The Power of Music

Chapter 8

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,


            As I mentioned before, my life has been in upheaval.  Now I am moved in though, and living a completely new life it seems.  And since I am living with another writer, we are both going to set aside real time to write.

            With that said, I hope against hope that I can begin releasing chapters much quicker than I have been in the recent past.  I looked back and realized my first post to this story was in August 2004 and it scared me a little.

            In any case, I'm going to try and pound out the upcoming chapters more quickly, and get the emotions as ratcheted up as I can.  For those of you that have hung in there, despite my incredibly slow posts, I am really appreciative.  I love reading all your emails, and it brings me great joy that this story may have brought some light into somebody's day.

            If you are reading, please let me know if you are liking it.  If not, let me know what you think I can add to it to make it better.  Feel free to shoot me a line at  Thank you so much for your support.



            Josh Chambers



            Josh's fingers raced across the piano.  To the casual observer, his hands would have seemed a blur as they ripped across the keyboard, ending in cords with a sound so big that it seemed to defy the small size of the hands that played it.  Every time he played though a section, he played it a little bit faster, a little bit better, with the harmony and the melody lines meshing that much more precisely. 

They were working on evenness now.  The piece required an extraordinary amount of evenness in the hands if it was to be played right.  "Economy of motion" Steven kept telling him over and over.  "You have to keep your hands even, no sliding your hand in and out between the black keys.  You don't have time for that.  Remember to sit up straight; your elbows should always be above the keys.  Pull with your arms; don't make your fingers do all the work."  Again and again Steven chanted as Josh worked through the song.

So far, this song had been completely different than any other Josh had played.  Never before had Josh tried to play a song so difficult.  When Steven first played the recording for him, his face went completely white.

"There is no WAY I can play that song," Josh had said with the barest squeak of a voice.

Steven however, had different thoughts.  "It's not as difficult as it sounds," he had reassured him.  "Also, you do not need to play it at the speed of the recording.  I for one think it's played too quickly."  Steven had smiled his customary smile, the one that always seemed to put Josh's fears to rest, no matter how scary the task in front of them.  "Besides, with songs like these, it always sounds faster to the one who is listening than the one who is playing."

"But how will I get my fingers to play that fast?"  Josh asked more in awe than in skepticism.

"With a lot of practice," Steven had said with a knowing, almost amused look on his face.

And it had been a lot of practice.  They had been at it for nearly four weeks now, and Josh still didn't feel like he was playing anywhere near like what it was supposed to sound.  Almost every school night and Saturday he had come over, pounding on Steven's Steinway, trying to make the 3rd movement of the Moonlight Sonata sound like it did in the recording.   Yet it still sounded slow in parts, like how it was when Steven played it way under tempo.  Steven had told him that the key was breaking it down bar-by-bar, speeding them up one at a time.  Only when the bar was up-to-speed should he try adding it.  And then, he could only do that when he had the entire section memorized.  No song he had attempted before had been this much work.

Josh's fingers continued to blaze across the piano, pounding at cords, then rocketing his hands back down so that he could drag them up the keys yet again.  Finally, he made it to a simpler section that only required his left hand to remain in an octave position while his right played the melody.  But this piece gave no breaks.  After only five or six bars, it was right back to the long arpeggios that had to scream their way up the E minor scale.  Yet Josh continued.  He approached one of the parts that he always got hung up on, but he slowed it down a little bit, just like Steven had told him, and kept playing forward. 

"Very good Josh, you didn't stop that time.  Remember, even if you hit a few wrong notes, keep playing.  Less people will notice a few misplaced notes than they will notice if you completely stop."  Josh could only briefly nod his head, so deep was his concentration.

Finally, Josh came to a section that he simply could not play.  No matter how hard he tried, he always got stuck at this part.  Luckily it was near the end of the song.  It was right near the end where not only the arpeggios went up, but they went down as well, in both hands none-the-less.  And of course they had to be played pretty much as fast as his fingers could play them.

