Steve: Chapter Four

Here's the warning. If you're not 18 or your parents are in the room, don't read this story. If you don't like the thought of two guys doing it until the windows shake, don't read this story. If you're a dumbass, don't read this story. If you have fantasies involving Bea Arthur and a bottle of baby oil, you are a sick, sick person. Otherwise, go ahead and read the story.

This chapter of the story is narrated by Steve. Be gentle, it's the first story I've ever posted.

I was up before Mike that morning. It was weird. I had gotten into the habit of sleeping later than usual since we had gotten out of school. I didn't mind it, though. It gave me a chance to look at him more closely than I could have if he was awake. He was cuddled up snugly against me, like I was his teddy bear or something. I suppose I was, in a way. He always looked to me for support and strength, even though he could easily have supported himself. That guy was a lot stronger than he gave himself credit for.

His arm moved up my chest as he slept. I took a good look at it. He always had scratches down around his hand from where he had played too roughly with his dog. She loved it, though. He was just like a big puppy to her, and she treated him like it. I moved my finger from the base of his wrist all the way up to his elbow. His arm was coated in a layer of light blond hair, which I found sexy for some reason. His legs were the same way, only with more. The only places where his hair wasn't blond were at his crotch and on his head. They looked like they could be with a little time in the sun, though.

I rested my head on the pillow and felt him sleeping against me. I'd had to get him undressed and put him to bed myself the previous night night. I don't know why, but he just collapsed all of a sudden. I knew he was just asleep, though. I was tired as hell, too, after the day we had. I just wanted to savor the moment, though, so I avoided thinking of anything. Random thoughts started drifting in and out of my mind, but it all centered on the cute guy cuddled up next to me.

The first time we met was in an English class our freshman year. I was assigned to sit next to him. Even back then, he was a cute, cute guy. I was the one who had to strike up a conversation. His family had just moved here, so he had no friends or anything and had to make a fresh start. I would have hated that, but he was used to it by then. It took me a long time to get him to open up, but for some reason, I knew it would be worth it.

His father was in the Army, so whenever he would get used to a place, he'd have to move again. It was something that I couldn't have lived with, but he had adapted to it. The reason his family had moved here was because his father had some family down here and it was where he was originally from. He had gotten out of the Army on a GI Bill or something just after Mike's 6th grade year started. His parents were going through a tough time then, so they were split up. His father moved down here to find work and his mother took him to live in Massachusetts, where she was from. He hated it there.

Just before he got out, his father's assignment was in Oklahoma. From the way Mike described it to me, it was the best place he had ever lived. That was where he spent his 5th grade and the first week or so of 6th. Then he had to go to Massachusetts. Since he had lived in Oklahoma for a year and a half, he had picked up a bit of the accent. The kids at school there all teased him about it. To make matters worse, his mother had fallen apart. She wasn't able to do anything, so he was the one who had to keep everything going. He was a little 11-year old kid; he couldn't handle that. The pressure, being a social outcast, bad living conditions, and the onset of puberty all contributed to a horrible case of acne all over his upper body. While most of it was gone by the time I met him, the scars remained. Not just the physical ones, either.

I didn't get all of this out of him at once. It was almost three years before he could tell me the entire story, and even then, he wasn't too comfortable with it. He always seemed to think that he needed someone else to lean on, and I was always there for him. I knew that he didn't need me, but if I could make things easier on him, I wanted to. I didn't realize it at first, but I was falling in love with him.

Almost immediately after meeting him, I took him under my wing. He never left my side after that. I introduced him to all of my friends, but he was so shy and reserved that nobody really took any notice of him but me. As time passed, he got more outspoken and started to share the things he loved with other people. He was a born actor. Still is. In all of his theater classes and all of the school plays he was involved with, he almost always stole the show. He had this natural wit and charisma, and when it was combined with his stage presence, he was a force to be reckoned with. He also loved to write. Hardly a day went by when he didn't have a new story or play for me to read and give my approval. I always did. They were always great, too.

I yawned and stopped reminiscing. I looked down at Mike, who was still peacefully sleeping next to me. He was on his back, but still managed to be cuddled against me. I took another look at his body. He had kicked the blanket off during the night, so I could see all of him. I was still, even after all these years, in awe of him. He had that cute patch of hair between his pecs that spread out to almost cover his chest. From that, there was a very cute trail going down all the way to his pubic hair.

