Here we go with Part 14 -- Wow, the last part sure generated a lot of email. Glad so many of you are enjoying my story.
One of the things that seems to be a tradition on here is for authors to mention some of their favorite stories... I have been an avid reader of quite a few: Brian and Me, Jamie's Romance, My Surprise Romance, Lance in Shining Armour, Studio in the Country, Lucky Me, Not Meant to Be, Twist of Fate, Mile High Meeting, Model Romance, Beneath It All and the list goes on. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, if you feel inclined to write and let me know what you think or just want to chat.
Now on to the standard disclaimers. I doubt that anything I write will make any difference since if you found this little gathering place on the World Wide Web you're probably going to go ahead and read what's here no matter what anyone says. But here it goes anyway...
If you have a problem reading about guys who like other guys as something more than just friends, you need to go find some other place to poke around. If you are under the legal age to read erotic fiction where you live, you probably wouldn't get in trouble for reading this story, but you really don't belong here. And most importantly, many of the names mentioned in this story have been changed to protect the guilty (or is that supposed to be the innocent?). Under no circumstances will I disclose whether or not I actually know any of The Backstreet Boys or any other celebrity who may make an appearance. Nor do I believe in outing people, so I will not disclose any information about the true sexual orientation of anyone mentioned in this story.
Previously in the story of Nick and the Altos
As we walked the horses back to the barn, Nick continued to tell me about what it was like growing up on tour. He got particularly excited when he told me about some of the practical jokes he had played on everyone. I could really appreciate the fun since I've been known to do the same kinds of things.
When we got back to the barn, we unsaddled the horses, brushed them down and then fed them some grain before turning them loose in the pasture. Then we walked back to the house. After getting something to drink, I decided to head upstairs for a shower and a nap. Nick decided to go into the family room and visit with Jennifer.
I lay down on the bed and stared up at the ceiling for a while. When I didn't fall asleep, I rolled onto my side and found myself looking at Nick's drawing of Angela and us. As I lay there I felt tears forming and start rolling down my face.
I must have eventually fallen asleep because I don't remember when Nick lay down behind me and draped his arm over me. But it's the first thing I remember when I woke up. I lay still so that I could enjoy the experience for as long as possible. I must have fallen at least partly asleep again, because I was awakened again by the feel of Nick running his fingers through my hair.
"Hey, Nicky, when did you show up?"
"Well, you didn't come back downstairs, so after an hour I came up to check on you and found you laying here and it looked like you had been crying."
"Yeah, I was. I lay down on the bed and saw your drawing on the table and it got me going again."
"I was sorta wondering..."
"You know what time it is?" I asked.
"I guess it's around 6."
"We prolly need to think about getting downstairs so someone doesn't come looking for us."
Nick started to get up off the bed and groaned, "Jeez, my legs are so sore. Thanks a lot, Mikey..."
"Wait a minute," I said, "it was your idea to go horseback riding."
"Yeah, but you're the one who made the horses do that damned trotting!"
"You would have been sore anyways, Nick. Just sitting on a horse stretches muscles you don't usually exercise."
"I'm definitely going in the hot tub tonight."
"I hope you are going to wear something this time, my family's around."
"Very funny, little man..."
We got up and went into the bathroom to clean up for dinner. We both showered (separately) and then, after Nick treated my cuts, changed into clean clothes. When we were both ready we headed down to join the rest of the family.
Cody and my sister were in the family room watching a movie. Nick and I decided to go out on the patio. I started a fire in the outdoor fireplace and we sat there watching the flames grow. After we had been outside for a while, my mother came out and sat down in one of the chairs.
The three of us talked about a variety of things. Basically it was some time spent getting Nick and my mother better acquainted. Fortunately it didn't deteriorate into one of those sessions where mothers start telling all the stories they should keep to themselves. As I sat there and listened to them talk it gave me one of those proverbial 'warm and fuzzy' feelings seeing how well the two of them were getting along. It wasn't that I really thought of Nick as a future boyfriend, just as a friend, but it was nice that he and my mom could get along so well.
