title>Short Game, ch. 12b

Author's note: Well, here it is. This is the end of the road for Ricky & Lance; yet of course, it really isn't. I know in my heart that they will live on for a long time, and enjoy a prosperous and joyful life together. It's been fun writing this story, hope y'all have enjoyed it. Feel free to let me know...it's always great to hear from the readers (hint)!

All comments can be sent to rickdog36@gay.com ...(sorry about the email mix-up in the last post).


The title to this last chapter comes from the lyrics of a song by one of my very favorite singer/songwriters, Kevin Moore...known to many as Keb' Mo'...from his song called "The Beginning." Almost since the first chapter was finished, I've known what this chapter would be called, and basically what it would contain. But, boy...it sure took a lot of work to get here, I'll tell ya. At any rate, here it is. I'm done. G'night. Over and out.


Rickdog


Chapter Twelve, Part Two: `Cause In the End, It's Just A New Beginning...

I sat there on the bed, looking at Lance as he slept peacefully beside me. It was Friday morning now, almost sunrise. I don't know why I'm awake so early. Maybe I'm a little nervous about the tournament, which begins today.

Mostly, I think I was awake because, for some reason, I really needed to be doing what I was doing at the moment...just sitting here looking at the love of my life. In reality, I guess it was something like a meditation for me, or maybe a prayer of thanks. I just knew deep in my heart that the only thing I should be doing in this world right now was sitting here and soaking in his handsome image. I really had passed the test. I had resisted the attraction of another sexy boy and stayed faithful to Lance. But why do I still feel so horrible about it? Lance had easily forgiven me my horniness...why couldn't I?

My eyes traced again and again over every feature of his face...the way his dark wavy hair fell a certain way as he lay there; the way his arms folded peacefully behind his head; and the little bit of his chest that was revealed by the receding bedsheets. He was fascinating and beautiful to me at the same time. But, it was different watching him sleep. Right now, his virtually inanimate form seemed almost separate from the person I knew and loved. As I sat there, I came to the realization that this gorgeous and sexy body was merely the container. A very nice one, yes; but only that. Only the vessel that held the key to my own existence inside it.

Just as I was thinking that, I noticed his head move slightly out of the corner of my eye. Our eyes locked together instantly, and I had to smile. All of a sudden, it felt like a million volts of electricity were running through me, as I gazed into his warm, dark eyes. I took a long breath and sighed deeply. This was the feeling that I lived for every day. No...this was the feeling that I needed to live every day.

"Mornin' Tiger," he said softly. "You look happy this morning. Thoughtful, but happy," he smiled.

He held his arms out to me. Out of reflex, I fell quickly into his tight embrace. I couldn't stop myself from weeping softly against his shoulder, as I lay there enveloped in his arms. Sometimes, the feeling of love I have for him is just too powerful for me to handle.

"Shhh..." he whispered softly in my ear. "I know Ricky...I know. Me too," he said, as his hands rubbed gently across my back. "Me too."


The matches began quietly Friday morning. All the players were so nervous and intent in their concentration, even the crowds were accordingly subdued in response. This was it. Win, or go home. The pressure was enormous. Lance had played in some big tournaments before, but I knew this was a quantum leap in pressure...even for him.

As we stood on the first tee about to begin play, I looked into his eyes. The far away and confident look I saw in there told me right away that he was ready...he was in his usual competition zone. But, I could tell he needed to dig a little deeper today than normal. I had a feeling that by the end of the week, he would be in completely new territory...even for him. Win or lose, I think it's going to be a great experience for us. Don't get me wrong; I was totally confident in his abilities. If I had to bet a million bucks to pick the winner, I would still pick Lance every time. Not only did I love him deeply, I believed in him. I knew without a single doubt that he was good enough to win. But still, golf is a game of funny bounces sometimes.

The course set up ideally for Lance. In general, it started out somewhat mildly, then increased subtly in length, difficulty and narrowness as the holes progressed, like an ever-tightening noose around each players neck. Even if a player came out of the gate hot with a few birdies early, the course would usually take a few strokes back in the end. From everyone except Lance, that is. He's not always a fast starter, but he is always very consistent and he generally gets better as the play progresses.

Our first match was a piece of cake. Both players came out a little conservatively at first, just looking to make pars and avoid costly mistakes. But eventually, Lance's first opponent (a very nice dude from Argentina) made a few bogies on the back nine to lose 3&2 (three holes down, with two to play). Lance made sixteen pars in a row that day...definitely not his best, but good enough.

Our next match was a little more nerve-wracking. Lance's opponent for the second round match (a very quiet and serious...ok, a real conceited asshole to be honest...Korean guy) came out of the gate totally unconscious...with three birdies on the front nine to Lance's one, and led by two holes at the turn. But, the good ol' back nine was again Lance's friend, as the Korean gave back two strokes compared to Lance's one additional birdie. We won 1 up on the 18th. The idiot even refused to shake Lance's hand after the match. Like I said...what an asshole.

As the field had now narrowed to 16 players, the media started paying more attention to the players who were still left. It helped that nobody in the media knew who Lance was, for the most part. But, the rumors and gossip about us had persisted and grown as we won our first two matches. The bad news was that both Americans were still in the tournament, and Lance was lined up to meet both of them if fate conspired against us. We could have to play and defeat the hometown favorites, so to speak. Twice.