He had a hint of muscle definition. I never understood why he didn't like his body so much. He was a little on the thin side, but he was more than gorgeous. I felt him sigh in his sleep. I had always loved the way he felt whenever he even touched me in the slightest way. I thought about all the years that I had spent with him, letting him touch me however he wanted but never letting on that I enjoyed it. He always felt starved for attention, so he was almost constantly hugging me. He never did it in public, though. I always figured it was because he didn't want to embarrass me. I wouldn't have minded. I loved it. I did feel guilty, though, because it made me feel so good. So-I don't know-complete.

Even as much as I loved him, I didn't always want to. When I first realized that I was falling for him, I tried to convince myself that I wasn't. I couldn't be gay. I didn't want to have sex with guys. I couldn't be in love with another guy. I tried to separate myself from him, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. It hurt me to even think of going on without him. This was about halfway through our sophomore year. I still hung out with him all the time, but I was trying to date some girl to convince myself that I wasn't really in love with him.

This girl, her name was Laura, had her eye on me for a while. I dated her a few times, but it always felt wrong. I tried to put that behind me, telling myself that was what all guys felt when they first started dating a girl. I even wound up sleeping with her before I realized that it wasn't right. I had used this girl in an attempt to deny something that I knew was true. I felt like shit. It wasn't bad enough that I was thinking about hurting Mike by ignoring him, but I had dragged another person into my messed up little cycle of self-denial. I broke it off with her after about three weeks. I felt so bad that I actually started to call Mike to apologize, but then realized that it would blow my cover.

Even if this incredible, vulnerable, creative, artistic, smart, sensitive, and oh-so-sexy guy did turn out to be gay (as I had started to suspect by that time), I thought that the only thing he wanted from me was friendship. I was definitely not going to lose the most important relationship I had ever had. Even if I had to pine away for him in secret for the rest of my life, I wasn't going to lose him.

It was during the beginning of our senior year that I noticed Mike starting to shy away from me a little bit. For days, I just sat there and wondered what I had done and whether it was too late to fix it. Over the years, I had learned that I needed him just as much as he needed me. He brought something out in me that nobody ever had before. He didn't just take one look at me and dismiss me as stupid like a lot of people did. He listened to me. There was never really anybody who did that before him.

I felt him stir next to me. He wasn't waking up, just shifting in his sleep. I looked over at the clock for the first time that morning and was slightly shocked to learn that it was around 5 in the morning and I was awake. I smiled at myself for some odd reason, then went back to thinking about the first time I thought Mike might be in love with me.

It continued that way for a week or two, with him getting increasingly distant by the day. Finally, I just confronted him one day and asked him what was going on. He was a TA during lunch and I was a library aide, so I took him aside into the production studio where we could be alone. As soon as I asked the question, he looked like he was going to burst into tears. I was immediately sorry and rushed over to hug him. For the first time ever, he pulled away from me. I thought that I knew what it was like to feel bad, but this was the worst feeling I had ever had. The thought that I had been the one to hurt Mike almost made me start crying, but I managed to hold back. So did he.

He explained to me why he had been avoiding me. It was probably going to be our last year together, since I didn't plan to go on to college and he did. I mean, I did plan to go, but just not right after highschool. His speech had a lot of pauses in it, like he was trying to decide exactly what to say and how to say it. It was like he was telling me the truth, but not all of it. He told me that he didn't want to get so dependent on me that he wouldn't be able to make it without me. I had already come to the conclusion that I wouldn't be able to live without him, but I figured that was best left unsaid for the moment. I guess that actually having to explain it to me made him reconsider it and think about how little sense it made, because soon after that he was the one hugging me. It was amazing. Just seconds before I felt like I could drop through the floor, and suddenly I was lighter than air. That was the kind of effect he had on me.

After that, we were inseparable. I'm not sure it was possible, but we hung out even more frequently, trying to get every second of time with each other we could. I knew why I was doing it, and every day I felt guilty for not telling him, but I thought that he was just there because I was his closest friend. The thought that he might consider me anything more never even crossed my mind.

I ran my hand along Mike's shoulder as I thought. The scarring really wasn't all that noticeable, but it was still something that he tried to keep hidden from everyone. I didn't care, though. He was perfect, flaws and all. Hell, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was his flaws that attracted me to him in the first place. I don't think he would be the same person if it weren't for all he had gone through.

