The Power of Music

Chapter 13

by Josh Chambers


The following story is about the development of a fully consensual and loving relationship between a man and a pre-adolescent boy.  At some point through the story's progression, there will be a graphic display of sexual acts between the man and the boy meant to show the natural progression and development of an intimate and caring relationship.  If the topic of man/boy sex offends you, or if this material is illegal in your place or residence, or if you are under legal age, please leave now.

Any similarities between the characters in this story and any persons living and/or dead is purely a coincidence.

This story is protected under the nifty archives license agreement, and the author (me!) releases the right for nifty and nifty alone to post it on the internet.  Please do not post this story anywhere else without my consent or knowledge. 


Dear Reader,

            First, I have to apologize for the length of time it took me to write this chapter.   I wrote it through the first time in just over a week, and Owen threw it right out.  I guess it goes to show that if I rush my writing, it turns out like crap. 

            So, without further ado, I hope you enjoy this chapter.  I worked very hard on it in an attempt to improve my writing style, so hopefully it reads easier.  It is also a very emotional chapter, and I had to work hard to get it to come out right.

            Your comments and suggestions are always welcome at



            Josh Chambers



            Steven paused for a few moments to catch his breath and look back down the trail.  While he waited patiently for Josh to close the gap, he studied the horizon, now able to see a much wider expanse now that they had gained several hundred feet.  Unfortunately, dark clouds were building up in the distance, and a chill wind had  picked up .

            Steven had been the one who made the recommendation.  He asked Josh if he had ever been hiking into the mountains, to which Josh replied he had only ever been up for drives, long ago.  When Steven suggested they go out for a hike on the Arapahoe Trail, Josh had nodded his agreement.  But now, like the changing of the weather, Josh's mood seemed to change as well. 

            More recently, at least within the last few weeks or so, Josh's mood seemed more subject to shifts.  What troubled Steven was he did not know if his mood shifts were just a result of oncoming adolescence, or if it was something else.  Most of the time, Josh still seemed happy and perfectly normal, smiling and willing to help pack lunches for the hike.  Now Josh seemed distant and melancholy as he poked along the trail, having fallen behind Steven by quite a bit. 

            "You holding up okay?"  Steven asked after Josh caught up.  Evidently, the altitude was finally beginning to have an effect on him.  His breathing had quickened, and his pace had slowed considerably. 

"Let's take a break, alright?"  Josh could only nod his head as he shrugged his backpack off his shoulders and plopped down on a large rock. 

            Only shortly after Josh had sat, the weather announced itself again with a thunderous clap in the distance.  Josh only looked up into the sky briefly, and then continued staring out into the distance. 

            "It's beautiful isn't it?"  Steven asked, squatting down to where Josh was sitting, putting his arm around him.   

            Josh raised his head slightly, making no effort to either move closer or further.  "I guess so."

            "I think it's quite amazing.  Everything is so green in the spring.  The snow is beginning to melt, and the creeks are overflowing.  It's like everything is coming alive for the first time.  I love coming up here this time of year."

            Steven let his voice die out in the wind, letting the sounds of nature prevail.  They sat there silently for a long while, both of them unmoving.  He had hoped that bringing Josh up here might help a little to raise the boy's spirits, and that the sound of spring might help ease and relax him. 

It had seemed to in the beginning, at least.   Josh's expression had been light and happy when they had crossed over the creek several times, daring a rickety bridge, followed by a simple overturned log.   Now that they were up high, and the air had become chill, so had Josh's disposition.  It pained Steven to see the boy like this, so somber when he was usually so cheery.

"Josh... you know that if there is something troubling you, I'd be more than willing to talk with you about it," Steven said, rubbing his hand across the boy's back. 

            Josh however, must not have realized how transparent his mood had become.  Almost as if waking up from a fitful dream, the boy shook his head and stood back up.  "Huh?  No, nothing's bothering me.  I guess... I guess I'm just a little tired, that's all.  But I'm okay," Josh said quickly.

            Steven was still skeptical, but knowing now was not the time to push, he simply smiled.  "I understand.  It's the first time you have been up this high, isn't it?" 

            Josh took a look around, almost if what he was seeing had not been there a moment ago.  The boy's eyes widened when he looked out at the horizon again.  "We are up really high, aren't we?  How high do you think we are?"

            "Probably about thirteen thousand feet.  We are not far from tree-line now.  You see over there on that other mountain?" Steven pointed into the distance.  Josh squinted, following his line of sight.  "You can see where the trees end, and we are almost level with it."

            Josh nodded when he made it out.  "Wow, your right.  How much farther do you think it is?" 

            Unfortunately, right as Josh asked his question, another thunderous boom shook the sky, sounding as if it had come directly behind the mountain they were on now.  Both of them gave each other scared looks, which deepened as yet another occurred.  Ominous dark clouds were beginning to gather overhead, and the chill wind became even colder, causing Josh to clench at his jacket. 

