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Note: Thanks to Tim and Rock for feedback on the draft chapters.  I owe a special thanks to Robb for doing the final proofreading and catching all those silly little errors I missed.

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by Jeff Allen



Morning came awfully early ­ 5:00 a.m. to be exact.

Derek and I reluctantly got out of bed when the alarm went off. Our love-making the night before had been much more than satisfying, but I don't think either one of us slept well afterwards. I was constantly aware of Derek's body next to mine and for the first time since we'd become friends four years earlier, I was truly free to touch him. Oh, we'd always ended up tangled together during the night, and most of the time we'd be spooned up together in the mornings, but now I could touch him while I was awake. I'd go to sleep for a little bit, then wake up and put my hand on his back or his shoulder, or I'd feel his hand doing the same to me. I don't think either one of us wanted to let go of the other all night long.

Grandpa Jackson made breakfast for us all. The food was great, but there wasn't much conversation. Scott was still half asleep; Daddy and Grandpa Jackson were thinking about their two boys going off to college; and Derek and I were too tired, and too excited, to say much.

After breakfast, we finished loading Derek's Jeep, said our good-byes, got hugs and kisses from everyone, and then drove out to my house to load my stuff.

We were on the road to Adams State University by 7:00 a.m.

Derek took the first shift driving. I rested my arm on the center console, and we held hands when he didn't need both hands on the wheel to maneuver in traffic. He told me how he'd been fighting his feelings toward me and how he'd finally realized over the summer that wishing he wasn't gay wouldn't make him straight. He said he decided that he could either be miserable and try to lead a straight life style, or he could accept being gay and try to build a life with me.

We knew there were going to be a lot of hot guys in our classes and on the team, so we decided that we wouldn't insist on strict monogamy. We could each see other guys, but we wouldn't keep secrets from each other, and we wouldn't have anal intercourse with anyone else. Regular blood tests for drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, like HIV, were a part of the football team's normal routine. We decided to use condoms when we made love until we'd had at least six months of clean blood tests.

We stopped for lunch just outside of Charlotte. Derek tossed me the keys as we walked back to the Jeep. I think he was asleep in the passenger's seat before we even made it back onto the Interstate.

He didn't wake up until I pulled off the Interstate and started climbing up into the mountains for the last leg of the trip toward Adams. We pulled up to the parking area outside Byland Hall, the "jock dorm," a little before three.

After picking up our room assignment and keys from the front desk, we started the process of hauling our stuff up to our third floor room. Derek was struggling to put the key in the lock while avoiding dumping his armload of clothes on the floor when two really big guys came out of the room across the hall from us.

"Looks like you could use some help," said the first guy. He took the keys from Derek's hand, unlocked the door and opened it. The second guy grabbed some of the things from my arms and followed the rest of us into the room.

Derek dumped his stuff on one of the beds and turned toward our benefactors.

"Hi, I'm Derek Jackson and this is my partner and best friend Brett Privette." He extended his hand.

The guy who unlocked the door grabbed Derek's hand and shook it. "I'm Mitchell Carr. Please to meet you."

His voice was soft with the musical accent of the Deep South. He was about 6'4" and looked like he weighed in at a very solid 230-240 pounds. He had blue eyes and medium brown hair that fell down over one eye. His face was more what one would describe as interesting, rather than handsome, and it was easy to see his muscles rippling under his clothes even with the loose fitting shorts and tee shirt he wore.

Mitchell turned to the other guy and conversed with him in what I recognized as American Sign Language. As he signed, Mitchell said, "This is my roommate, Jordan Nance. As you can tell, he's deaf, but I've found that he reads lips really well. Just look him square in the face when you talk to him."

Jordan was about Mitchell's height, but not as heavily muscled. That doesn't mean he didn't have a killer body. He was, in fact, nicely muscled, but I guessed that he only weighed about 200 pounds. He was quite good looking with sandy blond hair, gray-blue eyes, and a smile that seemed to display every white tooth in his mouth.

I was treated to that 10,000 watt smile after shaking hands with him and then moving my fingers away from my lips in the sign language symbol for "thanks."

