. Lauren sat on the sand near the fire and Michael joined her. It was like they were a couple. She did not mind when he put an arm around her waist. Michael's attention drifted into the fire pulling free only when one person or another addressed him. He let Lauren's conversation drift away from him content to feel her warmth against him. It was the same old round. Someone offered him another beer, but he had only consumed part of his first. Lauren accepted it instead, her voice an excited blur. Riley almost fell into the fire only to be rescued by a man in his early twenties. He was a familiar presence at the high school parties. He likely pulled most of the beer and rye being consumed by the underage teens. The guy looked worn and bloated from years of bush parties and nights in the local bar. Scott did not look like that.

Michael looked around for Scott. He had been near the fire talking to his friends. Michael rose and turned around feeling vaguely guilty. He finally spotted a lonely figure some distance from the party sitting near the water's edge. Michael went to him. Scott's gaze was on the farther shore where a few house lights twinkled along the lip of the valley. Michael dropped down behind Scott and gave him a bear hug from behind. Scott acknowledged it with a hand on his arm. "You've been drinking," Scott commented.

"Yes a little," Michael replied. He slid around and sat beside Scott. He matched Scott's posture, arms resting on his knees.

"It's nice here, you're lucky. I mean growing up by the lake."

"Everyone says that when they come here," Michael stared at Scott's eyes. They glittered and long lashes fluttered as Scott focussed on the water. Michael noticed a dimple when Scott's lips curled into a brief smile. "You live near Cypress Hills. That would be cool." Michael remembered the National Park rising above the parched prairie like some mirage of the foothills of the Rockies so much farther to the west. "What's Medicine Hat like? Do you like the University? Where do you live?"

"Cypress Hills is nice. Our ranch is nice. I'd like to take you there." Scott paused after that. "But it's just a home like Lake Palliser is for you," he concluded flatly. Laughter from the fire distracted them both for a moment. Scott shifted away from talk of Medicine Hat. "You have friends."

"Yeah," Michael nodded.

"You've been so quiet I thought you might not." Michael considered the comment without taking offence.

"We all grew up together, played hockey for a while; I'm tired of it all. This partying, it's all so lame." Michael measured Scott's reaction to his words. "It was cool when I was fourteen like Riley, caging rides down to the park, going out to Seaborg's Trees in the fall or some house in the winter. I sort of stopped going after a while then went back to it when I went out with Kara this year. Maybe I am a bit of a loner now. I guess I'm ready to move on."

"I get that. Medicine Hat is bigger than St. George, more like Saskatoon, nothing like Calgary or Edmonton. Have you been there?"

"A few times passing through to the mountains; we went to Cypress once. Medicine Hat looks more exciting than St. George." Michael noticed Scott's beer between his legs. He took it uninvited and had a sip.

"I think what with being a university town and oil it has more action. There is a lot to do there." Scott stopped talking and took the beer back from Michael, "Your sister?"


"Ashley? She told me you got accepted to the University of Assiniboia."

"Yes, just Arts and Sciences though. My parents ... we thought Education was the better route."

"You want to work with kids, teach?"

"I guess." Michael thought of Riley. He liked kids well enough. He was just not ready to make that sort of decision. "It's easier to go to St. George, closer. Ashley has a place, I can stay there. Are you in residence?" Scott jumped up and kicked his sandals off. He turned back to Michael and held out a hand. "What?" Michael asked.

"Let's get in the water."

"It's pretty cold." Michael looked at the offered hand.

"Not to swim, let's just walk." Michael took the preferred hand and Scott hauled him to his feet. He came up so fast Scott had to catch him. Michael careened off Scott's muscular frame and ended cradled in one arm close against him, hip pressed into the bulge of Scott's groin. "Careful," Scott laughed. Scott walked into the water up to his knees and turned back to see if Michael was following. When Michael had joined him they started away from the party. "My parents bought a condominium in Medicine Hat when my brothers went to college. I live there now. It has two bedrooms; not very handy to the university but it is good."

"You live alone?"

"No, mostly I have a roommate." Michael imagined sharing the condo with Scott. Chatting together like this before they went to bed. They walked on into the night, their legs numbed by the water. Scott talked and Michael listened. They passed the bottle back and forth, each taking smaller sips so the sharing would last. At last the bottle was gone. It seemed a signal they should turn around. Michael stooped and filled the bottle with water and then heaved it as far as he could into the lake. They listened to its lonely splash.

"We call that pulling for the ghosts," Michael explained.

"How's that?"

"Pulling booze; they dammed the Saskatchewan in the sixties making this lake. Old Vimy is out there somewhere under the water."

"No shit? That is trippy." They shared a vision of drowned buildings and ghostly poplars lining the streets. It wasn't like that though. Michael's father told him most of the buildings were moved or dozed and the trees were felled before the cold waters of the Saskatchewan flooded the deserted streets. Still it made a great conversation piece.

"Okay, it's getting cold," Michael conceded.

"Wuss," Scott gave Michael a small shove, "The water's fine."

"As if," Michael protested. He leaned over and splashed Scott's shorts soaking his crotch. Scott yelped. "Not so warm is it?" The loose cotton of his shorts and boxers clung to Scott's hanging cock.

"Bastard," Scott grabbed the front of Michael's loose hoody and jerked him forward. Michael stumbled and managed to regain his feet. He gripped Scott's arms and both young men paused weighing the odds. Scott thought them good. He grinned as he slid a leg behind Michael and forced the younger man back. Michael twisted out of the trap trying to reverse the situation and catch his assailant off balance. They grappled back and forth each trying various holds. The cold lake water churned around them as they giggled and panted. Scott's size and strength told in the end. In a sudden move, Scott slipped a hand between Michael's legs and lifted him out of the water. Michael grabbed frantically at any part of Scott he could and ended poised above the water gripping a shoulder with one hand and the back of Scott's shorts with another.

"No, I'm sorry I splashed you," it spilled out in a panic, "Don't do it Scott; my cell phone." Scott's hand slipped from Michael's thigh to his knee. Michael dropped dangerously close to the black water. He clawed his way back up Scott's arm.

