Steve: Chapter Five

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've never heard Protection by Massive Attack, you have some CD shopping to do. 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'm not really sure how long we were at the hospital. Susan found her purse in the car, so we waited around while the hospital called Rachel's parents. They wouldn't be able to make it down until the next day, but that was alright because Rachel needed to rest.

George insisted on calling the police and having them post a guard around her. We were both pretty sobered up by now. There's nothing like a good trauma to bring you back to your senses. The doctors would only let one person visit Rachel at a time, and only for a few minutes. She was fine, but they said that she needed her rest. Susan was the first one in.

There was a small couch in the waiting room where Mike was sitting. I plopped myself down and scooted over close to him; not close enough to draw unwanted attention, but enough to be near him.

"You gonna be alright?" I asked, looking him over. He really didn't look all that good.

"Yeah, I guess." He shifted his position so he was looking at me. "I don't know. I mean, who the hell could do something like this to her? What kind of sick, disturbed person would actually feel the need to beat the shit out of some helpless girl and leave her to die on the side of the road?"

I moved in closer and put my arm around him, not caring how it looked.

"If we hadn't been bored enough to play get lost-" he choked back a bit of a sob and I could tell he was trying not to cry. He rested his head on my shoulder and just sighed, taking comfort in me. "I dunno."

"I don't, either." I looked around for a second, then gave him a quick kiss on the top of his head. "What I do know is that there must be something watching out for that girl. I mean, really, what were the chances?"

Mike looked up at me and grinned. "You're not gonna get all philosophical and moody on me, are ya? 'Cause that's my job!"

I laughed a little, still not sure how things were going to turn out. We got quiet for a little while, but I didn't mind. I liked showing how I felt about Mike in a public place, even if it was a deserted hospital waiting room. George walked in and sat down in a chair across from us.

"Hey guys, how ya doin'?" George didn't really look that good, either. He looked more angry than upset, though. He was fidgeting with a pen in his hands.

"I'm guessing better than you," Mike said, his head still on my shoulder. I squeezed his arm a little bit.

"You need a hug, too?" I asked, smiling at him. That brought a grin to his face, but it was short-lived.

"What I need is for the little punks that did that to her to be brought to prison and held there for a very long time. Maybe have the guards look the other way while they learn just how prison marriages work." George put the pen down on the table next to him. "I'm just going to let someone else handle this case, though. I'm a little too attached."

I looked down at Mike and he nodded. I stood up, grabbed George, and before he knew it, I was hugging him. He tried to pull off, but I wouldn't let him. Eventually, he just gave in and hugged me back.

"You know, you can't catch it." I was leaning almost directly into his ear. "Well, not unless I do this." I reached down and grabbed at his crotch. That made him jump and pull away. He saw me smiling and shot me a glare, but started laughing a second later.

"Look, Steve, I know what you're trying to do and I appreciate it." He sat back down. "If you don't mind, though, I'd kinda like to stay mad for a while."

"Alright, sure, but expect more groping when you're ready to be cheered up again." I went back over to Mike who pushed me over when I sat down.

"Did I say you could grope him, too?" He glared at me for a few seconds before he cracked up laughing. I smacked him on the back of his head and scooted back over to him, oblivious of who might see us. It was good to feel like that.

"You can grope him now, if you want," I said. George glared at me.

"Nobody's going to be groping me for a while, thank you." He was trying to get angry again, but we probably weren't going to let him and he knew it.

"Oh, a while." Mike reached down and grabbed his crotch. "So I guess that hot three-way with our favorite soon-to-be-ex-cop is still on, huh?"

George started laughing silently and buried his face in his hand. "You boys and your sexually explicit jokes. I'm glad I grew out of that."

Mike and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. It was around then that Susan walked back into the waiting room.

"Well, it's nice to see that somebody can find humor in a tragedy," she said, glaring at us all. We immediately felt bad about not feeling bad enough. Each of us mumbled an apology of sorts while Susan sat next to me. "George, Rachel says that she wants to see you, now. You two are next."

George left and I tried to explain. "We were laughing because we were trying to cheer George up, and we had this inside joke about us, and, umm-" I didn't do a very good job of it.

"Yeah, it's alright. I'm not as mad as I seem." She sighed and leaned her head against my other shoulder. "I'm just trying to understand what happened."

"Mike and I went over that while George was on the phone with the police. I guess it just kinda turns out that there are evil people out there." I shifted, a little uncomfortable with all of the extra weight on my shoulders. "She'll be fine, though."

We all stayed and talked for a bit until George came back. He told us that Rachel wanted to see Mike now, so he got up and walked down the hall.

"You wanna take his spot?" I asked George, who was still standing, apparently thinking about something. "You know you wanna get closer to one of us. Either the incredibly gorgeous one or the girl." Susan punched me in the side, not hard enough to hurt me, but hard enough to make me jump.

"I'll pass, thanks," he said as he sat down in the chair. "If you're even half as stinky as your boyfriend, I'd wind up fainting."

Susan brought her head down to my armpit and sniffed, then put it back on my shoulder. "Well, a shower certainly wouldn't hurt him."

"Hey, what the hell is this? Pick on Steve day?" I looked over at George. "It's your fault I didn't get a shower in this morning, anyway."

"Oh? Well, this should be an interesting story." Susan grinned up at me. I told them about my morning, minus my musings about Mike and all of the gratuitous descriptions of our lovemaking, right up until the point when George rang the doorbell.

"Yuck, sex before a shower." George shuddered a little. "That's just disgusting."

