The following contains material of an adult nature, specifically consensual sexual contact between men.  If you do not wish to be exposed to such material, or are legally prohibited from viewing it,  DO NOT PROCEED.  Certain acts depicted do not conform to safe sex guidelines.  This story takes place in the nineteen-seventies before the full extent of the AIDS epidemic was known, and should be viewed from that perspective.

Tales from the Weight Room

by K. W. Bennett

ChapterSeventeen: Jason.

    Jason woke up a few hours later.  After relieving himself, he checked his watch and was surprised to find it was only three in the morning.
    He rummaged around in his gym bag, removing a paperback book from the front pocket.  When he opened the book it became apparent the pages had been glued together and a cavity created in the solid mass of paper.  It was a fairly thick book, so there was enough room to store a small bag of pot and the necessary paraphernalia.
    After placing the book on the night table, he moved to one of the chairs and sat down.  He spread a small amount of pot on the round table between the chairs and proceeded to create a compact joint.
    Coop stirred, then sat up on the bed, blinking groggily.

    "What time is it?"

    "A little after three.  I just woke up and didn't much feel like going back to sleep.  I caught a whiff of pot coming from the hall and decided it would be safe to smoke a joint.  Want to share it?"


    "Well, I just finished rolling, so do you want to come over here, or should I join you on the bed?"

    Coop pulled himself onto his knees and leered provocatively at Jason.

    "That depends on what you want to do after we've finished smoking!"

    Jason eyed the mammoth meat hanging pendulously between Coop's legs,

    "Right!  The bed it is, then!"

    Jason picked up one of the empty pop cans to use as an ashtray.  He moved quickly to the bed and flopped down next to Coop.
    Coop shifted position to sit beside Jason, giving him a quick kiss before settling down.  Jason lit the joint, then passed it to Coop.  Coop took a few drags then passed it back.

    "Jason, thanks again for understanding about what happened earlier.  I've never been through so many emotional hurdles at one time.  I feel really stupid for reacting the way I did."

    "Don't!  If I'd been a little less cautious, gone with my gut feeling, we might have been able to avoid it."

    "Maybe, but I'm embarrassed about assuming you were going to punch my lights out.  Nothing about your reaction justifies my jumping to that conclusion."

    "Yeah, but everything else in the world concerning the way gays are looked at does.  We're both jocks.  Jocks aren't supposed to be gay.  You'd be a fool to take a chance like that with most other athletes our age, even if they are gay.  Like I said earlier; I've come to terms with it, so I have no problem admitting it.  It's usually not that way for other gay jocks."

    "What do you mean?"

    "Well, when I was at school, there was this guy on the football team, Ralph.  He was a bruiser.  Six-four and built like a brick shithouse!  He had girls hanging off him everywhere he went.  He had a steady girl for a while, but it only lasted a couple of months.  He was always making comments about who was a fag and actually went so far as to beat up a guy once who he said came on to him in the washroom.  It turned out that he was gay himself, and couldn't accept it."

    "How'd you find out?"

    "My second boyfriend was on the team with him.  They were working out in the weight room one day, when this behemoth started hinting around about getting it on in the shower later.  My boyfriend didn't want anything to do with him, the guy he beat up was a friend of ours, but he went along with it just to see what would happen."

    "Holy shit!  That must've been dangerous!"

    "That's what I said at the time.  Anyway, Frank, my boyfriend, hinted that he would be more comfortable meeting up somewhere away from school.  The bruiser agreed, so they made arrangements to meet later that night at a local coffee shop.  Frank told me about the incident when we met after school.  We both agreed it would be too dangerous for Frank to meet him alone, so it was agreed that I would be waiting with another gay friend of ours at a place just outside town.  It was a trucker's rest stop that was rarely used, except by the local gays.  Eight o' clock found me and Ronnie, that's our other friend, hidden in the closet of the rest room where they used to store the cleaning supplies.  A few minutes later, Frank and Ralph arrived."

    "Were you scared?"