"Good point," Scott conceded. He smiled down at Michael, turned and headed back to the sandy beach. Once he was safely over dry land, Michael resumed his struggle. Scott heaved him up to his chest, one arm hooked around a leg and the other supporting Michael's head and shoulders. He paused a moment and then Michael crashed into the soft sand pinned under Scott's weight. They lay there as Scott tried to catch his breath. When Michael made a half-hearted effort to escape the pin, Scott shifted his hold. They lay there, Scott's arm resting on Michael's crotch as he pulled one leg up to the eighteen-year-olds chest, the other around his shoulder. Scott rested his head in the crook of Michael's arm like a pillow. Down the beach the noise of the party continued but each listened to the other's breath. "You're heavy," Scott said, ending the silence, but Michael thought Scott's strong hands had flipped him about effortlessly. Scott gave Michael a last squeeze and released him.

Scott rearranged himself so he lay on the sand propped on his elbows. He took a handful of sand and let it run through his fingers. Michael lay back with his hands behind his head. He looked up into the infinite and then closed his eyes. Scott's arms brushed against his waist, past over his groin and lightly brushed the sand from Michael's thigh. "Tired?" Scott asked.

"Not yet," Michael replied. "What's the time?"

Scott pulled his own cell phone out and flipped it open. Michael turned his head. Scott's face glowed briefly in the soft light and then he turned the phone face toward Michael. It was past two. Scott rubbed Michael's stomach to get his attention. "We should get back."

As they walked, Michael's thoughts returned to Scott's condo apartment in Medicine Hat. He asked how much the rent might be and that led to questions about food which led to bickering about likes and dislikes as if they were not on a beach but walking down the hall in some supermarket. Scott hated Mac and Cheese because he lived on it his first year and Michael didn't trust Scott to cook a hot dog. Scott thought he would have to be careful coming out of the shower around supper time because Michael had a thing about slashing wieners. That earned Scott a shove and it was hands on again.

Michael was breathless when they reached the fire. Scott hung back while he went to tell Lauren it was time to go. Lauren nodded and Michael tossed a quick farewell to his high school friends before retreating to where Scott waited. Lauren made the rounds.

"Mike, can I have your number?" Scott asked it casually. Michael told him and then realized it would be polite to ask for Scott's.

"Just give me your phone for a second." When Lauren finally came up to Michael, Scott was working on Scott's address book. She gave Michael a lingering kiss, waved to the people by the fire and then slipped between the two young men. She wrapped an arm around their waists.

"Okay boys, take me home." Scott slipped Michael's phone back into his pocket as they started back to the truck.
2:40 am

"Jesus Christ Shelly left without me. Did she ask anyone where I was?" Lauren vented her frustration to the small group. Michael's welcoming smile shifted to polite concern. He had just been talking to Ashley and Acton by the fire while he waited for her to return. In the three young people's absence the party had shifted back to the warmth of Mark's basement. Michael had found Ashley and Acton conversing quietly at the fire with another die hard couple. Ashley had acquired a tattered sleeping bag from someone. She sat propped against her boyfriend's chest with the open bag tucked against her chin. Only her hand poked free with a glass of Yucca Flats.

"We can take you home," Ashley took another sip of her drink.

"Sure," Michael agreed readily enough. He masked his disappointment as best he could. Despite his initial reluctance to come with Ashley, the night had been great and he was not ready to see it end now that they had escaped the high school crowd down by the beach. "So are you two ready to head off now Ashley?"

"No Mikey," Ashley answered in a sing song, "I thought you could take her home and come back for us." Her tone was playful and she addressed him as if he was a little boy requiring unnecessary explanations. She took another sip and snuggled back against Acton.

Michael turned back to Lauren, "Just tell me when you need to go. Do you want to sit out here?" Michael asked Lauren hopefully. Michael patted the ground beside him. "There should be a car blanket in the truck." Lauren looked back at him apologetically and told him she needed to leave. She had a brunch date with her friends Kelly and Shareen at the hotel. "Oh," Michael began furiously strategizing on how to exploit the drive.

They drove in an awkward silence. Michael needed no instructions as he negotiated the moonlit grid roads. The geography was as familiar to him as the short walk to school. The glowing digits on the dashboard read 2:57 AM. Michael chanced glances in Lauren's direction. He and Kara had made love three times in the months leading up to Michael's graduation. The first time had been on Kara's sixteenth birthday. That consummation had been preceded by a year of slow advancements and retreats. Kara kissed Michael readily enough; Michael thought himself adept at it now. Certainly he felt confident enough to initiate a kiss with Lauren. Taking it further would be treacherous territory for Michael. The eighteen-year-old had, admittedly, resorted to some unabashed whining to get Kara out of her pants. Their relationship had some history and emotional weight by the night she allowed him to skin off her jeans. Michael was not experienced enough to fast track his evening with Lauren and while he was prepared to try begging, he doubted she would be moved by it.

"I'm glad I came tonight. I'm glad you were there Lauren. It was great hanging out with you." Michael was short on time. He turned the truck toward the yard light marking the Mercier farm. In an act of desperation he put his hand down on the bench between them.

"Me too Little Keith," Keith was his father's name and a reminder of high school together. At Arthur Curry School you either acquired a denigrating nickname like Goober or the people who liked you called you by your father's name. She accepted his invitation and he felt a soft cool hand cover his. Her fingers explored his and played with the fine hairs. He glanced between them. Her hand made his look large and strong. Lauren's hand travelled further and then it was resting on his thigh. His muscles flexed beneath her touch as his foot pressed down on the accelerator. The hand brushed against his crotch settling briefly on his growing cock. Michael lifted his hand and brushed the back of it against the inviting swell of Lauren's breast. "Stop," she commanded softly. He jerked the offending hand away quickly, his heart beating painfully. "Stop the truck Michael." She squeezed his thigh to encourage him.

The Dodge slowly crept to a halt on the deserted approach to her farm. Michael put the truck in park and checked the mirror before staring at the road illuminated ahead of them. Lauren reached over and turned the engine off and abruptly they were bathed in the summer moonlight. She slid across the bench. His seatbelt sprung free and her hand tugged the folds of his shirt and hoody away from his waist. A cool hand darted in, skated across his body and up to his shoulder blade turning him toward her lips. She was soft and sweet against his dry lips. A hand cradled the side of his head; fingers stroked the nap of his neck encouraging Michael to press harder.

