One Semester.

Date 21 August 2016.
Author Palantir palantir@aanet.com.au
Subject One Semester.

The author retains copyright (2016) to this story. Reproducing this story for distribution without the author's permission is a violation of that copyright.
This story is fiction.

Thank you Nifty for the opportunity to post this story.

ONE SEMESTER Chapter 10.


"Hi Morgan."

"How's it all going?"

"Great, except for all these assessments they're throwing at us."

"Wait till next semester. That's when they really pile it on."

Joel didn't see Morgan much at all, except at the pool where he sometimes swam with a Malaysian friend. They exchanged a few more pleasantries.

"What's with the silver bathers? Have you joined a swim team?"

"Not really, it's a kind of joke."

"Oh? From Peter and Martin I suppose?"

Joel nodded.

"Yes, they're always joking."

"Peter's not pushing himself onto you is he?"

"Peter? No way. We're next door to each other in the residences and he helps me all the time with my subjects just like you said."

"I did tell you he was gay didn't I?"

"Yes, but who cares."

"Good to you... But watch out for that fundie group. They had it in for him last year. ...Anything happening at that place you come from?"

"Tittybong. Probably not. I'll find out when I get home at the end of semester."

"You haven't been home yet?"

"No, it's bad not having a car, and transport up there on weekends doesn't exist."

They talked about cars, then for a while about Morgan's Multimedia Diploma.

***

Joel put the giant bowl of spaghetti on the table and everyone helped themself. Peter and Martin were still doing revision sessions and tonight there was another Second Year with them. This one was a skinny guy from India. He was very quiet and basically only spoke when someone asked him a question. He smiled a lot though, and by the time the food was all finished Joel decided he liked him.

"Hey Ravi, do they eat spaghetti in India?"

"No, just rice ... And curry."

Martin nodded, then jerked his head when Peter laughed.

"You doofus! He's kidding you."

Indeed he was. His smile was the biggest yet. Martin jumped up and tilted Ravi's chair till it was teetering backwards and on the verge of falling.

"Cheeky bugger."

He rocked the chair a couple of times then lowered it right to the floor so Ravi was on his back with his legs dangling over the edge of the chair seat and an astonished look on his face.

"You double doofus, Martin. Ravi comes here to help us with Java and you attack him. It's discrimination."

That was a reference to some very nasty incidents in the general community. Ravi scrambled to his feet, righted the chair and sat down.

"I have two elder brothers, so I have this friendly bullying before I came to Melbourne."

Peter loved it and Joel had to smile. Martin would be called a bully for the rest of the night.

"Ravi's a nice name. Is it used much in India?"

"It's not used much. It means the sun."

"Peter's name is as common as mud and it means rock suits him because he's a rock head."

"Rock head?"

"His head's got rocks in it instead of brains."

"What does Martin mean?"

"Nothing, it's just a name."

"Everyone's name mean something. Look it up, Joel."

Joel was nearest to the laptop.

"It says Mars, God of War, warlike."

Peter hooted.

"That's why he's always attacking people and bullying. What about Joel? What's it got for that?"

"... Yahweh is God, the Lord is God."

Peter nudged Martin and they started bowing and clasping their hands as if praying. Joel wondered what Ravi was making of all this but he obviously understood it was mucking around. The God references stirred Joel's memory.

"What happened last year with that God group? I saw Morgan today and he said they did something to you."

Martin and Peter exchanged looks and the atmosphere in the room made a dramatic switch. Peter went quiet and a great scowl developed on Martin's features.

"Mongrels! They should be banned."

There was an undercurrent of anger in Martin's voice which was so out of character its shocked Joel.

"Don't have anything to do with them, Joel. They're crazies."

Peter gathered the eating gear and ran the hot water in the sink. Whoo! He didn't want to discuss it just now. To change the subject Joel turned to the computer and picked up the thick textbook next to it.

"TheJavaWay. Is this what you're working on?"

"Big test on Monday fortnight and were battling with the inheritance chapter."

"Is Ravi showing you how to do it?"

Ravi shook his head and pointed.

"Peter is the one for showing. He shows in every subject."

Martin's scowl relaxed and he nodded agreement.

"It's the funny rocks in his head."

Peter threw a tea towel at Martin, who threw it straight at Ravi and got accused of more bullying. Smiles returned all round and Joel left them to it.

***

"They put leaflets up everywhere saying it was disgusting and immoral to be gay and when people ripped them down they put up new ones with Peter's photo on them saying it was even more disgusting to tell people you were gay."

