This story details explicit gay sex between men, teens and boys. If you find this kind of thing distasteful, or if you are underage where ever you live, then stop reading this now, and delete this file. The story is completely fictional, the author does not condone or encourage any of the acts contained herein.


Chapter 26

When we awake the next morning, the window in this tiny room is covered in condensation, dripping from the collective breath of the six of us who are warm and snug in bed, in a room that is arctic. We are mostly in the same positions we started in, except that Vijay and Kenny have flipped, placing Vijay and me nose to nose, and Kenny spooned up behind Vijay. Vijay has apparently been the first to wake up, because when I open my eyes, I'm staring into his -- soft, brown and moist. "Can I kiss you?" he whispers, softly. I nod, and our lips meet. It's an interesting kiss (a description that I would have thought would be the kiss-of-death for a kiss). It's not passionate at all, but is very sensual as our lips make contact and rub against each other, our eyes closed. Vijay's lips are full and very kissable, perfect for this kind of leisurely kiss, a kiss that says "friendship" to me rather than "let's fuck," something I'm not prepared to do, at least for the moment. This is not to say that I'm not attracted to him. Vijay is a very beautiful boy. His wavy hair and radiant smile set off his near perfect skin, a perfection that extends over his entire body, a body that's nicely toned, but not exactly "muscular." No, I'm certainly attracted to him, but I don't know who he is. I don't think he does either based on last night's conversation. He seems to be adrift and profoundly depressed, which is why, ultimately, I agreed that he should stay with us -- I can't gauge yet where that depression might lead him. Is he suicidal? I had an intuitive sense that he just might be, and that would be such a waste in one so young, so beautiful, and clearly so intelligent.

As we break the kiss, he smiles at me, and I smile back. "Thank you," he whispers. "Thank you for everything." I look confused. "For helping draw me out of myself. For helping me better understand what's missing for me." I smile again, and he moves in for another kiss, but stops when Kenny begins to awaken. "Can I kiss Kenny?" he asks me in a whisper.

"If Kenny wants to be kissed," I reply, softly. Vijay winks, and smiles, and then flips so that he's facing Kenny, his back to me. I, in turn, wrap my arms around his torso, as much to find something to do with them, as to caress the softness of his skin. He and Kenny now begin to whisper, and in a moment Kenny lifts his head over Vijay's body, glancing at me, a pleading look on his face. I nod, and he smiles, going back to Vijay. At that moment, I feel Jason begin to rustle behind me, and I slowly turn over, facing him, looking deeply into his warm, sleepy eyes and moving in for a kiss, a passionate kiss that has him hard, poking me between the legs. Suddenly there's a hiss from behind me, and Jason rises over me to see what Kenny wants. Kenny is mouthing words, and after a couple of tries, Jason bends and whispers in my ear that Kenny would like to know if he can fuck Vijay. "No," I whisper to Jason, who passes the message to Kenny. Kenny gives him a mock pout, but then smiles. He knew what my answer was going to be before he asked. In fact, I'm pretty sure that this was just a game and that Vijay had nothing to do with it. Jason and Kenny are the most monogamous of the boys. Ian and Alejandro I feel I have to keep my eyes on a little, but not Kenny and Jason. They love me and each other to distraction, have never done anything to damage that relationship, and never will, I'm pretty sure.

Grabbing Jason around the middle, I maneuver myself around until I'm on my back, and Jason is on top of me, and we continue our kiss. All the jostling, however, wakes Ian and Alejandro, who assume a similar position, the lighter Ian on top of Alejandro, and begin to kiss passionately.

After several seconds of moaning, I break my kiss with Jason, and announce that it's time to get up. "We're not in New York every day. No one cums this morning." Suddenly, Vijay flips over and looks dejected, again, tongue in cheek. I giggle, "Well, not with my boys," and I make the universal sign for jerking off. As we pile out of the bed, each and every cock is hard and `dancing,' flopping around, a posture that amuses us all. I've brought one robe with us, and fish it out of my suitcase, and we take turns making our way to the shared bathroom to pee, the only thing that's going to get our dicks under control (well, the simplest one, anyway). Finally, we descend on the communal showers which, thankfully, are empty, and wash for the day.

Back in the room, I ask the pregnant question: "So, what are we doing today?"

Vijay is suddenly very animated. "This isn't a teaching day. I'm off. You guys have been so nice to me, let me do something for you. Let me show you the city...well, maybe some parts of the city you haven't seen."

We're all enthusiastic, and as we talk, agree to take the Staten Island ferry, to go to the Strand Bookstore at 12th and Broadway, to the Prada showroom (well, we're all gay, aren't we?), and then to head over to Joe's Shanghai Restaurant, the place Jason has come here for. In the afternoon, we'll stroll through Center Park on this beautiful, sunny (if very crisp) day, stop off at the Zoo, and then head over to the East Village to take in the sights. Kenny asks Vijay about Chelsea Street, the so called gay-meca, and Vijay wrinkles his nose. "I don't like it. Overpriced eateries and lots of attitude. And it's all white. You're going to find that the New York City gay scene is very, very white. This isn't like San Francisco, which is in many ways far more cosmopolitan." Brian, I recall, told me the same thing, and I mention to Vijay that we're going to Splash. Again, he wrinkles his nose. "That is the whitest of the whitest gay clubs. Lots of muscle boy go-go dancers, but not exactly my cup of tea. Still, you shouldn't go home without seeing it. Umm...would it be okay if I...came along? Usually I can't get in. I haven't been in years." I wonder if I should break it to him what the Splash evening is going to look like. I don't think so. It'll be a nice surprise.