Michael's fingers fumbled at Lauren's blue top. He probed until he reached soft flesh and followed it up to a supple globe. He pulled away from her surprised to discover she was braless. Lauren smiled her amusement and then pressed her lips home. His broad hand tried to encompass her and failed. Kara's flat mounds did not compare to Lauren's fullness. The flesh compressed against his palm. He was conscious of the prominent nipple brushing against his hand. He caught her nub between his fingers and squeezed it. Lauren murmured against his lips so he continued his assault on her breast.

She responded to his touch by bringing her own fingers to the flat muscled pans of his breast. Her nails strummed on his nipple briefly and Michael was shocked by the wave of pleasure. He moaned involuntarily. She seemed unaware of his response and moved on to explore his torso. Her fingers seemed to appreciate his spare frame. Michael self-consciously tightened his abdominal muscles wishing they matched the hard washboard he had felt when he wrestled Scott on the beach. Lauren's curious fingers wanted more. She broke the kiss and began pulling his top off. He helped her and tossed the shirt and hoody on the back bench. Michael was pressed back into the driver's door. He slouched watching her hands move around his body; fingers caressing the damp hair of his arm pits, teasing his nipples into an erection before abandoning them for the hard belly and narrow waist. His muscles quivered at her touch, his breath came in ragged gasps. Small hands framed his narrow waist sliding up and down his sides as if in appreciation of the unbroken sweep of tight skin that extended from his shoulders to his hip bone. She kissed his chest and then his lips.

Her fingers paused at the fine hairs trailing from his navel down past his belt. Michael's cock fought its confines and soaked his underwear. It was centimetres from her fingers struggling to break free. She noticed it and scratched its length through the light fabric. She considered their arrangement critically examining the cramped space and intrusive wheel. Michael's hand glided over her soft inner thigh. His touch distracted her and she bent quickly to kiss him. As their lips resumed their play, Michael's hands explored her suspended breasts. He stroked her soft belly and finally pressed the blade of his hand against the heat of her sex.

Lauren sat back and bumped her head against the cab top, "Sorry," whispered Michael. She laughed off her frustration before attacking his belt. He let her unbuckle it and then the snap and zipper. When she spread his pants wide she hooked his briefs and yanked down. Michael's cock snapped free. The swollen crown lay glistening a centimetre short of his navel. Lauren pulled it away and ran her thumb over the soft skin of his sensitive crown. Her thumb milked free a few clear drops that hung on the small mouth before dripping onto his slowly heaving belly. "Oh God," Michael trembled. Michael flamed with passion at the sensation of Lauren's hands on his exposed flesh. He burned to see her naked body imagining her teardrop breasts, pale in the lingering moonlight, nipples large and inviting. She left off teasing his cock and unsnapped her shorts. His cock jumped when he caught his first glimpse of white panties.

Lauren paused again with a slight frown. She peered through the back window of the cab toward the empty truck bed. "There's a sheet of plywood back there." Michael's father was protective of his truck. It must not have sounded particularly appealing to Lauren. Michael was badly wedged into the driver's side of the cab with one arm tangled in the steering wheel. "I think there is a blanket in the tool box," he added. Lauren smiled agreement and squeezed his cock. She backed off of his legs and Michael struggled back up feeling suddenly awkward, young and ill-prepared. "Lauren," he began hesitantly, "I don't have a condom." An awful confession; Scott, he was sure would have anticipated the need and come prepared.

When Michael and Kara came together he had self-consciously acquired a box of condoms. One had been consumed with autoerotic experimentation; another became an impressive balloon he quickly disposed of when he heard his mother's voice. Michael carried a condom in his wallet for six months before he finally used it. He used two others and then stopped carrying one when Kara announced they were finished. Lauren shrugged and rummaged around in her purse. She surfaced from its mysterious depths with a short tape of lubricated Trojans. Michael hastily shoved them in his pocket. They tip toed barefoot across the gravel to the waiting bed of the truck.

Michael ransacked his father's black toolbox searching for the emergency blanket his mother insisted they keep on hand. He pulled it free and turned back to spread it over the sheet of worn pine. He froze with the soft fleece blanket against his bare chest. Lauren posed for him casually on the side of the truck bed. Her firm breasts drew his eyes first. They were so much fuller than Kara's adolescent breasts. Her arched back created a seductive offering from the crease where the perfect curve of her breasts met her ribs down past the dimple of her navel to the final plunge into the tangled forest of her pubis. She sat with one leg stretched out; otherwise her thighs were demurely closed. He cursed his awkwardness unaware of the complement his saucer-shaped eyes conveyed to her. "You found it," Lauren offered softly to break his trance.

"Yeah," Michael agreed inanely conscious of an unwelcome higher pitch. He snapped the blanket out over the board and paused with his thumbs hooked into his open pants. Lauren smiled to show she appreciated the view. Michael's shorts dropped free with a small tug and he stood before her in a simple pair of white briefs. Lauren rose to join him. Michael held her by the waist as she stroked his chest and abdomen. Her hands massaged his hips, tickled his thighs and circled the muscles of his arms. It was as if she held his organ already in her hands. Each languid stroke made his body harder. The same blood that swelled his cock pounded through his limbs and hardened his torso. He could have lifted her as easily as Scott had lifted him on the beach, except he had her where he need her and all they had to do was sink to the bed of the truck together.

Lauren dipped down stripping his briefs in one graceful motion. When she came back to her feet, her palm finally cupped his swollen balls. She felt their weight and scratched the tightness of his scrotum. One hand grasped his cock in a tight squeeze bending it to one side while the other hand stroked the hard shield of his belly. "I liked to look at you when you played basketball. We talked about how tight your ass was." Lauren pressed against him and her fingers dug into his tensed buttocks close to his cleft. His eyes widened as fingers scraped close to his anus. Michael's cock rode up Lauren's silken abdomen as if it wished to drive itself between her breasts. "You are a beautiful boy," Lauren purred.

