This story details explicit gay sex between men, teens and boys. If you find this kind of thing distasteful, or if you are underage wherever 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 36

By: Tim Keppler

After two months of working with Jason, Cliff is getting really good. He doesn't have the ability to learn a new piece the way Jason can, in a couple of hours, but a couple of days isn't bad, and in these two months his repertory has essentially doubled. He's picked up a fair amount of Chopin, some Beethoven, a bit of Mozart, and some Stravinsky. Bach scares him to death -- so intricate, so complex -- but he does learn a couple of Partitas which he's able to play nearly flawlessly. I'm not convinced that he's ever going to be of concert quality. He lacks the empathy with the music that Jason has, the ability to feel it, to express it. But he is technically very good, and clearly loves to play.

And, he clearly loves to spend afternoons at our place. What I notice, though, is that most of the days he comes, he disappears at around 4:30, only reappearing about an hour later to continue to practice. I don't think much of this until I realize that Robbie, who typically arrives at around 4:30, is now arriving about an hour later. I ask Jason about this, and he giggles. "Umm...yeah. Cliff gets here usually at around 3:30, practices for an hour, and then, when...umm...Robbie gets here at 4:30, they head down to the basement to...umm...hang out."

I'm a little confused. "Why do they like to hang out in the basement," I ask, stupidly.

"They like the...privacy. They...umm...like to kiss."

I giggle and nod. My Robbie is growing up. And this fact is borne out when Robbie's next report card comes out and I ask him how he wants to celebrate his success. He has managed to improve his Biology grade, pulling an A-, and gotten A's in everything else except French, in which he has a B+. But that B+, his teacher tells me, is only because of a disparity in the timing of his homework. If she had to grade him this week, a week after she submitted his grades, he'd have gotten an A, and all indications are that that's the grade he'll have next quarter. So, I decide to add a few strokes to his regular spanking for that B+, but that's all.

"I'm really proud of you, Robbie," I tell him, as he lies on my bed, naked, waiting to be spanked. "Your grades are exactly where they belong. You need to work on getting your French homework in on time for it to count for the quarter, but I'm really happy with everything else. You're doing very well, and I am so pleased." I stroke his back, and he looks up and smiles. "So, how do you want to be rewarded for the A's?"

"Umm...Tim...could I...umm...have one of the...spare bedrooms?"

I look at him, lost. "Are you planning to move in?" I ask, confused.

"Umm...no. I just want to use it...sometimes."

I'm still confused. "When, Robbie? What for?"

"Umm...Cliff and I...would like to...umm...make love."

I laugh, probably more than I should. He looks suddenly hurt, like I haven't taken him seriously. "Is the basement too chilly?" I ask.

He flushes instantly. "You know about the basement?"

"Yeah," I reply. "I figured it out." He looks shamefaced. "It's okay, Robbie. I don't have a problem with what you two have been up to in the basement. What is that, by the way?"

"Just kissing so far," he says, almost sadly. "We'd like to...umm...go...further. But, yeah, it is pretty cold down there, and there nowhere comfortable to lie down."

"Yeah. That's fine. You're certainly welcome to use one of the spare rooms anytime you want. But, before you do, I'd like to talk to the two of you. How about after your spanking?" He nods a little apprehensively. "Good. Let's get on with it, then."

I've spanked Robbie consistently twice a week. Usually he gets 15 strokes unless his work isn't up to par, in which case he gets more. Today he gets 18, an extra three for the B+, and spends 45 minutes on my lap where he cries for half an hour before calming down. Then we hug for another 15 minutes, before he gets dressed and heads to my office. I go to the living room to find Cliff, and take him back to my office as well.

"So, Robbie asked me if he could use one of the spare bedrooms. He'd like to make love to you."

Cliff flushes very red, but nods.

"Have you been sexually active, Cliff?" He shakes his head. "Robbie?"

"No," he says.

"So, this is a first for both of you?"

They both nod.

"Okay," I say, reaching into my desk drawer and pulling out a box of Trojans. "I want you to use condoms. If you're going to make love you need to use condoms until you're able to commit to a completely monogamous relationship. You can't do that until you're sure that you're with the only person you want to be with for the foreseeable future. Do you know why you need to wear condoms?"

"AIDS," Cliff says.

