I'm a tweaker, guys. By the time I finished tweaking this last chapter, it had grown too long for a single posting, so here is part one. The second part will post in a day or two.
The Activist , Pt 16a
I adjusted my necktie, using the dresser mirror, and glanced over at the bed. Nate was snuggled up behind Pauly, holding him like a teddy bear. The two of them were still asleep. The bedcovers were down at their waists. It would have been so easy to stay in bed with them that morning. I dreaded the coming day.
Nate stirred as I was about to leave. He leaned back to look up at me, and I bent over the bed to kiss him.
“Are you sure you don’t want me with you?” he asked.
I shook my head. “Dad says it’s better if it’s just him and me.”
Dad was waiting for me in the hotel lobby. He looked at my tie and sports coat approvingly, then gave me a hug.
“You look good, Loren,” he said, holding me by the shoulders. “Don’t be discouraged. We’ll get you back on the team.”
“I told you, Dad, I don’t want back on the team. They don’t want me. I’d just like to have my scholarship back.”
Dad leaned back, looking me in the eye. “You don’t really mean that. You love to run.”
“Come on,” he said, turning toward the lobby entrance. “We’ll take my rental car.”
“You know your father,” Mom had reminded me on the phone, the night before. “He’s a fighter. You know how worked up he gets over protecting ‘the little guy’. He might have struggles with you being gay, but he’s not going to tolerate an injustice being done to his own son, Loren,” she said, quietly. “He’s on your side now. For months, he’s felt like somehow, he let you down. Now he can defend you. He can be the protector he thinks he should be as your father. Since you called on Monday, he’s had his entire office doing research for your case. I just feel sorry for that dumb coach who dumped you.”
As I followed Dad out to the car, I felt sorry for me. I loved my dad; never more than right now, aroused as he was to protect me. But I had no desire to be forced on coach and the team, and I certainly had no desire to be one of my dad’s legal causes.
It was too late for that, of course. It was too late not to be a cause for Travis either, and for my fellow gays. As soon as Travis got wind of what happened, he organized a protest, and notified, not just the school paper, but the local paper as well. Mom told me it made the wire services and even the paper back home carried the story. I couldn’t have been more outed.
The university had lawyers, too. They were there, as were a couple of deans. The head coach was there. So was the coach who had taken so much personal time with me, Coach Baker. Everyone wore a suit and tie, and everyone looked grim.
Introductions were made, and then we sat at a large, highly polished table; Dad and I on one side, them on the other.
“You understand, Mr. Wainwright,” the lead lawyer said, “that a coach can drop a player from a college sports team for any reason he wants, or for no reason. Such actions are not subject to review.”
“All actions, by a representative of a state university are subject to review,” my dad countered.
“How close a review are you prepared for?” the university lawyer responded. “You realize that some activities your son may participate in are illegal in the State of Texas? Certainly, no court is going to fault a coach for dropping a player from his team, when that player has been engaging in illegal activities.”
My dad’s jaw set; his eyes flashed. “Does the University of Texas really want to come down on that side of the issue?” Dad asked. “Do you really want the fruit of that kind of confrontation?”
“We don’t want the ‘fruit’ at all,” the head coach murmured.
“Coach!” one of the deans barked.
Coach frowned without looking at anyone and waved off the rebuke.
“Do you have any idea what you’ve done to my son?” Dad asked the coach, who wouldn’t look up. Dad glanced around the room. “Do any of you? Just where is my son supposed to go now? Do you have any idea how difficult it will be for him to get a scholarship at any other school? You’ve made him a national news item.”
“We are not the ones who notified the press,” the UT lawyer countered.
The dean who had rebuked the coach leaned forward over the table toward Dad. “Look, Mr. Wainwright,” he said. “Your son is a good student. He has excellent grades. We’re prepared to offer him a Clyde Evans scholarship which will cover the cost of his books and classes. We want him to stay at UT.”
“He’s not merely a good student,” my dad responded. “He’s a damn fine runner. He wants to run. Are you going to let one man’s backward prejudices ruin a boy’s athletic career?”
“He’s not that good,” Head Coach muttered.
The dean flashed the coach a furious look. Coach, however, continued to stare at the table.
