STANDARD WARNING: This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to individuals, living or dead, is pure coincidence. Do not read this story if you are offended by man-to-man romance or sex. Do not read if you are underage according to the laws in the country, state/province, county, city/town/village or township where you live. There is sex between males. You have been warned!

Copyright 2001 by Nick Archer. Permission is granted to Nifty Archives, ASSGM, and gaywritings, to post one copy. No part may be copied, reproduced, republished, or reposted on another website without written permission from the author.


Family Instincts

By Nick Archer

Chapter 22

With confidence in the outcome of the hearing at Family Court, Tim began work on a fourth bedroom in the basement. The new bedroom would sit in the northwest corner, just under the dining area and had roughly the same dimensions its upstairs counterpart. Brian showed little interest in the construction, but Jake and Tommy were eager to help. They would work on the room for an hour or two after Tim returned from work. In a very short time, they had applied studs to the concrete walls, insulation and a new floor. They framed a closet and started to apply drywall to the walls. Tommy and Jake especially liked cutting the drywall. Tim taught them how to take careful measurements, score one side of the drywall then snap it along the score.

The new bedroom was much more than a home improvement project. It was a huge vote of confidence in the future. By proceeding with the project, they were telling themselves that Jake was there to stay.

Dear Judge Kildare:

My counselor and Mrs. Levin suggested that I write this letter to explain why I want to stay with Matt Rosato and Tim McGraw.

First of all, I have to thank a lot of people who reviewed my letter and made corrections and changes. They are Matt and Tim, their son Brian Rosato, Leah Levin, and my English teacher, Mr. Sladek. I’m really pretty smart even if I am an athlete. Lots of people think all jocks are dumb. The main reason I needed help to rephrase some things. I can be really blunt.

I have to tell you that I feel a little weird writing like this. But, everyone has told me to talk to you as if you were my friend. So I’m going to be honest.

I’m sure you know the story about how I went to live with them. Brian Rosato is my best friend. One night my mom, Megan, found my girlfriend and me on the couch. My mom lost her temper and beat me badly. I ran away. I ended up at a gas station where I called Brian’s dad, Matt. He came and got me and I have been living there ever since.

At first I said I wanted to live with my dad. I missed him and I had a fantasy that he would rescue me. But he never did. And he never called, or wrote or came to visit me. The only time I ever saw him was at Confirmation. All the while Matt and Tim stood by me, helping me to catch up in school, taking me to counseling and religious education. Matt took us on field trips to The Museum of Science and Industry, The Chicago Historical Society, The Art Institute and the Chicago Historical Society. Tim lets me jog with him in the morning and plays basketball with me.

Brian is still my best friend. He understands me better than I understand myself sometimes. I can trust him with anything. He’s always there for me. I thought that living with him might change some of the feelings I have for him, but it didn’t. If anything, I’m closer to him than ever.

I know that Matt and Tim are gay, too. To be honest, at first it did bother me. But they’re both great parents! They are the best parents a guy can have – not too strict, but they let you know who’s in charge! I think they felt a little weird when I moved in because they never even kissed in front of me. But after a while they relaxed when they realized I didn't have a problem with it.

My dad brought me and my brother up without any affection. I remember when I was a little kid and tried to sit in his lap. He would push me off and tell me he didn’t want me to be a sissy. I was just a little kid and I didn’t understand! Matt and Tim are very affectionate with Brian and Tommy, and it freaked me out when I first moved there. They were always touching and hugging their kids, and they loved it. Brian would never let them do it in front of his friends besides me and Mike Levin. He has an image to maintain, like me! I don’t want to give you the wrong impression. When I say affection, I mean that it’s appropriate stuff, like hugs and pats. I learned about Good Touch/Bad Touch in first grade, so I know the difference. Tommy even holds Matt’s or Tim’s hand in public!

Anyway, Tim and Matt held off when I first stayed there. I think they were afraid of making me feel uncomfortable. Then, I realized, all I had to do was ask. I was a little scared at first. I don’t know why. It’s not like they were going to push me away and tell me I had body odor or something. Now, I like it when they hug me. They have very different styles of hugging. Did you ever think about the way people hug? Everyone has their own style. Matt is firm, and he likes to hold me for a long time. He also rubs my back when he hugs, which I like a lot. Tim gives bear hugs. Sometimes, I feel like my eyes are going to pop out of the sockets when he hugs me. I even hug Brian, too, and he is a very gentle hugger. Tommy hangs on you when he hugs. It hurts my neck, but he’s so cute when he does it.

I’ve learned lots of things by staying at Matt and Tim’s. Not the type of things you learn in school, although I did learn that stuff, too. I can tell you the capitol of every state, and I can recite the Gettysburg Address. I know the difference between a simile and a metaphor. I know that when you multiply a negative number by a positive number the result is always negative. I learned the parts of a cell and what the mitochondria do. But, I’ve also learned that people have all different ways of loving and showing love. I’ve learned that I can change my future. I’ve learned that being honest is more important than being rich. I’ve learned to say what I mean and mean what I say and to always honor my promises to the best of my ability. I’ve learned that love is the most important thing in the world.