"Sure. We're going Saturday at 11pm. We'll get you in. I know the owner, and the owner's brother, who owns N'Touch, an Asian gay bar in San Francisco." His eyes light up. He knows N'Touch well, he says. But, his reaction is the not the one I watch. I realize halfway through my statement that I've just tipped my hand to the boys, who are now all looking right at me. I'm trying to ignore them, to play Jason's game and look at my feet, my fingernails, anything. After maybe fifteen seconds, I have to look up, and they're still staring, all of them, Jason, Kenny, Ian, and Alejandro. And Vijay is staring at them, trying to figure out what just happened. "Anything wrong?" I ask, my eyes narrowing in warning. Now they know for sure. I've just confirmed it, and they're trying not to smile, not to giggle, not to laugh hysterically. Kenny is beet red, and knows it, and so decides it's time to pee, leaving the room. In the distance we hear an explosion of laughter before the restroom door closes. "I figured we'd leave here at about 10pm, and take the subway. There's a subway entrance about two blocks down. Short walk."

By this time, Kenny is back from the bathroom, and we get ready to leave. "Guys," I say. "Let's keep in mind that Jason, Kenny and I have to be back here by about three. The rest of you can stay longer in the village if you want, but should be back by five-thirty to get ready for dinner." Vijay gives me a quizzical look, and I smile.

I haven't been on the Staten Island ferry in maybe twenty years, and I'd forgotten how spectacular it is, riding alongside the majestic Statue of Liberty, with an amazing view of the harbor. Round trip is nearly an hour, so once we've disembarked, Vijay directs us to the correct bus, and we make the journey to the Strand, one of my favorite book stores in the world. I have a bad habit of buying tons of books here and then trying to figure out how to lug them home. Fortunately, I've come to anticipate this bad habit, and have begun packing a heavy canvas bag that can be folded and made to lie flat in the bottom of the suitcase. The thing about the Strand is that it has a lot of really eclectic titles and a lot of foreign books. Face it; it has a lot of everything. I've allocated just a half hour here, because it's quite easy for me to lose track of time in here and find that I've spent the entire afternoon. A half hour later we emerge, and I've bought only three books, I'm proud to say, a biography of Nureyev, a biography of Izaak Perlman (for Jason), and, miraculously, a gay novel written in Chinese and published in China (Jason found it and brought it to me, giggling, so we get it for Kenny, to help him with his Chinese reading skills). I've never gotten out of this place so lightly. Next, we take the brisk walk to Prada, just a few blocks away, and everyone files in, everyone, that is, but me. I find clothing shopping so horrifically boring, that I avoid it at all costs. But Jason and Kenny are into it, and Ian is becoming quite the clothes hound. Fifteen minutes later, though, everyone's back outside and ready to go. "You should have seen the prices," Jason exclaims. I nod.

On the bus to Chinatown, Vijay and I sit together, while the boys have spread themselves along four consecutive aisle seats on the other side of the bus, and are all intently staring out the windows. "I think what we'll do is go to Central Park after lunch and stroll, stopping off at the zoo. Then Jason, Kenny and I will head back to the room, while you all can head out to the village, or anywhere else for that matter."

"Okay," Vijay says, smiling. "What are you guys going to do?"

"Today is punishment day for Jason and Kenny. Usually I punish them separately, but this is going to be a full week, so we have to work more efficiently."

Vijay looks surprised, and then intrigued. He's got a question, but is trying to figure out whether he should ask it. Finally, he screws up the courage. "What are they being punished for?"

"Not much, frankly. They're both so damned well-behaved, that it's often hard to find reasons to punish them. But they find it cathartic, and get very grumpy when they're not punished regularly, so I punish them once a week at least."

"I see. And...umm...how do you punish them?"

"They may be punished in many ways, but I'm limited here to what I can fit into the suitcase. I've brought a small rubber paddle and a riding crop for this week. They'll be spanked."

"I see." He's silent for a long, long moment, glancing aside at me several times during that silence. Finally, he looks at me. "Umm...Tim."


"Umm...would it be okay...umm...if I came with you guys?"

I look at him for a long moment, and then smile. "We never allow voyeurs into their punishment sessions. It makes it too...humiliating for them, and that's not the point."

"Umm...no, I don't mean as a...voyeur. I don't want to watch..."

I look at him, confused for a moment, and then understand. "You want to be spanked?"


"Have you ever been spanked?"

"No," he says softly.

"Why do you want to be spanked?"

"I'm not sure. I think it might help me...to feel better."

"I see. Well, let me ask the boys. If we do this, I'll treat you as I treat them. You'll be asked to strip and lie on the bed on your belly, next to Kenny and Jason, and then you'll be spanked, all three together. It usually takes an hour or so for the spanking and some recovery time. It can be pretty intense, Vijay, especially if you've never been spanked before. Sure you want to do this?"

