It was Friday morning, and Matt and Mike didn't have to report to work at Mother of Mercy Hospice until Monday morning.  They had slept well in their new apartment the night before.  They ate a leisurely breakfast and showered and dressed in their usual 501's and a T.  The weather was perfect again, clear and about 75°.

Matt suggested they take the elevated train, the infamous Chicago "L," downtown, and find out how long a trip it would be to get to work on Monday.  Grabbing their cameras, they walked two blocks from their apartment to the station and jumped aboard.  They got a quick economic review of the city's housing out the L window as they roared along through the neighborhoods, from the classy to the modest to the dilapidated.

Alighting on the near-northside, they quickly located the hospice and debated whether to go in and introduce themselves, but decided to wait until they reported for work on Monday.  Finding Michigan Avenue, they started to walk downtown, enjoying the sights.  The street was teeming with people and traffic moving past classy stores all the way into the Loop.

When they hit the Art Institute, they took one another's picture with the big concrete lions out in front, and went in to look around.  Checking their cameras, they wandered about for several hours looking at the the paintings and other displays, leaving only when they got hungry for lunch.  They came upon a German restaurant with a short line out in front, and figuring the food must be good, went in.  They weren't disappointed.  Sauerbraten and spaetzel and dark rye bread--they both loved it.  Then they went over to the Chicago Civic Center and took pictures of the Picasso, visited Marshall Field's huge department store, and caught the L back home by 4 p.m.

Walking back to the apartment from the station, they went into a small art store and Mike bought a few cheap reprints of some good art to hang on their bare walls, along with a small crucifix and a red votive light holder.  They hung their new purchases in the apartment, and then sat down for a few minutes to talk about their plans for the evening.

"So, dude, what's your pleasure?" Mike asked.  "We have our gay guide, and the whole city to explore.  I can prolly get you a date if you clean up a little.  Well, actually, clean up a lot."

"Shut up.  I don't need no stinking date, you hairball!  You're my stinking date!  But you're also an aggravator, you do know that?" Matt said.

"Ahem, well, yes I do.  Once of my many talents, honed to a fine edge by yourself!"

Matt put his arm around Mike's neck, and gave it a squeeze.  "So, what do we want to do?"

"Well," Mike said, "we can catch a flick, we can rent some porn, we can go to a bathhouse. . ."  He paused and sniffed Matt.  "A bathhouse might not be a bad idea, now that I think about it."

"You nimrod!  That's it!  Hard nuggies for you!" Matt said, grinding his knuckles into Mike's high and tight haircut.

"Oww!  That hurts!"

"If you'll be nice, I'll kiss it and make it well!"  Matt brought Mike's head down and kissed the top of it.  "Now see, that really works!  But it's like kissing a pincushion."

Mike embraced Matt, and kissed him gently on the lips.  "Damn, I love you.  In spite of how obnoxious you can be," he said, kneading Matt's shoulders and looking into his eyes.

"Same here, bud.  You own me, fer sure!" Matt said.

"Me, too.  Well, on the topic of the moment, let's go to a bathhouse, then.  Friday night should be lively.  I think we should talk first, though!" Mike said.

"OK.  What about?" Matt asked.

"Well, you know this place is going to be a real meatmarket, right?"

"Yeah, I guess." Matt admitted.

"I just think we should know what our guidelines are so we don't accidentally hurt each other's feelings," Mike said.


"There are gonna be a lot of good looking guys there, and most of 'em are gonna be looking for some action.  Let's just be clear on what we can and can't do.  Except for our trip to South Beach, we've never been around a lot of gays before.  If you stop and think about it, almost all our friends are straight, as far as we know.  I don't know whether any of tonight's crew are guys we would want to make friends with or not, but I guess we've got to start somewhere," Mike said.

"Whoa!  Back up the delivery truck, dude, and just tell me this.  You aren't thinking we should have sex with someone else, are you?" Matt asked.

"No, of course not!" Mike said.  "But can we talk to other guys, for example, and are there time limits?  I mean, I've screwed up before and hurt you, and I don't ever wanna do it again.  I just need to know where the line is."