            "Oh boy," Steven said as the last thunderous roar died out.  "This isn't good.  It looks like we are going to have to cut our hike short.  I'm sorry."

            It quickly became apparent that turning around had been the best choice, for not long into the return hike, it began to rain.  In a rush, Steven pulled off his pack again and started rummaging though it for his poncho.  Josh had done the smart thing and had worn a waterproof windbreaker, but Steven had only worn his wool sweater.  Now of course, it had seemed that he forgot his poncho.  Josh fortunately came to the rescue.  Digging in his own pack, Josh retrieved his own poncho and handed it to Steven. 

            "Oh my goodness, you're a life saver!"  Steven said, taking Josh's poncho with relief.

            "My mom always makes me carry one in my backpack, even though I don't really need it," Josh shrugged, as if it were no big deal.

            "Well, I guess I owe your mother one then."  Steven smiled.

            "Yeah, whatever."  Josh screwed up his face at the thought of his mother.    

            The journey back down the trail turned out to be much more hazardous than the journey up.  Several times, Josh slipped, almost bringing Steven down with him.  On a particularly rocky part of the trail, Josh slipped up hard, right into a nasty looking puddle.

"Aah!" Josh exclaimed, loosing complete control of his footing.

   If Steven hadn't reacted quickly, the pour boy probably would have fallen completely into it.  Unfortunately, he wasn't able to prevent the huge splash that had soaked almost the entirety of his left leg.

"Woah there, I got you.  Are you okay?  Does anything feel broken?" Steven asked, pulling Josh out of the puddle.

Josh seemed uncertain, and his left leg hung awkwardly.  "Did the puddle twist your leg?"

"I don't know, but it feels kinda weird," Josh said, wincing a little bit.

"Do you want to try walking on it?" Steven asked.

After a while, Josh shook his head no, throwing his arms and uninjured legs around him. "Can you carry me?"

Though Steven hesitated at first, mainly because he wasn't sure he could carry the 80 pound boy the rest of the way, when Josh squeezed him even harder, there was no way he could put him back down again.

By the time they made it to the car, parked at the bottom of the trail, Steven's legs felt like minced meat and the blisters forming on his feet were beginning to ache.  Steven kept silent though and hefted Josh into the passenger seat, helping him get his soaking jacket off.  "How does your leg feel?"  Steven asked. 

"It's okay, just a little sore."  Josh then paused for a bit, "Do you think you could... rub it a little?"  Josh asked, looking directly at Steven with those same pleading eyes, again giving him that look he could not refuse.

Something stayed Steven's hand however.  He knew he shouldn't view the request as out of place, considering how bad of a spill Josh had taken, but something inside told him there was more to this than met the eye.

Slowly Steven started kneading Josh's sore thigh.  He could feel where the muscle had bunched up in the boy's leg, which no doubt would have made it painful for him to walk.   As he worked the knotted muscle loose, he could see relief flood across the boy's face.  Clearly he could see that he really had needed the rub.

"Does that feel better?"  Steven asked.

Josh smiled and nodded.  "Thanks."

Once Steven finished, Josh seemed to notice for the first time the copious amounts of mud running off his shoes and pants and into the vehicle's upholstery.  "Oh no, I'm getting your parent's car all dirty.  I'm so sorry," Josh said, trying to move his feet back out the door.

"Don't you worry about it," Steven said, moving Josh's feet back into the car.  "You just worry about yourself.  I told my parents we were going hiking, and they are used to this old jeep getting dirty."

Though Steven could sense Josh was uncomfortable with making such a mess, he could see the boy relax now that the hike was over, showing considerable relief when the car was started, and the heater turned on high.  The trip back remained silent, and for the most part, Josh seemed content to watch the rain splatter down on the wind shield and the wipers clear it away.   Again, that somber mood had seemed to grab a hold of him.

Once the Jeep pulled into Steven's driveway, signifying the end of the very long drive, they both sighed with relief.  Luckily, the rain had cleared once they had come out of the mountains, so they wouldn't have to rush inside, though Josh's pants were still damp and muddy. 

"You alright getting inside?"  Steven asked.

Josh nodded.  Though it seemed like he still had a little bit of a limp, he managed to walk around the front of the car.  Steven took his shoulder, letting the boy lean on him up to the door.  As soon as they were inside, Steven helped Josh with his shoes, eyeing the extent of the damage. 

"Yikes, it looks like that puddle really got you." 

Josh's blue jeans were streaked with mud.  Even though most of it had dried from the long trip, they were still wet around the ankles. Even Josh's shirt, which had been under his jacket the whole time, had gotten mud on it.  The boy's face became more and more worried as he took notice of all the mud.

"If I go home like this, my mom is going to kill me," the boy said with a growing frown.