    "A little, Ralph was a pretty big guy, but I didn't think he'd be able to do much damage with three of us there.  I was more frightened at the beginning, because Ralph grabbed Frank before the door to the rest room was even closed.  I almost jumped out of hiding because I thought he was attacking Frank, but he was just horny and impatient.  He had Frank in a bear hug and was kissing him hard.  Frank broke the kiss and told Ralph to slow down 'cause there was plenty of time.  Ralph moaned a little about 'needin' it bad', but he let Frank go just the same.  They talked a little about themselves, then Frank asked him why he beat up our friend for being gay, when it was obvious he was gay too.  Ralph was very uncomfortable with the question.  He mumbled a bit, then just said 'You know how it is!'.  Frank said he really didn't know and asked again.  Ralph finally broke down and admitted how ashamed he was to be gay.  He said he would do anything not to be, and was willing to do whatever it took to keep anyone else from finding out the truth.  He'd hurt our friend to cover his own tracks!"

    "That's sick!"

    "I know.  Apparently, he and our buddy had been meeting after school for several weeks to fool around.  Billy, the guy who got beat up, wanted to take the relationship to another level.  Someone walked in as Billy was saying 'I want you, I need you!', so Ralph punched him in the face and called him a dirty faggot.  It should have stopped there, but Ralph couldn't stop beating on Billy."


    "Ralph was telling this all to Frank while we listened.  He was wracked with guilt, and a few times his voice caught, like he was gonna cry.  I decided it was time to come out of hiding, so Ronnie and I stepped into the rest room.  Ralph was shocked, but he was too deeply upset to react badly.  I asked him why, but he just put his hands over his face and started to sob.  I reminded him of the  damage he did to Billy; a broken nose, two cracked ribs, and a head wound that needed ten stitches!  I got myself all worked up.  I was pacing back and forth, yelling at Ralph.  Suddenly, I stopped right in front of him, pulled his hands from his face, and yelled 'Why?'.  Ralph took a deep breath and explained that he just lost control.  After the punch to the face, he didn't really see Billy anymore.  He was lashing out at himself and his feelings of shame and guilt.  He told us that if the guy hadn't come into the washroom, he was gonna say yes to Billy; admit he wanted and needed him too."

    "Oh my God!"

    "That's pretty much what I said.  I was still madder than hell, but I could see there was a lot more to it than I first thought.  I asked Ralph whether he still felt the same way about Billy.  He sobbed again and admitted he did.  He told us it was all he could think of; ways to try and make it up to Billy for what he did, but he couldn't bring himself to look Billy in the eye, let alone apologize."

    "I hate to say it, but I kinda feel sorry for the guy."

    "So did we.  I decided I'd try to help Ralph get back together with Billy, but I needed to understand that Ralph was able to handle the facts about who and what he was.  I asked him again to tell me why he reacted the way he did.  I asked him if he felt any differently now.  He explained that while he was sitting in the principal's office after the beating, he looked down at the blood on his hands.  It hit him like a thunderbolt that this was the blood of someone he cared about, blood that he was responsible for.  He thought about why it happened, and realized he needed to come to grips with the truth.  Before the incident, he always told himself the sex was meaningless, the people he had sex with were just things he used to get off with.  He'd convinced himself he wasn't gay.  He was a football star, a jock stud!  All the girls wanted him, he couldn't be a faggot!  He'd built up a wall of denial so thick, even he couldn't see through it anymore.  The whole rotten facade came tumbling down as he watched Billy's blood dry on his hands.  He swore to us that he never meant to hurt Billy, that it was all just pure bad luck that the guy stumbled in when he did; just as Ralph was about to admit to Billy and himself that he could be in love with another guy.  He said it was like two trains colliding, and that Billy got caught in the middle."


    "I didn't want to believe him, I wanted him to be the cruel bastard who hurt my friend, but there was no escaping the plaintive note of genuine sorrow in his voice.  He said he wouldn't blame us if we kicked the shit out of him and left him bleeding on the floor.  He said he wished we would, 'cause that's what he deserved.  Ronnie said he thought there'd been enough of that already; Frank and I agreed.  We helped Ralph out to his car, and I told him I'd talk to Billy.  Ralph was like a beaten puppy who's master just gave him a pat on the head.  He drove off a happier guy."

    "How did it all turn out?"