"Well, of course we should talk with other guys!  I doubt if there's any music and dancing at this place, but if there were, we can even dance with other guys.  I just don't want us doing anything overtly sexual with them," Matt said.  "Practically everybody there will looking to get laid, or looking to start a relationship, Mike.  You're right about that.  But let's go and have a good time.  Let's just remember that we're not looking, OK?  Except for friends," Matt added.

"Yeppers.  Got it!  Now, how about a little nap so we can stay up late.  Then we should still have time for a run.  For supper, I'll go down the street and get some cajun shrimp takeout for supper before we head out," Mike said.

"Cajun!!  Oh, you stud!  You do know how to make me hot!"

Laughing, Mike pulled Matt down on the couch and spooned him, kissing his neck and holding him tight.  They dropped off to sleep in short order, and woke up about an hour later.

Then they put on their jocks and shorts, and headed for the beach.

*  *  *

The bathhouse was everything that the boys had expected and then some.  They arrived about 10 p.m. and joined a line waiting to get checked in.  They paid their "membership fee" and rented a room with a double bed in it.  After putting their wallets and most of their money in a lockbox, they took their room keys and towels and set out to find their room.

The place was packed with men and boys of every age and description in various stages of undress, including no dress at all.  Matt and Mike drew plenty of stares and longing looks as they searched out their room.    When they found it, it was spartan--bed, table, ashtray.  They went in and pulled off their clothes, and wrapping their towels around their waists, headed for the swimming area.  It was more of a huge hot tub in a modern, angular design, divided into several sections.  It was fairly full of guys.  Removing their towels, they managed to get a place together along one edge, shoulder to shoulder with their neighbors on each side.  The feeling of the hot water jetting against their backs and up into their crotches was great.

They started checking out the male flesh that surrounded them while they got checked out in return.

"Hey," said a handsome, smooth, well built black guy, about 20 years old, sitting on Matt's left.

"How you doin'?" Matt responded, glancing surreptitiously down at the guy's equipment down under the water.

"Good, thanks.  Haven't seen you around here before," the guy said.

"First time here," Matt said.  "My partner and I just moved into town."

"Cool.  I'm Arnie."  He and Matt shook hands.

"I'm Matt.  This is my partner, Mike."  Mike reached across Matt and bumped fists.

"You guys looking for anything in particular?" Arnie asked, admiring Matt's chest.

"No, not really," Matt said.  "Just checkin' out the gay scene here in town."

"Let me know if ya want me to show ya around here after we get outta the water, OK?" Arnie said.

"Definitely," Matt said.  "My bro over here"--he nodded at Mike--"gets lost easy."

Mike slapped Matt lightly on the back of the head, saying nothing.

Within 15 minutes, the parts of Matt and Mike that weren't totally under the roiling water were sweating copiously, and they decided to get out. Arnie led them over to an open shower area and under a cool spray of water, and as they cooled down they all checked each other out more thoroughly.  Arnie had shoulder length, permed black hair sparkling with drops of water, a beautiful, almost delicate face, a bubble butt, and sported a nice looking uncut dick about 7 inches, soft.  He was thin, but defined and well proportioned.  His skin was a perfect cocoa color, and unblemished.

"Lookin' good, dude," Mike said to Arnie.  "Whaddaya do for a living?"

"I'm a model right now, but I'd like to get into acting down the road," Arnie said.  "How 'bout you guys?"

"We're students," Mike said.  "We're volunteering here in the city for a couple months."

"That's cool.  Whereabouts?" Arnie asked.

"Mother of Mercy Hospice," Mike said.  "We start on Monday."

"I admire that!" Arnie said.  "This isn't community service, is it?" he asked with a grin.

Matt and Mike laughed.

"No," Matt said, "this is by choice.  We've had a good ride, and we figure we'd like to give something back, you know?"

"That's kickass, dudes!  Well, let's start our tour."  Arnie gestured toward the door leading out of the spa.