And, I’ve learned how to ask for things. I may not always get what I want. But sometimes I do. Matt tells me all the time, "Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it."

Well, I’m going to ask. And I hope that I get what I want. May I please stay with Matt and Tim? I love them.

If you say yes, Judge, I will give you a hug. Don’t worry, I don’t hug too hard.


Jacob A. Wagner.

After much deliberation and debate, they finally decided to call Jake’s party Jakefest ’94. It was too early to be called his birthday party, and no one wanted to go anywhere near the title of ‘Going Away Party.’

Matt and Tim had made it clear to Jake, Brian and Mike that they were the hosts and they were responsible for all aspects of the party, from greeting to cleanup.

Matt and Tim made it clear they didn’t want the party spreading to the rest of the house.

The night was humid and sticky. Tim looked so good in a snug white tank top, that Matt wanted to cuddle closer to him despite the heat. Their bare thighs touched as they sat on the rattan couch on the back porch. Leah grinned at them as they discreetly touched each other. They made certain that their affection was below the porch railing so they wouldn’t scandalize the neighbors or the parents pulling up behind the building to drop off their kids. Many parents smiled and waved at them before backing out again.

"This rattan couch is really nice," Leah complimented.

"Thanks," Tim responded. "Matt scoffed that I would never develop good taste." The two men exchanged grins.

"It sure is sticky tonight," Matt commented with a sly wink to Tim.

If Leah caught the double entendre, she didn’t let on. "They’re predicting that this summer will be hot and dry. I saw a story about El Niņo on the Weather Channel. What are the boys doing anyway?"

Tim replied, "They’re moving the sound system to the basement." As if to demonstrate Tim’s statement, the adults heard the steady thump-thump-thump of music from the basement.

Matt sighed. "I tried to tell them that a boom box would do, but they wouldn’t hear of it. They wanted to play some of my extended remixes. As long as they put everything back and reconnect it tomorrow, that’s all I care about."

John and Dave were the first to arrive. Brian appeared apparently out of nowhere to greet them. They both carried sleeping bags.

Brian and the adults welcomed the two boys.

Leah said to Brian, "You look cute." And he did. He was wearing fashionable knee-length denim shorts and a tight white tank top. An unbuttoned print shirt with a loud pattern in neon colors top completed the outfit.

Brian reddened slightly. "Thanks."

"Remember what I told you about the volume."

"OK," Brian sighed in an exaggerated way.

"And take care of my remixes," he called after his son who was beat a hasty retreat to the basement.

"I may be totally out of it, but what are remixes?" Leah asked.

"They’re dance remixes of songs. Usually they’re extended for discos and dance clubs, and they’re recorded on twelve-inch disks. They first appeared in the disco era and lasted through the eighties."

"You mean actual vinyl?" Leah asked incredulously.

"Yup," Matt said with a grin. "That’s part of the reason they wanted to bring the sound system downstairs – it has a turntable. The other reason was so that they could crank up the volume to decibels that would put a jet engine to shame."

"They took almost any song and added a dance beat to it," Tim added. "Some of the mixes were almost sacrilegious. The mix of Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA comes to mind."

Diane and Allegra emerged from Diane’s mom’s car. Matt smiled genuinely at them. Allegra lingered to chat with Matt for a moment.

They heard the sound of one of the kids bounding up the basement stairs. Jake appeared on the back porch.

"Hi, Allegra, hi, Diane." Jake was dressed in an outfit identical to Brian’s except for the loud printed shirt. If it was possible, Jake’s shirt was even louder.

"How are things going?" Tim asked.


"Spit it out, Jake."

"I want to ask one more time if the girls can stay until eleven."

Matt rubbed his forehead as if the question gave him a headache. "We’ve been through this, kiddo. The girls are leaving at ten. That’s the time we told their parents to pick them up."

"But, they can call and change it."

"Jake, the answer is no."

"Oh, man! It’s not even dark yet. It doesn’t get dark until after eight o’clock!"

"That’s the final answer."

"But why? School is almost over." They had a full day on Monday, but most of the day would be used for administrative tasks like turning in books and cleaning out lockers. Tuesday they returned for an hour to get their report cards.

Matt was losing his patience, and Tim knew it. Tim, who had a longer fuse than Matt, intervened and patiently explained their reasons to Jake for what seemed to be the fifty-sixth time. "Ten o’clock is late enough for eighth grade parties. We have a commitment to the other parents. And the boys are staying overnight as it is. That’s enough, Jake."

He sighed and smiled simultaneously. "Well, I had to try again."

"And we thank you for it," Matt said sarcastically.

"They’re nice girls," Leah commented, after the young adolescents disappeared downstairs.

"They’re all nice kids," Matt agreed, and then added," individually. When you get them together, some sort of weird synergy takes over and they become obnoxious. I remember the phenomenon from teaching, too."