He has the tiniest bulge in his pants that formed as I was describing the spanking. I don't think he initially thought of a spanking as erotic. I think his initial thought was of expiation. Spanking as an erotic act is a new thought for him. "Yes, Tim, yes...please."

When we arrive at the restaurant, we end up waiting for about half an hour, which is nothing for Joe's Shanghai. Vijay, Ian and Alejandro are standing off to the side, and Jason, Kenny and I are seated against one wall. I tell them about Vijay's request, emphasizing that he won't be coming to watch, but to get spanked just like them. Kenny has no problem with it, but Jason is a little reluctant at first. It's Kenny who convinces him in a rapid-fire exchange in Cantonese that ends with both Kenny and Jason in giggles.

"Okay," says Jason, "as long as he's there to be punished and not just to watch us."

We consume about five bamboo steamers of soup dumplings, dumplings that Vijay, Ian and Alejandro have never tasted before and have to be shown how to eat without scalding themselves. This is only the second time Vijay has used chop sticks in his life, he says, but does a credible job having had so little experience. While we eat, I lay out the plan for the afternoon. We'll go next to Central Park for a long stroll, then to the Central Park zoo to see, among other things, the polar bears, and then Kenny, Jason and I will go back to the hotel, and Ian and Alejandro can go anywhere they want, East Village, West Village or to the Met (Metropolitan Museum) which is a short walk from Central Park. Vijay has somewhere to be, so he won't be with them.

Ian and Alejandro chat between them, and decide to go to the Met, saving the Village for another day. That'll make their return to the hotel easy, just a walk across the park. Ian has been taking art history courses, and the idea of touring what is one of the finest art collections in the world excites him. And Alejandro, of course, is the painter in the family, and a very good one, with a couple of private, if small, exhibitions behind him. He's as excited about the Met as Ian.

After lunch, we take the subway back to the 81st and Central Park West station, and make our way into the park across the street, strolling along the field and petting any number of very friendly dogs whose owners are only too happy to share them with us. I must say that I've found New Yorkers to be some of the friendliest people to strangers I've ever met. I can't tell you the number of times I've looked around bewildered on a street corner, or stared for just a bit too long at a subway map, and had someone come up to me, unbidden, and offer to help. Very friendly people, and so are their dogs. As we make our way slowly through the park, Jason and Kenny are chattering happily in Cantonese, and Ian and Alejandro are holding hands like two very contented lovers, treating this as a romantic outing. Vijay watches them and smiles. "They seem very much in love."

"Oh, yes. Alejandro was Ian's find, basically an orphan living part of the time on the street, but managing to get to school every day, and to paint, oil and acrylic on canvas, on plywood, on cardboard, on basically anything he could get cheap or for nothing. They met at school, and fell quickly in love. Ian brought him home for lunch one day, and he's been with us ever since."

"Well, they are very sweet together. Opposites do attract, I guess." I give him a confused look. "Alejandro is big, bronze, dark-eyed and dark-haired, while Ian is slight, fair, blond and blue-eyed."

I laugh. "Yes, sex is sometimes a challenge for them. It took Alejandro some time to stop treating Ian like a china doll. He's still very gentle, more gentle than I think Ian would sometimes like," I say, giggling.

When we get to the edge of the park, we turn right and walk to the zoo, and immediately make our way to the polar bears, who are frolicking in the water. Alejandro and Ian, still holding hands, are enchanted as these massive animals swim past them, lithe and seemingly weightless. After about fifteen minutes we leave the bears, touring the rest of the zoo, petting those animals that are pet-able, and otherwise taking it all in. At about 3:15, Jason, Kenny, Vijay and I prepare to leave, while Ian and Alejandro return to the bears for one last look.

As we walk back through the park, Jason asks Vijay if he's ever been spanked before. "No," he replies.

"Are you nervous?"

"Yeah... Tim says you like to be spanked, that you get...what was the word, Tim?"


"Ah, yes. That you get grumpy when he doesn't spank you. Why do you like it? What does it...do for you?"

Jason thinks. "It does calm me down. It focuses me on what's important. If I'm actually being punished for misbehavior, it reinforces both the behavior itself, and Tim's role in correcting me. It does all those things, but it's also very...comforting...both by letting me purge guilt about things I regret, things that Tim may know nothing about, and are unrelated to the spanking he's giving me, things that might have happened years ago that make me feel bad about myself. Tim's spankings always make me cry, even when they don't really hurt that much, which is often. Unless I've misbehaved, unless I've gotten a bad grade, the spankings are intended just to get me sobbing."

"But, that means that we don't necessarily get the same number of strokes," Kenny chimes in. "I have a higher threshold of pain than Jason, so I usually get more...punishment than he does."

Vijay looks nervous, and Jason pats his arm, smiling. "You'll be fine."

