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 2004 by Nick Archer. Permission is granted to Nifty Archives to post one copy. No part may be copied, reproduced, republished, or reposted on another website without written permission from the author.

Thicker Than Water

By Nick Archer

Chapter 15



"She seems to have an invisible touch, yeah….." Genesis, Invisible Touch


Dennis waited patiently.

He lay on his back in his cottage room at St. Luke’s for the other two boys who shared his dorm room, Ray Maldonado and Cletus Murphy to fall asleep.

He had done this many nights and he had memorized their sleep patterns. Some nights he had fallen asleep before they did. But tonight, the need was so great. He hadn’t masturbated in several days.

When Dennis heard the sounds that told him Ray and Cletus had drifted gently off into deep sleep, he pulled out his penis and began.

He never used a lubricant; he simply grasped the skin around his penis firmly and stroked. Lubricant was too messy, required cleaning up, and the evidence too easily discovered.

There’s never any privacy, Dennis thought as he stroked. The only real privacy around here at St Puke’s is your own thoughts.

Because he was terrified that others would discover his gayness, he hid his sexuality deep in the closet. But there was one boy who consistently occupied his masturbation fantasies: Seth Witkowski.

He sometimes held his pillow and imagined it was Seth in his arms. He dreamed of his soft, smooth skin and lovely nipples. How he wanted to run his fingers through his fine blond hair!

Touch. I can’t touch him! I want to touch him but I can’t. I can’t do it. It’s too scary.

Touching another human being was too threatening for Dennis. Dennis had gone from selling his body to lecherous old men to avoiding another human being’s touch at all costs.

Yesterday, swim class had ended a bit early and the instructor allowed the boys a few minutes of free swim and he disappeared into his small office. Dennis, Seth, Ray and Chris Bergeron splashed each other at the shallow end of the indoor pool. Chris suggested a game of chicken.

"No way, man. If he catches us, we’ll be banned."

"Give me a ride," Seth demanded. He wrapped his arms around Dennis’ neck and pressed his chest against his back.

"Get off me, Seth!" Dennis shouted in a voice that he hoped would attract the attention of Mr. Giroux, the swimming teacher. He wriggled away from Seth’s grasp.

"All right! OK! Don’t have a litter of kittens!" Seth shot Dennis an angry look and splashed him a few times before climbing out of the pool.

Oh Seth, Dennis thought as he increased the rhythm on his penis. I wish I hadn’t pushed you off. You don’t know how much I want to hold you.

He felt the familiar lump develop in his groin. He pushed his knees up and the fingers of his left hand found the delicate skin of his asshole.

He pictured Seth’s face once again. He arched his back and released his load. For a long moment, he lay on his bed until his breathing returned to normal. He became aware of the hiss of the radiator and the sounds of his roommates in slumber.

Finally sated, he rose from bed, wiped himself clean, returned to bed and slept.


"Touch me in the morning, then just walk away….." Diana Ross, Touch Me In The Morning


In a conference room in the Admin Building, the professionals gathered around a large oak table.

As Debbie and Ann McGowan seated themselves at the table, O’Donnell said to them, "We’re waiting for Bill."

"Where’d he go, Father?" Ann asked. Ann was the principal of the elementary school on campus.

"He went to Service Merchandise," O’Donnell answered her then resumed his conversation with his assistant, Eileen Sullivan.

Debbie smiled to herself. No further explanation was needed. Service Merchandise was closing its last Chicago-area stores and Bill was taking advantage of the going-out-of-business sale. Bill was the ultimate bargain shopper. He seemed to have an innate sense as to what would sell first at these sales and which items could wait for further markdowns.

Some wags among the St. Luke’s staff labeled Bill a cheapskate or a tightwad. His supporters called him thrifty. Almost everyone respected his buying decisions.

When Venture had gone out of business earlier in the year, Bill had a field day, spending almost $500 on supplies. He bought a whole gross of 60-watt light bulbs, dozens of reams of blank paper, pens, markers, crayons, and construction paper. He nearly cleaned out Venture’s children’s books for the libraries both at camp and on campus.

Most of what Bill bought was for camp, although he did buy things for the campus and, on rare occasions, for himself.

The Financial Office always reimbursed Bill without question. They marveled at his buying skill and several had suggested half-jokingly that he had missed his true calling as a purchasing agent. Bill was also sometimes excused from meetings for his purchasing expeditions, although his presence was required for this particular meeting.

This meeting had been called to discuss Dennis.