I yawned again and realized that I wasn't as wide-awake as I thought. I turned my head toward Mike and kissed him before closing my eyes and drifting off again.

The next time I woke up that morning it was at a more reasonable hour. Around 9:30, I felt Mike moving and hugging me tighter. It was the most amazing thing. I felt warm all over. I just wanted to lie there and enjoy the feeling of him sleeping with me. There was something more than I had ever even imagined here. I know the terms "love" and "soul mate" are just thrown around at random all the time, but that was the only way I could describe it. I didn't ever want him to leave my arms. I had to get up, though. I had to piss, and I figured he probably wouldn't enjoy it too much if I did it in his bed.

I somehow managed to get out of bed without waking him up. It took me a second or two, but I didn't want to disturb him. I went to the bathroom and did my business, then put on some shorts and went out to get the paper. Mike usually got his news online, but I preferred being able to sit down in a big easy chair and read. I got the oddest stare from one of his neighbors, though. I think she was checking me out. I laughed and went to get something to eat from the kitchen.

I was about halfway through the paper when I heard Mike get up. He came over and kissed me. It wasn't anything big, but any signs of affection from him still rendered me speechless for a few moments. He disappeared into the kitchen to look for something to eat. I watched his cute ass as he walked. I sighed, thinking about how only a few days ago I was completely obsessing over the fact that I'd never have him. Here he was, though, and it was amazing. I put the paper down and went into the kitchen to join him.

"Morning, babe," I said as I grabbed him from behind. He was rummaging around in the refrigerator, looking for something acceptable to eat. I started kissing the back of his neck, noticing that the mark I had left was still there. I smiled at that.

"Hey." He turned his head to kiss me. I felt that familiar spark again. He turned his entire body around, not breaking the kiss, and wrapped his arms around me. My hormones getting the better of me, I moved my hands down his back. When I got to his ass, I stopped, cupping each cheek in my hands. He was pretty fuzzy back there, too. I liked it, though. I started running my finger up and down the crack. He kept urging me on with his eyes, so I found his asshole with my finger and started rubbing at it. "Mmm, that's good."

I leaned over and kissed his neck, never moving my hand away from his ass. I softly bit the sensitive skin right underneath his jaw and he moaned. I looked up into his eyes. "Let's take this into the bedroom," I said, picking him up and carrying him with me. He was heavier than he looked, but I could handle it.

I laid him down on the bed and climbed on top of him, returning to kissing his neck. He moaned every time my lips touched his skin. He tasted so damn good! I continued licking and sucking my way down to his chest where I stopped at his nipples. His hands were rubbing up and down my back while I sucked and nibbled on his dark nubs. He tasted amazing.

I moved my head up and licked his armpit. His eyes opened wide and he stared down at me in amazement. "Oh, damn, don't stop." I smiled and buried my face in the soft hair. It didn't smell bad; it was actually sort of erotic. He was incredible and I loved it. I moved back down until I was at his stomach. I felt his hard cock straining, poking me in the chest. It was absolutely wonderful. My own was straining against its confines in my boxers, but I didn't even think about it. My only goal was to make Mike feel as good as he possibly could.

I kept moving until my face was buried in his pubic hair. I sniffed and licked; he was so damn sexy. I reached down and grabbed his hard, dripping cock. I rubbed the pre-cum into the head and he whimpered, begging me to suck him. Who was I to disagree? I brought my head down, licking the tip, trying to push my tongue into the slit. I loved the way he tasted. I could have done this all day, though I doubt he could have gone along with that.

He pushed his hips up, telling me that he wanted more. I sucked him about halfway in and began running my tongue all along the shaft. There were loud moans coming from above me, so kept doing that for a few minutes. Then I pushed my head down, taking the entire shaft into my mouth. He grabbed the blanket and twisted it in his hands. I could feel him pulsing in my throat and it was amazing. My fingers were kneading his balls, making them hang even more loosely in their sac.

"Mmm, yeah Steve, that's good," he barely whispered. "Yeah, I'm gonna cum soon!" I grabbed his cock along the base and squeezed hard. That made him buck his body a little bit. "Ooooh, yeah, come on!" He was shouting by that point. I pulled up a little and started jacking him off. He stopped forming coherent words and just kept moaning and urging me on.