"Ahh, I HATE this section!"  Josh almost screamed, throwing up his hands in frustration. 

"Oh, but Beethoven really liked those big chords stretched all the way across the piano.  As I told you before, it's not so hard when you break the run up into chords.  Remember the fingerings I showed you?  Try playing the chords in blocks rather than spanning it across the keyboard." 

Knowing how important it was that he get it right, despite the fact that his very fingers were beginning to ach, Josh continued.  He tried to recall the last time they had taken a break, and he wasn't sure.  It wasn't like he wanted to stop, especially since the music festival was now only a few short days away, but he knew he was beginning to make mistakes simply because his fingers were tired. 

Unfortunately, when Josh became more conscious of the ache in his hands, he began to feel the ache in his arms, and across his whole back.  When Steven prompted him to put the notes back together, he just couldn't get his fingers to co-operate at all.  They had completely turned to gel on him. 

"I can't play anymore," Josh said, a large part of him unwilling to let the words slip from his tongue. 

"What's wrong?  We still have a couple more-" but before Steven could finish the sentence, the doorbell rang.

Steven hesitated for a few seconds, and then removed himself from his close position next to Josh on the bench.  When he opened the door, Josh was forced to turn and face the woman who stomped in, barely giving Steven a chance to move out of the way.

"I'm here to pick up my son.  I assume he is still here."  Before Steven could even reply, she swept around the corner into the studio.  "Joshua Chambers!  Do you have any idea what time it is?" 

Completely stunned by his mother's presence, Josh was unable to get any words out.  "It's past nine, and you were supposed to be home by eight.  I told you that last night was unacceptable, and you went and did it again.  That's two times you have broken your curfew, and you didn't even bother to call.  Why did I even bother getting that cell phone?"

"Mom, I didn't even real-" Josh tried to speak up in defense.

"I won't hear it.  Originally I didn't even want you staying here past dinner, but I conceded since you seem so bent on practicing here for your performance, and since your teacher was kind enough to offer you a meal if you stayed late.  But now I think you've overstayed your welcome."

"Mrs. Chambers, I am partly to blame for thi-" But even Steven was cut off from his mom's venomous temperament. 

"No.  It's Josh's responsibility to call me.  I told him explicitly that he cannot stay here past eight on weeknights, and it's his responsibility to be home in a timely fashion."

Refusing to budge even an inch, she made a slight turn for the door and tapped her foot on the hardwood floor.  With a heavy frown on his face, Josh sagged his shoulders and started putting his music away.  Why did she have to be like that?  Was it just him, or did she seem like she was becoming less and less supportive?  Was it just because he was coming over to Steven's to practice more often?  But the more he thought about it, the more he realized that his mother hadn't really been all that supportive of his playing to begin with.

Despite the turmoil of Josh's thoughts, the tapping persisted.  When Josh looked up at his mother's face, he was greeted by that same annoyed, impatient look on her face.  It was the kind of look she had whenever he did something she didn't like, or took too long doing something when it should have been done quicker.  He was seeing that look on her face more and more often, it seemed.  With a heavy sigh, Josh threw his backpack over his shoulders and walked over to the front door.  His mother stood there, not budging an inch, as if trying to force him through the door with her eyes.

Before stepping through, Josh stole a glance back at Steven.  The look on his face was worlds apart from his mother's.  His was a face that belayed compassion, understanding, and a touch of sympathy.  Just looking into his eyes seemed to give him a badly needed boost of confidence.  Josh stopped dead in his tracks and turned to face his mother.

"I know tonight's a school night mom, but do you think I can stay late on Friday?  I have a lot to practice, and I still need Steven's help," Josh said.

"Oh, so you're already on a first-name basis with your teacher now?"  If his mother was angry before, now she was seething.  "I can't believe your nerve Josh.  Didn't I just say that you have been spending way too much time here?  Did you just hear anything I just said?  Have you even attempted to do any of your homework this week?  You have been so busy over here practicing that I don't see how you could even have gotten started.  I will not let this turn into last week's episode.  And don't even make me remind you about the week before, and the week before that!" 