    "Well, for once in this rotten old world, it turned out OK.  I talked to Billy the next day, and he was more than willing to accept Ralph's story.  He said he knew that there had to be more to it than just plain meanness.  He told me how gentle Ralph was when they had sex, and what a shock it was to see him turn into a raving maniac.  He agreed to a meeting with the four of us in the same rest area, and that night we saw the gentle side of Ralph.  He fell on his knees at Billy's feet, pleading for forgiveness, explaining as best he could what had come over him that day.  Billy lifted him up and kissed him.  He told Ralph that his offer still stood, that he wanted and needed him, now more than ever.  Ralph picked Billy up as if he were made of glass and carried him out to the car.  They were inseperable after that.  Ralph got a football scholarship to a College in the States, and Billy went with him.  They rented a house off campus that they share with another gay couple."

    "I'm glad it worked out like that, but I see what you mean about gay jocks.  Sometimes the pressure to live up to being the epitome of  masculinity can make them snap."

    "That's why you shouldn't be ashamed of your reaction earlier.  It might seem excessive, but under different circumstances it might be the right one.  Maybe one day, if this Gay Liberation thing takes off, even gay jocks will be comfortable with themselves.  If it happens, it'll take time, so we're stuck with the reality of living in the here and now."

    While he was telling the story, Jason had put his arm around Coop's shoulders.  In the course of the narrative, Coop leaned over until his head was resting on Jason's chest.
    Coop looked up at Jason,

    "So how did you get so comfortable with being queer?  I consider myself a pretty well adjusted guy in most respects, but I've never really been able to come to grips with it fully."

    "Well, it didn't happen overnight, but I had the support of my family, so that made it easier."

    "Your family knows you're gay!  I can't imagine what that would be like!  My family is very supportive, but I don't think they'd react very well if I told them the truth about myself!"

    "You might be surprised, but then again, you're probably right.  My circumstances are a bit different.  My mother was killed in a car accident when I was five.  I never knew my father.  He took off to make his fortune in the city and never came back.  My brother and I were raised by my grandmother."

    "I'm sorry."

    "Thanks, but in a way I'm glad.  Not about my Mom getting killed, but because of my grandmother.  She believed in living by the old customs and was a fierce defender of our culture.  Grandmother said we had lost so much, it would be criminal to lose ourselves as well.  The younger generation regarded her as some kind of kook, and I spent a lot of time being ridiculed when I was growing up.  The parents and grandparents respected her for her wisdom and convictions, my brother and I idolized her.  She used to be a teacher,  so in the evening she would sit with us to help  with our homework.  When we were done, she'd sit us down in front of the fire and tell us about the old ways.  Most of the lessons were in the form of stories, a lot like the Greek Myths we took in school, only the heroes and spirits, the gods and the monsters, were all connected with the world and the people I grew up with."

    "That sounds so cool!"

    "It is.  When we read the myths in school, the characters in them are separate, distant.  My grandmother made the people in the tales real; like people you would meet on the street, or in school."

    "They call that an oral history.  It's very common in nomadic cultures, or cultures that have no written language.  Western culture relied on it until education became available to the masses, sometime after the invention of the printing press.  I've heard that; compared to today, people back then had phenomenal memories."

    "I can sure believe that!  My grandmother never seemed to run out of stories, she had a parable for every facet of life.  It was those stories that helped me come to terms with what I am."

    "So are you saying your culture accepts gays completely?"

    "Not in the way you mean, but the concept of a person who is gay is, or was, accepted."

    "I don't understand.  What do you mean by 'was'?"

    "Well, since we've been exposed to your culture, we've lost a lot of the old beliefs.  Some of it is due to necessity, and some just to be able to fit in."

    "I guess that has something to do with what we were talking about on the way to the theatre."

    "Uh-huh.  It's a real sore point with me and I sometimes get carried away."

    "I think I can understand why.  So tell me about how it used to be."

    "Well, as you know, it's hard to keep a secret very long in a small, tight-knit community.  Every once in a while someone would turn out to be gay, and of course, it would become known.  My people called them 'two-spirited'; born with the sensibilities of both male and female.  They didn't try to understand it, they just accepted it as part of life.  Many of the two-spirited people became shamans."

    "What's a shaman?"