I laughed a little. Mike came back with the biggest grin on his face, looking directly at me. I asked him what was up, but he told me he'd tell me later and that Rachel wanted to see me. I got up and went to her room, leaving the three of them alone to talk.

I went in and sat down on the chair next to Rachel's bed. She just looked at me for a second, then smiled.

"I heard what you did for me. Thanks." Her voice was quiet, but it made me smile anyway. I leaned over and kissed her on the forehead.

"You know, Mike's the real hero. He's the one who helped stop the bleeding on the way here." I paused for a second, thinking. "I'm really proud of him."

Rachel cleared her throat. "Ahem, girl lying in the bed here. Focus some of that attention my way!" She smiled at me and I had to smile back. She was a lot calmer than I would have been. Hell, she was a lot calmer than I was at the time. That brought up another subject.

"Umm, Rach? Do you know who did this to you?" I was almost afraid to hear the answer. We both knew that if I knew who it was, I wouldn't be able to control what I did to them.

"No," she bit her lip for a second, "at least I don't know for certain. George is pretty sure it has something to do with those guys yesterday, and we're both pretty positive that it has to do with Ryan." She just lay there, staring ahead at the wall for a few moments.

"You know I'll do anything to help you." I bent down and kissed her on the forehead again. She winced a little, but smiled at me nonetheless. "I just wanna help you nail the bastards."

"I wish I could remember more about it. The doctor said that it's probably a result of posttraumatic stress or something like that, I didn't really understand what he was saying. They're going to wait a while before they start questioning me or anything, though. I think they said that the police would be here tomorrow." She grabbed my hand. "I'm scared, Steve."

I squeezed gently. "I know. It's alright, though. Everything's going to work out, you'll see." I didn't really believe it, but it was a pretty convincing lie.

The nurse came in and told me that I had to leave, then went over to check on the monitors around the bed. I kissed her again and started to leave.

"Oh, Steve?" I turned around. "You owe me."

I gave her a confused look, but the nurse pushed me out the door. The last thing I saw before it was closed in my face was Rachel grinning at me.

I headed back to the waiting room, still a little confused. I got there and we decided that we should probably all go home; there wasn't really anything else we could do. George dropped Susan off at her house, then made the 15-minute drive to Mike's. We exchanged phone numbers and told him to call us later that night.

I had barely gotten in the door when Mike jumped on me. He pushed me back until I was sitting on the couch and straddled me. I wasn't exactly putting up a fight, but I was a little too confused to return his kisses. He didn't seem to mind, though.

"This is why I was grinning," he whispered in my ear. "Rachel told me to give you an excellent blowjob for her, and I plan on doing just that."

I was smiling now. "Damn, she was right. I do owe her."

Mike leaned over and licked my ear, sucking a little on the earlobe. All that time, his hands were messing with my fly, trying to get the button undone and the zipper open. It didn't take him long; he was getting better at it by the day. A few seconds later, my jeans were down at my ankles, stopped by my shoes. He reluctantly tore himself away from my ear and went down to pull them off. He barely had the patience to untie them. I sat, watching quietly as one shoe went to the floor next to him, then the other. He ripped off my jeans, and I was sitting there in just my boxers, t-shirt, and socks.

Mike came back up and made short work of the shirt, tossing it to the floor alongside my jeans. He paused a second, taking a good look at me. He licked his lips and started licking my chest, paying close attention to my nipples. They were pretty sensitive, and just the thought of his tongue and fingers running along them made me groan and shudder a little.

He smiled at me and gently bit one of them. I arched my back and yelled, causing him to do it again, several times. He stopped and looked up at me for a second, like he was considering something. After a second or two, he raised my arm and buried his face in my armpit, licking and sniffing. Wow. That felt absolutely incredible. When I had done it to him that morning, it sounded like he enjoyed it, but being on the receiving end was amazing. He moved over to the other arm, making me pant and urge him on.

I had my head back and my eyes closed as he pulled away and started to move down again. He seemed to enjoy biting at the hair on my chest and stomach, pulling it slightly. His tongue started working its way down the trail leading from my navel into my boxers and I whimpered in anticipation.

He grabbed the waistband and before I knew it, my boxers were down on the floor. Rather than going directly for my cock as I hoped he would, he went further down and started licking my balls. I was rock hard and dripping all over my stomach, but he didn't seem to notice or care.

"Mmm, yeah babe, you taste and smell so damn good," I heard him say, his face still buried in my crotch. I couldn't have even formed words if I wanted. "Yeah, you like this, dontcha?" I managed to whisper an affirmative and he laughed. "You want me to suck that big cock, don't you?" He pulled his head off and looked directly up at me. "Don't you?"

I nodded. He grabbed my cock around the base and squeezed pretty damn hard. I gasped, not really sure whether I liked it or not. He was getting off on some kind of power trip, though, 'cause he squeezed again.

"Come on, please suck it. Damn, I need it," I begged. He looked up at me with an evil grin, squeezing as hard as he could all the while. Slowly, he bent down and started licking around the ridge. The entire head was practically dripping by now, so he licked up all of my pre-cum and then glanced up at me again.

"Yeah, you want it bad, dontcha? You want me to suck on this big cock." He bent forward again and started pushing his tongue into the piss slit. I groaned and he sucked the entire head into his mouth. I could have cum right then, but I knew that this was going to be worth holding back.

He started scraping his teeth lightly across the sensitive skin, making me buck my hips a little. He wouldn't let me get any further into his mouth, though. He knew he was teasing me and he loved it. The feeling of his warm, wet tongue running up and down the tip was incredible.