"Mom, but I have to practice.  The performance is Saturday, and I'll be competing against all those kids.  If I screw up...  I have to practice!"  Josh said, barely resisting the urge to sink down to his knees and beg.

"No, I'm not letting you neglect your homework another week.  You may think its okay to wait until the last minute to do it, but I don't."

"But I didn't wait until the last minute, I did it all in St... Mr. McNealy's classroom after sch-" Josh began to protest.

"Stop.  I don't want to hear any more of your excuses.  You will spend the next few nights catching up on your homework.  Now out with you."  This time, she actually began to push on Josh's shoulder.

"But what about Friday?  I gotta practice the night before the competition!" 

"You have practiced enough Josh."  Then her tone seemed to lighten.  "Besides we have a prior commitment on Friday."  She waited for a moment, as if expecting a negative reaction.  "Don't tell me you forgot.  It's your aunt's birthday this Friday.  We are going out with you and your cousins as a family."

"What?  That's NOT fair!"  Josh almost screamed.  "You knew that my performance was this weekend.  How could you do this to me?"

"Me do this to you?  You should have remembered your aunt's birthday.  This date was set up long before your performance."

Josh was torn between wanting to break down into tears and rip his mother's throat out.  How could she do this?  Didn't she know how important this was?  Wasn't it obvious by how much time he was putting into it?  And then out of nowhere she says he has to go with her to his aunt's birthday.  His aunt and his three little cousins.  His three little girl cousins, the youngest of which always cried at the table and got food all over herself.  Two-year-olds were so disgusting.  Even the oldest one was still only six, and any time they played together, she always insisted that they play house.  If Josh knew one thing for sure, he did NOT want to be married to that girl.  Why did his mom always insist on going out with them?  Besides, couldn't they just go next weekend, or even this Sunday?  Why did it HAVE to be on Friday?  Somewhere, deep down, he entertained the thought that she might be doing this simply to spite him, like she truly enjoyed making his life miserable.

Josh could feel himself begin to grit his teeth.  His hands were already balled up into fists, and if he squeezed them any tighter, he probably would have drawn blood into the palms of his hands.

"Josh, move your behind, and I mean it this time!"

Even though he could not bring himself to make eye contact, he still could not just let her win, not this time.  "Why do I have to go to my stupid aunt's birthday?  She doesn't even like me anyways."

"Gee, and I wonder why that is Josh.  Might it be something to do with how you treat your cousins perhaps?  It wouldn't hurt you to play along with them every once in a while.  You know that's what would make your aunt happy.  Well, no matter.  You ARE going."

"You don't know what they're like mom.  You don't know how they are when Aunt Julie isn't watching.  All's they do is nag and nag.  And if I don't play along with their girl games, they threaten to tell on me.  They are so spoiled."  Josh spoke less out of complaint than sheer annoyance.

"Oh, now I've heard everything.  This coming from a kid that has a nice roof over his head, a room of his own, and almost every worldly possession that he desires.   This is coming from a kid that gets to do as he pleases almost every night, coming and going when he wants until it's practically his bedtime.  Why can't you be thankful for all that god has given you?  I swear Josh, it's times like these when I can barely resist the urge to slap some sense to you!"  She said, almost looking like she may just do it. 

Josh involuntarily braced himself.  Even though she had never really hit him, now he was uncertain whether she really would.  "Now, if you are quite done.  I have a lot of work to catch up on, and the last thing I needed was to come over here and remind you of all your responsibilities."

Why did she have to be like this?  Whenever he really wanted something, she always had to remind him about how thankful he should be, and how god has been so nice to him.  It's not that Josh had any problems with god, and he was thankful, but it always seemed like he could never be thankful enough.  But at the same time, if god really was all-knowing and really loved him, wouldn't he know how important this performance was to him, and how his doing well might effect the rest of his life?