As I walked along the back nine with Lance on the second day, I could hear people whispering to themselves about the supposedly gay player and caddie, like we couldn't even hear them. Jeez. Australian TV cameras were also a presence later in the second day, as Lance was the only Aussie now left in the field. Mostly, I just tried not to look at them, and keep my attention on my job at hand. Ok...maybe I'm just a chickenshit...but I just wasn't emotionally ready to deal with the look. The disgusted, indignant look that people get on their faces when they realize that Lance & I have the audacity to be gay, and to be in love. Ya, that look. God, I hate that look.

As we walked off the course after Lance's second match and finished taking care of the score-keeping business, we were met by one of the tournament's "media consultants." A very nice American woman, who they had hired to assist the players (kids) with the pressure of dealing with the rabid media types.

"Lance McGann? Rick Williams? Congratulations on another fine match today. I'm Paula. I'd like a chance to talk with you guys for a moment, if I could," she asked politely. Lance gave her a curious look as she guided us to a remote table away from the action where we could have a cold drink while we talked. "You two are starting to get a lot of attention from the media. Not only is Lance the only player still in the field without a bogey, but he also plays one of the two Americans in the field tomorrow. They really want to know who you are, Lance. The media are all asking for interviews with you, but the rules here are a little different since you are minors. Minor players can't give an interview without their parent or guardian's consent...but I understand you guys are here alone. So, I guess it's really up to you in the end," she said.

"Look guys, my job is basically to help you...to help you look out for your interests with these sharks...so, I guess I'm asking you to trust me a little bit here. I'm sure it's no secret to you two that there are rumors that have been working around since the tournament began about a gay player, and his caddie who is his boyfriend. Now, I'm not asking you two if you are gay...that would be a very inappropriate thing to do on my part...but, you might want to be prepared to answer that question from them. I wouldn't put it past them at all. But, to be honest, the tournament committee is a little concerned that the media aren't allowed turn this whole thing into a little tabloid affair...because, as I'm sure you know, it would take the focus off of all the different players' accomplishments on the course."

"So," she asked, "The first question is...do you wish to grant the media some form of interview? Maybe a bio sheet would also be helpful...I can prepare one with your help, if you like. And second, if you do wish to give an interview, would you like me to help you prepare for that?"

Lance looked deep in thought, as he sat there for a moment with a slight frown on his face. I know what he's thinking. He's worrying about me again. His eyes met mine for a moment, and his face softened as he searched mine for approval to say what he wanted to tell her. I nodded to him.

"Well Paula, my instincts tell me that I can trust you. So, not that you didn't already know; but yes, Ricky and I are a couple. But that is strictly confidential, and you certainly do not have our permission to issue any statements about that. This is just for your information, so you can help advise us, ok?" he asked.

"Certainly, Lance," she replied. "I'll do my best to help you guys. I know you're in a difficult position. And, it will only get more intense if you keep playing as well as you have so far."

"The thing is, I reckon," Lance began, "Is that we don't want it to be an issue that would distract us or any other players from the golf here. We are not hiding our relationship...in fact, we are `out' at home where we live and go to school. But, we have discussed it quite a bit, and we both feel that it would be unfortunate for the gay issue to overshadow everything else. We want the focus to be on the golf, where it should be."

She looked at both of us for a moment in thought. "I really respect that, guys. I think you're right on the money with that. What I would recommend to the two of you, is this," she said. "First, if you wish, you can make a short statement to the media, but not allow any questions. I can prepare a bio for you, and distribute it to them. Second, I would keep one other thing in mind. Any time you are out in a public space...the hotel, the restaurant, the practice range, the golf course...I wouldn't do anything I didn't want to see in the morning newspaper, you know what I mean? If you really value your privacy, I would also keep the drapes closed in your hotel room, ok? I don't want to make it sound too bad, though. The media know they aren't allowed on the floors where the players have rooms, or any of the other players' facilities like the practice area or the cafeteria. But, cameras have a way of catching things from pretty far away sometimes."

Lance thought for a moment. "I reckon if I give them something to chew on now, maybe that will ease the pressure a little bit, aye? But, if they can't keep their questions to the golf, then I don't really feel the need to talk to them. Maybe I should do like you say...just make a simple statement, but no questions. What do you think, babe?" he said, looking to me for a reply.

"If Paula thinks it will help get them off our backs, I'm all for it," I replied with a shrug.

So, Paula took down notes from Lance so she could prepare a bio sheet for him. Then, they quickly rehearsed a short statement for him to read to the cameras. Before we knew it, we were standing in the corner of a different white tent beside a table with microphones and TV cameras set up in front of it. Lance and Paula sat down at the table, while I tried to fade as far into the background as I could manage.

"Ladies and Gentlemen of the press," Paula began, "I have here with me right now Lance McGann. Lance is playing for Australia this week in the 17&18 year old division. With his assistance, I will soon have a bio sheet prepared for you. Any of you who would like a copy can obtain one from my office later today. Lance will not be taking any questions today, but he would like to make a brief statement. Lance?"