I guess the nice fire held some kind of an attraction to other members of my family, as people gradually migrated from the house to the patio. There was a Spring chill to the air -- ok, so 56 degrees isn't all that cold in parts of the country this time of year -- so the fire was serving a dual purpose of warming the patio and providing a show. Gradually we migrated to several different conversations as the number of people grew. Cody and Jennifer even came outside once the movie was over.
The fire started to burn down and I was getting ready to put more wood on it when Sarah came out an told us that dinner would be ready in a few minutes. Everyone got up, Nick slower than the rest of us, and went inside to get ready for dinner. My mother noticed and asked him why he was moving sort of slowly and was pretty amused when he told her it was because of going riding.
I'm not going to tell you that dinner was a happy event, but each meal was becoming a bit less strained as each of us continued to deal with our loss. Fortunately my parents weren't into one of those morbid deals where a chair was left empty. I have never understood that mentality and don't think I could have sat at the table if they had done it. Missing Angela deeply is one thing, but that would be just too weird.
After dinner we moved into the family room and watched Will and Grace. Jennifer, in an attempt to be amusing, commented that she hoped Nick and I wouldn't take as long to get together as it was taking Will to find someone. Everyone but Nick and I thought it was funny, for some strange reason. I noticed Cody was giving us a really strange look after the laughing subsided.
After the show was over, Jason announced that he was going to go back to his place for the night. When he had left everyone but Cody headed upstairs to their rooms. Cody decided to watch more television. Guess they don't get to do that much at his school.
Nick and I went into my room and decided to watch a movie before going to bed. Nick went through the limited selection of DVDs I had at my parent's and picked one. When the movie started I was pretty blown away by what he had chosen. It was 'Edge of Seventeen'. He joined me on the couch and, in a bit of a role reversal for us, I sat with my feet up on the coffee table and Nick lay down with his head in my lap.
When the movie got to the point where Rod and Eric were in Rod's apartment and starting to get intimate, I noticed myself starting to get aroused. I don't usually get excited like that watching movies so it must have been because someone I was falling in love with was laying there with his head in my lap. Regardless of what was causing it, I sat there praying to myself that Nick wouldn't notice. If he did he sure didn't give any indication. Even as accepting of my being gay as he was, I was sure that he would have been pretty uncomfortable with the situation if he had any clue what had happened.
After the movie was over we got up and went into the bedroom. After brushing our teeth, still sharing a toothbrush since we had forgotten to pick up things like that, we got undressed and crawled into bed. As we lay there Nick started asking me what it was like in high school for me. It was something I hadn't thought about in a long time. I told him about some of my experiences. There had been a lot of students who couldn't care less that I was gay. But there was a very vocal minority who took every opportunity to harass me and there had been a couple of times where it had gotten pretty scary. I think the only reason I wasn't actually hurt a few times was because they were afraid what would happen to them if my father found out what had happened.
He wanted to know more about when I had been scared and, as I was telling him, Nick moved closer and pulled me into his arms. That's the way we were when I fell asleep.
Nick was still holding me when I woke up the next morning. I know I've said this before, but it was such a wonderful feeling. At the same time it was sort of depressing because I knew it wouldn't continue and that probably, once we left my parents, he would go back to sleeping in his own bed and I'd be sleeping alone again. And let me tell you, that was going to suck. I wasn't even looking for someone to have sex with or anything, it was just the feeling of falling asleep in someone's arms and waking up there the next morning.
I lay there in his arms for a few minutes but the overwhelming need to pee finally got to me. I was able to get out of bed without waking him, but I noticed he got this funny expression on his face, sort of like he was confused. When I got back from the bathroom he was laying there awake.
"I'm sorry I woke you up, Nick," I said, "but I really had to go."
"It's ok, I sort of have to go too," he said as he got out of bed. "You're going back to bed, aren't you?"
"I was thinking about it. We should be able to sneak another hour before someone starts beating on the door."
"Ok, I'll be back in a sec."
I crawled back under the covers and found a warm spot at the foot of the bed. Gracie had crawled under there during the night and was still sacked out. I stuck my feet up against her to warm them back up and she completely ignored me, as usual. Nick was back in a flash and laying next to me.
"What's that lump at the foot of the bed?"
