This is the sixth chapter of `Learning with a Man'. A new chapter will come out every week. Any comments or questions can be directed to the author at nothlit(at)hotmail(dot)com

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real people or events is entirely coincidental.

Learning with a Man
Chapter 6

    When I went down for breakfast the next day, I couldn't stop smiling. I'd woken up to a text from Ray saying he'd meet me around eleven at the park, and ever since then I hadn't stopped looking at my watch. Which I did again. It was just ten o'clock, though; still an hour to go. For once I wished time would go by a bit faster so I could see Ray already.
    Dad was in the kitchen, cooking. I smelled fried bacon and heard the sizzle of eggs in the frying pan.
    "Morning, Dad," I said cheerfully.
    "Hi, Jeff," he answered, picking up some of the hot bacon strips and placing them on a plate covered with a paper towel. "You hungry?"
    "Yeah! Starving, actually."
    "Okay. These will be done in just a bit."
    I played a bit on my phone while the eggs were cooking.
    "Glad you're finally up," Dad said eventually, walking to the fridge to get a carton of orange juice. He placed it on the table and I poured myself some.
    "You're usually up much earlier. Did you go to sleep late last night?"
    "Uh, yeah," I answered, remembering what Ray and I had done: the kiss, and then the computer thing... I blushed a little. Dad gave me a strange look but didn't say anything to that. "I was up late."
    "Well, it gave me time to fix you breakfast," Dad said, scooping out an egg and putting in on a plate along with some of the bacon. "Here you go."
    "Thanks, Dad, these look great."
    "Dig in, son."
    I was really hungry, and I didn't need any more encouragement. I began right away. Dad got the other egg out of the pan when it was ready and fixed his own breakfast as I ate. He sat down with me, sipping his juice and reading his e-mail, occasionally skewering a bacon strip with his fork.
    "Jeff?" he said between bites.
    "Yeah?" I asked, my mouth full.
    "Are you humming?"
    I swallowed my food. "Uh, no?" Then I realized I had been—only I hadn't realized it.
    "Feeling cheerful today, huh?"
    I shrugged. Dad went back to his e-mail with a slight smirk on his lips.
    "Hmmm, got an e-mail from Rick," he said. "Says your guide's coming to town for the weekend and offered to stop by and talk to us about the trip this afternoon, after dinnertime. Rick must've told him I'm the paranoid parent type... nice kid, though, to offer to come."
    "Right," I said, not really paying attention. I was looking at the clock and it was already ten-thirty. I wanted to get to the park a bit early in case Ray was already there. "Listen, Dad? I'm going out with Ray in a bit. Just wanted to let you know. We'll probably be back for dinner."
    Dad looked up from his tablet. "Oh? Where to?"
    "I don't know. Wherever." I couldn't suppress a grin at the thought.
    Dad gave me another long look, and then smiled knowingly. "Okay. You boys have fun. Just come back in time for dinner."
    I gulped down the last of my juice and chewed on the last crispy bit of bacon.
    "No problem, Dad. The eggs were great, by the way."
    Dad chuckled. "Glad you liked them."
    I stood up and hurried upstairs to brush my teeth.
    "Hey, Jeff?" Dad called.
    "Yeah?" I said, turning back at the foot of the stairs. Dad was sitting at the kitchen table, smiling at me.
    "It's good to see you're feeling better today. Also... tell Ray I said hi."
    "Sure!" I called.
    I brushed my teeth, arranged my hair in the bathroom mirror for the millionth time, obsessed a bit over whether the blue shirt I was wearing looked good enough, and left. I went downstairs taking the steps two at a time, and then I was out of the house.
    I walked by the neighbors' houses in the general direction of the park. As I passed by Mrs. Wheatley's house, I mentally reminded myself I'd promised to walk her dog, and I made a little note on my phone so I wouldn't forget. Ray's car wasn't at his house, but I wasn't surprised. He was probably out somewhere. I looked at my watch again. I still had twenty minutes before eleven, and the park wasn't far. Even so, I hurried along. I knew it was stupid, but I didn't want to make Ray wait. After all, this was our first kind-of date.