"Right. And other diseases. Do you know how to wear a condom?"

Pause. They both shake their heads, looking flushed and embarrassed.

I hold up my finger to tell them to wait, and head to the kitchen where I grab a cucumber from the fridge. Returning to the office, I hold up the cucumber, and then tear open the box of Trojans, and pull one out. I tear open the envelope. "If this is your dick," I say with a grin, "you are very well endowed." Both boys giggle. "All you have to do is unroll the condom over it," I say, unrolling the condom over the cucumber. "Pretty simple, hunh? Questions, class?" I ask, grinning.

They both giggle, shaking their head.

"And what are you going to do?"

They giggle again, and say in perfect two-part harmony, "Wear a condom."


"Umm...Tim... I was wondering," says Robbie. He's having trouble with whatever it is he wants to say. "We were wondering..." Another long pause. "We're sort of...scared."

I'm a little confused. "Scared of what?"

"We're...umm...not really sure...how to..."

Finally Cliff screws up his courage. "We don't know how to do it. We don't know how to have sex. Can you help us?"

This takes me completely by surprise, and I have to work really hard to control my facial expressions. What my face wants to do is laugh, but I can't let it do that. I have to keep it completely emotionless or I risk of humiliating these kids. But I find myself wondering whether a straight boy would ever ask this. Probably not, both because straight boys never seem to be able to admit that they don't know everything there is to know about sex, and because straight boys have endless resources at their disposal. How many sex guides are out there to help straight boys learn to have sex? There are thousands, including the ever popular Sex for Dummies by the equally ever popular Dr. Ruth. This you can read in the privacy of your own bedroom and you never have to admit that you didn't already know everything in the book. But, if you're gay, what have you got? Not very much. There's The Joy of Gay Sex, but it's by Felice Picano and has way too much information, so much too much that it's probably going to scare a teenager.

The other problem is that sex is a bit more complicated for gay guys. I know there are rafts of guys who disagree with this, but gay sex comes with complications, complications that force you to ask what sex actually is. I've thought about this a lot, and have ultimately come to a simplifying definition that sex is anything that involves multiple people and gets one or more of you off. My second boyfriend could not have an orgasm with me, but worked hard to get me off. That was sex. Kenny, Jason and I have very satisfying sex, all getting off together. Masturbation is not sex, I think. Without interaction you don't have sex. So, my confusion is what Robbie and Cliff think they need help with. I have an inkling, but we're going to need to spell this out.

"Umm...what don't you know how to do, and what kind of help do you want?"

It's Robbie who responds. "We'd like pointers, I guess, tips. Some of it's pretty straightforward, but...umm...we're afraid of...hurting each other. We're not really sure...how to not...hurt each other."

I look at them both for a long moment while they both stare at their feet. I'm still a bit confused. "Are we talking about fucking?" I finally ask.

They both nod. We have clarity at last. "And, what kind of help are you looking for?"

It's Cliff who answers this one, to my surprise. "Umm...we were hoping that you could...umm...join us...the first time."

"'Join us' as in `participate' or `join us' as in `instruct.'"

"Whichever you're willing to do," Robbie responds.

"We'd...umm...prefer participation. We're just...scared," Cliff adds.

I stare at them for a long, long moment, turning this request over in my mind. My fear in making love to Robbie was that he'd develop an emotional attachment that I wasn't able to reciprocate. I didn't want that, and neither did Kenny and Jason. They want me to themselves and I want them to myself. That's not an issue now. Robbie is head-over-heels for Cliff, and that looks to be mutual. So that danger is gone. The issues that remain are legal and practical. What they seem to be looking for is instruction. I can give them that without fucking either of them. I can give them that without even taking off my clothes, although that will be frustrating -- for me. The question ethically is who I need to ask. I mean, I was willing to make love to Robbie a couple of months ago, and his Mom had no problem with that, and that was the sticking point, because the age of consent is 18 in California, and neither of these boys is 18. The question was, and is, who's going to sue me? "Does your Mom know about Cliff?" I ask Robbie.

He nods.

"Does she know that you want to make love to him?"

Again, he nods.

"And she doesn't have a problem with that?"

"No," he responds, "not as long as you don't. That's what she said. If you're okay with it, she is." That's half the battle.

"Has she met Cliff?"

