Seated before his computer, Justin glanced over at his roommate, who had put his book in his lap and had taken off his glasses. He was staring at Justin.
Cocking his head to one side, Justin asked, "Like what you see, straight boy?" He was surprised that instead of coming back with a snappy retort, Bailey blushed.
"Uh, no, Jus. I'm sorry. I guess I was zoned out or something."
"It's no big deal, man, but you were staring at me."
"Come on, haven't you ever been lost in thought and just sort of stared right through something?"
"Yeah, I suppose so. What was it you were thinking about?"
Bailey hesitated. "I was remembering something from when I was in junior high school."
"Wanna tell me about it?"
"No, it wasn't important. So! I feel like a milkshake. Wanna go get one?"
"Man, it's too fuckin' cold outside, and it's snowing. Let's just make some cocoa."
"You're a wimp, Quinn. But cocoa's okay." Bailey stood and went to their minifridge for the milk.
After the cocoa had been microwaved, the two sat in their computer chairs, facing each other.
Bailey took a tentative sip and apparently decided the liquid was too hot, for he set the mug down next to his keyboard.
"It's none of my business, but I'm guessing you haven't had any sex since that party at Blake's. That's four months. I know the whole experience turned you off to sex. Have you and Dr. Gaskins made any progress? It seems to me you'd be ready to fuck a telephone pole." He grinned. "Or are you and Harry getting it on, now that you're friends again?"
"You're right, it's not really any of your business." Then, smirking, he said, "Your own sex life must be pretty pathetic if you've got nothing better to do than sit there and worry about mine."
Bailey chuckled. "I'll have you know, I've got a date Saturday."
"Anybody I know?"
"I doubt it. Her name's Tiffany Hughes, and she's in my Western Civ class."
"Does she put out?"
"Don't be crude. Tiff's a nice girl."
"Which means she doesn't put out?"
"Well, I'm not going to find out on the first date, am I?"
"Stone, you're such a prude! A lot of guys wouldn't go out with her if they weren't sure they'd score."
"Come on, you know I'm not like that!"
"I think that's what I just said, dufus. I'm wondering when you'll ever get your own rocks off at the rate you move with the chicks."
"You've very neatly changed the subject, Quinn. I suppose that means you and Harry aren't having sex. Come to think of it, I haven't smelled the usual odor when I've come into the room. Not since before you two broke up last fall."
"Fuck, man. You really are hung up on my sex life!"
"No, Jus, but I am worried about your lack of one. Kidding aside, are you and the doc making progress on that topic? Does the idea of sex still seem revolting to you?"
"Oh, Doc Levi has been a lot of help. One day in our session I was admiring his package, as a matter of fact, and a few minutes later his nice ass."
"You'd have sex with him?"
"Probably not. He and I've been talking about sex being something between two people who really care about each other. But it's progress that I got hard even thinking about doing him."
Bailey grinned. "Glad to hear it. And I like the bit about having sex with people you care about."
"Does that mean you're going to wait and see if you care about Tiffany before having sex with her?"
Bailey gave him a serious look. "Yeah."
"Does that mean you weren't fucking all those women you were dating first semester?"
"Now it's my turn to say it's none of your business. But since the discussion's come this far, I'll tell you. I only had sex with one of them. Either the others were people I really couldn't see being intimate with, or else they wanted sex from the get-go. There was one I thought was promising, but it didn't work out. Though we did have sex a couple of times."
"That had to be Ruthie. She's the one you were with for a while."
Bailey smiled. "A gentleman never tells."
"But, dude, that means you've got to be about as horny as I am. I'm surprised we haven't been keeping each other awake at night whackin' off."
"Well, there have been a couple of times . . ."
Justin laughed. "Yeah, bro, there have!"
* * *
It was a little over a week later, a Saturday night. Bailey was on his second date with Tiffany. Justin had thought about going home for the weekend, but there wasn't anything to do there, either. So he'd done some laundry, eaten supper alone at the Commons, returned to his room, put on some sweat pants and a tee shirt, and was catching up on his email when there was a tap at the door.
"Hey, Jus," Harry said. "Bailey's out for the evening?"