Steven scratched his head, clearly seeing the boy's dilemma.  He considered making the suggestion of washing his clothes, but the problem was, Steven had nothing Josh could change into, unless he... didn't mind wearing something that might be a little too big for him.  But at the same time, he didn't want the boy to be uncomfortable.

When Josh answered his unspoken question, it caught him completely off guard. "I guess I should take a shower and get out of these clothes, huh?"

Steven stuttered over his response.  "We... well, you certainly can if you wish, but I could just go grab something for you to wear while we wash your clothes."

Josh shook his head.  "No.  I feel really dirty, and I want to take a shower.  Is it okay if I use the one down here?"  He asked.  If the boy could perfect that pleading look any more, it would have left Steven quivering on his knees, begging him to do as he wished.

"Sure... that's fine.  Let me see if I can find you something to wear," Steven said. 

Once upstairs, Steven took a deep breath.  Josh was actually in his bathroom, getting ready to take a shower.  Though Steven had told him it was okay to use the shower, his brain was working overtime trying to understand why he would choose the one shower in the house that has a clear glass door instead of a curtain.  Josh had never needed to do such a thing at his house before, and the very thought of him being naked in his bathroom sent shivers down his spine and a fire in his groin.  Steven decided to go into his own bathroom and splash cold water on his face, trying his best to eradicate the vivid imaginings of beautiful little Josh washing himself in that see-though stall.

Picking something for Josh to wear only seemed to intensify his imaginings.  Everything he had was way too big for him.  He knew any pajama bottoms he gave him would simply fall right off his thin little waist, leaving him only with shirts.  Well... hopefully, Josh would keep his underwear at least, so wearing just a shirt wouldn't be so bad, especially a big one.  Deciding on one of his large, button down flannels, Steven headed down the stairs.    

To Steven's utter surprise, the bathroom door was wide open, vapors from the shower already spilling out into the hallway.  Steven paused at the doorframe, completely unsure of what to do.  He could see all of Josh's clothes lying in a neat little pile just inside the door.  The problem was he had no idea how he was going to get them without seeing Josh naked in the shower.

"Josh?  I'm just going to throw in my night shirt for you and you can hand me your clothes after you're done, okay?"  Steven asked, being careful not to step into the doorway and look too far into the bathroom.

Josh however seemed to have a different idea.  "It's okay.  You can come in and get them if you want."

Steven bit his lower lip.  Had he heard that correctly?  Never in the entirety of his stays had Josh left the bathroom door open, even when he only had to go pee.  Though he had never taken a shower at his place before, he couldn't imagine why he would behave any different.  Then there was the time they had gone swimming.  Steven had wanted to see him so badly then, but the way that whole tragedy had gone, he figured that the chances of ever seeing him in such a way were slim-to-none.  Now he was being invited into the bathroom, where he might easily be able to see.

Steven badly wanted to at that point.  Simply standing there so close to the open bathroom door was driving him nuts.  All he would have to do is move his head a little bit, and his darkest dreams would be realized.  Yet at the same time, there was something telling him that he should not do it, even if Josh was offering.  Something more than the feelings of guilt he usually felt.  Something told him he would be making a terrible mistake if he walked into that bathroom, one that he might regret for the rest of his life. 

Finally, Steven responded, saying the only thing he could.  "I'm just going to throw it in, okay?" 

There was a long pause before he heard anything.  Eventually Josh responded in a low voice.  "Okay."

After Steven had successfully deposited the nightshirt in the bathroom, he took the long way around to the kitchen, hoping that starting a late lunch would help him to get his mind off things.  Josh's shower seemed to be over remarkably quickly once he had left the nightshirt.  Steven had barely started when the boy appeared, holding his clothes in his arms. 

"Where should I put these?"  Josh asked, holding up his soiled clothing. 

Trying his best to appear calm and reassuring, Steven smiled at the boy.  "Did the shower help any?  Do you feel better?"

Josh smiled back and shook his head.  "Yeah.  I felt really dirty, and my leg was still sore, so it definitely helped."  Almost like a much smaller boy might do, Josh held up his clothing for Steven to take.  When Josh raised his arms, he could see the boy had put on the nightshirt he had given him.  At the same time though, he noticed that he hadn't buttoned all the buttons.  He had only buttoned a few around his waist, and the rest remained loose.  Not wanting to hesitate in front of Josh, Steven did the best he could to ignore his copious amounts of bare chest, and help put his clothes in the wash.

Once Steven had his clothes, he noticed that the boy had given him everything, including his underwear.  Holding his little white briefs in his hands, knowing he must be completely naked under the oversized nightshirt almost made Steven's legs buckle from underneath him.  Steven thought about saying something, but he didn't want Josh to feel guilty for doing something he shouldn't have.  Steven had already caused him enough pain.  He didn't want to make things worse.  But at the same time, Josh was making it very hard for him, in more ways than one.  He could only assume that the boy wasn't doing it intentionally.