It was all too much. Michael mashed his lips against hers and let his weight collapse her to the truck bed. As his weight forced her down onto the hard surface her hands frantically attempted to encompass and explore every curve of his body. He loved her mobile lips and probing tongue, her hands groping for the swell of his buttocks drove him to distraction. His damp cock stabbed at her flesh in many places. She called him beautiful; she said he was hot and strong. "Lauren," was all he could reply between bruising exchanges with their lips.

Michael gave off grinding his hips into her heat and slip down her body to devour her breasts. She pressed her leg hard against his groin mashing his balls up against the root of his cock. She let him suckle on her breasts encouraging him on with fingers that raked his scalp. "Fuck me Michael. Do it now." Her voice broke. Michael climbed her length and searched out his pants. Lauren curled and then locked her legs around his hips. For the first time he felt her liquid heat tight against his groin. She began jacking his cock with a steady rhythm while he tore at the end of the strip of condoms with savage teeth. Her hand offered him no mercy. When the lubricated disk slid free Michael knelt between Lauren's legs.

His cock arched away from his body in a classic curve straight up to his navel. He sheathed his organ as she watched with tanned legs splayed open in invitation. Her sex was like a beautiful flower waiting for his shaft. He dropped down on one arm, paused to guide his straining cock to her vagina and in one bold drive buried himself deep in the clinging folds of her body. It brought a shudder to both of them. After her aggressive foreplay, Lauren lay passively beneath Michael. He stayed buried his full length enjoying the natural fit of their bodies and then he began a gentle pumping motion.

For a time it seemed Lauren was barely conscious of his presence. Michael focussed on the sensation of her muscles gripping his cock, her heat and steady flow of juices coating his balls. Lauren stared at the stars past his shoulder. She ran her hands over her own breasts squeezing and kneading the nipples. As he rode her, her hips rocked against his pelvis inviting him deeper into her body. Her hand strayed down to rub her clitoris. Michael broadened his strokes. Sex with Lauren made his cock feel longer. Michael marvelled at the length of his strokes. Despite the cool prairie night a sheen of sweat appeared on his body.

He felt the first pressures begin to build and slowed his pace. He did not want this to come too quickly. As he slowed his pace and brought their coupling back to a stillness Lauren became more conscious of him. Her hands stroked his with contentment as if he had already found his release and was now moving into that special lassitude reserved for spent young males. They resumed kissing. They covered each other's shoulders and faces in soft kisses.

When Michael found his body could stay still no longer he resumed in earnest. Soon he was angled above her again driving his cock hard. This time her hands were on his body sliding around the musky dampness of him. His strokes became less controlled and she began to moan. He left her body and quite by accident fell into a pattern of strokes alternating between a deep penetration and a slippery glide across her clitoris. She responded by digging her nails into the flesh of his biceps.

Lauren twisted away from him abruptly leaving him humping her hip. He paused uncertainly. Michael was almost mindless from the need to orgasm. He let out a small protest as she crawled toward the black plastic tool box at the end of the cab. He followed her like a dog groping for her body. Lauren stood against the box, legs spread wide. She gave him a look over her shoulder before dropping over the box. Her engorged vagina was exposed below the dark hallo of her anus.

Michael stood behind her. He ran his cock over one soft cheek as his fingers played with the wet folds of her sex. He searched out her clitoris and Lauren rewarded him with a cry as he reached his goal. He played her body for a while amazed at her abandon. When his own manhood threatened to flag he entered her again. The pair rutted like dogs. Lauren buried her face in her arms or clawed at the tough plastic as she arched her back. Michael stood behind her, hands on her hips, or he collapsed over her to work her pendulous breasts and turgid nipples. At the end, his body was moulded to hers and she supported both their weights as one hand clung to her breast and the other dug into the drenched flesh of her sex feeling his own veined shaft slide back and forth.

It flowed out of him in strong pulses. The cum threatened to surge back up his shaft. He continued mindless for a moment until the pulsing ceased and Michael felt a great weakness. The condom slid halfway off his cock as he pulled out panting, he eased his tired body back to the truck bed. Lauren caught up in her own body, stayed poised above him her sex loose and inviting more. Michael admired her from his reclined position.

She finally pushed off the black box and sat at his feet. Michael smiled at her shyly. His body was temporarily satiated and with the coupling over he felt more self-conscious. Lauren pinched the used condom on his cock. Michael pulled it free leaving a trail of semen on his belly. He flicked the latex over the side of the truck and into the darkness. "Thanks," he offered awkwardly, "That was..." but he did not know how to finish it. He felt the high school student once again begging Kara for sex and all gratitude when it was given. For a time he had felt powerful, a masculine presence like Acton or Scott; stupid not to shrug it off as an experienced man of the world.

As if to confirm the thought Lauren tickled his cock with a smile and held her long hair back while she gave him a quick kiss. "That was great. I liked it too." He smiled an invitation hoping she would feel like necking again. She admired his body for a moment as if she wished to remember it, and then she went to where she left her clothes. He rolled over as he watched her dress. "Kelly and Shareen said the party would be over at Kyle's place Friday. His folks are at a cattle sale in St. George I guess. It sounds like everyone is going to be there. Mellissa says her job at Eaton's totally sucks. I think she is going to quit and come home for the rest of the summer. She'll be there." Her perfect breasts disappeared back into her shirt. "Ugh, it is so late. I've got to run." She paused to look at him again. "So I could pick you up, or you could pick me up. You're going to come aren't you?" She smiled expectantly so Michael found himself agreeing to go to the next party. They exchanged cell phone numbers and Lauren assured him she would bring a twenty-four of Pilsner. He rolled onto his back and stared up at the night sky as she dropped onto the road. After she retrieved her shoes and purse she leaned over the back of the truck. "Goodnight Michael, you were really sweet." He lay there naked before her. "Are you going to sleep there?" She giggled at him.

"No, I guess I better get back to Mark's. Ashley and Acton are expecting me."

"Well don't fall asleep here. My mom would not be very impressed." With that, Lauren disappeared into the night.
3:55 am

Michael poked at the wet bed of cold ashes. Heat still radiated up as if below the soggy mess a bed of coals still glowed biding its time. All the way back from the Mercier farm he pictured himself back at the campfire. He turned to the house.