    The thought was so surprising I actually stopped for a second, considering it. Someone passed nearby and said hi; I waved automatically. This was a date! Well, not officially, but Ray had asked me to go out with him and everything. And he liked me. I knew that for sure now. So... yeah. I mean, what else could it be? It was a date!
    My cheek muscles began to cramp a bit from all the smiling, but I didn't care. The day was gorgeous, the sun warm, and I had an entire summer to look forward to with Ray. I couldn't wait to be with him, to see that handsome smile directed right at me. I hadn't wanted to admit it to myself, but ever since he'd stopped talking to me, I'd missed him a lot. I'd thought about him every day even, it was like something was missing in my life. Now that he was back in it, though, everything was just right. The way it should be.
    I arrived at the park with ten minutes to spare. I looked around, but Ray's car wasn't there. A few people were running, and there were some dogs playing in the trees while their owners watched them. I walked through the trees until I found a bench right by a water fountain that had a good view of the street. Then I sat down and waited.
    A runner and her dog came up the path, and while the owner stopped to have a drink, the dog came up to me, curious.
    "Hey, buddy," I said. "What's up?"
    The dog began wagging his tail. He was a Labrador, all nicely brushed. His tongue was lolling out of his mouth from the run, but he looked happy. He sniffed my hand and then pressed his wet nose against my leg. I just had to scratch him behind the ears.
    "He likes you," the runner said, putting her water bottle away.
    "What's his name?" I asked her.
    "He's really cute."
    The runner laughed, trotting in place. "Well, gotta go."
    "See you," I said.
    "Bye," she called, running off.
     "I never could figure out why you don't have a dog if you like them so much," a deep voice said behind me.
     "Hi, Ray!" I said, standing up. Well, more like jumping up.
     "What's up, Jeff?"
     He was standing right behind the park bench. He was wearing his usual jeans and a T-shirt, but he looked as handsome as ever. I felt the same rush of warm feeling I always got when I saw him.
     "You look great," I said, then immediately felt a bit awkward. You look great? What kind of a conversation starter was that?
     "Ready to go?" Ray said.
     "Great. Let's go, then."
     He led the way to his car. I got in, excited, nervous, not really sure what to expect. Then Ray got in as well and shut the door.
    There was a short silence after that. Ray didn't start the car up right away.
    "I'm glad you came, Jeff," he said finally.
    He looked right at me and I could tell he was sincere. Then he smiled. He reached out to me spontaneously, then seemed to think better of it, then tried to cover it up by punching me lightly on the arm like we'd do when we were younger. I was surprised. He was probably as nervous as I was.
    "Anyway," he said awkwardly, pulling his hand back and starting up the car. "Let's get going."
    We drove off. Ray kept his eyes on the road while I fidgeted in the seat next to him. My mind was going a mile a minute, but I couldn't think of anything to say. Having Ray so close by was very distracting; I was way too aware of his presence less than an arm's length away.
    I rolled the window down when we were driving past downtown, but Ray didn't stop there. He kept driving, which reminded me that I had no idea where we were going.
    "Hey Ray?"
    "Where are we going?"
    He grinned. "You'll see."
    "Oh, come on. Tell me."
    He shook his head slightly. "Nope."
    "Come on!"
    "No. You'll have to wait and see."
    "Okay," I said, "but it better be someplace good."
    Ray grinned but didn't say anything else, focusing on driving, and I racked my brains for something amusing or witty to say. My mind remained stubbornly blank, so another long uncomfortable silence followed. I couldn't believe my tongue had picked today of all days to stop working. We drove past the school, past some office buildings on the edge of town, and then took the road out, due east, and I still was thinking of something to talk about. We soon passed the last houses and took the highway. To either side of the road grew tall evergreens, and the sky above was a perfect even blue, with not a cloud in sight.
    Still silent. I was reduced to turning on the radio, punching buttons on the dashboard until I found an acceptable station. We listened to the music as Ray drove. I stole a glances at him every now and then. His brow was furrowed slightly, as if he was thinking about something difficult. Or maybe he was just concentrating on the road.
    After maybe ten more minutes of increasingly crappy songs, I opened my mouth to say something—anything, maybe even comment on the weather—but Ray beat me to it.
    He reached out and turned off the radio.
    "I'm glad you came with me today, Jeff," he repeated, his tone serious.
    "It's no big deal."