The children's minister at the church we'd attended out in Arizona before my mom got sick always taught some sign language during the children's sermon. It had been a long time, but I at least remembered that sign. We stopped going to church after my mother died. I think Daddy was really pissed off at God.

Jordan shook hands with Derek, then turned back to me and began signing rapidly.

I held up my hand and said, "I'm sorry, I really don't know much sign language. `Thank you' is just about the limit of my vocabulary, but I'm willing to try to learn some more."

Jordan smiled, and signed some more which Mitchell interpreted for us.

"He says, that's okay, and he'd be happy to teach you."

Jordan and I bumped fists.

Derek touched Jordan's arm to get his attention and said, "I'd like to learn, too."

That brought and even bigger smile from Jordan.

With Mitchell and Jordan helping, we made short work of getting all our stuff out of Derek's Jeep, up to the room, and put away.

Afterwards, Jordan and Mitchell each sat in a desk chair while Derek and I sat side by side on one of the beds. Mitchell signed for us, and told us what Jordan was saying with his fluid hand gestures.

We found out that Jordan lived on a farm outside a small town near Davenport, Iowa. He'd been totally deaf since birth, and he was the Iowa state wrestling champion in the 195 pound weight class.

As I'd suspected, Mitchell was from the Deep South...a small town near Jackson, Mississippi. He'd been an all-state defensive tackle.

"How did you learn sign language?" Derek asked.

Mitchell replied, "My younger brother is totally deaf just like Jordan. The assistant coach who recruited me saw my whole family signing to one another when he was out on the recruiting visit. After I signed the letter of intent, the wrestling coach called me, said that he'd been told I knew American Sign Language and asked if I'd be willing to be roommates with a deaf wrestler. I told him sure, no problem."

Just then my stomach rumbled.

Derek laughed, "Sounds like someone's hungry. It's almost 6:00; want to head over to the cafeteria and get some food? One of the papers we got with the room keys said that there was a hall meeting tonight at 7:00."

All of the athletes were on campus for early practices, so the cafeteria was packed with lots of good looking men and women.

Mitchell and Derek checked out the women. I knew Derek loved me, but he also appreciated the female body. I couldn't help but be a little jealous. I watched Jordan. He spent a lot more time scoping out the hot guys than looking at the young ladies. Ah hah. Bingo. I know which team you're playing on.

After dinner the entire hall collected in the lounge for the hall meeting.

Our resident advisor was a senior named Ryan Ladd. He was about six foot one with medium brown hair and hazel eyes and an athletic looking body. He was dressed in shorts and an open necked knit shirt. There were a few stray brown chest hairs poking out from the open collar of the shirt and lots of dark hair on his well formed legs. He looked like he might have been a soccer player. Woof!

Ryan told us that he was a business major from a small town called Carterville about two hours away from Adams State University. While he talked he signed, and he was pretty good at it, but signing didn't seem to come as naturally to him as it did for Mitchell. I noticed that a couple of times, Mitchell tapped Jordan's arm and `said' something to him. I got the impression that he was correcting or adding to Ryan's signs.

Ryan told us about the dorm rules and then he had us all introduce ourselves. Most of the guys included their hometown and which sport they played in the introductions.

After the meeting most of the guys retreated to their rooms to finish unpacking. Derek and I had almost completed getting everything organized when Ryan knocked on our door.

"How you doing, guys? Getting everything settled?"

"Sure are. I didn't bring nearly as much stuff as Derek over there, so we've been working on his things mostly."

Ryan chuckled.

"Say, Ryan, can I ask you a question?"

"Sure, what's up?"

"Come on in and sit down."

Ryan took one of the desk chairs while Derek and I sat together on his bed.

I dove right in. "I noticed that you used sign language tonight. I think that made Jordan feel more welcome."

"Good, that's what I meant to do. When I found out that one of the guys who was going to be on the hall was deaf, I took a crash course in sign language over the summer. I'm not very good at it yet, so I'm glad that Mitchell was able to correct me. There's no telling what I was really saying to Jordan."

"That's what I wanted to talk to you about. You said that we're supposed to have hall activities, right? Well, what would you think about having someone come in to teach all of us some sign language. That way Jordan will have more people to talk to."