When we reach the room, I tell the boys to strip and to lie to either side of the bed. Vijay is next, folding his clothes neatly and stacking them in the corner. I pull the suitcase from under the bed and take out the paddle and the riding crop, a crop with a very narrow half-inch leather slapper at the end. I motion for Vijay to lie between Kenny and Jason, but then stop him, asking him to sit between them on the edge of the bed. I kneel in front of him. "So, what's this about for you, Vijay? When you first asked about the spanking, I had the sense that you viewed it as a means of atonement, as a way to feel better, I think you said. What do you feel bad about?"

He begins to tear up. "About many things. About my lack of a career that I enjoy; about wasting so many years preparing for a job I knew I hated; about disappointing my parents; about my failed relationship. There is much I'm hoping to atone for, much I'd like to be forgiven for, to forgive myself for." I hug him as he cries softly, and then tell him crawl in between the boys on the bed. Once he's there I tell them all to scooch together. I want them touching, and I want them to hold each other, to wrap their arms around their torsos and hold each other tightly, a horizontal group hug. "I'm going to spank you one at a time, starting with Kenny, followed by Jason, followed by Vijay. I'm going to spank you initially with the rubber paddle. When I've finished with Kenny, I want Vijay to face him and kiss him -- forgive him. When I'm finished with Jason, I want Vijay to turn and kiss him. And when I'm finished with Vijay, I want both Jason and Kenny to kiss him because I think he'll probably need more forgiveness than you guys. Clear?"

"Yes," they all reply.

I begin with Kenny, delivering six firm slaps with the paddle, alternating between his ass cheeks. The rubber paddle is no razor strop, nor is it intended to be. While the razor strop can deliver a fairly significant amount of pain with a single stroke, and can cause a lot of bruising, the paddle is more a cumulative device, reddening the ass evenly, and building pain through a succession of blows. The first six have left Kenny's ass lightly pink, and it isn't until we get to sixteen that Kenny begins to flinch in anticipation of the next blow. By twenty he's whimpering, starting to cry, and by twenty-six, he's sobbing. I stop, give him a minute to recover a little, and then tell Vijay to forgive him. Vijay turn to him, kissing him softly on the lips. "It's okay," he whispers, kissing him again.

Next it's Jason's turn. Jason is lighter complected than Kenny, so he tends to get red more quickly, and actually bruises easily. After six, his ass is rosy, and after twelve is quite red, and he has begun to sniffle. After sixteen he's crying softly, and at 18, he's sobbing. We wait a minute, and then Vijay turns and kisses Jason gently on the lips, pulling him close and hugging him.

Now it's Vijay's turn. Vijay has a very nice bubble butt, very attractive and, surprising, hairless, as is most of the rest of him. He's a very pretty boy. "You ready, Vijay?"

He takes a breath and exhales. "Yes, please."

I deliver six good blows to his ass, with no change in color -- he's just too bronze, like Kenny -- but each blow does cause him to gasp. At twelve, his breathing has become a bit ragged, and I think, from the way he squirms, that he has an erection. At 18 he's starting to whimper, and at 20 is crying softly. I give him four more, and he is sobbing, sobbing harder than anyone I think I've ever seen. And he keeps sobbing for several minutes as Kenny and Jason hug him tightly. Finally, regaining some control, he turns to face Kenny, who kisses him tenderly, a lingering kiss. "You did really well," he whispers, pulling back.

Then he turns to Jason, and gets the same treatment from him. "You okay?" Jason whispers, and Vijay nods, still crying. I give them a couple of minutes to recover, and then give them the next set of instructions. "Kenny, you'll be first for the last part of this. I want you to reach back and pull your ass cheeks apart and hold them there." Exchanging the paddle for the riding crop, I take aim and deliver five strokes to his pucker, each of which draws a gasp. The next two are harder, and have him crying again. And then one more has him sobbing. Jason's next, and gets six before he's sobbing. And then I come to Vijay, who is shaking, having quickly deduced what's coming. He parts his ass cheeks and waits, terrified. I deliver five strokes to his asshole in rapid succession, the last eliciting a quiet shriek. The sixth has him crying, and the seventh sobbing. Putting the crop away, I bring out the lotion and apply some to his reddened hole as he continues to sob. I get Jason and Kenny to move up and sit at the head of the bed, and then sit down next to Vijay, who turns and rests his head in my lap, hugging me as he continues to sob for several minutes. Kenny reaches over and begins to stoke his back gently.

"You okay?" I ask, and he nods, still choked with sobs. He stays in my lap for maybe 15 minutes before sitting up next to me, and wiping his eyes. I reach over and hug him, and he clings to me for what must be a minute, and then pushes away, smiling wanly. "How are you?"

"I'm fine," he assures me.

"Did that help? Do you feel a little better?"

He thinks, and then comes to his conclusion, and seems a bit surprised by it. "Yes, it did. I am less depressed. I thought of my parents while you were spanking me, about how I've failed them, and it was as though the spanking was somehow payment for that failure, or at least partial payment. I am less burdened by it."

"Good," I say, hugging him again. Moving to the head of the bed between Jason and Kenny, I hug them both, and we exchange long, lingering kisses. "I don't really like these group punishments," I confide. "They don't give us the chance for enough alone-time afterwards, time to bond. And, god knows, there's nowhere for you to sit on my lap in this tiny little room." The boys laugh.