    "No," he told me firmly, "it is. After all I've done, I'm surprised you even want to talk to me."
    "Hey, we're best friends, right?" I said.
    Ray smiled to himself, remembering. "Yeah. Best friends."
    He was silent for a bit. I thought he was done, but then he said:
    "I guess I got to explain some things. This last year was tough for me, Jeff. Not being able to talk to you made it even worse. I had the championship to train for..."
    "But you guys came in first in the team rankings," I said, remembering the celebration at our school. I'd been there, way in the back, seeing Ray as happy as I'd ever seen him.
    "Yeah, but it was tough, even so. Coach Graham made us train night and day. There was a lot of pressure, and all of us were under a lot of stress. Especially us seniors. And also there was this thing. The guys in the team wouldn't let up on me for not having a girlfriend. It had never been an issue or anything, but then they began to say things about you, and since I spent so much time with you, well... you can imagine. It got pretty bad."
    "Yeah. I can imagine," I said, remembering all the stuff I'd gone through.
    "At first I tried to ignore them, you know? But right before Christmas break I just couldn't take it anymore. The jokes, the sniggers. I had to do something to shut them up. So I... well..."
    "You started to ignore me," I finished.
    Ray grimaced, nodding. "Yeah. I didn't know what else to do. I didn't want people talking behind my back; I just couldn't stand it. It was just too much for me to handle. Also, when we got back from Christmas break there was all this extra pressure from my parents about applying to a college somewhere, when I didn't even know what I wanted to do after school. Then the training sessions for the championship got even tougher It's like too many things happened at once, you know? When my friends saw I wasn't talking to you anymore it kind of helped, but not a lot.
    "Soon after that everybody began obsessing over the prom, too. Things got worse then. Everybody I knew was going out with somebody, or had a date all lined up for the prom. I didn't have anyone and I hadn't even bothered to look. Soon even my dad began to wonder about me, and asked me once or twice if I'd thought of any girl to bring; my mother, too. She even had one of her friends arrange a date with her daughter and everything. I wanted to get everyone off my back, so I went on the date, asked the girl to the prom like I was supposed to, and it was like magic. At home, at school; everywhere. My parents stopped wanting to `talk' to me. The taunts in the locker room stopped immediately. I know it was probably wrong of me, Jeff, but I was so—so relieved. The other guys began treating me like one of their own again, and particularly those in the track team. It was only for a few weeks, but it was amazing. Janice became sort of my girlfriend, and everything was right in my life for once. My parents stopped reminding me every single day to think about my stupid college plans. My dad kept giving me embarrassing tips on how to impress the ladies and all sorts of father-son stuff. He even gave me a condom once. And my mother was so happy... all I had to do was pretend I really liked Janice, and everything in my life fell right in place."
    "Janice? Do I know her?" I asked, my tone betraying my emotions. I couldn't manage to keep my mouth shut.
    Ray grinned. "That part's over, Jeff. I told her we were through just a few days after the prom. Gave her some story about me going off to some other city and not wanting to hurt her feelings. She bought it, and I was glad, because I couldn't have kept it up for much longer."
    "Why?" I asked softly.
    "Because I kept thinking about you."
    "Oh," I said, feeling warm all over.
    I realized I was grinning like an idiot. Ray gave me a quick glance and smiled, too.
    "I tried to work up the courage to talk to you again," he said, "but I thought you hated me. And the kids at school would have seen, and the rumors would have started again... so I didn't do anything. It was like that for a couple of weeks. I even had an excuse to go and talk to you, since my dad had reminded me about our trip to Mount Adams and he'd told me I should go to your house and remind you. But I didn't go; I couldn't work up the courage. And then, on the last day of school, I saw what that stupid bully did to you out in the yard and something just snapped. I picked up your books after you left and drove home. I wanted to give them to you but I didn't know if I should just show up or what, and then I remembered that I had an excuse to go over there... and finally talked myself into going."
    "I was very surprised to see you that day," I admitted. "I wasn't expecting it at all."
    Ray sighed. "I know. I surprised myself. But when I saw you, it felt right, you know? Like before, only better. That night was amazing, by the way."
    I remembered that night very well. The first time we'd jacked off together. The memory made me hard, so I hastily thought about something else. I needed a couple of minutes, but I succeeded in cooling off.