"Yup. Trying to figure out whether he wants to get past first base with Tiffany."
`What the fuck's that mean?"
"Never mind. Sit down."
Harry, wearing jeans, a tee, and flipflops, sat in Bailey's computer chair.
"No luck in finding a cute guy?" Justin asked.
Harry licked his lips. "Not finding a new guy."
Justin frowned. "A new guy?"
"Yeah, `cause there's this hunky dude I already know, and . . . "
Justin put his hands up, palms out. "Wait a minute, Jackson. You mean me?"
"I thought it was clear that we were only gonna be buds."
"There are buds and then there are buds, if you know what I mean."
Justin was afraid he did know what Harry meant. "Are you coming on to me, man?"
Harry leaned back in his chair and said, "Well, yeah. I just thought . . ."
"You weren't thinking!" Justin said, louder than he'd intended.
"Come on, Jus," Harry whined. "We're both horny. We don't have anybody special in our lives. We were good together before. Why can't we try it again?" He gave Justin a seductive smile and put his hand on his genitals.
Justin expelled a breath noisily. "You fuckin' want to get together again? I can't believe you! First, you decide I'm too promiscuous for you and cut off our relationship. Then after several months, you come back and we agree to be friends. I think I made it clear that friends was all. And now you're back wanting a little Saturday night nookie! You're a cute guy, Harry. And I used to think you were a pretty nice one, too. But, fuck, man, you don't give up. I'm not interested in having sex with you."
"Justin, I know you've got to be horny. I'll bet you haven't had sex with anybody since we broke up. I'll suck you off. You know I've got a hot ass, if you're still interested in being a top!" He stood before Justin's chair and dropped to his knees. Then he leaned forward and nuzzled Justin's package.
Putting his hand on Harry's forehead, Justin shoved so hard that the kneeling man wound up on his back.
"Just get the fuck out of here! Go get somebody else to fuck you! Write your phone number on the stalls at the library or something! Just let me the fuck alone. And don't come back! I'm not interested in you. Can't you get that through your stupid head?" Justin had tears in his eyes.
Harry stood, looking alarmed. "Okay, okay, pardon me for living. I hope you find what you want, Justin." He went to the door and opened it. "But you're fooling yourself if you think you're going to make it with Stone." He left, closing the door softly behind him.
`Well, don't that just beat fuck?' Justin thought. `I know I never told Jackson how I feel about Bailey. How'd he know? Am I that obvious? Does Bailey know? What am I gonna do now?'
He was tense. There was only one sure-fire way to relieve the tension. He looked at his watch. It was 9:35. Bailey wouldn't be home for hours. Justin took off all his clothes, throwing them on his bed. He leaned back in the chair and wrapped his fingers around his stiffening cock . . . .
`Why is it I can't keep a relationship going or else I get obsessed with guys who aren't interested in me? Gary and I had something good, but we agreed to break it off. And look at him, he's having a great time at IU. He doesn't miss me. And, man, he's turned into a hot dude since we graduated.'
Slowly pumping his hard tool, he continued to think. `And then there was Todd. What we had was the best sex ever. Man, he kept me hard and happy all summer.' He chuckled. `That day when the farmer caught us fucking in his field. What a rush! But then Todd turned out to be such a slime, tricking me into performing for the camera. I wonder if his Uncle Tom was in on that. Pinkie's such a fairy name for a guy. And Lynch. I'd not be surprised if the whole thing was his idea. At least Todd hasn't shown that dvd to anyone else, so far as I know.'
`And the guys I really have strong feelings for are guys I can't ever have. Brode said all along that we couldn't ever be anything more than good friends. Okay, he said brothers, and that's cool. But he's with Dave, and he's happy with Dave, and I love him too much to mess with that, even if I could. Which I can't.'
`So what do I do? I fall in love with Bailey. And there's no doubt that's what it is. I'm fuckin' in love with the big dude. He's not just a muscle-bound gym rat like I called him one day, either. He knows me so well it's scary. And he likes me. I know he does. I feel so great when he's around! I've always thought I could take good care of myself, that I didn't have to lean on anybody. But Bailey, well, he's different. He makes me feel safe. He's my rock. But he's fuckin' straight! And so fuckin' hot!'
