Mike and Danny: Straight Crush
OK, if this were that kind of story, you and I would be expecting events to unfold along the lines of another initiationonly this time into the joys of sex. Two young men becoming fast friends and discovering a world of fun-filled and deepening affection by exploring the contents of each other's shorts.
Nothing happened after that first night, even though there were many nights and many occasions for it. Brian would take the lead, and where he led them was always around, under, over, but never to the logical conclusion.
By now it was into the afternoon, and Virgil and I had got back to the farm. Having started his story, it became a flood of remembered incidents and feelings that wasn't about to be stopped.
He talked and talkedsometimes halting, reaching for wordsbut always wanting me to understand, as if having found someone willing to hear him out, he could not rest until he'd told it all. I wondered how much of it Barry had ever heard, or whether Barry had just primed the pump.
So while Virgil sat at the kitchen table, I chopped vegetables to throw into a big pot of soup I was making for supper. And he kept talking.
As athletes, Virgil and Brian set no records their freshman year, unless warming the bench counts. Coming from a one-room country school, Virgil was all new to sports, locker rooms, coaches, padding, uniforms, showers, jockstraps, balm, athlete's foot, and the aches, pains, and humiliations of the gridiron.
He and Brian were one step up from the student manager who kept the stats for each game and wrote up their triumphs and defeats for the weekly newspaper. They learned to count any game a success that left them with dirt and grass stains on their uniforms, and they could join in the celebration that meant the team had beat an opponent by a wide margin. In the close games, they could be sure to stay on the bench and go home spotless.
Basketball season was another version of the same thing. It wasn't till spring and baseball that they got to be real athletes. Out on the diamond, short stop (Brian) and outfielder (Virgil), they got to shine.
Brian was quick as lightning and had a sixth sense about being in the right place at the right time. Virgil could catch anything that came anywhere near him, and he could throw so hard and accurate that runners froze in their tracks, diving back to bases they thought they'd left for good.
As hitters they were only above average, but even at the plate they were kings in pinstripes. Every year was a long, lackluster forced march to spring, and then the testosterone flowed.
Watching the game from the outfield, there was this added benefit for Virgil. His eyes scanning the players and the play on the field, he would settle always on Brian, his back turned, broad shouldered, narrow hipped, legs muscular and animated, like at any moment he could break into a dance, and most perfect of all his butt filling out the back of his pants.
Yeah, there's that feature of Brian's anatomy coming up again in this narrative. Say what you will, the guy had a blue-ribbon backside. Sometimes watching him, Virgil felt his balls aching in his jock.
And afterwards in the steamy showers, he found himself pleased to be standing there naked with Brian, his cock long and swinging between his legs, as his deep voice and his laughter rang along the wet tiles. I've got a friend, Virgil would think, and it was good.
By this time, Mike had taken another break as Mr. Grease Gun and came in for something to eata meatloaf sandwich, a bottle of beer, and cookiesto keep soul and body together until supper. The man has to eat; I don't know where he puts it.
He leaned against the counter, as he does, his sweatshirt and jeans embedded with a mix of petroleum products and dust from crawling around on the shop floor. At this point the only clean part of him was his washed hands, which still left bluish fingerprints on the slices of his Wonder bread.
"Ready for a beer?" he said to Virgil, when he had the refrigerator open, and handing one to me without asking. (He knows he doesn't have to.)
"Yes, sir," Virgil said, with a shift in his voice I'd heard the night before. Still high and tight, like a military haircut, but with a tone of respectful awe you might hear someone using with a police officer who just pulled them over for speeding. (OK, I apologize for that oil spill of metaphors. I'll stop for now.)
Mike popped off the top with a bottle opener, set it down in front of Virgil, and then returned to his sandwich.
Virgil took a long drink from the beer, then put it back on the table, staring at the label for a while, collecting his thoughts before moving on with his story. But when he began again, the new tone in his voice was still there, and I knew what he was saying was more for Mike's benefit than mine. I wouldn't understand why until later.
Mike, to be fair, can have this effect on a person. When he really listens to you, he's like a sponge, soaking you up along with what you have to say. It can be unsettling if you're not used to it.
Where Mike came into the story, Virgil had known Brian for a while, and there'd been many more sleepovers in town, each time finding them in those bunk beds, Brian in the upper and Virgil in the lower.
Usually Virgil lay there in the dark, wide awake, aware of his friend suspended just a couple of feet over him. Especially when the prairie winds of late autumn stirred the bare limbs of the trees around the house and there were the sounds of the creaking porch swing and leaves skittering along the porch floor outside the bedroom window, Virgil longed for someone next to hima warm, strong, friendly bodylike Reg.