The place was huge.  Arnie showed them the steamroom, the video room, the snack bar, and then they walked around the corridors where the single bedrooms were located.  Some guys were lying on their beds, face down and bare-assed, waiting for someone to take an interest and come into their rooms.  Some were standing in the doorway, just checking out the passers by.  Some of the guys had dimmed their lights, and were lying in the half darkness on their backs, jacking themselves slowly to stay hard.  A couple of the rooms had slings, and were full of guys with leather collars and harnesses engaged in various activities.  >From one room, with the door closed, emanated the sound of someone being hit with a leather strap, and the "victim" yelping each time he was struck.  That brought back some bad memories for Matt, and for Mike as well.

The three guys ended up back at the snack bar, and Matt popped for some soft drinks as they sat on tall stools around the bar.

"You lookin' to hook up tonight, Arnie?" Mike asked.

"Yeah.  But I'm pretty particular.  I only have sex here with with a special guy who shows up occasionally, and I haven't seen him tonight," Arnie said, pausing. "Don't take offense, but would you guys be interested in some action?  You're both fucking ripped, and I'd love to have sex with you!"

"Well, thanks for the compliment," Mike said, "but we only have sex with each other.  We're trying to make some friends here in the city, though, so if we can keep it to that. . ."

"Sounds cool.  Maybe we can get together for dinner some night after work and talk," Arnie said, beckoning to the snack bar attendant for a piece of paper and a pencil.  They exchanged phone numbers, and Arnie bumped fists with them and went off to look for companionship.

"Let's check out the video room for awhile," Matt suggested as he slipped his hand under Mike's towel and up his leg, making him jump.  "You nervous, studly?" he asked, his face a perfect blank.

"I'm so horny that if you touch me like that again, I'll splooge in your hand," Mike answered.

"You know what they say--sometimes it's a hand to mouth existence."

"Ewwww. You're not funny, hairball.  Let's catch some horny flicks," Mike said, leading the way.

They sat down in the video room on carpeted risers with strategically placed big pillows under themselves, and watched a youthful football team get in on with each other and their coach on large-screen TV.  Matt lay down with Mike lying between his legs, Mike's head on his chest.  Several other guys in the room stared at them, mutely signaling they wanted to hook up.

"Heck," Matt bent his head down and told Mike, "I was hoping we'd see a swim team fuck film.  Everybody knows they're the hottest and horniest.  Must be something in the water.  But I heard the water also shrinks their dicks when they stay in the pool too long.  That's prolly why they filmed the football team for this one."

"Ha ha, wiseass!  You've smelled way too many sweaty wrestler crotches.  Your hormones are way outta control, and they're making you say some really strange things."

Matt kissed Mike's neck and smelled his hair, but didn't respond.  They watched for several minutes while the onscreen cum spurted and flew all over the place.

"Excuse me," Mike said, "something seems to be nudging me in the back.  That's not one of your body parts by any chance, is it?"

"Yeah," Matt said, "your number one fan just wanted to remind you he's here and ready for fun."

"Well, what are we waiting for?  Let's go!" Mike said as he stood and pulled Matt to his feet.  They were both hard, and had to adjust their cocks up along their abdomens under the towels so their condition wasn't so obvious.  They headed for their room at a fast walk, watched all along the way by hordes of horny guys giving them the eye.

Once in their room, the towels fell to the floor as they embraced and kissed, probing deeply with their tongues, and they fell to the bed, looking into each others eyes.  Matt caressed Mike's face.

"I know this is a weird time and place, but I really want to tell you something," Matt said.


"Mom and Dad sent me on a long retreat to a friary out on Long Island once when I was in high school.  While I was there, I came across a really old prayer book with words in it that I think of every time you and I make love.  It was a line from an old time marriage ceremony at the point when the ring was given. 'With this ring, I thee wed, and with my body, I thee worship.' Whenever we make love, Mike, I worship you with my body."

Mike's face softened and his body went limp.  He was struck dumb for a minute.

"That's probably the single most beautiful thing anybody has ever said to me in my whole life," Mike said. "I don't have a clue what I could say to you that could even come close."  Pause.  "Just when I think I couldn't possibly love you any more than I do already, you rock me totally.  Now I've got butterflies in my stomach.  But thank you for telling me that."

They lay there looking at each other for a time, listening to the human chaos outside their room.

"Matt, let's go take a steam, and then blow this pop stand.  I want to go home and make love, not here," Mike said quietly.