Leah grinned and nodded. "It’s the peer pressure. They feel they have to vie for attention."

Before Matt could respond, Valerie and Brent arrived. From the basement, they could hear Brian’s next musical selection. It was Bizarre Love Triangle.

Jake emerged from the house again with a cup of soda.

"Did you offer some to Leah?" Matt asked Jake.

"Would you like some soda?" he asked her in an almost shy manner.

"No, thank you, sweetie."

"Is Pam coming?" Matt asked Jake.

"I invited her," he answered flatly.

"What about Carl?"

"Carl’s dad is really strict. When I saw him in school today, he said he wasn’t sure."

"Carl’s dad called me," Matt explained to Leah. "He had all sorts of questions about the party, and what the boys will be doing overnight. I told him they would be doing the same things all boys do at sleepovers – eat, play video games and talk."

Pam’s mom pulled up, and she and Tammy got out of a flashy red Dodge Avenger.

"Hi, Pam," Jake said as if he were addressing a teacher he disliked.

But, Matt greeted her with more enthusiasm. He had a fondness for the girl after their little talk at New Salem.

"Hi....Matt." She laughed.

"This is Tim," Matt introduced the two girls to his lover.

Tim shook the girls’ hands. Their eyes widened slightly as he touched them.

"I’ll show you downstairs," Jake offered. He was slightly miffed at Matt for being so friendly with Pam. In his mind, any kid that he disliked, Matt and Tim should also dislike. He had conveniently forgotten that Brian also liked her, and had insisted she be invited.

The girls giggled as they entered the house. The adults heard Pam say, "And I thought Matt was cute!"

"Tim’s hunk-o-licious," Tammy agreed.

The adults stifled laughter until they were out of earshot.

Finally, Carl arrived, carrying his sleeping bag. His father drove the family Buick Electra. Carl’s dad looked stiff and formal, still wearing his crisp white shirt and tie. He nodded perfunctorily to Matt and Tim through the windshield before he drove off.

"I want to thank you, Matt," Carl said. He shook Matt’s hand. "My dad never let me stay overnight before. He wasn’t going to this time either, until you talked to him."

"You are welcome, Carl. I’m glad you could stay overnight." Carl descended to the basement.

Little did any of the adults know that Carl had a nearly full bottle of vodka rolled in his sleeping bag.

From down below, Matt heard the beginnings of I Want To Be a Cowboy by Boys Don’t Cry.

Riding on the range,

I've got my hat - on,

I've got my boots - dusty.

I've got my saddle

On my horse.

He's called....T-t-t-t-t-trigger

Of course.

"This is a goofy song," Tim glowered.

"Oh, lighten up, you rock and roll purist, you." Matt explained to Leah, "To Tim, all music has to be serious and fraught with meaning and messages."

Leah smiled and shook her head. "I wouldn’t be able to tell you the difference. Well, I’m going next door. Good luck. Let me know if you need anything."

"Thanks, Leah. Thanks for everything."

The lyrics to the danceable novelty song were almost chanted. Like most remixes, the song lasted over five minutes.

Tim slipped his hand into Matt’s. Matt responded by throwing his head back and laughing.

Tim was slightly hurt. "What? What’s so funny?"

"Remember the end of this song?" Matt chanted with the tune as it completed the last chorus.

I wanna be a cowboy,

And you can be my cowgirl.

I wanna be a cowboy

And you can be my cowgirl.

My name is Ted.

And one day, I’ll be dead, yo, yo, yo.

Tim grinned as he caught onto the joke. "Should we be laughing about a dead person?"

Matt tried to stop laughing, but the sound escaped through his nostrils. "No. It’s not nice to laugh about a dead person."

They looked into each other’s eyes and burst out laughing.



Before the guests arrived, Jake and Brian had filled the laundry tub with ice and placed pop in it to chill. They replaced the regular light bulbs with dim, colored ones, except for a bright halogen desk lamp near the sound system. They moved the dining room chairs downstairs for additional seating. The food was spread out on two card tables near the fireplace.

The stage was set. The players began to arrive.

Already little dramas were taking place all around the basement. Valerie, Diane and Allegra danced with each other, and kept trying to persuade Brian away from the sound system to dance with them.

Dave and Carl attached themselves to the computer. They didn’t have much interest in the opposite sex and they weren’t very good dancers.

"Maybe we can get them to light the fireplace," Dave suggested.

"What for? Are you crazy? On a night like tonight?"

Dave changed the subject. "I wish it was just the guys tonight."

"Yeah, me too." Carl whispered something in Dave’s ear.

"What? I can’t understand you."

"I said, I have a bottle of vodka in my sleeping bag."


"Shhh-h! Keep it down!"

"Let me see it."

Carl grabbed his sleeping bag and the two boys sprinted toward the utility area, ostensibly to get a pop.

Brian was having the time of his life. He alternated between playing DJ and dancing with the female partygoers. Matt had often said that he was born two decades too late – Brian was really a child of the disco era.