Lance calmly leaned forward towards the microphone on the desk. "G'day everyone. First, I would like to thank everyone who's done such a super job of putting on this tournament. I think all the players are really enjoying it, so far. Second, I would like to thank Australian Junior Golf for allowing me represent my country here this week, and I certainly want to say hi to all my mates back home in Victoria. Next, I want to thank my first two opponents for excellent matches. I feel very fortunate that I have played well enough to advance this far, and I am certainly looking forward to being a part of some more hard-fought and well-played matches this week. As a player, you can't ask for much more than that." He smiled, as he paused briefly. "Also, I want to wish my opponent tomorrow the best of luck. Thanks."

Lance flashed them his trademark smile, stood slowly, and left the table. He strode calmly but purposefully out of the tent, with me right behind him.

"Lancer, that wasn't exactly what you wrote down!" I laughed. "But, it sounded great babe. Right from the heart, like usual."

He looked at me with a little sheepish grin. "Well Ricky, you know me. I feel really awkward just sitting up there and reading something to them. I have to go off the top of my head, or it just feels so fake to me. But, it does help to prepare a little, so you don't go totally blank up there," he smiled.

I just shook my head as I thought to myself. Lance never ceased to amaze me. He's always so calm for things like that. Talking to a television camera...hitting a difficult golf shot in front of hundreds of people...stuff that would make me wet my pants, he just does with ease. No big deal. Ho hum.


Later that evening, we were sitting on the bed watching TV and eating the pizza that we had ordered up to our room, when there was a knock on the door. In a flash, I was up off the bed and peering out the spy hole. Hmmmm. It was James.

"Who is it Ricky," Lance asked...surely made a little more curious by my silence.

I opened the door. "Lancer, this is James. You know...uh...from the pool?"

Lance gave me a questioning look, raising one eyebrow the way he does.

"Come on in, dude. We're just watchin' TV and eating pizza. You want some?" I asked a little nervously.

James cautiously sat down on the edge of the other bed opposite us. "Uh...ya...if you have an extra piece...I haven't eaten yet...so...uh...ya, that would be cool if..." he sputtered.

"I'm Lance McGann...good ta meet ya, James. Take whatever ya like there. We got plenty," my boyfriend said, sticking out his greasy hand with a little grin.

"Uh...hey Lance," James said taking his hand briefly.

Lance looked him over appraisingly, and I gave him a harsh look. He smiled at me, and then began again. "James...you look a little nervous, there aye? It's ok mate. You can relax. Ricky and I had a long talk about everything. No HARD feelings, really..." he giggled.

I tried to give Lance the look for that last comment, but I just bust out laughing before I could. James turned totally red and stifled a little giggle.

"But seriously James, if Ricky says yer good people, then that's enough for me. OK?"

"Uh...thanks Lance. I really didn't know..." he began, but Lance just waved him off.

"Over and done with James. Now, I don't wanna hear any more about that tonight. But, I have a feeling that's not why you're here anyway...so, what brings you about, James?" he asked.

James took a deep breath. "Well, first I just wanted to meet you both together and say hi again. I watched the last part of your match today, and you played awesome, Lance. You didn't miss a single shot on the back nine. I hear you're the only player in the field without a bogey, is that true?" he asked.

"I reckon it is," Lance said, looking at me with a shrug. "But thanks for supporting us out there today, James. It was pretty quiet over all. I think the word is getting around through the gallery pretty good by now. They don't know what to think of us yet, I guess." Lance sighed.

"Ya...well, that's the other thing I wanted to ask you guys. Did you already know that, like, you've been outed or something here?" James said with a questioning look. "Everyone is talking about it. There are reporters crawling all over looking for players to interview, and that's all they wanna talk about. Fortunately for you, I guess, none of the other players really know anything, so they haven't got much to say about it. They tried to ask me, but I just ignored them."

"Ya James," I jumped in, "I guess we were outed by this fellow Tyler Allen in Lances flight...you know him?" I asked.

James rolled his eyes. "God, what an asshole. It figures he would do something like that," James said. "He has a reputation for winning any way he can. If he sees a potential weakness, he'll be all over it in a flash. You don't play him do you?" he said with a concerned look.

"We'll play him in the semi's, if he gets that far," Lance replied matter-of-factly, stuffing a bite of pizza into his mouth.

James had a worried look on his face, but he didn't say any more.

I think we need a change of subject here..."So, James...how about you?" I asked. "You still in it? I haven't been able to look over the other brackets to see if I could find your name."

"Thanks for asking, Rick. Ya, I'm still alive, but it's gonna get a lot tougher real quick. My dad's supposed to get here before my match tomorrow, and I have to play the top ranked player in my flight. But...I...uh...I don't usually play well when my dad watches. It's hard to play when he's yellin' at me for every little mistake and shit. I really hate him. I wish he would just stay home. I think he mainly comes to watch, because he knows I always lose when he's here. Then he has a lot more he can yell at me about. Every time I see him, I still hear about the last tournament or two I didn't win...or in his words...I lost, since in his mind if you don't win the whole damn tournament, you obviously lost. Hell, I finished second last time, and I still get yelled at for losing," he rambled. "I'm sorry. I'll just shut up now," he sighed.

