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.
My deep and sincere apologies for taking so long to post this chapter. I have been in the process of making massive changes in my life, such as changing jobs, changing states, and changing living partners. There were times these past months which I despaired, and thought that the dream of being able to live with the one I loved could never be realized.
I have, for the past year-and-a-half, been trying to move in with Owen, over a thousand miles away. A relationship that first began as two aspiring authors simply sharing ideas and helping each other turned into much more than I ever thought possible. Now we want to share our lives and realize our dreams together. Unfortunately distance separated us almost longer than we could bare. Now, I finally have a job offer, and am taking the first steps to make our dreams come true.
So, now that all the mushy stuff is over, I'm sure that you are dieing to read the next chapter, so I will not keep you from it any longer. Please let me know what you think of it at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your feedback is always welcome, and GREATLY appreciated.
The notes of the Reverie came easier now. Josh had played it so many times that he no longer needed to look at the sheet music. Though it was still there, sitting atop the piano's music stand, he hadn't looked at it for several weeks. He knew exactly how the song was supposed to sound. Along with hearing Steven play it, he had played the song on his stereo at home countless times. Despite all of that, however, there was still something wrong with the way he played it.
Either it was a roll here, or a flourished grace note there, it still didn't sound quite right. Josh took a heavy breath, pausing in his playing. It was right at that part where he had to cross the roll over his right hand. Josh had asked Steven if there was any other way to do it, so that he wouldn't have to move his left hand so fast, but Steven was adamant. The melody HAD to stay in the right hand, else-wise it would get lost in the harmony.
"What's wrong Josh? That was perfect. You were doing so well," Steven said.
If Josh hadn't been so intent on the music, he would have noticed the peculiar tone in Steven's voice. Now, however, Josh had grown accustomed to it.
"Please try playing it again, okay? And don't stop this time, I know you can make it all the way though."
Josh had noticed it when school had started back up again after Christmas. There had been two weeks in between when Steven had taken him to the Nutcracker, and when he came back for his next lesson. Josh had felt odd not going during those weeks. It felt like something was missing. At first he thought it was just because we wasn't able to practice on Steven's beautiful Steinway all the time, but he knew it was more than that. He missed Steven.
Practicing at home just wasn't the same. Steven wasn't around to congratulate him when he finished, or clap at the end like he had done a major performance. The only positive reaction he ever got out of his mom was "Oh, it sounded fine honey," and he only got that when he prodded her. Steven always told him how well he had done.
But it was even more than that. It was just the way Steven said it. He wouldn't say it like his mom would, like it was a chore to even speak the words. When Steven said it, Josh could tell he meant it. He could tell that Steven truly thought he played well. And coming from Steven, who had to be one of the best musicians Josh had ever heard, it just... it meant a great deal to him.
Even though Steven had always been really nice, and encouraged Josh more than any other teacher (or adult for that matter) that he could remember, something had changed when he came back after Christmas. It was something in his voice. He sometimes sounded like how his mom did when she was worried about him, or how she was when she tried to comfort him. Josh struggled to put words to it, but he just couldn't quite describe it. It was like Steven somehow cared even more.
Though it was puzzling, Josh knew one thing. When Steven talked to him like that, it made him feel very warm inside. Sometimes, when Steven was close, he could actually feel butterflies in his stomach. During his more recent practices, he could actually feel Steven behind him, even though he was still in his own chair. It didn't happen often, but there were times when Josh would stop and look back, and Steven, sitting in his customary position, would have his eyes closed, as if he were feeling the music Josh was playing. When Josh started playing again, he also tried his best to feel the music, but time and time again, his fingers just wouldn't do what he wanted them to do.
Steven was always re-assuring, however. Like he was now. And little by little, Josh actually thought he was getting better. Renewed by Steven's encouraging words, Josh started playing again, feeling the music like Steven felt it.