"Gracie," I replied.
"When did you let her in bed?"
"I didn't, she crawled in some time during the night. She makes a great foot warmer, doesn't she?"
"Yeah, she does."
We lay in silence for a few minutes. Then, Nick said quietly, "So Mikey, are you ready for what's happening today?"
"I sure hope so, Nick. I don't want to break down in front of a bunch of people. It's bad enough when it's in front of my family."
"I don't see why you should be embarrassed because you are emotional over the death of your sister."
"Jeez, I'm 23 years old, Nick. I'm too old to be acting like that."
"Bullshit, Mikey, it's totally understandable why you are so emotional."
"Why, cause it's normal for the gay boy to be more emotional than the straight boy?"
"Why would that make a difference? It's normal because you loved her very much and it's so sad that she died at such an early age and there was nothing you could do to stop it from happening. You need to quit beating yourself up over this, Mikey," he said as he pulled me closer to him.
"I guess you're right," I sighed as I rolled on to my side and rested my head on his shoulder and cuddled up next to him. I lay there listening to the beating of his heart and feeling his chest rise and fall as he breathed slowly. And I guess I eventually fell back to sleep.
The next thing I remember was the bed shaking like crazy. As I was startled awake, I discovered Cody jumping up and down on the bed. It was more something I would expect from a six year old than a 15 year old boy, but it was happening.
"Cody, what the fuck's going on?" I yelled.
"Your mom told me to come wake you guys up so I figured a little surprise was in order."
"So you just burst in here without knocking or anything?" I asked.
"Yeah, well I knocked on the hallway door and didn't get a response. I waited in there for a minute or two to make sure I wasn't interrupting anything, but I figured you guys were asleep."
"Well, I guess we might as well get up," Nick said.
"Uh, could you guys wait until I leave..." Cody said.
"Why, Cody? We both are wearing tee shirts and boxers," I said.
"Oh, ok. I just didn't want to get a show or anything."
I looked at Nick, raising my eyebrows and smiling. He nodded slightly in return. Then on a silent count of 1, 2, 3, we both sprang out of bed and Nick grabbed Cody and wrestled him down on to the bed. Then, while Nick held him, I started to tickle him.
Cody let out the most blood curdling screams, begging for us to stop. We kept it up for at least a minute before my mother walked in and put an end to the torture session.
"What's going on in here," she asked.
"They're torturing me," Cody replied.
"Yeah, right," I said, "you're the one who came in here while we were asleep and started jumping up and down on the bed."
Nick just sat there playing Mr. Innocent while Cody and I tossed accusations back and forth until my mother yelled at us to shut up. She sent Cody to his room to get cleaned up for breakfast and then, after a mild lecture about how I needed to consider growing up some time before my 30th birthday, she left Nick and I alone.
We went into the bathroom and again took turns. We just pulled on shorts and tee shirts for breakfast, since we were going to have to change into our dress clothes in a couple of hours.
Breakfast was a pretty somber affair. Nick, Cody and I ate in the kitchen. I pretty much just picked at my food. When we were about done, Jennifer and our mother came in and sat down. They didn't do much to liven up the environment. Then, as if things couldn't get any worse, who walks in but my grandfather.
My mother gave me one of her patented 'do you want to die or live to see another day' looks. I felt Nick's hand on my leg under the table. He gave my leg a squeeze, which in one way was the last thing I needed. Now I couldn't get up and leave.
After a minute or two, Nick got up and brought over a pot of coffee and refilled everyone's cup. My mother, Jennifer and grandfather carried on a somewhat strained conversation. I guess the fact that I sat there without saying anything didn't help matters any. Once I was back to normal, Nick and I excused ourselves and went back to my room.
We sat down on the couch in my sitting room and I started some music playing. After a couple of minutes I lay down on my back with my head resting on Nick.
"I was thinking about heading home early this afternoon if that's ok with you," I said.
"Sure, that's ok. Then we go out to Catalina tomorrow morning?" he asked.
"Actually, would you be up for going out there this afternoon and spending the night?"
"Get a hotel room?"
"No, stay on the boat."
"That would be sort of fun, I haven't done anything like that in a while. It'll be like going camping."