Little by little, he started letting me get deeper. I couldn't even see straight by the time he had half of my cock in his mouth. It was hot and wet in there, and he was sucking for all he was worth. The head of my dick was poking at the back of his throat, so he decided to take it all in one swift motion. I let out an animal roar that even I didn't know I was capable of when his nose hit my pubic hair. He was moaning while working the shaft in and out of his mouth, sending incredible vibrations through me.

"Yeah, I'm not gonna last much longer," I said. "I'm gonna cum soon!"

Mike brought his finger up to his mouth and put it in alongside my dick. It took him a second before he pulled out and reached beneath me. I knew what he was doing, so I lifted my hips to give him easier access (and to drive my cock further into his mouth). I actually yelled out as he pushed his finger into my ass. He looked up at me, but saw the smile on my face and went back to work on my cock.

He kept working his finger deeper into me, and the second he touched my prostate I yelled as loud as I ever have and shot off a huge load into his mouth. Mike pulled off a little so he could taste my cum, but still had to swallow as quickly as he could so none spilled out. Through my entire orgasm, he kept fingering my prostate, making me cum more than I probably ever had before. When I was finally finished, he pulled off and looked up at me, licking his lips.

"Oh, damn, that was hot," I said, panting. "Shit, I've never cum that hard before. Damn."

"Whaddya mean, 'was?'" Mike grinned up at me. "I'm not done with you yet."

"Damn, babe, lemme rest for just a few seconds." I leaned my head back against the couch. "Fuck that was intense."

"You can sit and rest while I go get that lube you had the other night." I looked up at him, raising an eyebrow. "I'm gonna get me a piece of that cute ass."

I leaned my head back against the couch and listened to him crashing around in his bedroom, searching for the tube of KY I had brought over a night or two ago. Hell, I couldn't keep track anymore. It had only been a week, but it felt like a whole lot longer. He appeared again, completely naked and holding a tube of lubricant.

"C'mon, babe, you wanna do it here or in the bedroom?" He looked impatient, with a look on his face like it was Christmas morning. I chuckled a little and led him into the bedroom.

I looked him over. He was still as sexy as ever. My eyes fixated on his half-hard cock, though. "How the hell do you expect to fuck me with that limp thing?" I asked, grinning. He didn't even get a chance to respond before I had dropped to my knees in front of him, giving him a good blowjob and getting him up in almost no time.

"Mmm, you'd better quit that or I'm gonna waste all this cum and make you have to get me hard again." He started pushing my head away. I put up a little bit of a fight, but eventually relented.

"Like it's that difficult to do," I said. He grabbed me and pulled me close to him, kissing me pretty damn hard. I lost myself in it for a second or two, but then broke it. "Look, I've never been fucked before. Just be sure to get me nice and loose, and don't skimp on that lube."

Mike nodded and motioned for me to lie down on the bed. I got on my stomach with my head resting on my arms in a typical "ready for a massage" position. Rather than immediately get to work like I thought he would, Mike grabbed a pillow and put it under my hips, then got on top of me. He started kissing my neck, gently biting and licking. I moaned my approval. He leaned down and started licking my ear.

"What was it like when you, umm, licked me?"

"Hmm?" I said, not really paying attention. I was too absorbed in the feeling of his warm body pressed against me.

"You know, the other night before you fucked me." He ground his hips into me, pressing his hard dick tighter against my ass. "You licked my ass. What was it like?"

I smiled, still not opening my eyes. "How about you try it and find out? I mean, you're gonna be down there anyway."

He gently bit my earlobe and worked his way down. His tongue traced a wet line down my back, stopping just before it got to my ass. I felt his hands reach down and pull the cheeks apart, then his warm breath. I let out a small, anticipatory moan.

I felt his face get closer as he gave an exploratory lick. He made a thoughtful noise, a little overdramatic, and bent down to lick again.

"Mmm, that's good." I was nearly purring. He chuckled at me and returned to what he was doing. He traced his way from the top of my crack to just above my asshole, where he licked his way around it. He kept going back up and down without touching my hole, teasing me. Finally, just before I was about to scream, he rubbed his tongue against my pucker. I let out a deep, almost primal growl. Mike seemed to enjoy that, so he pushed the tip of his tongue in.

"Ah, god damn!" I yelled out. Finally, he just seemed to lose control and actually buried his face in my ass. He was working his tongue in a way I never even thought possible, giving me feelings that I had never even come close to experiencing. My moans of pleasure were reduced to a constant whining. He spent a little more time rimming me before he pulled off and started licking his way back up to my neck.

"Did you like that?" He asked as he moved up the small of my back. I let out an affirmative grunt, still trying to catch my breath. That was almost as good as cumming. He bit the back of my neck, right before it met my back. Mike just seemed to know all of these spots on my body that sent a shock through me. I couldn't wait to try a lot of them on him.

I turned my head and kissed him. I know, that's not typically the first thing I'd do after a guy shoves his tongue in my ass, but it wasn't bad, really. I was clean enough that I couldn't even taste myself on him. He worked his hands down my back again, pushing a finger into my crack. I felt him start to push it into my hole and closed my eyes. I was pretty slick with spit and relaxed from an amazing tongue job, so it didn't have any trouble getting in. All the while, Mike was either kissing me or licking at various places on my body.