    There was something I wanted to ask him, and when I was calm again I did. "Ray?"
    "What about the mall, then? Why did you—you know."
    Ray slowed down the car. He drove off the road and into the parking lot of a highway diner. I hadn't even noticed it was there.
    He found a spot, stopped the car, and only then did he look at me. There was real sadness in his eyes.
    "I'm so sorry about the mall, Jeff. I panicked. I didn't even know what I was doing until I'd done it, and I hated myself the entire day after that. I couldn't stop remembering that look you'd given me after I'd... pushed you away: that surprised and hurt look. I felt awful.
    Then I was mad. At me, at everyone, even you. I don't know what I was thinking. I was still angry when you found me at that Starbucks. I thought you were making fun of me for being such a coward."
    "Ray, I never—"
    "I know, I know. It was all in my head. But still. And I was also terrified you'd tell my dad everything and bring the entire thing crashing down on my head."
    "I would never do that," I said.
    "I know you wouldn't," he said. Then he sighed. "You're amazing, Jeff."
    He leaned forward, placed a hand on my cheek and kissed me. It was a tender kiss this time, full of emotion, and I lost myself in the sensation and the joy of the moment. It was so much more intense this time because I knew Ray wore no more masks; his feelings, and mine, were there for all to see. He was himself again: my best friend, a man already when I was only a boy, the one person I'd always looked up to, and idolized. Now that he was here, with me, his lips pressed against mine and showing me he cared. It was amazing.
    Ray pulled back softly, smiling at me, looking at me in that way he had that made me feel all hot and cold at the same time.
    "What?" I said.
    "Nothing. Just... nothing." He touched my cheek gently.
    I blushed. I needed to change the subject before I got any more worked up. "Um, where are we?"
    "You don't know?"
    "Let's find out, then."
    Ray stepped out of the car and I followed. I looked around: it was just a normal diner. A truck was parked nearby, and a few other cars besides us. More evergreens grew all around us, following the slope of the hilly terrain, seeming to swallow the highway further down the road.
    "Anything?" Ray asked me.
    It was like he was expecting me to suddenly recognize the place or something. I looked again; just a regular diner like a million others. When I shook my head, Ray grinned and motioned for me to follow. I went with him, up to the diner's main doors. A battered pinball machine stood to one side, the paint all faded but still operational. There I stopped. Something was familiar about it.
    "Wait," I told Ray, as I walked up to the machine. "I've seen this before."
    Ray laughed. "Good! I thought you'd repressed the memory or something."
    "Memory of what?"
    "You're hopeless, Jeff. Come on. Let's go in."
    Ray led me in. He went to a very specific table and we sat down. I was getting a serious déjà vu about this place.
    Ray was looking like me like my puzzled expression was the funniest thing in the world. Then a waitress came and brought a couple of small laminated menus.
    "What can I get you?" she asked us.
    I looked at the menu. And it came all flooding back.
    "Hey!" I shouted. "I know! I remember!"
    Oops. Too loud. The waitress was looking at me like I'd gone insane.
    Ray laughed. "Two cokes, please."
    She left. I was blushing; I'd shouted pretty loud and the people nearby were looking my way.
    Ray couldn't stop laughing. "Oh, man. I wish you could see your face right now!"
    "Not funny, Ray," I said, hiding behind the tiny menu. "It's not my fault I had a sudden memory revelation."
    "So you do remember?" he asked me, still chuckling slightly.
    "Yeah. I came here once before. I must have been like eight or something," I mused, remembering. "My dad and I were just moving to this town, after mom... we stopped here to have lunch, I think."
    "So far, so good," Ray said.
    "And... hey! This is where I met you!"
    "Right on!" Ray told me. "I thought you wouldn't remember that part."
    "But how?" I asked him. "I remember the place. I remember you, but..."
    "My parents and I were coming back from a trip," Ray explained. "I was only ten at the time. We got a flat tire and had to stop here; that's why we met. Your dad offered to help us. We had lunch here in this table while the men worked on our car. Then my mom found out you two were just moving into town, and that we'd be practically next-door neighbors. It was pretty awesome. We ended up driving together, and  later we helped you guys move in."