"We can either cook on board or go into Avalon for dinner."
"I'd rather it just be us. Why take the risk of causing a scene?"
"Works for me..."
We continued listening to music for about an hour and then the time had come to get dressed. We went in the bedroom and changed into our new suits. After we were all ready, we went down to the family room. Cody, my father and grandfather were all sitting waiting on the women. My grandfather complimented me on how I looked and I thanked him. It probably was the first civil thing I had said to him in years. Don't get any ideas about how it broke down the barriers I had built up and we entered into some heartfelt conversation.
Nick and I sat on a couch and Cody got up from where he had been sitting and moved to a chair near us. The three of us carried on a subdued conversation until my mother and sister finally showed up. Then the seven of us went out front, where we met Jason, and climbed into the limo for the trip to the mortuary where the service was to be held.
It was supposed to be a small service for the family and close friends. It turned out to be a mob scene (as in lots of people). When the limo pulled into the parking lot there were literally hundreds of people waiting outside. Even the private entrance reserved for the family was a madhouse. I was really worried about what would happen when Nick got out of the car because of all the young girls who had been friends of Angela who were there with their families.
Jason and Jennifer got out after our parents and did their best to run interference while Nick and I walked quickly in the other direction and entered the building where we were shown to the family's private room off the main chapel. Jennifer, Jason and grandfather joined us a few minutes later.
The service started about 15 minutes later. I don't remember that much of it. What I'll never forget is the steady stream of people who paraded past the small casket after the service was over. It seems like the line of people would never end. Fortunately the room where we were sitting was located so that we could see the people but they couldn't really see us because I was pretty much a basket case and was leaning on Nick's shoulder, crying my heart out.
Once everyone had filed out of the chapel, they closed the doors and we walked slowly into the chapel where we were joined by the minister. We formed a semi-circle around the open side of the casket and said our final goodbyes to Angela. Then the funeral director lowered the lid and we turned and walked into another private room.
I don't know how I would have made it without Nick being there. My parents, Jason and Jennifer, Cody even, were so supportive, knowing the special bond Angela and I had between us. But it was Nick being there beside me, holding me when I needed to be held that helped me more than anything. I stood there wondering how I could ever get him to understand what he meant to me.
The family was going to go and visit with the people who had come to the funeral and then go to a small private service before the cremation. Because of Nick I didn't want to go out front and I had already decided that I couldn't bear to witness the cremation, so I asked the funeral director to have a car take the two of us home. We said goodbye to my parents and made arrangements to meet the next day in Avalon. Then Nick and I were on the way back to the house.
When we got to my parents, we both packed up our stuff in silence. Then we went down to the kitchen and ate a light lunch. Just as we were finishing I heard the sound of a helicopter approaching.
"Guess it's time to go, Nick."
"Ok, I'll be through in just a sec," he said as he popped the last of his sandwich in his mouth and grabbed a banana and an apple from the bowl on the table.
Sarah had one of the staff grab Nick's and my bags and take them out to where the helicopter was waiting. She walked the two of us out a few minutes later.
When we got to the helicopter, she pulled Nick to her and gave him a long hug. I overheard her tell him that she was counting on him to look after me and keep me safe. He told her he would. When she finally let him go, she turned and pulled me to her. Nick went over to the door to the helicopter and lifted Gracie inside.
"Master Michael, don't you ever forget how much she loved you. And remember that now she's in a better place looking over you and making sure that you will always be safe and happy."
That got me started crying all over again. I stood there crying on her shoulder until Nick finally grabbed hold of me and led me to the helicopter. I was sort of strange the way I was in pretty much the same shape getting in the helicopter to leave as when we got here. Just before the door closed I waved to Sarah and saw her wave back and blow me a kiss. I fastened my seatbelt and leaned up against Nick as the helicopter took off and headed towards John Wayne Airport.
I took us about an hour to get to Orange County. After the pilot landed he got out and helped us get our luggage and carry it out to my car.
"Are you ok driving, Mikey?" Nick asked.
"Probably, but why don't you drive," I replied. We said goodbye to the pilot who headed back to the helicopter for the trip back to Santa Barbara.