"Mmm, that's good," I said again as he gently bit that sensitive area just below the ear. I couldn't get enough of him. He slowly started working his finger out, joining it with another. My body stiffened up a little and he paused, slowly pulling his fingers out. After putting a good amount of KY on his hand, he started working two fingers into me again. They went in much easier that time. The way he was working his fingers was turning me on immensely. I could barely stop myself from grinding my hips into the pillow until I came, but I wanted to put it off.

Again, Mike pulled out and pushed in another finger. After a few seconds of twisting three fingers, getting me nice and loose for him, he pulled out again. I turned my head long enough to watch him applying the lube to his rock-hard cock. I closed my eyes again, still seeing the image of him, shining with KY.

He rubbed the head up and down around my asshole for a minute, teasing me. I wound up having to beg him to fuck me before he would. I gasped as the head entered. It wasn't really painful, but it was an odd sensation. He stopped for a second, his hands kneading my cheeks. I told him to go on and he slipped in another two or three inches. I tried to buck my ass up to get more of him in me, but he had a firm grip and was holding me down. Mike was apparently enjoying teasing me. I'd have to get back at him for it later. At the moment, though, all I cared about was having him fuck me hard and fast.

Mike started pulling back out a little, but I squeezed the muscles in my ass tight enough to make him moan and stop his exit, if only momentarily. Since he appeared to enjoy that, I kept contracting and relaxing. His breathing was started to get more shallow and labored, so I stopped for a second and let him get back to the task at hand. He started pushing into me again, slowly. He was about 3/4 in when he stopped again, panting.

"That good?" he asked. I couldn't even form words at that point, so I just grunted and smiled. He started pushing again and I soon felt his pubes against my ass. The second he had pushed all the way in, I yelled out in pleasure and lust. I wanted him fast and hard, and he knew it. It was the most amazing feeling, too. I was more full than I ever thought I could be. His shaft, hard as steel, was pulsing inside of me. I was just hoping that he felt as good as I did at that moment.

He rested a second, then began pulling out. I squeezed as tightly as I could, but he didn't stop until he had the entire shaft out, leaving only the head in. Then he started slowly pushing it back in. He kept this pattern up for a few minutes before he pulled all the way out and had me turn over.

Mike grabbed my legs rather roughly and put them onto his shoulders. I looked up and saw the most incredible look on his face. He was completely fixated on fucking me, and I was incredibly turned on by his aggressive presence. It was normal for him, typically, but he didn't usually act like that around me. He pushed his hard cock into my ass again and held it there while he bent over and kissed me. My legs had slipped down past his arms so they wouldn't be in an incredibly awkward position, but I was still raised up enough for him not to have to adjust himself.

Mike's mouth tasted amazing, to say the least. I could barely keep myself from biting his tongue as he fucked me, though, so I just let him take me. The kiss was hard, with our teeth scraping against each other slightly. It was sexy, but it an odd way. By that time, I was incredibly turned on again and practically dripping on my stomach. He had reached down and was stroking me in time with his thrusts into my ass, which had gotten considerably faster and harder over the past few seconds. I could tell he was getting closer.

"Yeah, fuck me," I pleaded when he took his mouth off mine for a second. "God damn, you're good at this."

He smiled down at me and returned to kissing me, increasing his speed a little more. In a matter of a few moments, he was rapidly pistoning in and out of me, and I was begging him to make me cum. Finally, his stroking got to be too much for me and I shot off my second load of the afternoon onto our stomachs. My ass clenched tightly around his cock, triggering his orgasm. It was kinda weird, feeling him shoot off inside me. I liked it, though. Feeling his cock expand a bit set me off even more, milking even more cum out of my cock.

It took a while, but once we both came down off of our highs, Mike collapsed on top of me. We were both practically dripping sweat, but we didn't mind. It felt incredible. Afterglow is an incredible thing.

"Oh, god damn," I managed to whisper once I got my strength back. "That was fucking incredible. Where the hell did you learn to fuck like that?"

"That's something I've been fantasizing about doing for years now." He rolled over so he was on his back, but still cuddled up against me. "I'm glad you enjoyed yourself. I won't be able to move for a few hours at least."

"You? Please. I had that big cock of yours up my ass." I reached down and grabbed him. "I mean, hell, look at that!"

Mike pushed my hand away. "Ah, damn, look but don't touch. I think you broke it."

I laughed at him, then looked down at myself. I was covered in cum and sweat, and I hadn't showered that morning, so there was a bit of BO, too. It took everything I had at the moment, but I managed to get up.

"I'm going for a shower," I said. Mike just leaned his head back against the pillow and waved me off.

The shower was uneventful. I was too damn tired to do anything but just soap myself up and rinse myself off, but that was pretty much all I needed. I walked back to Mike's room and crashed on the bed next to him. I barely even hit the bed before I was out.

It was about 5:30 when we were woken up by the phone ringing. I was barely conscious, but noticed Mike pulling his hand off of his stomach with a bit of difficulty. I guess it's not a good idea to fall asleep with cum all over yourself. He winced, then made his way to the living room. It was on the 6th or 7th ring before he picked the phone up.

I leaned my head back against the pillow. I had the nastiest crick in my neck from where I had apparently slept funny on it. I could barely even move without feeling some kind of pain. After about three or four minutes of trying to work it out myself, Mike came back into the room, holding my clothes.

"Hey, babe, do you think you could give me a neck rub? It's killing me," I said, wincing from having to look up and talk to him. He looked at me for a half-second and tossed me my jeans.

"You're gonna have to get dressed really quickly." He had already pulled on his shirt and pants, and was now looking around in his drawers for socks. "My dad's coming home in about ten minutes. That was him on the phone. He wanted to know if we needed anything for dinner." He tossed me a pair of his underwear. "It's a good thing he called, cause otherwise he would have found us naked in bed together. That wouldn't have gone over too well."

