This story is fiction. The city of Clifton, and the University of Clifton, exist only in my imagination. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. These stories have as their main character a sexually active gay college student. If this is offensive to you, or if it is illegal in your area, or if you are under age, please leave now.

This story involves a search for personal acceptance, worth, and meaning. There is a religious element in these stories. If you don't like that, maybe now is a good time to leave.

My stories develop slowly. If you're in a hurry, this is probably not for you.

Thanks to Colin for editing.

Constructive comments are welcome on my e-mail at


Bryce, Chapter 22 - A Terrific Tuesday

After parting from Mike Sandoval on Monday afternoon, Bryce spent the rest of the time before dinner working on his courses, especially Milton. Dr. Drake had said a rough draft of one's term paper could be submitted for her comments at mid-term, which he assumed meant on the day of the mid-term exam, this coming Thursday. So he wanted to have everything at least roughed in as far as his basic points were concerned - those points he made with Mike. He argued that Milton's anti-Catholicism was based on three points, viz., standard Protestant polemics, his experiences in Italy, and his family background. He concluded with a quotation from Samuel Johnson: Milton was "an acrimonious and surly republican." In addition to his term papers, of course, Bryce also prepared for his examinations.

With most students gone for fall break, those who remained tended to feel somewhat like the survivors of a shipwreck, banded together by circumstances. Bryce, Damon, DuBois, and a few others gathered for the evening meal, and spent a good hour enjoying their companionship. It was still light enough after dinner, so, at Bryce's suggestion, he and several others undertook to improve Damon's soccer skills for about an hour. Damon proved to be a good sport about it, even though he got knocked about a bit. Two of the other students who had nowhere to go during break were foreigners, one from Venezuela, another from Korea. They had been playing soccer (which they called football) since they were small, so they ran circles around Damon, but all in good fun. Moreover, he learned some things which would help him in his PE class. After more time spent on his class work, about 9:30 he and Damon again adjourned to Pat's Tavern, where they spent the evening with some other survivors of the shipwreck. It was enjoyable to just talk with his peers, not worrying about great problems. Among them, they determined the outcome of the next presidential election, and settled ecological policy for the country. An important part of the visits to Pat's these past few weeks was that Damon did not get drunk. On the way back to the dorm, past midnight, Bryce commented on that.

"Yeah. I kind of had my own revelation, you know," Damon confirmed. "With you and Curtis and Caroline, and now your sister, all accepting that I'm gay, and still being my friends, I feel a lot better about the future. And, too, being in SAT is really great. I mean, I've never actually told DuBois that I'm gay, but I think he knows, and it doesn't make any difference to him. And I get the idea most of the brothers are like that. So, I've kind of got a support group, you know. And that goes not just for being accepted as a gay man, but for other things, too. Like learning soccer," Damon laughed at that. "And even learning something about that dude you and Caroline are so big on, that Mozart. I really am going to make something out of myself. I mean, I know I said that all along, but I don't think I really believed it deep down. Now I do. So, that's a long way of saying I'm not as screwed up as I was, so I don't need to get drunk."

Bryce grabbed his boyfriend and kissed him. It really was the first time he had spontaneously taken the lead on something like that.

Surprised, but very pleased, Damon suggested, "Let's get back to the dorm."

They did not get to sleep for another couple of hours.

So it was that Tuesday began for Bryce later than most days. When it began, it was still at the gym, but with a somewhat different agenda. After only about a half-hour of working out, he entered the pool area, and swam for another half-hour, then enjoyed the hot tub and sauna. As he sat in the sauna, Bryce allowed his mind to wander. He was feeling very contented, after oral sex with Damon last night, and a satisfying physical workout this morning. In this mood, when he was no longer trying to force a solution to his various problems, something emerged from his subconscious. He did not jump up and yell "Eureka!" like Archimedes, but he felt like it. And he felt, too, that he needed to go ask the only person who could confirm his insight. As he turned it over in his mind, he was intrigued. Maybe - just maybe - some of the things he had learned over the past seven weeks were beginning to come together. This insight left him feeling really excited, even giddy.

Returning to the dorm, he found Damon awake. He kissed him again, like the evening before, but this time, instead of heading to bed, he insisted on giving his boyfriend another soccer lesson. When that was completed, it was nearly 11:30. Damon was insisting they eat. But Bryce had something else in mind.