"Hey, I'm sorry James," I said, giving him a sympathetic look, "That really sucks. I know how you feel. My dad would yell and scream at us, telling us how worthless and shit we were, just before he beat the hell out of us," I said, as I wiped a little tear from my eye. "You just can't believe what they say, James. You can't let them define you. You have to define yourself. You know deep inside who you are, and what kind of person you are. You have to find the strength inside yourself to overcome all their bullshit. You only have to make yourself happy, you know...nobody else."

We all sat there in silence for a while, each of us pondering that heavy little moment in our own way. It really made me mad that James' father would treat him like that. I really wanted to do something more to help him...but what could I do?

James sat up. "Thanks, Rick. I really appreciate your support. I gotta get to bed. See you guys around, maybe. Once my dad is here, it will be pretty hard for me to get out of the room and stuff. Maybe I can still watch your match tomorrow," he sighed.

As James was heading out the door, it occurred to me. "James...wait!"

He turned at the door. "Ya?" he asked.

"What time is your match tomorrow? I think I'm gonna try to get out and watch you play, if that's ok..."


After James left, we cleaned up the room, and crawled into bed naked to watch the last half of a James Bond movie that was on. Before long, I could feel Lance's eyes boring into the back of my head, as I lay draped across his chest.

"What is it, babe," I asked, without taking my eyes off the movie.

"That's the first time you've ever really talked about your dad openly like that, in front of me, Ricky. I've always kinda known what happened to you from the little bits and pieces I've picked up from people. Mostly from Bill, really. It makes me so sad to hear you talk about that. I could feel the pain in your voice, babe. I wish more than anything in the world I could take that pain away from you. It hurts me so much to know you're hurting inside like that. I just..."

I turned off the TV, rolled on top of him, and looked him deep in the eyes. "You think it's any coincidence that I can even talk about that stuff now Lancer? You gave me a feeling of being loved, and a feeling of being totally safe for the first time in my life, babe. There's still a lot of hurt inside there, but you're making it a little smaller every day. Shit, you really saved my life. I had no idea at the time, but looking back now I can see just how close to the edge I was getting. I'm not sure how much longer I would have lasted. That's why I worry about guys like James. I know how miserable he is on the inside. I know how hopeless it can feel. I need to help him in some way, Lancer. It's another way for me to chip away at the hurt inside me. I hope you can understand that," I said hopefully.

Lance gave me a warm smile. "It's ok Tiger. I think it's amazing how big your heart can be, sometimes. I could always see that locked up inside you from the first day I met you. It was in there all that time...just trying to get out. Thank god I found the key," he grinned.

"Ya...me too, babe," I sighed, as I lay my head on his shoulder, and drifted off to sleep.


Jeez, it had already been a long week, yet here it was New Year's Eve. We had survived the first four rounds (unfortunately James had lost yesterday...but he managed to get his Dad to let him stay). Ya, Lance had a few close calls on the course (winning one match in extra holes), and we had to keep playing the hide & go seek game with the media types, but we had survived thus far. Yet, as Lance and I stood side-by-side on the first tee looking over at T.J. and his caddie, I could immediately tell we were gonna be in for another long day before the first shot was even hit.

T.J. and his father were apparently ready for us. His father had bussed in dozens of church-types to `support' his son, and paid for their tickets to `watch' the matches. But, when they started showing up on the course yesterday with their little signs quoting the names and numbers of some silly Bible verses, it was pretty clear why they were there. When they introduced T.J., the crowd roared in support. But when they introduced Lance, the crowd was virtually silent...except for a very few polite applause. Now, I realize Lance is still not well known in these ranks, but this was a little eerie. It was way too quiet, even for golf. Right after they finished the introductions, Lance looked over at me and gave me his little `no worries' look and a slight smile. I gave him a short nod in response.

Lance was chomping at the bit for this match...he loved being the underdog. I even had to back him down a little bit at the beginning. He took it at his personal challenge to win the crowd over to his side with outstanding play, and his usual warm and respectful manner. By the end of the match, he was determined that they would at least respect him, even if they couldn't root for him. I wasn't so sure.

The match began furiously, as both players posted several birdies on the front nine. At the halfway point, we were one hole down. But, with the vastly more difficult back nine ahead, Lance was right where he wanted to be. If he could play the back nine in even par, or perhaps one-under, he would have an excellent chance of winning. Ours being the `headline' match of the day, and being one of the last on the course, had caused the gallery to swell tremendously by the time we arrived at the 10th tee. Lance had never played in front of so many people before, I'm sure. I could tell Lance was feeling the strain of the added pressure, but he was still handling it well. Whenever possible, I tried to keep him away from the crowds where he could only hear me talking to him. I think we were each other's only rock to cling to, as the storm around us continued to grow.

T.J. flinched first on the backside, giving up a bogey with a difficult three-putt on the 13th hole. The match was now even. As the players reached the 15th tee still tied, the pressure was really building. The 15th was a long par 3 over a lake; with a small, tiered green to shoot for if you didn't want to risk having to make a difficult 2-putt.  Unfortunately, that area was way to the left side of the green today, surrounded with water on three sides.

Lance grabbed his club, and prepared to hit first, since he had the honors. "Ok Lancer," I told him, "Just a normal smooth 5-iron. You can do this in your sleep, babe. We just have to stay away from that left side. It's a sucker-pin, and you know it. Take your two putts and get out of there, ok?" He gave me his usual cockeyed grin, and took his stance behind the ball.

