By Tim Mead
The first anniversary of Larry Quinn's death fell on a Saturday. Justin stayed up late several nights the previous week doing schoolwork because he wanted to spend that weekend with his mother.
"Justin, I'd like to be there with you if it wouldn't be intruding," Bailey had said.
"No, man, it'd be great to have you there."
"What about your mom? Do you think she'd mind? I never actually knew your dad, after all."
"Hey, you're family now! It could be pretty boring for you, but I hope you'll come along, and I'm sure Mom won't mind."
So it was settled that the two would spend the weekend in Higgins.
As it turned out, Grandma Mary came, too.
Saturday was a day of some sadness, of course, but of happiness, too, as Moira, Mary, and Justin told stories about Larry. They talked – and ate – most of the day.
The next morning they went to church. Moira had sent a check to the parish office with a note requesting that the flowers that day be in Larry's memory, and an announcement to that effect was put in the morning's bulletin.
Justin was surprised to see Brody and Dave there, since Dave went to the Episcopal Church and, so far as he knew, Brody didn't attend church often. They all met up outside the narthex. Brody explained that they knew this was the anniversary of Larry's death and that they'd come to church as a gesture of support and love for the Quinns.
Afterwards they all went to dinner, Moira insisting that Brody and Dave join them. Despite the occasion, Justin found himself surrounded by people he loved and who loved him. He still missed his Dad, but as he looked around the table, he realized he had much to be grateful for.
* * *
Although he had Todd's email address, Justin hadn't exchanged emails with Todd since he'd received the DVD. Thus he was surprised one day to see Todd's screen name listed in his inbox.
I'm writing this in regular spelling because I want you to know that I'm being totally serious here.
I've just had a phone call from your roomie, though I'm guessing from the way he talked he's your boyfriend now. He was majorly pissed with me, anyway.
Looking back on it, I suppose he was right to be. He told me that you were in counseling in part because of the DVD.
Jus, man, I'm sorry. I knew Uncle Tommy had that fantastic camera setup in his bedroom, and I was dying to try it out. Then I got to playing around with the original vids, editing, seeing what I could do. I thought it was pretty funny when I came up with that one, which made it look like you were a boy whore pleading to be fucked. I figured you'd think it was funny too, since you knew you'd had me in the same position, that you'd fucked the cum out of me.
Sometimes, though, when you think the other guy knows you're yanking his chain, he really doesn't. That's what happened here. Honestly. I swear. I never meant to shake you up. I sure as shit never meant to cause the kind of problems for you that Stone told me about.
So, I can understand that you don't ever want to hear from me again. My bad! If you destroy the DVD I gave you, you don't need to worry about anybody ever seeing your porn debut.
BTW, hang on to Stone. He obviously loves you. Sounds like a keeper. (Is he hot?)
Later that afternoon when Bailey arrived at their room, Justin hugged him and gave him a quick kiss.
"Whoa, stud. That wasn't your usual tonsil-swabber. Something wrong?"
"I don't know whether to be pissed at you or not."
"For fighting my battles for me."
Bailey's face went expressionless. Then he must have realized what Justin was talking about. "Oh, you've heard from Todd."
"How the fuck did you track him down?"
"Oh, that was easy. You told me he was at Kenyon. I called Kerrie, a classmate of mine at Strongsville High who's at Kenyon now. She looked him up in their campus directory for me. So, after several tries, I caught him in his room."
"You must have really reamed him out."
Bailey grinned. "Yeah, I kind of did. But then I was so furious with him about that DVD it's a good thing we were talking on the phone and not face to face."
Justin took the printout from his desk and handed it to Bailey, who collapsed into his computer chair and read it.
"Damn! I can't tell from this whether he's sincerely apologizing or just doing it because he promised he would."
"Well, that's Todd. But I think if he wasn't sincere the email would've been a lot shorter. So I'm gonna take it at face value and then forget about him."
"Sounds like a plan. What about the DVD?"
Justin chuckled. "Oh, I put it in the microwave for a couple of seconds. The remains are in the waste basket."
Justin stood and took a couple of steps, which brought him to where Bailey was sitting.
"Bailey Stone, I don't know who or what brought us together, but I'm sure as fuck glad it happened. I love you. Do we have time for a quickie before supper?"
Bailey hugged Justin and whispered in his ear, "Well, as I always say . . ."