After starting up the laundry, Steven closed the door to the washroom.  "I know it's a little late for lunch, but I figured since we never had anything due to the weather, I would make some chicken soup.  Is that okay?"  Steven asked.

Josh smiled up at him, as if all his troubles on the trail had been washed away.  "Yeah, that sounds real good."  Then, most unexpectedly, Josh threw himself at Steven in a tight hug around his waist. 

"What's this for?"  Steven asked, tentatively placing his hand on the boy's back.

"Thank you for taking me hiking, even if we didn't get to the top like you wanted.  Thank you for feeding me all the time and giving me piano lessons, even though my mother isn't paying for anything anymore.  Thank you for taking me out so many places, even though you don't have to.  Thank you for letting me... be around so much, even though you probably think I'm just an annoying little kid," Josh said, hugging Steven tightly.

Steven could only stand there and let himself be hugged, feeling completely overwhelmed with emotion.  Josh's extremely close presence, coupled with the things he said, almost brought him to his knees.  Is this what everything was about?  Was Josh having... feelings of guilt?  Steven had tried to reassure the boy he did everything freely and happily, regardless of money.  Why did Josh still think he was doing things out of obligation?

Steven sank down onto a knee and clutched the boy's small shoulders in his hands, staring into his beautiful blue eyes.  "You should never, ever feel like you are a burden.  Even though your mother paid me when I first started giving you lessons you formally, that had very little to do with my desire to teach you.  For me, it has been a great honor and a great joy to teach someone as gifted as you.  I can't tell you how much I truly enjoy your company, and how much I have come to care for you.  I don't know how you could ever think I find you annoying, quite the contrary.  By simply being around, you light up my day."

Steven could see that Josh's eyes were watering.  The boy must be feeling an awful lot right now, and seemed to be in need of a lot of love.  The boy needed reassurance and comfort, and Steven would try his absolute best to give that to him, separate from his own needs.  After only a moment's hesitation, still doing battle against his ever present demons, Steven drew him into a hug.  Somehow, though he had no idea how, Josh seemed to sense his hesitation, and practically jumped onto him, hugging him back tightly.

"It's okay," Steven said softly.  "Don't worry so much, alright?"  Slowly, Steven let go of the boy and straightened out his oversized disheveled shirt.  "Now, let's see if I can fix us something to eat.  I for one am very hungry.  How about you?"

Once again, Josh showed how remarkably he could change his mood.  "Yeah, you bet!"  Josh beamed up at him, practically bouncing on his arm to the kitchen.

As Steven resumed meal preparations, Josh looked on quizzically.  "Do you think I could help out?"

Steven, clearly seeing the boy's desire to be involved, smiled and nodded.  "Absolutely!  Here, you can help me stir the broth.  Just watch out with that shirt, you may want to roll up the sleeves."

Josh, seeming to notice for the first time that his sleeves were practically drooping off his arms, grunted with some effort rolling them up.  Now he truly did look awkward, with the large sleeves rolled up to his shoulders and the top still unbuttoned.  Steven thought about telling the boy to button up, more for his own safety while cooking, but he simply couldn't bring himself to mention it. 

With his help, the work proceeded quickly.  Though he could see Josh was trying to pay attention to how Steven prepared the chicken and the vegetables, he seemed to take every chance he could to rub up against him, burying himself in his side whenever he was standing still. When everything was cooking on its own, Steven poured them both some glasses of water and led them over to the table.  Josh took his seat and eyed the glass carefully.  After taking a couple swallows, he let out a soft sigh.

"Can I ask you a question?"  Josh asked.

"Of course.  What's on your mind?"  Steven asked in the most comforting manor he could.

"Well... I was kind of wondering... We are good friends right?"  Josh asked.

There was that pleading look again.  The look that somehow always melted Steven's heart into mush.  "Of course we are."

"And you're an adult, right?"

"Yes..." Steven said slowly, not sure where Josh was going.

"So I was wondering if you might give me... well... if you might let me try some beer."  Josh said the last word in a barely audible tone. 

Steven practically spit out the water he was drinking.  "Some what?"

Quickly Josh got on the defensive.  "I mean... you don't have to if you don't want to, but I thought that maybe... since we are friends and all, you would let me try some."

Despite his attempt to keep his voice gentle, the shock of the question made him speak with suddenness.  "Why on earth would you want to drink that?"

Josh's confidence seemed to waver greatly at Steven's rebuke.  "Well... I thought that... since you are a... it's just..."  Josh began, stumbling with his words.  "All my friends have tried some.  Sam... he's the drummer... he said that he and his dad have one every night together."

This was truly strange.  Steven had imagined Josh as the last boy that would feel pressured into drinking.  He couldn't believe Josh was asking him this.  Part of him, that deep dark part that he tried so hard to keep buried, shivered with excitement at the boy's request.  Here was a beautiful young boy, asking him for something society considered him to be almost ten years too young for.  It was an opportunity that some who felt as he did would jump at in an instant, considering themselves incredibly lucky.  It took an incredible amount of will power, but Steven finally gave Josh an answer.