Only now, as he had these night thoughts, it was his friend Brian he wanted to press himself against. And with an image in his mind of Brian in his underwear, in the last minutes before turning out the lights, Virgil would finally fall asleep, his arms wrapped around himself.
If he could get Brian out to his house in the country, into Virgil's double bed, which he used to share with Reg, he might have a chance to get closer. But Brian took a lot of convincing to do what he didn't want to do, and staying a night at Virgil's didn't interest him much.
For one thing, it would have meant having to ride the school bus with Virgil, and traveling anywhere with a bunch of farm kids, as anyone knew, was beneath the self-respect of a town kid. It was a prejudice he wasn't ready to give up.
Then things changed when Virgil turned sixteen, got a driver's license, and Reg loaned him his old Plymouth coupe. It was nothing fancy and certainly no hot rod, really not much more than a junker on its last legs, but now he had wheels.
"The girls won't exactly be fightin' to get a ride with you," Reg told him when he handed him the keys. "You gotta make up for it with your personal charm." Then he winked and tapped the new wedding ring on his finger. "It worked for me."
Virgil had been at Reg's wedding and felt pretty remote from it all. Marriage, he knew, was nothing he was ready to rush into. Anyway, he'd never even had a real date yet.
Now with a car, the windows of freedom flew open, and dating was not his idea of what to do with it. "Let's go someplace," he said to Brian. "Me and you. California." Just saying the words filled him with excitement.
"Yeah, see some movie stars," Brian said.
They were riding around town on a Saturday night. It was May, and spring had sprung. The day's first summery weather was still lingering in the evening air, and they had rolled all the windows down.
"Come out and stay at my house tonight," Virgil said suddenly, unable to stop the thought before he blurted it out, and he felt his heart give a jump.
"Sure, why not?" Brian said. And so began their first night in the same bed.
Virgil lived with his chain-smoking Aunt Doris in a doublewide behind the post office in a sleepy convergence of graded gravel roads fifteen miles outside of town. Besides the small school and a church, there was a parsonage (often empty), a tavern (often full), and a machine shop with a gas pump.
Doris was postmistress and, before the days of dial phones, also worked a switchboard as the community's telephone operator. She knew all and told all.
She greeted them that night as the two boys drove up and parked in the weeds near her front door. She'd been sitting there on an aluminum lawn chair under the yellow porch light with Dwight, a big man in farmer's overalls. The two of them were smoking cigarettes and drinking beer.
"Just taking in the night air," she explained. She was thin and raw-boned, her hair permed in tight curls.
"Where's your truck, Dwight?" Virgil said, looking around, though he knew it would be parked over at the tavern, where it would give people no reason to talk, even though Dwight and Doris had been a pair for years and fooled nobody.
"Why don't the two of you just get married?" Virgil had asked her once.
"He takes up too much room in the bed," she'd said flatly. "I'd never get my beauty sleep."
The two boys went inside, where all the lights were on and the small rooms were arranged in the kind of thoughtful order of someone who lives aloneframed photos in a cabinet, starched doilies, a collection of china milk cows, a painting of a matador on black velvet, and a lady-head vase with artificial flowers.
Virgil's room was almost bare by comparison, as it had been since Reg had moved out. A few baseball pictures torn from Sports Illustrated were taped to the wall. There was an oval braided rug on the floor, and the bedspread had a repeating pattern of mustangs with wind-tossed manes and tails. It was old as Virgil and Reg and the bed itself.
He felt Brian get quiet a moment as they walked into the room. Or maybe what he felt was something in himself as he realized that this is where they would spend the night. Here together under those mustangs.
Unlike any ordinary night, alone as the hours ticked by in this darkened room, with only moonlight in the window and in the summer the sound of crickets outside and for a few minutes very late the silence broken by distance voices from the tavern when it closed and the last customers driving off and away.
His heart quickened now, and he was torn between wanting to get undressed and into bed and wanting time to slow down so he could enjoy every minute of this.
Brian was making some comments about his baseball pictures. Along with them was a photo of their team, cut from the local newspaper, the two of them standing together in the back row, unsmiling.
"Let's look invincible," Brian had said that day as they stood in their uniforms waiting for the photographer to set up his camera.
Virgil wasn't sure what the word meant, but when Brian stuck out his chest and stood at attention like a soldier, he got a rough idea and did the same.
"You read these?" Brian asked glancing at the paperbacks lined up on the top of his dresser. They were mostly detective stories and westerns.
"Those are Reg's," he said.
He had started to read one once, with a shocked looking woman in a low-cut red dress on the cover. In the shadows behind her was a menacing figure in a trench coat.
