One Semester.

Date 25 July 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 7.


"Everything was funny. I was laughing and sleepy at the same time. It was bizarre."

"Sounds like marijuana. Did you smoke anything?"

"No... But we did have some funny biscuits he made. He called them brownies."

Peter laughed like anything.

"You're a druggie, Joel. That's a name for a marijuana biscuits. Did he tell you before you ate them?"

Joel remembered that clearly.

"Yes, he said they were brownies and he made them for me."

"He thought you knew what they were. What else happened?"

"I think he gave me a blow job, but it might have been a dream, and this morning when I woke up he was playing with my bone."

"The dirty dog. What did you do?"

"Nothing. I let him keep playing."

"Liar."

"No, I really did, but then I snapped out enough to know it wasn't you and I jumped out of the bed."

"Did you yell at him?"

"No, I was too busy looking for my jocks so I could get dressed but I couldn't find them and when I got my clothes on he was so quiet I didn't say anything."

"You lost your jocks? Martin's going to love this. Did you wear them to bed?"

"I know I did. I remember having them on when he was groping me."

"Holy cow! He might have taken them off when you were asleep. What are you going to do?"

Peter's voice was suddenly serious.

"I don't know. I'll talk to him on Monday I guess."

"That's not good enough. You should talk to him straight away."

"Now?"

"He likes you, Joel, and when he made a play for you, you walked out. He doesn't know we're together and he might be thinking he's lost you as a friend. I think that could be why he was so quiet."

The tone and the message snapped Joel's thoughts into clarity.

"Can I use your phone?"

"No way. You have to talk in person. We'll get Martin to drive."

Peter and Martin stayed in the ute while Joel made his way, somewhat nervously, down the driveway. He hesitated at the door of the granny flat and was about to knock when he heard a sound from within. Oh no. Sam was crying.

"Sam."

There was no response so Joel tried the door handle and when it turned he went in. Sam was curled on the bed with sad, red eyes and a smear of blood on his chin near the piercing in his lip. The gaunt features stared and Joel felt a lump forming in his throat.

"I'm sorry, Joel. I won't annoy you again."

The lump got bigger when Joel moved close enough to see the tear streaks.

"Sam, we're still friends."

Sam looked up with doubt in his eyes and Joel felt lost for what to do. He rested his hand on Sam's head, then wanting to make Sam feel better, he grabbed his arm and pulled him off the bed and into a big hug. Sam started sobbing again, but when he stayed close Joel knew he was doing the right thing. Sam gradually quietened and when he went to move away Joel wouldn't let him.

"It's my turn now, Sam. You have to give me a hug so I don't feel too bad for upsetting you."

The first glimmer of a smile appeared, then Joel laughed when the breath was nearly squeezed out of him.

"That's what I call a hug."

Joel's rendition of the Crocodile Dundee quote got a proper smile and another big squeeze.

"Crikes. They're python hugs. They feel good."

That got a do you really mean it look.

"True blue, dinky die, cross my heart and hope to die. Sam, we can have a hug whenever you feel like it... Except in lectures. And a kiss too, when your lip gets better."

"A kiss?"

Joel was startled by his own statement as much as Sam.

"You've got sexy lips, but we have to keep it a secret, especially from Peter, in case he kicks me out of his bed."

Sam was staring now.

"You? I thought he was with Martin."

"That's a big act. Martin's got a girlfriend."

Sam went to say something but the door opened and Peter and Martin walked in.

"Hey, what's going on here?"

The tone was peremptory but the smile was friendly.

"You're a drongo, Martin. We're talking."

"Funny way of talking... Grab your speedos, Sam. We're going for a swim. What's happened to your lip? Did Joel do that?"

"Ah. ...I bit my lip and kind of forgot the ring was there."

"Gods. It looks like Joel's been dragging you around like a bull with a ring in its nose."

When the dried blood was cleaned away Sam's lip didn't look too bad and he insisted on going to the pool. It must have stung. After that Joel copped it for being the evil one who made Sam swim without any breakfast and was threatened with having to `drool', as Peter said, while Sam stuffed his face with a delicious omelette. It was quite a dire threat since Joel hadn't eaten either, but of course he ended up `gutsing himself' when a second giant omelette was put in front of him. Peter and Sam went off on some secret mission and Martin found out more of what was going on. He laughed about the vanishing jocks but he was thoughtful too.

"He's really hot for you, Joel. Is that going to be awkward?"

"No."

