The house was dark and silent as Cam lay in his bed back home in San Rafael, not tossing and turning, but unable to drop off to sleep. The boys had arrived home from Malibu the day before. Catherine was still in New York, as she said she would be.
Cam was restless, for one thing, because he was horny. And his thoughts also kept returning to the visit he and Kevin had recently made to his father in Los Angeles, and what Alex MacKenzie had shared with them about his journey in coming out as a gay man. His dad's strong reaction to his and Kevin's little impromptu party with Malibu next door neighbor Jeff Miller was also on his mind.
It had been hard for Cam to give up being angry at his father for leaving the family, at least initially. But as he had played back in his head the reasons his dad had given for leaving his family in San Rafael and how over time he had come to love John Kelley and begin to live with him, it had all made sense. The boy just didn't have it in his heart to hold a grudge against his father any more.
Nor could he, in all fairness, be angry about Alex's reaction to Kevin's and his drunken brawl with Jeff on the night that Alex and John had arrived home late. If it seemed like overkill, it was his dad's right to make the rules in his own house. Frankly, it was better to know exactly where Alex and John stood on alcohol and drugs as it applied to Kevin and him, especially since it appeared to be a done deal that he and Kevin would be moving into the beach house next year for their first year at UCLA.
He heard the door to the bathroom connecting his and Kevin's room open quietly, and then bare feet padding across the floor.
"Cam, you awake?" Kevin whispered.
"Can I get in bed with you? I need to talk to you."
"Are you feeling all right?" Cam asked.
"Yeah. Physically, anyway."
"OK, but hand me my boxers, will ya? They're on the floor by the bed."
Kevin reached down in the dark, found them, and handed them to his friend, who whipped them under the covers and put them on. Then Cam tucked his cumrag away under the bed next to the wall.
"Come on, then," Cam said, pulling back the covers so Kevin could get in bed.
"Were you about to get yourself off?" Kevin asked, snickering as he climbed in, turning on his side toward Cam.
"Thinking about it," Cam admitted, laughing in that deep voice of his, and blushing a little in the darkness.
"Sorry I interrupted," Kevin said.
" 'Sup, dude?"
"I just wanted to talk," Kevin said again.
"I was just thinking about what your dad told us when we were in LA. You know, about how he finally realized he was gay and had to leave San Rafael, and all the shit he went through until he was honest with himself."
"Great minds. . ." Cam said.
"I was just thinking about what Dad said when you came in."
"Well, do you understand what your dad went through?" he asked.
"Yeah, I get it."
"I get it, too. All too well."
"I'm afraid you'll freak if I tell ya," Kevin said quietly, trying to screw up his courage.
"Tell me what?"
"I'm in bad trouble."
"What trouble!" Cam demanded.
"Promise me you won't hate me."
"You're startin' to scare me, man. Common. . ."
"Cam, I'm pretty sure I may be gay, myself."
Silence settled over the bed, louder than a scream.
"Say something," Kevin finally said.
"You're shittin' me, right?"
"How do you know?" Cam asked in a low voice, turning on his side to face his friend.
"Because I. . ." Kevin stammered, and stopped talking.
"How do you know?" Cam asked again.
"Because I love you. That's how I know."
"So? I love you, too, you know that."
"No, I mean I really love you. I think about you all the time. Well, most of the time."
"What about Heather? I know you've been bangin' her. I don't get this."
"I like sex with Heather. A lot. I know how sick this sounds, but I can't help it. When I do her, I think about you."
The air whooshed out of Cam's lungs, and he lay there silently as several minutes ticked by. Then he began to chuckle.
"Please don't laugh at me, dude," Kevin said sadly. "After I heard everything your dad went through, I thought I should tell ya. I know you're bummed. I never should have said anything. I knew I'd live to regret it."
"I'm not laughing at you, Kev. I'm laughing at us."
"Because I love you, you dumb shit," Cam whispered into the darkness. "I've been queer for you since I got my first pubic hair."
"You don't mean that! You're just saying that to make me feel better," Kevin said.
"No, I'm not. Alex has really fucked both of us up with all his honesty. Or helped us admit who and what we are, I don't know. Now life is going to get complicated, I'm afraid."
"Or maybe simpler. . .I'm not sure. I can hardly believe this! This is way too good to be true! At least from my standpoint, it is."
The two boys lay there in silence.
"What about you and Teri?" Kevin asked eventually.
"We've never done the deed," Cam said. "She's given me plenty of encouragement, but I knew I didn't want to have sex with her. I could have, but I didn't want to."
"You had me fooled," Kevin said.
"That was the plan."
Silence descended again.
"What do we do now?" Cam asked.
"You mean right now, this minute?"
"Well, I was thinking a little longer-term than that."
"I'm not sure," Kevin said. "People are gonna freak about this, you know that. Especially Mom. We need to do some serious thinking. But for right now, can I just hold you?" he asked a little shyly.
Cam said nothing. He moved over to Kevin and took him in his arms. He could feel his friend's stubble against his cheek as they held one another. And his heartbeat. Thirty seconds later, their erections were poking each other.
"This isn't gonna work, y'know," Cam said. "We're not gonna get any sleep."
"Well, there's no time like the present to take care of that problem, I guess." Taking a deep breath, Kevin boldly reached down between them, fumbled his way into the flap of Cam's boxers, and firmly grasped his friend's dick.
The air whooshed out of Cam's lungs again.
"You don't know how long I've wanted to get hold of this bad boy," Kevin said, his breath ragged.
"You don't know how long I've wanted you to," Cam said.
He reciprocated, reaching over and grasping Kevin's penis through the fly of his boxers, giving it a stroke.
"Oh-h-h-h, fuck yeah!" Kev gasped.