Father O’Donnell continued to speak in low tones to Eileen as she nodded mutely and created a list on a steno pad. Eileen was renowned for her lists.

"We’re going to need the green van to take the boys over to Bloom tomorrow. And we’ll use the mini-van to take the kids to Marian." O’Donnell turned to Debbie, who had just arrived and was draping her jacket across the back of her chair. "Think Tom might be able to drive to Marian?"

"Sure, Father," Debbie answered, though she knew her husband hated to taxi the kids around.

O’Donnell checked his watch. He was anxious to get the meeting started.

The school psychologist Henry Burger arrived. Privately, Bill and Debbie had given him the nickname Monobrow. Debbie placed a tiny spiral notepad on the table to her right. She wanted to reserve a seat for Bill. They had a history of passing notes back and forth during meetings to relieve the boredom.

As if on cue, Bill appeared slightly flushed.

"Sorry I’m late," he mumbled. He took the empty seat next to Debbie.

"Did you get anything good?" Ann teased.

"Not much. But I did pick up a Cuisinart for each cottage."

The other adults looked at him oddly until he let out an explosive laugh. "Just kidding. I did pick up a few things, though. I got a lot of photo albums that will make great Lifebooks."

"Great! Good idea!"

"And I picked up a lot of 8-by-10 picture frames which we can use to frame certificates and diplomas. I also got a few other things." He settled into the chair next to Debbie.

"Sounds like you found some good things after all," O’Donnell said. Without any further fanfare, he began the meeting.

"We’ve called this meeting this morning to discuss the progress of Dennis Balzekas," Father O’Donnell told them, "or lack thereof. The next Prospective Adoptive Parent Mixer is coming up and I want to determine if Dennis has made enough progress to start weekend visitations."

Bill wrote on the pad We’re having a PAP Smear. PAP was their private acronym for Prospective Adoptive Parent. Debbie snickered.

O’Donnell simultaneously squinted and raised his eyebrows over the top of his reading glasses. "Debbie? You deal with him on a day-to-day basis. What’s your opinion?"

The petite brunette hesitated only long enough to wipe the smile off her face before speaking. "In the house, he’s better. Not great, but better. He seems to have made friends with Seth Witkowski."

O’Donnell squinted through his reading glasses at a page in front of him. "Let’s see. We’ve got this kid on quite a pharmacy; Paxil for anxiety, Wellbutrin for depression and Ritalin for his ADHD. Any problems getting him to take his meds?"

"He seems to want to take them. He knows they’re helping," Debbie responded. "The only thing is reminding him to go to the infirmary." Only the campus doctor or the school nurse could dispense medications.

O’Donnell shook his head. "I was very hesitant about putting him on all these meds. You all know I don’t believe in medicating problems away. Henry? What’s you opinion?"

Debbie wrote on the pad You could knit a sweater from his eyebrows and surreptitiously pushed it back to Bill.

The psychologist pushed his round, owlish glasses up his nose. He raised his thick, bushy eyebrows. "I agree that he’s made significant progress. We may still see some regression from time to time. Often, when kids find themselves in adult roles, they find it difficult to revert to being a kid again. Sometimes it happens spontaneously."

"I caught him watching Barney the other day," Debbie interrupted.

Bill started to hum the theme song, "I Love You, You Love Me."

The other adults groaned.

O’Donnell sighed, took off his glasses and tossed them on the folder in front of him. "I’ll be honest with you. I was very hesitant about taking this kid. You all know St. Luke’s does not accept kids who are in trouble with the law. Dennis was not technically in trouble with the law, but he certainly did participate in some illegal activities. And St. Luke’s is not a therapeutic treatment center. It’s getting tougher and tougher these days."

O’Donnell toyed with his glasses as he continued. "The state is pushing more and more kids out of the foster system into adoption. This is all well and good. However, the kids that are left are usually more damaged and more needy and require specially trained foster parents. There are a very limited number these specially trained foster parents. In addition, there are a very limited number of residential facilities to take a kid with special needs. There are, of course, state and private psychiatric hospitals. But Dennis’ problems are not severe enough to place him there. This is the problem of special needs kids. There’s residential treatment and the foster care system and not much in between."

O’Donnell’s eyes swept across his employees. "It’s you who changed my mind about Dennis. You’ve really stepped up to the plate and worked hard with him. And it’s really made a difference. He’s a changed kid. Granted, he still has some issues to work out, but my thoughts are that he’s ready for placement."