" 'K," Matt said, and they wrapped their towels around their waists again and headed for the steam room.

They passed Arnie on the way and he tagged along with them to the steamroom.  The room was dimly lit, and appropriately hot and steamy.  They found a place for three along one wall and sat down on their towels on the bench.  Looking around, they could see guys getting and giving blowjobs, and one guy was simultaneously being screwed and sucking somebody off.

The scenery made the three of them hard almost instantly.  Matt and Mike checked out Arnie, and his dick was beautiful, about 10 inches long hard, and a mellow cocoa color identical to the rest of him.

"Nice tool," Mike observed to Arnie.

"Thanks," Arnie responded.  "You guys are lookin' good yourselves.  Uh, you sure you don't wanna have some fun?"

"Naw," Matt said.  "We're gonna get our pores open, and then we're gonna jet.  But why don't you come up to our place for dinner Thursday night.  I have your phone number, and I'll call and give ya the particulars."

"Cool.  I'd like to," Arnie said.

"And bring somebody if you want to," Mike suggested.  "We'll have plenty of food."

"Thanks," Arnie said.  "I don't have anybody special right now, but who knows?  I appreciate the invite."

"No prob," Matt said.

Matt and Mike stayed about 10 minutes, got up and bumped fists with Arnie, and left for a cool shower.  As they walked out, a buff, good looking kid walked up to where Arnie was sitting, sat down beside him, and started talking to him.

"There's our fourth for dinner," Mike quipped as they stepped into the cool air outside the steamroom and rewrapped themselves in their towels.

When they stepped into the shower, the water felt freezing cold, and Matt tried to step out, but Mike held him under the cold spray.  They ended up laughing and scuffling.  Feeling refreshed, they went back to their room and dressed.  After collecting their wallets at the front desk, they left to find their truck and head home, feeling cleansed and refreshed.  And horny of course.

They were nodding their heads along to the beat of the stereo, when Matt said, "Mikey, guess what."

"What?" Mike looked at him suspiciously.

"I have a story for ya!"

"Oh, no!  If you tell a story, there'll be no sex for you tonight!"

"No, this story is so good you'll prolly jump my bones before we get home!"

"Well, if you have to," Mike said.  "What do I get if the story is no good?"

"A good, stiff 8½ inches wherever you want it!"

"Sounds like your dream come true, not mine," Mike said.

"Listen up!" Matt said, putting a hand on Mike's neck.

"A man and his wife are driving along when they see a wounded
skunk on the side of the road.  They stop, and the woman gets out,
picks it up, and brings it into the car.

"She says, 'Look, it's shivering, it must be cold. What should I do?'

"The man says says, 'Put it between your legs.'

His wife says, 'What about the smell?'

"Her husband says, 'Well, hold its nose.'"

Mike tried his best to keep from laughing, but couldn't, and sprayed the windshield with saliva when he exploded.

"Gotcha at last, bud!" Matt said, roaring with laughter.

"Ewwwww!  That joke was a new low, even for you," Mike said.  "But I hafta admit. . ."

"You loved it!  Don't thank me.  I'll collect later," Matt said, winking.  "I'm horneeeeee, Mikey, seeing all those naked men at the bathhouse!"

"I guess that's why God gave you a right hand, bro.  It'll hafta take care of you tonight!"  Mike said.

They badgered each other the rest of the way home.

When they got home, they put the truck away, and raced upstairs with one thing only on their minds.

Mike undressed Matt down to his jockies, and had him lie down on the bed on his back.  He himself stripped down to his boxers, and lay down beside him.  They kissed and stroked each others face, and then Mike began to lick and nibble Matt's chest and nipples, slowly, very slowly, moving down past his navel to his waist.  Instead of pulling down his partner's jockies, now standing up with Matt's erection, Mike began gently to bite Mike's cock through the soft cotton cloth, and slide his tongue through the leg holes and the slit in front to caress his dick and balls.  He kept at it until Matt was oozing precum into his shorts and was beginning to breathe erratically and making little guttural sounds.