    "You'd be more familiar with them as medicine men, but that's not entirely accurate.  They weren't only responsible for the health of the tribe, they were looked to as spiritual guardians as well.  They had both the physical as well as the spiritual health of the tribe as their responsibility.  They had great status in the tribal hierarchy.  Status equalled power to a large extent, so they were integral to the life of the community."

    "That's so cool!"

    "I know.  When I first heard about them, I thought they were fascinating.  I would ask my grandmother question after question.  At first it was just childish curiosity, but when I started to realize who and what I was, it became much more than that.  When I first realized I was gay, I went to my grandmother for advice.  She told me it was nothing to be ashamed of, even if everyone else said it was.  She told me she would love me just as much, that my brother would still look after me, as long as I was being true to myself.  I asked her if I should tell everyone.  She said it was up to me.  I decided I would answer truthfully if asked, but wouldn't volunteer the information.  I haven't varied from that formula in the five years since."

    "So for five years, you've been sure you're gay, and the thought hasn't bothered you once?"

    "I've had moments of doubt, but not because of shame or guilt.  I don't believe we should be ashamed of who we are.  I understand how society could make us feel that way, but I refuse to be a part of that.  I know I'm not doing anything to you that you don't want me to do, and I'm sure that I'm doing exactly what I want to do! What's to be ashamed of!?  Just because everyone else on this floor is sleeping alone, or with a member of the opposite sex, doesn't mean what we're doing is shameful!  It's what we want that matters, not what they might think!"

    "I've never thought about it like that before.  I've always believed there was something wrong with me.  Until I found out other guys felt the same way, wanted to do the same things, I thought I was the only one."

    "Most gays I've come across felt the same way."

    Coop absorbed this in silence for a few moments, then burst out laughing.  Jason looked at him with surprise.  This definitely wasn't the reaction he was expecting.
    Jason became concerned when Coop's laughter took on a  hysterical note.

    "Are you OK Coop?  What's so funny?"

    "It's bullshit, man!  I mean, you're right!  I didn't ask for this!  It's just the way I was built!  This is fucking great!  I feel so good right now!  When you said that last thing about other gays, it clicked.  I've always prided myself on being my own man.  No-one can make me do what I don't want to do.  In every other part of my life, it's always been 'fuck 'em if they can't take a joke'; every area but this one.  Why should who I have sex with, who I love, be separate from who I am?  Why should I bundle it up into a ball and hide it from myself?"

    "I agree, but I don't see the connection with the comment about other gays."

    "It's the commonality of experience.  I've encountered the same beliefs when I've met other gays myself.  They...we grew up in the same society.  You had a different set of beliefs because of your grandmother.  She taught you it was OK to be different, we were taught to conform.  Your culture, at least the 'old ways' didn't place the emphasis on sexuality the way ours does.  Our culture starts out with rules and tries to make everything fit into nice little pre-determined holes. Yours was less rigid."

    "I wouldn't say that.  There were and are a lot of taboos in my culture."

    "Sure there are, but hear me out.  Most cultural taboos have a basis in the survival instinct.  They make things harmful to the group or the individual into unacceptable behaviour.  Peer pressure is a terrific enforcer of moral principles.  It's worked wonders for the Christian religion, a lot of others too.  The difference is; my culture uses taboos to enforce not only basic survival behaviors, but also so-called moral behaviors that have become mixed up with them.  These taboos you mentioned, if you trace them to their roots, do they basically reinforce a survival trait?"

    "What do you mean?"

    "Like a taboo against fishing in the same place for longer than a specified period of time. A taboo like that usually exsists to allow the fish a chance to breed, ensuring there will always be fish when they're needed."

    "I see.  Well I'd have to think about it for a while, but I'd be willing to bet you're right."

    "I think I am, but anyway, this is all conjecture anyway.  I'm pretty confidant about the basic premise.  To boil it down to the bones, what struck me as funny was how me and the other guys we talked about, have been reacting towards ourselves the way have, because of conditioning."

    "I don't think that's anything to laugh about!"

