This story deals with a gay teenage romantic theme with occasional melodramatic and sexual situations. The usual restrictions apply: please read no further if this type of story isn't to your tastes, or if you're under legal age. This story may not be reprinted anywhere without permission. The contents are ©2003 by John Francis; All rights reserved. Comments to the author are welcomed at thepecman@yahoo.com.


 

Chapter 4

"Dylan? Baby doll, you gotta snap out of it!"

"Huh?" Dylan looked up from his dinner.

Yolanda frowned. "You've hardly even touched your food, baby. C'mon, you've gotta stick to your diet! You ain't leavin' until I see that plate clean."

She tsk'd-tsk'd and walked across the sprawling, ultra-modern kitchen to the pantry, and idly rearranged the breakfast cereals. That's just not like my Dylan, she mused to herself. He worries too damned much. That boy needs to lighten up.

Try as he might, Dylan couldn't get the overwhelming vision out of his head. Angel had simply taken his breath away; he'd brought back feelings that Dylan believed were completely gone, eradicated from his life for nearly three years. It was like being in a time machine, reliving part of his past that he thought was dead and gone. Maybe this time, he could...

No! He gritted his teeth. Never again.

He took another bite of meatloaf and nodded his head. Angel was a nice-enough kid, but he wasn't interested in him. But there was something he thought he saw in the younger boy's eyes...

Just then the phone rang. He looked up, momentarily startled, then grabbed the receiver. "Hello?"

"Dude!" said a welcome voice. "I was worried about ya, man. Are ya... are you okay?"

Dylan didn't answer. He continued staring at his plate.

"Dylan!"

He shook his head. "Yeah. Sorry, Kyle... I'm just kinda tired. I'm okay. Listen, man, I'm sorry for being such an asshole this afternoon."

Kyle laughed. "I know -- 'roid rage,' right? I told ya to cut down on the dosage, man!"

"Yeah. Whatever. Listen, we on for runnin' in the morning?"

"Naw, man. Coach has got us down for early practice tomorrow at 7AM. I tried to tell ya, but you were too pissed-off."

Dylan rolled his eyes. "Since when do we have morning practice?" Traditionally, football practice was always from 3:45 to 5, sometimes later.

"Coach has some kinda faculty meeting tomorrow with the principal. He said anybody who doesn't show up at 7 could get cut!"

Dylan fumed. "What do I care? Charlie Stephenson's got the only position I wanna play."

"Look, man, Charlie's not your enemy. He was worried 'bout ya, too, man! Just lighten up, okay?"

He sighed. Maybe the mood swings were from the drugs. But he couldn't stop the schedule. He had to stick to his goal in order to get bigger. "Yeah. I will. I think I'll get to bed early. You wanna ride to school?"

"Naaaa. I'll just walk. See ya on the field at 7 sharp, okay? And keep it real, alright?

Dylan laughed. "Yeah. Keep it real on the field. See ya."

He finished his dinner and glanced at the clock. Already 7:30.

"You sure you don't want anything more, hon'?"

He looked up. Yolanda was concerned. She'd only been with the Callahans two and a half years, but they were a good family. Probably the best people she'd ever worked for. She worried about Dylan almost as if he was her own child.

He smiled. "No thanks, Yo'. I got a coupla pages of homework to get to, a chapter to read for English Lit, then I'm gonna hit the sack early. I'm beat."

"You do that, honey. You need the sleep! You teenagers never sleep enough."

"Thanks, Yo'." He gave her a quick kiss on the cheek and headed upstairs.

Yolanda watched as he left the kitchen and headed down the stairs. I know that look, she thought, shaking her head. That boy's got girl trouble. He's got love on his mind, no question 'bout it.

* * * * *

Dylan tossed and turned all night. When he did sleep, his head was filled with confused, troubled images haunting his dreams. After several hours, he rolled over and eyed the clock: 1:41. Still at least four hours before he had to wake up. Fuck.

He yawned, leaned over, grabbed the remote and fired up the 50" Pioneer plasma screen on the wall in front of his bed, and switched the satellite receiver to VH-1.

Ah, he thought. My old friend, 'Insomniac Video Theater.' Just the thing to make me sleepy. He put his hands behind his neck and sighed.

Suddenly, there was a little scratching noise at his door, followed by a whimper.

"Lady!" he said, laughing. "How'd you get up here?"

He half-stumbled out of his bed and jogged over to the door. The grateful dog happily trotted in and jumped up on the quilt, grinning with satisfaction.

Dylan sighed and laughed. His mother couldn't stand for the dog to be in the house - especially on the second floor, where their bedrooms were located. Aaaa. What she doesn't know won't hurt her, he thought.

"Okay, girl," he said, sitting on the bed and petting the hound's beautiful face. "Just for tonight, while mom's out of town."

Lady obediantly put her head down on the quilt and watched the wall-sized videos with her master. Within 15 minutes, both were soundly asleep, oblivious to the images of the latest 'N Sync video.

* * * * *

The coach blew his whistle. "Okay -- Harmon! Rodriguez! Take a run on the next play. You, Callahan! Take your position. Ready?"

Dylan had to fight his instincts to yawn. Unlike their JV practices the year before, Coach Wilson was a stickler for making them work between four and five days a week on Varsity. Even by 7:45, he was already hot and sticky under his practice uniform. The humidity was stultifying.

He moved into position and leaned down towards Chandler, the team center, who was waiting to snap him the ball.

"Red 28! Red 28! Set! Hut-Hut!"

Dylan feinted back, then quickly sidestepped Inglesias as he threw the spiral -- 20, 30, 40 yards. Fuck! Incomplete.

The coach shook his head. "Close, but no cigar. Unfortunately, close doesn't cut it, Dylan. I want you to stay an extra hour after school today with the backfield coach to work on your arm. Long passes haven't exactly been this team's best strength."

He nodded and wiped the sweat off his brow. The coach trudged off to bark at a nearby group of players. Kyle jogged over and punched him on the shoulder.

"Dude! You almost made that pass! That was a huge improvement over last year."