I laughed for a second, then got to getting some clothes on. I actually couldn't move my neck for a while there. I had apparently done something more serious than I thought to it. It took me a few minutes, but I finally got everything but my shoes on. Then I sat down on the bed next to Mike.

"Come on, please? I think I really hurt it." I nudged myself closer, knowing that he wouldn't be able to resist. I was right. He got behind me and started giving me an incredible neck massage. I closed my eyes and just let myself experience his fingers.

"So what do you think you did?" he asked, kneading the sides where it connected to my shoulders. That was exactly where it was hurting, too.

"I dunno," I said, "I guess I just slept funny. Hopefully you'll be able to work it out."

This was another of the many things I loved about Mike. Back in my junior year, I think, I ran track for a season. I did the shot put and the 100-yard dash. It was mainly my father's idea, saying that I should "use my natural talents" and play a sport of some kind. I have no idea why I gave in. I hated it. I would be so damn sore after meets (which Mike faithfully attended, though he held less than no interest in the sport) that I'd have Mike massage me. He actually got pretty good at it, too. I could only let him do the back, though. Otherwise he'd see the effect he was having on me.

"Hey, how about I give you one of those full-body massages." I could see his evil grin out of the corner of my eye. "Only this time I'll be getting to all the places I was too afraid to touch before."

"Mmm, I'd love that, but your dad's going to be home soon. What would he say?" I couldn't believe I was fighting him on this. He pushed me down so I was lying on my stomach.

"He'll see that I'm giving my best friend a massage because he's sore. He's seen me do that before, I think." He ran his fingers lightly across the back of my neck, actually giving me goosebumps. He reached down and ran his hands across my back, stopping when he got to the edge of the t-shirt I had put on only minutes ago. "It'd be easier if we got this shirt off of you, though." I didn't object. I lifted my arms over my head, making it easier for him to slip the shirt off of me.

He leaned down and kissed the small of my back. This tenderness and affection was a complete turn around from the way he had been acting before. My ass was still a little sore, actually, but I didn't mind. Mike had his hands up around my shoulders, kneading and rubbing. I moaned a little. It was so damn good.

The whole split personality thing wasn't new to me, but it still shocked me how different he could be from moment to moment. He always came off as this gentle, caring guy, but there were times when he was the most callous bastard alive. He had never been like that to me, but I had seen him like that with other people and, to be honest, it scared me a little.

Back around the time I first met him, he was seeing a therapist because of his anger management problems. Of course, if I had his past, I'd probably have been a whole lot worse off than he was. It's not like he was this unstable monster who would go off at a moment's notice, but he did still have some problems he needed to deal with.

"Damn, did you go to sleep or something?" he asked. I had closed my eyes and was slowly drifting off, though I hadn't fully gone to sleep.

"Nah, just resting and enjoying myself." I smiled. "Ya know, you have the most incredible hands."

"Yes, I do know." Mike moved down from my neck to my upper-back and shoulders.

"Hmph," I snorted, "aren't we conceited."

I got a slap on the ass for that, then he climbed off of me and turned me over. Once I was on my back, Mike straddled me again and leaned down to kiss me. I didn't fight him as much as I probably should have. Instead, I wrapped my arms around him and pulled him closer to me, forgetting about my neck completely.

This was what I was missing. This closeness that I felt to Mike was filling a hole in my life I never actually realized I had. The kiss was soft, but still had a passion all its own. His arms were underneath my shoulders; mine were wrapped around him. He was warm and soft, but still oddly masculine. The way this kiss felt was actually better than sex with him, in a way. There was just something about being this intimate with him that I had always needed but never known.

We were both so absorbed with each other we didn't even notice Mike's dad coming home.

"Hey, Mike, have you seen my-" he stopped dead in his tracks. Both of our heads immediately shot up and saw him standing in the doorway, the mail still half-opened in his hands. We were caught.

"Oh shit," Mike whispered, barely even audible to me. His father turned and walked out of the room. Mike immediately jumped off of me and followed. I decided that it would probably be best if I put on my shirt again, but joined them about a minute later.

"What the hell is going on here?" Mike's dad was apparently still in shock. I tried to put myself in his place, but couldn't really imagine walking in on my kid and his best friend. He had a look of disbelief on his face.

"Umm, it's not what it looks like," Mike said weakly. If it had been another time, it probably would have been funny. It wasn't.

"Then what is it?" Mike's dad sat down on the couch, setting the mail on the arm beside him. "What, did he get a jawbreaker lodged in his throat and need you to get it out with your tongue?"

"Look, dad-" Mike started.

"I don't believe it," his dad interrupted him, "my kid's a faggot."

I looked at Mike and saw his face get cold. "Come on, Steve, the air just got stale in here." He opened the door and walked out before his dad could say anything else to him. I grabbed my shoes from beside the bookcase and picked up his dad's cell phone from where he had dropped it on the table. I looked at him for a second. He wasn't paying any attention to me. I heard my car being started up so I hurried out and jumped in the passenger side. I could tell we weren't going to be staying at Mike's house that night.

I put on my shoes and dropped the phone next to me. We had been driving for about five minutes or so and he hadn't said anything to me.

"You alright?" I asked, already knowing the answer.

"No," he said. There was a long pause. "I can't go back there, not tonight. Can I stay at your house?"