Ashley and Acton were in the living room sleeping in each other's arms. He left them and followed the sound of low music down to the basement. He dropped down the stairs four steps at a time with a greeting on his lips. The darkness silenced Michael. He paused trying to take in what he was seeing in the dim light cast by a computer monitor. Two people lay on the couch making out; another pair occupied an inflatable mattress across the room. It might have been intended for Scott's bed, because he lay stretched in the center of the carpet, his long legs crossed and strong hands clasped behind his head. He lay so still that Michael concluded he was sleeping. He took the opportunity to study the young man he had just met. Michael was resigned to his 167 centimetres and 59 kilos. It was respectable enough but the twenty-year old's extra 10 centimetres or so seemed ideal. Michael's eyes strayed to the telling bulge that broke the plain of Scott's hips and nestled between his thighs. Easy to imagine the heavy length that ought to complement the well-knit body; Michael flushed at the unexpected intrusion of such adolescent locker room speculation. He passed it off as a by-product of the soft rustling of the two intertwined couples and his own recent sex with Lauren.

Scott's eyes opened abruptly and Michael realized he had been awake. Michael felt a burst of adrenaline and bounded two steps before dropping across Scott's stomach. The impact elicited a small grunt and Scott raised his head.

"I'm back," Michael told Scott brightly. One couple paused at the disturbance. He leaned close to Scott's face to repeat his greeting in a whisper.

"I can see that," Scott smiled back. Michael settled across the warmth of Scott's body. His hand played with the young man's shirt.

"Looks like the party is over," he looked over at the couple he had disturbed earlier. The young woman had her hand jammed into her partner's crotch. "Well not completely. I thought you went to sleep."

"I was waiting for you I guess." They shared the growing sense of friendship with more smiles. Michael shifted closer to catch Scott's quiet words and Scott touched him lightly on the shoulder as if he needed a steady hand. Scott continued in a barely audible voice, "Not tired I guess. Nevin and Mark just crashed. You tired now?"

"No!" Michael whispered back and he really wasn't. The contented lassitude that had washed over him in the afterglow of sex with Lauren had vanished. Michael felt oddly energized by Scott's attention. "I guess I should." Michael fell back so that his head could rest on Scott's stomach. He rolled back up to see Scott's face. "I mean it's sort of crazy isn't it? I was up at seven and worked all day. I should be wiped right?"

"Yeah you should," Scott agreed apparently sharing his wonder. His voice mirrored the hint of elation in Michael's voice. It was as if he too felt some element of magic in the night. A low moan interrupted their whispers. The pair on the couch had quietly escalated their petting. The young woman had worked the man's pants down. As they watched he slowly humped her. Scott and Michael shared a look. Scott beckoned his companion closer and Michael shifted to his chest, their heads centimetres apart, "Holly shit," Scott mouthed at Michael.

Michael nodded his head vigorously. They both began to giggle and then they fought desperately to suppress the quiet snorts which only served to fuel their fit. Michael buried his face in Scott's chest to stifle the noise. "Oh God," Michael finally whispered. He laid his head on Scott's chest. After a while Scott began stroking his back.

Michael was conscious of their closeness. The contact felt good. He could hear the young man's heart beat and feel the slow rise and fall of his chest. The room was charged with sex and his recently stimulated cock expanded sympathetically. Michael rolled back off Scott and returned to his position with his head on the twenty-year old's chest. He watched the couple touch and move together on the couch. Scott's hand petted his chest soothingly. Michael acknowledged the contact by running the back of his fingers lightly over the other young man's leg. Michael was aroused again.

By degrees their contact became more intimate. Scott's hand journeyed down to Michael's waist and his fingers toyed with the sparse dusting of hair below Michael's navel. When Scott's curiosity was satisfied his hand moved back up under Michael's shirt to his smooth chest. Michael shifted his position as if he sought more comfort on the carpet. It invited Scott to explore more of his body. For his part, Scott cocked a knee and that allowed Michael to run his hand through the forest covering Scott's inner thigh. They were like two boys consolidating a new friendship with acts of physical closeness, but they were young men. So instead of throwing an arm over a shoulder or tossing a friendly punch, they touched each other in the dark. Instead of standing toe to toe trading glances as they compared heights, or testing their strength by lifting each other with bear hugs, Scott and Michael measured with their sensitive fingers. Michael's hand pushed against the fabric of Scott's shorts and as he did, his throat tightened, and his heart beat uncontrollably. In a move Michael knew was inevitable, Scott's hand closed around his erect cock.

Michael stared at the ceiling as Scott slowly explored the contours of his cock and massaged his sack. His own hand was pushed close to the warmth of Scott's own scrotum. He pushed two fingers under Scott's boxers stopping just short of his goal. The other two couples seemed oblivious to the young men's familiarity. The darkened room lent the allusion of privacy, though in a corner of his mind Michael was conscious that eyes might be watching. It simply did not matter. He was overwhelmed by Scott's presence, caught up in the unfamiliar eroticism of the moment and hugely drawn to the older man.

Scott silently curled around Michael's torso and brought his head to the younger man's groin. Michael felt a drunken rush that left him dizzy. His hand groped and found Scott's hip. As Scott opened Michael's fly he bent a leg inviting access to his groin. The moment when Scott's mouth enveloped Michael's engorged head Michael's fingers wrapped around the moist heat of Scott's thick member.

After the first taste Scott paused, face close to Michael's cock. Lauren's essence mingled with male sweat and the musty remains of Michael's semen. Scott fell to licking Michael and when the shaft glistened with his saliva he began massaging it with his lips and tongue. Each time Michael felt his own cock sink into the heat, his fingers squeezed Scott's long shaft. He concentrated on the new sensation. It was a wonder to him; the pull of the lips and intentional nips, the constantly shifting pressures as jaw and tongue manipulated him. He was overcome by it and without warning released himself into Scott's mouth. Michael's hand slipped away from Scott's erection, lingered briefly on the loose sack with its heavy load, and then broke contact. He flung an arm over his eyes. Consumed as he was by his own convulsion and an up swell of confusion, Michael barely noticed Scott leave him.