Picturing Bailey's muscular glutes, imagining them spread so as to reveal the private place, the pink pucker, he began to pump his now rigid member. He closed his eyes, put his head back, and imagined having Bailey under him, legs spread, brown eyes looking up at him with love, and he felt his balls draw up. They were churning, and his orgasm was about to begin.
The door opened. "Hey roomie, I – Oh, shit! Sorry, dude. I'll be back after a while."
Justin's unstoppable orgasm erupted. He sprayed cum all over his chest and stomach.
"Shit! Fuck! Damn! Motherfucker!" he cursed. `Why'd he have to come just then? He was supposed to be out for the evening. And he saw me beating off like a horny middle schooler. Oh, God!"
He grabbed a towel and cleaned himself off. After putting on his clothes and shoes, he went down the stairs and across the lobby. Just as he was going out the main door of the dormitory, he encountered Bailey coming in.
"Jus, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have barged in on you," Bailey said, his face showing his sincerity.
"No, I'm sorry. Didn't think you'd be back for a while. Sorry you had to see that. I'm, um, gonna take a walk. Be back after a while."
"Want some company?"
"No!" Justin was embarrassed that he'd almost shouted, mortified that he'd been caught in mid-orgasm by Bailey, of all people. "No, man. I just need to get some fresh air. I'll be back in a few."
"You sure you're okay?"
"Yeah. I'm fine. Later."
* * *
"Hey, guys, what can I do for you?"
Toby Taba had just dismissed his computer class to find Justin and Bailey standing at his desk.
"You've been trying to keep your feet on the ground all period. We're just being nosy and wondering if you and Ben had a good night last night or what."
Bailey nudged Justin with his elbow and said, "You've got to forgive him. He has no discretion."
Toby smiled broadly. "I'll overlook the remark. And it's good to be able to tell someone. Ben's book has just hit the stores."
"His book?" Justin asked.
"Yeah, didn't he tell you about it at Brody and Dave's that evening?"
"Nope. Did you know about it, Bailey?"
"No. What's it about?"
"It's a novel. The title is Picking up the Pace and it's about a gay guy and his affairs. It's being put out by G-Mark, the biggest gay publisher in the country.
"Excellent," Bailey said. "Where can we get a copy?"
"Since Ben's an alumnus, they're stocking it at the campus bookstore. Also I think Borders out by the mall will have it."
"It's cool to know a published author. Tell Ben we said congratulations!"
"Thanks, guys. Will do."
As they walked down the hallway, Bailey said, "That Moss is interesting. He looks like some movie star, but he's really very quiet. I found him a little difficult to talk to that night."
"Yeah, he seems pretty shy. I did find out that he has a brother, sister-in-law, and nephew downstate somewhere and that he has both a BA and MA from CSU. And, of course, that he is the assistant public information officer for Colby County. He works with that other big blond hunk, Anders."
Bailey chuckled. "You found out a hell of a lot more about him than I did." He punched Justin on the shoulder. "Probably because you have brass balls."
* * *
Although most of the time he was his usual light-hearted self, Bailey had seemed distant, withdrawn at times, since the Christmas break.
When Justin had finally been able to talk about his embarrassment at being caught masturbating that evening, Bailey had apologized.
"Jus, a guy's gotta get off. I should have knocked or something."
"No way! It's your room, too. I shouldn't have been doing that when there was any chance you'd come in. But I thought you were with Tiff and wouldn't be home until late."
"Yeah, well, we broke up."
"I'm sorry, man. What happened?"
Bailey looked acutely embarrassed. "I'd rather not talk about it, okay?"
"Sure. But your track record with the ladies isn't very good, you know?"
Bailey's pained look made Justin instantly wish he hadn't said that. He wanted to hug his big room mate, but he held himself back.
"Sorry. I shouldn't have said that."