"Yeah, you can," I said, "but I have a better idea. We need time to talk. And we don't need my parents around." I grabbed the phone and dug around in my pocket for the piece of paper George had given me earlier. "I'm gonna call George and see if we can stay with him tonight."

Mike nodded, so I called and set things up. He, of course, agreed and we set off for his apartment. The ride was quiet. We were about halfway there when Mike started talking again.

"He's right, you know." He didn't take his eyes off the road.

"About what?" I had been looking at him the entire time. If he knew, he didn't let on.

"I'm a little faggot. Hell, I can barely even think about what he said without crying, and it wasn't even a huge insult. I'm a little pansy-ass faggot." He seemed to get madder with every word. "I mean, look at me. I don't like sports. I've never had much of an interest in killing small woodland creatures. I can't even change a tire. Is it any wonder he never spent any time with me?"

I stayed silent. There really wasn't much I could say. He didn't want to hear me tell him how great he was, and he certainly didn't want to hear anything reaffirming about his father at the moment.

"Finding me making out with another guy was just the last nail in the coffin of our relationship." I really wanted to say something, but there was nothing I could. "It must be such a disappointment to him. I'm sure he wanted me to go into the military like him and his father and his grandfather and whoever else and have a couple of kids or whatever, but instead he gets a faggoty little writer who's in touch with his feelings. Who wants that?"

The rest of the ride was pretty quiet. I didn't know how to respond to him, and he was going over things in his head that he didn't want me to hear. I could tell there was a lot of anger in him at that moment. He was mad at himself for being gay, mad at his father for being disappointed, and probably mad at me for loving him. I wanted to reach over and hug him as hard as I could, but he needed time to deal with things.

We got to the apartment building, still pretty quiet. I hit the intercom and had George buzz us up. As soon as we were in the front lobby, Mike grabbed me tight and hugged me.

"Thanks for listening," he whispered in my ear. I couldn't respond, but that time it was because I couldn't inhale. I actually thought he had bruised one of my ribs for a minute. I didn't care, though; he was feeling better, and that was all that mattered. I kissed him on the cheek and we started up the stairs.

George answered the door in a pair of cut-off sweatpants and a t-shirt. He had apparently been working out earlier. Mike and I sat close together on the couch. I could feel him shaking. It absolutely broke my heart to see him so upset.

"Well, there's no way for me to say this without being completely obvious, so George, let's go into the kitchen for a second." I got up and kissed Mike on the cheek. He nodded to let me know it was okay to tell him. I explained everything that had happened and he gave his sympathy. The second I finished, he went back out into the living room and gave Mike a big bear hug. We all sat down and talked for a while. There was nothing too big. We were trying to help Mike forget about what had just happened. It wasn't too successful, but he appreciated it.

"I guess I'd better go get something for dinner if I'm gonna be having guests," George said as he got up. "Unless, of course, you'd like saltines with ketchup. And it's not even bottled ketchup. It's the stuff in the packets from McDonald's."

Mike and I laughed. We tried to get him not to go to any trouble, but he insisted in the way that good hosts always do and wound up going off to the supermarket to pick a few things up. Mike and I stayed cuddled up on the couch.

"Damn," I said, "when did our lives become such huge soap operas? I mean, come on. This is just too much."

"I know it." He laid his head down on my shoulder. He wasn't shaking as much as he had been, but there was still a little. "I just want this all to go away. Hell, just for one day, I want Rachel and Dad and everything to just go away." He snuggled closer to me. "That's not gonna happen though, is it?"

I shook my head and kissed him again. "I dunno. Maybe after we have our final showdown with the criminal mastermind behind all of this, who also turns out to be Susan's long-lost evil twin sister, everything'll settle down again. Or we'll have two Susans running around. That's a scary thought."

Mike laughed a little. I don't care what all the crack addicts say, that was the best high in the world. For the next half-hour, we snuggled on George's couch. The TV was on, but we weren't watching it. We weren't really talking, either. We were just enjoying being close to each other. Again, I realized just how important that was to me.

George came back with a couple of bags full of groceries. I offered to help him carry them in, but he said it wasn't a problem and that he needed the stair laps, anyway. The guy certainly did like to keep fit. I guess that would be one of the requirements for cracking a perp or whatever it is police do to the criminals. Mike and I did insist on helping him put everything away, though. He couldn't stop us, and before he knew it, we had rearranged his entire kitchen to be more convenient and efficient. Mike was good at that, probably from being an army brat for so long.

We all sat and talked for a while, but I realized that Mike and I had no clothes with us.

"Guys, I'll be back in a bit. Gotta go get some stuff." I stood up and hugged Mike. He walked me to the door.

"Don't get anything too ugly," he said. I glared at him a little, but smiled anyway. He paused for a second, looking uncomfortable. "And, umm, don't hurt him."

"I wasn't going to," I said. "Maybe just a few bruises."

"Steve, don't." He looked at me with a serious stare that reminded me of my dad when he got mad at me.

"You know I wouldn't. I am gonna have to swing by your house to get some clothes for you, though, so I won't be able to avoid him."

"Yeah, well, just don't do anything stupid." He grinned at me and kissed me again. I shook my head, laughing, and left.

On the ride back to his house, I kept thinking about my dad and what his reaction would be. It's funny how I didn't expect my mother to have a problem with it. Yeah, there's the whole "We'll love and support you no matter what" speech, but that really doesn't kick in until they've had a chance to absorb everything.