4:30 am

It was not really dark anymore. The approaching sun already illuminated the eastern prairie sky with false daylight. The night had been warm but Michael felt a slight chill as he stepped onto the damp grass in his bare feet. He wandered across the lawn to the abandoned fire pit. There was a sleeping bag hanging on a chair. He thought he recognized it as the one Ashley had used. Michael wrapped it around his shoulders and sat on the ground beside the blackened pit. He picked up a short stick and absently stirred the moist ashes and charred remains.

He wondered why Scott had left him and he was puzzled why it left him hurt and strangely empty. It reminded him depressingly of Lauren's earlier departure. He lay in the bed of the truck feeling abandoned. This parting was different and more confusing. Lauren had been a wild ride and if she had left him before he was ready, she also left him with plans to meet. Scott on the other hand had flung open an unexpected door. Michael felt like he had been drawn through that door and then abandoned in a wilderness devoid of familiar landmarks.

His mind drifted back to the basement and Scott's mouth on his body. It was a first time. Kara had been too shy or inexperienced to do more than play with him in a clumsy manner. He had thought a woman's velvet strength the ultimate pleasure. Now he knew a mouth could do much more. The word blow job with the inevitable snickers his friends would make as they bragged or spun tales. They made it seem their partners made some huge concession taking a cock into their mouths. How hollow , Michael thought. His friend's sense of conquest over their partners did not approach what he felt. Scott had pulled something from his body and left him feeling vulnerable. Down by the lake, Scott had dangled him over the cold water as Michael clutched and pleaded. Scott had dropped him to the sand pinning him with ease. Scott in control and Michael unresisting; he recalled his hand holding on to Scott's cock for dear life while Scott's inconceivable mouth owned his cock. Michael thought about what might have happened if Scott had stayed. The night, Michael reflected, had taken a strange turn.

"I'm sorry."

Michael glanced up and noticed Scott standing with his hands wedged anxiously into his pockets. He looked back at the blackened circle of rocks. His heart quickened again. Michael was not sorry. He wanted Scott to know how relieved he was to see him; instead he said, "The fire died out." He smiled at Scott but the young man swayed slightly lost in some inner turmoil with his eyes closed. Michael turned back to the ashes.

Scott opened his eyes with a sigh. He squatted down beside Michael and examined the damp bed of the fire pit. He took Michael's stick away from him and used it to push the charred lumps of wood together. Michael watched in silence as the young man paced about the yard gathering materials. He carefully ripped some receipts from his wallet into thin strips that curled like bark. Around this heart he built the kindling up and before long there was a well considered tower. All the while Michael watched his face and his quick hands wondering what he was thinking. Finally Scott rested back on his heels looking at his creation. It was a well constructed. "I don't have a match," he commented flatly.

Michael nudged him and Scott finally turned to him. Michael dug into his pocket and pulled out the remaining condoms and the third match. The condoms dropped to the ground unnoticed as he offered the match to Scott. Scott's hand enfolded his briefly as if to see if his touch was welcome and their eyes met. Scott turned back to the kindling; he hesitated, "I don't know if this will start."

"It looks good to me, should start."

The hesitation vanished. Scott struck the match and confidently applied it to his tiny pyramid of paper and twigs. The kindling flared up but a light breeze threatened it. Scott shifted his hand to protect it. It died back further and he breathed cautiously on the embers until it caught. As Michael knew it would, by a progression the fire's well planned beginning fed outward to the slender logs, each success building on its predecessor. Scott sat down close to Michael as the fire gained momentum.

"That was your first time wasn't it?" Scott asked.

"Yes," First blow job or first time with a man, Michael was not sure what Scott meant, but the answer would be the same.

"You're very attractive." It came out ambiguously. Perhaps Scott was offering an excuse for his actions; perhaps he was simply informing Michael of something the eighteen-year old had not been sufficiently aware of. Michael might have analyzed the look Scott gave him and noticed its kinship to the affection some of his friends offered; Trevor almost angry that he quit football in grade nine or young Riley's eagerness to stay beside him by the backyard fire. All Michael saw was the hunger in Scott's face that ignited the familiar furnace of his passion. Michael was not even conscious of the safety through the door at his back. He simply sensed the call of the wilderness before him and waited for the handsome young man to lead him into its depths. Scott swept the tangle of Michael's bangs off his forehead. He studied Michael for a reaction. Michael simply cocked his head and waited. "Auburn," Scott observed. "Red?" Michael rolled his eyes at the cliché nickname. Scott smiled slightly at his response. "Michael, Mike, Mickey, Mikey," the names rolled out quickly.

"Ashley calls me Mikey when she wants something. Mike I guess, sometimes its Little Keith," Michael shrugged.


"My dad's name, just a high school thing, Ashley was Keith so I had to be Little Keith." Michael dismissed the nickname.

"Michael," Scott decided and his voice turned the two syllables into a benediction. Scott shifted to his knees, eyes watching always for the moment Michael would begin his flight. He reached for Michael's shirt and slowly pulled it off. They faced each other as Scott ran his hands over Michael's shoulders, hard chest and soft belly. At his touch, Michael's stomach tensed and the young muscles defined themselves for a moment. "Stand up Michael," Scott urged.

Michael stood before him as Scott slowly opened Michael's shorts and pulled down. He paused when the white band reached the root of Michael's cock so that he might appreciate the heavy thatch of hair covering the teen's abdomen. It matched Michael's dark eyebrows and when he encouraged the eighteen-year old to lift one arm, it matched that as well. Tremors moved up and down Michael in barely perceptible waves that Scott still felt through his finger tips. Scott finally pulled shorts and briefs down to Michael's ankles and helped him step free. The tremors intensified as Scott began to run his fingers over the rest of Michael's body. "Okay, I've wanted to do this ever since I saw you trailing in behind your sister looking like a kid let loose in a game store." Scott bit his lower lip. It calmed Michael considerably. He touched Scott's hair and then reached down to pluck at the young man's shirt. Scott stood and pulled the shirt over his head.

Michael's hands were exploring Scott's trunk before he had extricated his head from the yellow t-shirt. Scott had a dusting of blond chest hair and a hair was aggressively migrating north from the regions hidden by his pants. Michael looked at his own growth struggling to reach his navel. A trail of pioneers had finally reached their goal. "Hair," Michael commented redundantly. Scott peered down sharing the moment.