"You go ahead. Today has been really great, beginning with sex at midnight. I think I need to go thank God for that."

Damon looked askance at him. "You really are weird, you know."

Bryce laughed. "Too late. Now you're stuck with a weird boyfriend."

As Damon departed to the University Center, Bryce collected his car keys. He knew from perusing the Sunday bulletins that there was a weekday Mass at St. Boniface every day at noon. He did not attempt to change clothes or clean up, but went directly to the church in order not to be late.

As he knelt down upon entering, Bryce prayed: Lord, you know I'm not being disrespectful. But I really need to know whether that idea I got his morning came from you, or maybe from someone I want to avoid. I love you, Lord. I don't want to be separated from you. Please help me. Grant me your wisdom, to know your will; grant me your courage, to proclaim your will, grant me your strength, to do your will.

The weekday Mass was considerably less ceremonious than that on Sundays, with no deacons, no choir, and no incense. The celebrant was not Father Payne, but an elderly priest whom Bryce had not met before. Perhaps this was Father Kelley, the priest-in-residence mentioned in the bulletin. When it came time for the sermon, Bryce consciously opened his mind to whatever God had to say to him. The old priest spoke in a frail voice. He noted that this was the feastday of St. Bruno. A German by birth, he spent most of his life in France, but died at his second monastic foundation in Italy. Thus, he was truly catholic. Bruno was one of the most educated men of his day, his day being the eleventh century. He started on his real vocation after having a major problem with a corrupt bishop, Archbishop Manasses of Rheims. In an aside, Father Kelley, if that's who it was, noted that on occasion the bishops have gone astray, as during the period in the fourth century when most of them accepted the Arian heresy, but the true Faith was kept alive by the People of God, who constitute the Church. St. Bruno went on to found the Carthusian monks, the only religious order in the Catholic Church more than two centuries old which has never been reformed, because it never needed to be.

When it was time for communion, Bryce approached, holding out his cupped hands. The priest seemed to look right into his soul as he said, "The Body of Christ." Feeling this was very special, Bryce replied stoutly, "Amen." Returning to his pew, Bryce sank to his knees, closed his eyes, and allowed Jesus to speak to him. After a few moments, he replied. Thank you, Lord. Thank you for coming to me. No, not just to me, but into me. I know that is important. I have some of you in me, now. We are one. You in me. I know now that you are telling me to be the person you made me. Like St. Bruno, I might have some difficulties with some bishops, but not with you, and not with your Church. Thank you, Lord, for sharing with me this piece of your Wisdom. I know that Wisdom is another name of the Holy Spirit, and I feel infused with the Holy Spirit. Grant me your strength, that I might do your will.

Bryce stayed kneeling during the remainder of the Mass, essentially unaware of what was going on around him. He did not consciously think anything in words, but he felt a great sense of consolation and contentment. The Jesus he had taken into his body had told him that he was beloved, that he was acting in accordance with his God-given nature, and that Damon was to be a part of not only his life, but his salvation. He was as certain of this as of anything. When he finally noticed his surroundings again, he found that he was alone in the church, except for the altar server who was extinguishing the candles. Looking toward the tabernacle, Bryce said: Thank you again, Lord. Thank you for all you have done for me. Thank you for Damon.

Just as he was about to rise, the old priest came down the aisle. He was now wearing only a cassock, which very few priests wore except when carrying out liturgical functions these days. He paused beside Bryce's pew.

"You look as though you had a good Mass," he said.

"Yes, Father. I believe I received the answer to a problem," Bryce replied.

"Trust God. He won't let you down," the elderly cleric advised, and went on his way.

Bryce returned to campus. He checked on Damon, but he was not in his room, so he settled down to do some serious academic work. About an hour later, he heard Damon rummaging about in his room, so he went through to speak with him. Damon was just a bit upset with Bryce for going off to what he thought of as "that homophobic church" rather than having lunch and spending more time with him. Consequently, he was quite surprised when Bryce came directly up to him and again kissed him with great feeling.

"Not that I'm complaining, but what brought that on?" Damon asked.

"I love you," Bryce replied.

That left Damon entirely speechless.

Bryce continued. "I went to Mass, as you know. While I was there, I thanked God for you, and for the loving we did last night. Jesus told me you were good for me."