"Yeah," he smiles. "She really likes him," a statement that has Cliff smiling broadly. (Cliff needs these parental affirmations to replace what he's lost from his own family.)

"I know that Gary and Nathan know that you and Robbie are romantically involved, Cliff. We've talked about it. I'm sure they won't have any objections, though I'm obliged to ask them anyway. Do you know what their legal relationship with you is?"

"Umm...yeah. Uncle Nathan is technically my guardian, and Gary is working on the adoption process now."

I nod. "Give me a day?"

They both nod, smiling, excited, and leave the office.

I call Gary first, and we chat. I tell him what they've asked, and he laughs. "So, you're going to basically teach a sex-ed class for gay boys, is that it?"

"Yup. That's about it. I'll be coaching, and perhaps touching a little, but I will not be fucking either of them. Is that okay with you and Nathan?"

I hear him chatting with Nathan quickly, and then he's back. "Yeah, that's fine. This is something they both want, and it sounds like you're going to do what you can to protect them, to make sure they're protected. We have no objections."

Next I call Kathy, Robbie's mother, and have the same discussion with her. "Robbie said that you'd be okay with this if I was."

"Yes," she says. "As I said, I'm happy to have his first sexual experience supervised by someone I trust. Nobody supervised me. I had to have an abortion when I was Robbie's age because of that. Please just keep him safe. Keep them both safe."

By the time I'm finished calling the "interested parties" both Robbie and Cliff have gone home. Good. That'll give me time to research what the State of California considers to be "sex," a curiously difficult issue, it turns out. From what I can find in the statutes, California defines sex as "intercourse," but intercourse is a term like sodomy. It means whatever you want it to mean. One of my more intelligent friends when I was a youngster, realizing the shock value of intercourse, used to call me on the phone. When my mother answered, he'd ask if "Tim was available for intercourse," because, ultimately "intercourse" means "interaction." The statutes, however, speak of "intercourse" in strictly heterosexual terms. Does that mean that sex between men is not covered at all? Probably not. But to understand that, we'd have to delve into case law -- interpretations and precedents derived from actual legal cases. I'm not equipped to do that, so I'm going to have to go on instinct here, and my instinct tells me that I'm safe because the responsible parties -- Robbie's Mom and Nathan -- are not going to contest my actions.

As I'm thinking my way through this, I hear the piano. This is Kenny's night to cook, and he's told me that he's making Taiwanese beef noodle soup, one of my favorite substances on this earth. It's stewed beefsteak and tendon cooked in a mixture of soy sauce and water with an infusion of ginger, garlic, anise and hot chilis. He dumps all that in a Crock Pot, and cooks it at very low heat for something like eight hours, adding bunches of choi sum and slices of lotus root in the last half hour. It's unbelievably delicious, and very easy to make. And, of course, the fact that Kenny's cooking means that Jason has time to practice his music.

What he's playing is a Mozart sonata, probably my favorite piece for solo piano (aside from my other hundred or so favorite pieces). It's the Piano Sonata in A-major, K.331. I'm not really sure what to say about this piece except that it meets my "sob test" in a matter of seconds. It's so lyrical and so subtle. It's just irresistible, and I don't (resist), making my way to the living room to enjoy it. And there I find the whole family laid out as if for a concert. Kenny is sitting in one of the big chairs, his eyes closed, a look of the purest joy on his face. Kevin and Kai are lying on the couch, their eyes wide open, listening intently. Even the cat is there, lying on Kevin's back, purring. I plunk down in the chair next to Kenny, but am up again within thirty seconds, pacing and weeping. I've never heard this piece in concert, but have recordings of it by Uchida, Gieseking, Pires, and, most notably, de Larrocha. Jason's interpretation is so...deft. It's not that he's playing it faster than other pianists, I think. Instead, it sounds as if he's hitting the keys more lightly. I have no idea, but it's stunning, simply...stunning. By the end of it, I'm a wreck, and escape to the kitchen so as not to scare the boys.