Justin grinned and they said in unison, "Food first, fuck later."
* * *
Bailey didn't tell you everything. If it hadn't been for something that happened to me here on campus, your DVD probably wouldn't have caused me any problems. Sorry I didn't see the joke in it at the time.
Anyway, your apology is accepted.
As for Bailey: He does. He is. (And he totally is!)
* * *
"Yeah, hi Twerp. What's up?"
"I'm gainin' on ya, Sarge. You shouldn't call me that any more."
Brody chuckled. "Yeah, you're right. So, my growing brother, how are you and Bailey?"
"We're both great, thanks. How about you and Ole Dave?"
"I don't know why you call him that. He's only two years older than me."
"Well, he's closer to the big three-oh than he is to twenty, right?"
"Yeah, by a year."
"Okay. So could I talk to Sexy Dave, please?"
"Oh, he's gonna love that! Hang on a minute."
Justin could hear Brody calling Dave, though his hand must have been over the mic part of the phone.
"Sexy Dave, huh? I like that. You wanna meet somewhere and make out?"
"Oh, yeah, I'd love that. But there's this muscle-bound hunk sitting next to me who'd object, I think."
"Same here. Guess we'll have to behave. Ohh, watch it, Cox!"
Justin could hear both Dave and Brody laughing.
"What's he doing?"
"Humping my butt, if you must know. Now, to what do I owe the honor of this call?"
"Can't I just call and say hello to my big brothers once in a while?"
"Sure, but you usually call Brody. And he says you want to talk to me."
"Okay, but you know I love ya, right?"
"Now I know you want something. First I'm sexy, and now you love me. So give, what is it?"
"Bailey and I were wondering if you could use a couple of willing and able guys on your crew this summer. The thing is, we come as a package."
Dave chuckled. "I won't make any jokes about packages. But, yeah, I'd be glad to have you back and to add Bailey to the crew. There's just one condition."
"No fucking around in public."
"At least while we're wearing our company tee shirts." Justin said, laughing.
"Well, yeah. I don't care what you do on your own time, I suppose."
"That's great, Dave. Thanks, man! We'll call after we get through finals to see about when you want us to report, okay?"
"Sure, Jus, that'll be fine. Oh, and say hello to Mr. Muscle-bound."
"Will do. Thanks."
"I take it that went okay?"
"Yep. We're almost set for the summer. We have jobs and a place to live. There's just one more thing to do."
"Get you signed on to play baseball for the Hammers."
"I dunno, Jus. Football was my game. I'm not all that good at baseball."
"Hey, we're all amateurs. I'll bet you could knock a few over the fence. I'm sure they'll find a place for you in the lineup."
* * *
Moira had bought the condo in Colby with the enthusiastic encouragement of Justin and the silent approval of Bailey. As she'd said, perhaps by the time the boys graduated from Colby State, she'd want to sell the house in Higgins and move into it herself. Or she could sell it and buy something a bit nicer for herself. Or, in view of its location, she could always keep it as a rental property. But beginning as soon as the spring term ended and for the next three years at least, it would be Justin and Bailey's.
The place needed some renovation, part of which would be done by the boys. All of the walls needed a fresh coat of paint. Some of the tile in the bathrooms needed new grout and the carpets had to be pulled up. The new tenants would remove the old carpet and pad, leaving the floors ready for the installation of hardwood.
So Bailey and Justin faced a busy summer, what with working for Cromer Landscaping, renovating their condo, and playing baseball. And they looked forward to it with excitement. After all, they would be living and working together. And sleeping together. And making love together.
Life was good. Justin could hardly believe how good!
* * *
The day had come to move their gear from the dorm room to the condo. It took several trips in the Rav 4 to transfer all the stuff they'd accumulated in nine months.
As they unlocked the door to bring in the final load, Justin turned to Bailey and asked, "Well, aren't you gonna carry me over the threshold?"
Bailey grinned, fondled Justin's package, and said, "Nope, not `till we're married."
Justin put his arms around Bailey and humped his crotch against his lover's, not a bit worried that they were standing there in the hallway where anyone might see them.
"Married, huh? You know, I like the sound of that."
Thanks, everyone, for sticking with me. If you've enjoyed this story, I'd love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you email me, please put the story title in the subject line so I'll know it isn't spam.
Watch for my next Colby story, "Cop Out," coming soon, most likely in the Beginnings section.