We pulled into the garage of my house about 20 minutes later. Gracie was very glad to be home, as was I. Nick walked out to the guest room and I stood there watching him go. I guess I was pretty sad that he appeared to be putting an end to our nights of sleeping together. I turned and went up the stairs to my bedroom. After putting my clothes away I went back down and opened the door into the backyard so Gracie could go outside. I ended up going out also and sitting in a chair near the spa.
I sat out there looking through the plexiglas wall at Corona Del Mar, Newport Beach and the Pacific Ocean. It was a clear day so Catalina Island was visible in the distance. There was a slight breeze, normal in the afternoons, so I figured it wouldn't be the smoothest ride over in history, but it shouldn't be too bad.
I couldn't believe how down I was feeling about Nick putting his stuff in the guest bedroom. I had assumed he had enjoyed sleeping together as much as I had. At least there had been every indication that was the case, as best as I could tell. I know it was pretty dumb of me to be getting so used to having him with me because it wasn't like anything was going to develop any further between us and he was going to have to go back to the band in a few days. But reason isn't one of those things that seemed to be all that dominant in this kind of situation, especially for me.
After I had been sitting there for about ten minutes, I heard the door open and close and saw Nick come into view. He sat in one of the other chairs and looked out in the same direction as me.
"Hey," he said after a minute or two. When I didn't respond after a few seconds he looked over at me, "Mikey, you ok?"
"Yeah, I guess," I finally responded.
"You sure don't sound ok. You worried about tomorrow?"
"Mikey, you know I'm here for you and I'm going to be right by your side tomorrow and any other time you need me. And after I have to go back on tour I won't always be able to jump on a plane and get here, but I'm always there to talk to you whenever you need to talk."
"Really?" I said a bit sarcastically.
"What do you mean by that?" Nick said sounding hurt.
"So why'd you put you stuff in the guest room instead of upstairs?" I blurted out.
"Cause it was convenient, Mikey. I'm not going to take much stuff with me this afternoon. If you need me to sleep with you tonight or tomorrow night, Mikey, I'm there next to you. I didn't do it to send you a message or something."
I got this sort of dumb look on my face and it felt like I was starting to blush over my stupid reaction.
"Mikey, this is really sort of hard to say for me. Here you are one of the best friends I've ever had. It doesn't bother me at all to sleep with you. Shit, here's the hard part. I sort of enjoy it. I mean it is so nice to snuggle up to someone instead of a pillow. And I can't let myself get too used to it. And you haven't, jeez this is awkward, you haven't like tried anything."
"Nicky, you know I'm feeling the exact same way. Well other than I didn't think about the last thing. It's not like I expected you to try anything with me," I said smiling at him.
"Very funny, little man," he said. "I'm serious about that. I'm sure you noticed I was a little, um... well, excited when you woke up in the morning, but you never reacted to it in any way."
"Jeez, Nicky, that happens to everyone I think. It didn't have anything to do with us sleeping together. I was in the same condition each morning too."
"That's not the only time you've been in that condition recently," Nick said with a huge grin.
I know I turned totally red over that comment. Which time was he thinking about? Was it at the breakfast table or when we were watching the movie. "Nicky, shit this is so embarrassing. It didn't mean anything! God, I'm so sorry!"
Nick started laughing uncontrollably. When he finally stopped, he just sat there and grinned at me. That made me even more embarrassed.
"So you're not pissed at me?"
"Nah, I figured it was what was going on in the movie, not me having my head in your lap."
"I was so hoping you wouldn't notice that."
"It might not be very big, but I noticed," he said with even a bigger grin on his face.
"Yeah, like you're a giant down there."
"Bigger than you."
"Not by much."
"So, Mikey, before you start getting excited again from talking about this stuff, what time did you want to leave for Catalina?"
"Hey, Nicky? Screw you..."
"In your dreams, Mikey."
Try as I did, I started blushing again. "The thought has never entered my mind, Nick. We prolly ought to leave in 20 or 30 minutes. We'll need to stop by the store and pick up some food to take with us for tonight and tomorrow."