Damon remained stunned, but managed a hesitant, "Jesus told you?"

"Yeah. Don't freak out on me. I don't hear voices or anything. But I know it was Jesus, because I had just received him in communion. Now I know that us being together is a good thing, and, in some way I'm not clear about yet, this will fit in with my religion. Anyway," Bryce continued in a brisker fashion, "how about we go help out at the soup kitchen this evening? The guys won't be back until tomorrow."

"Uh, yeah. Okay," a still stunned Damon replied.

"Okay. Til then, I've got more work to do on those bitchin' term papers. See you about twenty to four."

Bryce was very pleased with his productivity that afternoon. He completed the next-to-last versions of both his Psychology and his Biology term papers, and the rough draft of his term paper for his English course. Of course, he had been working on all these for weeks, but he now saw things fall into place, and he wrote like one possessed, or perhaps inspired. None of these were finished products. He would put the two semi-completed papers aside for at least a week, and then read them again, to make sure he had said what he intended. The English paper was merely a first draft. He would see what Dr. Drake had to say about it, and at some point also have some of his friends in his study group review it, before he was ready to write up the final version. Still, he felt that he had accomplished a great deal. There was still studying for the Milton exam on Thursday, and he would have the study group meeting on Wednesday evening to help with that. And then, there was his French exam on Friday, and he had to do that pretty much on his own. It was a good thing he enjoyed the course.

Shortly after 3:30 Damon cautiously knocked on his door, and peered in after receiving an invitation. He seemed unsure of his position, which was not like him at all.

"Why are you creeping around like that?" Bryce asked.

"I'm not quite sure what to expect from you anymore," Damon replied.

Bryce smiled. "Look, like I said earlier, I don't mean to freak you out or anything. Nothing has changed. No, that's not true. But nothing should change the way we relate to each other. It's simple. This morning while I was relaxing in the sauna, I realized that I not only liked you, but I loved you. Then, I realized that one of the greatest acts of love Jesus did for us was to give us his bodily presence in communion. He actually comes into my body, and for a while we are intimately united. He shares himself with us who believe. And then it occurred to me that this might be something like two people making love, like if I took you into my body. We haven't done that yet, but that would be the ultimate act of physical love, right?" Without waiting for a response, Bryce hurried on. "Well, then I knew I had to check this out with the only guy I know who could really tell me whether I was on to something special, or was way out in left field. So I went to Mass, and after I received Jesus in communion, I asked him. And I just felt his answer. Yes. Yes to love. Yes to loving you. Yes to you being the love of my life. Simple."

Damon looked at Bryce as though he had never seen him before. He started to speak, but then stopped. A strange look came over his face. "Mr. Gentry," he said.

"What? Who's Mr. Gentry?" Bryce asked.

"Mr. Gentry was this old geezer who lived in the same building we did in the projects. He talked to Jesus, too. I don't think he was Catholic, though, and I don't remember anything about taking communion or bodies. But he was the only person besides you I ever knew who talked to Jesus, and the only person who seemed to understand me when I was a kid. He hid me from my brother Tyson lots of times. I don't think I would have survived if it hadn't been for him, and I don't mean only the hiding me part. He gave me the courage to go on when nothing seemed to matter. He was the nicest, kindest, most understanding person I've ever known."

"I'm flattered if you're telling me I remind you of Mr. Gentry. Where is he now?" Bryce enquired.

"He's dead. He died about five or six years ago. I don't know what caused it. Just one day I heard he was dead. I thought I'd never make it without him, but every time things got really tough, I'd remember what he always said."

"And what was that?"

"You can do it, because Jesus loves you," Damon repeated with wonder, as though he just heard it for the first time.

"Okay. So, you trusted Mr. Gentry, even though he talked to Jesus. Do you trust me? I'm not going to do anything stupid. At least, not any stupider than I did before," Bryce said with a self-deprecating grin.

"Okay, Mr. Gentry. Let's go feed the flock," Damon agreed.

When they approached the soup kitchen, Bryce worried about whether DeShawn would be around to keep an eye on his Mustang, since this was not his usual time for working there. At that, Damon laughed. "Now I know that you're the same old Bryce. I think we'll find DeShawn hanging around here somewhere." And they did.