Bill commented, "He’s told me that he wants to go to a foster home."

"And what do you think, Bill?" O’Donnell asked. "We haven’t heard your thoughts on the matter."

"I agree he’s made a lot of progress. But like you said, he still has a lot of issues. He has issues with men; probably stemming from the abuse he received from his father. He’s very slow to trust, especially adults. He also has a difficult time with touch. Granted, most kids this age don’t go around hugging. But I think Dennis’ neurosis goes beyond that. Dr. Eaton told me he had a very difficult time whenever Dennis goes to the infirmary for monitoring of his meds."

"That cold stethoscope can frighten anyone," Ann commented. A few of the adults chuckled.

"I agree with Bill, here," Henry added. "So far, he hasn’t revealed the basis of his touch neurosis, but I suspect that it has to do with his abuse. It’s my opinion he needs to address this before he can be successfully placed."

"He certainly is artistically talented," Ann added. "Doreen, the art teacher, says he’s probably the most talented student she’s ever had here."

"It’s an excellent idea to use his art to explore his feelings," Henry said. "I’ve noticed that several of you had him draw a picture for you. I’ve been doing some reading on art therapy. It’s not my area of expertise but I did find some ideas that may help."

The adults around the table nodded thoughtfully.

Debbie, who had forgotten the note-passing game, asked, "Do you have a foster family in mind for him, Father?"

"Matt Rosato and Tim Dugan."

Debbie wrinkled her forehead and shook her head.

"What, Debbie?" O’Donnell asked. "What’s on your mind?"

"I don’t know. As much as I like Matt and respect him, I’m not sure that’s the best place for him. As Bill mentioned, he has issues with men. I’ve seen it in Trees. He and I get along well - finally - but he still rebels against Tom."

"He also creates problems for the male teachers at the school," Ann added. "But the women teachers say he’s fine in their classes."

"Don’t you think that it would be best for him to place him in a two-parent home?" Debbie asked. "Or even with a single woman? What about Leah Levin?"

"Leah made it clear Mike would be the only one she was willing to foster," Bill reminded them. "One boy, that’s it."

"Father, I think that placement with Matt would be a mistake. I think it would undo all the progress he’s made."

"But, on the other hand, maybe placing him with Matt and Tim would force him to confront his feelings about men. And there’s no better role models for him to learn from."

O’Donnell stopped there. The other adults in the room knew exactly what he was talking about. Matt and Tim were gay and so was Dennis. The two men had a stable, loving relationship and would provide excellent role models for him, just as they had for Brian, Jake, Tommy and to a lesser extent, Mike. But O’Donnell was a smart man and knew the politics of the Catholic Church. The Church would never, ever condone placing a gay child with gay foster parents. While St. Luke’s was semi-autonomous and had an endowment of it’s own, it still received subsidies from the Chicago Archdiocese. So he stopped short of mentioning the real reason why he was considering the placement. His staff, however, knew exactly what he was referring to.

O’Donnell was enlightened and progressive enough to know that Matt’s home was the healthiest environment for a young teenager who was questioning his sexuality. He also had a great deal of faith in Matt and Tim and knew they were excellent parents. He couldn’t speak the words, however. To do that would simply invite trouble with the current church climate.

Debbie’s face reflected her frustration.

"Debbie," O’Donnell spoke evenly and deliberately, "you know I respect your opinion. Tell me what’s on your mind. Be honest."

"I just think you’re setting him up for failure. Don’t you always tell us that we want to set kids up for success, not for failure?"

"You’re right. And I’ll take your opinion into consideration. But remember this; he has to visit for ten weekends before Matt and Tim can even make a decision about fostering him. If it doesn’t work, we have an out."

"But he’s had so much rejection already in his past. First his natural father, then his older brother in Lake Geneva. He’d be devastated if Matt and Tim rejected him, too."

"Maybe they won’t. We don’t know. I don’t think we’ve even spoken to them about Dennis yet. Have we, Bill?"

"No, Father, I haven’t," Bill admitted. "I was waiting on the results of this meeting."

"There is another possibility. Another family could spot him at the Mixer."

"That’s unlikely," Debbie mumbled.

"It could happen. In any event, let’s see what happens. There are too many variables at this point. Bill, if you could talk to Matt and Tim and see where they stand about another foster son. I’ll take a look at the list of foster parents who have signed up so far to see if there’s another couple that might be willing to take him. Let’s leave our options open." All the staff members understood that O’Donnell was close to ending the meeting.