“You thought he was that good,” Dad countered. “You thought he was good when you scouted him, and offered him a full scholarship, and when you worked with him this fall. Nothing has changed in the level of my son’s running. If anything, he’s even better.”
“What do you want from us, Mr. Wainwright?” the dean asked.
“I want my son back on the team.”
“That’s up to the coach,” the dean said, shaking his head, “and the coach has made his decision.”
“Are you prepared for this to go to court?” my father asked.
“Mr. Wainwright,” the first lawyer said, waving his hand in objection. “You must understand, you haven’t a leg to stand on.”
I put my hand on Dad’s arm. I wanted him to slow down. They had offered a scholarship. I could work for the money for my food and rent.
The dean saw my move, and turned to me. “What do you want, Loren? Do you really want back on the team if the team doesn’t want you?” He smiled slightly, almost smugly, as if he had just played a trump.
I didn’t like it.
My own jaw set, and I returned his benevolent gaze with an angry one.
“I want to run,” I told him. “And I will run. I want to be a biologist, and I’ll be a biologist. I want to be me, sir, and I will be me, even if it means some people will use me to make news stories or look down on me because they think they’re better.” I looked at them all with growing anger. “You can fight me; you can all fight me. But I am who I am, and I will be who I want to be. I’ll fight back! I will fight back! Because I’m a human being. I have plans for my future, just like everyone else at this school does. And I have just as much right to my future as any of them have to theirs!”
My pulse pounded in my ears. I forced my breathing to slow. They were all staring at me. Even Dad was staring at me.
“I would like the scholarship you mentioned,” I said, more quietly. “I would like to stay at UT. Maybe I could use the track when no one else is around. Maybe I can find track meets I can enter on my own. Maybe Coach Baker… ” I nodded at the coach who spent personal time with me, “could give me tips from time to time.”
The dean studied me for a moment, then glanced at the lawyers, then back to my dad and me. “Mr. Wainwright, would you and Loren allow us a few minutes to discuss this among ourselves?”
Dad nodded, and the two of us got up from the table. We left the room, closing the door behind us.
Dad looked at me grinning, and he slapped my back. “Damn, I’m proud of you!” he said. “Loren,” he asked with a chuckle, “are you sure you don’t want to be a lawyer?”
A few minutes later, we were called back into the room.
“Loren,” the dean said, “Coach Baker is about to take over the UT cross country team.” He nodded down the table at the coaches. “He’ll be working with the cross country team exclusively. It’s something that has been in the works for a while. If you’re willing to change to cross country running, he would like to have you on the team, and we’re willing to offer you a full scholarship to do so.”
My mouth dropped. I realized my mouth had dropped, and I closed it.
The dean looked at me sternly. “There is a condition. You must not talk about this… settlement, outside of this room. No talking to the press. We’ll handle the press. Let’s let things die down. Agreed?”
“That is going to be difficult,” Dad pointed out. “You know that people will be curious. Just what are you going to tell the press?”
The dean turned to Dad. “The school will issue a statement that Loren has chosen to join the cross country team, and that he is remaining at UT under full scholarship. We’ll say no more than that, and we want Loren to say nothing at all about it.”
Dad glanced at me, raising an eyebrow.
I nodded. “I’d like to do that,” I said. In fact, I really wanted to. I liked Coach Baker, and more and more, I enjoyed longer running distances.
When we parted, head coach left without saying anything, but Coach Baker pulled me aside. “Loren, I want you to know that I didn’t do this to protect the school or satisfy you and your dad. I did this because you’re a fine runner, and I’m going to work your tail off. You understand?”
I nodded happily. “Yes, sir!”
I called ahead to Lambda House, and we picked up Pauly and Nate for a victory lunch prior to Dad catching a flight back to Oklahoma.
Dad greeted Nate with surprising warmth. I introduced Pauly – and Andrew, who was also at home. Dad wanted to see our room, so I showed him. When he commented on how crowded the room was, Pauly said some of the stuff was his.
Dad raised an eyebrow.
“Pauly’s living with us for a while,” I explained.
Dad stared at me a moment, looked at Nate, then at Pauly. He sighed, took a deep breath, and once more, looked around the room. “We need to find you an apartment,” he said, “or a small house to rent. This is too crowded.”