"Lose the boxers," Cam ordered, turning Kevin loose, raising his own ass and peeling off his underwear.
Kevin did the same, and then putting his arms around his friend again, pulled Cam's face to his, nuzzling his neck and then holding his face in his hands before kissing him on the lips. Soon their tongues were doing gentle battle as they continued to kiss.
"Kev, I love you so fucking much, I can't tell you," Cam said when they backed off a little. "You know how I always walk around naked in my room after showering when you're here, flashing you? I wanted you to want me. I've wanted to be with you like this for a long time, even though I fought it all the time. I even fasted and prayed last Lent that I wouldn't fantasize about you anymore. But I knew deep down that what I really wanted was to be lying right here beside you. Like this." He caressed Kevin's face, feeling his late night whiskers. "I guess in some strange way, knowing what Dad went through kind of gives us permission to be what we really are and do what we really need to do."
"Don't steal my lines, man." Kevin nuzzled Cam's neck again. "I'm so happy right now. Scared, but happy."
"Lemme get a towel out of the bathroom," Cam suggested. "We need to get each other off. I have a few things in mind before we crash. Then maybe we can sleep."
"I'm up for that," Kevin said enthusiastically. "Literally. I'll get the towel." He rolled away from Cam and out of bed, his large penis pointing at a 45 degree angle due north toward his navel. For the moment, Cam held his own dick, which felt longer and harder than usual and was starting to leak pre-cum with no physical stimulation.
Kevin returned to the bed quickly with a bath towel. Bending down, he spread the towel in the middle of the bed. He climbed back into bed on his left side and reached down to cup Cam's balls, bouncing them in his palm.
"Have the twins here been working overtime?" he asked as he nestled his face in Cam's neck and sucked on it, Kevin's stubble abrading his friend's skin a bit.
"Yep," Cam confirmed, tucking the towel more securely under their legs. "Now I know why." He kissed Kevin again, this time more passionately, backing off as the sexual tension continued to grow. Then, using as little pressure as possible, began to rub Kevin's abs and pecs with his left hand, occasionally pausing at the latter's nipples and squeezing them.
"Oh-h-h, shit," Kevin hissed. "Don't get ahead of me. You're gonna make me cum without touching my dick if you keep that up."
"Yeah? You're a little sensitive, huh?"
"A lot sensitive, and a lot horny for you," Kevin admitted. He took Cam's hand and stopped him from working on his nips. Bending his own head, the boy popped Cam's left nipple into his mouth and began running his tongue over it again and again, occasionally swiping around the large aureole. Cam sucked in his breath as he felt his friend's teeth gently graze the now engorged nipple. Then Kevin switched to Cam's right nipple, duplicating his technique there.
"How do you know how to do this stuff?" Cam asked, panting a little now as Kevin continued his nipple assault. "You're really good at it."
Raising his head, Kevin frenched Cam again and then backed off.
"Some of it I learned from trying to please Heather, and some of it I learned on gay sites on the net," he said. "You been to any of those sites?"
"Yes," Cam admitted in a low voice, still sensitive about the subject.
"Nothing I ever read anywhere compares to the real thing here with you," Kevin said. He slid down in the bed and began licking and probing Cam's navel with his tongue, at the same time putting his hand firmly around Cam's cock.
"Stop for a second!" Cam warned. "Don't move or I'm gonna shoot."
Obediently, Kevin stopped what he was doing and waited until Cam came back from the brink. Then he moved his hand lower on Cam's crotch and began to rub the boy's perineum and his crack with his middle finger, brushing his pucker on the upward and downward journey. Each time Kevin touched his hole, Cam gasped appreciatively.
"Oh, my God!" Cam groaned. "Seriously, I'm gonna explode all over you in about a minute."
"All right," Kevin finally agreed. "I'm gonna let you off easy this one time, and let you cum. But next time. . ."
"Not yet," Cam told him, and without warning, he slid down Kevin's body and took his friend's dick in his mouth, plunging right to the root. Kevin's mouth opened wide in a silent shout as he arched his back and flexed his hips, his spunk almost immediately beginning to pump into Cam's mouth and throat. When he had finished ejaculating, Kevin had to pull Cam's head away from his penis because his friend was circling the corona again and again with his tongue, and his dick was too sensitive to let that continue.
In sexual Nirvana, Kevin lay on his side of the bed like he'd been poleaxed as Cam straightened out his tall body and brought his face up to Kevin's own. Kevin pulled Cam's head to his, reaching over as he began to recover from the most powerful orgasm he could ever remember. They kissed passionately again, sharing Kevin's semen.
"My turn," Kevin said when his body would finally obey him. Reversing himself on the bed, he grasped Cam's dick and deepthroated it, resisting the gag reflex as he pumped the long, swollen dick with his mouth and down his throat. Cam spewed a huge load after about only three strokes.
"Oh fuck," Cam squeaked as his body tightened and then went limp.
Kevin swallowed it all down, relishing every drop, his great sexual fantasy since he had hit puberty fulfilled at last.
After Kevin turned back around on the bed, they deep kissed. The two of them lay there in one another's arms, paralyzed for a good ten minutes, holding one another's body, breathing hard and totally spent.
"I feel so good!" Kevin said softly when he could talk coherently. "I haven't felt this good in a long time."
"Me, either!" Cam agreed, smiling sleepily in the dark, still tasting Kevin's cum in his mouth.
"Does this officially make us cum sluts?" Kevin asked, chuckling.
"I guess so," Cam said, smiling again in the darkness. "I love it when you talk dirty."
Using the towel, they wiped their penises and dried their mouths and their hands. When they were finished, Kevin threw the towel to the floor, and Cam pulled Kevin back into his arms.