"Did you like the Mozart," Jason asks me innocently at dinner. He saw me come into the living room just as he'd started to play, but hadn't seen me leave. The question alone makes me tear up. "Umm...yeah, it was nice," I respond, kissing him. He smiles, and we continue to suck down Kenny's wonderful soup, while I reflect on how blessed I am. Some will tell you that anise is an aphrodisiac. But some will tell you that almost anything's an aphrodisiac. I don't know whether it's the anise or the Mozart, but once the boys are in bed, so are we. We have some truly mind-blowing sex as the Mozart sonata plays in my head. It starts with maybe 45 minutes of groping and kissing, and concludes with me sandwiched between Kenny, who is fucking me with abandon, and Jason, whom I am fucking with equal verve. And just as I hear the final chords of the Andante grazioso, that first movement of the sonata, I slip over the edge. I slip into one of most powerful and satisfying orgasms I can remember in some time, followed by Kenny, followed by Jason. And then we collapse into each other's arms in a group caress that is at least as satisfying as the orgasm, and finally fall asleep.


At 3:30, Robbie and Cliff are back, foregoing their tryst in the basement. They're in my office almost the minute they arrive, both smiling, both having spoken with their respective guardians. I've gone out to refill my mug of coffee, and find them here when I get back. "Jesus christ," I mutter when I return, and they giggle. I sit down behind my desk. They both smile. "So, I guess you've compared notes?"

They both nod, grinning.

"When do you want to do this?" I ask.

"Soon," Robbie laughs.

"Now," Cliff giggles.

Why am I not surprised? "Tell you what... Let's do it in a couple hours because I have homework for you in the mean time." Reaching under my desk, I hand them each a bag in which I've placed a large bath towel, two dildos, a butt plug and a small bottle of lube. The "insertables" are all pristinely shrink-wrapped. "Your homework for today, children, is to work that butt plug into your ass and to leave it there for at least an hour. To do that, I'd suggest...dilating the hole with the dildos. Start with the smallest, and then work up to the larger size, and finally the butt plug. Use plenty of lube to get them slippery. You have to do this alone. You can't do it to each other. The whole idea is to control your own...progress. It may be a little painful, so take your time. Don't think you're going to just jam them in. Work them in slowly. Once you have the largest of them, the butt plug, in place, leave it there for at least an hour. Take a nap if you want. This is going to feel a little weird, guy, but it'll make this experience -- and the rest of your lives together -- a whole lot easier and more pleasurable. Understand what you need to do?"

They're both beet red, but nod, giggling nervously.

"By the way, don't jerk off while you do this. I mean, you can stroke yourselves, but don't cum. Save that for each other. Each of you can take one of the spare rooms. Enjoy it. This should be fun. Go slow. When you're done, come back here. Okay?"

The nod and leave.

How do you fuck someone without hurting them? My first boyfriend, who took my cherry, wanted me to lower myself onto his dick, and I found it really hard to control the pain of entry while at the same time controlling the rate of penetration. I was thinking so much about supporting my own weight, that the joy of the sex was sort of out the window. Then you have the "finger method," to which Gary subscribes, he tells me. You start by inserting one finger, then two, and then three. I've tried that with one guy, and by the time I got those three fingers out of him, the intimacy and urgency of the act itself was gone. I'd deflated, and so had he. He was complaining of "carpet burn" and didn't want to be fucked. The "dildo method" is something I'd read about online. One company even makes a set of three dildos in graduated sizes for just this purpose. It struck me at the time as incredibly intelligent, incredibly obvious. You start with something that's manageable, and then move on to something that's, once again, manageable -- given the stretching you've already done. Finally you graduate to the butt plug, which you leave to do its work. I have to believe that it does feel odd to a neophyte. I mean, it's plastic for god's sake. Cold. But it allows you to pretty precisely control the level of discomfort you experience. From what I've read, if you do it right, that discomfort is minimal.

After 40 minutes, Robbie is back in my office sitting in one of the overstuffed chairs.

"Umm...why are you here?" I ask. "You were supposed to be...umm...busy."

"I'm wearing it," he says. "It's in there, and it does feel a little weird, but good, too, especially when I sit on it and...umm...wiggle a little." He grins, and I crack up. How damned funny is this? Robbie is just so...earnest. About thirty minutes later, Cliff knocks on the door and comes in, but he doesn't sit down. He stands next to the other overstuffed chair.

"How you doing?" I ask.


"Have a seat," I say with a smile. I know why he's standing, and am having trouble not laughing.

"That's okay," he says.