Michael looked up into Scott's face and the young man kissed him on the lips. Michael pulled back surprised. They froze, eyes locked. The caution returned to Scott's face. Michael touched Scott's cheek and ran his fingers over the stubble on the young man's chin. He leaned in for a second kiss. It was a revelation to Michael. The lips were soft as Kara's and as aggressive as Lauren's but the similarities ended there. Michael had to lift his head to reach Scott's mouth and there was the unfamiliar rasp of bristle against his skin. Michael was engulfed in a greater strength than his own. Scott pressed him close and there were no soft breasts meeting his smooth chest, no nipples teasing his flesh, only Scott's hard chest against his and always he seemed to be reaching up.

"Are you okay?" Scott asked with a hoarse rasp.

"Yes," Michael nodded.

Scott pulled back and ripped his pants down. He was already hard and his cock bounced as he hopped from one foot to the other freeing himself. He allowed Michael a few minutes to explore, encouraging him to stroke the long cock and feel the weight of his balls. He stroked Michael's shoulders and then his flanks. Finally he turned Michael around and pressed him close, one hand cupping his crotch and the other wrapped across his chest. Michael felt Scott's breath on his cheek and the extended cock nestled between the sheathed muscles of his tense buttocks. Michael saw the path ahead and he did not turn away. He was in Scott's hands.

Scott coaxed him down onto the old sleeping bag. His weight pressed Michael down into the worn fabric as he whispered in his ear. A hand reached between Michael's thighs and stroked deep into his cleft. With a word, Michael knew that he could stop this. Scott fumbled with the condoms Michael had dropped and ripped one free. He knelt between Michael's knees. Michael twisted around to watch him as he rolled the lubricated condom down his shaft. Despite his determination to see it through, the apprehension showed on Michael's face. Scott's cock stretched to his navel and seemed massive against his fingers. Scott caught his look and smiled reassuringly. "It will be okay, don't worry. It will be ..." then he lunged forward and ground his lips fiercely against Michael's mouth. So Michael continued on into the unknown. "Ready?"

"Yes," Michael whispered back. Scott pressed his lips against Michael's neck and before he could ask if it would hurt or clench his muscles in fright he felt the pressure on his sphincter. The lubricated head pushed through a moment before Michael's body decided it should repel the invader. He gasped and tensed instantly.


"It's okay," Michael replied tightly. It burned and his brain announced pain. Despite Scott's weight pressing down though a single point, Michael pushed his hips up shifting his knees as if he might crawl away from Scott. The young man slid a hand around his slender waist and inched deeper into his body. Michael grunted in response to each push. With each grunt Scott blurted an apology and Michael replied the same reassurance, "its okay."

It was a singular experience for Michael. The penetration slowly filling him, Scott's hard body pressing against his back as he spoke reassurances and praise, the single hand holding him firmly, Michael surrendered to it all. Scott had begun to sweat. It lubricated their flesh and brought a heady aroma Michael would carry away as a reminder of the moment. Michael found he could shift his attention away from the dislocations deep in his bowels and the drag on his protesting muscles to other things. He became aware of the pendulous weight of his own scrotum as it brushed against the soft fabric of the sleeping bag; Scott's reassuring hand holding him close, Scott's panting and a moment when he kissed a trickle of tear his face. Some part of Michael whispered, show me more .

Then Scott was pressed against Michael, his lap moulded tightly to his ass. "Oh God you're so beautiful Michael." Scott's hand stroked Michael's torso kneading his tense muscles like he might stroke the long shaft buried in his depths. It was as if his body had become an extension of Scott. "I could have kissed you by the lake." Michael experimented with the shaft willing his shocked muscles to respond. He tensed and squeezed Scott's bulk in imitation of the undulations Lauren's vagina had worked on his own cock hours before. "Here, lie down Michael. Just relax baby." Michael eased forward on his knees and down onto the ground. Scott held him tight the entire way. "That's better," Scott kissed his cheek and when Michael turned his head, he kissed the side of his mouth. Scott pulled Michael's right leg up so his cheeks would part. "You did so good baby, the best." Michael wanted to ask how many boys Scott had taken and then he did not care. "Okay now."

It started as small movements applying pressure, a small give and take. The tugs recalled the pain till gradually it lost itself in the indescribable massage. Scott lay half on him supported on one arm. The other worked the small of his back, an exposed cheek and tense shoulders. Eventually the strokes lengthened and Scott's cock became a piston driving into him. Michael's muscles abandoned themselves to spasms and he was awash in the sensations of capture and release. He learned to moan and he found himself whispering Scott's name.

Scott stopped abruptly poise at the apex with only a nickel's worth caught in Michael's anus. Michael wondered if Scott had orgasmed, but then he pulled out. "Here," Scott said, "Turn over on your back." He helped Michael to shift around and then before his muscles could forget their new shape Scott stabbed back into him. Michael lay beneath him momentarily bemused by the return to fullness. Scott lifted his shoulders effortlessly and settled him onto his lap. "Is that okay?"

Michael couldn't speak; he nodded his head and bit his lip. Scott kissed him on the lips and then peppered his face with more kisses. "Lie back." Michael allowed Scott to help him down. Scott slipped out a little but as Michael lay arched before him he pulled his hips closer. Scott's cock pressed against Michael's prostate and with each subsequent motion Michael felt increasing shocks. They rested a moment simply enjoying the connection, "How's that?" Scott ran his hands over Michael's thighs and belly. He traced the probable course of his cock buried somewhere below.

"It's good Scott." You're beautiful , Scott had said and Michael wanted to be that for the young man who wanted him so much, "Unbelievable."

"You're okay?"

"I'm okay," Michael purred a little, lulled by the soft movement of Scott's hands. Scott grasped Michael's cock and a hand circled his scrotum applying a gentle tension to his balls. He masturbated the eighteen-year old expertly as his cock stimulated the teen's prostate. Michael's cock was sensitive after the long night. He gasped and swore as Scott worked him back to a full erection. It was unexpected and Michael winced as he endured the added abrasion. Scott stopped.