With the notes so firmly locked into his head, Josh's hands seemed to take over. It was almost as if he didn't need to think about the notes at all. They simply came to him, and he let it flow out, letting his hands roll and flutter almost on there own. Now the only thing he needed to do was give a little nudge here and a little pull there. Though his eyes began to loose focus, he still landed every note perfectly, ringing the melody like a series of small chimes, emphasizing them in just the right places. He didn't make a single mistake as he came to the crossovers. He played it just like it was supposed to sound, just like his ears had heard it. When he was done, he was almost afraid to lift his fingers from the keys. He was almost too afraid to breathe. He never wanted the tranquility of the song to end.
"That was... beautiful." Steven said in a very soft voice. "I think that was the best you have ever played it."
It took a few moments for the euphoria that the song had produced in him to subside, and for his mind to come back to reality. Then something strange happened. If it had been any other time, before he had started playing, or maybe a little bit later than now, he knew he would have reacted differently.
Steven reached up with his arm, and let his hand slide down his back. Steven's touch gave him the strangest sensation. Even though Steven's hands were quite a bit larger than his, they still felt feather light across his back. When he brought his hand back up again, it created an amazing tingling sensation, so much that his spine arched backwards.
Steven continued rubbing his hand up and down Josh's back, and again Josh's eyes lost focus. A whole new suite of feelings swept though Josh's body, feelings he was completely unfamiliar with. This time though, instead of feelings bent completely on and in the passion of his music, they were bent somewhere completely different. Somewhere that he could not see and that he did not know. If he had been focused before, with the music as his compass, now he felt completely lost. The feelings sweeping through him now were completely foreign. The only thing he knew for sure was that Steven was there, sitting beside him, with a heartwarming smile on his face, a smile that somehow seemed to put all his fears to rest.
Josh didn't know how much longer it lasted, and didn't say a word. His lips wouldn't have moved even if he had wanted them to. He simply continued to sit there on the bench with his eyes closed, letting the strange feelings wash over him until he at least felt some level of comfort. When he did, he finally realized that he never wanted it to stop. Unfortunately, the realization came too late.
Almost as abruptly as it started, Steven's hand slid down his back one last time, then finally pulled away. Several minutes passed. The quiet was almost as tranquil as the music he had been playing only minutes before. Josh looked back up to Steven's face and met his eyes. Though the smile was still the same, there was something more behind it, something deeper. The only way Josh could describe it was that Steven's face looked somewhere between joyful and sad, between bliss and anguish.
Still no words were exchanged, and it continued that way until Steven finally stood up. It was with that motion that the mood was finally broken, and they both seemed to come out of a spell.
"Well, it's getting late. It's probably time for us to wrap things up," Steven said, his tone back to normal.
Josh nodded his head. "Yeah," was the only word he was able to get out.
"You did very well tonight. I think you are truly ready for the audition this weekend. If you play as well as you did for me now, I know you won't have a problem qualifying," Steven said, giving Josh that familiar re-assuring smile.
"It's just through here Josh," Steven said, holding the door open for the boy.
Steven had only been to this particular music school once before, and it was long ago. Thinking back, Steven realized that he had only been a few years older then Josh was now when he stepped foot into the University of Colorado school of music for the Boulder music festival. From what he remembered, they had always held auditions here, and the performances were always at Macky Auditorium. Looking at several flyers on the wall as they made their way to the front office, Steven could see that it hadn't changed.
It all started here, Steven thought to himself. If he hadn't entered into the music festival, he'd never have gotten his scholarship, and may never have gone to Indiana. Despite that, however, he knew he still would have become a musician, he simply did not know if he would have gotten nearly as far.
Walking though the hallways that led to the office, the familiar sound of the piano emanated from several rooms. The halls were already getting crowded, children with their parents either there for the audition, or waiting for a sibling who was already trying out. Passing by another closed door, Steven slowed as he walked by, trying to catch the tune that was being played. Surprisingly, he thought he heard one of Bach's Two-Part Inventions. Not a simple piece. Passing by another door, Steven clearly heard the notes of Clair de Lune. This door, with a narrow glass window above the handle, allowed him a brief glimpse inside. A girl was at the piano, she couldn't have been much older than Josh. To Steven's expert ears, she was playing it very nicely. His face frowned in concern, lined with a little bit of worry. He stole a quick glance back at Josh. He was biting his lower lip. He must as well have noticed the girl playing Debussy. It seemed like the competition this year was going to be stiff.