Bailey smiled. "But you're right, Jus. It isn't"
* * *
One weeknight the roommates had finished their homework and were relaxing before bedtime. Bailey was having a beer. Beer was illegal for guys their age and against university regulations, but nearly every fridge on the campus contained a supply of the forbidden beverage. Justin, who'd sworn off alcohol since the event at Blake Anderson's, was having some cocoa he'd nuked.
"Baile?" He smiled and raised one eyebrow.
Bailey looked at him skeptically. "You're gonna ask me something you shouldn't, aren't you?"
"Damn, you read me like a book, like nobody else ever has!"
"That's good! Where'd you get that?"
"That's a song from Chicago."
"Fuck, dude, you're the one that should be gay, knowing songs from musicals."
Bailey flexed his right biceps and gave Justin a mock glare.
"Okay, okay, oh muscle god. I was just gonna ask if we really are best friends."
"Feeling insecure, Jus?"
"Well, I do sometimes. But right now I want to ask you something I'm not supposed to."
Bailey chuckled. "So ask. I can always say no."
"Okay, here's something that's been on my mind since last fall."
Just then Bailey's cell phone rang.
"Yo, it's Bailey. Nope. Just bullshitting. Sure. Come on down."
"What is that ringtone? I've always been meaning to ask."
"It's the main theme from Tchaikovsky's `1812 Overture.'"
"Pretty fuckin' highbrow, Stone. But catchy. Yadda da duh dadda da! da! da!"
"My grandma says there was a popular song back in the fifties called "Bonaparte's Retreat" that used the same melody. The line that goes with the tune is "There was an emperor, Napoleon."
"God, man, how retro can you get?"
"You just have no class, Quinn."
"So who was that on the phone?"
There was a knock on the door.
"I do believe the caller is here." He turned to the door. "It's open."
Cale, wearing a tight tee, sweat pants, and flipflops, looking incredibly good, came in, grinning.
"So where's the beer?"
"Well it's not in the microwave, dufus!" Bailey said, grinning.
"Hey, Quinn," Cale said. "Did the big guy here explain that I'm desperate for a beer and we're out upstairs?" Cale and his room mate Ted Borowitz lived on the fourth floor.
"No, he hadn't gotten around to that. But there's plenty in the fridge. Help yourself. You gonna take some back for the Polack?"
"Justin!" Bailey exclaimed.
"Relax, Stone. Everybody calls him that, and it was his nickname in high school. He really doesn't care."
"But still . . ."
Cale went to the fridge and took out a bottle of Bud Lite. "Geez, y'all, this is piss. Don't you wusses have any real beer?"
"Beggars can't be choosers," Bailey said.
Cale gave him the finger. Then he sat on Bailey's bed, kicked off his flipflops, and drew his legs up so he was sitting cross-legged. He leered. "Now," he asked in his Louisiana drawl, "who are you guys fucking these days? It's been a while since we've caught up."
* * *
The next night after their studying was finished, Bailey said, "Last night before Cale called, you said something about being insecure in our friendship."
"Oh, I shouldn't have said that. Forget it."
Bailey leaned forward slightly. "Well, just so you know, you're my best bud, the best bud I've ever had. I don't want to get mushy, but . . . well, I guess I've said enough."
"Would I be pushing things if I asked for a hug?"
Bailey stood and opened his arms. "Nope. C'mere."
Justin wasted no time in putting his arms around Bailey. They stood there together, rocking slightly. Feeling himself chubbing up, Justin pulled away and said, "Thanks, Baile. But we don't want Coutrere or somebody busting in."
"What would be so wrong with that?"
"If Cale saw you hugging your gay roomie, he might get the wrong idea."
"You don't honestly think I give a fuck, do you?"
"Well, you two are buds."
"Yeah, and he can take me as I am." Bailey flopped back on his bed. "Now, last night you wanted to ask me something. What was it?"
Justin lay back on his bed, facing Bailey. "Oh, it's not important. I was just curious."
"One of the things that impressed the shit out of me was what you did or said to make Cliff back off and let Harry alone."
"You're calling him `Harry.' That means you're pissed with him. I thought you two were buds again."
"We were. Then something happened. Fuck, I can tell you. But I guess you'd better not tell anybody."
"He came on to me the other day."