When he couldn't stand to be teased anymore, Matt reached over and pushed Mike's boxers down, freeing his partner's big, beautiful erection. Getting into the 69 position, Matt began to tongue Mike's dick and balls, and then swallowed his cock in one swift movement as Mike groaned.  Mike pulled off Matt's jockies, and reciprocated.  Each held his partner's dick in his mouth without moving a muscle, and the tension began to build for both of them.

Matt pulled off of Mike's cock.  "Whoever comes first gets fucked," he said, and immediately began to stimulate Mike in every way he could, including reaching around and inserting his middle finger in Mike's ass.  Mike did the same to him, all the while moving his mouth up and down on Matt's shaft vigorously.

They kept at it until Matt couldn't hold back, and began to shoot his cum into Mike's mouth.  Just as he was finished, Mike also let fly, and they lay spent for a moment.

Matt turned around on the bed facing Mike, and the boys kissed each other deeply, sharing the bounty they had been given.  They napped for an hour, when Mike awakened Matt and claimed his "winnings."  Matt submitted with pleasure as Mike rimmed him energetically, and then gave him a good and prolonged screwing, bumping Matt's prostate over and over until eventually they both ejaculated again.

They lay quietly afterwards, facing each other.  Mike put his fingertips on Matt's face.

"Oh, man!" Mike said, exhaling deeply. "That was so good!"  Pause.  "You know, you're absolutely the light of my life.  I can feel your heart beating right now, and it's my heart that's beating.  You are the center of my life, and everything else that's real and means anything starts with you," Mike whispered.  "It doesn't matter how many times a day I see you, the second I do, I'm pumped.  I wish I could say it better."

"I know," Matt said. "Words aren't enough, even if we had 'em.  Making love to you is as perfect as it gets, but even that just scratches the surface.  We're soulmates, Mike.  Do you know how rare and how important that is?  God has blessed us more than we can ever deserve.  And I'm enjoying it to the max!" he said, and rolled over on top of Mike, kissing his lips.  He smoothed back Mike's hair, smelled his skin, and rubbed noses with him.

They fell asleep smiling, loosely holding one another, feeling loved and content.

*  *  *

The next morning Matt got up without waking Mike and dressed.  Leaving a note on the kitchen table, he filled a bucket with soapy water and walked down to the garage and starting cleaning the bikes.

When Mike woke up, he saw the note and went into the living room, opening a back window.

"Hey, Sailor.  Sup?" Mike said loudly enough to be heard.

"I am, if you don't put some clothes on!" Matt said, looking up.

"Want some help?"

"You mean with the bikes?  Hehe.  No, I'm almost done.  Make some breakfast, 'K?"

" 'K," Mike said, and headed for the kitchen, where he made scrambled eggs, toast and coffee.

Matt joined him in a few minutes, and they scarfed down everything edible on the table, and drank up all the coffee.

"So," Mike said, "haven't you been a busy little beaver boy already today."

"Yeppers.  Perfect day for riding.  I figured that if the bikes were clean, people wouldn't notice how ugly and deformed you are when we ride by."

"You're so bent.  And full of shit.  No wonder your eyes are brown, brown, brown."

"Yeah, yeah.  Listen, we gotta locate a church for tomorrow.  Then I figured we'd haul ass out to the country somewhere and blow the crudlies out of those bikes," Matt said.

"Lemme get dressed, and we're outta here.  You prolly better put on boots 'stead of wearin' sneaks, doncha think?"

"Yeppers, my li'l worry wart.  I'll change," Matt agreed.

" 'K," Mike said, smiling, and went to get dressed as Matt rinsed the dishes and put them in the dishwasher.

They got out the Yellow Pages and a Chicago map, and pinpointed the location of a church on the near north side.  Then they fired up the bikes, and found the church in person.  The sign out front said the last mass on Sunday morning would be at 10 a.m.--Solemn High, no less.

They headed for the country, using the west expressway for an hour until they were out of Chicago and past the near suburbs, and then checked their map.  They continued heading west, and in another half hour were in the country on the back roads.  The day was glorious and warm, and soon they took off their leather jackets and tied them around their waists.  They found a flat, straight stretch of road with a perfect view and no crossroads or farm driveways for the next 10 miles, and opened up the bikes.  When they hit 150 mph, they throttled back with big grins on their faces.  Entering a small town, they found a diner, and went in for lunch.