Debbie smiled and nodded. Her boss had just overridden her opinion. She managed a smile and risked one last comment. "I just want Dennis to be happy. He’s had a miserable life so far, and I just want him to feel safe."

"That’s what we all want, Debbie," O’Donnell answered for all of them. "But, like I said we just don’t know if placement with Matt and Tim will work out. Maybe they don’t want another foster son. Maybe they don’t like him or he doesn’t like them. Maybe he doesn’t get along with their sons. Maybe there’s another couple that might be interested. We just don’t know at this point."

O’Donnell began gathering the papers in front of him into folders, signaling the end of the meeting. "I’m not belittling your opinion, Debbie, and I think you’re right to an extent. But right now, I think Matt and Tim are our best option. Let’s just give it a chance and see if it works."


"Touch-a, touch-a, touch-a touch me; I wanna be dirty!" Rocky Horror Picture Show


Damn Seth! Damn him to hell! Dennis thought as he turned his back to the other boy changing next to him. He’s got the whole fucking locker room to change in, and he chooses the locker right next to mine.

The noisy outer door banged again, signaling that more boys had arrived in the locker room to change.

In the warm, damp changing room of the pool house, they removed their school clothes and prepared for their mandatory swimming lessons. At the time, St. Luke’s didn’t have a Red Cross certified swimming instructor on staff, so they were compelled to hire an outside instructor. Dave Giroux arrived after school, the only time he was available, to teach the hour-long lessons.

The locker room in the pool house was rather small. Dennis rather liked the chlorine odor that permeated the entire building. It reminded him of summer. Mr. Giroux was an easygoing man who often allowed them some free time to play at the end of their lesson.

Whether in the pool locker room or in Trees cottage, Dennis always changed with his back turned to his housemates. His oversized equipment embarrassed him.

Seth, however, always had other ideas.

Seth was an exhibitionist. Although he was basically straight, he liked to show his average-sized penis and tawny pubic hair to the other boys. There was something exciting about showing off.

Seth stood completely naked about an arm’s length from Dennis. Dennis had demurely turned his back to shimmy out of his swimsuit. Seth stood behind him and continued talking, completely comfortable with his nakedness.

"Dude, I need your help with algebra," Seth said to Dennis as he ran his palm down over his chest, abdomen and finally over his semi-hard dick.

"Sure, if I can." With his back still to Seth, he wrung out his swimsuit over a drain in the concrete floor. There were few things he hated more than changing into a damp swimsuit the next day.

They heard several more boys crash out the noisy door and head toward Trees cottage. Dennis and Seth were alone now in the warm, moist locker room.

Seth bit his lower lip as he stared at Dennis’ back. All his efforts to get Dennis to mess around with him had failed. Although he was basically straight, he was also curious and very horny. I wonder if he’s really gay, Seth thought. I overheard Debbie talking about him.

Seth lowered his voice. With his index finger, he reached out and touched Dennis’ Proctor and Gamble-like tattoo on his right shoulder. "Bitchin’ tattoo, man."

"Don’t touch me!" Dennis growled.

"Chill out, man! Jesus! What’s your fucking problem?"

Seth had failed again. He had to act fast before Dennis started to get dressed if he was going to succeed. He grasped a corner of his towel, let it dangle, and twirled it into a rope. He backed up a few steps and flicked it at Dennis.

With a loud crack, it snapped Dennis’ right thigh.

"Ouch! Fucker!" Dennis spun around and with his right hand balled into a fist he started toward Seth.

Seth grinned; he had finally succeeded! Dennis was coming toward him still fully nude.

Seth grinned and backed away from him, but didn’t see the changing bench behind him. He tripped and landed on the floor.

Dennis’ fist hung in mid-air for a second while he pondered his options. Finally he cooled down, unclenched his fist and allowed his right arm to deflate to his side. It just wasn’t worth it, Dennis thought.

Seth took his momentary indecision to scramble to the changing bench. He was eye-level with Dennis’ large, semi-erect cock. "Day-um, Dennis! You got a fucking fire hose," he whispered.

Seth boldly reached out with his right hand. As his fingertips grazed the other boy’s cock, Dennis backed away as if he had received an electric shock.

"No," Dennis whispered. His eyes met Seth’s ice blue eyes. He noticed Seth’s platinum blond hair was still tousled. Seth had toweled it dry but not yet combed it.

Seth continued to grin. He knew Dennis wanted it. "Just giving a buddy a hand," he said with a shrug.

"I can’t."