It sounded like a thunderbolt from hell, it was so shocking and unexpected. My head quickly jerked back to find the source of the sound and my eyes immediately scanned the crowd, as I realized what the horrendous noise had been. In the middle of Lance's downswing, someone had coughed loudly...although it sounded suspiciously like someone had actually yelled `faggot' at the top of their lungs and tried to disguise it as a cough. Worried about Lance, I quickly turned back to see him still watching the flight of his ball. I followed his eyes towards the left side of the green, and we both watched as his ball took a hard bounce left of the flag, and rolled over the green and into the water. As I watched Lance's shoulders sink in disappointment, my heart sank with them. The crowd was stunned into silence. Lance looked up at me with a shocked expression on his face. Something like that was just totally unheard of in golf.

With a discreet grin at Lance's `misfortune', T.J. teed up his ball, and hit a shot safely to the right side of the green. Lance tried to hit a miraculous recovery shot from the tee again for his third, but ended up in the sand and took 5 strokes for the hole...a double bogey. His first hole worse than par for the entire week.

As we were leaving the 15th tee box, I looked back to see course marshals questioning two large teens. They looked suspiciously familiar...I remember! They were the two goons who had been with T.J. the time he stopped us in the hallway. Hmmmm.

After play had finished on the 15th, I handed Lance his driver and told him to go on ahead to the next tee, while I stayed to rake the bunker, and take a quick leak in the porta-john. As I was scurrying down the hill with the golf bag on my back, trying to get caught up with Lance on the tee box, I suddenly became airborne. I remember thinking to myself  "this is not going to be good..." as I flew through the air and landed face first on the pavement. I had naturally extended both hands in front of me to break my fall, but my surgically repaired right arm had immediately given way, as an incredible pain shot up my arm. Unfortunately, that also caused me to roll to the right, bringing the right side of my face and upper body into contact with the asphalt cart path. The momentum of my fall, along with the weight of the golf bag on my back worked just like a cheese grater. I lay there in a daze for a few moments, totally speechless from the intense pain. I tried to get up, but I just couldn't. I guess someone eventually took pity on me, because I remember the golf bag being pulled off of me. I remember seeing James's face, kneeling down in front of me.

"James..." I said weakly, "Take the clubs...get them to Lance...please...don't let him quit..."


The rest of that afternoon's events are still a little fuzzy to me...they tell me I got a mild concussion from the fall. I remember someone trying to get me into a golf cart to take me somewhere, but I fought them desperately to get away and return to Lance. Unfortunately, they won the battle when I realized I wasn't gonna get very far on my own power. They tell me I was taken to the first aid tent, where they treated me. In the end, the extent of my injuries weren't all that bad, I guess. The tally was one bruised knee, a severely strained right arm (but thankfully, Karen's surgery had held up...), and a nice case of road rash on my right cheek, temple, and shoulder in addition to the concussion. I guess it looked worse than it was. Even after arriving at the first-aid tent, I had apparently kept fighting the first aid workers, tying to get up so I could return to the match. In order to keep me quiet for a while, they decided to sedate me.


I awoke a while later, to the feeling of someone's hand brushing through my hair. I opened my eyes to see Lance looking down at me, with concern etched on his face.

When he saw me open my eyes, he immediately sighed. "Hey Tiger...how are you feeling?"

"I'm doin' ok...now," I smiled weakly. Ow. Ok...that hurts. Remember not to smile for a few days.

"Everything is gonna be fine, Ricky. You just rest for a while. James is gonna stay with you here, while I take care of something. But, I'll be back as soon as I can, ok? Then I'm gonna take you up to the room. But, I really have to go now...love you, ok?" Lance said, looking back at me as he hurried out of the room.

My spirits visibly sank a little, when the door closed behind him.

"Rick, I sure hope you realize what an amazing person he is. Let me tell you what happened on the last three holes," James said, coming into my view from where he had been standing behind me.

He sat in the chair beside me, grimacing a little, as he looked me over.

"James...I'll be fine. It really isn't as bad as it looks, ok?"

"Uh...ya, Rick...I'm sorry for staring like that. It's just such a shame to see your beautiful face like that," he said with a little blush.

"James! I'm dyin' here! Tell me what the hell happened with the match! Did we win?"

"Rick, I've never seen anything like it," James said in awe. "When I finally made it to the tee box with the bag, Lance was frantic. When he saw me carrying the clubs, he totally lost it. I almost had to drag him down to keep him from going after you. But, I convinced him that he had to keep playing, or forfeit the match. Hell, we had to run all the way up the fairway to catch up and hit his shot within the time limit. But, I explained to him what had happened. I saw the whole thing.

"I was walking out from the hotel to watch the end of your match. I had just finished a huge argument with my dad...I basically told him to just fuck off and leave me alone. I was so tired of him harassing me all the time...Anyway; I was just catching up to you guys. I saw them push you down the hill, Rick. T.J.'s two buddies. They were waiting for you behind the porta-potty, and when you came out, they followed behind you. Unfortunately, I was still too far away to yell at you to look out. Those assholes...when I got to you, they were just standing there looking down at you and laughing and high-fiving themselves. I had to run and get a marshal to help you. Nobody else did a thing.