"Cam, I love ya to death," Kevin said quietly. "There have been so many things that I've wanted to tell you and talk to you about since we grew up, and I didn't know how to do it. Now I can. I don't think I've ever been this happy in my life."
"You've always made me happy, Kevin, but this is the best feeling in the world to be here like this with you. I'm so glad that now there's nothing in my life that I can't share with you."
Cam said nothing more, but caressed his friend's forehead, and then began running his hands slowly up and down his friend's muscular back and butt, tentatively touching his pucker once or twice as he traced the crack of his ass with his fingers, as Kevin had done to him earlier.
Kevin sighed in contentment. After kissing one another for a while, still entwined and a little sticky in spite of their best efforts with the towel, they began to drift off to sleep. Kevin nestled into Cam's neck.
"It feels wonderful to be able to show you how much I love you," Cam whispered, holding his friend tight. It fell on deaf ears, because Kevin had crashed for the night.
The smell of fresh cum and the male smell of their bodies lingered over the bed like a benediction.
* * *
Kevin woke up first the next morning in the half-light of the bedroom. Still embracing his friend as he had throughout the night, his prominent biceps were bunched as his arms loosely encircled Cam. He didn't move a muscle as he studied the handsome face next to his on the pillow. Cam's face was almost free of whiskers except for the few scraggly, sandy-colored hairs on his chin from the goatee he was struggling to grow. Thus far that not been a successful enterprise. Cam's unblemished cheeks were ruddy and healthy-looking even in repose. He was breathing softly and evenly, his beautiful, smooth chest rising and falling. Kevin could detect the sweet smell of the boy's breath, mixed with the smell of cum as he vividly reviewed in his mind their passion the previous night.
Kevin felt good, good, good. He was happy and totally relaxed, except for the morning wood he was sporting. But he knew that his muscular body was ready to greet the day joyfully with a great burst of energy because of what he and Cam had said to one another and done with each other a few hours before. Kevin's only fear was that for some inexplicable reason Cam might awaken, and in the light of day, not feel the same way about their changed relationship as he did.
Cam's prominent nipples, surrounded by large, dark aureoles, caught Kevin's eye, and this first, prolonged opportunity to observe his friend's body up close gave him a chance to really admire them. Even unstimulated, they stood up proudly on the hairless chest as the boy breathed. Kevin resisted the temptation to extend his tongue, lick them again, put them gently again between between his lips and teeth as he had so often done to his girlfriend Heather's tits. The desire to do so to Cam's nipples was even stronger, though. No surprise there. He fought his desire and continued to lay there quietly, Cam's morning hard-on poking him in the groin. Kevin didn't want the quiet moment of reflection and remembrance to end before it had to.
Nothing is forever, and eventually Cam's even breathing faltered, then resumed, and those green eyes opened slowly. Cam showed no surprise to see Kevin's face next to his on the pillow, and lay there unmoving. Neither boy spoke as they looked into one another's eyes for a long moment. Then the corners of Cam's lips turned upward in a smile. He put a hand behind Kevin's head and pulled his face to his for a kiss.
"Thank God," Kevin whispered after the kiss. "I was afraid you might wake up with morning remorse and tell me what a mistake we'd made, and that you hated my fag ass."
"Not hardly!" Cam said quietly. "After pretty much three years of hell because of everything that's happened to our families, I'm not sure I know what it is to be completely happy anymore. But I'd be surprised if this isn't what it feels like, Kev!"
Kevin reached over and put his hand on his friend's face, caressing his cheek with his thumb.
"No guilt about last night?" he asked.
"Nope," Cam said. "I'm going to learn my dad's lesson early in my life and not go through what he did. No gun in my mouth at midnight because I'm miserable and alone and hating myself! Not for me! Thanks for having the guts to make the first move, though, Kev. I'd love you for that alone if there weren't about a million other reasons."
"I'm down with that!" Kevin said. "But you really made it possible for me to take a chance. If you hadn't made me go to L.A. with you, and I hadn't heard what Alex went through before he came out and met John, I probably wouldn't have had the courage to come in here and tell you I love you and grab your tool. Nice cock, by the way! I can tell you that now. I predict that your dick and I are going to be close friends. Really close!"
Cam laughed. "I'm counting on it, man! Unfortunately, probably not right now. Can you see the clock? What time is it?"
"It's after 7:00."
"Shit! We gotta grab a shower and get going, Kev, or we're gonna be late for school. When we get a chance, we have a lot of talking to do, obviously. But we have a soccer match right after school."
Kevin nodded. "Yeah, I know."
"Come shower with me. Wash my back. It'll save time. And water."
Kevin burst out laughing. "Those are words I never thought I'd hear comin' outta your mouth. But you're speaking my language!" he said enthusiastically, throwing back the covers.
Hitting the bathroom, they stood together over the toilet, fighting their woodies as they relieved themselves, leg touching leg. Moments later, laughing, they were embracing and kissing in the shower as the warm water poured down over their bodies. They scuffled briefly over who got to use the soap first. Cam won, but instead of lathering himself up, he ran the bar of soap all over Kevin's body, probing every nook and cranny as he washed him with his hands, and then Cam shampooed his lover's hair. Kevin ate that up, and then returned the favor with a huge grin on his face.
Once out of the shower, they dried each other carefully and thoroughly. Kevin headed for his room to dress.
"You have a beautiful ass, dude," Cam told him as he left
Turning on his heel, Kevin came back and hugged Cam, one hand reaching down, cupping the latter's package.
"Everything you have looks great! Perfect, actually. Now, shut up and let me get dressed, will ya!"
Cam laughed, and retreating into his own bedroom, grabbed their discarded underwear and spunked-up towel, smelling the cum on the latter, and threw everything into the hamper. Then he started dressing, humming under his breath for the first time in a long time.