Jake too was in his element. He moved across the basement stage with the grace of a dancer. He mingled easily with the kids, addressing each one individually with the ease of a seasoned politician. Some kids he gently teased, others he gave hearty slaps on the back, and he gossiped with others.

The only one he tried to ignore was Pam.

Almost immediately Pam paired off with Brent in a dark corner of the family room. They started their duet by holding hands, and as the sun fell below the horizon and the basement darkened, they progressed into kissing.

Mike sat sullenly in a chair against a wall. If only Brian would pay attention to me, he thought. I feel like I’m invisible. I’ve got to think of a way to get his attention.

Tammy enjoyed browsing through Matt’s music collection. She liked music, too, and helped Brian select some songs.

"Mike, c’mon, man! Get up and dance!" Jake encouraged.

"No, I....."

Jake tugged on his arm.

"No, Jake, I don’t want to."

Jake sat in a chair next to him. "Are you feeling OK, buddy?"

"Yeah, I’m all right. I just need some fresh air." He stood up. Had anyone looked closer at the two boys, they would have noticed the two boys had a lot of unspoken issues between them. All the partygoers, however, were uninterested.

"OK, dude. Whatever." Jake approached Brian and Tammy. "How about a slow song?"


Mike reached the top of the stairs and spotted Matt and Tim together on the couch watching TV. They heard someone on the stairs and comically untangled themselves. They twisted around to see Mike.

"Oh, hi Mike," Matt said simultaneously breathing a sigh of relief.

"I...I had to use the bathroom, but someone was in the one downstairs," he fibbed.

"Sure, hon, you know where it is."

Mike flushed the toilet and ran the water in the sink even though he hadn’t really peed. On the main floor of the townhouse again, he stood behind the couch and watched the video the two men were viewing.

"What are you watching?"

"It’s a video called Maurice."

"Can I watch it with you?" he asked quietly

Matt studied his face a moment. "Sure, Mikey. But you might think it’s boring."

The two men expected him to sit in the recliner of at least at the other end of the couch. Instead, with a big grin, he made a diving gesture as if he were going to dive into a pool. Matt and Tim good-naturedly scooted apart and allowed Mike between them. Matt placed his left arm around Mike’s shoulders and Tim draped his left arm over Matt’s.

"Having a good time?" Matt asked him.

"Yeah," he answered, although by the vocal inflection of his monosyllabic answer, he clearly was not having a good time.

Over the top of the boy’s head, Matt and Tim exchanged glances.

While the remix of Brand New Lover played, Tammy and Brian frantically searched the motley collection of tapes, CD’s and records for an appropriate slow song.

"I can’t find anything," Brian said in exasperation.

"No, I can’t find anything, either. I.....wait! Yessss!" Tammy exclaimed.


Tammy held up a cassette in triumph. It featured a hand making the peace symbol in the colors of the American flag. It was Hotwired by the Soup Dragons. "There’s a song on this tape. I know, my older brother has this tape. Play the fifth song on the first side. It’s called Forever Yesterday. I’ll cue it up. Do you have any headphones? Or better yet, a Walkman?"

Brian approached Jake, who playfully grabbed him around the waist and lifted him off the ground. "How’s my favorite brother?"

"C’mon, Jake, put me down. Tammy need your Walkman to cue up a song."

"Shit, man. What a grouch." He put Brian down. "It’s over here."

With an intense look of concentration, Tammy cued up the song on the Walkman. When Brand New Lover was over, she popped the cassette into the tape deck.

The most noticeable was sound was a dive order from a klaxon. Then, they heard Morse code and the sounds of sonar.

"What the hell is this? The Jacques Cousteau Love Song?" Carl asked.

A woman with a British accent spoke:

  • As the sound vibrations you now hear

    Resonate through your body

    Breathe slowly and deeply

    Breathe slowly and deeply

  • Then, they heard full orchestration with a heavy hip-hop beat as the lead vocalist began:

    You had a good time

    But the past will always be

    Kept in it’s own space

    For us to love and keep

    Why do you always look back?

    Why do you live in the past?

    Forever yesterday, Forever yesterday

    Your love is perfect

    But you love will always be

    Kept in the future

    For us to love and keep

    Forever yesterday, forever yesterday....

    Brent and Pam were the first to dance. John invited Tammy and they swayed in rhythm to the music. Carl sneaked off to the utility room where he had hidden the vodka.

    Dave approached Diane. This was a bold move because she was sitting with Valerie and Allegra. "Um, you want to dance, or something?"

    "Or something?" Allegra repeated with a hint of sarcasm.

    Diane smiled charmingly. "Yes, I would, thanks."

    As they started dancing, Allegra sighed. "There goes the last eligible boy."

    "If only Brian liked girls. What a waste!" Valerie added.

    Allegra sighed. "Yeah, and Jake, too."

    "He’ straight. At least that’s what I heard," she added hastily.