My eyes went wide. I glanced at Nate. His eyes were wide, too.
Pauly and I had afternoon classes, but Nate wasn’t scheduled for work that day. He and Dad went looking for an apartment for us. It was difficult to concentrate in class. My mind kept wandering to the possibility of getting an apartment, and to the impossible mental image of Nate working with my dad to find it.
When I got home after classes, I spread my books out on the kitchen table to get homework done before Dad came back with Nate. Travis burst into the kitchen a moment later.
“Tell me what happened,” he demanded. “Tell me everything!”
“I can’t tell you anything,” I said.
“It was part of the agreement.”
“Agreement?” Travis asked excitedly. He turned a chair, back to me, and straddled the chair, facing me. “You won?”
“I can’t talk about it.”
“Are you back on the team?”
“I’m on the cross country team.”
Travis frowned. “What does that mean? Do you have your scholarship back?”
“You won!” Travis exclaimed. He was close enough to give me a backslap, and he did.
“Travis!” I said, glaring at him. “Don’t fuck this up for me. Don’t go talking to reporters or making a big deal of this. The school is going to issue a press release, and I’m not supposed to talk to anyone.”
“Well, that isn’t right. They can’t tell you to not talk about it,” Travis said, frowning. “It’s a triumph for the gay community.”
“Maybe,” I said. “But it’s my life, and I don’t want you to screw it up.”
He crossed his arms across the top of the chair, rested his chin on them, and
stared at me.
“They can’t restrict your right to free speech,” he said quietly. “It’s no triumph at all for us if you can’t talk about being gay.”
“I can talk about being gay if I want to. It’s only today’s meeting and what was decided that I can’t talk about,” I told him. “But I do not want to go through this sort of thing again because you make a big deal of my being gay.”
“Don’t let them silence you, Loren. Don’t let them cower you.”
“Cower me! Look, Travis,” I said. “I’m out; alright? I’m out all over the country, thanks to you. I’m even out back home. So don’t talk to me about being cowered. I want gay rights, too, you know. I’ll keep coming to your meetings, and you can show me off to other gays as a token track star. When it’s right, I’ll help. But I want my degree from UT; more than ever now that I almost lost it. And I want to run. I’m serious about those things. You got it?”
Travis shrugged. “Yeah, I guess. But you can’t just bury yourself in books and running.”
I glanced at my books. “I like learning,” I told him, quietly. “I like running.” I looked him in the eye. “And I love Nate and Pauly. If I’m gonna be an activist for anything, it’s gonna be for them and me first.”
Travis studied me, skeptically. “Activist for what? For people to accept you?”
“No,” I told him, “for gay pride; but for our kind of gay pride. I want Nate, Pauly and me to be different from what people think of gay men; always looking for sex in bars and bathrooms. I want to be really proud, Travis. I want Nate and Pauly and me to be proud of who we are together and our faithfulness to each other.”
I set my pen down. “I’ve been thinking a lot, Travis. You started me thinking last semester, always challenging me. And then I had to do a lot of thinking before coming out, and again before giving that speech last semester. I had to do a lot of thinking after being home at Christmas break, and after being kicked off the team. What I care about; who I really care about, is Nate and Pauly, and me. We’ve got something good, Travis; something we can be proud of; something I want our friends to have, too.”
“Loren,” Travis said, quietly, “gay guys need to be proud of themselves even if they don’t have relationships like yours. The world has beaten us down. If we look for love in bars and bathrooms, it’s because that’s where we’ve been exiled to by a society which tries to shame us and hide us away. It’s fine for you to talk about you guys being so special, but what happens when Pauly leaves? What happens if you and Nate break up? Can’t you still be proud that you’re gay? And if you wind up looking in a bar for someone new to love, you need to not be ashamed to look there, because that’s where you’ll find other guys like you.”
I shook my head. “You don’t get it, Travis. I want to be proud because of the kind of gay man I am. Pauly might not stick with us, but Nate’s sticking with me, and I need him to, because the kind of gay man I want to be, I can only be with Nate. I need Nate to be faithful to, so I can be faithful. I need Nate to lay down my life for, so I can be noble and honorable. I need Nate to care for, and love, and protect, so that I can feel important in this world. I need Nate to love, so that I can love.