They went down the back stairs to the kitchen. Kevin poured a couple glasses of orange juice while Cam looked under a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil. Catherine had been busy before she had left town for New York, and had made a batch of pecan rolls for the boys' breakfast. Cam used a spatula to remove a pecan roll from the pan for each of them, and put them on plates. They started quickly downing their food and drinking the juice, standing on opposite sides of the kitchen island, eying each other in silence.
"I can't look at you at school today," Kevin finally said between swallows. "Especially in the locker room."
"Because if I look at you, I'll be walking around with with a big boner, and my tongue will be hanging out of my mouth. I'm kidding, but only a little. The guys on the team can't miss the effect you have on me. And I don't think we're ready for that yet."
"The tongue and the boner would definitely be clues," Cam admitted. "Okay, I won't look at you, either."
"In fact, just to be safe, let's try not to talk to each other," Kevin suggested.
"Well, jeez, Kevin. . ."
"Cut me some slack here," Kevin said. "Neither one of us is that good an good actor, so. . ."
"Oh, all right!" Cam conceded, sighing. "We may be worse off than we were before. We're still hiding, just not from each other."
"Maybe a little," Kevin admitted. "But I'm hearin' happy tunes in my head because of you." He grabbed some paper towels from the dispenser, gave one to Cam, and they wiped their fingers and lips. Again, what they had done together the previous night in bed popped unbidden into Kevin's mind, and he went around the counter and kissed his friend firmly on the mouth, hand behind Cam's head.
"I love ya, Cameron. But that kiss is gonna have to last 'til tonight."
Cam nodded bleakly about the truth of that, and followed Kevin out the back door, lasciviously watching Kevin's ass in his worn, bleached-out Levi 501's all the way to the garage. That gave him wood. Two minutes later, they were in Kevin's Mustang and moving down the street toward school.
* * *
Cam and Kevin didn't arrive back at the house from school until early evening. They had played a soccer match on their home field in which they had barely eked out a victory over their opponents, 3-2. Winning had made Cam, Kevin and their teammates happy, coming back from Christmas vacation as they had with no recent practices under their belts. So there had been a lot of horseplay in the locker room after the game. Despite the fact that Kevin and Cam studiously avoided looking at each other in the showers and at their lockers, the guys felt as if their new sexual relationship should somehow be obvious to all. Much to their relief, though, no one seemed to notice a thing.
They were hungry when they got home, and Catherine would be gone for another day, so they ordered a pizza. They sat at the kitchen table talking about the match while they waited for it to be delivered, still feeling pumped up about their team's win and acting a little flaky.
"You actually showed a little pep out on the field today," Kevin told Cam, looking at him out of the corner of his eye. "I was pleasantly surprised when you made a goal. Amazed, actually."
Cam gazed at him unsmilingly across the table.
"Why do you think you can get away with saying shit like that to me?" he asked Kevin.
"Uh, is it because I'll suck your dick upon request?"
That made Cam laugh. "You will? I'm certainly hoping for the best when it comes to blowjobs. Anyway, to get back to the match, I was totally astounded when you managed to get cranked up enough to make the goal you scored this afternoon. Lumbering down the field the way you did! It wasn't pretty, dude. You apparently just don't have the stamina you should have when you get your rocks off the night before a match. From now on, you're gonna be totally celibate before our soccer matches. I'll make sure of that. You'll do better if you're horny."
"What about you?"
"What about me?"
"You don't think I'm gonna let you come before a match if I can't, do you?" Kevin asked.
"Listen, bud, let's get something straight right now!" Cam said. "I'm the master and you're the slave in this relationship! Now that that's cleared up, aren't you glad we had this little conversation?"
"'Get something straight?' How do two gay guys 'get something straight?' Answer me that!"
"A mere play on words," Cam said. "'Sound and fury, signifying nothing.'"
"Shakespeare, now," Kevin protested. "This relationship could be doomed from the start. You may be too intellectual for a down-to-earth guy like me."
Cam smiled, studying his new partner, whose five o'clock shadow was looking very sexy by that time of day.
"You're way, way too cute for your own good, dude!" he told Kevin. "I know that fer sure!"
Before Kevin could respond, the front door bell rang, and Cam stood up.
"Get me a Coke out of the fridge, will ya?" he asked Kevin as he headed toward the front door. Cam paid the delivery boy, whose good looks earned him an extra buck in the tip, and went back to the kitchen. The aroma of a large pepperoni pizza quickly filled the room. Kevin had Cokes and plates and paper towels on the table, and they got right down to demolishing the steaming pie.
"You have homework tonight?" Kevin broke the silence as they practically inhaled their food.
"'Cause you're gonna start working out tonight."
"Maybe no," Cam said, chewing away.
"Maybe yes," Kevin contradicted. "You said you would. Anyway, when I spot you on the weight bench, you can look up my shorts and see my dick getting hard from lookin' at your bod."
"Hmmm. You perv."
"That was pretty well established last night, wasn't it?"
"There seems to be a theme to everything you say. Are you some kind of a sex fiend?" Cam asked, then paused. "I guess that was a stupid question."
"I like sex fiends. I like 'em a lot. It's probably your best quality."
"It's nice to be appreciated."
They continued kibitzing until the pizza box was empty. Kevin wet his finger, squeegied up the crumbs, and ate them.
"Let's watch NCIS to let the pizza settle, and then we'll work out," he said.
"Maybe, maybe not," Cam said about the work out issue just to get Kevin stirred up.
Kevin stood, picked up the plates, and put them in the dishwasher while Cam folded up the pizza box and put it in the garbage. They went into the TV room, fired up the tube, and settled down together in one big leather chair, Kevin sitting between Cam's long legs, leaning back, with Cam's arms around his chest, their feet plopped down together on a hassock. Cam lowered his head and smelled Kevin's hair. It smelled clean and healthy and male. Like Kevin.