"Josh, despite what your friends have told you, you shouldn't feel the need to compete with them.  Besides, even if your friend Sam does drink beer every night, which I think is a little much for a boy his age, I have a feeling he's not drinking it because he likes the taste."  Steven explained.

Josh's voice trembled with confusion.  "What do you mean?"

"I mean, with beer, and most kinds of alcohol for that matter, it's an acquired taste.  It's usually a taste you usually acquire when you get older.  The only reason, I suspect at least, Sam is drinking is because his father does.  Frankly though, I think its pretty bad form for his father to allow his son to drink like that," Steven shook his head sorrowfully.

"So... you don't think his dad should be letting him?"  Josh asked.

"Well... here's the thing.  People some times drink alcohol not because they like the taste, but because of the intoxicating effects that it has.  I imagine that is the reason why Sam's father drinks.  Sam's father, like so many others, probably thinks he can drink his problems away, but the problem is, when you become drunk, it only amplifies your feelings," Steven said, trying his best to keep any anger out of his voice.

Josh seemed to take this all in, and then slowly took another sip of his water.  "So, does that mean Sam drinks to forget about his problems too?"

Steven shook his head.  "No, I suspect Sam is drinking is to maintain his self image, in the eyes of his friends, and maybe his father as well.  I can only hope that Sam isn't drinking enough to get drunk every night.  I would have a real problem with that."

Steven reached across the table to grab the boy's hand.  "Josh, just because Sam, or any other of your friends are drinking doesn't mean you should.  Never feel pressured into doing something you don't want to do.  The only reason you, or anyone else for that matter, should drink is because you like the taste.  And beer, at least I hope, is not something you will come to like for a long while.  Not even I liked the taste of beer until recently.  And I still can't stand the taste of some of that cheep, light stuff.  But even if you somehow do miraculously acquire a taste for beer, I ask that you drink in moderation, because having a hangover is pretty much one of the most dreadful feelings you can imagine."

Josh nodded his head slowly and Steven sat there with him, trying to gauge his reaction.  It seemed the boy was thinking very hard about this, and when he looked back up at him, he tried to give him the most reassuring smile he could.

Then the timer for the soup went off.  Carefully, Steven went about serving them, making every effort to get what Josh needed for a comfortable late lunch.  Steven could tell however, that there were still a lot of thoughts brewing in his head.  Steven wished he could think of more to say, but he figured silence might be best as they both sipped at their chicken and vegetable soup.  Josh's eyes seemed unable to settle on any one place, and even after they had finished a second bowl, he still seemed distracted.

Just as Steven was about ready to ask if he was done or wanted more, the boy spoke up.  "Do you think I could ask you another question, even though it's kinda personal?"

Steven paused for a few seconds and blinked his eyes slowly.  A small shiver ran down his back.  "Um... sure, I guess."

"I was wondering... well... you live by yourself right?"  Josh began.

"Yes.  It's just me and my cat Peter, who I think you have gotten to know well by now," Steven responded slowly.

Josh smiled a bit and nodded his head, though his face became serious again rather quickly.  "My mom said... she thinks it's strange that you aren't... well... that you don't have a girlfriend," Josh said, trying to make himself appear as small as possible.

Steven ran his fingers though his hair.  He supposed that a question like this had to come up sooner or later.  He had been spending so much time with the boy that it had to be apparent he was not spending it with anyone else.  He knew Josh's mother was very well within her rights to be suspicious, and it was only a matter of time until Josh began to wonder too.  Still, the fact that Josh was confronting him on it sent sharp bursts of cold fear through his chest.  Rather awkwardly, Steven scrambled for something, anything that he could say.

"I... I guess I just haven't been interested in having that kind of relationship recently."  The problem, Steven thought, was that he very much wanted that kind of relationship, but not with a woman.  "The last time I had a girlfriend it didn't work out very well.  I was in collage, and I was so busy, and she wanted me to spend a lot of time with her.  With my music career in front of me, I just couldn't.  I did all I could, but unfortunately, it wasn't enough I guess, and she lost interest in me, and we broke up."

"Oh..." Josh seemed to puzzle this around in his mind.  "But why aren't you interested now?  You have a lot more time since you're just a teacher now, don't you?  I mean... wouldn't you want to spend more time with a girl than a little pest like me?"

Steven let out a long sigh.  "Oh Josh, I already told you.  Our time together means a lot to me, and I wouldn't trade that time for anything.  Besides, teachers don't have as much spare time as you think we do.  You have seen the stack of papers I have to grade while you practice.  I couldn't think of better music to grade papers to though, if I might add," Steven said with a smile.

This caused Josh to blush just the tiniest little bit.  "Thank you."