The two guys spent the next three hours at the shelter, setting up, serving, and eating. Deacon Jeffers was very grateful to them for showing up, as not only were the other SAT brothers still on break, but one of his regular workers had called in sick. They recognized many of the diners as the same as those they had come to know on Sundays, which was not surprising.

When it was time to leave, Bryce found DeShawn sitting next to his Mustang, as he did every Sunday. "Thanks, Buddy," he said as he handed the boy a twenty. Then Bryce asked, "Did you get something to eat?"

"Sure," the boy responded. "Just like on Sunday. Damon always brings me something. I didn't get anything on the car though," he assured Bryce.

"Nope," Bryce said, acting as though he were inspecting the finish on his vehicle. Then he asked, "What do you do after we leave?"

"Walk home," DeShawn said.

"How would you like a ride home?"

"Really? That would be so cool!"

"Okay. Hop in. Damon will have to sit in the back, because I'll need you up front to navigate."

DeShawn looked like he had won the lottery. He sat up straight, and gave Bryce careful directions to the apartment house where he lived. It was about what one would expect, nothing special, but it was not like the projects Damon talked about, either.

"You have school tomorrow?" Bryce asked the boy.

"Yeah," DeShawn said, dragging out the word, indicating he was not looking forward to that.

"Well, you stick with it, and do a good job. Then, later on, you can get ahead in the world, like Damon, here," Bryce admonished him.

"Yeah, I guess. That's what Damon always says, too," DeShawn admitted.

"And Damon is always right," Bryce kidded.

"I'll remember that," Damon interjected from the rear seat.

After dropping DeShawn off at his building, they returned to campus. Bryce wanted to do some studying for his Milton and French exams, but they agreed to meet again at 9:30 for another trek to Pat's place.

When he arrived back in his room, however, Bryce first checked his e-mail. There, he found a lengthy message from his mother. As he expected, Nan had called and filled her in on everything she had discovered during her two days in Clifton. Chief among those discoveries was Bryce's homosexuality, so he was glad he had prepared the way with his call on Sunday evening. The really great part of the message related that Nan also gave his mother a great deal of information about Damon, including the fact that he was black and from a poor family. But Nan also reported that Damon seemed to be good for Bryce, that they seemed to get along very well, and that Bryce was happier than she had seen him in the past two years. As a result of this analysis, Martha Winslow extended a formal invitation to Damon to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with the Winslows. Bryce was elated with this level of acceptance. He would have burst into Damon's room with the news right away, except that he knew that Damon had departed for the Sigma Alpha Tau house to spend some time with DuBois. Therefore, he devoted his time until nearly nine-thirty to studies.

After another round of virtuous intellectual activity, Bryce settled in a booth at Pat's Tavern for relaxation and conversation with Damon. No sooner had they obtained their beers and settled in than Damon demanded an explanation.

"This has been the weirdest day on record, and I want to know what's going on," he announced.

"It's been a terrific day," Bryce countered. "First of all, I got an e-mail from my mom when I got back to the room. As I expected, Nan has spilled everything she picked up, including everything about you. The good news is, Mom sends an invitation to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with the Winslows in Nebraska."

Damon was unprepared for this. "She knows about me? I mean, about us?"

"Yes, she knows."

"I don't know whether I'm ready for this," Damon hesitated.

"Now who wants to think everything over?" Bryce teased. "But there's no rush. Thanksgiving is still six weeks away."

"Okay. Shelve that. What I really want to know about is this talking to Jesus bit, and ... and, well, some of the other things you've been spouting today," Damon insisted.

For over an hour, Bryce attempted to explain the combination of Catholic theology and personal spiritual experience which had resulted in his euphoric frame of mind. After it all, Damon seemed as confused as when they began. Bryce was reminded of an inscription he had seen somewhere which went something like: "For those who believe, no explanation is necessary: for those who do not believe, no explanation is possible." So, in the end, he gave up trying to explain it all.

"Look, Damon, I don't expect you to feel the same way I do about all this. This is something I experienced, and you did not. If you like, you can say I dreamed it all up. But the result is something you should be interested in. Once before when we were sitting here, right before you wasted a perfectly good glass of beer by pouring it over my head, you asked me whether I would ever make up my mind about sex. Well, I have made up my mind."

That definitely caught Damon's attention. Given the religious context of everything, he was afraid Bryce was going to call off the oral sex they had been sharing. Cautiously, he asked, "And what have you decided?"