Turning to us, Vijay asks, "Is that how punishments usually end, with one of them sitting on your lap?"

"Yeah, usually draped over my shoulder, soaking the back of my shirt with the last of the tears and an ample quantity of snot. We stay like that for as long as they want, anywhere for 15 minutes to sometimes as long as an hour or more. We just hug and come down from the experience."

"It's the best time," Jason adds. "We get a lot done during that time, a lot of understanding of each other. It's a really special time."

"For me," Kenny adds, "it's the time when I'm most vulnerable, when all my shields are down and I feel most comfortable talking about my feelings, aspirations, hopes, goals. It makes the pain of the spanking all worth it."

Vijay instantly tears up, and then starts to cry, hiding his face in his hands as he sits on the edge of the bed. I look at the boys, give them a shrug of apology, and move down, next to Vijay. I hug him gently and whisper "What's wrong?"

"You are all so loving with each other," he chokes, "understand each other so well...and...are...so honest...emotionally honest. I have never had that kind of a connection with anyone...have longed for it. That is what caused the breakup of my relationship. We couldn't...feel...safe...with each other...could not express our longings, our fears."

"And whose fault was that? Yours or his?"

There's a long pause while he continues to sob, draped now over my shoulder. I'm not sure how he did this, but somehow at some point he moved onto my lap. "Probably mine. I do not know how to trust others, how to be intimate...how to love," he says, descending once again into sobs. I've noticed that when he's upset, as he is now, his Hindi accent get pretty thick, as though the rest of the time he's working really hard at sounding American, which he, in fact, mostly does. But, when his emotions are in play, he sounds very Indian, giving us a more intimate view of who he is, by his accent alone. "And, worse, I do not know how to find those capacities in myself. I don't know how to learn to love."

I look back at the boys and give them a wide-eyed look, and this time the Vulcan mind meld is working. They know exactly what that look means. They look at each other for a moment, and then shrug, nodding at me.

"Would you like us to teach you?"

He backs away and looks into my face, covered in tears.

"How can you teach me?"

"Did you ever tell your boyfriend how you felt about your parents or your career, that you felt a failure?"

Thinks. "No, I could not do that?"

"Why not?"

"I'm not sure."

"Yet, you told me. Why?"

Thinks. "Because I trust you. Because the spanking opened me emotionally. I could allow myself to feel regret, which I have always tried to avoid. I was able to face my regret and to let it go, as though I'd paid for it."

"And, have you ever analyzed the process you just described before. Have you ever tried to express it to someone else like you just did to me?"


"In fact you've faced your feelings in a way you've never done before, and expressed them to us. Would you say that's progress?" He starts to cry again, and to nod, draping himself back over my shoulder. "When is your term over at NYU?"

He swallows hard. "The term is over in two weeks. And, because I am not tenured, there is no guarantee of a job next term."

"A job you say you hate."


"Why don't you come live with us for a while? Maybe we can help you come to terms with yourself, with your feelings."

As he backs away from me, there is a look of utter astonishment on his face. "You would do that for me? But, why?"

"Well, for one thing, I think we all like you. I know I do, and Kenny does, he's told me. I think Jason does, too, right?" looking at Jason, who nods emphatically. "And because you seem to be floundering right now, both emotionally and professionally and could probably use someone to help you. To be honest with you Vijay, last night at dinner I invited you to stay with us because you sounded so despondent, you sounded like you were at the end of your rope, almost suicidal."

He drops his head, sadly, tearing up again. "Yes, I have been close for some time. I do not know how to `fix' myself. It has been very depressing."

"Come stay with us. Maybe we can help. It surely won't be any worse than your situation is now."

He nods, looking up and smiling through his tears.

"Now, before you make a decision, you'll need to know the house rules, and I, right now, have to take a leak, so I'm going to let Jason and Kenny fill you in while I go to the bathroom," I say, putting on the robe, grabbing my toiletries, and leaving the room. In fact, I also want to wash up a bit before dinner, so after peeing, I strip and give myself a rather short sponge bath, brushing my teeth and combing my hair. Then I put the robe back on, and carry my dirty clothes with me back to the room. I knock on the door, and Vijay answers, his dick nearly erect. I gather that something the boys have told him has excited his interest, so to speak. Stowing my clothes and toiletries, I sit next to Vijay at the foot of the bed and look at the boys. "So, where are we?"

"I think we've covered everything -- nakedness, shaving, sex, cleaning responsibilities, grades, employment. We left the drugs for you," Kenny says, expressionless.

"Ah, yes. Do you take drugs, Vijay."


"Ever have?"

"I tried marijuana, once, but it made me very dizzy, so I didn't do it again. That was maybe ten years ago."

"Because I am irrational about drugs. If I find them in the house and identify them with you, I will kick your ass so far out the door that they'll be able to monitor your trajectory from NASA. No drugs, ever. Zero tolerance." He nods. "Anything they tell you a concern?"

"No. In fact, it sounds exciting."

"Good. You'll be a houseboy." He laughs. "A houseboy with a PhD in a subject he hates." He laughs again. "Did Jason tell you that he's just changed directions?"