"Unnnnnnngh!" He screamed out as he started cumming. I tried to swallow all I could, but there was a lot. It tasted incredible, too. This was something that I would never get enough of. He was breathing heavy as he continued to spurt into my mouth, coating my tongue in his salty cum. Somehow, I managed to swallow most of it, but there was still some that had leaked out of my mouth and down my chin. Mike pulled me up to kiss him and licked his own cum off my face. I began kissing him again, pushing my tongue as deeply into his mouth as I could. He reached down and was about to pull off my boxers when we heard the doorbell ring.

"Noooooo!" I yelled in exaggerated agony, burying my face in the pillow behind Mike. "Maybe if we just wait it out, they'll go away." The bell rang again. "Why does this always happen right when I'm about to get off?"

I gave Mike another quick kiss before I got up and went out to the living room. I adjusted myself so that the head of my VERY hard cock was sticking in my waistband and opened the door. George was standing there, looking slightly shocked at my appearance.

"Okay, this time I know I'm interrupting something." He looked me over again, still pretty unnerved. "I'll just go."

He turned to go but I grabbed him by the arm and dragged him in the house. "It's alright, I'm sure you had a reason for coming. Hold on, I'll go put some clothes on. Just sit down or something." I went into the bedroom and told Mike about George being here. We both put on some clothes and joined him in the living room.

"So what brings you here, George?" Mike asked. I was still hard as a rock, but my jeans were hiding it pretty well. "Something wrong?"

George looked rather uncomfortable. "I'm sorry to, umm, disturb you during your, umm—"

I cut him off. "It's no problem, we seem to be disturbed during that a lot. What's on your mind?"

He glanced at me and laughed. "That's one hell of a way to answer the door. I could have you taken in for indecent exposure, ya know." I had to laugh at that.

"Well, dammit, if I can't wander around naked, what's the use in having a cop buddy?" I smiled and leaned back against Mike's ugly couch. I was starting to go down a little. He laughed at me and took a long look before continuing.

"Anyway," he said, shaking his head a little, "the reason I came down here was to thank you for being so great with Rachel yesterday. I fucked up pretty badly, myself, but I'm glad she has terrific friends like you guys."

"What'd you do?" Mike asked, shifting on the couch so he was closer to me. "I thought you handled it pretty well, actually."

"Where do I start?" George leaned back in the chair, finding that it was a rocker. "Well, first I ask out a fucking rape victim about two seconds after I handle her case, and I didn't even handle that right. I had to take her to the hospital right after you two left her yesterday. The only reason I did that was because Susan brought her back to the station after Rachel told her I hadn't. Luckily, she hadn't showered or anything yet because she was with you guys, but what if she had?"

"Relax, George," Mike said. I was oddly silent. "I'm sure you're a great cop. You're, what, 23? 24?"


"Ok, 24. Which would mean that you haven't been doing this for very long." Mike shifted his seat again, looking sort of uncomfortable.

"About a year or so. I only moved down here a few months ago." George grabbed a pen from the table near the chair and started playing nervously with it. "Look, I really don't know that many people around here. Thanks for listening."

"Yeah, sure, no problem," Mike said. "Look, you've only been doing this for a little while. You're still learning, really. I'm sure that once you get the hang of it you'll be great."

George closed his eyes for a second. "That's another thing. I'm not sure I really want to get the hang of it. I don't like it. The only reason I'm doing it is because I'm expected to." He paused again and looked at us, smiling. "And here I am, telling two guys who probably couldn't care less my entire life story."

"No, really, we do care. We might just be a little distracted, but we're listening." Mike looked at me. "Well, I'm listening. Hey, Steve, you in there?"

I looked up. "Huh? What?"

Mike laughed. "Ok, so maybe he might be a lot distracted."

"Oh, I'm just sitting here listening quietly." I looked over at George, who was nervously fingering the pen.

"You don't do anything quietly," Mike said. He laughed at me again, this time joined by George. "Anyway, what do you think?"

"Well," I turned to George again, "I think that you should do whatever makes you happy. I mean, hell, Mike and I are pretty much kings of violating what's expected of us." That made Mike smile at me. "So what do you want to do?"