Robbie, too, has figured it out, and starts to laugh. Cliff looks stricken, and then starts to giggle, and then does sit down...slowly...cringing.

"So, how's school," I ask them, and get really dirty looks from them both, looks that fracture me. When I finally stop laughing, I get up and hug them both. "Okay, guys. You're looking forlorn. Let's head to the bedroom."

When we get there, I close and lock the door. The last thing we need is for Kai or Kevin to wander in in the middle of this. I motion them to sit on the bed.

"So, have you guys actually seen each other...umm...naked?"

Robbie and Cliff look at each other, shyly. Finally, Robbie answers. "Sort of. We've seen each other without shirts.

"No blow jobs? No mutual jerk offs?"

"No...umm...we wanted to save ourselves for this," Robbie responds, flushed.

I'm a little amazed, frankly. I mean, when I was sixteen, I was so sexually frustrated that I could almost not contain myself. If I'd thought that my parents would have understood, as these boys' parents do, I'd have been banging anything that moved, just to get my rocks off. These boys are more sensitive, I guess, which is nice. They're looking for something "meaningful" for their first time. There's nothing wrong with that.

"Okay, guys. I can either stay with you, or I can leave you to it. You're going to find, though, once you ease those butt plugs out, that you'll have no trouble...accommodating each other. You've already done the hard part. Just use plenty of lube, and go slow. Talk to each other, and listen to each other. Explore each other. Make it joyous, not arduous. And if there's something one of you doesn't want to do, say so. So, are you guys okay? Can I go play with the boys?"

They look at each other, and then back to me, smiling broadly and nodding. "Cool," I say, kissing them both. "Have fun." As I leave I give them the last and possibly most important instruction. "Umm...lock the door behind me. I don't want Kai joining you. You probably don't either..."

It's interesting the assumptions you make about couples. I realize that I've make the tacit assumption that Robbie will be the top in this relationship, but I think that's only because he's bigger than Cliff -- by nearly eight inches and probably 80 pounds. Yet, I know a number of couples in which the more petit guy is the top. It's true that Robbie is more...assertive, but does Cliff get more assertive when it's just the two of them? I think he probably does. After all, it was Cliff who introduced himself first. I have an idea that Cliff gets very assertive when he sees something he really wants, and he really wants Robbie. Ultimately, there's no way to know. Maybe they're both versatile; maybe they'll change positions somewhere in the middle of their love-making. Isn't that sort of the ideal?

Two and a quarter hours later they emerge, showered and fresh, and knock on my office door, flopping into my office chairs, holding hands. They have matching grins.

"How was it?" I ask.

"It was good," Cliff says.

"It was fucking awesome," Robbie corrects, and Cliff cuffs him, laughing.

"I guess he's right," Cliff says. "It was pretty awesome."

I just can't help but smile. So often, these days, you fuck first, and then, if you're lucky, you fall in love. For these boys, their love is palpable, utterly unmistakable, which leads me to wonder about how they've dealt with their relationship at school. "Are you guys out at school?" I ask.

Cliff giggles. "We sort of are because we weren't doing very well at hiding our...attraction to each other. Our friends know. I guess probably everyone knows."


"I've gotten a few weird looks," Robbie says, "but mostly it's been fine."

Cliff nods.

"Cool. Well, I'm starved. Kenny has been holding dinner, waiting for you guys to surface. Let's go eat."

And, with that, the ice is well and truly broken. Robbie and Cliff don't disappear to the basement any more. Instead, they disappear to one of the guest bedrooms, Ian's old room, and spend probably an hour a day in there. Every day. Weekends included. How sweet.


Perhaps a month later, as I'm working in my office, Jason appears in tears. He's holding an envelope that he passes to me as he sits at my feet with his head in my lap. The return address on the envelope is for the Hillcrest Hospital in Cleveland and the letter itself is signed by Dr. Singh, the nice Indian doctor who cared for Jason when he was attacked there. Stapled to the letter is an article from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, with a headline that reads "Local Man Assaulted -- Assailant Dead." The article describes an assault that's almost a carbon copy of Jason's in exactly the same location in Cleveland -- the same coffee house, the same alley. In this case, though, friends of the victim -- "six other local men" -- hadn't actually left the area yet. Hearing his cries for help, they ran to his defense. Their friend had already sustained "unspecified injuries," and three of the men rushed him to Hillcrest. The other three apparently stayed with the assailant, who quickly became violent in an attempt to escape. "An altercation ensued," and, when police arrived, it was necessary to rush the assailant to the hospital as well, where he later died of "unspecified injuries." "This is the latest in what has been a series of assaults in this neighborhood, long associated with the gay community," the article concluded. "Police have not been successful in identifying those responsible, but are hopeful that the intervention of these local men will stem the tide of attacks. No charges will be brought against the others involved, their actions having been judged to be self-defense."