"That's what I'm trying to tell you. I decided that I love you, and since I love you, having sex with you is entirely appropriate. Sex should be a giving of oneself, and I'm ready to give myself to you," Bryce announced.

"But we've already .... Wait. Do I remember something from right before we went to the soup kitchen about taking me into your body? Do you mean ... ?"

"Yes, boyfriend. I'm ready," Bryce said with a silly grin across his face.

"Well then, why the hell are we wasting time here in this bar?" Damon demanded. "Let's go."

They practically ran all the way back to the dorm and up two flights to Bryce's room. They were panting when they arrived. Bryce shut the door and locked it, and turned around leaning against the door. Damon grabbed him and began kissing him passionately. Gradually, they made their way across the room to the bed, shedding clothing along the way. At the side of the bed, they frantically discarded their remaining garments, and tumbled onto the bed, clasping each other tightly. Their kisses and caresses had already resulted in both guys having raging hard-ons, but for the moment they were focused on what would appear to a casual observer to be an effort to swallow each other. After the initial burst of passion, gradually they began to kiss and nibble their ways down each other's bodies, savoring each erogenous zone as it was encountered. Before long, they found themselves in the classic sixty-nine position. Only a short time ago their oral activities had first resulted in this form of mutual gratification.

It seemed that they could not restrain themselves. Despite their joint desire to ratchet their relationship up to the next level, they could not resist the temptation to enjoy the sensations of mutual oral exploration. It was not just the intense feeling Bryce received from Damon's attentions to his cock and balls with mouth and fingers, but also the satisfaction he received from giving his lover those same intense pleasures. They lost control of their reflexes, and, before they were ready, that delicious sensation of imminent explosion began to surge through their bodies. Racked with the most intense sensations he could imagine, Bryce felt his semen surge and explode like a Fourth of July rocket. At the same time, Damon reached the same stage, spurting his spunk in tremendous globs into Bryce's throat. When Bryce pulled back, trying to avoid choking, he felt the later ejaculations splatter across his face. Lovingly, Bryce used his tongue and lips to clean up his partner, then twisted around so they were face to face. He collapsed, breathing heavily.

"I'm sorry," Bryce panted. "I got [pant] carried away. [pant] I didn't mean [pant] to cum yet."

"It's okay," Damon responded, equally short of breath. "I think [pant] we've proven [pant] we can cum [pant] more than once [pant] a night."

"Yeah," Bryce grinned.

It was at least ten minutes before either lad stirred again.

When at last they did, it was Damon who spoke first. He gently kissed Bryce's eyelids, rolling over so he was above his lover. Looking down into Bryce's eyes, he said, "Did I hear you throw around the L word earlier today?"

Bryce threw his arms around Damon, and squeezed him. With a big grin, he admitted, "Yep. You did. Never mind the religion part for now. I love you."

Damon looked deeply into Bryce's eyes, beyond the surface, and into his soul. "What I see there frightens me," he admitted. "But, it's a good kind of frightened. I don't think anyone has felt like this about me, ever."

Bryce lifted his head so he could kiss Damon lightly on the lips, then he chuckled.

"What?" Damon asked.

"It's the contrast. White sperm on brown skin. You're just so much more artistic than I am."

"You are definitely weird. But, I think ... maybe ... I love you anyway."

"You think? Maybe? What is this?" Bryce demanded.

"I feel something I never felt before. I don't have much experience with love. Remember, if we're partners, we have to put up with each other. If I can put up with you going all weird and talking to Jesus, then you've got to put up with me not quite knowing what love is," Damon pled.

"I'll teach you," Bryce declared.

They kissed again, going from a light loving kiss to another round of tonsil twisting passion. Then Damon broke contact.

"What?" Bryce asked.

"You haven't had any sex, except what we've done, since you had that series of tests before school started, right?"


"Well, I told you that I had, but had been careful. After we started your lessons in applied dissipation, I went back to the Health Center and had myself tested again, just to be sure, and I haven't done anything since then except with you. So we're both safe." Damon rose from the bed. "Hold on. I need to get some supplies."

Damon disappeared through the connecting doors, but returned in seconds. "This is the best friend of the sodomite," he declared, holding up a tube.

"Is this that KY jelly I've read about in some of those stories?" Bryce asked.