I look at Jason. "Well?"

"Umm...I was also in computer science, pursuing a degree at San Jose State. I think I was pretty good at it, but not passionate. I'd spent 14 years learning to play the violin and the piano, and had loved it, but got...umm...distracted. One day I admitted to Tim that I'd once played the violin part of one of his favorite pieces of music, a Quintet by Shostakovich."

"He said he'd `sort of' played the Quintet. The Quintet is one of the most complicated pieces in the repertory. You don't `sort of' play it."

"So he took me to a music store, borrowed a violin, and made me play it there, the first violin part of the Quintet. Then he asked if I played anything else, and I admitted that I also play the piano. So he took me over to a piano, and chose a piece at random, a piece I happened to know."

"There are very few pieces he doesn't `happen to know'."

"And I played it."

"By heart?" Vijay asks. "No sheet music?"

"Yeah, by heart. Well, all this made Tim a little angry, that he didn't know I could play these instruments."

"Translation: `Fucking furious!'" I correct. "It's not that he can play these instruments, but that he plays them like a virtuoso. And he can learn a new piece in a couple of hours, and can play it again two days later without ever practicing in between. And, this boy was struggling to learn to write Java. Waste. He had an enormous talent, a passion for something so special, and he was trying instead to do something that he didn't like that lots of people can already do. We spent four hours on punishment that day, four brutal hours." I smile at Jason, and he winks at me with a grin.

Vijay is crying again. Jason's experience is very like Vijay's, but Jason has come through his, and Vijay has not. I suspect Vijay thinks he never will. He has so much energy invested in that useless PhD that he's afraid to change course, but change he must. The trick now will be finding his passion, and that may take some time. It took years to find Jason's -- all the years we'd been together.

"The passion's the thing, Vijay. Jason has found his, and is moving to it. Kenny, too, has found his, I think. His really is programming, but he's staked out a niche that's quite specialized and that he's becoming quite expert in -- intuitive interface design. I think there's a PhD in his future. He's that good." Kenny is beaming. Jason and I have worked hard at building his confidence, helping him to better understand his intrinsic worth...and how much we love him. The lessons have taken. He really has shown confidence in his work, but, more important, in his life. He's become much more sensitive, much more emotionally honest, much freer with us in expressing what he's feeling. He's less locked-up, less guarded, very sweet. It used to be that Jason's sensitivity made him the more attractive of the two...to me. But that's not true any more. I couldn't love either of them more, and I think Jason is actually relieved that my feelings for Kenny have deepened.

"So, will you come?" I ask him.

"Yes, please," he agrees. "I'll come as soon as the term ends."

"Good," I say, reaching over and hugging him. "I'll feel better knowing that you'll only be alone for a week. I'm worried about you, Vijay. I had the feeling last night that if we hadn't met you then, we might never have met you."

He smiles, bleakly. "I understand."

"Okay, time to get cleaned up and dressed, before Ian and Alejandro get back. I didn't tell them you were going to get spanked so let's not spill the beans. Here's the robe Vijay," I say, slipping a pair of pants, "and here are your clothes. Let me show you where the bathroom is."

When I return to the room, the boys are both nearly dressed. Jason and Kenny are giggling furiously, chat non-stop in Cantonese, cuffing each other playfully. Finally Kenny looks at me, mirth etched across his face. He's working so hard to repress his laughter so he can speak. Finally he gets it out in the fastest sentence he can utter, "Jason wants to know...umm...if-your-libido-has-grown-to-monstrous-proportions-and-you're-not-getting-enough-from-the-four-of-us?" Jason is crimson, laughing, and cuffs Kenny yet again.

"Yeah...umm...and aren't we out of rooms?" asks Jason.

I'm still laughing at Kenny, but finally manage to regain control. "Okay, guys, you have to promise to keep this a secret. I'm planning to announce it tonight at dinner. I have a cake ordered at the restaurant Alejandro chose, the Brazilian/Chinese fusion place, to celebrate. I don't know if you know it or not but both Alejandro and Ian applied to transfer to UCLA." The boys look at each other, both surprised.

Alejandro came to talk to me several months ago about the fact that he wasn't getting as much from San Jose State as he'd like. He'd like to do a double major in fine arts -- painting, obviously -- and Mandarin. Those aren't great departments at SJSU, and his advisors in the two programs won't support a double major. Each believes, apparently, that the "other" major will detract from the time and attention he will pay to his major. He told me that UCLA has very good programs in each discipline, and they have a gay studies department that he'd like to explore. I told him to go for it, that we'd find a way to handle tuition. His concern at the time was Ian. He didn't want to leave him. I asked him why he would have to leave him, why not have him apply as well. His grades are stellar. He should have no problem getting in, and that we'd handle tuition as we could. His eyes lit up.

"You'll let him go with me?" he screamed.

"Of course. He loves you. You don't think I'd try to separate you, do you? Even if that worked, he'd hate me for it. Of course, you might have to take over his spankings," I giggle. "He get's really irritable if he isn't thoroughly spanked twice a week."