Having scanned the article, I turn to the letter, stroking Jason's hair absently as I read.

Dear Mr. Luong,


I hope you've recovered fully from the injuries you sustained while in Cleveland. I spoke briefly with your doctor soon after your return to San Jose, and was pleased to hear that he foresaw no complications. That was my opinion when you left us as well.


I wanted bring your attention to the attached article from the local newspaper. The close parallels between your case, and the case of this unfortunate gentleman suggests to me that the perpetrator(s) were the same. In both cases we found extensive bruises and contusions, and injuries to the anus consistent with forced sodomy. In this case, the victim was able to identify not only his assailant, but the implement used to inflict his injuries. The assailant died of septicemia some twelve hours after being admitted to the hospital, the result of intestinal `tears, the cause of which are unknown. We were unable to save him, but the police are hopeful that this case will end the assaults that have been recurrent in this neighborhood, assaults such as yours.


All the best,

Atia Singh, PhD, MD


My first reaction is surprise. I'm surprised, and rather touched, frankly, that Dr. Singh would remember Jason, and that she would think to send this note. How sweet of her. But I'm also saddened that someone else had to go through what he went through. I wasn't, frankly, convinced at the time that the Cleveland police cared very much about his case. I wasn't necessarily convinced that it was homophobia that caused their inaction as much as indifference. And how sad that the assailant felt compelled to re-enact this crime over and over again. In my experience, that kind of hatred usually stems from profound self-loathing. Still, I wasn't unhappy, I have to confess, to hear that he was dead. Anyone who could do what he did to my Jason deserves anything and everything he gets, and if I'd ever found out who he was, I would probably have killed him myself, or worse. I draw Jason up off the floor and pull him onto my lap, where he drapes himself over my shoulder and cries. "It's over, baby. They got him."

"I know," he chokes.

"So, why the tears?"

"I didn't ever want to think about this again. I wanted it to...go away. I didn't want to have to relive it."

I stroke his back, hugging him tight. "I know. It was awful."

At that moment the office door opens and Kevin bounces in followed closely by Kai, both of them followed closely by Kenny. Seeing a tearful Jason, both boys freeze, staring at us both. They look so worried.

"What's wrong, Daddy?"

"Daddy had some bad new," I say, "but he'll be fine. Sometimes it feels better when you cry. He'll feel better soon."

Kevin, usually so exuberant, moves up behind Jason and hugs him, and Kai moves up behind Kevin and hugs him. Jason laughs through his tears, reaches back, and hugs them both. "I'll be fine," he chokes. "Just a little sad."

Kenny looks at me quizzically, and I glance at the letter that I've dropped on the desk. He picks it up and reads it, and then scans the news clipping, and then he gets a really cruel smile on his face. "Yes!" he hisses. Kenny is more visceral, less measured than I am. In a lot of ways he's more emotionally honest, which is an amazing revelation when I think back. He drops the letter back on the desk and ruffles Jason's hair. "Yes!" he says. "Come on, guys. It's bed time. You have school tomorrow, and you both need baths. You be stinky. Let's go."

Kai and Kevin disengage from Jason reluctantly and move to the door. "Can we sleep with you tonight, Daddy?" Kai asks in a tiny little voice before Kenny propels him out the door.

"Yes," Jason chokes before Kenny or I can respond. "Please."

Kenny looks back at us and smiles affectionately, and I give Jason a hug. I just couldn't love him more.