    "No, I suppose not.  Not when you take all the pain into account.  I guess I was laughing at the irony before I took a deeper look into it.  It really makes me mad when I think about it.  Mad and sad at the same time.  The truth is really simple.  It's OK to be gay.  I've just been brought up to believe it isn't, and I'd probably go on thinking that way if it wasn't something that affects me personally.  Thanks again Jason, you've helped to put it into perspective for me.  From now on, I'll make a conscious effort to stop feeling ashamed of myself.  it might take a while, but at least I'm aware of it now."

    "Glad to help.  Now, it's time for my reward!"

    Jason lifted Coop off his chest, then turned him so they were kneeling on the bed facing one another.

    "Let's put your new perspective to the test!"

    He began tweaking Coop's nipples, softly at first, then with increasing roughness.  As he pinched the dark nubbins of flesh, Jason leaned forward to kiss Coop.
    Coop responded with gusto, reaching down to take Jason's rapidly expanding prick in his hands.  He stroked lightly, enjoying the feel of the silky skin as it glided over the hard flesh beneath.
    Coop pinched the foreskin between the thumb and forefinger of both hands, stretching the skin to see how elastic it was.  He was surprised to find he could pull about an inch and a half forward to create a tube of skin like a sausage casing.
    Inspired, he held the foreskin with one hand, and brought the head of his fully erect cock up to it with the other.  Placing his cock into the hand holding the skin tube, he gently slid the excess over the head of his cock while pushing forward slightly.
    After a moment, the head of his dick was covered by Jason's foreskin, the tip mashed against the tip of Jason's cock head.
    Jason watched the procedure with awe-filled lust.  At first, he didn't think it would work, Coop's cock was much thicker than his own, but the skin had more give than he would have believed.  He was so turned on by the sight, he gasped.

    "O-o-o-oh!  Coop baby, that looks so-o-o-o fuckin' sexy!  Feels great too!"

    Coop pinched the end of the skin to his cock to keep it from slipping, then circled his other hand to cover his and Jason's throbbing glans'.  Slowly, he moved his hips back and forth, jerking them both under the sheath of skin.
    Jason felt an electric thrill course through his body from the new sensation.  This was not something he'd ever thought of trying before.  The actual physical stimulation wasn't very great, but the thrill created by the connection of their bodies at such an intimate place more than compensated.
    Coop felt the same thing, glad he had decided to try the experiment.  He leaned forward to brush his lips against Jason's, then began a series of light kisses.  First on the chin, then the tip of Jason's nose, then up to the forehead, finally returning to cover Jason's mouth with his own.
    Jason opened his mouth in response, pushing his tongue into Coop's mouth.  He began a long, slow, probing of Coop's mouth, pushing in his tongue as far as he could, then tickling the roof and sides.
    They continued this hot session for another few minutes, then Coop reluctantly pulled away, breaking their connection at mouth and groin.  Coop put his arms around Jason's neck and said,

    "I need you in me baby!  I want you to shove that hot cock up my ass!  I don't know why, but even though we have a week and a half, I want to do it all tonight!"

    "So do I!  But you gotta promise me you'll fuck me first!"

    "Are you sure baby?  I've never been with a guy who could even take the head in without a lot of pain.  I don't wanna hurt you."

    "Trust me, you won't.  I've been fucked enough to know how to handle it.  I've never even seen a prick as big as yours before, but I'll bet I can take it!  If there's one thing I've learned; it's never to underestimate the power of desire!  I want that pole-ax of yours up my butt, and if it takes all night, I'm gonna get what I want!"

    They both laughed and shared another kiss.  Jason rooted around in his bag and pulled out a bottle of baby oil.  He lay back on the bed, raising his legs into the air.
    He handed the bottle to Coop.

    "Lube up your hand, then push your fingers into my hole one at a time.  When you get three in, pour some more oil on them and let it sink in.  When it gets nice and slick, slide your pinky in as well.  Use the fingers to open the hole, then pour as much oil in as you can.  Slick up your cock, then shove it in to the hilt.  As soon as you're all the way in, stay still and let me get used to it.  I'll tell you when to start fucking."

    Coop went into the bathroom first, returning with all the towels from the rack.  Jason looked at him with curiosity.

    "This could get messy, and it would be easier for us to rinse and wring out the towels than it would be to explain how the sheets got all oily."