Dylan smiled wanly and shook his head. "Almost won't cut it, man."

* * * * *

Classes that day went by in the blink of an eye. Dylan again had lunch with Tracy in the cafeteria, sitting with their friends in their usual spot, but he was still thinking about his encounter with Angel the day before. I can't even remember his last name, he thought to himself. What was it? Thomson? Thomas? He visualized the boy's piercing green eyes again and sucked in his breath at the memory. Dazzlingly beautiful.

"I said, are you up for the movie Saturday? Dylan?"

He looked up and Tracy was staring at him. She sighed. "I swear, Dyl, you're in orbit again. Honestly!"

Dylan grinned. He really liked Tracy. Maybe it wasn't exactly love, but they had a great thing together. She never pushed him too far, and even though they had yet to do the 'dirty deed,' they'd had some great make-out sessions over the last year. He was still gonna have to come through with his threat to give her porno tapes, to help her get up to speed with her oral skills.

"Sorry, babe," he said, taking a last bite of chocolate brownie. "Saturday -- got it. Trace, can you get somebody for Kyle? Maybe Jennifer?"

She nodded leaned forward and gave him a quick peck on the cheek. "Lemme think." She furrowed her brow. "No, Jen's going with Stuart, remember?" She said it as if this were the most obvious thing in the world. "I'll ask Joanne in sixth period."

The blonde-haired beauty stood up and grabbed her tray. "Gotta run, hon'. Call me tonight, 'kay?" She kissed the top of his head and skipped away.

Dylan watched her leave, then stared off into space. I wonder what Angel's doing right now, he thought.

* * * * *

After practice at 4:30, his arm was aching. Offensive coach Wayne Highland was a tough taskmaster. He'd drilled him for over an hour, pointing out every error in his technique.

"Less arm and more leg, son. Throw off your back foot, then follow through -- you get more on the ball that way. You'll never get to first string if you don't get over it."

The criticism stung, but the boy nodded. Dylan's passing skills were improving, albeit slowly. Maybe he'd get his chance after all, if anything ever happened to Stephenson. Fat chance, though; Charlie was one of the healthiest kids he knew. He hadn't missed even a day of school in like two years.

"Hey, Dylan!" called Kyle, who ran up just as the final whistles blew, ending practice for the day. "You wanna hang out today or somethin'?"

Dylan glanced at his watch as they trudged wearily to the locker building. Shit, he grimaced. The dog.

He shook his head. "I gotta run, man. I gotta get Lady to the vet for her check-up. I swear -- tomorrow for sure."

Kyle grinned. "You got it, man. Don't forget: Mason Park, 6:30 by the tree, same as always. Four mile run at dawn."

He nodded. "And I swear, I'll be on time."

"Wanna bet? You still owe me a blow-job from last time," Kyle replied.

Dylan rolled his eyes. "Shut up, you homo."

"Takes one to know one."

"Fuck you."

"Fuck me? Fuck you."

They both laughed, each continuing to try to out-insult the other, as they entered the locker room.

* * * * *

Dylan gunned the BMW as he made his way back down DeSoto. The vet had been a little irritated by his tardiness, but at least Lady had come through the exam with flying colors. They'd also groomed her long, soft coat, bringing out her color with a rich, luxurious sheen.

She sat quietly next to him on the passenger seat, glaring imperiously at passers by who did a double-take at the handsome athlete and large dog tooling down the road in the sleek convertible. Lady was smart enough that she knew not to bother Dylan or make any sudden movements while in the car. She loved car trips, even if she hated the nasty smells in the vet's office.

Dylan reached for the switch on the visor that activated the remote garage door, which silently rolled up to reveal the large underground parking garage, which was below the white-and-glass front facade of the main house. All four of his parents' cars were there except for his mom's Jaguar XK-8, which she had parked at the airport. He cautiously pulled his BMW Roadster up to the space next to his father's vintage 1958 Mercedes SL-300 Gull-Wing. Dylan could practically hear his father's voice bark in his ear: "Not too close, son! This car's a classic! It cost me over $150,000 to get it restored, so please be careful when you pull your BMW in, okay?"

He shook his head. Asshole. His father always had a way of expecting that his son was going to fuck up, every time. Never mind the fact that he'd never had a fender-bender, not even a ticket, let alone a serious accident. Of course, most of that was due to good luck and perfect timing -- but he wasn't about to admit that, not even to himself.

Just as he and Lady hopped out, Yolanda looked out from the side door. "Dylan, honey! You just missed your friend -- that boy from yesterday. What's his name again?"

Dylan's heart stopped. Angel was here? He ran up to her. "Angel! Where is he?" he asked, breathlessly. "How long ago?"

She eyed him warily. "Calm down, child. He left like two minutes ago. You might be able to catch him, if you go down Winnetka and head north..."

He leaped back in the car, gunned the engine and raced back out, leaving black tread marks on the white concrete as he rocketed up the ramp to the outside driveway.

That boy is sure acting funny these days, she thought to herself, as she watched the silver BMW make the sharp turn onto Winnetka, then turned her gaze back down to the floor. "And what're you lookin' at, missy?"

Lady looked first at the maid, then eyed the doorway as her master's car roared off in the distance.

"You come with me. I got your supper waitin' for you on the back porch, where you belong."

* * * * *

Minutes later, Dylan spotted the boy walking by the road, just three blocks away. His heart pounded.

"Hey!" he called. "Hey, kid!"

The boy kept walking.

"Hey, ANGEL!" he yelled.

Angel turned, and his face immediately broke into a wide grin. "Hi, Dylan! I came by to see ya, but Yolanda said you had football practice."

Dylan pulled the car up to the curb and opened the passenger door. "Yeah, almost every day. Hop in. I'll give ya a ride home. Unless you wanna hang out for awhile."

The boy nodded as he slid onto the seat. "My mom won't be home until late. You guys got any food? I'm sick of TV dinners and take-out."

Dylan grinned. "Whatever you want, lil' dude."