He sat there for a second, just staring at me. "Ok, I know this sounds stupid, but nobody's ever asked me that before. I don't know. I never even thought about doing something else."

"What'd you do before you went to, umm, cop school?" Mike asked, again shifting in his seat. The couch wasn't exactly built for comfort. Or looks, for that matter.

"Not much, really. I graduated highschool when I was 19, I spent a year just goofing off and not doing anything, and I spent the next 3 years doing a lot of different things. I was a factory worker, a waiter, a supermarket cashier for about a week. Hell, you could name pretty much any minimum-wage job and I held it."

"Well, what did you like doing in highschool?" I asked. I was finally able to put my leg down since I had gone soft a few minutes earlier. "I mean, what classes and stuff did you enjoy?"

"I really didn't enjoy school that much. I found stuff like algebra to be less horrible than most of my other classes, though. Where's that useful?" George perked up. "I dunno, I also kinda liked German."

"Hey, I took German in highschool. Three years of it, anyway." Mike stopped for a second to think. "Umm, algebra is a good basis for programming. You like computers?"

"Haven't really had much experience with them, but I dunno. I mean, it'd probably just be easier for me to stay a cop and wind up forcing my kids into it." He chuckled at his own bitter joke. "I just don't know. I'll find something. Now, in a blatant attempt to steer the conversation away from my lack of a career, how are you guys doing?"

"Well, I was about to get some when SOMEBODY," I glared over at George, "came knocking at the door." He laughed after pausing for a second to realize that I wasn't serious.

"No you weren't," Mike said. "I was just going to string you along and use you for my own pleasure, then leave you hanging."

George looked us over for a second. "I do hate to interrupt all that sex. How about a three-way with a hot, young soon-to-be-ex-cop?" He gave us an evil grin.

Mike looked over at me for a second, then got up and walked over to the chair. He straddled George and reached under his shirt. The look on his face was absolutely priceless. Mike leaned in close to him, looking like he was about to kiss him. "Gotcha." He licked the tip of George's nose and fell backwards onto the floor, laughing. I was almost doubled over on the couch, my stomach beginning to cramp up. George tried to compose himself, but that only made us laugh harder.

He mumbled something incoherent and pulled his shirt back down. Mike and I were still laughing at him. "Yeah, well, you need a shower." We kept laughing for several minutes, George finally finding it amusing enough to laugh at himself. It slowly died down and I looked at the clock. It was almost 11:30 and neither of us had eaten.

"Hey, George, wanna catch a bite to eat with me and the little slut over there?" I smiled at Mike who was scowling at me from his place on the floor. He picked up a shoe and threw it at me. "Watch it, that could have hurt if you had anything even resembling aim." He threw the other shoe at me, hitting me in the stomach. I laughed at him.

"Yeah, sure, sounds good. I've got the day off, anyway. Where to?" George stood up and helped Mike off the floor. I put on my shoes, which Mike had conveniently thrown at me, and grabbed my car keys.

"Umm, I know a great little Japanese place in Columbus." I smiled, thinking about the last time I was there. "If you don't mind being made fun of by the regulars in Japanese, that is."

"Mmm, sushi and chopsticks. I'm there." He looked at the keys in my hand. "I'm not riding in that deathtrap you call a car. That thing would probably combust on impact. We'll take my car. It's got a nifty siren."

I laughed at him. "You can use chopsticks, right? 'Cause the first time I ate there, I couldn't, and these really mean people behind me were pointing and laughing."

Mike looked at me funny. "When were you there?"

"Susan and I went out for lunch one day and ended up there. I just liked saying the name. 'Satuma: Japanese Restaurant!'" I said in my best Godzilla-movie-voice impression. "The food is incredible."

"Alright, works for me. 'Cept I can't use chopsticks. I've never had to, actually." He smiled. "I guess I'll just have to let you feed me."

"That's enough, boys!" George said. "Let's go, I'm hungry!"

Lunch was incredible. There might not be a lot of competition in the Japanese restaurant market around here, but the food was amazing and the service was impeccable. The fact that I was there with my gorgeous boyfriend and our favorite new soon-to-be-ex-cop only made it all the better.

Afterwards, George took us back to his apartment. It was a pretty nice place in a good neighborhood. We were invited in, told to make ourselves at home, and all of the other host-like things one says when one has people over. George had decorated it pretty nicely, though it still had that just-moved-in feel to it.