Joel felt his hackles rise.

"They can't do that. I hope they all got ripped down."

"Not a single one lasted more than half an hour after we found out they were being put up."

Joel wondered who, apart from Martin, the 'we' was.

"The next lot complained about their freedom of speech being taken away and said the College should have a policy like that DADT thing they had in America where if anyone said they were gay or got found out they get kicked out."

"Did the lecturers say anything?"

"Not much. There was a notice read out in classes that students should respect each other's views. We think they had big arguments about it in their staff meetings though."

"How did it stop?"

"It didn't for a while. There were more crazy leaflets till one of the girls in our class organised a plan against them. She found out how their meetings worked and the next time they had one we all joined up."

"What?"

"It was brilliant. They couldn't stop us because their rules said every College student was eligible to join and we had nearly thirty people. There were only eleven of them, and as soon as the meeting started we voted them all out of office and put in new leaders. Then we made leaflets under their name saying gays were great and God loved them and they'd be welcome in the group. They started a new group after that with different rules but it shut them up. It was horrible for Peter but then it wasn't when so many people stood up for him."

"Are they that group that calls itself, 'The Only Way'?"

"That's them. They're still going but they've gone all secret this year."

***

The Friday lunchtime finish was perfect for Joel, and Sam, Peter and Martin skipped a lecture. Sam was looking like Mr Cool with his dark sunglasses and thoroughly enjoying being stirred as he cruised off the College Campus. Martin's ute could only fit three people so Sam's car was the transport for this long weekend. The boot was chock-full and Martin and Peter had a rucksack and other odds and ends between them on the back seat but everything they needed had squeezed in somehow.

"King of the Road hey, Sam?"

Sam glanced over his shoulder with a quick smile for Peter.

"More like the Roadrunner according to Phillip."

He definitely was a zippy driver. When they reached the first section of freeway their lunches came out and Joel handed Sam a chicken sandwich. Eating on the run meant they'd have a chance to reach their destination before dark. When the freeway ended they had to skirt the city before getting onto the triple lane road to Geelong. Sam wanted to put his foot down but that was quickly stopped. Martin used this highway to get to his surf club and he was adamant.

"They're deadly along here and it's not worth it. They've got speed cameras and radar and unmarked police cars. Zillions of people get caught."

Sure enough only ten minutes later they passed a couple of cars pulled over to the emergency lane, one with a blue flashing light on the dashboard. Sam drove at nearly ten kph below the speed limit for a while. After Geelong it was new ground for everyone as they followed Phillip's meticulous directions Winchelsea, Colac, through heavily forested country to Gellibrand and Laver's Hill, then off the bitumen and along a winding gravel road called Hider's Access track.

"Watch out!"

Sam jammed the brakes on and the car skidded to a halt just meters from several large dairy cows in the middle of the road.

"Holy cow! Look at this."

Entering from a side track were dozens more of the black-and-white beasts and in moments they were surrounded by the slowly moving herd. At first the cows were wary and kept well clear but as more and more pushed forward the huge bodies got closer and closer.
Sam freaked when his car rocked a little.
Joel wound his window down and waved his arms and Martin did the same on the other side. Several animals skittered away and stopped to stare with big eyes till the continuing press moved them on. Joel was quite used to big mobs of sheep from his farm work but that was dry country and unsuitable for these dairy animals so even for him this was a new experience. Sam freaked again and everyone else roared with laughter when one of the cows lifted its tail and a stream of soft wet manure dropped and splattered on the road.

"My car! It's splashing on my car."

The sound of a vehicle and a dog barking drew closer and several minutes later the last of the cows passed and a young guy on a four wheeler gave a cheery wave. He whistled and his dog rushed at the stragglers with an excited frenzy of barking, sending them surging forward then through an open gate about thirty metres down the road. The four-wheeler stopped and the guy climbed off and walked to Sam's window.

"Sorry about the hold-up. They like to move at their own pace."

"No worries."

"Are you down for the weekend?"

"Yep! For three days. We've been told it's a good place."

"That's for sure. Are you hiking through or staying at the beach?"

Martin answered this time instead of Sam.

"We're making Milanesia the base and exploring round each day. Whatever we feel like."

"You're staying? Are you nudies then?"

"What?"

Joel and Peter leaned across to hear what he said.

"The people who stay are usually nudies. They like this beach."

Peter leaned right across.