* * * * *

Angel had been totally floored by their house. He'd never seen such luxury in his life. The Callahan's residence was a 15 year-old ultra-modern design that had won several distinguished design awards in the 1980s, and had even been featured on the cover of Architectural Digest twice. The 9,000-square foot structure had six bedrooms, ten baths, a guest house, an elaborate white winding staircase, custom furniture, and an impressive atrium enclosed by glass windows that stretched up nearly 35 feet.

"Check out the pool," said Dylan, as they walked through the all-white living room.

"You got an indoor pool?" asked the boy, incredulously.

Dylan clicked a switch, then pointed towards the left just as the water lit up. "Indoor and outdoor. Look at the waterfall -- the pool keeps on going until it hits that wall, then curves and goes right outside. The backyard section is even bigger."

Angel ran up to the back wall and stared out the enormous window, his face pressed up against the glass. "Gosh!" he exclaimed. "This has gotta be the wildest pool in the world!" He knelt down and dipped his hand into the water. "Hey! It's warm!"

Dylan laughed and knelt beside him. "Yeah. My dad likes it at around 84 degrees, pretty much year-round. But we hardly ever use it. My folks are always too busy. I sometimes use the jacuzzi, after I come home from practice. We get pretty beat from football, ya know."

Angel nodded approvingly. "Sounds cool."

"You want something to eat?"

"Yeah. Just a sandwich, or anything. Only if it's not too much trouble."

"YO!" yelled Dylan.

She peered out from behind the countertop that overlooked the den and smiled. "Oh, I see you found your friend. Hi, Angel!"

"Hi, Yolanda!" he yelled back.

"Yo', could you make a sandwich for me and the kid?"

She looked at both of them and smiled. "What you boys want?"

"How 'bout a coupla burgers?" He turned to Angel. "Her burgers are the best, man. She's got a secret recipe."

Angel grinned. "Better than Burger King?"

"Burger King tastes like dog shit compared to these," Dylan said, laughing.

"Make mine medium."

"Two cheeseburgers, medium rare!" he yelled.

Yolanda nodded and smiled. "Gimme ten minutes, hon'. I'll put 'em on the grill."

* * * * *

Fifteen minutes later, they were happily sitting at an outdoor table by the pool. A nearby fountain splashed over a beautiful array of rocks and trickled down a small waterfall nearby. A cool breeze blew by, and Dylan could smell the sickly-sweet aroma from the azaleas in the large flower bed that framed the far side of the patio.

"This... mmph... tastes mmmph!" said Angel, as he stuffed the last of the burger into his mouth.

"I'll take that as a compliment," laughed Yolanda, who placed a tray down with two more patties. "Here's seconds if you want 'em. If you're not hungry, Ernelle and I'll have 'em later on."

"None for me, thanks," said Dylan, waving her off.

"Wait!" cried Angel. "I'll take half of one!"

The maid dutifully cut one in half and placed it in front of the boy. "Boy, you sure are a bottomless pit! Alright. Enjoy!"

Dylan watched her as she walked away and closed the patio door, then turned to Angel as he ate. The boy happily ate his burger, and giggled as he tossed Lady some scraps on the side. She quickly gobbled them up, and licked her mouth, anxiously hoping for more.

The older teen sighed as he gazed at Angel. Dazzling, he thought to himself. Far better than Corey.

"What're you thinkin' about?" asked Angel, inbetween mouthfuls.

Dylan looked away nervously. "Nothin'. You kinda remind me of... somebody I knew. When I was in middle school."

"Yeah. I'm goin' to Chaminade. I haven't made too many friends there yet."

Dylan nodded. Chaminade was the best, most exclusive private junior high school in the area, just a couple of blocks down the street from the main entrance to Monteira. His mother had wanted him to go there when they first moved to the area, but Dylan was adamant on going to a public school with a better athletic program. With Kyle's help over the last three years, he'd transformed himself into a top athlete, simply by sheer force of will and iron-clad determination -- along with a strenuous regimen of exercise and performance-enhancing drugs.

"Nice school," he said. "Very expensive. They've got great teachers at Chaminade."

"Yeah," replied Angel, casually. "But there's nobody cool there. Not like you, anyway." He took another bite.

"Me?" asked Dylan, quizzically.

Angel looked up at him and grinned. "Sure. I mean - you wear cool clothes, you got great hair and muscles, you're a football player... none of the guys at Chaminade are that cool."

Dylan's face reddened slightly, and he took a swig of his Pepsi and looked away.

Lady barked expectantly, and Angel giggled and tossed her the last of the burger. The dog snapped it up gratefully and licked her mouth.

"Must be cool to be a quarterback," he said. "You're what... 17?"

Dylan nodded. "Yeah. I'm a junior. My birthday was over the summer."

"I just turned 14," lamented Angel. "The kids at school are real different from the ones I knew back in Santa Fe. Like they're too cool to even talk to me." He sighed.

Dylan nodded. "Yeah," he said. "Kids can be real assholes sometimes."

Angel turned and scanned the backyard. The rear side of the Callahan residence was a little more than an acre of immaculately-landscaped greenery. The Eastern border of the property featured a tennis court, used mainly by Dylan's mother, and the other was dominated by the pool, which curved gently amidst shrubberies, flowerbeds, and trees. It looked like some kind of impossibly-idyllic river in a forest, right out of Disneyland.

He let out a slow whistle. "This is a really cool place, Dylan." Makes my house look like a total piece o' shit, he thought glumly to himself.

Dylan stood up and put down his drink. "I really oughta get you back home, Angel. We both have homework."

The boy nodded, then grabbed his paper plate and tossed it in a nearby trash receptacle. "Can I see the rest of your place first? This is the coolest house I've ever seen! It's like a movie or somethin'!"

He grinned. "Okay, lil' dude. I'll give you the fifty-cent tour. Just for a few minutes."

* * * * *

The younger boy oohed and aahed over Dylan's room. He'd never seen so many electronic gadgets or CDs.

"Man, I wish I could live here. This is too cool, Dylan!" He reached over and opened a drawer, which held some of Dylan's guilty pleasures.

"Wow! You're into the Backstreet Boys, too?"