"Can I help you?" Though there were a lot of people loitering in the hallways, there was no line in front of the receptionist window. The words, coming from a voice that sounded like it had smoked too many cigarettes, was enough to direct his attention forward.
Steven stepped aside and motioned Josh to the window. "Participating in the festival?" The receptionist asked, sounding like she had asked the same question one hundred times before.
"Yes," Josh replied in a small voice.
"Then I need you to fill out this form." The receptionist brought her head up, squinting though her narrow glasses as she looked at and around Steven and Josh. "You can fill it out here. If you change your song, you need to tell us at least two weeks in advance of the festival. Please make sure to check the box indicating your age category, you will only be competing against children in your own category, there are no exceptions."
Josh was looking at her with a very serious face, making sure he did not miss a word. After she was done he nodded slowly, and pulled the piece of paper she slid out closer. Steven looked over Josh's shoulder. It seemed to just be the standard fair: name, address, parent, teacher, then just a few simple questions about the song. Once Josh had it filled out and handed back to the receptionist, she briefly scanned it.
"The Reverie, I see. I don't believe we have anyone playing the Reverie yet, though there are at least four other entries playing Debussy," she said, eyeing Josh over. "We have some seats set up in the hall behind me, please either wait there, or here in the front lobby area. I will call out your name when a judge is ready for you."
Not wanting to linger, Steven gently prodded Josh away from the window. "Four other Debussy entries...." Steven began. "I wonder which other songs they are."
Josh simply shrugged, though Steven could tell by the look on his face that he was equally troubled.
"Well, we at least know that one of the entries was that girl playing Clare de Lune," Steven said, trying to lighten up the mood.
Josh gave Steven a half-hearted smile. "Yeah, I guess so."
Luckily, there were still several unoccupied folding chairs left against the wall in the hallway behind the receptionist. There looked to be about four other kids waiting, several boys, and a girl sitting back at the end of the hall. There only looked like there was one other boy Josh's age, sitting with an older looking gentleman close to the beginning of the hall. Steven picked his seat so Josh could sit next to the boy.
Once sitting, Steven noticed that all the other kids, like Josh, had their music with them, sitting in their laps. Though Josh had memorized the Reverie, Steven informed him that the music would still need to be handed to the judge while he was auditioning. The boy next to Josh also he his music, but Steven was unable to read the cover. The boy, upon closer inspection, was definitely younger than Josh. He wore a pleasant smile on his face, and almost as soon as Josh took his seat, the boy turned to great him.
"Hi, I'm Cody, what's your name?" The boy asked with his smile growing wider.
"Um, I'm Josh," Josh said, trying to match the Cody's smile, though Steven could tell he was still a little uncomfortable talking to a boy he didn't know.
"Nice to meet you," Cody said, holding out his hand. Josh hesitated for a moment, then shook it.
"So, you're competing in the music festival too?"
Josh nodded. "Yeah"
"What kind of music do you like to play?"
Josh shrugged his shoulders. "I dunno, I guess I like Classical the best."
"Yeah, me too. Who's your favorite composer?"
Now that the first few sentences had been exchanged, Josh seemed to relax a little. "Oh, um, I really like Debussy a lot, and I like Chopin. I used to like Mozart more, but now I think I like the stuff that came later, after him."
"Really? Yeah, I feel the same way. I used to like Bach and Mozart when I was younger, because that's what I learned first. But now I like Chopin, and Rachmaninov," Cody said, maintaining his good cheer.
"I like Rachmaninov too!" Josh chirped.
"Cool! Which song do you like most?" Cody asked.
Josh briefly shot a glance back at Steven, almost as if he was silently asking if he could tell about the music Steven had shared with him. Steven gave Josh a simple smile.