Seth’s hand closed around Dennis’ dick, which was now fully erect. "Come on."

"No! Get off me, Seth." His voice had risen. Dennis hoped that his louder voice would attract the attention of Mr. Giroux. Panicky, Dennis’ eyes wildly swept the empty locker room for an exit.

With a devilish grin, Seth closed in on the terrified Dennis.

The loud banging of the locker room door distracted them. They heard Mr. Giroux’s voice: "Dennis? Seth? You two better get moving!"

Seth giggled nervously and resumed dressing.

Dennis vowed to keep his distance from Seth.

Seth vowed just the opposite.


"Reach out, reach out and touch someone….." Old AT&T TV commercial


A week later, Dennis was seated in the comfortable wingback chair in Bill’s office. Bill’s office had earned the nickname The Dungeon because of it’s location in the basement of the Admin Building. Bill always kept the office dark and it didn’t help that two walls of the windowless office were covered with dark paneling. Bill never used the overhead fluorescent fixture. Instead, he preferred a desk lamp with a dark green shade for illumination.

Propped up against the side of the chair was one of the large photo-collage frames that Bill had purchased at Service Merchandise the week before.

In his counseling sessions, Bill assigned "homework." Such assignments were designed to make the boys think about themselves outside of the counseling session therefore extending the short time they had together. Usually it was some sort of reflective writing assignment or something to be added to their Lifebooks. The assignment might be something as simple as an observation or a list. It might be a phone call. It might be telling someone that they’re sorry.

When Bill spotted the photo frames at Service Merchandise, he had an idea. He gave one to Dennis as homework. Dennis’ assignment was to fill in each of the spaces with a drawing.

"Are you ready to show me your homework?"

Dennis’ eyes gleamed with pride and excitement. With a flourish, he lifted the rather large frame and placed it on Bill’s desk.

Bill was momentarily speechless. He admired Dennis’ artistic talent and was constantly amazed at his work. Eight of the nine spots had been filled in with drawings that Dennis had completed in colored pencil. In the ninth space, Dennis had placed a picture of himself.

"Why don’t you pull the chair over here so you can describe these pictures to me?"

With a big smile on his face, Dennis turned the chair and moved it next to Bill’s.

"I know I’ve said this before, Dennis, but you are very talented."


"OK, explain to me what these pictures mean."

"Well, you gave me that list of things to be included." He pointed to a drawing in the upper left corner. "This one up here is the place where I felt safe."

"It looks like a fort or an outbuilding."

"It is. It’s a fort near the Woodhull mansion in my old neighborhood in Chicago."

"And why did you feel safe there?"

"I could be myself there. Nobody bothered me. I could get away from my dad."

"OK, good." Bill pointed to a sketch of a museum. "This one looks like the front of the Art Institute."

Dennis grinned. "That’s where I would like to be in five years. I want to go to the School of the Art Institute."

Bill raised his eyebrows. "It’s very competitive to get into. But a good goal to reach for. Which one represents where you want to be in a year?"

Dennis pointed to a Cape Cod style house with a white picket fence and a large oak in the front yard. "Here. Home."

"So you’ve decided you want to be adopted?"

"Yeah," Dennis mumbled.

"Who is this boy here?" Bill pointed to a handsome young man about Dennis’ age. "It seems to me that I’ve seen you draw him before."

"Joe Ryan."

"And what does he represent, Dennis?"

Dennis hung his head. Were there tears in his eyes? "I want him to forgive me."

"Why Dennis?"

Dennis sniffed loudly. He was on the verge of tears but struggling valiantly against them. "I hurt him. I used him."

"Can you tell me about it?"

"He’s Sean’s son. I spent the summer with him in Williams Bay. I-I-I used him."


"By letting him think that I loved him."

"What would you say to him if he was here?"

Dennis was still hanging his head. He choked back a sob. The result almost sounded like a hiccup. "I’m sorry, Joe. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. I didn’t mean to tear up your teddy bear."

"You tore up his teddy bear?"

He looked at Bill with eyes filled with tears. "Just like Peter did to me."

"What did Peter do to you?"

"My grandma gave me a stuffed dog. He was my best friend. One day my older brother Peter took him and ripped him apart." Dennis was crying openly now. "I loved that stuffed dog. I told him everything. Sometimes he was the only friend I had, except for Grandma Balzekas."

Bill watched Dennis’ tough, sassy exterior melt like snow on a roof in April. Dennis the cocky, swaggering young man dissolved into Dennis the hurting little boy. Bill wanted to gather him up in his arms but refrained from doing so.