Dylan winced. He'd deliberately kept those discs hidden, just in case Kyle or one of the other guys from school ever went through his collection.

"Yeah. I guess so," he said, embarrassedly. "'N Sync, too."

Angel flipped through the small stack. "You like Aaron Carter?" he asked casually.

Dylan had seen the kid before in videos, but had been too cowardly to actually buy any of his CDs. Definitely great-looking, but not his kinda music.

"He's okay, I guess."

Angel looked up at him and grinned. "Man, he's totally hot, isn't he?"

Dylan's heart skipped a beat. Did he just say what I thought he said?

"I mean," the boy quickly added, "for a guy, that is. Real cute. Better than his brother Nick in 'N Sync. He's gotten like... I dunno, chubby lately." Angel made a face and put the CD back.

Dylan nodded nervously, then closed the drawer. "Yeah. Anyway, c'mon kid. We should get you home. Where do you live again?"

"Porter Ranch, just a mile or so West of here. You can't miss it."

* * * * *

Ten minutes later, they pulled up into Angel's driveway, at the last house on the left side of the development. As he expected, it was one of those tacky cookie-cutter tract houses, one of 20 similar homes on a small cul-de-sac. Aside from its color, it was virtually identical to every other home on the street. The homes were so new, most of them still had only sod and dirt in front. The lawns -- if you could call them that -- were only about fifteen feet square. Each house was only about eight feet from the next, so close you could literally reach out and knock on the neighbor's window.

Dylan shook his head as he gazed up and down the modest street. How could anybody live like this? he thought. They've got no fuckin' privacy at all. He dimly remembered an old-school '60s song his parents liked, one that sang about "rows of houses that were all the same, and no one seems to care."

"This is it," announced the boy, who jumped out of the passenger seat, grabbing his notebook. "You wanna see my room?"

"Sure."

Angel slipped in his key to the front door and stepped into the living room. Dylan glanced around and winced. The furniture was strictly K-Mart and Ikea bargain specials -- cheap, bolt-together chipboard. Judging by the number of moving boxes still on the floor, the family was only about halfway unpacked. A half-eaten Domino's pizza was lying on a greasy box next to the couch.

"My room's down this way," called Angel over his shoulder, as he ran off in the distance down a hallway.

Dylan followed him down to the end of the hall to a 10' x 12' room with a single small window on the left. The door had a large red sign that warned, "Do Not Enter." As he entered, he took a look around. The walls on one side were plastered with two slightly-wrinkled pin-up posters of Aaron Carter on one side, with a third day-glo poster of Marilyn Manson grimly staring down above the bed's headboard. Angel's small desk was covered with teenage magazines, including Spin, Vibe, and Teen People, partially covering a scuffed-up portable computer. A nearby shelf was crammed with paperback editions of Anne Rice, Stephen King, Clive Barker, and four Harry Potter novels. To the left, a closet door was adorned with a poster for the "Buffy the Vampire" TV show, and an ancient 20" RCA color set sat nearby on a rolling metal cart.

Dylan grinned. "Hey! You're into Buffy?" he asked, pointing towards another poster on the far wall.

The younger boy nodded. "Yeah. Cool show. But it sucks, now that it's on UPN."

Dylan nodded. He'd only seen the show once or twice, but he wasn't that into TV.

"What about that Angel show?" he asked, as he sat down on the bed. "You must like that one, right? It's named after you!"

The boy giggled and walked around the bed. "It's okay. That guy David Boreanaz is okay, but he's not that hot." He leaned closer to him. "Actually, I think you're a lot better lookin'. You've got real cool eyes, y' know?"

But not as cool as yours, he thought to himself. Dylan gulped and stood up. This couldn't be happening. The room suddenly felt very warm.

"Uh, listen, Angel... I got homework and stuff."

The younger boy nodded. "Yeah. You wanna hang out again sometime?"

"Sure. Uh, you got my number?"

"Yeah. Here's mine - it's real easy to remember. 713-9713. Look, it makes a perfect square on the phone, see?" He demonstrated on the telephone keypad.

Dylan nodded.

Angel walked up to him and put his hand on his arm. "Thanks for the ride and everything, Dylan," he said, shyly.

The boy's hand felt warm and alive. It was becoming hard for Dylan to breathe. "Yeah. Thanks, Angel. I'll see ya."

Dylan ran back out to the BMW, jumped in, and fired up the engine.

"Later, dude!" yelled the boy on the doorstep. "And thanks again for dinner!"

He waved as Dylan tore down the street and headed East, back towards the Callahan's neighborhood. Cool guy, he thought to himself. Totally hot. And he's definitely interested.

Angel closed the door and headed back to his room, then sat down at his desk. He glanced down and saw the July-August issue of XY magazine on top of the pile.

He grinned. I hope he saw this one, he thought, as he opened up the cover to finish reading the article on "The 2002 Gay Teen's Survival Guide."

* * * * *

Dylan's heart was still pounding by the time he reached the nearby freeway on-ramp, which would give him a short-cut back to his estate. He looked around, then made a fast U-turn and pulled off by the side of the road and stopped the engine. He was hyperventilating.

It wasn't just my imagination, he thought as he tried to catch his breath. Angel was coming on to me.

It just didn't seem possible. The kid was only 14! He looked up and stared at his reflection in the rear-view mirror. In it, he saw the sad, frightened eyes of the little boy from Phoenix. He shook his head. No, he thought. Just his imagination. He was Dylan Callahan, goddammit!

He let out a long sigh and forced himself to relax, taking deep breaths. He gazed across at the freeway, which was jammed with frantic motorists, moving at a snail's crawl. The area was bathed in fading amber light. Must be close to 6:30 now.

"I can't rush into this," he told himself. "I've gotta take this easy. I can't take that risk again. Not after... what happened with Corey."

Images of his ex-friend's smiling face and the three idyllic weeks they had together flashed through his mind. He closed his eyes. The memories of Corey still cut like a knife. He imagined the wound ripping open again, tearing away the stitches, revealing the words D-I-E F-A-G-G-O-T in dripping red letters. He shuddered at the image.