"Well, we'll stick close to him today. He looks fragile to me."

Peter and Sam returned and half an hour later, by courtesy of Sam's efforts, Joel and Martin were sporting fancy blue fringes at the front of their hair. Joel said he felt stupid, but in truth he thought he looked cool, as Sam was wont to say. Martin said Dani was going to kill him.

"What are we doing now?"

"Let's go for a drive."

"Where to?"

"What about the shopping center? We can get a DVD for tonight."

"Boring. We can go there any time. Hey, I know. Let's go to Phillip's and see if the lyrebirds are there."

"Phillip's? D'you think he'll mind?"

"Martin, he asks every week when we're coming back."

Martin had only met Phillip three or four times and when Joel used Peter's phone they were promptly told to turn up at midday. That was only forty minutes away so everyone bundled into Sam's car. There was one stop at a petrol station to top up with fuel and another stop next to a paddock to watch a hot-air balloon coming down for a landing. Phillip must have rushed down to the hamlet, as he always called it, because there was a spread of fresh bread rolls, with all the makings, chicken, ham, cheese, guacamole, tomatoes and a big bowl of Greek salad. He said he remembered the hungry horde from last time except it was twice as large. Sam was occasionally probing his lip with his tongue and when the food was finished Phillip put his glasses on for a close look.

"I don't like it. There's some swelling so we're going to the chemist to see if he's got some suitable treatment. Joel, you're the boss, organise these guys to tidy up if you can, and there's a tub of ice cream in the fridge if you're still hungry."
Phillip and Sam went and Peter and Martin started carrying on about the boss. Ten minutes later Peter answered his phone, listened, and passed on the news.

"The chemist says a doctor should look at Sam's lip and they're trying to get an appointment.
Phillip says we should take Martin on the walk because they could be an hour or more and I'm the boss from now on."

"A doctor? I hope the swimming wasn't bad for it."

"That's exactly right. The doctor said whoever thought of swimming is a total poop-head."

"He hasn't seen the doctor yet."

"I meant the chemist."

"Poop-head yourself."

They went on the walk, despite feeling bad that Sam was missing out, and enjoyed it again. The lyrebirds weren't there but there was a moment of excitement when Peter found a spectacular tail-feather not far from the display mound.

***

"They're not back yet."

"Yes they are. They've been and gone again. There's a note on the table."

'Sam's lip sorted. New developments. We should be back by 4:30. Make yourself at home. PS. Martin's now the boss.'

"New developments? God's Joel, what have you got us into now?"

"It says new, Martin, so you can't blame me."

"Yes I can. I'm in charge."

"It's only just after two o'clock. What are we going to do?"

"No looking at books. That's the only rule."

"Idiot."

They were waiting on the decking when the big ute turned into the driveway and when Phillip hopped out he beckoned them down. The first surprise was seeing Sam without the ring in his lip but after the questions about that, the bigger surprise was when Phillip opened the back of the ute and demanded help with Sam's bed.

"What's happening?"

It was obvious really because all Sam's belongings were stacked there.

"He's not staying with those mongrels any more. Peter, you help Sam with his computer stuff while we move this bed upstairs."

In less than an hour all Sam's gear was installed and the spare bedroom was transformed. The original bed was stored on the back veranda, an old study desk moved up from the big room and the computer set up. When that was done Phillip said he wanted everyone to stay the night for a moonlight barbecue.

"What's a moonlight barbecue?"

"Exactly what it sounds like, Martin, and I know a really good place to have it."

It sounded intriguing, especially when Phillip insisted they'd enjoy it but refused to say any more about the location. Martin had to contact Dani to let her know where he was, but that was just a phone call, and then he and Sam were sent to the hamlet with a list of needed supplies.

"I don't know how he's been able to cope, Joel. We sat in the town park while we waited to see the doctor and he started talking to me. Amongst other things he's got financial problems, trouble with his father, and two of the guys at that house were getting sexual favours in exchange for letting him stay in the granny flat."

Joel and Peter stared in amazement.

"What did he have to do?"

"Sam can tell you that. I think he probably will, Peter, but that's up to him. The priority as I see it at the moment is to keep an eye on him and give him support."

That sounded serious to Joel.

"What sort of support?"

"Exactly what you're already doing. Helping him at College, spending time with him. He thinks you're a pretty good bloke you know. If you could spend the day with him tomorrow I reckon that would be a big help and then he'll have College again to keep him busy."

"What if we take him to the beach?"