"I really like the Rach Three. That part at the end of the first movement is so cool!" Josh said.
"Yeah it is! I like the whole thing. I also really like his March from Opus 23, Number 5. And I really like Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. That one is very beautiful." Cody said.
Just by the tone of his voice, Steven could tell that this boy cared just as much for music as Josh, and he was definitely listing excellent works of composition.
Josh however, wore a slight frown. "I don't think I've heard those. Have I Steven?" Josh asked, looking up at Steven almost without a second thought.
Steven shook his head. "No, I don't think I've played those for you. The March is for the piano, and is very technically challenging, and the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini is played with a symphony. I have recordings of them however, so you can listen to them any time you like."
Cody continued to ask Josh about more songs, if he had heard a particular song by Chopin, or Debussy, or Scriabin, or a number of different composers, all around the Romantic period. Steven also noticed that Cody never once looked back to the man sitting beside him. Eventually, he began to wonder if he was even with the grey haired gentleman. The man was calmly sitting with his legs crossed, reading an article out of what looked like the Colorado Spotlight, a magazine focused on highlighting major musical performances along the front range. The man wore thick rimmed glasses, sitting on the edge of his nose as he peered down at the article. He was dressed very nicely. Though not in a suit, he wore a blazer and a drab looking tie. Cody was also dressed nicely, in a pair of beige kakis and a turtle-neck sweater. Josh of course, was wearing his customary pair of dressy shorts and polo shirt. Not wanting to make Josh any more nervous than he was, Steven told Josh he could dress however he liked, since it was only the audition, and not the performance.
Steven's suspicions were disproved however, when Cody's name was announced by the receptionist. When the boy stood to meet the receptionist, the man also stood, and they both walked over to her. Steven saw the man shake hands with another man who had to be one of the judges. Never once, however, did the man glance down at Cody, or even speak to him, from what Steven could tell. It seemed as if Cody was a third party, simply to be handed off. Steven frowned as the man walked back and took his seat after the judge walked off with Cody.
Josh also watched as the boy was escorted away. Steven could see him visibly tense as they turned a corner and went out of view. Josh's eyes lingered at the end of the hall several minutes before looking back up at Steven.
Steven gently put a hand on Josh's hunched shoulder. "Don't worry, you'll do fine," Steven said softly.
Josh's face was still troubled. His upper lip trembled as he spoke. "But what if I mess up and... completely forget my song?"
Steven squeezed Josh's shoulder. "You won't. Don't worry so much. If you mess up that badly, just take a deep breathe and start at the beginning."
Steven could tell his words had helped, but Josh still looked concerned. "But what if I can't even remember the beginning?"
Steven pushed off Josh's shoulder. "Now you're being silly. You're not going to forget." Steven gave Josh a playful smile. "And if you truly do blank out that badly, you can always ask the judge for the music."
Josh smiled back at Steven. "No... I figure if I forget that badly, then I wouldn't be able to play from the music anyway," Josh retorted.
Steven held his nose up a little. "Then don't complain to me about it buddy."
That earned a small punch in the arm straight away from Josh.
"Hey, don't start something you can't finish!"
With that, Steven reached over and started tickling Josh's sides. Josh howled with laughter, almost dropping his music, throwing his arms down to protect the spots he was trying to antagonize. Even though Josh was trying to push his arms away, Steven could tell by the wide smile on the boy's face that he was truly enjoying the contact. More and more, Steven tried to find every opportunity he could to touch Josh. Every time he did, an incredible rush swept through his entire body. Every time he laid a hand on the boy it was like an army of tiny sprites started marching around in his stomach and in his chest, not to mention setting a wild fire in his groin. And now, still trying to get at Josh's sides and his taught little belly, the fire in Steven's groin was white hot.
Finally, Steven relented, and Josh looked directly into his eyes. There was no malice in the boy's eyes, only pure adoration, mixed with a hint of mischievousness. In that moment, Steven wanted nothing more than to reach out and grab the boy, and embrace him in a warm, tight hug and never let go.