    "He’s bisexual," Allegra corrected her with a somewhat condescending tone. Allegra was perfectly comfortable in her role as the only African American in the group. She had installed herself as the group’s guardian of Political Correctness. "But tonight, he seems to be all about the boys."

    "Just what we need – more competition. Come with me, Allegra. I have to go to the bathroom."

    They found the bathroom occupied.

    "We can go upstairs," Allegra suggested.

    They encountered Matt, Tim and Mike on the couch.

    "Oh, hi Mr. R!" Allegra said breezily. "We’re going to the bathroom."

    "Sure, honey. Up the stairs and to the right."

    They clambered up the steps.

    "Why do girls always go to the bathroom in groups?" Mike asked after they were out of earshot.

    "One of the mysteries of womanhood, kiddo," Matt smiled.

    In the master bedroom, Tommy was on his stomach watching TV. Pillows propped up his head.

    "Oh, look!" Allegra squealed. "You must be Brian’s little brother!"

    "Yeah," he said warily, as if they were going to ask him to do a chore for them.

    "Oh, he’s so cute!" Valerie added. They rushed the hapless boy and sat beside him on the bed.

    "You are so adorable," Allegra purred as she stroked his carrot-colored hair.

    "Very cute," Valerie repeated, as he pinched his cheek.

    Poor Tommy wasn’t sure how to react.

    "How old are you?"


    "You are going to break some hearts when you are older," Allegra declared.

    Tommy blushed almost as red as his hair.

    Valerie took Allegra’s hand. "Come on. I have to go."

    "Bye, sweetie! Hope we see you again."

    Tommy shook his head as they left the room. "Girls," he mumbled.


    In the basement, they played Forever Yesterday three times before switching back to dance music. Brian took a break from his DJ duties and strode to the utility room to get a cold pop.

    "What are you guys doing in here?" Brian demanded. Even he could see their guilt. "What’s that behind your back?" He asked Carl.

    Carl brought the bottle into view. Brian’s mouth dropped open.

    "" he spluttered.

    "Shhh! We don’t want the girls to know," Carl whispered.

    "Or my dad. He’ll beat the shit out of all of us."

    "C’mon, Brian, lighten up, man!" Dave said.

    "Look, I don’t care, I really don’t. But keep it in here, OK? If we spill it on anything in the family room, we’ll never get the smell out. My dad will ground me until the next Ice Age. And I think it’s a good idea not to tell the girls. They’ll probably tell on us."

    Dave put a hand on Brian’s shoulder. "Here, dude, chill out." With his other hand, Dave took the bottle of Absolut from Carl and handed it to Brian. Brian’s eyes shifted nervously as he brought the bottle to his lips. He upended the bottle and took a mouthful. He held the clear liquid in his mouth and crossed his eyes as it burned his tongue, gums and the inside of his cheeks. Carl and Dave laughed uproariously at him. Brian gulped it down and it burned its way to his stomach.

    Brian coughed and gasped for air as Dave laughed and slapped him on the back.

    Just then, they heard footsteps on the stairs!

    "Oh, HI DAD," Jake almost yelled.

    "SHIT! Hide that fucking bottle!" Brian hissed.

    His head was swimming just the tiniest bit as he followed Dave and Carl into the other room. Luckily for Brian that the basement was dark. Had Matt seen the perspiration on Brian’s forehead, he would have surely suspected something.

    "How’s it going down here?" Matt asked casually.

    "Fine," the young adolescents answered, almost in unison.

    "Ok, just checking to see if you had enough food."

    "We’re fine, Dad," Brian added. Now go back upstairs.

    Tammy began to spin the extended remix of Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen. Matt laughed involuntarily. He had a vision of Tim upstairs groaning and covering his ears with a pillow.

    Allegra took Matt’s hand. "Come on, Mr. R. Dance with us."

    "Oh, I don’t...." Matt loved to dance, but he highly doubted Jake or Brian or any of the other kids wanted an adult to dance with them.

    "Please," she added.

    Matt shrugged and began to dance. Allegra rewarded him with a wide smile.

    "Hey, you can really shake your ass! Ooops! Sorry!" Pam covered her mouth.

    Matt just laughed.

    "Now we know where he got his moves from."

    Matt danced the remainder of the song. When he was through, the kids applauded. Matt held up a hand and shook his head. Mike and Tim appeared downstairs to see what the commotion was about.

    As they climbed the stairs, Tim mumbled, "I don’t know how you can dance to that song."

    Mike remained downstairs. He decided it was time to give the party another chance. Carl and Dave immediately took him to the utility room.

    Brian went back to sorting through a stack of records. Jake came up behind him and placed a hand on his shoulder. "You know about our little secret in the utility room?"

    Brian just nodded.

    "And you’re cool about it?"

    "Why wouldn’t I be?" Brian asked defensively.

    "Just checking." He lowered his voice; "Did you have any?"


    "So did I," He watched Brian for a moment. "Hey, put this one on next."