"It's a bit far for one day and anyway it might hurt his lip."

"Yes, I suppose.

"I've got an idea. What about taking him sailing? Lake Eildon's only an hour's drive and there are plenty of other things to do there as well."

"Sailing? I don't know how."

Joel looked at Peter.

"Don't look at me. I wouldn't have a clue and I don't think Martin does either."

"Excellent, you can all have a go and if there's no wind we'll hire canoes instead."

This idea of Phillip's did sound interesting and Joel and Peter agreed straight off. Peter was certain that Martin would love it and Sam wasn't going to be given any choice. When Sam and Martin returned Phillip organised a snack for everyone so they wouldn't get too hungry then started his computer and showed them an old strategy game he liked, and for the next few hours Joel and Sam battled against Peter and Martin.
At 9:30 they set off for the barbecue. It definitely was interesting. The ute headed out of the hamlet, left the bitumen then wound its way along a narrow gravel road with its headlights lighting up big tree trunks till it rounded a bend and came to a sudden stop.

"Hey, wowsers! What do we do? Is it very deep?"

"Hmm. It's deeper than usual. I think we'd better walk through. The ute's too heavy to push if we get stuck."

The headlights glinted on dark swirling water, reflecting upwards and making wavering patterns on the surrounding eucalypts. After watching for a while, Phillip decided that walking through the ford was definitely the better option. He reversed, parked in the wide space where it was obvious that many other people had stopped, and the supplies were all unloaded. With only moonlight, the creek flowing across the road looked deep, but cautious probing with bare toes on the rocky bed showed the deepest part to only reach their knees.

"What if I fall over?"

"We'll have soggy food. The bread rolls are in that pack."

Peter's laughter rang out and that meant he was thinking of falling for the fun of it.

"Give me that day pack. I don't trust you."

Peter bumped into Martin, made a big deal about the slippery footing, then grabbed Joel's shoulders and tipped them both over. There was a walk for five minutes then the track narrowed, went through a stand of pine trees, crossed a small footbridge, then followed along the creek to a wooden rotunda with picnic tables and a large barbecue set-up. Joel laughed when Peter stripped his wet clothes then laughed again when Sam and Martin and Peter all started nodding at him.

"Perves!"

"Wimp!"

Peter looked great in his jocks with the moonlight glowing on his skin so after a glance at Phillip, Joel stripped as well and draped his dripping shirt and shorts over a nearby railing.

"Wow! This is neat! Can you swim in the water?"

"The sign says you're not meant to but don't take any notice. It's meant to be Melbourne's water catchment but they don't use it so go ahead.. Or do you want to eat first?"

"Eat! Eat! We have to build Sam up after his torture at the doctor's."

Peter draped an arm over Sam's shoulder and led him towards one of the bench seats. He didn't get far because Martin snapped the band on his jocks and goosed him. Very quickly the barbecue was cleaned, a fire started and a large billy from Phillip's supplies was set to boil.

"Right, Sam's cooking the steak. Martin's in charge of the sausages and hamburgers, and I'll look after the eggs and bananas."

"Barbecued bananas?"

"You'll see. They're delicious."

"So what do we do?"

"Eat and then clean up the mess. It's too risky to cook when you're bare skinned."

Joel set out paper plates and shared out a big plastic bag of salad mix then watched the cooking and got hungrier and hungrier as the smells wafted close. Everything was delicious and everyone watched intrigued as Phillip made a long cut into each banana, forced chocolate pieces in then wrapped aluminium foil round and placed the concoction on the hot plate.

"I'm stuffed. Too full to swim."

By the time everything was cleared up that was forgotten and Peter headed for the water. Everyone followed.

"Is it deep?"

It did look deep with the water tumbling over a stone barrier for several metres. The inky black surface spread back for thirty meters before narrowing into dark shadows.

"No. So don't dive in."

Peter went first and everyone followed. Joel was rapt. The whole atmosphere was so different to the open, dry country he was used to. The pleasant coolness of the water, the laughter and the strange sensation of swimming in the moonlight, all built a special enjoyment. Sam was all smiles. He could hardly help it with Peter and Martin carrying on like pork chops and Phillip looked very pleased with everything. Joel crumbled into a heap when Peter tried for a piggyback ride because the footing was too uneven to keep a proper balance. Then he had to promise to carry him for ten minutes when they left the water to prove he wasn't weak. It was an excuse to get close really and Joel loved the touch of Peter's skin against his own. It got embarrassing when Peter started a game of sneakily pressing his foot against Joel's groin. Martin caught him at it and typically made a fuss.