The mood however was not to last. Like a bullet that penetrates a thick fog, Josh's name rang through the air. Abruptly slammed back into the reality of the situation, Steven quickly stood and motioned Josh to his feet. Either it was Steven's imagination, or Josh seemed to have an equally hard time clearing out his mind.
Steven gave Josh a warm smile. "Alright maestro, here we go."
Both of them trying to regain their composure, they walked over to where the receptionist was standing. With her was another man, though he looked to be a different judge than the one who had taken Cody. The man extended his hand out to Steven.
"Jon Bentley, nice to meet you. And you must be Joshua Chambers." The man said, briefly glancing at the clipboard he was holding before offering his hand to Josh.
"Yes sir," Josh answered respectfully, shaking his hand.
"I see you are going to play the Reverie for me. It's been a while since I have heard that song. I'm looking forward to hearing how you play it," the man said, taking the music from Josh's hands.
The man seemed to have a cozy demeanor about him, which put both Josh and Steven more at ease.
"Keep in mind though that this is only the audition, not the performance. You are not required to play the whole song, or to get it perfectly. We only want to get a sense of how you play."
Josh visibly relaxed at these words.
"But, if you are playing a song like the Reverie, and not an arranged version mind, then I'm sure you have nothing to worry about. Just play like you would for your teacher, and I'm sure you will do just fine," Mr. Bentley said.
Steven gave Josh a smile and a pat on the shoulder. "Good luck Josh, knock `em dead."
Josh looked directly into his eyes and nodded twice before following the Judge to a practice room. Steven thought of following along, at least so he could see which room Josh was in while he waited, but he decided to go down a different hallway, a hallway that only a few minutes earlier, he had seen Cody go down.
Once again, Steven listened closely as he passed by each practice room. As he continued on, he began to get the sense that this year's music festival would be quite a bit larger than the one he had participated in all those years ago. He must have passed by at least five occupied rooms. He paused at each one, trying to catch the melody of the song that was being played. A few sounded simple, and a bit awkward. At one of the doors that had a window, he could see the back of a little boy. He watched for a little bit as the boy struggled though his song, trying to play the notes of Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King." Through another door, though this one had no window, he could hear the notes of Strauss's "Beautiful Blue Danube."
The songs he heard out of the next few doors really began to pique his interest. Prokofieff's "Peter and the Wolf," Beethoven's "Six Variations," and Chopin's Nocturne. Steven paused when he heard the notes of the Nocturne. It was a piece he knew very well. The Nocturne Opus 72, Number 1 was one of Steven's favorites. Steven peeked though the window to boy who was playing it. The boy was playing it very well. At first he thought the boy had to be Cody, but when he caught view of his face, he saw that the boy looked quite a bit older. Still, the boy was playing the piece beautifully. Chopin's Nocturnes were all about accentuating the notes of the melody line brought out from a flowing harmony that teased feelings of trepidation mixed with sadness. The emotion that this boy brought out of this song was truly impressive. If Josh had been slated to compete against this boy, he would have been hard pressed to win.
If Steven had been unprepared to hear the notes of the Nocturne coming from a practice room, he was even more unprepared to hear what drifted out of the next room. At first, he couldn't quite recognize the song. Whatever it was, it was fast, very fast. Then it slowed down to a very soft, flowing melody. The harmony was all across the keyboard, flowing in large arpeggios. With the melody trilling and full of grace notes, there was no doubt in his mind that it was another Chopin. When the song picked up speed again, there was no doubt in Steven's mind which song it was. It was the fastest and most challenging of Chopin's Impromptu's, the Fantasia.
Steven listened as the unknown auditioner played through the song again, almost flawlessly. Steven stood there at the door, almost wishing he could carve out a hole, just a little one, so that he could see who was behind it, playing such a difficult piece. Steven contemplated on waiting there, or waiting at the end of the hall so he could see who came out after the audition was over, but he thought better of it. He needed to be back in the waiting area when Josh was finished. He didn't want to cause Josh any more stress than he already had.