"That's a great idea! Mitchell might be willing to do that. I'll ask him. Now I've got a question for you guys."


"How long have you two been a couple?"

I think both of us swallowed hard with that.

We looked at each other. Finally Derek stammered out, "We've known each other for four years, but we've only been a couple for three days. We could have been a couple for a lot longer than that, but I wasn't ready to admit that I loved Brett until this summer when I was up in DC. Being away from him made me realize just what he meant to me."

I asked, "Are we that obvious?"

"No, you're least not to most people. I guess I should explain a little about my background. My brother's gay, and has been partnered for six years now. After my dad died, my mother basically abandoned us. We were taken in and raised by our high school soccer coach who was already raising his orphaned nephew. Turns out that Coach, my brother, and Coach's nephew were all gay. I was the only straight guy in the house for a while. Later, Coach took in a bunch of other guys...some gay and some straight. We called ourselves `Coach's Cubs.' We're brothers by choice. In fact, I kinda had a heads up about you guys because you met one of the brothers when you came up for a campus visit last spring. Do you remember Josh Locklear?"

Small world.

We talked with Ryan for another fifteen minutes or so before he said he needed to get around to talk with some of the other guys on the floor. As he was leaving he said, "This is only a suggestion guys, but these dorm beds are pretty small for two people. If you put the beds together, they're just about the same size as a queen size bed. What you need to do is hold the two beds together with C-clamps, put some thick plywood under the mattresses for support, and put a foam pad over the top of the mattresses. Don't tell anyone where you got the idea." He winked and was out the door.

Derek and I looked at each other.

He smiled and said, "Tonight I don't care how small the bed is, but first thing in the morning, we're taking some measurements and heading out to find a hardware store."

And that's just what we did. Our bed was a hit. Everyone on our floor and what seemed like half the guys in the rest of the dorm came through our room over the next few days to take a look at the bed. A couple of guys asked if we were gay, and we told them we were. Most of the guys who took a look at our bed just smiled. There were two other couples rooming together in the dorm. Both couples had their beds rigged like ours within a week.

Byland Hall was one of the older dorms on campus. That meant that while the individual rooms were bigger than those in the newer dorms, the bathroom and shower facilities were a common room located in the center of the floor. It was definitely an inconvenience to have to walk down the hallway every time you needed to take a whiz or a dump, but the upside was that there were often a lot of naked and hot-looking college athletes in the shower room. Another advantage to being in a dorm with other jocks was that no one had any problem with nudity. We were all used to being naked around other guys in the locker rooms, so no one gave much thought to be naked, or nearly so, in the dorm. Actually, it seemed like some of the straight guys were the ones who liked to strut their stuff around the dorm hallway more than most of the gays. Go figure. It was almost like they were teasing the gays.

The training schedules for the teams were brutal. The football team had physical training/weight lifting at 7:00 in the morning. We had a light workout in shoulder pads, helmets, and running shorts at 11:00 followed by lunch at 12:30. Midday was our own time. Many of the guys took long naps. Then we had a full pads practice from 3:30-6:00. Derek and I thought we were in pretty good shape ­boy, were we wrong. There were several nights in those first two weeks of pre-season practice that all we did in bed was snuggle up to one another. We were too tired for anything else.

When we weren't at practice, we hung around a lot with Mitchell Carr and Jordan Nance. Of course they knew that Derek and I were a couple. We'd never made any secret of that, and the one large bed in our room sort of announced it also. Derek and I were reasonably sure that Jordan was also gay. His eyes followed hunky guys a lot more than pretty girls. Mitchell, on the other hand, was definitely straight, but at the same time he wasn't threatened by seeing Derek and I holding hands in the car as the four of us explored the area around town.

I asked Mitchell about it once. He replied that one of his first cousins was gay, so it was no big deal to him. Then he added with a smile that he figured with the two of us being gay, it meant less competition for the girls.

We got to know most of the other guys on our hall as well as some of the guys on other halls in the dorm.