    I was nodding, remembering now. "That's right! And we played at that crummy pinball machine outside while our parents worked on the tire. So then..." The full significance of the place struck me. Ray had taken us back to the place where we'd first met! My heart practically melted. "Oh, Ray; this is so cool. Thanks for bringing me back here."
    He gave me that winning smile of his that got me every time. "I thought you'd like it. Also, the burgers here are really good."
    If it had been up to me, I would have kissed him again right then. But I knew he would probably freak out, so I just smiled.
    The waitress came back with our cokes. Ray ordered two double cheese hamburgers to go.
    "We can take them and eat them where we're going," Ray said. "I don't know about you but I just had breakfast. I'm not hungry yet."
    "Me neither," I said, sipping my coke, "but where are we going? I thought this was our final destination."
    "Nope. This is just a stop on the way. I want to take you to my quiet place."
    I raised an eyebrow. "Quiet place?"
    "You'll see. I go there when I want to get away from everything else. It's only a few miles away."
    "All right. Sounds interesting."
    A few minutes later we paid for our food and left with two big hamburgers wrapped to go. I got in the car and tossed the food in the back seat.
    Ray got in too and shut the door. I put my hand over his when he placed it on the steering wheel. He tensed up, surprised, but didn't jerk his hand away.
    "Thanks, Ray. It was nice to come back here."
    "This is where I met you, Jeff. As far as I'm concerned, this is one of the best places on earth."
    Ray drove off with me sitting happily next to him. This trip was so close to some of my half-formed fantasies that I almost wondered if I was dreaming. Everything was perfect. I didn't know where Ray was taking me, but I didn't care. As long as I was with him, any place would be awesome.
    We passed a few farms along the road after a while: wide flat areas of terrain that contrasted with the backdrop of trees all around them. I looked around curiously; I'd never been this way before in recent memory. In fact, I'd rarely left town at all ever since we'd moved.
    "Jeff?" Ray said.
    "You're humming."
    I caught myself. I had been humming, all right. "Not again," I said. "Sorry."
    Ray laughed. "I don't mind."
    "My dad was just telling me I was humming this morning! I don't even notice when I do it."
    "Probably when you're happy."
    "Yeah. Probably."
    "We're almost there now. We're maybe five minutes away. It's a field right on the edge of a farm. There's a little stream nearby and everything. Very peaceful."
    "Sounds nice," I said. "I'd never been out here before."
    "I think it's good to get away from everything once in a while. That spot I found is just right for that."
    "I wish I could drive already," I said. "If I had a car of my own I could come here too. It would be awesome."
    "Soon enough," Ray said. "Your birthday's coming up."
    "I know, but I don't think my dad's going to give me a car or anything."
    "You could save some money and buy it yourself."
    "Yeah, right. One summer of walking neighbors' dogs and I'm all set."
    Ray laughed. "And your allowance. Don't forget."
    "Shut up, Ray."
    "Hey, at least you have a job. Sort of. My dad's all over me telling me I should get some part-time boring job to teach me responsibility or whatever now that school's over. Maybe I will, just to make him stop insisting I apply to a college."
    "Don't you want to go to college?"
    "Well, yeah. I guess. But my GPA is not that good. And you have to take a bunch of tests and complete those boring applications..."
    "But you do want to go," I told him.
    "Have you thought of what you want to study?"
    He seemed surprised by the question. "No, not actually."
    "What do you like?"
    "I don't know. Running, I guess, but you can't get a degree in that. And cars I suppose. I keep on fixing this old piece of junk my dad gave me when I turned sixteen. Remember? It kept on breaking down on us all the time."
    "Maybe you could become a mechanic," I suggested.
    Ray actually considered the idea. It seemed to appeal to him, but then he discarded it with a shake of his head.
    "That's more of a community college deal," Ray told me. "No way. My parents would die if I told them that's what I wanted. They got this future all planned out for me. Ivy League and crap like that. They'd never let me."
    "It's your choice to make, though."
    Ray sighed. "I supposed you're right about that, Jeff. But it's a bit more complicated than that."
    "I don't see what's complicated about it," I said sincerely. "It's your life. It's about achieving what you want; why should you do what other people want?"
    He didn't have an answer to that.