Bill handed him a box of Kleenex. Dennis yanked out a couple sheets and wiped his face and nose.

"I just want…." Dennis’ words were muffled by the tissues.

"I’m sorry? What do you want, Dennis?" Bill asked gently.

"I just want someone to love me for who I am. I want to be part of a family."

"Is that what you really want?"

"More than anything."

"It will happen, Dennis."

"No! It won’t!" the boy shouted with so much force that it startled the counselor. "I’m too old. I’m fourteen. I have a better chance at getting struck by lightening! Besides, what family is going to want me? A hustler, a boy prostitute? I’m no good. Don’t you see? Who wants a former hustler? It’s all my fault."

"Don’t ever say that, Dennis! It’s not your fault! None of it. It’s not your fault you’re gay. It’s not your fault your father abused you. It’s not your fault your brother couldn’t foster you. You’re a great kid and you’ll make a wonderful son. We just have to find the right family."

For a long, long time, Dennis didn’t say anything. He just hung his head and continued to sob silently. Tears streamed his cheeks and dripped onto the glass of the picture frame.

He tried wiping his nose again with the saturated tissue. Finally he looked up at Bill. He had a look of pleading on his face. "Do you think? Do you think we really can find a family?"

Bill smiled encouragingly. "Yup."

"How do you know?"

"Because I’ll find one personally. I’ll keep looking for you, Dennis."

"You’d do that for me?"



"Because I like you, Dennis. And because I care about you."

"You really care about me, Bill?"

"I do. Count on it."

Without warning, Dennis placed the rather large frame on the desk and wrapped his arms around Bill’s neck. "Thank you, Bill," he mumbled into the man’s shoulder.

Bill hesitated at returning the hug at first. It was a professional gray area. But Dennis had initiated the hug.

As if the crying boy were made of crystal, Bill wrapped his arms around his shoulders.

And Dennis allowed himself to be touched; this time he did not pull away.

"Come on, come on, now touch me, babe/Can’t you see, that I am not afraid?" The Doors

After his rather emotional counseling session with Bill, Dennis found he needed some nicotine. Cigarettes were difficult to obtain, so Dennis rationed his meager supply to himself. He only smoked one when he absolutely needed one.

And he needed a smoke now.

He retrieved the forbidden cigarette from his drawer in his room and took it and a lighter to the gazebo. He had just about a half hour before the dinner bell would ring.

Alone in the gazebo in the chilly October air, he glanced over both shoulders before lighting up. He took a long drag and held the smoke in his lungs before exhaling.

"Awww! Dennis!"

Dennis almost jumped though the roof of the gazebo.

"Nate! What the fuck are you doing here?"

"I followed you."

"Jesus Christ," Dennis muttered. Nate Dykstra was nine and followed Dennis everywhere. He had become Dennis’ shadow. In an odd way, it was flattering to have someone, anyone who thought you were the greatest person in the world. Nate idolized Dennis and Dennis couldn’t figure out why.

"You shouldn’t smoke, Dennis. It’s not good for you."

"Get the hell out of here, Nate!"

"No! I can be here if I want."

"If you tell anyone, I’ll beat the shit out of you."

"No, you won’t."

"And what makes you so sure I won’t?"

"Because I like you, Dennis. You wouldn’t do that to me." The younger boy stepped onto the gazebo and sat on the bench next to Dennis.

Dennis sighed loudly. "Don’t you have anything better to do?"

Nate grinned at him. "Nope."

"Really, Nate. I like you. But I really want to be alone for a while. I want to think."

"Awwww, man!" He looked at Dennis with his liquid brown eyes. "I like being around you."

Dennis sighed with aggravation and flicked the dying cigarette into nearby Hickory Creek. "I was just about to leave anyway."

"No you don’t," Nate smiled as he wriggled into Dennis’ lap.

"You’re a pain in the ass."

"But you like me anyway, don’t you?"

As he hugged the body of the younger boy closer to himself he said, "Yeah, you little punk. I like you."

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it. As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome at Constructive criticism is welcome, too. And don’t forget to visit my website Archerland . New chapters are always posted there earlier than here.

Other stories on Nifty:

Paternal Instincts, Family Instincts, Thicker Than Water.....College & Relationships

Pocketful of Stars.......................Young Friends

Resurrection Harry......................Science Fiction

Cooksville Chronicles.................Historical

Tales From the Northwoods.......Beginnings