"God, I love being here like this with you, Kev."
Kevin put his hands on top of Cam's hands and interlaced his fingers with his partner's. Raising their right hands as one, Kevin kissed his partner's palm.
"I love you totally," Kevin said. "You don't know what it means to me to be able to tell you that. I know we have a lot to talk about and a lot of decisions to make. And I'm a little scared, to tell you the truth."
"You, scared? That's not like you. Scared about what?" Cam asked.
"About what's gonna happen to us. I don't want you or me to be the next gay guy they kill like they did that kid in Wyoming. What was his name, Matthew Shepard? I don't really think that somebody's gonna kill us. Not literally, anyway. But if we come out, we're candidates for some bad shit. I do think that."
"You're probably right," Cam said quietly. "But from my point of view, being your partner and your lover is going to be more than worth it," Cam said. "We're gonna face together what we have to face the way we've done everything else--we're gonna tough it out. Together. We're gonna be side by side, Kevin. All the way. I promise."
With those words, somehow the massive old house didn't seem nearly as empty as it had been. Kevin nodded, saying nothing, and relaxing their bodies into one another in the big, leather chair, they let themselves be drawn into the television story. They sat there most of the evening in front of the TV, exchanging positions in the chair as one of them had to get up to use the bathroom or wanted to bring back snacks or bottled water. The subject of working out didn't come up again.
About 10 o'clock, they shut off the TV and went upstairs. After cleaning their teeth side by side at the bathroom sink, they went into Kevin's room, deciding to sleep there. Despite the fact that Rosa had been there that day to clean and do laundry, the room was a mess, as usual.
The two boys began to strip each other of their clothing piece by piece, slowly and deliberately, until they were resplendently naked and erect. They climbed into Kevin's freshly made bed, and began just to kiss one another and touch one another, not as a prelude to sex, necessarily, but as if to imprint deep within them the feelings they had for each other.
Long minutes later, Cam paused in his ministrations to his lover.
"You're so. . .so gentle. I didn't know that about you."
"Well. . .uh." Kevin seemed to be a little at a loss for words, maybe even a little embarrassed. "I'll always be gentle with you, Mac," he finally said quietly. "You have my word on that."
Cam could feel his love for this boy growing, filling his heart, coalescing with the feelings of affection and friendship and respect which had existed openly between them for so long. What they were feeling for each other as they lay together in that bed had begun transforming them both into much more than just horny, happy sex partners.
Cam drew Kevin into his arms, kissing his face and smelling his skin, and after jacking each other off and cleaning up, they slept.
* * *
Catherine MacKenzie, Ph.D., was national president of the Algernon Charles Swinburne Society, American branch, an organization established to promote the study and understanding of the 19th century poetry and other writings of Swinburne, generally considered a second tier English writer. The Society met annually each Spring, alternating among New York City, Chicago and San Francisco. This meeting in New York had been a meeting of the board of directors, however, not of the general membership.
Catherine had written a book on Swinburne which was highly regarded in academia, as well as a segment on Swinburne in a popular anthology devoted to the 19th century English poets in general. She was associate chairman of the literature department at St. Francis, and was highly regarded by her colleagues on campus.
Her relationship with the administration at the university, unlike that with her colleagues, was occasionally adversarial over her stance on the issue of freedom of academic inquiry on their own campus and on Catholic campuses in general. English literature itself was not an area of study that stimulated a lot of controversy, but Catherine was adamant in her views that if the Pope and the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic church in the U.S. wanted to control and dominate hot topic dialog on Catholic college campuses, then they could get off their butts, come to the campuses and do the teaching themselves. Having crossed swords with administrators several times on this issue, she was regarded warily by the priest who currently served as president of St. Francis and those who worked directly for him. The other professors loved her, though.
This trip to New York had given her an opportunity to do some shopping, and also to have dinner with Michael Stoltz to see how he was faring. Michael looked well, and was living in a magnificent apartment overlooking Central Park which befitted the man widely expected to be the next president of the insurance company for which he worked. The move hadn't been that hard on him, but he knew it would have been extremely difficult for Kevin. Although he missed the boy, he was content he had made the right decision to leave his son in California with Catherine.
Michael had admitted to Catherine, however, that he was still grieving the loss of Lynda, his wife, to cancer, and that he had not resumed dating. In fact, he was seeing a therapist to deal with his depression over his wife's death, and was keeping his social life to a minimum until his therapy had brought about the results he was seeking.
When Michael questioned Catherine about how she was doing after Alex left, she was honest with him. She told him that she bore Alex no ill will for ending the marriage, knowing that he had loved her and Cameron deeply, and still did love them. She believed Alex when he told her he had struggled with everything he had in him to overcome his sexual orientation, and not only could not win that battle, but had been on the brink of taking his own life. The civil divorce had been relatively quick and painless. She had been told by her parish priest, Father Andrew Gilbert, that if and when she petitioned for a church annulment, the circumstances were such that it was likely to be granted with no difficulty. She also explained to Michael that she had thrown herself into her work to deaden the pain of what had happened to her marriage, and was now ready to begin dating again. She had been asked out by the chairman of the Literature Department at St. Francis University, Bill Strawn, a widower, and was ready to accept.
Catherine and Michael had talked at length about Cam and Kevin. She told him she had let Kevin go to L.A. with Cam to visit Alex and his new partner and to look over the UCLA campus. She gave Michael a copy of Kevin's last report card from school, all A's, along with a glowing description of the boy's exploits on the soccer field. Michael had been extremely pleased with the information Catherine had shared with him.