No, he told himself.  It wasn't god's fault.  It was solely the fault of his mother.  She was the one who was doing this to him.

"I hate you," Josh uttered in a quiet, seething voice, barely above a whisper.

"What was that?"  Josh's mother forcefully turned him around, making him face her directly.

"I said, I HATE you," Josh said in a much louder voice.


Even several moments after his mother's hand had swung wide of his face, the sound of it still resounded in his ears.  Almost involuntarily, Josh's hand went up to rub the part of his cheek that his mother had brightened.

"Don't you DARE talk to me like that.  I can't believe you.  After all I have done for you.  I have worked so hard after your father left us.  SO hard, and this is the thanks I get?"  Without waiting any longer, she took hold of Josh's hand and dragged him out the door.

Only briefly was Josh able to see Steven one last time before he was ripped from view.  Even though Josh only saw it for an instant, the look on Steven's face communicated words of understanding.  Words that he was not given time enough to relay.  Once again, Steven's look changed Josh's mood, this time serving to drain some of the white-hot anger from his mind and grant him a touch of clarity.  That clarity however, was very hard to keep as he was forcefully led to his mother's car, parked on the side of the road.

"Get in the car Josh.  And I swear, if I hear another word from you, there will be no music festival," She said, walking around to the front of the car, forcefully throwing the door open.

More than one trite response came to Josh's head, but he kept his cool this time.  Somehow he knew that if he said anything right now, it wouldn't help him out at all.  Opening his own door, having to forcefully tug at it himself just to get it open, he shrugged his bag off his shoulders and tossed it into the back.  After his mother choked the car to get it started, the only sound that passed between the two of them was the old, coughing engine.

For several minutes thy drove in silence.  The only thing Josh could think of was how much he loathed his mother.  Why did it always seem like anything he really cared about she treated like crap?  And it wasn't just music she seemed this way about.  He knew she didn't like him reading fantasy books, even though most of them were dad's.  She didn't really like a lot of the things that his dad and him had done together, like playing catch, riding bikes, or watching one of his dad's favorite sci-fi shows.  Josh remembered, one of the first things to go was the cable after dad left.  Thinking about all of these things inevitably led him to a deeper question, one he was afraid of asking, even to himself.  Could it have been that dad had just walked out, or did he leave because he couldn't stand mother any more? 

Almost as soon as the thought entered his head, he forcefully shoved it away.  He might have been really mad at his mom right now, but he couldn't bring himself to believe that dad had left because of her.  It would contradict everything his dad had said before he left, even though it wasn't much.  Josh's thoughts were interrupted by his mother, though now her voice seemed to be calmer.

"Josh, listen.  I'm... I'm sorry for yelling at you earlier okay?  I really didn't mean to slap you like that.  I've just had a really long day at the office, and I'm tired and cranky.  You shouldn't have to suffer because of my bad temper.  I can only pray for the lord's forgiveness for being so short with you sometimes."  She took a really long breath and remained silent for a while before continuing again.  "I know how important your performance is to you, and I am trying my hardest to give you the time you need.  But at the same time, you can't let all your other responsibilities suffer for your extra-curricular activity."  Josh felt a deep urge to protest again, wanting to tell her that he had dutifully been doing all his homework after school, while he was waiting for Steven to clean up after the day, and after band practice.  And on top of that, it was much more than just an extra curricular activity.  But he didn't want the conversation to spiral down to where it had been only a few moments ago.

"I know mom," was Josh's response.

"Listen Josh, I don't mind that you are over at Mr. McNealy's a little more now, but you can't be going over there so frequently after the performance is over."

"I know mom," Josh said again. 

"Anyways, I hope things settle back down more to normal after this thing is over.  You just haven't been yourself lately.  It's not like you to be so... touchy."