"Kickass run!" Mike said after they ordered.  "We haven't had a day on the bikes for many moons."

"Outstanding!" Matt agreed.  "Just what we needed.  Ya know, maybe we can find a cycle club and make a few runs with 'em while we're in Chicago."

"You gonna get some tats, dude?  'Mom' on one arm, and 'Born To Ride' on the other?  And I want 'Mike' on your chest, with a big red heart around it, with an arrow."

"That's pretty funny, Mike.  I'm gonna tell Sister Angeline you want me to desecrate my bod with tats when we meet up with her on Monday, and she's gonna crack your knuckles with a ruler."

"Hey, I had a nun like that in parochial school," Mike said. "Sister Ursula.  She was humongous, and hated wiseass little kids like me.  I used to get the stick regularly."

"Not often enough, dude.  Your behaviors aren't as cool sometimes as I had hoped for."

"My behaviors!  We better get you to church early tomorrow so you can go to confession.  You're bad to the bone."

"Speaking of nuns, that reminds me of a story," Matt said.

"I know I won't be going to purgatory, because I'm doing full penance in this life," Mike said mournfully.

"No, you'll like this one.  It's about a nun and some motorcyclists," Matt said.

Mike just groaned.

"Three Hells Angels are sitting at a table in a cafe when in walks a nun,
 who takes a seat next to them, orders some food, and begins to eat.

"Astonished to see a nun and wanting to gross her out, one of them says
loudly, 'I went to my parents wedding last week, and we all got stinking

"Being quick on the uptake, the second one says, 'Well, my dad says he
will finally marry my mom, maybe next year.'

"Despite all this, the nun stays right where she is and just keeps eating.

"Desperate for a reaction from the nun, the third one says, 'My old man
says he will never, ever marry my mom.'

"The nun looks up from her food and says, 'Would one of you bastards
 please pass the salt.'"

"Oh, man," Mike said, "just when I think you've hit bottom with the jokes, you prove me wrong."

"You love 'em, admit it.  You kinda admitted it last night."

"I'm not into kink, but you deserve to have your cute little butt spanked for making me listen to these stories.  Can I, please?"

"Ooooh!  One more thing to add to our sexual repertory," Matt said.  "You're so versatile and creative, Mikey, that I marvel at you!"

"As well you should, dude."

The waitress brought their food, and they dug in.  When they were finished, they left a generous tip, paid at the register, and got back on the road.

Continuing to explore the back roads for several hours, they came across a roadside park with some hiking trails, and pulled into the parking lot.  There was no one else around.  They parked the bikes, and followed one of the trails back a bit into the woods.  They found a clearing, and lay down on their jackets in the warm sun.  The soft breeze stirred the spring leaves in the surrounding trees and caressed them.  They lay back and looked into one another's eyes.  Mike reached over and touched Matt's face with his hand.

"Hey, bro," he said.


"Love ya!"

"I know, Mike."

"I'm college educated and supposed to be articulate, but I say the same thing over and over again."

"How innovative do you have to be, Mike?  Hearing you say it never gets old.  With you, I'm complete.  I'm just grateful for every day we have together.  I wish I knew why God has been this good to us.  It's a little scary, to be honest.  Are we supposed to feel this good?" Matt asked softly.

"I'm not as religious as you are, but you know I'm a believer.  I thank God every day for you.  And I think being together has helped make us better people.  That's way true for me.  That has to be the plan."

They rolled together, kissed deeply and started to get hard when they heard a car pull into the parking lot.  Turning their heads, they watched through the trees as a man and a woman got out of their car and start walking slowly in their direction.

Matt looked at his watch and stood up.

"Well, no splendor in the grass for us, studly.  I spose we should start home.  The traffic's gonna be a bitch in town, I bet," he said.  "If we leave now, we can take a run on the beach before dark."

"Yeppers," Mike agreed, and they picked up their jackets and went back to their bikes.

Two hours later, they arrived home as sunlight was waning,  and garaged the bikes.  Going upstairs, they stripped to change clothes for a run on the beach.

"Um, Matt."