"When I told all this to Lance, I was worried he was gonna explode. But, he didn't get mad at all. He just slowly nodded his head. When I told him the marshal was getting you to the first-aid tent, he just nodded his head again. I could see in his eyes for a moment how worried he was about you...and I could see how hard it was for him not to go to you. After that, he didn't really say a word for the rest of the match. He just kept staring right at T.J., like a lion looking at piece of raw steak. Lance almost birdied the next hole, and then finished out birdie-birdie. Nobody has had back-to-back birdies on 17 & 18 all week until today. But the way he kept staring at T.J. really blew his mind. By the last hole, T.J. could barely swing his club. He finished par, bogey, bogey. It was like Lance was on a different level after that. He just kicked his ass royally on those last three holes. It was soooo awesome to watch. T.J. got so freaked out, he even tried to get Lance DQ'd for changing caddies. But, it didn't work. I even told them it was his friends that had caused your accident, which he totally denied.

"I've never seen anything like it," James said sincerely. "It was clear to me where he gets his strength from. He loves you that much, Rick."

"Ya, I know," I said, wiping a tear out of my eye. "I know."


The three of us eventually arrived back at our room. James excused himself, and arranged to meet us for breakfast in the morning before the final match. Lance gently helped me onto the bed, propped me up with a pillow, and handed me the TV remote.

"You gonna be ok here for a minute, while I take a quick shower babe?" he asked.

"Ya, I'll be fine. I'm really not hurt that bad, Lancer. You don't have to treat me like I'm dyin' or something..."

He gave me an understanding smile, and headed off for his shower. I picked up the remote, and clicked the TV on as I heard the water come on in the bathroom. Not knowing what else to watch, I changed right away to the golf channel. What I saw and heard there totally blew my mind.

Today at the World Junior Match Play Championships in Orlando, Australian golfer Lance McGann overcame both a difficult opponent, and a seemingly difficult crowd to advance to tomorrow's final round. Tournament officials were at a loss to explain two bizarre events during today's match. On the demanding par-3 15th, a still unidentified heckler in the crowd apparently shouted a derogatory remark during McGann's tee shot, resulting in a pull into the water left of the green. McGann made double bogey, and lost the hole to go one-down in the match. If that wasn't enough, McGann's caddy had an unexplained accident before reaching the next tee, and was unable to complete the match. Another player in attendance at the match volunteered to finish the round for him. But, McGann wasn't finished. He pulled out the match with unheard of back-to-back birdies on the closing holes, to defeat American T.J. Allen one up. Unconfirmed reports from the course suggest that the cause of these ugly outbursts is the fact that McGann and his caddy are gay. Regardless of the reason, this has got to be the ugliest show of sportsmanship by American golf fans since the Ryder Cup at Brookline. After the match, McGann made a statement to reporters...


G'day everyone. Thanks for giving me a chance to say a little something. We all came here this week to play golf, and to do our best to represent our countries and ourselves. But, putting our individual and national pride to the side for a moment, we have to remember that golf is such a fantastic game because it brings us all together with a chance to compete on a fair and even footing. Golf is color-blind and gender-blind. The bloody ball doesn't care what color you are, or if you are a man or a woman. I think golf is truly the fairest game on the planet--everyone has an equal chance. Nobody else can affect the outcome of your play, but yourself. However, today some people decided to try and take some of that fairness out of the game, because they don't like the fact that I'm gay. Personally, I don't think it should be anyone else's business who I happen to love...it's really none of their concern, especially on the golf course. But, some people decided to make it their business here this week. And, I think all of you in the media out there need to consider your own role in this as well. All week long, you have been making it an issue by carrying out some sort of witch-hunt to find out about the gay player and his boyfriend. Well, thanks in no small part to that, the person I love more than anything in the world was attacked today. Thankfully, he wasn't hurt too badly...but it could have easily been worse. But, I feel very fortunate that we were able to overcome those obstacles on the course today, and now we have the chance to play in tomorrow's final.  I sincerely hope that everyone's attention will be on the quality of the golf tomorrow...nothing more and nothing less. That's all I ask. Thanks.

McGann's opponent tomorrow, Niclas Lindstrom from Sweden advanced to the final round by...


I sat there in total amazement. I was moved to tears by what I had seen. Lance's love and courage had shone so brightly through that TV set, it just overwhelmed me. I was startled to hear him speak softly from beside me. "So Ricky, did I do ok?" he asked, with concern in his voice.

I turned to see him standing there with his towel wrapped around his waist. "God...You're amazing Lancer. I'm so proud of you...I just...I don't know what else to say. I love you, babe. More than anything."

We went to bed early that night, even though it was New Year's Eve. Lance woke me up just before midnight, and we watched the fireworks over the lake from our window. He gave me a little kiss at midnight, tucked me back into bed, and spooned up behind me, wrapping his arm over my chest.

"Happy New Year, Ricky" he said softly in my ear. "I think this is gonna be a really good year for us, babe. I really do."


I had invited all the guys over to my house to watch the final match on New Years Day. Timmy & Tommy were there of course, Steve Czamanske (the golf team coach), the Johnson twins, Greg and Brendan Lewis, and Ricky's best friend Jeff Carpenter (and by the looks of things, Jeff may have something going with Brendan too...Hmmmm. I'll have to watch them a little closer today).