But maybe it'll be different this time, he thought, trying to reassure himself. Angel can't hurt me. We'll just fool around a little. Nobody'll ever know.

Dylan mulled it over for a minute. He gritted his teeth and looked in the mirror again. No. It's not worth it. Besides, he's just a kid.

With a last glance in the mirror, Dylan turned the ignition, signalled left, and pulled out into the intersection, roaring down the side road and across the freeway, behind a long line of cars waiting to turn left onto DeSoto Boulevard.

* * * * *

That night, Dylan had his first orgasm thinking about Angel. He'd started out as usual, around 10:45PM, planning on a quick jerk to help him get to sleep. Midway through one of his usual masturbatory fantasies -- which, most recently, had involved special appearances by either Britney Spears, J-Lo, or both - Angel's face flickered into view.

He paused his strokes and stared up at the ceiling, his muscular chest rising and falling as he caught his breath. God, he thought. I fought against this for so long. I can't let this affect me.

He reached to the left for the remote control and fired up the porno tape still in the VCR from last night. Images of the latest Vivid Video girl-on-girl spectacular, Lesborama #4, popped up on the wall-sized monitor, and his heart surged. He felt his heart race as he drank in the images of the two beautiful women; their hands and tongues were everywhere at once.

His movements sped up. Gettin' closer, he thought. Just at the point of no return, another image of Angel, naked and kissing him passionately, appeared in his mind. He moaned aloud and closed his eyes. His hips thrusted involuntarily and he spasmed - once, twice, three times. He felt something warm and wet splash across his face, chest and stomach. In the afterglow, he lay back, exhausted.

"Oh, Angel," he said, softly. It'd been the most intense climax he'd had in months. He immediately felt a wave of shame and guilt wash over him. He exhaled and closed his eyes. No, he thought. I can't do it. It's not worth the risk.

* * * * *

The next day, Dylan plunged himself harder into football practice than ever. During an blocking drill, he hit lineman Buck Johnson so hard, the boy flew back nearly six feet before he hit the ground.

"Whoa!" bellowed Coach Wilson, who blew his whistle. The players looked up at him. "Calm down, Callahan! We're not tryin' to kill anybody out here!"

Dylan grinned. "Right, coach!" He turned to help the lineman back up to his feet.

"Shit, man," the other athlete grumbled. "I'm on your side, remember?"

"Sorry, man," he said, apologetically. "I'll try to take it easy."

The Coach walked over to him, making sure they were out of earshot of the other players. "Good work, Dylan," he said, quietly, clapping him on the shoulder. "Now, you're applying yourself. But save it for King High next week, son."

Dylan nodded.

* * * * *

It was 5:10 by the time he walked into his house.

"Dylan! Your momma's back from Dallas. She should be here any minute!" yelled Yolanda, as he walked down the hall. "Oh, and that boy Angel called for you. In fact, he called twice. You want his number?"

"I'll call him later, Yo'," he yelled back over his shoulder, as he trudged upstairs. He was too tired to pal around with a pipsqueak like Angel today, no matter how cute he looked. How beautiful he...

Stop that, he told himself. Just forget about him. He swallowed hard, and continued up the stairs to his room.

* * * * *

At about 9:05, the phone rang again. Dylan grabbed it on the first ring. "Hello?"

"Hey," said a small voice. Angel. His heart skipped a beat.

"Oh, uh," said Dylan, momentarily taken aback. "Uh... hi, Angel. Listen, I'm sorry I wasn't able to call ya back. I... I kinda have a lotta stuff goin' on."

Silence.

"Angel, you there?"

"Yeah, I'm here," the boy said, quietly.

Dylan sighed. "Look, kid, I... I'm just real busy. Maybe if you want to, you can come by over the weekend or something."

"Can I?" Angel said, expectantly.

He thought for a moment. "No... wait. Shit, I'm sorry, man. I gotta go out on a date Friday night after the game, and I've got stuff with my parents Saturday morning. And a Karate class Saturday afternoon. Maybe... maybe some other time."

"Yeah," the boy replied, in a barely audible voice. "Whenever you want."

Dylan closed his eyes. He knew too well what it felt like to be pushed away and rejected. "Listen, Angel... I..." He suddenly got an idea. "Wait. You know where Lime Kiln Canyon is?"

"No."

"It's not really a canyon, it's more like a dirt road about a mile away from your place. It's about two blocks down the hill from the Jack-in-the-Box restaurant on Tampa Street, right next to Rinaldi. It's a real cool place, with tons o' hills and gullies, little ravines and stuff - lotsa guys use it as an obstacle course for their mountain bikes. You wanna ride out there tomorrow afternoon?"

Angel practically squealed with delight. "Wow! Yeah, I mean... that'd be great!"

Dylan grinned. "Okay. But just for an hour, alright? Meet me over there tomorrow at 4:45. I'll head over there right after practice. Can you find it?"

"I'll be there, Dylan. Thanks, man."

Dylan could practically hear the smile in the boy's voice.

"Okay, lil' dude."

He hung the phone up, smiled, and shook his head. Well, at least I can't get in any trouble with the kid on a dirt bike, he thought.

* * * * *

By 4:40 the next day, Lime Kiln Canyon was crowded with more than a dozen bikers, some with serious state-of-the-art imported mountain bikes, while others had old Schwinn antique clunkers handed down from the 1960s. Everybody was having a great time, plummeting down the steep sides of the ravine and careening down the sharp dirt curves, avoiding the obstacle course of boulders and crevasses. The oldest rider there was about 20; the youngest, about ten. Most had helmets and elbow pads, but a few stalwarts wore just shorts and T-shirts.

Dylan pulled the Beemer off the curb and onto the dirt path, then hopped out and looked over the edge of the heavily-wooded canyon from the road above. A nearby sign warned, "Extreme fire danger! No smoking or campfires by order of local fire marshal." The weather was hot and muggy, and the sun was hidden behind glowing clouds in the far west.

"Dylan! Down here, man!" called Angel, waving from the bottom of the steep dirt hill that led down from the paved road.

"Dude! I'll be right down!" he yelled.