    We got to Ray's spot soon after. We had to take a dirt road that ran perpendicular to the highway for a bit, wheels beating up dust in our wake. When Ray stopped the car, though, the first thing I noticed was the silence.
    "Wow," I said, getting out of the car. "You can't hear the other cars go by at all."
    "Told you. Secluded. I like it here."
    "I can see why."
    I was looking around at the field. It was really beautiful. There was a tiny red barn in the distance, and other farm buildings I could barely make out. There were fields all around us; some obviously being cultivated, others empty, like the one we were in. I walked away from the car, the crunch of my footsteps on dirt the only sound I could hear. About half a mile away, in the direction of the barn, a barbed-wire fence marked the end of that farmer's property. All around us, on the edges of the fields, more evergreens grew right up to the edge of the plowed land, as if the forest was trying to creep back into this place. The trees grew thick all around, except at the southern edge of the field, not far from where Ray had parked. There was a stream there, glittering in the midday sun. As I got closer, I scared a couple of birds that flew off chirping. The stream wasn't very wide, but the waters were crystal-clear and some of the tree branches gave shade to the far border. I stooped and picked up a small rock from the ground. I threw it into the stream and it went down with a plunk. Then everything was quiet again.
    I heard Ray coming up behind me. "Like it?"
    "Wow," I said. "This place is great, Ray."
    "Yeah. Almost nobody comes here. I discovered it a few months back, and I've been coming back ever since, maybe once a month or so. It helps me think."
    I sat down by the stream, and Ray sat next to me.
    "I'm glad you showed this place to me."
    "I'd wanted to show it to you ever since I found it," Ray said. "But... well. You know."
    I nodded. "I understand."
    Ray looked at me all serious again. "You do. And you're two years younger than me."
    "No, really," Ray continued, looking out at the stream now. "That's what I admire the most about you, Jeff. You're so independent. You don't let anyone tell you what to do, or who to be."
    "I mean it. You're brave. You don't back down under pressure like I do, and you are who you are despite what everyone thinks. This past year, I got to see that courage... things got pretty rough for you, didn't they?"
    I shrugged, uncomfortable with the praise, but secretly elated. "Kind of. It wasn't really that awful."
    Ray nodded, gesturing at me. "See? You can somehow find it in yourself to withstand anything jerks like me throw at you."
    "No, let me finish. I was a jerk to you too and you know it. At school, I saw how it went, Jeff. I saw kids snigger when you walked past. I heard the stuff they said about you, sometimes right to your face. That bully in your class was all over you—even I could tell, and I wasn't talking to you at the time. I saw those slurs on your locker door, and saw how it went for you in the cafeteria. I imagine there were other things that happened that I don't even know about."
    I nodded, remembering a particularly nasty incident in the bathroom. "Yeah. Some."
    Ray balled his hands into fists. "It makes me so angry. I should have been there to kick their sorry asses, to make them stop. But... I guess that's where we're different. I couldn't have just borne everything with my head held high like you did. I probably wouldn't even have shown up for school. If even half the stuff that happened to you had happened to me, I don't know what I would have done.
    "You're an amazing person, Jeff. I look up to you, and I guess I always have, even if I'm the older guy here. I wish I could be as brave as you are. I want to be. I'm done with pretending to make other people happy and ending with me feeling miserable inside. You've shown me it's not the end of the world if some people don't like you for who you are. You're still here, with me, and I count myself lucky to be your friend."
    I didn't know what to say. Hearing Ray say those words made me feel like the world could end right then and I wouldn't care, I was so happy. I reached out to Ray, and he took my hand, and held it. The touch alone was electric.
    "You know what the best part is?" Ray asked me. "You're this incredible guy and you don't even know it. You're smart, and brave... and you're really hot, too."
    That last part made me blush furiously. "Ray, come on."
    He laughed. "There you go again. Stop beating yourself up, Jeff. You are. You just can't see it. You should look at yourself sometime. Your eyes are amazing. They're the color of the sky right now, and so expressive. You're a really handsome guy."