"Yeah! We're all nudies. You should see Big Boy."

He pointed at Martin then dodged the whack heading for his shoulder. The guy laughed then looked in the back window.

"I'll check him out on Sunday afternoon when I go fishing. ...Have a good time."

He returned to the four wheeler, revved the engine then zipped off into the paddock. Sam started driving.

"It must be a nudist beach."

"Did Phillip say anything like that about it?"

"Only what he told us all. About the old stone hut and all the good places near it."

"Have you ever been to a nudist beach, Sam?"

"No, but I'd like to."

That made everyone laugh.

"Hey, what you reckon about that guy, Martin?"

"What about him?"

"Well, he wants to see you nude."

"No he doesn't. That was a muck around."

"Yes but he still meant it. He was interested whether we were nudies."

"You think he's another Penis Perve?"

"Yeah, I do. I say we're nudies and he tells us he's coming down to the beach. What do you reckon, Joel?"

"He might be."

They argued about it for the next few minutes but then the track narrowed and headed down a steep section which took everyone's attention. Sam was driving particularly slowly as he wasn't used to the gravel surface and the skid with the cows had worried him.

"What if a car comes the other way? There's no room to pass."

"Just be ready to stop in case."

The track levelled and went into a thick stand of tall gum trees, so close that it felt like driving through a tunnel.

"Here's the gate."

Ten minutes later they were climbing the stile next to the big metal gate which blocked the track. Their rucksacks were extra heavy, loaded with gear and supplies for three days, and Joel had the exhilarating feeling that he was starting an adventure. They posed while Sam used Phillip's travel camera and then posed again with Martin using it.

"I don't know why they say this is four-wheel-drive only. My car could come along here easily."

That was right for four hundred meters, but then they rounded a bend and the track dropped steeply with deep ruts and washaways.

"Hey Sam, how would your car go driving down here?"

Joel wondered how even four-wheel drives could manage it. They manoeuvred their way down and after a few more twists and turns the gum trees ended and shorter coastal vegetation took over.

"Holy hell! Look at that."

At the side of a hairpin bend the ground dropped steeply and revealed a vista of ocean, cliffs, an imposing headland to the east, and a beautiful bay with glowing sand below. Joel felt his excitement level leap. He'd never seen anything as wild and beautiful. No wonder Phillip had it as one of his top places. Peter rested his shoulders gently against Joel's and they drank in the view together. Sam took photos and they set off again, stopping each time a break in the vegetation gave a new view.

"This is unreal. Sam, you can give Phillip one of your hugs from each of us for sending us here."

Sam nodded and cocked his head to one side.

"I'll pass them on."

"Pass them on?"

"You give them to me, then I give them to him."

"Maniac!"

They were standing at the bottom of the track looking at everything, the beach, the waves, the cliffs which were even more imposing from this lower viewpoint, and a little creek trickling through the rocks and disappearing into the sand. It was tempting to drop the packs and start exploring but it was after five pm so first priority was to find a campsite and get set up.
As per Phillip's instructions they followed the creek upstream, past an old stone cottage to a grassy clearing just big enough for three or four tents. The creek trickled over a ledge of rock into a small pool, and beside that was a camper's fireplace nicely constructed of stone. Someone had used a chainsaw to cut three big slices of timber for seats.

"It's perfect. More hugs for Phillip."

Very quickly the tents were pitched, firewood gathered for later and the rucksacks stowed.

"Hurry up. It'll be dark in less than an hour."

Led by Martin, everyone headed straight to the beach where long lines of waves marched in till their tops built and curled to crests of foam.

"I can't stand it. Those waves are too good to miss. Who's coming in?"

"Will we get our speedos?"

"Waste of time. We'll give Sam his thrill."

Martin's clothes dropped to the sand and, calling them all a pack of wusses if they didn't join in, he raced to the water. Joel had to laugh at Sam's startled look.

"Get it all off, Sam. Big Boy's out there waiting for you."

Well, to be honest, they'd all be enjoying the view, and not just of Big Boy.
The water was cold, but after the initial shock it wasn't, and for a quarter of an hour they yelled and carried on.
Martin mostly surfed the waves. Joel caught a few but when Peter started wrestling and splashing Sam joined in and it was chaotic warfare. What? Not so chaotic. They were ganging up on him. Joel made a valiant effort but it was too much, especially when every few moments another wave would upset his balance.
Martin, riding the front of a big wave, came bearing down on them and at the last moment checked himself and in the wake of the receding wave tackled Peter and tipped him over.