By the end of the second full week of practices, Derek and I were beginning to get used to the schedule, and we didn't have quite as many sore muscles as before. Josh Locklear invited us to dinner that Saturday night at the apartment he shared with his partner, Brandon Harris.

The dinner was more of a backyard barbeque. Besides Derek and me, there were Josh, Brandon, and Ryan Ladd. There was only one girl, that was Heather Williams, who was Ryan Ladd's girlfriend. She was also the daughter of Josh and Brandon's landlord. Heather was a beautiful girl with curly dark brown, almost black, hair and a warm smile. She and Ryan were obviously very much involved with one another. They made a great looking couple.

The other two attendees that night were Brandon's brother, Bart, and his partner Isaac South. I learned that Isaac was another one of `Coach's Cubs' being the adopted son of the man Ryan credited with raising him and his brother. I got the impression that Isaac's story was similar to Ryan's in that he'd been taken in by "Coach" when Isaac was in high school.

Bart Harris was better looking than his brother. Mostly because he didn't have the large scar that came down Brandon's eyebrow and cheek that gave him a rugged, slightly dangerous look. I knew that Brandon packed a prodigious penis. I'd seen him naked when he and Josh came down to Indian Crossing to bring Derek and me our letters of intent. From the large bulge in Bart's jeans, it looked like oversize equipment ran in the family.

The next week was our last week of practice before the start of classes. All the athletic teams turned out to help the new freshmen move into the dorms. Spending the day as a pack horse carrying luggage up several flights of stairs into dorm rooms was almost as tiring as having practices.

Once classes started, our schedules really got crazy. The only class Derek and I had together was music appreciation. Other than that, I had biology, chemistry, and English. Thanks to the advanced math from high school, I'd placed out of having to take calculus. Derek's other classes were English, history, psychology, and logic.

It's amazing how quickly the semester seemed to go. The classes were a lot more challenging than high school, but we enjoyed them. Football was a lot more challenging too, but both of us made it to starting positions by midseason.

Derek's break came in the second game of the season when the starting quarterback was injured, and the replacement couldn't move the team. After the second string guy threw his second interception, Coach Stevenson gave Derek a try. Derek moved us from losing by 14 points to winning by a 14 point margin. After that, Derek was the starting QB. My break came in the fourth game of the season when the coaches put me in as a substitute. Derek threw me two quick passes, and I scored a touchdown on the second one. For the next two games, I alternated with a junior in the tight end position, but after that I was the starter. Not a bad showing for two swamp rats from Indian Crossing, Georgia.

Daddy, Scott, and Grandpa Jackson came to almost every game we played at home. Derek and I really appreciated the effort it took for them to get to the games. Scott was playing football back in Indian Crossing, so whenever Adams State had a home game, the three of them would leave Indian Crossing after the game was over on Friday night and drive up to Atlanta to spend the night at Grandpa Jackson's apartment. Then they'd get up early on Saturday morning to make the drive up to Adams.

Derek's father came to the games whenever his congressional duties allowed. Sometimes, Derek's mom and sister came along also.

I was fascinated by the change of seasons from late summer into autumn in the mountains of North Carolina. Down in South Georgia, summer just sort of cooled down as the calendar moved into October and November. Up in Adams, the change in seasons was more dramatic. There was frost on the ground on the First of October. Man, we didn't get frost in Indian Crossing until December!

I also enjoyed seeing the leaves in town and on the mountain sides turn their bright colors. The trees back home either stayed green or just sort of went dull yellow before the leaves fell off. This was spectacular. Derek and I marveled at the scenery every day, even as we bundled up in our winter coats and pulled ski caps over our ears.

Derek and I often compared notes on which guys we thought were hot, which ones we thought were gay, and which ones we thought were both hot and gay.

In addition to Jordan Nance, in the Hot and Gay category we had Radu Kovacevic who lived on another hall in our dorm. He was a sophomore on the basketball team. He was tall with a lean, basketball player's build with black hair and clear blue eyes. We found out a little later that Radu had spent the first twelve years of his life in Croatia, which explained the traces of an accent in his speech. Another was Enrique Marchado, a gymnast from Puerto Rico who combined hot Latin looks with a body that would have made Michelangelo weep. Enrique was on our hall, but he spent most of his time with the other gymnasts. Derek and I did see him in the shower one morning. Woof! The last guy in the Hot and Gay category was Chun Lee Park, an Asian guy from the swim team.