All in all, it had been a good trip for Catherine. The board meeting of the Swinburne Society had been satisfactory, and she had enjoyed seeing Michael Stoltz again. She arrived home from New York two days after the boys had come home from L.A., and they found her in the study going through her mail when they got home after soccer practice. She was still dressed in one of her finely tailored suits, and she looked classy.
"Mommy!" Cam said as the boys walked into the room. She stood up from behind her desk, and Cam hugged and kissed her, followed by Kevin.
"Hi, Mom," Kevin said, kissing her cheek. "Glad you're home. How's my dad?"
"He's good, sweetheart. Still struggling with missing your mother, but he's working on that. We had lunch yesterday in New York, and I filled him in on what a soccer star you've become, among other things."
"So you lied, huh?" Cam said to his mother, goading his partner.
"Fortunately, when I talk about you boys, I don't have to lie to anybody when I say nice things," Catherine said with a twinkle in her eye. "Are you guys hungry?" she asked.
"Is Cam a mental midget?" Kevin asked. "Yes, m'am, we're definitely hungry!"
"All right, let me comb my hair, and we'll go out. What are you in the mood for?" Catherine asked.
"Mexican," Kevin said. "I can taste the tacos already."
"All right" Catherine said. "I'll be ready in 10 minutes. I want to hear all about your trip to L.A.," she added as she walked out of the study towards the downstairs bathroom.
"You dipshit, now you're gonna taste like salsa when I kiss you tonight," Cam told Kevin once Catherine was out of earshot.
"What makes you think I'm gonna let you kiss me tonight?" Kevin told him gruffly, unsmiling. "I'm havin' second thoughts about you."
Cam grabbed him around the waist before he could get away and planted one on Kevin's lips. Kevin kissed him back.
"I'm havin' second thoughts about you, too, dude," Cam said, "but they're all good, believe me. As stupid as this sounds, I just wanted to feel you up the worst way in the hallway at school today. I think I'm losin' it!"
Kevin grinned. "Feeling me up in the hall definitely would have been the worst way. Control, boy! I'm gonna hafta teach you some control. At school and in bed. You have such a hair trigger..."
"It takes a premature ejaculator to know one, you dick!" Cam responded quietly. "I'd like to teach you not to insult me like that here and now, but we'd probably break some furniture."
"Speaking of getting physical," Kevin said, changing the subject, "you didn't work out last night. I let ya slide that once, but you're definitely starting tonight."
"How nice you are to me. You're gonna have to woo me to get me on the weight bench."
"I'll woo you, all right..." Kevin threatened, and then they heard Catherine's footsteps coming their way, and stepped away from each other.
They left the house and got into Catherine's Lincoln, Kevin at the wheel. Fifteen minutes later they were seated at one of the nicer restaurants in town, and the boys starting dipping chips into a big bowl of salsa after they had all ordered.
"Tell me about L.A.," Catherine said, pouring some Dos Equis beer into her glass and taking a swallow. The boys were drinking Cokes.
"Well..." Cam said, looking at her uncertainly.
"Cam, you don't have to be afraid to talk about your father with me," Catherine said. "I don't hate him, and I don't want you to hate him."
"All right," Cam said. "I just don't want to make you feel bad, that's all."
"Ok, well, Dad is doing fine. He seems happy, and his partner, John, is a very nice person, and they're very much in love. Dad told Kevin and me the whole story about your breakup, and after thinking about it, I realized it would be wrong to hold a grudge against him for what he did. The bottom line is, he couldn't help who God made him, and that's that. You agree, Kevin?"
"I agree as well. How did you like UCLA?" Catherine asked.
"It's a great school," Kevin said. "The two of us got a private tour from a girl in the admittance office. The science buildings and equipment were impressive, and the science faculty there is fantastic, as you know."
"The film school blew my mind," Cam said enthusiastically. "I'm really looking forward to getting started there."
"That sounds good. I'm still sorry I couldn't talk you into going to St. Francis your first year," Catherine said. "But I understand your reasons for wanting to go to UCLA. How are the dorms?"
Cam and Kevin looked at each other and back at Catherine.
"What?" she said.
"The freshman dorms aren't too cool," Kevin said, looking down at the table top. "We looked in the newspaper for off-campus apartments, and they're pretty pricey. So..."
Catherine took another swallow of her beer. "So?" she said.
"We asked Dad and John if we could live with them our freshman year," Cam said, biting the bullet.
"I see. That's probably not a bad idea," Catherine said. "I like it better than just turning you two loose in L.A. on your own."
Cam and Kevin breathed a sigh of relief.
"We were afraid you wouldn't like it," Kevin said. "We didn't want to hurt your feelings."
"You haven't hurt my feelings," Catherine said. "I'm always going to love Alex. But I need to move on, just like we all do. I want you to have a good relationship with him and with his partner."
Cam studied his mother in the muted light of the restaurant..
"Mom, I don't think I've ever told you this," he said, "but you are truly one awesome woman."
"Well..." Catherine said. He had caught her by surprise.
Kevin highfived Cam in agreement with what he'd said.
"I don't want to upset you guys," Catherine said, "but I'm going to start dating again. In fact, I'm going to ask Bill Strawn over for dinner this coming week if you guys don't have a problem with that."
"Bill Strawn? Isn't he a professor at the university?" Cam asked.
"Yes," Catherine said. "He's a professor in the literature department. Chairman of the department, actually."
"It's fine with me," Cam said. "Kevin?"
"No problem. What night?"
"What about Wednesday?"
"All right," Cam said. "I'm assuming you want us to be there."
"Yes, of course," Catherine said, smiling.
"What are we having for dinner?" Kevin asked with a grin. "I wanna have something to look forward to."
"That has yet to be determined," Catherine said. "Any suggestions?"