Part of him just wanted to tell her that maybe he was tired of always being her perfect boy, but another part had to take a step back and seriously consider her words.  Was he more "touchy" than he normally was?  For the most part, he thought he was pretty good about doing everything his mother asked, even if he really didn't like doing it.  But that was just part of being a kid, wasn't it?  Adults make you do things that you really don't like to do.  And of course, you were supposed to be thankful for it when you grew up. 

"I'm hoping after this whole music festival thing is over, you will be able to volunteer more of your time at church.  Father Roberts has been telling me he is badly in need of some weeknight help.  Father Roberts also tells me that you still don't have enough hours for your confirmation yet.  That's one of the things I will NOT forgive you for Josh.  I know you still think you have time, but your twelfth birthday is less than a year away now.  I took my oaths before twelve, and I expect you to as well."

She was beginning to nag again, in that tone that belayed "I am never wrong, and arguing will send you straight to hell."  Why did she have to continually remind him about confirmation?  He knew when he was supposed to swear his vows.  But it wasn't just her, everyone at church was always asking him, or reminding him, and he was getting sick of it.  On top of that, he was really beginning to tire of "The Lord says this, and this Lord says that.  You will suffer if you do this, and you will suffer if you do that."  It was almost like he would get in trouble no matter what he did.  Honestly, why would God get mad at him if he didn't light the candles in a certain order, or serve the wine first before the bread?  Why would he even care which one people ate first?  Didn't God have better things to do than that?  Yet his mother, and Father Roberts, and all the other adults at the church told him that he would spend time in purgatory if any one of those rules were broken.  But the one thing that really confused him was, how could you go to purgatory for breaking oaths that you haven't even sworn to yet? 

"We're clear on this, right Josh?"

Forcibly, Josh pulled himself from his train of thought.  "Yes mom."  Once again, he knew it was useless to argue now.  If he did, she would probably insist that he spend all his time at church, and that was definitely something he did not want to do.  All his time at church and no time at Steven's...

Just the very thought of it caused him to start gripping his fists tightly again.  Why was it so bad to be at Steven's to practice?  It's not like his mom didn't know where he was, and it's not like he would have been doing anything better at home, besides playing his own piano, or reading.  But Josh liked being over at Steven's.  It was so much better being with Steven at his house, rather than being at home, alone.  Even if his mother was there, he probably still would want to be over at Steven's.  It was just so nice being around him, even if he was drilling him kinda hard on the piano.  It's just... when he was around Steven, he felt like he could do anything.  He was certainly playing a song he thought he'd never be able to play.  Not in a thousand years!

Before he had met Steven he couldn't even play though the coda of the Pathetique.  Well... he could play it, just not very well.  Now it seemed like everything had changed.  Steven had shown him how.  Steven had shown him all the things that the stupid teacher he had before him didn't even talk about.  And now... he was actually playing in a performance.  And it was all because of Steven.

It was also more than that though, as important as the music was.  Steven was... he treated him different, differently than any other adult he knew.  Steven was always asking him if he was okay, and how he felt.  He was always checking on him, not as much in class and school, but still even then he sometimes helped him with his homework, even in other classes.  And then there was the way Steven sometimes touched him.  He sometimes did it when he was playing the piano, sometimes when they were eating dinner, sometimes in the car.  He rubbed his back, his leg, or sometimes his arm.  Usually it was just a light squeeze or a rub, but his touch was always gentle.  Gentle, comforting, and reassuring.  There were some times when that touch sent shivers down his entire small frame, times when it made his breathing quicken, and times when heart seemed to skip a beat.  More and more frequently, Josh found himself wanting that touch, almost craving it.  It was a touch that made him feel like... he was truly loved. 

His mother never touched him that way.  In fact, she never touched him at all.  He tried to remember back to the last time she had given him a hug.  Maybe it was more recent than he thought, but he honestly couldn't remember.  His dad used to hug him a lot.  He even remembered there were times when they were in the park, and his dad would lift him up and put him on his shoulders.  Josh loved riding on dad's shoulders.  His dad was so nice to him.