"You guys want a beer or something?" George asked from the kitchen.

Mike laughed. "Contributing to the delinquency of a minor. How big of a fine is that?"

George came out, holding three cans. "Hell if I'd know. Cops don't pay fines."

I took one and Mike declined. Actually, I'd never seen him drink. "So what's up with that?" I asked him. He looked at me funny for a second.

"Well, one of us has to drive home, and it should probably be the one with no blood alcohol level. Besides, I just don't. Maybe I'm secretly a Mormon and don't know it." He sat, pretending to ponder that for a second. "Hell, you've seen how easily I develop addictions and alcoholism runs in my family. I'm just avoiding a risk."

"So, exactly what are you addicted to, eh?" George asked, raising an eyebrow at him. Mike laughed again.

"Well, I was a net addict for a while." George rolled his eyes and took a drink. "A seven-hundred dollar per month net addict." That made George almost choke on his beer. I laughed out loud, since I had heard the story before and loved people's reactions when he told them.

"Seven hundred dollars?!" George was astounded. "How the hell did you do that? I don't even spend seven hundred a month on rent and food combined!"

"Long distance and AOL per-hour charges." He laughed a little. "My dad wasn't happy about that one."

"Damn." George was still shaking his head. "You're not allowed anywhere near my computer. Anyway, since you're not drinking with us, how about a soda or something?"

"Yeah, sure, whatever you got." Mike settled into the couch next to me. It was much more comfortable than what was at his house, which I'm not even sure can be considered a couch. It might pass for a padded bench, though.

Steve returned in a couple of seconds with a can of Sprite and tossed it to Mike, who put it down on the table next to him. "Don't want it exploding all over the carpet, now do we?"

"Depends on what 'it' is," George said. Mike and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes.

"Leave the double entendres to us." Mike laughed at him. "You're just not any good."

George gave us a fake hurt look. "Well, gee, if that's how you're gonna be, maybe I won't have us strip naked and rub oil all over each other."

Again, Mike and I gave disgusted looks. "The overt sexual comments should be left to the masters, too. Umm, you can talk about the weather or something."

"It's good weather for some hot gay sex in my apartment?" George looked at us and smiled. We just shook our heads.

"Anyway," I said, trying to change the topic, "what's up with you and Rachel? Got anything planned?"

"I dunno, I was thinking that it might not be the best time to start anything." He took another swig. "I mean, look at what just happened to her. The only reason she's throwing herself at me is because she sees me as someone who can protect her. I don't need something based on that."

"Damn, you're even more psycho-analytical than Mike is," I said with a smirk on my face.

"Where'd you learn such a big word, babe?" Mike was mocking me. "Is that word-a-day calendar I gave you paying off?"

I glared at him. "Yes, actually. The word for today is 'asshole.' Here, I'll use it in a sentence for you. My boyfriend is an asshole."

George chuckled at us. "That's what I want, really. Someone who I can banter with, but who still knows that I love them. Except it would have to be without all the testicles."

"Oh, so you want a eunuch?" Mike looked almost serious as he said that, but then broke into a huge smile. He was so damn cute.

"Hah, smartass. You should be thanking me. I'm the one getting your boyfriend drunk for you. Now you can take advantage of him."

"Please, I could take advantage of him anytime I wanted." Mike got up and sat down on my lap. "I could do him right now and he wouldn't stop me."

"Damn right I wouldn't." I grabbed him around the middle. "Now, you might want to get off of me unless you want me to have an embarrassing bulge in my jeans."

He wiggled his ass a little. "Who says I don't?" I pushed him off me and back onto his side of the couch. He grabbed his Sprite and popped it open. "Fine, then, you tease."

"I'm not the one grinding my ass into your crotch, now am I?" I grabbed a throw pillow and tossed it at him.

He smiled at me and tossed it back. "No, you're grinding your crotch into my ass, though."

"Alright, boys, no foreplay on my couch unless I'm involved and only one of us has a Y-chromosome." He stood up and switched places with Mike. "That should stop you two."

"That's what you think," I said as I went over to sit in Mike's lap. George covered his eyes with his hands.

"Do you two ever stop?" He just sat back and watched the show in front of him, though not given much of a choice.