Dylan pulled his Trek 9.8 bike out of the back seat, and bounced it lightly on the curb. Even though he hadn't used it in over a year, it still seemed to be in great shape, and the tire pressure was passable. He rolled the bike up on the embankment, then hopped on the seat and peered over the edge. It was a steep drop down, more than 25 feet, and led to a large concrete riverbed that held the run-off from the hills nearby.

Here goes nothing, he thought as he pushed off the cliff. In seconds he'd made it up to more than 25 miles an hour, flew up an embankment on the bottom of the canyon and rocketed through the air for a good fifteen feet. At the last moment, he spun out to a perfect stop only a few feet away from the younger boy, sending a small cloud of dust into the air. Several onlookers applauded and gave him a thumbs-up. It was a stunt worthy of the daredevils on MTV's X Games.

"Shit, man!" said Angel, with more than a touch of awe in his voice. "That was awesome! You rock!"

Dylan grinned and panted. It'd been more than a year since he'd even ridden his bike out here. Since he got the car from his folks last Christmas, it seemed too much like... like 'kid stuff.' But maybe with Angel, kid stuff wasn't so bad.

"C'mon," he called, pulling off down the path. "I'll show you around here."

They spent half an hour sliding around in the dirt, careening off small hills, and soaring down the pass. By 5:20, the sun was beginning to get low in the horizon, leaving most of the canyon in shadow. Most of the other riders had left, leaving the biggest hill vacant except for the two of them.

"Dude!" called Angel from across the small concrete river, which was about four feet wide and two feet deep. "I'm gonna try to make the jump. Check it!"

Dylan had had no problem making the same jump earlier in the day, but he had built up a lot more momentum, starting out much higher on the ridge for his descent. He immediately panicked.

"No! WAIT, Angel!" he protested.

The boy's trim Redline BMX flew down the hill at top speed, then hit the bottom and careened across the dirt. Dylan winced. As he watched through his fingers, the little bike hit the small hill and flew up in the air at an odd angle. Before he could even yell out a warning, the bike hit the dirt about two feet too short. As if in slow-motion, the frame bent, the front wheel flew off with a clang, and the young boy slid head-first down the west side of the ravine, tumbling head over feet.

"SHIT!" yelled Dylan, who leaped across the ridge, then half-slid, half-fell down the hill until he saw Angel in the distance. The boy's body was lying limp and crumpled at the bottom of the dirt slope.

"Oh, god oh fuck oh god!" he cried, racing to the young boy's side. He gently leaned Angel up and cradled him in his arms. "Jesus, Angel, please... are you okay?" His heart pounded in his ears.

Angel stirred and moaned. There was a big scrape on the left side of the boy's face, and his clothes were completely covered in dirt and mud. Dylan looked down and was horrified to see a large gash on the boy's right kneecap. It didn't look serious, but it was engulfed with dirt and debris.

"Angel!" Dylan pleaded, almost on the verge of panic. "Lil' dude! Please talk to me!" Tears were welling up in his eyes.

After a moment, Angel's stirred and he shook his head for a moment, then sat up.

"God DAMMIT!" screamed the boy, holding his leg. "I almost fuckin' made it! Stupid fucking bike isn't worth a shit!"

"ANGEL!" yelled Dylan, who was still shaking. "Jesus, man, I was really worried about you."

He helped Angel struggle up to his feet. Several curious bikers rode up to the edge of the cliff and stared down at them.

"Can you make it back up the hill?"

Angel looked up and nodded, then winced as he took a tentative step. "Yeah. Lemme lean on ya. My knee hurts like shit!"

Together, they slowly made it back up to the top of the embankment, then trudged over to the concrete riverbed, where Angel's bike lay bent and twisted. The boy knelt by the ruined cycle and shook his head forlornly.

"FUCK!" he wailed. "My mom's still payin' off this bike! We get money from my dad every month, and this was the only present I had when we moved here two weeks ago. And now it's totally wiped!" He sniffled and wiped his face, leaving a large dirt smear under his left eye.

Dylan grinned and put his hand reassuringly on the boy's shoulder. "My dad got me a bike when I first moved here, too. Look, Angel, it's still sitting in the garage. That bike's a little small for me now, anyway. You can have it. I'll bring it over tomorrow, 'kay?"

Angel grinned. "Thanks, man. But you don't haveta do that."

"Don't worry about it. Does your leg hurt much?"

Angel shook his head as he struggled up to his feet, then winced.

"C'mon," said Dylan. "Lemme get you up to the car. Hold onto my neck."

The boy hopped up in his arms. Dylan took the wide gravel path up the entrance to the canyon, then trudged down the dusty sidewalk to his car. Angel hobbled to the ground, cursed with the flash of pain from his knee, then limped over to the BMW's passenger side. Dylan turned to run back down the path.

"Lemme grab my bike and throw it in the back," he called over his shoulder. "I promise, I'll come back and get your bike later."

"Fuck it," Angel yelled. "It's totally busted anyway."

The kid sounds just like me when I was 14, Dylan thought to himself, shaking his head. Always angry. I bet his temper's as bad as mine, too.

Dylan stopped and grinned. "Yeah," he called. "But you never know. Maybe we can fix it up. Even if you don't want it, we can give it to a needy kid or something. 'Kay?" He turned and continued running down the path.

Angel shrugged his shoulders. Two minutes later, Dylan returned, riding his Trek Elite 9.8 back up the hill. He hopped off and rolled the bike over to the back of the car, as the boy watched him.

Wow, Angel thought to himself, as he watched the young athlete's arm muscles bulge lifting the bike. Dylan really does have a hot body. He felt a twinge and smiled.

* * * * *

As it turned out, the leg wound wasn't nearly as bad as it looked. Under the harsh illumination of Angel's bathroom light, both boys could see it was just a bad scrape. All the blood made it look a lot worse than it really was, but the bleeding had almost completely stopped.

"We gotta wash all the dirt out, lil' dude," said Dylan, as he started the bath water and reached for a washcloth. "And then we gotta rinse it out with a disinfectant."

"Wait a minute," said Angel. "Lemme get my shorts off first."