    He edged closer to me, looking right into my eyes with that look he had that made me forget everything else. My heart was racing, and when he kissed me, I gave in completely to his embrace. I opened my mouth slightly and his tongue sought mine. I pulled back at first; I'd never done that with anyone before. But Ray pulled me closer gently, and tried again. I was surprised at how good it felt. And how horny it made me feel. I had an immediate hard-on in my jeans, and having Ray so close, his scent all around me, drove me wild with desire.
    I broke the kiss to whisper, "Oh Ray..."
    I threw my head back and Ray began kissing my neck, running his smooth lips over it, caressing the skin with his tongue. It sent shivers up my spine, and I held Ray closer to me, feeling the hardness of his muscles through his clothes. I lay back, down on the grass, and pulled him on top of me, never breaking the kiss. Then Ray raised himself up on his hands, looking down at me, his face inches from mine and outlined against the sky above.
    "I told you I wanted to make it up to you," he said softly. "I'm done making you feel bad. Now I want to make you feel good."
    He pulled gently on my shirt and I all but tore it out over my head. When I lay back down, I could feel the blades of grass on my back. Ray took his own T-shirt off, letting me admire his sculpted torso up close. I reached out and touched it. His skin was warm to the touch, and I could feel his muscles ripple when he bent down again and ran his hand over my chest. His touch felt so good I moaned, arching my back a little. Then I felt his lips over my skin, wandering over my pecs until they found my right nipple. Ray hesitated for a second but then he flicked his tongue out, running it over my already-hard, round nipple while he touched the other one with his right hand.
    It felt amazing. The smooth, wet touch of his tongue on my skin, his warm breath, and the way he pinched my other nipple slightly, just up to the point where it would hurt and backing off, twisting it under his fingers, running his palm over it... I'd never thought something could feel so good, and so different from when I did it myself. I ran my hands over Ray's back, feeling the hard muscles, the shape of his strong arms. I was lost in the sensations, and nothing at all existed for me but Ray.
    Eventually Ray's hand began to move down. I felt it caress my stomach, halting slightly over my bellybutton and the fuzz that was just beginning to grow below it. Ray adjusted his position and kissed me on the lips again. At the same time, his hand slid further down and touched my cock.
    I moaned again, right in Ray's ear. He grunted and ran his hand over my jeans, pressing down on the hard shape of my cock.
    "Stand up," he whispered in my ear.
    He leaned away and I stood up, a couple blades of grass clinging to my back. I didn't care. I stood there, right in front of Ray, unsure what he would do. I didn't have to wait long to find out.
    Ray raised himself up to a kneeling position between my legs and started to unbuckle my belt. He fumbled for a bit but eventually managed, and he unzipped my jeans right away. He pulled them down then, right down to my ankles. All I had on was my boxer briefs, painfully tight against my raging hard-on; a darker spot on the front of the cloth betraying the precum stain that spread through it already.
    Ray looked up at me briefly and then leaned forward. I was thrilled when he put his lips over the hard shaft of my dick, right over the cotton fabric, and ran them up and down slowly, feeling the shape of my cock, pressing down on it slightly, driving me to new heights of pleasure. I closed my eyes. I was enjoying the sensation immensely, but I opened them again when Ray pulled my underwear down with a sharp tug. My cock sprang up, throbbing and hard, the head glistening wet with precum. Ray looked at it, got closer. I knew what he was about to do and I couldn't believe it. This time he didn't hesitate. He opened his mouth and took it in.
    I gasped. I couldn't help it. Nothing I'd ever imagined could have prepared me for the incredible sensation of Ray's warm mouth around my cock. He slid his lips over the head of my dick, and took as much as he could of it into his mouth. Then he pulled back, all the way out, and did it again. I could feel Ray's tongue on the underside of my shaft, and at first it seemed he didn't know what to do with it. I didn't care; the sensation was too good. After a few more tries, though, the sensation changed. Ray had decided to experiment.
    He took my dick out of his mouth and grabbed the base with his right hand. Then he brought it up to his face and stuck out his tongue, reaching out to lick the head of my cock. I shivered with pleasure, and it encouraged him. He began to run his warm, wet tongue all over my dick, licking the throbbing mushroom head from above and below. The tip of his tongue went around it in circles, and I moaned with pleasure. Then Ray turned his head a bit to the side and ran his tongue up and down my shaft, going back up and then all the way down, exploring with his tongue, making me gasp with the incredible sensations he was giving me. When he was more confident that what he was doing was the right thing to do, he began to alternate between using his tongue and taking my dick into his mouth, sucking me off hungrily, his grip tight, his mouth eager.