“Once I met Nate,” I said, quietly, “I couldn’t ever be the old me again. Loving Nate is making me into someone new; someone I want to be. I need Nate, and Pauly, too, if he wants us.”
Travis studied me for a long moment. “I wish,” he said, “that day I met you; I wish I had known what you were like.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because,” he said, “I wish I was Nate.”
“I wish,” I said with a sigh, running my finger in the crease of my textbook, “…make that, I hope… that I can be the activist I need to be for Nate; the kind that won’t give up on him or me.” I smiled to myself. “I’m a runner, Travis,” I said. “I don’t give up; I won’t give up.”
Dad and Nate had found nothing, but Dad stayed overnight, and the next morning we found a two bedroom, furnished apartment. It had two king-sized beds. Though Pauly, Nate, and I would continue to share one bed – Dad made a point of not asking about that – the apartment would be big enough for all our belongings. It wasn’t a student apartment; one of those would be difficult to find in the middle of a semester, but it wasn’t that far from campus.
“You guys pay what you can,” Dad told us. “I’ll cover the rest. After all,” he said, smiling at me, “Loren’s schooling is covered.”
We moved into our apartment that weekend. The next Friday, I returned at noon from morning classes to find that Pauly had left the mail on the dining table. There was a letter for me from Chase.
I took off my coat and kicked off my shoes, then sat down at the table to read it. The letter was a long one. In it, Chase mentioned that Stef was catching shit after the newspaper story about me being kicked off the track team because I was gay. I felt angry, and wished I could be home to take the shit instead of Stef. I realized that might only make it worse, though.
Most of the letter talked about other things. Chase said his parents had finally decided to divorce.
Nate heard me come home, and came out of the bedroom while I was reading the letter. He looked showered and clean, but wore only gym shorts.
Smiling, Nate straddled my lap, hands on my shoulders, and I held the letter out to my side. He kissed me, and I stroked his side with the palm of my free hand.
“I love you,” he said, running his fingers into my hair.
“I love you, Thumps,” I said back.
“I’ve been waiting for you, my hunky Thumper,” he told me, taking my face tightly between his hands. He rocked his hips in my lap. “I woke up horny. Pauly was still here, but I wanted you.”
“How much time before you have to go to work?” I asked.
“I don’t have to be in until two. When’s your next class?”
“About then,” I said with a smile. Then I remembered the letter. “Before I forget,” I told him, “Chase wrote to me.” I showed him the letter. “I need to write him back, Nate. He’s going through a lot.” I offered the letter to Nate. “Here, read it. See what you think.”
Nate glanced over the letter. He looked up when he read the part about my brother. “That sucks about Stefan,” Nate said.
“Yeah,” I agreed.
Nathan continued reading. When he was done, he handed the letter back to me. Then he cocked his head. “How about if I write Chase, too?”
“You want to?” I asked, surprised.
Nate nodded. “Yeah, I think I do. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I feel sorry for him; maybe so we can be friends, too.”
“Yeah,” I agreed. “That’d probably be good.”
Nate set the letter down on the table behind him and wrapped his arms around my neck. He smiled, brushing my nose with his.
“Natasha wants to be thumped, darling,” he said in a sultry voice.
“Oh?” I asked, running my hands up his sides and belly. “Has she ever been thumped on a dining room table?”
The following Thursday, I had another letter from Chase:
Guess what! At the last wrestling tournament, one of the guys I wrestled was Phillip Hardy. He’s on the Claremore team. We’re in the same weight class, but he’s taller and skinny. I’ve wrestled him before, and we always talk at meets. Anyway, we were talking, and I told him about my parents and all. He invited me to sleepover at his house last weekend – it’s only about thirty minutes from here. Anyway, we wrestled on his bedroom floor, and we got hard-ons, and I kissed him. He sorta freaked a second, and then kissed me back and we frenched like banshees. Then we did everything you taught me at New Years – everything! All night Friday night! And then on Saturday, and Saturday night, and before I left Sunday! And he’s coming to my house this next weekend! Wow!