"Let me get back to you on that," Kevin said. "Something tangy and filling. And a good dessert."
Catherine laughed, and just then their waiter started bringing their food.
Kevin caught Cam giving their waiter, a tall, good looking, olive skinned Latino kid, the eye, and when Cam glanced back at Kevin, the latter narrowed his eyes and shook his head in the negative very slightly so only Cam saw it.
"What?" Cam said.
"You know what!" Kevin responded.
"What are you two talking about?" Catherine asked.
"Nothing, Mommy," Cam said. "Kevin is just being difficult."
"I see," she said. "Do you boys have homework tonight?"
"Yes," they both said.
"All right," Catherine said. "I don't want your grades falling between now and the end of the year."
"They won't," Kevin said, tying into his tacos and enchiladas.
The rest of the meal was pleasant, with Catherine talking some more about New York and the boys telling her about Alex's and John's house on the beach. They finished their meal, Catherine paid the bill, and they went home. When they arrived, the boys thanked Catherine again for dinner, and went upstairs to hit the books. After changing into shorts and a T-shirt, Kevin went into Cam's room. Cam was still changing his clothes.
"I love that fine ass of yours, dude!" Kevin told Cam, watching him pull a pair of gym shorts on over his bare skin, going commando.
"Don't get me all excited now," Cam warned him. "I won't get any studying done."
"You're such a horny little fuck," Kevin said. "Speaking of which, what was with you checking out our waiter tonight?"
"Couldn't help it," Cam said. "I got some vibes, and there he was, right in front of me. It wouldn't have been polite not to look at him now that you've made me gay."
Kevin started laughing. "You miserable, lyin' piece of shit. You couldn't wait to get to get your horny paws on my goods the other night. Be a man and admit it!"
Cam grinned and went over to him and kissed him, giving him a hug.
"You da man!" he said, and kissed him again. "I hafta love ya for that!"
"I'm glad we got that settled," Kevin said. "Now, here's the plan. Two hours on the books, and then you're gonna do some curls tonight."
"What if studying depletes all my energy?"
"It won't. The weights will be a breeze for you once you think about how I'll reward you in bed later if you do a good job. I know you're gonna have enough energy for bedtime frolics."
"Is this how you woo someone into doing something?" Cam asked, grinning.
"Woo-schmoo. Don't make me kick your ass, now."
"Oooooh. I love it when you talk tough! Are we gonna study together?" Cam asked with a leer.
"No way. I actually have to learn something for class tomorrow. If we're together, that won't happen, and you know I'm right. I'll be in later."
Cam put on a sad face, the corners of his mouth drooping.
"Oh, stop it!" Kevin laughed. "You're fucking pitiful!" he said, walking out and leaving Cam to his books.
Kevin didn't appear again until two and a half hours had passed, actually. He'd gotten caught up in his physics text, and time had gotten away from him.
" 'K, jock boy," he said. "Get your ass moving. It's time for me to open up a new world of exercise for you."
Cam swiveled around in his computer chair, groaning. "You're late. It's probably too late to start lifting tonight."
"Bullshit. Let's go."
They went into Kevin's immense bedroom, with one corner devoted to a weight bench, an all-purpose exercise machine, and a pad for floor exercises. The room was in total disorder.
"This place is a pit," Cam observed disapprovingly, scoping things out.
"Really? And I worked so hard to make it presentable for you."
Kevin put a lifting belt on his buddy and showed him how to warm up before lifting.
"This isn't going to be what you expect," Kevin told Cam. "You're going to be lifting on the program I use called 'high intensity weight training.' You only do one set of reps on each muscle group at a very slow pace, and you only do each group once, or at most, twice a week."
"Are you sure this works?" Cam asked.
"I don't know. Look at me. Does it?" Kevin struck a pose, grinning, and looked good.
"Yeah, it works," Cam admitted.
Kevin had Cam lie down on the weight bench, put a few light weights on a bar, and do a few curls at an excruciatingly slow pace. Then he put him on the machine, and had him do some leg lifts, followed by some crunches on the exercise pad, also in slow motion. That was it for the first time, Kevin decreed. The latter took a blank piece of paper, made a form with "Cammy" in block letters at the top, and wrote down the date, the exercises done and the number of them completed, and the weights used. Then Kevin ran through one of his routines slowly while Cam watched.
"You're a strong little fucker," Cam told his friend. "Cute, too."
"Uh huh," Kevin said, a little winded.
"I'm gonna shower," Cam said.
"Don't, man. I want you in bed with a little sweat on ya."
"You're weird," Cam told his buddy, but he complied.
They cleaned their teeth, stripped, and piled eagerly into Cam's bed after locking both bedroom doors. Then the fun began, continuing until they were eventually covered with sperm and loving everything they had done. Cam scooped up some of their spunk off his abs and ate it, and then fed Kevin. Kevin caressed Cam's face gently as they dropped off to sleep, loosely holding one another in their arms.
* * *
Having once decided that it was time to date, Catherine followed through on her plans, and Bill Strawn showed up for drinks and dinner at 7 p.m. the following Wednesday. The boys had primed themselves to try to make Catherine's colleague feel welcome.
Strawn was a good looking man, actually, nattily dressed, the very picture of a professor with white hair, rimless spectacles, white shirt with a red bow tie, and a tweed jacket with patches on the elbows.
The evening started off pleasantly enough with the two adults drinking a couple of vodka martinis and the boys cokes while they all sat in the living room visiting. Rosa had cooked up a storm and was finishing up in the kitchen with a pork roast with horseradish on the side, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, and mixed vegetables. The boys mouths were watering.