After stopping at Gelson's for food and drinks, we drove down to the Balboa Yacht Club, where I keep my boat. Nick was surprised that I belonged to a place like it. I explained that I didn't get into the social side of the thing but that the restaurant was good and it was about the only way to have my boat close to where I lived.
As we walked towards the boat, it became very obvious that he was getting to know me way too well -- he figured out which one was mine before we got to it with no clue from me and started to board it.
"Uh, Nicky, do you know whose boat you just boarded?" I asked.
"Yeah, yours," he replied.
"What makes you think this one is mine?"
"It's the nicest boat in this area, so it had to be the one."
"Hope the owner doesn't catch you on there," I said as I kept walking down the dock. Nick jumped off the boat and came jogging up behind me. I walked up to this small, older sport fisherman and put my stuff down on the dock.
"No way, Mikey. This can't be yours," he said, looking at me in disbelief.
"Gotcha!" I said, picking my stuff back up.
"So which one is it?" he asked as we started back down the dock.
"The one you boarded," I replied with a smirk.
We boarded my 42' SeaRay Aft Cabin and put our things down while I unlocked the door to the main cabin. Gracie ran in first and inspected the entire cabin to make sure everything, especially her toys, was safe. Nick and I went inside and put the food that needed to stay cold in the refrigerator. We stowed the rest of the food and then I showed Nick the forward and aft staterooms. Mine is the aft one. Before we headed back on deck I turned on the stereo and put on "I Say I Say" by Erasure. Once the volume was adjusted to a not too objectionable level, we went up on to the bridge.
I started the engines and I checked the fuel and fresh water levels. Both were full, so we went back on to the dock and unplugged the power hookup and coiled it up next to my locker. Nick stayed on the dock while I went back on board and up to the bridge. I had him untie the stern lines and then the bow lines. Then he climbed back on board.
I shifted from neutral to reverse and applied power to the engines and backed out of the slip. Once the bow was clear I shifted into forward and maneuvered the boat into the channel. Once we reached the main channel we headed South towards the harbor entrance. It seemed like it took forever to get out of the harbor, but it is quite a ways and with the no wake rules, you have to go pretty slowly.
As soon as we cleared the harbor entrance, I pushed the throttles to about 80 percent power and within about ten seconds we were on plane and accelerating up to a good cruising speed. The ocean had one to two foot swells. Nick went below and got us something to drink and then we relaxed up on the bridge for the trip over.
About 20 minutes out we spotted some dolphins off in the distance so I turned and headed it their direction. Before long they were playing along side us. Nick had walked forward and laid down on the deck next to the starboard side of the boat and was reaching his arm out towards them. I got pretty sad because it made me think about how I had wanted to take Angela swimming with captive dolphins before she died.
After a few minutes the dolphins veered off and headed elsewhere. Nick lay on the deck for a bit and then got up and made his way back to the bridge. He noticed the tears on my cheeks and came over and sat next to me, putting his arm around me. He didn't say anything, but that was fine because he didn't need to. Definitely an example of actions speaking louder than words.
The crossing took us about 45 minutes. As we approached Avalon it looked like there was already a pretty big crowd of boats in the harbor. Fortunately there were still moorings available for overnight stays. I paid the fee and was directed to our mooring. We tied up to the mooring and went below to get organized for the night ahead.
For dinner I cooked chicken breasts and steamed veggies that I tossed in penne pasta with garlic, parmesan cheese and olive oil. Nick prepared a green salad. We ate out on deck watching the sun set over the island. After we had cleaned up the galley, we turned on the television and watched nothing interesting for a couple of hours.
At that point I was getting pretty sleepy so I told Nick I was going to go to bed. He wanted to watch another show on television so I got up and went into my stateroom and, after getting undressed, climbed into bed. I fell asleep pretty quickly. About an hour later I was awakened when Nick climbed into bed and cuddled up next to me, draping his arm over my chest. It didn't take long before I was sound asleep again.
Well, that's it for Part 14 of Nick and the Altos. Part 15 won't be up until a few days after Thanksgiving, since I'm heading up to the 'rents for a few days. Any comments, suggestions or whatever, email me at email@example.com.
Thanks for reading... Mikey