The letter went on, and into some anatomical detail. I showed it to Nate and Pauly, and the three of us had our own wrestling match that evening.
Pauly went home for spring break, but I stayed in Austin with Nate. One reason was that I didn’t want to face people back home – people who I had grown up with, but who would probably treat me differently now.
Dad called Saturday morning and asked if we’d all like to go to the beach for spring break. Back then Padre Island wasn’t as swamped as it is now, and Dad had gotten a three bedroom condo.
He said that the trip was partly to get Stef away from home for a few days. Some of his friends were still being assholes about me being gay. Nate and I said, ‘yes!’ of course.
Dad, Mom, and Jessica flew down to Harlingen and caught a van to the beach. Dad gave Stefan a plane ticket to Austin, to ‘help’ Nate and me drive down to the island. Dad knew what he was doing. Stef had grown a little bitter.
We picked Stef up at the airport and headed directly for the beach. Three guys in a Mustang, for over six hours, can do a lot of talking. We talked about little that was serious. We simply talked, and enjoyed the road trip, and Stefan loosened up.
The beach was a blast, for all of us. The best part for me was the way my family began accepting Nate as one of us. He and I even had our own room.
That’s not to say that there weren’t moments when Dad or Stefan looked uncomfortable. Those were usually times when Nate or I showed our affection for one another in a hug or a glance. Nate and I stayed mindful of that, and tried to be careful. I remembered Dr. Davidson’s encouragement to work at important relationships. Both Dad and Stefan were obviously working at it, so would Nate and I.
That first night in our condo room, Nate and I turned off the light, and then undressed one another. Nate backed into the moonlight coming through the sliding glass door which opened onto the balcony. His flaccid cock hung like a thick fleshy tube between his lean-muscled legs. He turned toward the door, expecting me to follow, but I tarried.
Nate was always beautiful. From the taper of his slender torso to the gentle flare of his firm little bottom, to the elegant lines of his legs, Nate was graceful and male. In all my life, I have honestly never known a more perfectly proportioned youth than Nate at eighteen. I had a good body. Nate’s though, in moments like that one in the moonlight, could take my breath away.
He glanced back over his shoulder at me, and smiled. I came to him, pulling him back into my arms. We stood at the glass door, and gazed out at the gulf. The moon had just risen, and its light reflected on the water in a path toward us. The white light bathed us and reflected around the room. Nate leaned back in my arms. My cock was rising, and Nate pressed his butt back against my erection. I nuzzled the side of his neck.
All that day, watching Nate interact with my family, I was reminded from one moment to the next of things that endeared him to me. One moment, it was his smile, another, his happy laugh, another, his butt in a swim suit, another, his enthusiasm with my mom in the kitchen.
“I love you,” I whispered, hugging him back by his chest, “more and more, every day, I love you. Alone like this, with you, I feel incredibly happy.” I kissed under his ear and hugged him hard. “But you, my gorgeous Thumper, shine best around people. When I see how happy you are talking to my mom about cooking, or Dad about wine, or you say something to Stefan about some girl in a bikini, and you make him laugh, or you brush Jessica’s hair and make her feel pretty… when you do those things, I feel… I feel delight in you. I’m so grateful you love me.”
Nate turned inside my arms to face me. He held my sides in his hands, his face close to mine, and his eyes brimmed with affection and love. He kissed me. We opened our mouths to one another. Our bodies pressed, and our erections jutted up from between our bellies and out at angles.
We straightened our erections up between us. I tugged at his butt, and Nate wrapped his arms over my shoulders. Through the glass of the window, came the sound of gulf waves on the sand.
For a long time, our mouths pressed and our tongues did a gentle dance. Nate’s fingers combed my hair and my hands roamed his bottom and back. His slender body, now so familiar, excited me more by its familiarity, and because it belonged to me.
We paused for a breath. Pressing the sides of our faces together, we embraced, and rocked in one another’s arms.
“Come to bed,” I whispered, pulling from him, taking his hand.
I bent to pull back the covers, and Nate pressed his erection against my butt. I leaned back against him, and, with his hands low on my belly, he pulled my bottom back against his upturned cock. I reached back on both sides, clutching his sides, pulling him against me as I twisted at the waist and we kissed.