It was good that he had gone back, for only a few minutes after he had sat down, Josh came ambling down the hallway. Just from the hesitation of his walk and his posture, Steven could tell that something was wrong.
"Hey Josh, how did it go?" Steven asked, sitting on the edge of his chair.
Josh plopped himself on the seat next to him, took a few deep breaths and shrugged his shoulders before answering. "It went okay."
"Just okay? Did the judge like your song? What did he think of your playing?"
"He liked it. He thought I played it very well. He even made me play it again so he could hear the difficult part where the melody crosses the harmony," Josh said, not making eye contact.
"Well, then why the long look on your face, if it went so well?" Steven asked.
Again Josh shrugged. "I dunno..." Josh's eyes seemed lost as they stared down the hallway he had just come from.
There was a long silence before Steven finally broke it. "It's the other players, isn't it?"
Josh was a while in his response. At first, it seemed like the words hadn't sunk in, but slowly a look as overcast as a rainy day began to form on the boy's face. "Yes."
Steven chose his next words very carefully before speaking. "There were a lot of good players I heard when walking through the halls." Josh nodded his head slowly to this. "There was one in particular who was very good. Unfortunately though, I was not able to see who it was."
Even though Josh's distress was apparent, he still had a hint of resignation in his expression. "Did you hear what song it was?"
Steven nodded his head. "It was very fast, and was played remarkably well. It certainly is one of Chopin's more difficult pieces to play on the piano."
Josh seemed to digest the words slowly, as if breaking them down in his mind until the pieces were easier to swallow. "Do you think I will have to compete against that?"
Now Steven let out a deep breath. "I don't know. It's possible."
Both Steven and Josh sat there, each staring out into a different part of the hallway. Both were straining their ears to hear any stray melodies from a practice room, or simply listen in on what people were saying in passing. Steven looked back down at Josh again. He could tell the boy was very troubled by this, and he felt equally troubled. He wanted very much for Josh to be successful, and he thought a song like the Reverie was quite an accomplishment for a boy who had only just turned eleven a few months ago. Most children his age were still playing out of level books, or arranged pieces with chords that could be played with one hand, or a melody that didn't require a lot of finger crossovers. Josh was way beyond that, playing pieces that would normally be reserved for college students.
But hearing the blindingly fast notes of the Fantasy Impromptu gave Steven great pause. Though Josh played at an advanced level, a piece like the Fantasy Impromptu shows a remarkable talent in the pianist, requiring technique that very few adults could even attain. For a child to be playing the Impromptu... it shows true genius. At the same time though, Steven knew that Josh had that talent in him. He knew to the very core of his being that Josh could truly be a great pianist. Not only did he have a great ear for music, his sense of rhythm was unswerving, and his dedication to play the best he could no matter how difficult the song truly amazed him. With enough hard work and practice, Steven knew that Josh could play the Impromptu, or any other song he set his mind to.
Steven looked down at Josh again, and again that rush shot through him. Watching Josh sit there, still deep in thought, no doubt feeling as deeply about the situation as he did, it didn't take long for his mind to settle on a firm resolution.
"Josh," Steven said, gently trying to coax Josh out of his thoughts. "How would you feel about changing your song?"
It seemed to take a while before the words registered in Josh's mind. Finally, Josh redirected his focus on Steven. "Change my song? You mean play something different?"
Steven nodded his head. "Yes."
"What would I play?" Josh asked.
"Something... Something that would assure you a win," Steven said, his tone becoming more sure by the minute.
Josh still looked concerned, uncertain, and a tad skeptical. "You mean... something... something harder than I have played before, don't you?"
Steven nodded. He searched Josh's face, and he could tell that he was plainly daunted by this idea. Steven softened his expression and laid a gentle hand on the boy's shoulder. "Josh, don't worry. I'm going to help you. And together, we will knock the socks off the judges, along with the rest of the competition!"