Josh could feel tears begin to well up in his eyes, but he stemmed them as quickly as he could.  There was no way he wanted his mother seeing him crying.  Josh tried to shift his thoughts away from his father, even if they were happy ones.  Inside, he told himself that things were okay.  Even though his mom could be mean, at least there was Steven now.  When he was with Steven, everything was okay. 

Josh remained deep in thought and his mother didn't speak another word the rest of the way home.  When she pulled the car into her reserved apartment parking space, Josh quickly extracted himself from his thoughts and from the car, pulling his backpack along with him.  Not wanting to meekly wait for his mother, Josh went on ahead of her and opened the door with his own key.  When he went though the living room and looked at the kitchen clock, he saw that it really was late.  He really had no idea he had been over at Steven's so long. 

At the same time though, looking at his own piano, there was only a few nights left that he had to practice, and he still wasn't completely comfortable with the Moonlight.  He still wasn't ready.  And the clock said that he still had twenty minutes left before bedtime.  That was enough time to at least go over the part he was stuck on, or at least practice the ascending arpeggios again.

But, almost like his mother had read his mind, she stopped him before he even made his way back through the living room.  "You better not be thinking about playing the piano tonight young man.  You still haven't taken care of your laundry and your room is a mess.  That was part of the deal remember?  Since you get to stay out later, that means more responsibility, and so far I am not impressed."

Josh growled internally.  Did she ever let up?  Only for a few moments out of any given week it seemed.  "I know mom, I'm sorry."

Josh's mom shook her head slowly.  "Sorry isn't going to cut it.  If you want more privileges, you have to show more responsibility.  Is that understood?"

When Josh's response was not immediate, his mother was right on top of him again.  "Is that understood Josh?"

Finally Josh responded.  "Yes mother."  Josh said, his voice growing tired.

She had succeeded again.  Somehow, no matter how angry, or wronged, or cheated he felt, she always seemed to grind him down to nothing.  No matter how good or how bad he felt, she always got him to comply.  Tiredly, Josh walked over to the washer and dryer and picked up his basket of clean clothes and took them to his room.  A large part of him just wanted to dump them on the floor and go to bed, but he knew if he did that, he would only be shooting himself in the foot. 

It took him clear to his bedtime to put all of his clothes away properly, and almost right when the minute-hand of his bedroom clock struck ten, his mother poked her head in.  "Don't forget to brush your teeth tonight Josh.  I don't think you did last night, even after I told you."

Again she wore that same old annoyed look.  Annoyed and angry, a look that was on her face more than any other.  "I shouldn't have to keep reminding you Josh.  You're eleven now.  These things should be automatic."

Again she was dragging him through the dirt.  There were times when he wondered if there truly was something wrong with him.  It's just, there were some times when he could get so wrapped up... wrapped up in his music, or his book, that he just forgot.  He knew he shouldn't, and he knew it was wrong.

Though he had just about been ready to put on his pajamas, he decided to go brush his teeth before he forgot.  He was so tired of his mom yelling at him.  Steven didn't yell at him when he screwed up.  If anything, he tried to comfort him even more, telling him that he would get it right in time.  Why couldn't his mother be like that?

Once he was back in his room, his pajamas on, and his dirty clothes stashed tidily away in the hamper, Josh flipped the lights out and raggedly tugged at the sheets to his bed.  His body was exhausted but his mind ran in overdrive.  Even if he couldn't go to Steven's the rest of the week, he could still practice.  He would finish his homework at school like he always did, and then he would come home and play.  If things went as usual, his mom wouldn't even be home until seven at the earliest.  That still left him plenty of time.  Plenty of time to get the Moonlight right.  Steven had shown him everything he needed to know, all he had to do was practice, practice, practice.  By the end of tomorrow, he would have it right.  He had to have it right.  Steven had worked so hard on it with him, and there was just no way he could let him down.

Right there in his bed, after ten o'clock at night, Josh made a resolution right then and there.  He was going to win the competition.  He was going to win it for Steven.