"The fucker dumped you after the party and then when he apologized and you became friends, it was with the understanding that it was just friendship, no sex, right?"
"Yep. Well, there's something else, too, but that's basically it. So, yeah, I'm not feeling too friendly toward him at the moment." He watched, fascinated, as Bailey absent-mindedly scratched his balls. "So are you gonna tell me about Thornton or not?"
"Jeez, I shouldn't. You've got to promise not to tell anyone, okay? If it weren't you asking, I'd say no, `cause I promised Thornton."
"You've got my word. But if you don't think you should tell me, forget it."
"No, Jus. I know I can trust you. But there's a story behind it. You want something first?"
"No, I'm good."
"Okay. When I was in junior high school in Strongsville, I had a close bud, Skip. We'd been friends since third grade when his family moved into our neighborhood. You know what it's like. We did everything together." He looked at Justin, who nodded.
"Well, in eighth grade Skip and I began jacking off together. That's all it ever amounted to. I mean we didn't even pull on each other's dicks. We just did it together. And we used to do it pretty often, since he was at my house or I was at his practically every day."
"Sounds like the kind of things most guys do," Justin said.
"Yeah, well, toward the end of that year we both hit a growth spurt. And we didn't just get taller. Our dicks got bigger, and we began to grow pubes. That's when I began to get interested in girls. Skip didn't. We stayed friends, but we weren't together so much. Some time over the summer after eighth grade, he began to hang around with Cliff Thornton, who'd just moved to town. Cliff didn't seem like such an asshole then. At least not at first. I confess I was a little jealous, though I spent a lot of my time that summer having the hots for Bren, a girl who lived a block or two away and was in our class."
"One day, though, I was cutting the grass when Skippy rode past on his bike. I yelled at him, and he stopped. I got us some cokes and we sat out back to drink them. I asked him what was going on with him, since we hadn't seen each other for a while. He got this dreamy look in his eye and said he was in love. With Cliff Thornton! He was afraid that I'd beat him up or something when he told me. I assured him I was okay with it, but I asked him if Thornton knew."
"'Oh, yes,' he said, they'd been doing some really cool things together. When I asked him what kind of things, he told me they'd been sucking each other off. He said Cliff had been wanting to cornhole him, but he didn't think he was ready for that."
"Thornton?" Justin exclaimed "No shit! So what happened?"
"So far as I could tell, those two continued to fool around until school started. I didn't see much of Skippy the rest of the summer `cause he was always with Cliff. But as soon as school started, Cliff, who was new at the school, remember, went around telling everybody that Skip was a fag and had come on to him. I'm sure he was just trying to get in with some crowd or other, but poor Skip was outed. He was known as one of the school fags after that."
"Yeah. Well, as things turned out, Thornton was never very popular at Strongsville High. He's just too nasty a guy."
"What about you and Skip?"
"Well, I was busy dating and playing football and trying to keep my grades up, but I let everybody know that Skip was my friend. I made a point of sitting with him in the lunch room, and sometimes I'd ask him over to play video games. He had his own circle of friends, but we stayed buds, too."
Justin gazed admiringly, perhaps lovingly, at Bailey. "And what happened to Skip?"
"He's at Antioch. He's got a boyfriend he's hoping to room with next year. Seems to be really happy."
Justin stretched and yawned. "It's nice to hear a story with a happy ending."
"Yeah, well, things were rough for Skip for a while until he came to terms with being gay and being outed. I hope you two can meet sometime. You'd like him."
Justin grinned. "You aren't trying to do some matchmaking, are you?"
Bailey pretended to be shocked. "Of course not! I like Skippy too much. I wouldn't hook him up with a pervert like you."
Ignoring the jibe, Justin said, "So you told Thornton people might find out about his activities with Skip if he didn't leave Harry alone?"
Bailey grinned. "Yup."
"Damn. I was hoping you'd threatened him with grievous bodily harm or something."
"Well, there may have been a little of that implied, if not actually spoken."
"Roomie, you're too much! Do you think he's gay, or was he just going through a phase?"
"That's none of our business, is it?"
To be continued.
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