Coming out to my parents would be a big step that I just didn't think I was ready for. I was surprised they hadn't figured it out yet. It seemed like everyone else in my life had. If my parents had figured it out, they were pretty good at hiding it. Dad still made comments about having grandkids to spoil and Mom kept dreaming about her little boy getting married (though she never said it out loud, I knew she was). I guess everything just came down to not wanting to disappoint them. As much as I might have tried to deny it, I still wanted their approval and to make them proud. It's odd. For most of my life, I was trying to escape them, but there I was, trying to think of a way to avoid disappointing them.

I don't know how I managed to get through life without having a serious car accident. I always seemed to get introspective and thoughtful when I was driving, which really wasn't that good for my concentration. I pulled into Mike's driveway and sat for a second. I really didn't want to face his father, but if I didn't, the trip was pointless. I yanked out my key and walked into his house.

Mike's dad was sitting on the couch, watching TV but not paying much attention to it. I ignored him and went straight to Mike's room. I grabbed a backpack from his closet and started putting some clothes into it.

"Steve? Can we talk?" Mike's dad had his head poked in the doorway.

"No, I'm sorry, I don't think so," I said in the coldest voice as I could muster. "The only reason you're not lying in a puddle of your own blood right now is because Mike asked me not to hurt you. I, unlike some people in this room, care about how he feels."

He came in and sat down on the bed. "I deserve that. Look, will you just hear me out?" I didn't say anything, but turned around to face him. "I didn't mean what I said the way he took it."

"Really, and how did you mean it? I mean, how many ways could he have taken that?" I was restraining myself, trying not to say something I'd regret later. I didn't want to permanently damage Mike's relationship with his dad, but I was pretty pissed off at him.

"I've known for a while, actually." He almost smiled when my head jerked up. "It was just a huge shock to see him with you. I mean, I never would have suspected."

"Yeah, I get that a lot," I said. "How did you know?"

"Parents notice things. You might not know it, but we're not as stupid as we seem." That made me swallow hard. "Whenever we'd go do something, he'd check out other guys. I never really noticed or paid much attention, but it was kinda hard to miss. That, and I found some interesting pictures and stories on the computer a month or so ago. The kid has a weird thing for the military."

I laughed at that. This was incredibly great news. His dad didn't have a huge problem with it. I mean, sure, he must have been uncomfortable, but he was willing to work at it. I couldn't wait to tell Mike.

"You love him, don't you?" He was looking directly at me. I couldn't have lied even if I wanted. He had that whole "I'm a parent, tell me the truth" thing going on.

"Yeah, I do." It was weird to be saying that to Mike's dad, but I actually didn't mind it. "I have for a long time, actually."

He smiled. "Well, it's not exactly what I had in mind, but if it makes Mike happy, I'll just have to get used to it." He stood up, came over to me, and hugged me. I wasn't expecting it, but I hugged him back. It felt good, actually. He pulled off. "Where are you two staying? I didn't think I'd be seeing either of you for a while."

"Oh, we're staying with George," I said. He got a confused look on his face. "Oh, that's right, you never met George. Didn't Mike's mom tell you about that?" He shook his head and I sat down, explaining what had happened over the past few days. He had a look of complete disbelief on his face when I was finished.

"Well, damn. I knew that kind of stuff happened, but I didn't think it happened here." He stood up again. "I'm gonna want to meet this George guy."

"Yeah, sure, no problem. I'll have him come over tomorrow after work." I stopped for a second. "I hope you don't mind, but I don't think Mike's going to be coming back until tomorrow."

He nodded. "That's alright, I'm sure he's going to need some time to get used to this. Hell, I will, too." He patted my shoulder. "You're good for him, though. I always thought that. I guess I was more right than I knew."

I smiled again. I checked the clock and realized that we'd been talking for a half-hour. "Well, I'd better get going. I said I'd be back in an hour and a half, so I'd better get going if I wanna get some stuff from my house." I reached over and hugged him again. "Thanks for everything. Mike'll be glad to hear what you said."

He nodded and saw me out. Before I left, I made sure to give him the phone number for George's apartment. I got to my house, picked up a few things for myself, and left a note saying where I was. The entire ride back, I kept thinking about how Mike's dad had been so great, even though I had painted him as this homophobic villain in my mind. I looked down and saw that I still had his cell phone with me. I dialed Mike's number and his dad picked up the phone.

"Hey, Mr. Branford. I just wanted to let you know that I had your cell phone, in case you didn't."

"Yeah, I saw you take it when you left. I was hoping that meant Mike would call or something. Anyway, if somebody calls, just have them call the house." We talked for a few more minutes, not really about anything important. I hung up around the time I pulled into the parking lot of George's apartment building.

"Honey, I'm home!" I said in my best Ricky Ricardo voice. Mike came over and kissed me. I noticed a bandage around his hand. "Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do."

"Oh, this," he held up his hand. "It's a stupid story. George and I were making dinner and I was cutting something, but wound up stabbing myself in the palm. Don't ask me how it happened, 'cause I don't know." I reached down and kissed his hand. "Mmm, there, that's better."

"I've got some good news for you," I said, sitting down on the couch. "I had a long talk with your dad."

Mike stopped smiling, but sat down next to me. "And what did he have to say?"

"Just that he wanted to talk to you. I told him you wouldn't be back until tomorrow, and he said that was fine." I smiled at him. "He's okay with us."

Mike raised an eyebrow at me. "He is?"

"Yeah, he told me that he's known about you being gay for a while now." I had to chuckle a little at Mike blushing. "You're gonna have to show me those stories about big military men some time." He hit me in the arm.