I climbed into the bed and rolled onto my back. Nate came in after me, and lay on top of me, belly to belly, like the first time we made love. He covered my mouth with his. I pulled up my knees, catching his hips between my thighs. I grabbed the firm mounds of his bottom with both hands.
“Thumper,” he whispered, his lips brushing mine, “you say things better than I can.” His eyes gazed down into mine. “I wish I could say… ” He paused. Then, wrapping his arms over my head, he pressed the side of his face to mine.
“Once I started really believing you,” he whispered, “once I started really believing that you would never go away, it meant that I couldn’t hold anything back anymore. It meant I could love you all I wanted, and I wanted to love you, all I could. I’m not holding any of me back, baby. I couldn’t love you any harder.”
“You couldn’t love me any better; that’s for sure.”
“Is it?” he asked. “I’m still learning how to love you.”
I knew what he meant. The ‘how’ to love was in the things we did for one another; the many, many little things.
“We’re learning how, together,” I told him.
He was quiet a moment.
I wrapped my arms around his shoulders and rolled him under me. I gazed down into his eyes, dark, serious eyes, and they gazed back thoughtfully into mine.
“What are you thinking?” I asked.
“I’m thinking about Pauly,” he said.
I nodded, and slid off Nate onto his side. We were going to talk. I pressed my erection to his hip, and left my leg cocked over his middle, the inside of my thigh resting on his upturned cock, and I rubbed his belly.
“What are you thinking?” I asked.
“I’m thinking that he’s never going to find someone else. Not someone who’ll love him like we do.” Nate’s head rolled and he looked me in the eye. “He’s not strong enough.”
I nodded. “If I didn’t have you, he’d never be my boyfriend.”
“Me either. But it works with us.”
“Yeah,” I said. “There are times, I wish it was just you and me again, but I like it when he’s with us. I love Pauly, just like you do. It seems sorta right when he’s with us. You know?”
“We have to find times when he’s not around when we can be just us,” I said. “We have to work out something.”
“But we can’t hurt his feelings,” Nate said.
“No. Like you said, he’s not strong enough.”
Nate smiled at me. “I love you,” he said.
I smiled. “Because I love Pauly?”
I leaned close and kissed his lips. “I’m glad you love Pauly, too,” I whispered.
“And he’s good in bed.”
I grinned. “Damned good.”
Nate chuckled. “We do belong together.”
“Do you think Pauly knows that yet?” I asked. “Or does he think he’s just hiding out with us for a while?”
Nate shrugged. “He loves us. I don’t know if he loves us enough yet.”
I smiled. “I don’t know that I say things better than you at all. You’re really smart about people, Thumps; much smarter than me.”
Nate rolled up to face me, and he gazed seriously into my eyes. “You respect me,” he said. “That means a lot to me.” He laid a hand on the side of my face. “We need to respect Pauly, too.”
I agreed. “There are a lot of things about the little guy we can respect,” I said. Then I grinned. “Like his great age.”
Nate laughed. “We can always tease him about that, about being two years older than us.”
“Let’s keep it in mind. We could have fun with it.”
Nate laughed, rolled on top of me, and covered my mouth once more with his. I held his butt and he held my shoulders while we kissed and rubbed cocks together; languidly at first. We were in no hurry.
The sound of the surf in the background soothed our lovemaking. We rolled to our sides, tangling legs, and spent long moments simply enjoying our naked bodies. I rolled Nate to his back and moved on top of him.
“I love you, Nathan,” I murmured against his ear as I slowly circled my hips between his legs. “I’m going to always love you.”
He squeezed my butt with both hands, grinding up against me. “Yes!” he whispered, exalting at the sensations, and at my words. He paused, arched under me, the pressure between our bodies focused at our pelvises.
“I love you, baby,” he said softly, beside my ear. “I love being loved by you. I love you with all my heart.”
I moaned softly, nuzzling his soft cheek. “You about ready?” I asked.
“Put it in me,” Nate whispered, pulling up his knees on either side of my hips.
With only my precum for lubricant, I backed my hips. He moved with me, helping me find his opening, and I entered him, and felt his warmth and tightness envelop me. Then, holding one another tightly, I began to pound.
What for part two in a day or two. :)
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