"Yep. Here, look it over. You're going to become very familiar with it in the days to come," Damon said, tossing the tube to Bryce as he laid a bath towel on the bed.

Bryce unscrewed the cap, and smelled it. Not much. He squeezed a little on his finger. It was clear but slippery. He tasted it with the tip of his tongue. Not much there either. Bryce looked up at Damon. Damon held out his hand. Bryce handed him the open tube.

"Now, there are two ways to do this. Well, more than two, but two I'm thinking of for right now. You can lie on your back and hold your legs up and apart, or you can get on all fours with your cute little butt up in the air. As much as I'd love to see your face, I think the second option will be easier on you for your first time. So, roll over and raise that ass!"

Bryce giggled, but did what he was told. He formed a kind of slope, with his butt in the air, his head lying on a pillow. He tried twisting around so he could watch what Damon was doing, but it was anatomically impossible to get everything in his line of vision. Damon squeezed a large dollop of the jelly onto his fingers, and began pressing against Bryce's sphincter muscle, while running his other hand over his back and buttocks, soothing his partner. Once he felt Bryce was sufficiently relaxed, he began by inserting his middle finger into his partner's ass hole. He had to manoeuver it around some before it was accepted, but then he penetrated slowly, allowing Bryce to become comfortable with that before moving on. He did not rush, but moved his finger around and around, loosening his partner. When he felt Bryce was ready, Damon inserted a second finger. Bryce gritted his teeth and moaned. This was great, but at the same time uncomfortable, at least at the start of each new phase of this experience.

As Damon moved his fingers around inside his boyfriend, he stretched them out, searching. He reached that hard bundle of nerve endings, and Bryce yelped and almost jumped. Damon had been ready for him however.

"What was that?" Bryce asked.

"Prostate," Damon replied. "Best evidence I know that nature intended for something to be shoved up there."

"Wow! I almost came," Bryce admitted.

"Oh yeah, that reminds me," Damon said, as he used his free hand to scoot the bath towel strategically under Bryce.

Seeing that everything was going well, and Bryce was adjusting well to the intrusions into his rectum, Damon inserted a third finger. Bryce moaned, but did not protest. As Damon continued to stretch his partner's back corridor, he squeezed a blob of KY jelly onto his own penis, and began to slather it up. There was no need to get him harder, as he was already stiffer than he could ever remember being.

"I think you're ready," Damon said. He leaned over and kissed Bryce's back, then he used his knees to spread Bryce's legs farther apart, and brought his cockhead up against Bryce's rear entrance. As he removed his fingers, Bryce felt a great emptiness, but that sensation was immediately replaced by the sensation of a fleshy tool attempting to enter him. At first, Damon seemed to have trouble. Every time he pressed against Bryce's sphincter, Bryce automatically clenched his muscles. Damon instructed, "Push, like you're going to take a shit." When Bryce followed these directions, he soon felt the head of Damon's cock penetrate him. Just as he had with his fingers, Damon was gentle, taking his time, moving in inch by inch, allowing Bryce to become accustomed to this foreign substance inside him. But eventually patience and perseverance paid off. Bryce felt Damon's pubic bush brush against his ass cheeks.

After catching his breath, Bryce said, "Do it, Damon. Fuck me!"

For a good fifteen minutes, Damon followed these instructions. Bryce went through so many sensations, all of them intense, that he thought he would pass out from the experience. It was almost as though he were in a totally new world, a totally new body, one which experienced delicious electrical flashes every few seconds. His own cock was throbbing. Grasping his hips, Damon pounded him, going from careful and gentle to abandoned and frenetic. As Bryce felt Damon's cock pass over his prostate again and again, he reached the point of no return. Moaning and calling out, he began to ejaculate into the towel beneath him without anyone even touching his penis. As he did, his muscles contracted, putting additional pressure on Damon. Puffing, Damon grunted, "Here it comes!" He began to spew his seed into his lover's bowels.

Both men collapsed. Damon was on top of Bryce, his penis still inside his lover. They were panting as much as they had from running back from Pat's, or as much as Bryce did after his laps in the pool. After a few moments, Damon's cock softened and slipped out of Bryce. Bryce turned so he could face his partner. He kissed Damon on the lips, gently.

"Thanks. This has been a terrific Tuesday."