    "I didn't even think about that!  Glad one of us is on the ball!"

    "Well, that comes from having to hide all the evidence at home.  If your family knows you're gay, you probably don't have to worry too much about it."

    Jason stood up to help Coop lay the towels on the bed.  When they were done, he laid back down.
    Coop knelt on the bed and began to follow Jason's instructions.  He took his time, making sure to apply as much oil as possible between stages until he was able to insert all four of his fingers into Jason's distended rosebud without difficulty.
    A lot of the oil flowed down onto the plush towels, and he was relieved he'd had the foresight to put them down.
    Finally satisfied that Jason was prepared for the main event, Coop began to slather the silky oil onto his now throbbing cock.  He made sure that every bit of exposed skin was slick and shining.
    Without preamble, he knelt with his massive prick at the entrance to Jason's love tunnel.  He eased the head past the tight ring of muscle then, when it disappeared, he thrust his hips forcefully forward until his balls smacked Jason's rump.
    Jason moaned as he was quickly impaled on the thick twelve inch prong.  There was some pain at first, especially when the tine of flesh entered depths that had never before been plumbed.
    When Coop was fully embedded in the Native boy's ass, he stayed as still as possible, the only movement was the rising and falling of his chest as he panted with lust.
    Jason was breathing deeply as well, drawing in huge gulps of air as he adjusted to the fullness in his ass.  The shock of intrusion soon gave way to a feeling of divine consummation.  He had never had a sexual experience that felt so 'right'.  It was as if he'd never truly experienced sexual fulfillment until this moment.
    Coop was experiencing similar feelings.  He'd been fucked many times, and even been able to put a few inches of his dick into a few of his partners, but nothing in his previous experience had prepared him for this.
    It was like Jason's ass had been made for Coop's dick.  Coop had been expecting much more resistance, but he slid in as if the orifice had been tailor made for him and him alone.
    The two gymnasts could feel the special connection and kissed passionately, adding a dimension of romance to the coupling.  This was not some quick, dirty fuck, hastily stolen in a convenient location; it was the joining together of two souls in a blissful union that made them one.
    Tears streamed down their cheeks as they kissed.  Not tears of pain or sorrow, but the sweet release of joy in their discovery of one another.
    Jason gently drew his head back to lock eyes with Coop.  Words were not really necessary, but Jason said,

    "I love you Albert!  No-one has ever made me feel like this!  I've never felt so connected to another human being in my life!"

    Coop too, needed to speak.

    "Jason, I feel the same way!  I love you so much I can't begin to describe it!  I know we're fucking, but I can't think of it like that.  For the first time in my life, I feel like I'm making love to someone!"

    "You are, baby; you are!  This is real!  You feel it too?  That joining that's got nothing to do with the physical connection?"

    "You mean how I look into your eyes and see myself?  That connection?"

    "That's it!  I don't have to tell you what I want, I just know you're going to do what I need you to do; not because I tell you, but because it's what you want too.  Make love to me, Albert.  Make love to me like no-one ever has, or will again!"

    They locked lips in a pure kiss of genuine affection.  Coop began to slowly move his hips back and forth, increasing the length of his strokes with each withdrawal until he was pulling his cock almost out of Jason's ass.
    Jason writhed in ecstasy as his lover long dicked him.  He whimpered with loss when Coop's love shaft was almost withdrawn, then groaned with pleasure as the corpulent organ moved past his prostate to skewer him once more.  His cock was hard and throbbing from the assault on his G-spot.  The foreskin was fully retracted and the head shone with a rosy purple hue, visibly expanding and contracting with the beat of his heart.
    Coop divided his attention between Jason's eyes and pulsating cock.  The eyes filled him with love, and the cock with lust.  He could feel their imminent orgasm as his balls began to draw together, and Jason's ass began to squeeze more tightly around the copious tube of flesh.
    As Coop felt the head of his prick expand and the cum rushing up from the depths of his nuts, Jason threw his head back with a strangled cry.
    Without touching himself, Jason began to ejaculate.  His cock twitched up from his stomach as the first jet flew out over his head to land on the floor beside the bed, sounding like an egg dropped from a countertop.  Coop's spooge filled his butt passage and began to leak out around the tight seal of his sphincter onto the oil drenched towels.
    They not only came together, but they also spasmed at the same time; their balls pumping out spunk in unison until the final ebbing of the pleasure waves left them exhausted in one another's arms.
    They kissed passionately, lost in the moment, and never wanting it to end.  As they slowly came back to reality, they realized the connection between them had not diminished.
    Confident they would not lose what they both had not expected to find, they parted.  Coop slowly withdrew his nearly flaccid penis from Jason's distended ass.  As he rose onto his knees for the removal of the final few inches, strings of Jason's voluminous load joined their stomachs until gravity and distance caused them to break.