    He let go of my dick with his hand and used it to fondle my balls, turning them over in his fingers and squeezing gently. I cried out and he did it harder.
    "Oh, Ray..."
    I think I lost it by then. It felt too good to think straight, and I was more than ready to take the initiative. I held Ray's head with my hands, grabbing his hair, and began thrusting into his open and willing mouth. He didn't resist. In fact, he seemed to have been waiting for it all along.
    The pleasure intensified as I found a rhythm, pumping in and out, Ray's lips tight around my rock-hard cock. Vaguely I saw Ray had taken his own dick out and was beating on it furiously, eyes closed, his face flushed. I kept going at my pace, thrusting into Ray's mouth, going a bit deeper each time as I felt his throat relax. He gagged once and I took my dick out, slick with Ray's saliva. He swallowed, panted for a second and immediately nodded again, opening his mouth. I slid my dick back in and was surprised when I saw Ray was the entire thing in now, right up to the base.
    That's all I needed to see. I began fucking Ray's throat with a vengeance, my balls slapping his chin every time I pushed forward. I couldn't believe it felt so good to slide my hard shaft in and out Ray's warm, wet mouth. He grunted, his mouth full with dick, and I saw his own hand was a blur, flying over his own cock. I was sweating from the effort, my hair matted against my forehead, breathing fast, concentrating on the heightening sensation coming from my cock and spreading throughout my body. I couldn't stop. I grabbed Ray's hair a bit more tightly and began to thrust more urgently, not wanting it to end but feeling the first hint of the edge, and I fucked Ray's mouth with all I had, plowing all the way in, and again, and again, Ray's grunts just urging me forward, faster and harder.
    I heard Ray gag under my relentless assault but I didn't stop. I was too close. I didn't let go of his head, and his short-lived struggle only made me hornier. Then Ray's throat relaxed again, and I felt the beginning of an explosive orgasm coming.
    "I'm gonna cum, Ray," I panted. "I'm gonna cum."
    All he could do was grunt.
    I thrust violently into his mouth once, twice, breathing fast, going all the way in and then, before I could even jerk away, I exploded. I came with such intensity that my whole body shook and I cried out, shooting my load right down Ray's throat. I came in his mouth first, then managed to pull out, spurted more cum on his cheek, on his lips, on his chin. The spasms of pleasure were mind-blowing; the sight of Ray on his knees before me, his face covered with cum, simply incredible.
    I had spurted the last of my load on his face when Ray came too, using both hands to pump his cock, and I felt something warm splashing on my leg as he shot, moaning with pleasure, his load spurting out huge man cock. He arched his back, shooting his hot cum so high up that some of it landed on my stomach. I saw his balls drawn up tight against his body, his hands gripping his cock firmly, sliding over the shaft and milking out every last drop of cum, and I felt Ray's hot juice start running down my leg. The he shuddered to a stop, both of us completely spent.
    On an impulse, I knelt down beside Ray and kissed him fiercely, holding him tight to me. Ray hugged me back with the same intensity I was feeling. I held him tight for a few seconds more and then, sighing, I sank down to the grass, lying on my side. Ray lay down beside me a moment later.
    We didn't say anything right away; we just looked into each other's eyes. Then Ray wiped his chin, grinning mischievously.
    "Wow. That was hot," he said.
    "Yeah," I agreed, not even caring we both were a mess. "It was amazing."
    "I've wanted to do that for a very, very long time," he admitted.
    "I'm glad you finally did," I said, smiling. Then something occurred to me. "Hey Ray?"
    "I didn't get to return the favor." I looked down meaningfully at his dick. It had gone soft, like mine, but I was sure I'd be ready to go again very soon with Ray so close.
    "There's no rush, Jeff," he said, giving me a quick kiss. "We got all day."
    "We got to return before five, though... and I told my dad I'd have dinner at home and all... what if—"
    Ray hushed me with a finger over my lips. "Hey. We'll get back on time. For now, let's just enjoy it here."
    "You're right," I said. "Like you said... we got all day."
Chapter 7 will be out next Tuesday!