"So," Josh continued.  "Since you don't have a girlfriend and all, you probably have some... you know... to help you out, right?"  Josh's blush only seemed to deepen further.

If Steven had been drinking any water, he would have spit it out right then and there.  Though he had a good idea what Josh meant, there was no way he could muster the nerve to acknowledge it.  "Some what?"

Even though Josh was blushing, he wore a slightly mischievous look.  The combination of the two was so cute, that if Steven had been standing, his knees surely would have buckled. 

"Some... you know... like porno," Josh said meekly.

Steven worked his mouth, trying to find the right words, but none would come out.  Upon Steven's hesitation, Josh seemed to stammer for more description.

"I mean, I figured you must have some, because you're a guy right?  And you don't have a girlfriend.  I mean... unless..." Josh hesitated even further, "unless your too old for that kind of stuff, are you?"

"Too old?  I certainly hope not.  I'm not even thirty yet, and I am sure there are men out there more than twice my age who are still active."

"So does that mean you-"

In a slightly raised voice, Steven cut Josh off before he could go further.  "Josh... what you are asking is a very personal question.  I don't know what your friends have told you, but you typically don't ask people about something so private."

Almost immediately after he said it, he regretted having done so.  The boy turned his face away in shame.  Steven could see that he was on the verge of bolting out of his seat at the kitchen table.  Something however, kept him from running.  Instead, with this face downcast, he replied, "I'm sorry for asking you.  I know it was a bad question for me to ask."

Steven gently moved his arm over to squeeze Josh's hand again.  "I should be the one who's sorry."  Steven paused for a moment, scrambling to find the best way to answer his question.  "You see, there is really only one reason why guys have pornography, and that's... to satisfy their sexual urges."  Steven was barely able to say the last bit without a large lump forming in his throat.  "But... that's not the only way.  Some people choose to simply fantasize, rather than have the imagery so plainly presented to them."

Josh looked puzzled by this.  "What do you mean?"

Steven bit his lower lip.  "I mean... you don't always need a video or a picture to imagine something.  Some people like to simply fantasize about what can be, whether it's people they know, or perhaps want to know.  So... if you have a girlfriend... or significant other... you might fantasize about them rather than watch a video."

Josh seemed to think this over quite seriously, though he was unable to meet Steven's gaze the entire time.  "So that means, guys might just think about... doing sex things with their girlfriends rather than watching porn?"

Steven nodded, actually glad that Josh was not looking at him, because if he had been, he was sure the boy would have noticed how red his face was.  "Yes.  There may even be some people content with the relationships they have, and do not need more.  Most males though... fantasize about sex frequently, regardless of their relationship.  They simply do so due to testosterone, which no male who has gone though puberty can ignore.  It's just the way your body works."

Like any boy his age, he would not freely admit that this information was new to him, but he could tell that Josh was carefully weighing his words.  The only problem was, he still had no idea what the boy was actually thinking.  Was he questioning what his friends had told him?  Was he wondering about feelings of his own?  Or was the boy still curious about Steven's feelings?  He prayed that it wasn't the latter, because if it was, he could think of nothing more to say in his defense.  Luckily, Josh seemed satisfied, or at least he had shrugged off the conversation, agreeing to a bowl of ice cream for dessert. 

Once Steven had all the bowls picked up and in the dishwasher, he turned back to Josh at the table.  "How much longer can you stay?"

As if the question tore Josh back into reality, he snapped up his head and answered.  "Oh, I don't have to leave until later.  My mom said that she was going out with her sister and I didn't have to come this time if I didn't want to.  She probably won't be back until ten.  Can I stay with you until then?"

Steven smiled, "Your welcome here as long as you like." 

"So what are we going to do until then?"  Josh asked.  That sweat and innocent look he was so good at was back on his face again.  
            "How does a movie sound to you?"  Steven asked.

Josh nodded his head and smiled, following Steven almost like a lost puppy dog out to the living room.  It didn't take them long to settle on a movie.  When the credits for "Shine" started rolling, Steven felt Josh slide up next to him on the couch, laying his little blond head on the side of his arm. 

As the movie went on, the boy seemed to cuddle even closer, if that was at all possible.  It began as a gentle rubbing, Steven almost unable to feel it with the fabric of his denim jeans standing between his leg and the boy's soft little hand.  This however, progressed into a slight motion of his entire body against Steven's side.  Trying to adjust himself into a more comfortable position, which might offer a particular part of him more protection from the boy's wandering gaze, Steven turned sideways so the boy's back was resting more near his knee rather than right against his side, where he had a clear view of his groin. 

Josh however, seemed to dislike the position.  He actually got up from the couch and threw himself on Steven's lap, plopping his butt squarely on Steven's groin.  Steven let out an `humph' of air.  "Whoa there, you almost took all the air out of my stomach there buddy." 

Despite Steven's jestful complaint, Josh stayed where he was.  "Sorry about that," Josh said sweetly.