    Coop sat back in the deck chair, overcome with the emotions the story brought back to him.  There were tears in his eyes as he thought about the two weeks that had changed his life.
    The rest of us sat quietly, and as I looked around, I could see that everyone was as moved by the story as I was.  Everyone's eyes were full with tears of sympathy for Coop's loss, though they fought not to show it.
    I found my voice to ask,

    "Why didn't you stay together?  You were both of age."

    "It wasn't as simple as that.  He lived hundreds of miles up north, I lived here.  Oh, we planned to hook up again.  Before we parted, we were full of plans, he was going to come down, we'd get a place together, all of that.  Boy dreams!  Neither of us had money of our own, and no prospects of getting any."

    "But you told us you didn't know if you were in love with him!" said Jordan.

    "I hadn't planned on telling the whole story.  I try not to think about it because it hurts too much, so I don't usually admit it to other people.  I was only telling you about him to illustrate my point, but somehow it all came out.  I'm not used to being in such an open atmosphere, in fact, besides my family, you guys are the only ones I've ever told the whole story to.  Sorry about that, but old habits die hard."

    "I don't think anyone here can blame you." said Cam "We've all done things this week-end that give us a new perspective.  I can relate to hiding a part of yourself because it hurts too much!"

    Cam drew Greg closer to kiss his forehead.

    "I didn't mean to sound accusing." said Jordan "I just wanted to understand.  I'm honored you feel comfortable enough with us to share the pain."

    "I wasn't offended Jordy.  I can understand why you asked."

    "So you were saying."  I prompted.

    "Right.  We wrote one another to keep in touch, but then my parents died in the accident, and I had a whole bunch of new responsibilites.  We agreed to put our plans on hold until I could get my life sorted out.  We still wrote, but time and distance took their toll.  I can't blame anyone for what happened.  He couldn't cool his heels forever on the Reserve, and when the chance at a good job in the States came up, he had to take it.  Life goes on, as they say!  Maybe one day we'll meet again, I sure hope so, but I've had to learn to cope on my own and that means shunting my feelings aside to deal with the day to day realities.  So!  Turnabout is fair play!  Tell me how this little party turned into an orgy!"

    For the next few hours, Coop sat fascinated as we related the events leading up to the scene he walked in on.
    When the last story had been told, he sat back and regarded us all with a speculative look.

    "I've gotta say, that until tonight I didn't realize that some of you were capable of rational thought beyond the football field!  I'm impressed, but I'm warning you that I'm gonna expect your grades to improve now that I know you're not just dumb jocks!"

    There was a general laugh at this, then Gil said,

    "Great!  I knew there'd be a catch to all of this!  I guess my days of slacking are over!  Well, it was nice while it lasted!"

    Jordan laughed and said,

    "Well, it was worth it to me to have that hot dick up my ass!  In fact, I think I'm getting off cheap if all I have to do is pull up my bootstraps in class."

    "You guys'll do fine!" said Ian "After all, you've got Keith and me to help!  We can even do a deal, you help us get hot bods like you and Dan, and we'll help you get better grades!"

    "Sounds like a fair trade-off to me!" said Coop.

    "But we like you the way you are!" said Dan.

    "Yeah!" said Jordan.

    "We know that." I said "But don't tell me you love me for what I look like and nothing else!"

    "You know that's not true!" said Dan

    "I know.  Neither of you is that superficial.  Think of it this way; if we work hard to achieve something we want, and you help us, that should only strengthen the bond we have."

    "I see." said Jordan "We work together, and in the end we all get something out of it."