"Strewth! Look at them, Phillip. Gross! Behaving like that in public."

"Public? You dork we're yonks away from anyone and it's the middle of the... "

He didn't get any further because Martin was behind him, jabbing his ribs and yanking him backwards.

"Come on, Sam. He's being gross. Help me."

Sam did and with much merriment Peter was soon pulled off and dumped on one of the benches.

"Up you get.. It's your turn, Sam."

Sam was rather uncertain but with a little persuasion he soon changed his mind. Peter carried on, at first repeating Martin's comments about indecent public behaviour, then making Sam promise to stay on Joel's back till they reached the ute. Joel joined in by holding Sam's legs extra tight and telling him he was stuck. Phillip opened a large packet of chocolate and everyone happily helped him finish it off. Martin and Phillip put their shirts and shorts back on. Peter said he wouldn't because they were still wet and Joel and Sam couldn't because Sam had been ordered to stay in position. Martin started packing everything. Phillip wandered down to the footbridge and Peter headed across the cleared area towards some trees.

"Am I too heavy?"

"You're light as a feather, Sam. I carry wheat bags when I work so this is easy."

"Why did Martin keep saying gross to Peter?"

"His feet."

"What?"

Hardly thinking about it, Joel lifted Sam's feet so that instead of dangling at the sides they were positioned between his thighs with one foot locked over the other.

"He had them like that. Didn't you notice what he was doing?"

"No."

"He was pressing with his feet because he knows I react."

"React?"

"Joel's rude, Sam. He likes showing off his bone."

"Shut your bouche, Martin. You're the one who walks in without knocking."

"Yeah and I got such a scare I had to turn around and run."

Sam must have cottoned on because his feet moved. When Phillip returned and said it was time to head home everyone gathered their gear and Joel smiled at his situation. Wandering along a bush track in the moonlight wearing just a pair of jocks was bizarre enough, let alone having a practically naked guy on his back as well. Well, that's what happened with Peter around. In the dark section of the pine trees Joel suddenly realised that the soft pressure from Sam's jocks wasn't quite so soft. Sam squirmed and went all tense. He tried to help hold himself away but it didn't work.

"I'm sorry. You'd better put me down."

Now, what to do? Joel heard the tone in Sam's whisper.

"I'd better not or they'll stir us forever. I don't mind, Sam, so don't worry about it."

"What are you two whispering about?"

"Nothing. Sam thinks he's too heavy and I told him I'll make it to the ute easily."

The steady, unavoidable jounce with each step made it very obvious that Sam now had a full boner and after a few minutes more Joel had to hold himself back from giggling.

"I'm sorry, Sam. It must be contagious."

Sam's feet moved slightly in a curiosity check and then more deliberately.

"It's the Big One."

The whispered reference to the night at Sam's granny-flat made Joel smile even more and then for the rest of the walk back to the ute Sam's feet kept sneaking a feel to the accompanying whisper of 'The Big One'.

***

"Sam was smiling in the ute. What was all the whispering about?"

"You started it, Martin, when you told him about my bone."

"Started what?"

"He got one straight after you said it and it kept poking me when we were walking."

"Sam had a bone?"

"Yes, he was embarrassed but then I got one too and then he thought it was funny. He calls it my Big One."

"Both of you? How come we didn't notice?"

"I don't know. I kept expecting you to."

Peter returned from his shower and slipped into bed.

"What's so funny?"

"Joel and Sam got the hots and gave each other a bone."

"They did not.... When?"

"All the time Sam was riding piggyback."

Peter loved it. He feigned indignation and dived on top of Joel.

"Cheating on me, and right in front of Phillip. You've had it."

"You're the one who said he had to stay on my back all the time. You probably planned it that way."

As soon as Joel said it, he realised it was true. That was a good excuse to reverse their positions, and after a short scuffle Peter was trapped but laughing.

"You did plan it didn't you?"

"I thought it would be fun for Sam, being close to you but I didn't expect you'd get randy."

"Well, it was weird. I didn't mind though."

Peter sneaked his hand to a hold that Joel couldn't resist. Martin said they were gross then pulled the sheet over his head and pretended he couldn't hear what was going on.

***

The end of chapter 7.
I hope you've gained some enjoyment from this story.
Any comments and feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Also, please consider making a donation to Nifty to help with all the ongoing work.
My email address is palantir@aanet.com.au
Palantir.