"No, but it's only 'cause we're making up for lost time. We only got together like four days ago." Mike said, smiling. I had to smile at that, too.

"No fucking way," George said, amazed. "Damn, I would have thought you two had been together for years."

"Well, technically, we have," I said. "It's a bit of a story."

I explained it to him as best I could about the whole perceived unrequited love thing. He just sat there in shock, listening to me. I had moved off of Mike's lap and back onto the couch next to him by the time I was through.

"Wow, that's just weird." He looked at me, then at Mike, then back at me. "And neither of you knew that entire time?"

"Nope. I guess we're both pretty good actors," Mike said. "It sounds kinda silly now, but at the time it was horrible."

"I can't even imagine."

"You don't have to," I said, "it was nasty. Anyway, enough about our problems. I'm a little tired of sitting around talking." I looked at the clock. "Hell, we've been here for two hours! Wanna go do something else?"

George reached down and squeezed his crotch. "There's always that three-way I proposed earlier." I just shook my head at him, silently laughing.

"You do know that neither of us have breasts, right?" Mike asked from the chair. "Neither one of us has ever found the need for an absorbent panty-liner, either." He looked at me. "Well, at least I haven't."

George laughed. "I know. It's not every day I hang out with a couple of gay guys. I guess joking about it is how I'm dealing with the change."

I nodded. "You're more accepting than some people can be." I glanced over at Mike, who was nodding. "I mean, at least you're not burning down our houses or anything." I gave a nervous chuckle. This was a rather sensitive subject that I really hadn't thought about that much. I knew that I needed to hide it, at least for now, but I never really thought about why. It was disturbing.

"You said something about doing something else?" Mike asked. He was apparently trying to change the subject.

"Well, we could go hang out at the mall, but we wouldn't know anybody there and George would probably hate it. Maybe we could pick up Susan and play get lost." I tried to think of better ideas. None came.

"What's get lost?" George asked. Mike and I looked at him and laughed.

"Get lost is where you get in the car, get onto the back roads, and see just how lost you can get yourself. I used to do it all the time with Susan when we got bored and had enough gas." Mike got his wallet out and looked inside. "And, hey, look at that. I have my parents' gas card."

"Okay, is it sad that I'm bored enough to think that might be fun?" George took all of our cans and threw them out. "'Cause I definitely think so."

"Yeah, so do we, but we tend to do it a lot, so it's far less sad than you think." I stood up and helped Mike out of the chair. I grabbed him around the middle and gave him a quick kiss while George was in the kitchen. "We need to bring Susan along 'cause she's the only one who knows how to get home when we're done playing."

"Where's your phone? I need to call her and tell her to put on some pants or something." Mike walked into the kitchen and grabbed the phone George pointed at. He dialed and had a short conversation with her, then came back out to the living room where George and I were getting ready to go. "She says she'll be ready and waiting. She made it sound much dirtier than that, though."

We all piled into George's car and set off for the 15-minute drive to where Susan lived. It was a fun ride, with Mike driving while George and I sat in the backseat. We made kissing noises at each other through the entire trip, making Mike have to glare at us through the mirror many times. We were slightly buzzed (me more than him) after having a couple of beers at his place, so I guess it was better that Mike drove. We pulled into Susan's VERY long driveway and saw her coming out the front door. Mike moved over to the passenger's side and let her drive.

"Hey guys," she said. "Where're we off to?"

"Hey, let's try to find that 3-legged cow," suggested Mike. "I've heard you talk about it all the time, but you can never find it."

"Nah, let's go find that cow with that one white stripe down the middle. You know, the one that looks like it was sewn together from parts of other cows." I started laughing. George looked at me funny.

"So, umm, does this game revolve around cows or something?" We all laughed.

"No, that's just what we notice mostly." Susan thought for a second. "I know, we can go to Satanville, or we could try to find the 'No Black People' sign at the place with the magic good luck leaves. Wait, we have to go to the place with the magic good luck leaves before we can go to Satanville, otherwise the people there will cook us and eat us. The food there is pretty good, though."

George looked at me for a second. "Am I way more drunk than I think I am, or did I hear her correctly?"