"Come on you pervs. Time to get out if we want to have a look at the reefs."

They could have stayed for ages but the sun was almost touching the horizon. Joel started for the shore then staggered a few steps when Peter jumped on his back.

"Carry me, stud!"

Peter's legs locked round Joel's middle and his arms went round his neck. He was there to stay. Well, at least till he got too heavy, and that would be a while because it felt good. Sam's eyes lit up and he made a try for Martin's back. That wasn't going to happen.

"In your dreams you randy maniac. You can take turns with Peter."

Martin took the lead, but instead of heading directly out to their clothes, he angled to the west where a hundred meters away the reefs started. Peter's chin nudged in the crook of Joel's neck and shoulder.

"Stud!"

The soft murmur in his ear started a shiver of fire.

"Not now."

A meaningful body wiggle and a certain readjustment of his feet meant Peter had clicked into who cares mode.

"What's good for the goose is good for the gander."

Peter enjoyed teasing about Sam being the midnight rider and this would be a re-enactment. Joel had to laugh at Peter's use of the old proverb because there was certainly plenty of goosing going on. Martin picked up on it first and pushed Sam's arm for attention.

"You can stop gawping at me now. Joel's got the Big One out for you."

Sam loved it and moved in for a proper gawp.

"When's it my turn? Martin said I get one."

"Get one off him then. Joel's mine."

With three rather horny followers a little way behind, Martin led the way out of the water, onto the reef and towards a large rock pool with a glowing reflection of the lowering sun. Despite his focus on Peter, Joel couldn't help being struck by the color. Martin, still ahead, was now standing still and Joel's focus took an even bigger change.
What was he looking at? He followed Martin's gaze to several lumpy objects near the edge of the Reef.

"What is it?"

"I thought it was rocks but one of them moved. I think they're seals. Let's get closer, but keep really quiet."

They were seals, Joel was sure of it, and with each step closer it was more definite. Peter slipped from his back and they edged their way forward till a head lifted and a set of eyes peered at them. Several minutes they watched. The large seal was wary and twice moved nearer the reef's edge with the two little ones keeping close. Suddenly, with a flurry of movement they all slipped into the water and disappeared. Martin led the rush to the edge but there was no sign of them at all.

"Wow! How was that? I've never seen a live seal before."

"I have, but never that close."

That was Martin. Everyone kept scanning but nothing happened except that the sun hit the water. That's what it looked like to Joel. The great red globe, sinking rapidly below the horizon line reminded him of the brilliant sunsets at home, and with a shock he realised he hadn't seen a proper sunset since he'd arrived at College. Peter's arm went across his shoulder and Joel returned the gesture.

"No lollygagging! We should get back to the tents."

"What for? There's no hurry."

"Yes there is. I'm hungry."

They were all hungry so no one argued with Martin's pronouncement.

"What's lollygagging?"

"Ask Peter. He says it when I'm at Dani's sometimes. I'm just getting back at him."

Sam and Martin waited for Peter's answer. Joel did too because he liked the sound of the word.

"I think it means mucking around. I read it somewhere."

"Mucking around? Is that all? It sounded like it might be sexy stuff."

"If it's Peter and Joel then it is. Come on."

Martin set off without waiting and when he reached the sandy section started jogging. Joel kept up with him because he had a suspicion Martin was thinking of pinching their clothes. The further they went the faster, till the last bit was a flat-out race. Martin won, but not by much. Peter and Sam arrived at their own pace and got called lazy-butts.

"Who's cooking tonight?"

"I am. Soup's easy and so are sausages and spaghetti. Peter can fill the billies with fresh water while you and Joel get the fire going."

Sam took charge and everyone saw what Phillip meant about him being a great help.

"What's the plan for tomorrow? Lion Headland or Ryan's Den?"

"Let's try Ryan's Den first. That Niagra Wall sounds good."

Feeling very satisfied after Sam's meal, they were sitting by the campfire, checking through the copious notes Phillip had given to Sam. Joel agreed with Peter's suggestion and that decided it.
After some general conversation Peter stood up and said he was going to the beach. Remembering the time at Point Roadnight Joel thought he meant by himself. He didn't, and with their little hiker's headlamps showing the way they followed along the creek, past the low drop-off where the grass finished to where they could sit on the dry sand.

"Hey, dig your toes in. It's warm underneath."