    "OK." Brian held up a remix of Belinda Carlisle. "Heaven Is a Place on Earth." Belinda has a point, Brian thought.

    "Come on, bro. Dance with me," Jake pulled at his sleeve.


    "Come on. Tammy can watch the music."

    Brian put the albums down slowly and smiled at Jake. He knew the invited kids didn’t care and wouldn’t be shocked by two boys dancing together. They were brothers, after all. It didn’t mean anything. They were just having fun.

    They danced to the ebullient singer’s perky song. They both grinned from ear to ear as they did. Brian was watching Jake wriggle his hips. Brian had been right about one thing – the other partygoers didn’t care. They didn’t even bat an eyelash. They had long ago come to terms with their sexuality, with varying degrees of comfort. The girls were totally accepting, except for the fact that they found Brian attractive and wished he felt the same about them. They discovered they could gossip with him and tell him secrets and they would go no further. Jake remained somewhat of an enigma to them, as well as to the boys.

    Allegra’s comment about Jake being more interested in boys at the moment was astute and accurate. After his relationship with Pam imploded, he seemed more interested in exploring his gay side. The reason was simple: Jake had been hurt emotionally by the breakup. Boys didn’t demand as much emotionally. Boys could separate sex and emotion. Boys were up front about what they wanted, instead of playing games and talking in riddles as girls did. Or at least that’s the way Jake saw it.

    The boys had a different perspective on the alternative sexuality of Jake and Brian. Carl and Dave were questioning their own sexuality, so they observed them with awe and a touch of jealousy. John genuinely liked Brian and Jake, but was very ambivalent about being approached by them. Brent was very uncomfortable with the topic, and couldn’t understand how anyone could put a dick in one’s mouth.

    Tammy found another song among Matt’s tapes that Brian overlooked or didn’t know about. She started the tape:

    Life's like a road that you travel on

    When there's one day here and the next day gone

    Sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand

    Sometimes you turn your back to the wind

    There's a world outside every darkened door Where blues won't haunt you anymore

    Where the brave are free and lovers soar

    Come ride with me to the distant shore

    We won't hesitate, break down the garden gate

    There's not much time left today

    Life is a highway I want to ride it all night long

    If you're going my way I want to drive it all night long

    When the chorus came around again, every kid in the basement sang along at the top of their lungs. They expected adults to tell them to tone it down, but they didn’t.

    When the song ended, the boys retreated to the utility room one by one in a prearranged order. They did this so that the girls wouldn’t become suspicious. Jake followed Dave in their little deception.

    Dave was just bringing the bottle down from his lips when Jake entered the utility room. Dave coughed twice and wiped his lips with the back of his hand. Wordlessly, he handed the half-full bottle to Jake. Jake took a bug gulp and swallowed quickly. That was the best way, he found. He put the cap back on the bottle.

    "You’re kinda cute, you know that, Dave?"

    Dave mumbled an answer.

    Jake moved closer to the other boy. "Yeah," he said in a breathy voice. The alcohol was singing in his blood. Jake’s right hand found Dave’s crotch. Jake clamped onto the other boy’s penis through his jeans.

    "Not here," Dave whispered.

    Mike, who wobbled into the utility room, interrupted Jake’s response.

    "It’s not your turn, Mike," Jake told him.

    "Don’t care," he said as he uncapped the bottle. He took a drink of heroic proportions without gagging or coughing, capped it again.

    With mouths agape, Dave and Jake watched him leave.


    Dave and Jake re-entered the family room just as Tammy made an announcement. "I’ve found another slow song." The kids cheered. "Hope you like it better."

    "Anything is better than the Love Theme from Voyage To The Bottom of the Sea," Carl said with an edge.

    The strains of With Or Without You radiated from the speakers.

  • See the stone set in your eyes

    See the thorn twist in your side

    I wait for you

    Sleight of hand and twist of fate

    On a bed of nails she makes me wait

    And I wait without you

    With or without you

    With or without you

  • Jake grabbed Brian around the waist.

    "Get off me, Jake."

    "Dance with me."



    "There’s people around."

    "Bad excuse. Try again." He pulled Brian closer and breathed into his ear. "Please," he whispered, his breath heavy with desire.

    Brian spun around. Jake wore a face somewhere between pathos and lust. "Please," Jake repeated.

    "Oh, OK." Brian grinned a bit as he wrapped his arms around Jake. This dance had an entirely different meaning for Brian. It was fun, and just a bit daring. Their clique might accept two boys dancing together to a fast song, but a slow song was another matter entirely. He also wanted to humor Jake, and perhaps by dancing with him, maybe Jake would finally leave him alone.

    Jake was grinding his erection against Brian and breathing in his ear. His fingertips worked themselves in the armholes of Brian’s A-shirt. He began teasing his right nipple.

    "Stop, Jake."

    "I can’t, Brian." They swayed in unison to the music, their bodies pressed against one another. Brian felt his own desire rise. Brian had buried his sexual feelings for Jake pretty successfully after Matt’s tirade that past winter. Brian and Jake had participated in some mutual groping, but the never actually had sex.