"Sorry, are you all right?"

"It'll, it'll be okay." Scott spied the third condom and snatched it up. He ripped it open and rolled it backward over Michael's engorged member. The latex glided through Scott's fist. Michael's cock swelled and his balls fought against the circle of Scott's fingers. Michael stretched his hands out toward Scott clawing at his knees and he bucked on Scott's cock. He couldn't keep silent so he began crying out softly, "Scott," he gasped as his body rippled.

"You're a God damned work of art Michael, Jesus you're so beautiful. Your cock is unbelievable." Michael wished it was all true. Scott knew his instrument. He stripped the condom off Michael's flaming cock and jacked it hard. The young man's sphincter started its spasms as the orgasm hit him. The ropes of cum splattered his smooth chest as he cried out the ecstasy of it all. Michael's legs were wrapped around Scott's hips. He squeezed tight riding the crest of the wave. Scott did not relent until long after the last shudder of cum had dribbled free and Michaels' exhausted cock lay soft in his cum-soaked palm.

It had been a long night for both of them. Scott needed his own release. He hooked Michael's limp legs with his arms and carried them up to the teen's chest. His anus curled up to meet the full length of Scott's anxious member. As Scott rose and fell onto the teen Michael's head flopped back and forth. They were drenched in sweat and oblivious to the world around them. Finally it was Scott's turn to cry. The condom contained the flood as at the last Scott drove his cock home. Scott shuddered like an Aspen tree and then collapsed onto Michael.
Sunrise, 4:56 am

Scott rolled off Michael and onto his back. He rested for a while content; after a time he sat up and looked at the teen beside him. Michael lay where he had left him; legs still parted perhaps inviting Scott's return. Michael had closed his eyes. Occasionally his belly clenched as if it was still engaged in sex. There was a mess of drying cum across Michael's chest and belly. Scott eyed the dying fire and rose to fetch some wood. He pulled the used condom off his cock as he did so and tossed it on the flames. After he added some wood, he cast about for something to clean himself off. He settled on Michael's briefs.

He cleaned his crotch and turned to Michael's chest. At his first dab, Michael opened his eyes. Scott cleaned him off. He turned to Michael's ravaged anus. "Just hang on for a second," he told Michael gently. He swiped the young man's swollen back side carefully, "Looks good man; nothing to worry about." Michael was still lost in the wonder of the sexual experience. He felt the looseness and the beginning of discomfort; not quite pain. He felt rearranged. His life felt rearranged. Scott tossed the soiled briefs into the fire and smiled at Michael. Michael's silence might have made Scott uncomfortable. He covered the silence with a laugh. "You were wonderful, that was really great." Scott turned away and found his clothes. He paused to look at Michael with concern and then quickly pulled his clothes on.

Michael was unsettled by Scott's words. They echoed Lauren's words and recalled his sense of abandonment. He finally sat up wincing at the unpleasant pressure. He wrapped his arms tightly around his knees and stared at the fire. He needed to make sense of his night. Had it been everything he hoped for when he agreed to come with Ashley and Acton, or had he allowed himself to be drawn into some awful mistake? Michael was not sure. He realized he was looking for a different sort of reaction from Scott.

"Are you okay?" Michael did not really register the young man's concern. "I thought you were okay with this. It was good wasn't it?" Scott sat down beside Michael.

"Just a weekend fuck for you I'm sure." Michael snapped. He was uncertain of Scott now that it was over. He was, he realized, just the kid here. Michael's experience put him at a disadvantage. How was he to know what these things meant?

"No," Scott spit back. "Michael," the softness of his tone drew Michael's eyes. Scott looked down briefly before allowing their eyes to reconnect. "It wasn't like that; was it?" Scott read the uncertainty in the teen's eyes and he pressed forward. "Why Mike? Why does it have to be like that? Why can't I be totally blown away by you? Why can't I drive away tomorrow on a fucking high because I met you and you aren't sorry? Why can't I hope you change your mind and come to Medicine Hat?"

Michael shook his head and looked back to the rekindled fire. He did not know what to think. He should be tired. He was tired. Michael noticed his pants and slipped them on. He collapsed back onto the sleeping bag and curled away from the rising sun. He thought about Lauren and he played Scott's words over in his mind. Before he drifted away, he stretched a foot out to where Scott had been sitting. Scott's hand ran along his calf. Michael finally slept.

8:37 am

Michael woke with a start. He realized Scott was spooned against him under a blanket. Scott's arm held him close. He lay in that position enjoying the weight of the young man's arm. When he was ready, he carefully slipped free of the embrace. Scott frowned slightly in his sleep and rolled on his back with a small snore. Michael crossed his legs and stared at Scott while the sun rose higher in the sky. He eventually leaned over Scott and experimented with a light kiss on the young man's parted lips.

Michael picked his way toward the edge of the valley. He stopped short of the tangled humps of Wild Rose that marked the descent to the ravine below. The sun was at his back now and a clean light hit the western shore of the lake. The near waters were still lost in early morning shadow, a lingering reminder of his midsummer night's dream. Michael dropped down. He thought about August; St. Andrew's College in St. George, weekends driving home to Vimy, sharing rides with Lauren or some other Vimy student wending their way home to the familiar streets. A fresh breeze teased his hair bringing with it the light perfume of Roses mingled with the musk of Wolf Willow. Michael closed his eyes. He could travel the path to St George in his head tolling off the familiar landmarks, counting down the minutes. Michael tried to imagine the snaking trail of the South Saskatchewan River as it cut deep into the prairie on its way from sprawling Medicine Hat to the lake. He could hear his parent's careful reservations in his head. Michael did not know Medicine Hat. It was a big change for a small town boy. The future was dubious. His mom and dad were so concerned he would be lost there without family.

Michael's phone vibrated twice in his pocket. He dug it out and flipped it open, Miss you already . It had been an enchanted night, perhaps not just a midsummer night's dream after all. Michael smiled and rapidly thumbed out his brief response, "me too." He lay back. The rough grass stabbed at his back until he had settled against it. Life surrounded Michael and he felt the light breeze touch his face, move over his chest and kiss his belly like soft lips. His body embraced the morning light.