But though Reg had read it more than once, and with apparent enjoyment, Virgil could not figure out what was so good about it. He'd given up on page 15. He kept the books not to read them but as a memory of Reg.
Standing there now in the room, aware of the silence around them, Virgil realized how little there was to do for fun in the country. Watch the grass grow, as someone used to say.
"You boys wanna play some poker?" his aunt Doris called out from the porch. "Dwight brought his chips."
"No, Aunt Doris," he said. "Me and Brian are going out for a walk. I'm gonna show him around."
Brian had turned to him with a look on his face of "We are?"
"OK," Doris said. "Suit yourselves."
And after a while the two boys went back outside and into the dark. There were no streetlights, but Virgil knew his way around so well, it didn't matter.
No more than a wide spot in the road, the place had a name, Grover, though it would show up on no maps of western Nebraska. And no one knew how it got its name. The local wheat farmers had for 100 years sent their kids to its little school and gathered at the church on Sundays.
By the glimmering starlight, Virgil took Brian along a dirt road that went past the church cemetery to a wide field where in one corner a chicken-wire backstop stood in the shadows at one end of a row of big cottonwood trees.
This was where Virgil had practically grown up, playing ball at recess, his best summer memories of Reg hitting him grounders and high files, hour after hour. Here, on a wobbly bench, Virgil and Brian sat side-by-side and talked.
"Remember what you talked about?" Mike asked at this point, for Virgil had fallen silent, staring at the scratch marks on the kitchen table.
"Yeah," he said without looking up. "We talked about our dads."
And I don't know why anybody would be surprised by this. Brian's father had left his mother when Brian was in fifth grade. Virgil's father hadn't even stuck around to see him get born. "Flew the coop" was Virgil's term for it.
The stillness of the cool night swallowed them up as they sat there, only the sound of some farm dog barking somewhere miles away. Alone together, Virgil felt how the two of them depended on each other and needed each other. He put his arm across Brian's shoulders, their knees touching, and he imagined them being close like this forever.
The porch light was on when they got back, but the house was dark. No sign of Doris or Dwight. The two boys crept inside and into Virgil's room, where a lamp had been left on for them, and they quickly undressed and got into bed.
It was springy and took a while to settle under them. Virgil lay unmoving for a long time, staring up at the darkness. The nearness of Brian made him so wide awake, he felt like he could do pushups by the dozens or run laps endlessly.
And not surprisingly, his dick was steel-hard in his underwear and stiff as a two-by-four. Which didn't seem all that odd, as any kind of excitement tended to give him an erection. This had happened before with Brian, but he didn't think anything of it. It just went along with feeling really happy to be alive.
And happy he felt now.
Brian was quiet, lying with his back to Virgil. He had not said a word for a long time. When Virgil stirred to reach over to him, there was the rustle of the sheets as he moved. Silence followed as his hand found Brian's warm skin and stopped there for a minute.
Then the bed creaked under him with a small sound as he rolled over to get closer to Brian, slipping his arm over him. His heart raced, and as his weight shifted onto his side, he felt the top of his hard-on escape from the waistband of his briefs.
He took a deep breath and pulled his chest to Brian's bare back, his hand now hugging him, and Brian sighed like he'd been waiting for something like this for a long, long time. His hand found Virgil's, and he held it for a moment pressed against his chest.
Virgil expected now to fall asleep like this, as he used to with Reg. But he was so wide awake he could hardly make his eyes close. He'd shut them and they'd pop open again. He pressed his hips now against Brian's backside, his cock finding the groove between his butt cheeks.
Suddenly curious, he wondered if Brian was hard, too, and he reached down to feel the front of his underwear.
There'd been only the moment when his fingers brushed against the soft fabric, and Brian had given a start.
"What are you doing?" he said, his body stiffening. "Stop that." And he pulled Virgil's hand away, keeping it firmly in his grip.
Virgil was too surprised to say anything but "OK." And he let Brian continue to hold his hand.
"Don't do that again," Brian said.
And in the next minutes that seemed like hours, he could feel Brian's heart beating hard, like someone who'd nearly stepped off a cliff.
Finally, Brian's grip loosened, and he'd either fallen asleep or thought Virgil would understand he'd had enough hugging. So Virgil pulled back to his side of the bed and lay there, staring again at the ceiling and wondering at what had just happened.
"That must have smarted a little," Mike said. He'd long since finished his sandwich and his beer and stood, still leaning against the kitchen counter, with his arms folded across his chest.
Virgil looked up at him. "Yessir, I guess it did."
Continued . . .