What worries me about this letter, arriving as it does at this particular moment in time, is that it will threaten Jason's emotional stability. The next day he has a performance of Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps, and he is the concert master, the first violinist in charge of the entire string section. Stravinsky is a bitch to play, and Sacre is horrendous. It's a ballet, actually, but is often performed symphonically. Vaslav Nijinsky, the famous Russian dancer with the Ballet Russe, was the first to choreograph and dance the piece in 1913, but it's so dissonant, and so jarring in terms of the rhythms, that he and the composer almost came to blows because Nijinsky couldn't follow it. They spent ages in rehearsal as he tried to "get it," and the performance, a masterpiece, was so provocative and erotic that it caused a riot at its premier in Moscow. It is unbelievably beautiful, a work of purest genius, but it took Jason nearly a week and a half to master it and to determine how the string section should play it. When he explained to them how he wanted it played, how he wanted the bowing, there was much confusion. They finally understood what he was trying to do, and Tilson Thomas loved it, but it was a challenge for him, both musically, and in terms of leadership. Jason is not a born leader, so he has to sell ideas completely on the basis of their merit. It was a challenge, and tomorrow, after receiving this letter, he will perform the piece for the first time.

"How can I help?" I asked him. He's been weepy for the week preceding the performance, moping, breaking down in tears with no provocation, so I wasn't surprised at his reaction to Dr. Singh's letter. Finally, the morning of the performance, after we've gotten the boys off to school, he comes to my office, teary-eyed.

"Umm...Tim...I'm so...scared."

"Why, Jason? You know how good you are. You usually know. What's the problem? What do you need?"

"I...umm..." He's staring at the floor, at his shoes.

After you live with someone for a while, you start to understand them on an instinctual level. Jason is very passive, and at this moment, he's close to tears. "You don't think you can do this, do you? You don't think you can pull this off?"

"No," he whines, rocking back and forth between his feet.


"I'm so...scared. I can't...do..."

"To the bedroom, Jason. Naked. Now."

He wants to be spanked. He wants me to punish him for his self-doubt. He can't ask for this directly, because he doesn't really understand it, or doesn't allow himself to understand it logically. But that's what he wants, and has asked me for it before in almost exactly this way. I give him two minutes, and when I get to the bedroom, he's naked and on the bed, already crying softly.

"I don't understand why you don't believe in yourself, Jason," I say, playing this out as I grab the razor strop from the cupboard. "You are the best fucking musician I know, the best violinist I've ever heard. The most innovative. And yet we go though this drama. Goddamn it, Jason. You need to believe in yourself. I do. Why can't you?"

He's sobbing even before I touch him, which is what I want. I give him a minute. "Why can't you?"

"I'm sorry," he whines. And then I lay into him, giving him ten good, hard strokes. "I'm sorry," he sobs between strokes.

"Don't be fucking sorry. Be what you are -- the best!"

Two more strokes, and he's right where I want him. I put the razor strop away, and carry him to the chair in the corner, where he sobs, and sobs, and sobs, and sobs. For how long? For maybe 90 minutes. I'm not sure what he's sobbing about, but it goes on forever. Finally, he starts to calm down, but is still draped over my shoulder.

"What was that about, Jason?" I ask him.

"I'm not sure. I just felt so...bad, about Cleveland, about the letter, about the Stravinsky, about everything. And I miss the boys. I'm not getting to spend enough time with them. And I love you and Kenny so...much. And I don't tell you enough. And...and..." And he starts to cry again.

"Jase, it's okay. We're all going to be okay. Tomorrow will be another day."

"I know," he whines.

Finally he recovers. "You gonna be okay?"

He nods. "Yeah, I'll be fine."

I look at him askance.

"I will. I'll be okay."

I really don't know what this has been about. Maybe just accumulated stress. Jason is very fragile. That's not news. I need to find ways to keep him calmer and happier.

Whatever I may be doing wrong, though, his music is making right. The Stravinsky is a triumph. Jason and the string section play it to perfection, and as Tilson Thomas takes his bow, inviting the principal players to join him, he takes Jason's hand and raises it in the air. They get a standing ovation.

"Why's everyone standing up?" Kevin asks, innocently, looking around the huge concert hall in awe.

"Because they really, really liked it," I reply.

"Really?" he asks, amazed. "I though it was a little...harsh," he says. Another new word.

I laugh. Yeah, this isn't Peter and the Wolf. But still he stands and claps, smiling broadly. After all, this is his Daddy, and everyone likes his Daddy. He must be pretty cool.

Pretty much.

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