Most of our friends were fellow jocks. I guess that's only natural because it seemed like we were always in the locker rooms, and a lot of us were living in Byland Hall.

One of the non jocks we met that first semester was a guy in the same music appreciation class as Derek and me. Derek and I noticed this guy the first day of class. Not only was he drop dead gorgeous, he also had presence. He had dark brown hair, and light blue eyes in a face that could best be described with the word "patrician." He was about six foot tall, and he looked like he had a slender but decent body underneath the preppie and expensive looking clothes he always wore to class. We watched most of the girls in the class and a few of the other guys giving him the once over.

One of the requirements of the music appreciation class was that we had to attend a certain number of concerts and recitals during the semester. A lot of the students grumbled about having to go listen to classical music, but I'd never been exposed to live performances before, and I was fascinated. I went to as many of the events as I could manage, and I dragged Derek along with me. About half way through the semester, we went to one of the recitals. Derek spotted the good looking guy from our music appreciation class sitting by himself.

Derek, being Derek, decided it was time to meet our mystery classmate. He walked over to the seats next to the guy and asked, "Were you saving these seats for anyone?"

Derek's quarry had been reading the program notes and hadn't seen Derek approaching. He seemed surprised that someone was now standing next to him.

"Uh, no, these aren't saved."

"Then do you mind if we sit here with you?" Derek extended his hand, "I think you're in our music appreciation class. I'm Derek Jackson, and the Brad Pitt look alike here is Brett Privette."

The guy shook Derek's hand. "How do you do. I'm Russ Shields, and I recognize both of you from class. You usually sit up toward the front of the class." From his accent, I surmised that he'd grown up somewhere in New England.

"And you usually sit toward the back."

Derek sat down next to Russ and I sat in the seat next to Derek.

Russ seemed a little reserved at first, but by the end of the recital Derek had worked his charm, and Russ ended up going with us to the student union for a cup of coffee.

We found out that Russ had grown up in Wellesley, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. He was a freshman, like us, but because he had "knocked around doing different jobs for a couple of years" he was a little older and had been able to get the university to waive the rule that freshmen had to live in the dorm. He had an off-campus apartment on the south edge of town.

The next day in music appreciation, Russ came over to us.

"Were you saving that seat for anyone?"

Derek gave him one of his killer smiles. "We were saving it for you."


He sat with us the rest of the semester.

Football season ended for us in late November. We were the champions of the conference, but we lost the first playoff game.

For a couple of days after our loss, it seemed like Derek and I had lots of free time on our hands because we didn't have practice in the afternoons. We still went over to the gym every day for strength training, but it wasn't as set a schedule as when were practicing. The feeling of leisure didn't last long. It seemed like every class had a project or a report due before Thanksgiving.

We didn't have classes the day before Thanksgiving, so we started out for Indian Crossing about mid morning. Jordan Nance and Mitchell Carr were with us. Neither one of them were able to go home, so I invited them to come home with us. I'd invited Russ Shields to come along as well, but he said he was going to be working. Russ had some sort of job that kept him busy most weekends. He'd said he was sorry to miss the weekend with us, but that he just couldn't afford to pass up the money he'd make over the break.

Derek was a little quiet on the drive home. He'd decided to come out to his parents over the holiday, and he was nervous about it. I held his hand whenever I could or laid my hand on his knee as he drove trying to let him know that I loved him and that it would be okay.

(To be continued)

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Some of the characters who play parts in this story were previously introduced in "When Love Comes" (last posted in the College section on Sept. 6, 2001), "Love of a Lifetime" (last posted in the College section on May 19, 2003), "Finding Family" (last posted in the College section on June 5, 2008), or "Construction Job" (last posted in the College section on July 24, 2008). While not necessary, readers may find it useful to read the earlier stories posted on this site.  All of the Adams State/Carterville stories listed above as well as my other stories are also posted at


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