    The heat from Jake’s body aroused Brian. His heart remembered what his intellect had shut out: Jake was a virile, attractive boy to whom he was emotionally attached. His slightly alcohol-impaired brain was flooded with memories. Intellectually, he knew Jake was his brother and that his attraction to Jake was not appropriate. Physically, his body was responding in a normal way. But emotionally, he was transported back to the Back to School Dance at their school. He could see an image of Jake dancing in the gym, with a big smile on his face and watching him. All over again, he relived the ache and the desire; the pain and loneliness and the sheer joy with the slightest touch from Jake.

    Wait a minute! Brian thought. I don’t remember that. Was he watching me? When the whole group was dancing in front of the speaker, weren’t his eyes on me? Did it really happen or do I wish it happened? Could this be the vodka?

    His troublesome thoughts and self-doubt manifested itself as perspiration. In truth, the night was warm and sticky and humid.

    Jake smiled at him and wiped his forehead. "Why are you sweating so much?"

    "I don’t know," he lied.

  • Through the storm we reach the shore

    You gave it all but I want more

    And I’m waiting for you

    With or without you

  • As Bono wailed out his vocal angst, Brian placed his head on Jake’s shoulder. Tears squeezed through his eyelids as he remembered the first night Jake spent with him. It was here in the basement. We were right by the fireplace. The pace of Brian’s heart increased as he recalled how much he longed to touch Jake. He didn’t dare – not back then.

    Jake stroked his hair with more tenderness than Brian could ever remember. He breathed in Brian’s ear, "I love you," and released him.

    Brian wobbled slightly and took a couple uncertain backwards steps. His head was a jumble of confusing images and feelings and the vodka wasn’t helping.

    Two thoughts kept ringing through his head: Why is growing up so complicated? And he thought, I don’t want Jake to leave me alone.


    The girls left promptly at ten. Most of the boys followed them onto the back porch to see them off. Everyone but Jake and Brian. They were in the basement bathroom helping Mike.

    "I’ve never seen anyone puke so much in my life," Jake commented. He was referring to Mike. Mike liked the feeling the alcohol gave him; he felt free and uninhibited. He felt like the life of the party. Of course, he wasn’t, for Mike was a very sloppy drunk.

    Like a seasoned backstage dressing room team, they pulled off his vomit-covered clothes, held him under the shower and re-dressed him in some of Jake’s clothes. Jake selected a T-shirt and shorts he wasn’t particularly fond of. If Mike was going to barf again at least he wasn’t going to do it on his favorite Tommy Hilfiger stuff.

    The boys had to band together to keep Mike’s condition under wraps. Brent and John were to watch Mike. They placed a bucket next to the bed in case he started to vomit again. It was up to Carl and Dave to prevent Mike from going upstairs. They had an easy task. As soon as they laid his limp body on the bottom bunk bed where Jake usually slept, Mike was out cold. They determined that a visit by Matt or Tim to the basement could be disastrous. So, they had to keep the noise to a minimum.

    John, Brent, Dave and Carl were telling ghost stories and talking about girls. Jake and Brian set up their sleeping bags off to the side, gazing into each other’s eyes, but not saying anything. Under the sleeping bags, away from the prying eyes of the other boys, they held hands. They were waiting for the other boys to fall asleep.

    They whispered to one another, slipped out of their sleeping bags and carried them into the unfinished basement bedroom.

    "Where are you guys going?" Carl asked.

    "You guys are too noisy," Jake explained. "We want to get some sleep."

    The excuse sounded plausible, so they didn’t question Jake’s words.

    Brian and Jake had barely stretched out on the floor when Jake’s hands were underneath Brian’s shirt, exploring his smooth chest. "Oh, yeah," he breathed, his voice husky with desire.

    "Should we be doing this?"

    "You want it, Brian. I want it. We love each other. You do love me, don’t you?"

    "Yeah," Brian answered tentatively.

    "What’s wrong?"

    "I don’t know. How is this going to affect us?"

    "You mean will I still respect you in the morning?" Jake said with a touch of irony in his voice. Jake kissed him again. "Yes, Brian." His hands slipped under Brian’s shorts.

    Brian’s right hand trembled as it explored Jake’s smooth, rippling torso.

    "You like that, don’t you Brian?"

    "Yeah," he said. Suddenly, he pulled his hand away as if he had been burned.

    Jake also removed his hands. "Brian, what’s wrong?"

    "I don’t know."

    "I’m not going to tell anyone. This is you and me. Nobody will ever know. Ever. I want to show you how much I love you. I want you to feel good."

    As if in slow motion, he exerted pressure on Brian’s shoulder so that Brian was flat on the floor. Jake knelt over him and kissed him again. "I love you. Just let it happen. OK?"

    Jake pulled Brian’s shorts to his knees. Brian’s cock lay flat and stiff against his belly. Jake’s eyes darted to Brian’s face before focusing again on his penis. He grinned slightly before taking Brian’s dick in his mouth.