"Damn, he's really okay?" He stared at me for another second or two before breaking out in the hugest smile I had ever seen on him and hugging me as tightly as he could. I was unprepared, but I hugged him back. He started kissing my face and neck, and I think he was crying a little. "I love you," he whispered in my ear. George came in and threw a hand-towel at us.

"Break it up, you two. No sex on my couch unless it's me and some cute blonde." He plopped himself down in the chair and glared at us.

"Ya know, Mike's a blonde sometimes," I said, smiling, "except he's mine."

He kissed me again and grabbed the bag I had brought for him. "If you guys don't mind, I need a shower before dinner. I'm absolutely rank."

"Good, I didn't want to say anything, but-" I was interrupted by Mike throwing the same hand-towel at me. I laughed and he went off to shower. George went back into the kitchen to finish up dinner preparations. I didn't want to just sit there, so I joined him, looking for something to do.

"Hey, can you hand me that little shaker over there?" George asked, pulling a pan out of the oven. There were several pieces of boneless, skinless chicken. I handed it to him.

"What's in there, anyway?" I asked. He grinned at me.

"My special blend. There's salt, pepper, a little sage, basil, oregano, and just a touch of onion." He shook some onto the chicken. "It's pretty good, too. Not straight out of the shaker or anything, but it works for cooking."

"Well you're quite the cook," I said, smirking. "I, on the other hand, can make macaroni and cheese from the box without burning it almost 2/3 of the time. And that's only when I do it in the microwave."

He laughed and had me get down a box of Minute Rice for him. High quality stuff, I know. He "just added water" and put it in the microwave, then got to the stove to make sure his vegetables were doing well. The guy actually owned a steamer. George really seemed to enjoy cooking, and from the way it all smelled, he was pretty damn good at it, too.

"So what happened with Mike's dad?" The guy wasn't as dense as his physique would suggest.

I smiled. "He said that he'd known about Mike for a while and that he was okay with it. He was just shocked, and that's why he said what he said." I sat down to watch George cook, realizing that he had everything under control.

We talked a little bit, mostly about what he was doing and why he was doing it. Most of it went straight over my head. Food preparation was never really my strong suit. I set off several small fires in the Home-Ec. classes that everybody (including guys, damn lack of sexism) was required to take. The group I was in finally reduced me to making instant pudding. I still managed to set a toaster oven on fire. George kept laughing at my stories of exploding kitchen appliances.

Mike came back into the kitchen, his hair still a little wet, but smelling much nicer. He hugged me and I gave him a full, open-mouth kiss with George standing not 6 feet away. He groaned when he saw us and told us to break it up. We did, and we all wound up talking about nothing until dinner.

The meal was absolutely fantastic. George had one hell of a talent for cooking. We had roast chicken with rice on the side and a steamed medley of carrots, broccoli, red peppers, and zucchini, with just a hint of garlic. The vegetables were all fresh, of course. All through the meal, Mike and I kept complimenting him on how good the food was. He just brushed us off, saying it was nothing.

"No, seriously, have you ever thought about being a chef for a living?" Mike asked. George kinda laughed at the idea, but seemed interested.

"Not really, no," he said. "That'd mean having to go to culinary school to even be considered for a job, and I'm not really sure I even have what it takes to get into it professionally."

I shook my head. "I think you do, actually. This is incredible, and you just threw it together in like an hour. Think about what you could do with some preparation."

George smiled a bit, but shook his head again. "Well, no matter what you do," Mike said, "you're gonna wind up making some girl very happy. A cute, hunky guy who knows how to cook. If I didn't have someone even better looking, I'd be putting the moves on you myself."

I smiled and went back to my food. The rest of the dinner conversation wasn't really all that intriguing. George talked about what he had done since we saw him earlier that day. He had gone running, lifting, swimming, and done all kinds of other working out type things. The apartment complex apparently had a weight room and a pool that we didn't notice before. He told us that he worked out to get rid of stress, and judging from his body, he was apparently stressed out a lot.

We finished dinner and spent a little more time in the living room. We didn't pay much attention to the TV, at least not until Conan came on. I don't know what it is, but everyone I had ever talked to loved Conan O'Brien. How could you not, really? After the show, we decided to get to bed.

"You guys can take my bedroom, I'll sleep out here on the couch," George said. We both immediately started fighting it.

"No, we don't want to be an imposition," Mike said. "I mean, you've already done so much, letting us stay here."

"Yeah, and now I'm gonna do more by letting you take my bed. Besides, I like the couch, it's actually a little more comfortable than the bed, really." He pushed us off without much difficulty and stretched out. "Just try to avoid getting the sheets stained, alright?"

Mike and I smiled at him and said thanks again. He actually let Mike kiss him on the cheek before we went to bed. Mike and I got undressed and climbed under the covers, cuddling up against each other. I could feel his heart beating, and he was actually happy.

"Thanks for everything," he whispered, snuggling tighter against me. I wrapped an arm around him and closed my eyes.

This one took me a much longer time to write than I thought it would. I think this was actually one of the most difficult things I've ever written. Still, I hope it's received well. I hope you can see where I'm going with George's occupational dilemma. Also, there are a few more things in store for Susan and Jeff. I bet you thought I forgot about him.

Again, sorry about the delay. I upgraded my computer about a week ago and have spent way too much time trying to get everything set up. As always, thanks to everyone who reads this, even those who don't send me feedback (though I like those of you who do more). Send me your questions, comments, ideas, and personal histories so I'll have material for upcoming chapters!

Send constructive feedback on this story to Flamers will be put in Steve's Home Ec. group.