    "Right.  And I suspect your lack of interest in other bodybuilders won't come into play, because you'll be intimately involved with the process.  Besides, I don't think Ian or I am interested in becoming quite as bulked up as you or Dan.  I know that all I want is to lose the excess pounds and get some muscle definition."

    "Same here." said Ian "But I think I'd like to get a little more buffed than Keith does."

    Dan was concentrating on this new development.  He was obviously concerned by something other than just the proposition.
    I knew he wasn't contemplating the superficial aspect; that is, considering his own attraction to me as a chubby guy.
    He thought for a few moments, then came to a resolution.  He put his hands on my shoulders and looked me in the eyes.

    "I don't have any problem with helping you to get what you want.  Over the last week, I've discovered feelings I didn't know I had, or was capable of having.  I just need to know this has nothing to do with you thinking it's what I want.  I love you the way you are.  I would love you if you looked like the Frankenstein monster.  You're sweet, funny, smart; you've made me see the world a whole lot differently than before I got to know you.  If you want to turn into a Mr. Universe candidate, I'll still love you.  Just tell me this is what you want; that you're gonna do it for yourself, not because you think I want it."

    I smiled, then leaned forward to kiss him.

    "Danny, babe.  One of the reasons I love you so much is because you see me for who I am.  I'd be a liar if I said I understand it, but I know that's how you feel.  I've been able to come to grips with the body image thing; largely because of you, but I need to do this.  I know I could gain fifty pounds and you'd still love me, so I m not concerned about getting fit to please you.  I've always dreamed of losing weight and gaining some muscle.  I've tried it on my own, and never succeeded.  Something always seemed to get in the way.  School, my family; there's always been some distraction.  You and Jordy have achieved something that I can't do on my own.  I'd pretty much given up on it.  I was only in the weight room because they wouldn't give me a spare.  I need your help, and that isn't easy for me to admit!  I've always done things on my own by necessity, and I've learned not to rely on others.  Now I have the opportunity to get what I want, and I intend to take advantage of that."

    "It's gonna be hard work!  Don't think we'll go easy on either one of you.  It takes a lot of dedication, and the strength to realize the difference between when you can't do something, and when you won't."

    "We have a pretty good idea of what's involved." said Ian.

    "You think you do now," said Jordan "but wait until I've got you under a bar and you've got three more reps left in the set, convinced you can't do even one more.  I'll say things to motivate you that'll sound pretty ugly.  I'll push every psychological button I can find to get you to achieve what you want.  There'll be times you'll hate me, but if you're serious, in the end, you'll thank me."

    "That sounds scary.  But I understand the reasons behind it.  Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying I know what's involved because I take it lightly.  I know it's hard work, and I know there are things I can't even begin to fathom right now.  I'm sure Keith agrees when I say that we're ready for the challenge."

    "Uh-huh." I said.

    "OK then, you're on!" said Dan "We'll train you in exchange for tutoring."

    The others sat watching this exchange with bemused expressions on their faces.  Coop smiled when Dan and I spoke of the love we felt for one another.
    When we agreed to help one another achieve our respective goals, Gil  leaned forward and said,

    "What about the rest of us?  You just gonna help those two and leave the rest of us high and dry?"

    I looked at Dan and winked, then turned to Gil.  I walked over to where he was sitting, and put my hand on his leg.  I looked into his eyes, and said in a sultry voice,

    "I'm sure we can work out an easy payment plan.  What've you got to offer, Stud!?"

    At first, Gil was taken aback, but he soon clued in to the joke.  He put his hand on my thigh and said,

    "I think I've already made a substantial down payment, but I wouldn't dream of giving you less than full value!"

    Everyone cracked up as Gil stood, threw his arms around me and began to rub his body against mine in a suggestive manner.
    Gill pulled me towards the pool, removing my clothes one piece at a time.  I did the same to him, and when we reached the side of the pool, we turned, saluted the guys, then jumped into the pool.
    Everyone had followed us to see how far we'd go.  When we jumped into the water, they all undressed quickly and followed us in.

End of Chapter Seventeen
Coming Soon, Chapter Eighteen: If You Can Make It There.


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Thanks Again, K.