Everyone was thrilled to death to see Lance advancing to the final round. He was just such a sincerely nice and genuine person, you had to love seeing good things happening for him. Personally, I will be forever grateful for his presence in Ricky's life. He literally saved that boy's life, whether he knows it or not.

"Come on, Mr. Bill!" Jimmy hollered at me from the TV room. "The match is starting...you don't want to miss it, do ya?"

"I'm here...don't panic," I laughed, plopping down into my armchair in front of the TV. It was like watching little kids at Christmas time; the guys were so awestruck watching their friends on national TV. Well, they better get used to it, I grinned to myself, because I have a feeling their gonna be seeing a lot more of those two on the tube.

"Oh my GOD! What happened to Ricky?" Jeff cried out with concern, as soon as we could see him standing beside Lance on the first tee. The whole side of his face was scabbed over, and you could see him struggling to carry the bag with a pronounced limp.

"Didn't you watch last night Jeff?" David asked. "They said he had a nasty fall while carrying Lance's bag. Rumor is that he got pushed..."

"Don't worry boys," I broke in. "I talked to Lance's mom this morning, and she told me that he's basically ok. He's got a little road rash, and a bruised knee. But, she said he was determined to carry the bag in the match today. Lance couldn't talk him out of it. She did say that they have a friend in the gallery who can jump in, if Ricky can't make it. I wouldn't worry about it though. He's a tough kid. A lot tougher than any of you could ever know..."

The match was one for the ages. It was so close, it kept us all in agony the whole time. Every shot was crucial. The momentum kept changing from one player, then back to the other. Lance's opponent was very good. And, like Lance, he was a very consistent and steady player. At times, it almost looked like Lance was playing against himself out there, as each player matched shot after shot. But, as the match progressed, I could visibly see Lance getting more relaxed, and more comfortable as he was able to interact with Ricky between shots. They really do feed off of each other. In the end, I think Lance was able to draw on that, and the growing support of the crowd in his favor. I think that little speech he gave on TV last night, along with the events of yesterday had earned him a lot of new fans. Drawing on the support of everyone around him, Lance's game eventually rose just enough at the end. He held a one-up advantage through the last several holes, making steady pars while his opponent missed several gutsy tries for birdies to even the match.

Everyone in the room let out a huge cry of joy and relief, as his opponent's last birdie try at the 18th hole slid past the cup. Hell, I don't think I've yelled that loud in a long time myself, at least not since the Lakers won their first title under Magic Johnson in that unbelievable game at Philly. Everyone in the room was high-fiving and hollering, and hugging. I looked over to see Jeff hugging Brendan tightly, with tears in his eyes. I smiled. I'm happy for him. I hope everything works out well for them.


I let out a huge sigh of relief, as the plane slowed to a gentle roll at the end of the runway. It was only the second flight of my life, but I had already decided that I liked the landing part even less than I liked the taking off part. Lance looked over at me and smiled. "See? That wasn't so bad, was it now?" he asked.

I just gave him the look, and kept my hand tightly wrapped around his. As the plane approached the terminal, I hoped to myself that our arrangements had paid off. Last night, after we got back to our room, we got a phone call from all of the guys. It was really cool to hear how excited they were for us. I talked to all of them, but I made a special point to talk to Tim last. You see; I had a special favor to ask of him. You may recall that Tim works for Disney. He's actually the head of Media Relations for the theme parks, and I needed his help.

As Lance and I cautiously headed down the exit from the plane, an attendant politely stopped us. "Please come this way. You have a special party waiting for you." She directed us to a roped off area to the side, where we could see our families and friends waiting anxiously for us. And, more importantly, there were no stupid cameras and reporters there.

"Cool," I sighed to myself. Tim must have done a great job. I was hoping he could handle things for us. We mostly just wanted to be left alone for a while. All the pressure from the media this last week had really worn us out.

We hugged and greeted our whole gang. Even my Mom gave Lance a big hug. I think she was pretty proud of her future "son-in-law." Karen immediately gave me a big hug, and a quick looking over...I guess I passed her initial examination. Jeffy was so glad to see me, I thought he was gonna wet himself. I had to admit, however, that I was pretty glad to see him too. We definitely had a lot to talk about...but we'll have time, I'm sure. I saved my biggest hug and thank you for Tim.

"Thanks Timmy," I said in his ear as I gave him a big squeeze. "You have no idea how grateful we are for your help today. It's been a really long week. We just wanna get home, and relax for a while."

"Hey, no problem Rick," he replied with a laugh. "You guys earned it this week. But, you two better get used to it, because I think this is just the beginning for you guys."

I just rolled my eyes, and laughed with him.


The next morning, I awoke with a start. It was still dark outside. I relaxed a little when I realized I was safely tucked into Lance's bed. I could feel him spooned up behind me, with his arm draped across my hip. I smiled to myself, as I could hear him snoring softly into his pillow. I wiggled my butt a little bit, enjoying the feeling of his morning erection pressed against me. Everything seemed perfect. Almost too perfect. I craned my head a little bit, and through the dim light I could still see the trophy sitting on top of Lance's dresser. Yup, it's still there. It wasn't a dream. Wow, it all really did happen...I thought to myself, as I drifted back to sleep again.