Mike laughed. "You heard her correctly. There's a funny story behind that, actually. We were playing get lost one day, and we got stuck at an unlabeled dead end on this really narrow road that runs behind CSL. There were all these freaky plants around us, and one of them got stuck on the antenna. This was also the place where there was a sign that said 'No Horseback Riders' or something like that, but when I first saw it I thought it said 'No Black People,' so we were trying to get out of there as fast as we could.

"The next day, Susan was with someone in this little town that we don't even know the name of, but it looked really evil, so they called it Satanville. The magic good luck leaves were still on the antenna, so that's why they didn't get eaten. Those little buggers stayed on for a long time, too."

George gave Mike the oddest look, then burst out laughing. "Damn, I can see why you like this game so much. There're almost endless inside jokes that can come from it."

Susan laughed and we took off down the back roads, going to an unknown place. We talked and I pawed through George's CD collection. He didn't really have much. The guy was into obscure indie rock, which would have been fine with me, except it was so obscure that even I hadn't heard of it. I put in Third Rail by Railroad Jerk. It was indie folk rock. It was pretty good, though.

We drove around for about a half-hour or so, making decisions on where to turn at random intervals. This was a good time: even Susan got lost, and she was always messing up the game by knowing where we were. Around the time we were getting into the game, Susan announced that she knew where we were. It was pretty close to Rachel's house, actually, so we decided to stop by and say hi. Just as we were about to make another turn, Mike noticed something on the road.

"Hey, what's that?" We all looked over to see a big, huddled mass lying just off the road. "Come on, let's go check it out. Maybe it'll be more of those magic leaves."

Susan drove up to the figure. I was the first one to notice that it was a person. Mike and I immediately jumped out of the car to check and make sure that they were all right. When I shook the body, it turned over and I saw who it was. There was blood dripping down the face and it was caked with dirt, but there was no mistaking the person.

"Guys, get over here now!" I yelled to the car. "It's Rachel!"

George and I had carried her to the car, where he and Mike made sure that she was still alive. She was, but she was unconscious and probably suffering from blood loss. Mike's father was a nurse and made sure that he knew some basic first aid, and since George was trained in it, they stayed in the back with her while Susan sped down the roads. George had her turn on the siren once we got to a populated area.

Mike was in the back, doing all he could to stop the bleeding. They were using an old towel they found on the floor to apply pressure to the wounds on her head, but from what I could gather, they weren't being too successful. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, we reached the hospital in Columbus. Rachel was rushed into the emergency room and we were told to wait in the waiting area. That was the worst part, I think. We were there for about three hours or so before a doctor came to talk to us.

"Are you the people who brought Rachel in?" she asked. We nodded. Susan stood up to talk to the doctor, with Mike and George right behind her. I don't think I could have stood up. "We've tried to reach her parents, but there was no answer at home. Do you know where they might be?"

"Oh, Rachel said that they were going on a business trip or something. Her father runs a shipping business." Susan looked around for a second. "I have their number in my purse, but I think I left it at home. I can get it for you."

"Please, I'd appreciate that. First, I need to inform you of her condition. She suffered from severe head trauma, but we think she's going to be okay. We're going to keep her at the hospital for the next two or three days to make sure there isn't a latent concussion, but overall she's going to make it." She paused for a second. "I'm required by law to report all attacks of this nature to the police department. If there's any evidence—"

"I'm a police officer," George said. "I think I have a pretty good idea who did this. At least, whose friends did this. She was raped recently, and I think that the boy who did it has friends who are trying to make her drop the charges. Please feel free to report this to the Columbus police, though. I'm sure they can be helpful in resolving this case."

I wasn't really paying much attention to whatever else was said. This was going to end here, and I would be sure that it did, even if I had to break into the jail and kill that little prick myself.

Ok, I lied about all the hot, steamy sex. There'll be a chance for that eventually, but right now I'm working on a bigger thing. Chapters 5 and 6 will also be narrated by Steve. I believe that Mike may be narrating Chapter 7, but that all depends on the storyline. On a lighter note, Satuma is an actual restaurant in Columbus, IN, and they're as good as I said. Also, the story about the magic good luck leaves and the "No Black People" sign was completely true. I swear.

Thanks to everyone who has sent me feedback on the story so far. Thanks also to Andy, whose proofreading skills have made this chapter legible. Remember: send me feedback once, shame on you. Send it twice, shame on me. No, wait, that's not right.

Send constructive feedback on this story to Flamers will have their magic good luck leaves taken away.