Dylan froze. "N-no, no," he said. "W-we just need to get the dirt out of the scrape, dude," he stammered nervously. "Just sit on the edge of the tub here."

Angel grinned. "C'mon, man," he said, giggling. "It's no big deal. And I trust ya." He quickly pulled off his T-shirt, then yanked down his pants and underwear in one quick motion, then casually tossed them to the side and stood in the bathtub and let the water pour over his thighs. The mud swirled down the drain, leaving his legs pale and clean.

Dylan was transfixed. Angel was even more beautiful naked than he was clothed.

The boy seemed to move in slow motion as he turned on the shower. He turned and grinned and the older teen. "You look kinda dirty, too," he said, shyly. "You wanna take a shower with me?"

Dylan's heart was pounding in his ears, and he was feeling slightly faint. His mouth suddenly felt like it was full of cotton. He nodded and slowly pulled off his T-shirt and jeans. His hands were trembling slightly.

Angel held open the shower curtain, and a cloud of steam rolled out. "C'mon in! Water's fine."

Dylan kicked off his pants, then stepped in and let the warm water cascade over his hot, sweaty body. He nervously looked away from the smaller boy, who was only two feet away from him, and he held onto the curtain rod for support.

"Feels great, doesn't it?" said Angel, looking away and rinsing his body with soap.

"Yeah."

Angel flinched a little when he got down to his sore leg. "Look at this thing. It hurts like a mother!" he hissed.

Dylan blanched. Angel's mother. She could be home at any second... "Uh, speaking of which," he said, "we really should hurry up with this, lil' dude. Your mom might not exactly understand..."

Angel grinned. "Chill out. She's won't be home until midnight. She's on swing-shift for the rest of the week. She's a nurse over at Holy Cross Hospital, just five miles down the street. She sees a lot worse shit than a leg scrape every day."

The older boy let out a sigh of relief and stifled a yawn. The warm water felt soothing. He'd been up since 6AM to run with Kyle again, and hadn't had a single moment of rest for the last 12 hours. He closed his eyes and drank in the sensation as the warm steam rose up and caressed his body.

Angel handed him the soap. "Hey," he said, casually. "Your chest is smooth, but your stomach's real hairy!" he giggled, moving his hand out as if to touch him.

"NO!" snapped Dylan. "Please. Don't do that."

Angel looked hurt. "Dude! We're just guys. C'mon."

With that, he soaped up his hand and slowly moved forward, forcing Dylan back against the rear tile wall of the shower stall. The older teen looked away and flinched at the touch, but then sighed as the small hand slowly caressed his stomach. He moaned involuntarily as his groin began to stiffen.

"That feels good, doesn't it?" said Angel, quietly.

Dylan nodded. "Yeah," he whispered.

The boy moved the shower head over and let the water spray rinse them both off, then pushed the spray aside, stepped directly in front of him and leaned up towards his face.

Dylan had never been this close to Angel before, and was momentarily startled to discover that he was only about three or four inches taller than the boy. Their faces were uncomfortably close.

"This is cool, isn't it?" whispered Angel.

He nodded.

Angel suddenly darted forward and put his mouth on Dylan's.

"No..." he started to protest, but Angel's lips silenced him. He pulled Dylan closer to him, bringing his hands up to the back of his head to gently pull him closer. At last, the older boy surrendered and allowed his own hands to slowly fall to Angel's back, caressing his smooth skin. Their tongues met and danced between their lips.

After what felt like an eternity, they slowly pulled apart.

"Angel, no," he whispered. "We can't. Please." His heart pounded in his ears.

"Shut up," ordered the boy, who immediately dropped to his knees.

He leaned forward and engulfed Dylan's groin with his mouth.

Every pore in Dylan's body seemed to be on fire. He moaned out loud. "GOD!" he cried.

It was clear that the young teen knew exactly what he was doing. He reached behind and gripped Dylan's powerful backside with one hand, and used the other to lightly manipulate him. In less than a minute, the athlete was groaning loudly. His hips began to buck uncontrollably and he reached down with his right hand and gently stroked the back of Angel's head.

The pleasure was almost unbearable. At last, Dylan cried out and exploded, thrusting deeply several times into the smaller boy's mouth, then sank exhaustedly down the tile wall and onto the floor of the tub. He was practically in a state of shock.

Angel looked up and grinned, then wiped off his mouth.

"I love you, Dylan," he said softly.

Dylan's eyes brimmed with tears, and he leaned forward and tenderly kissed the young boy. "Me, too, lil' dude," he whispered.

The water continue to splash on the wall behind them and down the drain.

* * * * *

After they wordlessly dried off and put their shorts back on, they lay on Angel's bed, quietly listening to the latest Justin Timberlake CD on the small bookshelf stereo.

"Hey," said Dylan.

"Hey," said the boy, shyly.

Dylan grinned, leaned over, and mussed the boy's hair, which was still damp from the shower. "How'd you know I was... you know? Interested."

Angel smiled. "I dunno. I just got a feeling. I knew you were cool, Dylan. Even the first time I saw you in the barn."

The older teen sighed and turned away, staring at the ceiling. "This isn't easy for me."

"It's not a big deal, man."

Dylan shook his head. All the warning lights were going off in his head, but he ignored them. He took a deep breath and continued. "I had a friend, back in Phoenix. I thought he was like you... like me and you." His voice caught in his throat.

"But he wasn't," said Angel, quietly.

He closed his eyes. "No. He wasn't. We... had a fight. It was really bad, right before I moved out here three years ago." A tear rolled down his cheek, and he closed his eyes.

Angel leaned forward and put his head down on the athlete's muscular chest. "He's not here now," he whispered. "It's just you 'n me."

Dylan nodded and held the boy in his arms and began to sob. The bed shook with his cries, and Angel kissed away all his tears.

* * * * *

Over the next hour, the full story tumbled out of him. How his father had forced the family to move every couple of years, forcing Dylan to lose whatever friends he had. How he'd always had trouble making friends. How he'd always plagued by self-doubt and insecurity. He even confessed his shame of bedwetting, which had miraculously stopped the moment they moved to LA.