I awoke again a few hours later, to the feeling of Lance's fingers lightly teasing my furry little balls, and my achingly hard shaft. I could hear him giggling to himself, as he realized I was now awake.

"Morning Lancer," I said softly. "You better be able to finish what you started here, or you're gonna be sorry..." I warned him.

"Oh ya?" he whispered in my ear. "I can take anything you got, Tiger," he giggled.

I rolled over on top of him, gave him my sexiest grin, and dove right down to attack his neck with some passionate kisses. I slowly worked my way over each of his erect little nipples, causing him to groan in pleasure. As I licked slowly down the little trail of hairs in the center of his stomach, I felt his hands running through my hair...slowly guiding me down towards his huge, dripping hard meat. He groaned again, as I lightly teased the head with my tongue. He was clearly ready for release right now, but I had my own plans. I sat up and reached for the lube we kept in the drawer of his nightstand. As I thoroughly massaged it all over his giant erection with both hands, it felt bigger to me than ever before.

"Wow Lancer," I said. "It feels like you've grown. God, it feels so fucking huge in my hands...you know how much that turns me on, to feel your huge hard dick in my hands?"

He just lay there with his eyes closed, groaning as I carefully pushed him towards the edge with my hand job, and brought him slowly back down again. I crawled forwards, and slowly lowered myself onto his giant pole, shivering with the combination of pain and pleasure that was filling me up inside. I leaned forward and gave him a long hard kiss, and then I very slowly began riding up and down on his hardness. But, he was way too far gone at that point. After only two strokes he let out a loud half groaning, half whining sound and filled me with his molten hot fluid, as I felt him bottom out inside me. I sat there motionless as I could feel his dick spasm several more times inside me. After a moment, his eyes opened, and he gave me that `god, I love you so much' look that totally melts my heart. He pulled me down into another long, hot kiss. Then, he reached beside him, and grabbed the lube in his hands. He squeezed out a generous portion on my still achingly hard erection, and started working it with both of his hands.

"Now it's you turn, babe," he said.

I took his cue, and began thrusting my dick in time with his hands. As I did so, I could immediately feel his still full erection inside me, apparently ready for more. Soon, I was furiously rocking back and forth...pumping my dick up into his hands, then sliding back down onto his huge member as he thrust it deep inside me.

"Oh god Lancer..." I sighed. "You feel so good inside me...oh god...I'm gonna...uhhhh...I'm gonna...AAHHHH!" I shouted, as my head tilted back and I released shot after shot into the air. After a few seconds, I looked down to see my lover totally covered with my cum...all over his face, his chest...even his hair. I could see the first shot must have gone completely over his head, since it was now running down the side of his headboard.

"Wow babe, that was the most intense cum I've had in a while. Thanks," I said, as I leaned down and licked a little spot of my cum off his nose, then shared it with him in a deep tongue kiss.


I had to smile to myself, as I stood there on the stage inside the gymnasium. Ricky, Lance and Steve (Coach C) were seated on my right. On my left side, the school pep band had the house rockin' with their usual hits...the Hawaii 5-0 theme...and `Celebrate.' The whole school was gathered together before me for the second time in the last couple months, and the two occasions couldn't have felt more different. The first time was in an effort to prevent something tragic from happening to Ricky & Lance. This time, it was to celebrate their victory in Florida. I had to shake my head a little, as I thought about the last three months. Ricky and Lance had gone from being strangers to almost everyone here, to being unwanted outcasts, to suddenly being local heroes. And, throughout all of that, they were the same two people during that whole time. Nothing had changed with them. But, now that they had a little celebrity, the fact that they were gay didn't seem to be as much an issue with the other students. It made me happy for them that they had found a little more acceptance and tolerance here at home, but at the same time it made me worry for other gay kids who might not be so fortunate. Would Ricky and Lance's experience make it any easier for other gay kids in the future here? I guess only time will tell.

I looked over at the two of them sitting there, and I had to snicker to myself. Lance was having a great time, in his usual relaxed manner. Ricky, on the other hand, was obviously very uncomfortable with all of the attention. As the band was almost finished, I leaned over and shouted at the two of them, "Ok guys, both of you come on up here."

Ricky looked at me in distress. "Oh man Mr. Bill, do I havta?" he asked.

Almost in unison, as though it had been rehearsed, both Lance and I said, "Ya, you do!" We both looked at each other, and laughed.


Epilogue:

July 21, 2003 9:15 AM GMT

AUSTRALIAN GOLFER MCGANN TO TURN PROFESSIONAL

By: Associated Press

Sandwich, England

After his 9th place finish yesterday in the British Open, 18 year old Australian golfer Lance McGann announced today that he would turn professional, and dedicate the remainder of this year's golf season to earning enough money for full exempt status on the PGA tour next year. After winning the World Junior Match Play Championships in January, McGann made the most of an invitation to the Masters in April, with a top 20 finish. His 9th place finish here this week was the best by an amateur since Justin Rose tied for 4th in 1998. If he achieves his goal, he would become the first openly gay member of the PGA tour.

That's it. Thanks for reading. Any and all feedback is welcome at rickdog36@gay.com.