When they were called into the dining room, Catherine put Strawn at the head of the table, herself at the foot, and the Cam and Kevin across from one another. Strawn offered the usual canned grace before a meal, and they sat down, Cam seating his mother. Cam didn't say anything about the man being put in what had been his father's place at the table, but he didn't particularly like it.
Conversation was flowing along smoothly as they ate a delicious meal, when Dr. Strawn looked over at Cam.
"I understand you recently paid a visit to your father in L.A., Cameron."
"Yes, Kevin and I were down there."
"He's queer, isn't he?" Strawn asked. "I read that in the paper."
Cam's face turned to stone as he put down his fork in his plate very deliberately and turned to look at their guest. Kevin's eyes got big, and Catherine looked surprised.
"Yes, my father's gay," Cam said quietly. And coldly.
"I'm sure you know the Church's stand on homosexuality," Strawn commented.
"I think so, but I'll just bet you're dying to elaborate on it, aren't you," Cam said with only partially veiled hostility.
"Well, after all, just because the people in this country seem to be drifting away from the straight and narrow path on so many fronts doesn't mean we Catholics should," Strawn said, shoveling some mashed potatoes into his mouth.
Kevin sat back in his chair with a small smile playing around his lips, because he knew how protective his friend was when it came to discussing his father's reputation. Despite Cam's laid back temperament, it would be only a matter of time before he attained critical mass and exploded all over the pompous little martinet sitting at the head of the table.
"I understand that you're here to see my mother, but is there some reason you feel compelled to give us a lecture on the finer points of theology and ethics relating to homosexuality?" Cam demanded.
"Well, we're all Catholics here, Cameron," Strawn said, sensing he might have crossed the line. "I thought the subject might be of interest."
"You thought wrong," Cam said, not raising his voice. "You couldn't have been more insulting to this family if you'd tried, making my father's sexual orientation into table talk. You're sitting in my father's chair, and to put it bluntly, you're not worthy to tie the man's shoes. As far as I'm concerned, you're no longer welcome in this house. I suggest you stand up, excuse yourself, and get your fat ass the hell out of here before I kick it down the front walk."
Strawn looked at Catherine with a stunned look on his face.
"Catherine?" he said plaintively.
"Bill, I think you'd better go," Catherine said, slowly standing up from the table. "Let me see you out."
The professor slammed his fork down into his plate, stood up, adjusted his bow tie, and neatly buttoned his sports jacket.
"I don't think much of your son's manners," Strawn said to Catherine. "Not at all."
"Get out!" Catherine said, pointing toward the hallway.
"Is it too late for me to vote on this?" Kevin chimed in, chuckling. "You're outta here, dude!" he said to Strawn.
Professor Strawn marched out of the room, nose in the air, with Catherine following behind him, and a moment later they heard the front door slam. Catherine walked slowly back into the room to find Kevin trying to keep from laughing and Cam sitting at the table with his head in his hands. The latter looked up at her.
"Mom, I'm sorry," he said.
"Don't apologize," Catherine said. "I may not have terribly high standards, but I don't think it's too much to expect that a guest in this house not go out of his way to gossip about your father's sexuality to our face. As far as I'm concerned, the Church's position on homosexuality is 'iffy,' and if I wanted to hear about it, I'd ask a priest to dinner."
"I'm not trying to sabotage your dates," Cam said. "I hope you don't think that."
"The man was out of line," she said. "Some people should never have that second martini, if you know what I mean."
"Thanks for understanding, Mom," Cam said, going to her and kissing her cheek.
"Sit down, and let's finish our dinner." She walked to the kitchen door and opened it. "Rosa, get yourself a glass of wine and a clean plate and come on in here. We need some good company."
"Si, Señora," Rosa said, and a moment later she came in carrying a glass of Pinot Grigiot and a clean plate with silverware, pushed back the plates from where Dr. Strawn had been sitting, and sat down.
"Eat, everybody, this is too good a meal to waste," Catherine said.
They finished the meal with pleasant conversation, among other things catching up on what Rosa's kids had been up to. After they had all eaten their fill, Kevin and Cam helped Catherine and Rosa clear the table and clean up the kitchen. Then the boys excused themselves to go upstairs and study after Cam had apologized again to his mother. Even though he felt he had been right, he didn't like the way the dinner party had turned out.
The boys studied for a while, each in his own room, and then Kevin went into Cam's bedroom to heckle him into doing some weight training. Cam complained bitterly about it just to give Kevin a hard time, but did as he was told and worked out in Kevin's room.
After they brushed their teeth, they locked both bedroom doors and with great anticipation piled into Kevin's bed, giving themselves over to the delights of one another's body. They kissed and touched one another in all the right places until they were so on edge that they almost shot off without any more stimulation.
"Before we get much deeper into this relationship, I need to tell you about my sex plan for you," Kevin whispered. "But we need to set aside plenty of time to carry it out. So it won't be tonight. But soon."
"Your 'sex plan?' Whaddaya have in mind?"
"I'm going to kiss, lick and suck every square inch of skin on your body. Every inch. Slowly. Then I'm going to do it again. When I'm done, I might let you come."
"I'm gonna hold you to that plan," Cam said, grinning. "And I'm going to reciprocate big time."
Kevin swung around in bed so that they could 69. As Cam did his partner, he rubbed Kevin's pucker and then inserted a moistened finger into him, causing Kevin to have a monumental and memorable orgasm almost immediately. Cam couldn't swallow fast enough, and some of the splooge leaked out of the corners of his mouth. Breathing hard as he finished off Cam, Kevin turned around on the bed and put his head on the pillow beside his lover. He licked the boy's lips until they were free of cum and shining in the dim light. They kissed tenderly, each tasting himself in one another. Kevin fell asleep almost immediately. Cam held him and watched him sleep for a long time, feeling his love for the boy until he finally joined him in oblivion.