He ended by explaining how he'd been best friends with Corey, only to have him abandon and betray him when... when all Dylan wanted was to love him.

"So that was his name," said Angel, thoughtfully. "'Corey.' Did he look like me?"

Dylan nodded. "Sorta. Yeah, you're about the same size and age he was. Same hair." He grinned. "But you're a lot more beautiful than he was, Angel."

Angel rolled on his stomach and smiled. "I'll never do what Corey did, Dylan. I swear. I love you." He leaned forward and kissed him.

The older boy sighed, then turned to Angel. "What about you? I take it you've..."

"...done this before?" the boy finished, giggling. "Yeah. I had a few good friends back in Santa Fe. There's not much to do there except go to school, watch TV, and - you know... fool around."

He giggled again, then reached out and gently tweaked Dylan's left nipple, which had a few stray hairs growing out of it. "But I figured you'd been with girls and stuff already. You have a girlfriend?"

Dylan smiled wanly. "Yeah. Sort of. But... you're real good. Not that I've done this a lot. But it was... it was great." He let his breath out in a satisfied sigh.

It had been great. He'd never felt this way with Tracy, not ever. She'd gotten him off by hand or by mouth maybe a grand total of six times since they started going out together almost a year ago. And every time, he had to practically beg her.

The boy grinned, then reached down and pulled off his shorts and tossed them across the room. "Guys already know what other guys wanna feel," he said, simply. "It's no big deal. That's the way it was with my buds Billy and Rich in Santa Fe. We just kinda figured it out on our own."

Angel sat up on the bed, unashamed, his naked groin plainly visible in the last remaining rays of the setting sun through a nearby curtain. The lighting was perfect: Dylan sucked in his breath staring at the boy's features. He imagined DaVinci would want to sculpt a boy as beautiful as this, back in 14th century Italy. No... paint him. Only a painting could capture the subtleties of Angel's pale, unblemished skin, his long jet-black hair, and his piercing green eyes.

The boy stared at him, and he began breaking out in a sly smile.

"What?" said Dylan, laughing. "What's so funny?"

"Your body's really great," said Angel, softly. He reached out with his left hand and traced the hard muscles in Dylan's chest and stomach, then let his hand stray across to the athlete's powerful right arm. "Make a muscle."

Dylan complied, and was pleased to see Angel's reaction.

"Whoa!" the boy gasped. "You're really turnin' me on, dude. Look!"

Angel's groin was throbbing back to life. And by the looks of it, despite their three-year age difference, it was almost as big as Dylan's.

Dylan surged with desire. He felt a sudden overwhelming urge to please this boy. "Lie down," he instructed. "It's my turn."

Angel leaned forward, kissed him softly, then lay back, placing his slender arms over his head. His underarms were almost devoid of hair, with only a few small tufts as proof of his budding adolescence.

The older teen poised over Angel's groin, then scooped him up in his mouth, prompting the boy to immediately moan with gratitude.

"Oh, Dylan," he whispered softly. "You don't... you don't have to do this."

Dylan leaned up for a moment and grinned. "Just lie back and relax, lil' dude."

Angel's boyish chest was still slick from the shower, and Dylan could detect some kind of unusual sweet aroma from his skin, almost like a perfume. As Dylan intimately caressed him, he stroked his thighs and legs, which were completely smooth. The very top of his groin had a sparse growth of body hair, a small inverted triangle of soft black curls just above his throbbing erection. Dylan plunged his mouth down as deeply as he could, and the boy immediately moaned with pleasure.

Dylan worked quickly. It didn't take long. In less than two minutes, Angel began squirming on the bed, his scrawny chest heaving.

"Oh, FUCK! Man!" he cried. "Suck my cock! Ohhhhhhh... Suck it! Oh, FUCK!"

And in an instant, it was over.

After a moment, Dylan fell back beside him, savoring the young boy's taste. He rolled over and kissed him on the neck, then his lips. Angel caught his breath, then reached out his arm and lovingly lay his head down on Dylan's chest, which rose and fell. In five minutes, they were both sound asleep.

* * * * *

At 7:20, Dylan was awakened by an electronic chirp. Fuck, he thought wearily. Where the hell am I? He was alone in an unfamiliar-looking room.

He fell out of bed and stumbled back to the bathroom and found his shorts, then fumbled for the cellphone he always carried in his back pocket.

"Hello?"

"Dylan!" cried a familiar voice. "Dear, where are you? You were supposed to be home for dinner half an hour ago!"

He sighed. "Sorry, Mom. I'm over... at a friend's house."

Angel stuck his head in through the doorway. "Everything okay?" he whispered.

Dylan nodded as he pulled on his shorts, nearly dropping the receiver.

"Just get home as soon as you can, honey," his mother continued. "Your father won't be home until late. Don't forget we've got that dinner party tomorrow night here at the house."

He rolled his eyes. "Right, Mom. Gimme 15 minutes, I'll be there." He clicked off the cellphone and shoved it back in his shorts.

"You gotta go?" Angel said, as he looked up expectantly.

"Yeah," he said, pulling on his shirt and slipping on his socks. "Listen... tomorrow's Friday. We don't have a game, but my parents have this dumb party I gotta go to." He turned to the boy. "Look, Angel, I..."

Angel, still nude, leaned against the door, his body half in silhouette, with a beatific expression on his face.

He takes my breath away, Dylan thought.

"Can I come over to get my bike?" the boy asked.

"Listen," Dylan said, as he tied up his sneakers. "I'll take care of it. I'll get your old bike fixed, and in the meantime, I'll give you the new one. I'll drop it off here late tomorrow."

Angel grinned. "Thanks, man."

Dylan reached out and touched the boy's face. "No big deal, lil' dude."
 
 


The latest installments of Jagged Angel can be found on Archerland.net, and submitted sometime thereafter to Nifty.com, ASSGM.com, and GayWritersGuild.org, along with the alt.sex.stories.gay.moderated newsgroup. Feedback can be sent to the author at thepecman@yahoo.com.