Joel slipped his reef sandals off and did just that. The headlamps went off and they sat quietly while the atmosphere of the great vault of twinkling stars and the murmur and crash of the waves sank in.

"Do you like the beach so far, Sam?"

"It's unbelievable. We've only been here a couple of hours and I feel like I could stay for ever."

"We'll teach you how to catch waves tomorrow if we get back early enough, and if we don't we'll have plenty of time on Sunday."

"Did they teach you wave riding at your surf club?"

"No, I taught myself five years ago. I've only been in the club a couple of years. They showed me how to use a board though."

"Is the surf club fun?"

"Yes, it's great but you have to train hard too. You could join up next summer if you wanted to. Your swimming's good enough."

"No, I'd get into too much trouble."

"What do you mean?"

"They'd catch me looking at their speedos and I bet they wouldn't like it."

Martin laughed.

"You could control yourself."

"I wouldn't. I'd like it too much."

"You're a nutcase, Sam. ...Do you think you'll stay at Phillip's place for long?"

"He says I can stay as long as I like because we work so well together. He says he's going to make me get Distinctions for everything."

"Distinctions? You can do that easily."

"Only if I do enough study."

"Well, you're clever enough to be getting High Distinctions, so I hope he slave drives you."

Joel agreed with everything Peter had just said but was more interested in this new offer to stay.

"As long as you like? Does that mean for free, like at the moment?"

"I tell him I should pay rent but he won't let me. The only thing he has agreed is that I can pay my share for food once my credit card's paid off."

"Is that very much?"

"Another four months worth."

"God! He looks after you doesn't he?"

"Not really."

There was startled silence at that comment.

"He can't help it. It's nothing to do with me. He's just kind."

Everyone agreed with that. After all, they were using one of his tents, two of his rucksacks, a length of special rope and his travel camera.

"I wish he was here. He loves adventures."

"Was it much of an adventure last weekend? You haven't told us anything about it yet."

"It was great fun."

"Seeing caves was fun?"

"Not the caves. They were great. In the tent was the fun."

"The tent?..."

"You know. Fun! We went away for our dirty weekend after my tests all came back clear."

"A dirty weekend with Phillip? I don't think I want to hear any more."

If Martin didn't want to, Peter certainly did.

"You and Phillip? ...How dirty?"

"Everything. The tests meant we could."

"Everything? The last I heard you were just having a hug and a kiss."

"That was just for a while. Once he got used to it I started sneaking new things and he couldn't resist."

"You sneak sex off Phillip?"

"For sure. I sneak into his bed every night and I sneak in when he's having a shower."

Peter and Martin were looking gobsmacked. They'd known Sam was getting a cuddle sometimes at night, but not that anything else was happening. Joel hadn't said anything in case it was private.

"Phillip's a bit old for you isn't he?"

"I don't see why. We like each other and we both love doing it. What's wrong with that? It's not like he's a cradle snatcher. It's the other way round really."

"Oh my God! Poor Phillip! You cradle snatch him when he's fifty something."

"What do you mean, poor Phillip? It's good for him."

Peter nodded.

"I suppose so, but I bet he said it wasn't a good idea and you nearly drove him crazy when you wouldn't stop your sneaking."

"He did for a while, till we worked it out."

"How come you're telling us all this? Phillip mightn't like your private stuff getting spread around."

"What do you mean? Phillip said you already knew, well not about going the whole way on the weekend, but about the rest of it."

"No, it's just like Peter said. We thought it was a cuddle and a kiss."

Joel felt funny, like he'd been keeping a secret when he shouldn't.

"He told me, Martin. I didn't know he expected me to pass it on."

"Hey, you had a juicy secret like that and you didn't even tell me? You've had it."

Peter carried on about keeping secrets and not being trusted, but from the way he said it Joel knew he was pleased.
There was more talk about the situation with Sam and Phillip, with Peter grilling for details and Martin complaining he didn't want to know but listening closely anyway. Joel was quite amazed at the open and explicit explanations. He'd never talk like that to anyone about what happened with him and Peter.
Well, that was Sam. Everyone's different.
Peter started addressing Sam as, 'Sam the Seducer' and then every time he said it Sam acted it out with whoever was nearest. Peter then made sure he said it when Sam was closest to Martin. After a drink of Phillip's billy tea it was time to head to the tents.

***

The end of chapter 10.
I hope you've gained some enjoyment from this story.
Any comments and feedback would be greatly appreciated.
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My email address is palantir@aanet.com.au
Palantir.