To make up for it, the boy slid even deeper into Steven's lap, resting his head in the small of his chest, splaying his beautiful bear white legs over his own.  Steven silently cursed himself.  Now things were ten times worse, for Josh's little bottom was now firmly pressed into his erection.  To complicate things further, Josh's movement had left his oversized shirt bunched up tight against his groin. Looking down, Steven could now almost see where the boy's silky smooth thighs met his pubic region.  A cold sweat broke out on his brow when he realized that all he had to do was move Josh's shirt a little more, and it would afford him a view of a part he had intensely fantasized about seeing. 

Concentrating on the movie from that point forward became impossible.  To make things worse, Josh actually, on occasion squirmed around in his lap, using his hands as if he were simply readjusting his sitting position to get more comfortable.  The darker part of him suspected Josh's movements were purely aimed at rubbing his butt directly on the erection madly straining inside his pants.  But if he chose to believe that, it could almost mean absolute disaster. 

With his feelings almost having gone completely ballistic with all of Josh's movements, whether they were intentional or not, Steven was getting to the point where he absolutely had to stop the boy at all costs.  Josh's movements however, were epitomized when Steven actually felt the boy's hand begin to snake up his leg, straight at his crotch.   Time almost seemed to slow down to a crawl as the boy's hand got closer and closer.  Steven felt as helpless as someone who might be observing this from high above.

            Then it happened.  Steven actually felt Josh's small hand brush directly against the cloth constraining his erection.  Completely unable to control himself, his body jerked violently.  Panic, coupled with an intense desire to flee, sent convulsive shockwaves throughout his entire body.  Before he had even realized what happened, he was on his feet, having thrown the poor boy who had been nestled on top of him into a pile in the corner of the sofa.

"What on EARTH are you doing Josh?"  Steven's breathing was almost ragged.

Josh had curled into a tight little ball, as if expecting a series of serious blows to come.  As Steven looked down at the scared little boy, with his heart beating wildly in his chest, almost to the point where the blood circulating in his ears had deafened him, he realized that his greatest fear had come to pass.  All of Josh's odd behavior today... it hadn't been because of his lack of self esteem, or peer pressure, or even simple innocent curiosity.  It was about Steven.  It was about him.  There was no more denying it now.  Steven was unsure of how long he remained standing there.  Though his gaze never left the boy, his eyes were unfocused, struggling between an intense urge to run, or gathering enough courage to face the situation.

"Josh... I'm sorry.  I'm so so sorry," Steven said, racking his fingers through his hair. 

Josh, curled up as tightly as he could get, had started crying.  It was soft, so soft that he hadn't even noticed until now.  It was evident he had been crying for a while however, when he turned around to look at Steven with tear-stained eyes.  Steven was kneeling at the couch now.  He didn't know when his legs had given out, but now his head was on the level with Josh's, and he could clearly see that the pain in the boy's face was equal to his own.  Steven could only stare into those eyes and beg for forgiveness.

"I can only guess how scared and confused you are right now, and how angry you must be with me.  And I can't blame you, not one bit.  You have every right to be angry.  I'm so sorry."  Steven's voice was filled with sorrow.

Josh's sad expression however, turned more to one of confusion.  "Why are you sorry?  Isn't it me who should be sorry?  I mean... I was the one who tried to... you know.  Aren't you supposed to be really mad at me?"

Amazingly, it seemed Josh needed every bit as much reassurance as he did himself.  How could he have been so selfish and so quick to assume what Josh really needed?  All of Josh's actions today proved how absolutely wrong he had been.

Steven let out a deep breath.  "I suppose, if I was like other people, then yes, I would be really mad at you.  But... I'm not like other people, and I guess that's why you did what you did, didn't you?"

Josh's voice was as weak as that of a mouse.  "I guess... because... I wanted to know for sure.  I wanted to know, but I didn't know how to ask."

Josh's whole body was shaking like a leaf, and though Steven's was not doing much better, he put his hand out, and the boy took it.  This seemed to give Josh the strength he needed to continue.

"I... I wanted to know if... if you were gay," Josh said, his voice stammering out the words.

There it was.  Josh had said it.  Even if it wasn't the complete truth, it was close enough, and the fact that the boy had guessed at it proved that he had been wrong once again.  Now Steven was at a complete loss.  He had no idea what to do, but he knew if he didn't offer at least some sort of explanation, he would only be doing the boy even more of an injustice.

"I'm so sorry Josh.   I'm sorry I haven't been completely truthful with you.  The problem is, I didn't want to scare you, and hurt you more than I already have.  I didn't want to put this terrible burden on your shoulders," Steven said, his voice filled with shame.

Josh however, still didn't seem to understand, but Steven could see that the boy was trying really hard to be strong.  "What do you mean?  Do you think that... I wouldn't like you any more?  Because it's not true.  I... I don't care if you are gay."