He giggles. "We'll work that out," he said, leaving my office and making a bee-line for Ian in the living room. They begin to talk, and hug, and the next day bring me mostly completed applications which I'm able to improve a little, helping them write the essays they'd need to be considered for admission. Alejandro has written about how art enriches the human soul and society as a whole, his love of Chinese culture, pretty pedestrian stuff, but passable, I think. Ian, who I thought would write about art as well in an historical context -- art history having become quite a fascination for him -- writes instead about being gay, and how sexual-orientation affects the artistic sensibility. Ian's is the more interesting essay, I think, and clearly a departure for him. He has clearly decided to apply to the LGBT Studies program, the one Alejandro had alluded to. Two days later they send in the applications "certified mail/return receipt," and when the receipts arrive, I call the UCLA admissions office and asked to speak to the director, who is, surprisingly available to talk to me.

"Mr. Jensen, I'm Kim Coventry. How can I help you?"

"My son and his boyfriend have both applied to UCLA for the fall, late applications, I know, but I wanted to clarify a point that probably wasn't clear from the two applications."

"What's your son's name, Mr. Jensen?"

"Ian Jensen."

I can hear her tapping away at the computer. "Yes, we have his application. Preliminarily he looks promising, certainly an excellent academic background, and top SAT scores. And his boyfriend?"

"Alejandro Rodriguez."

Again, I can hear her tapping away. "Oh, yes," she says with relish. "I remember this one. Very interesting prospect. Hispanic and gay looking for a double major in fine arts and Chinese language. I can't make any promises at this time, Mr. Jensen, but he is a very strong candidate, very strong. You'll know very soon, though, in both cases. What was the point you wanted to clarify?"

I pause. I don't want to make this sound like I'm demanding anything. "I just wanted to let you know that they're...a couple. If they aren't both admitted, neither will attend. I'm not trying to use this point to pressure you into a decision, but I did want you to be aware of it, in case it had any impact on your ultimate decisions. I realize that you have to consider each prospective student on his or her individual merits, and that makes perfect sense, but I thought it was important that you understand."

"Thank you, Mr. Jensen. I'll make a note of that in the files. At the very least, it may save us some time if we find that the first boy we evaluate is unsuitable."

"Thank you Ms. Coventry," I reply, and we end the call.

Two days before we leave for New York, letters arrive from UCLA admissions, one to Alejandro, and one to me, curiously. I open my letter, and find a letter of acceptance for Ian, and a letter to me telling me that Alejandro has also been admitted, and thanking me for my call of clarification. It's signed by Ms. Coventry.

"So," I say to Jason and Kenny, "we have a spare bedroom opening up, and we don't know that Vijay will be with us that long. I'd like to get him turned around and on his feet, pursuing something that he loves and with someone he knows how to relate to, not necessarily us, because, truthfully, I'd like us to go back to the way we were in Hawaii, just the three of us. I'm weary of sharing you. I'd like us to go back to being just a threesome, because...because I love you two so much." Kenny and Jason look at each other, both teary-eyed, and come and hug me.

"We'd like that, too," Jason says.

"Just the three of us," Kenny echoes. "I love you, Tim."

"Me too," Jason responds.

And just as we break our embrace, someone knocks on the door, and as Kenny opens it, in walk Vijay, Ian and Alejandro, who have all three met in the hall and come together. It's now 5:30, and I have early dinner reservations for 6:15. Alejandro and Ian go to the bathroom together to clean up, agreeing to meet us at the coffee shop on the corner of Broadway and 81st in 15 minutes. There we chat while sipping hot drinks and trying to prepare ourselves for the cold walk to 82nd and Amsterdam, where the restaurant is located. 20 minutes later, in walk Ian and Alejandro, and we all march out, arriving right on time, and are immediately seated. It's not so much that this restaurant fuses Brazilian and Chinese cuisine as that it allows its customers to fuse them, providing dishes from both cultures. The waiters are all Asian, but the chefs are a mix of Brazilians (judging by their language) and Chinese. The food is cheap, plentiful, and, judging by the smells, good. We make our way through the menu, order, and are served, and good doesn't begin to describe it. It's delicious. I've never been a big fan of Brazilian food, but this is really good. Not too much meat, which is my complaint about Brazilian cuisine. When you mix the Brazilian fare with Chinese veggies, you have something special. About half way through the meal, we all exchange plates, to the surprise of the nearby tables, and chow down on something else. At the end of the meal, the dishes having been cleared away, they bring us coffees. I nod at the waiter, and he moves into the back and brings out a really stunning white cake with cocoanut frosting, "Congratulations Ian and Alejandro" written across the top. Everyone stares at it, and then look at me, Jason and Kenny smiling broadly, because they're the only ones in on the secret. I take the two admission letters out of my coat and pass them across the table to the boys. They both stare blankly at the envelopes for a second or two, and then Ian notices the return address and shrieks, almost jumping out of his skin. His letter is open, and he pulls out the admission notification and reads, starting to laugh happily. Then he reads the letter to me, which I've forgotten to take out.

"Did you talk to the Director of Admissions?"

"Yeah...umm...I called her to tell her that you two were a couple, and if they wanted either of you, they'd have to take you both." Ian's is wide-eyed, and then lunges across the table to hug me, nearly knocking over his water.