    Jake’s mouth was liquid paradise on his cock. Jake really knew hot to give an excellent blow job. He was much better than Mike. Of course, Mike’s blow job was all he had to compare it to. Somehow, he knew that Jake had more practice. Jake had been there before.


    In the family room, the voices of the other boys rose.

    "Carl’s got a boner!"

    The other boys were teasing him about his tented boxer shorts.

    Suddenly, they heard footsteps on the stairs!

    Jake and Brian separated, quivering and giggling with excitement. They pulled their sleeping bags over their heads.

    Tim’s voice: "OK, boys, settle down and get some sleep." There was a pause. "Where’s Brian and Jake?"

    Dave’s voice: "They’re in the other room."

    Brian squinted and could see the silhouette of Tim peering into the room. When they finally heard footsteps on the stairs again, Jake repositioned himself so that his head was opposite Brian’s crotch. He pulled Brian’s partially deflated dick out again, and began sucking.

    Without being told or encouraged, Brian fished and fumbled for Jake’s dick. Jake encouraged him by lifting his hips so he could pull Jake’s boxer briefs down. He did this without removing his mouth from Brian’s dick or losing his rhythm. Jake’s dick had a natural upward curve and it grazed the roof of his mouth as he engulfed it.

    They had both traveled down this highway before, but not with each other. Sure, they had groped each other, but somehow, incredibly, they had avoided actual sex. They stepped on the accelerator toward the next exit.

    Brian was the first to ejaculate, and Jake held his quivering and pulsing young cock in his mouth until he stopped. Jake swallowed all the other boy’s cum. It pushed Jake over the edge. Brian was a bit hesitant about swallowing cum, even if it was Jake’s and even though Jake had done it to him. After the first spurt hit the roof of his mouth he pulled Jake’s curved dick out of his mouth, and held it in his fist.

    They lay there panting for a long moment, when Jake silently changed his position and kissed Brian again. Brian could smell himself on Jake.

    In the doorway of the bedroom, a third boy was ejaculating that very moment. It was Dave, who was on his knees at the very edge of the bedroom door, peering around the corner to watch the two other boys make love.

    After Dave released his load, he crawled back to his sleeping bag and joined the rest of the boys in sleep.

    In each other’s arms, Jake and Brian kissed each other gently. No words were needed. They both felt warm and wonderful.

    Like the song said, life was indeed a highway. They had anticipated the road trip for a long time. At the same time, they had resisted it, denied it, and ignored it. But it would not be snubbed or disregarded or omitted.

    It, of course, was love.

    "My head is killing me," Mike complained.

    Brian handed him two Tylenol and a cup of orange juice. He gingerly sat next to Mike on the bottom bunk in the family room. Brian surveyed the other boys, all of whom were still deep in sleep. Without looking at Mike, he asked, "Why did you drink so much?"

    Mike eased himself back onto the bed. "I didn’t realized how much I drank."

    "Dude, you drank half the bottle by yourself. Is there something else wrong?"

    "I don’t want to talk about it."

    "It might help to talk about it."

    Mike looked Brian directly in the eyes. "OK, it’s you, buddy. You’re the problem."

    "What do you mean?"

    "You know exactly what I mean."

    "No, I don’t."

    Then, I’ll spell it out for you," Mike whispered fiercely. "I’m tired of being ignored. I know you love Jake more than me."

    "No, that’s not true, Mike."

    "Yes it is. And I’ll tell you something else. I’ve been fucking around with someone else."


    "Jake," Mike said triumphantly. Having sex with Jake was a way to take revenge. Having sex with Jake was a way to regain control of the relationship. Having sex with Jake was a way to hurt Brian as much as Brian hurt him. And it succeeded on all levels.

    "How long?"

    "About a month," Mike said with a little grin.

    "You fucking little bastard," Brian said so loudly, John raised his head groggily to see what was going on.

    "What did you expect me to do? Wait around for you while you diddled Jake?"

    Without answering, Brian stormed upstairs to his own room.



    Jakefest ’94 was over, and the participants continued down the highway called life.

    In their haste to become adults, Jake, Mike and Brian had taken several detours along that highway. But because they were speeding, they had missed the green directional sign.

    It was one of those green directional signs one sees on highways everywhere. They announce the miles to the next exit, or give directions, or herald the population of the town one is entering.

    But this sign was different. It spoke to Jake and Brian and indicated a future direction.

    The sign said, "The End of Childhood."

    Forever Yesterday, The Soup Dragons, Hotwired, Polygram Records, 1992.

    With Or Without You, U2, The Joshua Tree, Island Records, 1987.

    Life is a Highway, Tom Cochrane, Mad, Mad World, 1991.

    Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it. As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome. I read and respond to all email (even if it takes a few days) Just click on one of the links below. And don't forget to check out my website (Chapters are always posted there earlier than here) and my other story here on Nifty, Pocketful of Stars, in the Young Friends section.

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