Steven hung his head low, unable to meet the boy's eyes.  "But it's more than that Josh.  It's much more.  If I were gay, I probably would have told you a long time ago, and I wouldn't have tried to hide it from you.  But you see... I'm not really gay, at least not the way most people think of it, because I am attracted... to boys... not men."

The period of silence between the two of them was deafening.  It was a silence Steven could barely stand, which allowed all the panic he felt inside of him bubble up almost to the point of boiling over.  But it was Josh who broke the silence, though only just barely. 

"Does that mean... that you are attracted to boys my age?"

Steven could only barely nod his head.

"Does that mean... you are attracted to me?"

Steven felt tears welling up in his eyes.  How could it have come to this?  How could he have let things progress so far?  Hadn't he promised himself that he would protect the boy from this, at any cost?  Hadn't he promised that he would protect him from the deepest, darkest part of himself; the part that most people would say has no business belonging within a thousand feet of a child?  If Steven's legs hadn't been in a bunch, his urge to run would have taken him straight out of the house, as far away from the boy as he could possibly get, if only to save him from the monster lurking inside.  It was Josh however, who truly prevented him from fleeing.  As if sensing his retraction, Josh reached out and grabbed Steven's hand urgently.

            "Please don't go.  You promised you wouldn't leave me again."  Josh pleaded.

            Steven could hear the intense pain in Josh's voice.  All of Steven's struggling ceased.  He had been ready to do it again.  He had been about to hurt the boy he cared so much about, this time possibly causing an emotional wound that could never be healed.  But it was all for his protection, wasn't it?  The things he wanted to do to Josh... and the fact that it had become so overpowering... scared him to death.  He wanted to do all the things people say can damage a child beyond all belief.  But... he could now see that if he left Josh, for any reason, it would be just as damaging.  It had even been damaging trying to keep the complete truth hidden.  Was there no way to keep the boy completely protected, and still be able to love and care for him?

            "Please don't run away.  You promised that you would stay with me for as long as I wanted, and... I want you to stay with me forever.  I never want you to go, and I... I don't care if you are attracted to me."

            Steven was completely lost for words, and completely unsure of what to do.  But, Josh seemed to make the decision for him again by jumping down on the floor, wrapping his arms around him in a tight hug.  The only thing Steven could do was hug him back.  If Steven knew nothing else, he knew that he didn't deserve this boy.  He didn't deserve a boy as loving and as forgiving as Josh.

            "But Josh... you have to know... there are things that I... there are things that I feel about you that a great many people wouldn't approve of," Steven said, with the boy's embrace still tight around his shoulders.

            "You mean... like sex stuff, right?"  The boy asked.

            Steven almost had to laugh deep inside.  If the boy had sounded unsure before, now he sounded as if he already had everything figured out.  Steven was once again amazed at Josh's ability to pick up on things so quickly.  The way the boy had said it, he almost made it sound like he wasn't afraid of the idea at all.  Despite all of that, Steven could still only nod his head.

 "It's all right, you know."  Josh spoke, drawing back from him and looking him in the eye like he had already accepted everything Steven had told him, and was okay with it.  It was like it had been the simplest decision for him to make in the world.  

"It's all right if you want... to kiss me."

Josh's beautiful baby blue eyes continued to stare into his own, even when he brought his hand up to Josh's face and held it softy.  When Steven brought his face closer to Josh's, the boy actually closed his eyes and parted his lips. 

The kiss was incredible.  Once it began, it seemed like it would never end.  Though it started small, with only their lips touching, that touch drove Steven completely over the edge.  Despite his colossal lust, he was able to hold himself in check, preventing his hand from removing the only item of clothing the boy was wearing.  Josh had offered himself for a kiss, and Steven would not take more. 

It was then, even though he was deeply locked in a passionate kiss, he made a new vow.  He vowed that he would never withhold anything from the boy again.  When he saw Josh needed an answer, he would give it freely, even if it put him in an awkward position.  If the boy asked, he would tell him the truth, no matter how painful it was for himself.

Though Josh seemed to simply sit there for several minutes, allowing himself to be kissed, eventually Steven felt the boy tentatively grasp at Steven's shirt behind his back, causing him to press his lips more firmly onto his.  Then he felt it, what unmistakably had to be Josh's tongue, poking into his lips.  It was so slight at first, that Steven wasn't even sure he had felt it, but when it came again, there could be no doubt. 

Steven drew the boy closer, actually lifting his small frame into his arms, and began kissing him deeply, their tongues intertwining together for the first time.  For Steven, it was absolute heaven.  He was French kissing the boy of his dreams, doing the very thing he had sworn would remain a dream for the rest of his life.  Yet it was happening, his love for the boy soaring beyond the highest heights.  Even if this was all Josh would ever let him do, it was more than he could have ever have hoped for.  And for that, he was more grateful to Josh than the boy could ever know.