By now, Alejandro has read his letter, and whoops, getting the attention of the entire restaurant. "I've not only been admitted, but my double major has been approved even before I've taken the proficiency exam in Mandarin. They say they're `delighted by the fusion of discipline I've selected', and are `anxious to help me define a curriculum that will meet my intellectual desires'. It's signed by both the Fine Arts Chairman, and the Chairman of the Department of Asian Culture and Language. I don't fucking believe this," he shouts with joy, attracting even more attention from the adjoining tables. We all start to talk non-stop, and then I clink my glass and congratulate them in the most florid language I can muster, and then I drop the second bomb. I drop a second letter in front of Alejandro, which he opens and reads. It's from the Chinese Cultural Attaché for Art and Literature in San Francisco offering Alejandro a full tuition scholarship for his combined BFA/BA in Mandarin and Fine Arts. I got him a full ride. His eyes light up. It's now his turn to lunge across the table to hug me. Finally, I drop a letter in front of Ian that he can barely hold -- he is just so excited, tearing up. He finally hands it to Jason, who opens it and reads it. Jason paraphrases.

"The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in conjunction with the Human Rights Campaign has a scholarship for deserving students. They've given you a $25K scholarship for your LGBT Studies degree."

Ian is sobbing now, staring across at me. He gets up from the table and walks around to the other side. I stand, and he throws himself at me, clutching me tightly. "Thank you," he whispers.

"And, whatever tuition this doesn't cover, your trust will. You're set."

He pulls back, still crying, and kisses me squarely on the lips, a long kiss that draws the attention of every customer in the restaurant. Breaking the kiss, he hugs me again before returning to his seat. I have been busy, I must admit. I had a scholarship locating agency working on this ever since the boys brought me their essays and I could identify their interests. They came through big time, which means we'll just have to figure out how to deal with room and board, and I've already had a couple of bites to an ad I'd placed on Craigslist for a room in a gay-friendly private home, one of which we'll have to visit two days after we get back from New York.

After the cake and coffee, we all look a little confused, and a little spent. It's 9pm on Friday. "What do we want to do?" I ask. Nobody has an answer. I mean, we could go to the Village for a pub crawl, but getting Ian and Alejandro admitted will probably be a problem. We could go to a movie, but anything so sedentary after this evening is going to be anticlimactic, boring. And then Vijay comes through.

"You know, there a gay dance club at 81st and Broadway, almost across from your hotel. It's called WaterWorks. It's not all that lively, certainly nothing like Splash, but they have a dance floor, and start playing music about now. I know the owner, not well, but maybe well enough to get these two in," motioning to Alejandro and Ian. "Maybe we could go dancing, to celebrate."

Ian is suddenly very excited. "Yes, could we...please?"

I pay the check, and we make our way back down 81st, turning right on Broadway, and there it is. It's pretty quiet looking, with no one waiting to get in, but we can hear the music playing inside, Madonna's "Music." Vijay is the first inside, and asks the bouncer to see the owner, who greets him warmly, and, after speaking with Vijay for a couple of seconds, motions us all in, congratulating Ian and Alejandro, the last two in the door, hugging them both. No booze for the boys, the owner has warned, but they're welcome to free soft drinks to celebrate their college admissions. I move to the bar, order our drinks, and we grab one of the tables to the side of the dance floor. It's really slow right now. Not late enough for the gay boys to come out. There are three couples dancing, and the rest of the patrons are watching the DVD of the British version of "Queer as Folk." We sip our drinks for a couple of minutes, chatting amongst ourselves, and then move to the dance floor. Remixes of the new Coldplay album "Viva la Vida" are playing, and we start to dance. Ian and Alejandro, both very good dancers, are dancing with abandon, drawing the attention of everyone in the club. Their exuberance and youth are magnetic, and even some of the old farts sitting at the bar itself move to the dance floor, and over the course of the next hour, the place begins to fill, and it becomes a real party atmosphere. I spend about half my time dancing with Kenny while Jason dances with Vijay, and then we switch, Jason with me and Vijay with Kenny. Finally Vijay and I dance as Kenny and Jason move back to the table for a breather.

Vijay screams over the music. "Are you sure you want me living with you. You seem pretty well...engaged."

"No, I'm not engaged; I'm married until the good people of California decide to annul this one, too. Yes, I'm sure. Honestly, what I'd like to see happen is for you to figure out how to love -- your self, someone else, your work...life. Nobody every taught you that, I think. You're so sweet, really, but you have to learn to trust, and to ask for what you want without fearing that you'll be rejected. Sometimes you will be, but that comes with interdependence. If you're rejected, you're well rid of them -- unless you're the reason you're being rejected, and I think that's what happening with you. Actually, what's happening with you is that you're expecting rejection, so you fail to trust, which causes your partner to respond to you coldly, which you take as rejection, rejecting them before they can do it to you."

He stops with his drink between the table and his mouth and parses that through slowly, and then tears up. I reach over and hug him. "Come live with us for a while." I smile at him as I pull back, and he nods. "Week after next. Promise?"

"Yes," he says, choking, a tear rolling down his cheek. "I promise."

Published first at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Nemo-stories/