"Let me wear your jock?"

Matt looked at Mike with amusement.

"Mikey, you cute li'l perv.  I'll have you wearing my jockey shorts before long."

"Uh, just hand it over, will ya?"

Matt complied, and took Mike's jock in return.  Mike held the pouch of Matt's jock to his nose, breathed deeply, grinned, and then put it on, followed by his running shorts.  They both were boning up a little by this time.

Matt just shook his head and smiled.  He packed his meat into Mike's jock, finished dressing, and away they went.

After about a three mile run, they returned home and showered together, each washing the other.  Matt fixed macaroni and cheese and toasted bagels for their supper, and they watched the news together.  Mike cleaned up the kitchen, and then spooned Matt on the couch as they vegetated, talking sporadically and watching what turned out to be a lackluster night of TV.  For Mike, holding Matt like this was as satisfying as the first time they had ever lain together.

They went to bed about 10 p.m., rubbing one another's skin and feeling each other up until they were so aroused they couldn't stand it.  They stripped off their shorts.  Matt switched around to a 69 position, and the minute he put the head of Mike's cock in his mouth, Mike came, big time.  A few seconds later, Matt shot his own load into Mike's mouth.  Resuming a face to face position, Matt soul-kissed Mike and they tasted their conjoined semen.

"My little cum factory," Matt said to Mike.  "You were horny, weren't you?"

"Yep, yep.  Since the park this afternoon."

"I'm gonna have to teach you better control, my man."

"You're gonna teach me control.  You better find somebody to teach us both!" Mike laughed.

Matt held Mike's face in his hands.

"Ya know, we really needed a few days like this together before we started working," he said.  "I'm really glad we had 'em."

They fell asleep almost immediately.

The next morning, after church, they changed into their jocks, shorts and T's, and went over to the beach and joined a pick-up basketball game.  They weren't great at the game, but they were both natural athletes, and pretty much outshone everybody else.  The same group of guys played every Sunday about noon, and Matt and Mike were asked to join them on a regular basis.  They said they would.

The game over, they wandered along the lakeshore, reveling in the sun and the cool breeze off the lake.  Although it was early in the season, Lake Michigan was already dotted with watercraft of every size, shape and description.  They split their attention between the boats bobbing on the blue-green lake and the beautiful guys who were everywhere on the beach, running, playing volleyball and basketball, and lying in the sun with their friends and girlfriends.  It was a glorious day.

*  *  *

Monday morning they got up about 8 o'clock, showered and ate breakfast, and headed for the L to report to Mother of Mercy Hospice at 10 a.m. for their orientation.  They got seats in the L car because their stop was first on the line going downtown, but by the time they reached the right stop for the hospice and disembarked, every car of the train was packed shoulder to shoulder with people on their way to work.  It was a real cross section of humanity.

They walked over a block from the L stop to the hospice, and stood in front of it for a moment.  It was a weathered, three-story brick building surrounded by a six foot wrought iron fence, with a parking lot to one side, also fenced in with wrought iron.  There were both steps and a ramp leading to the front door, making it handicapped accessible.

The boys quickly checked each other's appearance.  They had forsaken their usual 501's and T's in favor of golf shirts and slacks that morning, and they looked preppy and very handsome.  They entered the building and asked the lady at the front desk for Sister Angeline Martin.

About five minutes later, a cute, pert lady standing about 5'6", wearing a plain, secular dress and an abbreviated blue veil bordered in white on her black hair, approached them.  She appeared to be about 35 years old with a pleasant, open face.  Matt thought she looked a lot like his mother at a younger age.  The nun beamed at them and thrust out her hand.

"Hello, I'm Sister Angeline."

"Good morning, Sister," Mike said.  "I'm Mike Broman, and this is my brother, Matt.  We wrote to you a couple months ago about volunteering here at the hospice this summer, and we're here to get started."

She shook hands firmly with the two boys.

"Oh, I'm very pleased to meet you at last.  Sometimes these arrangements fall through for one reason or another, so it's good to see you in person.  Why don't you come back to my office, and we'll talk."

They followed her down the corridor to her office, where she offered them coffee and seats on an old leather couch.  The boys settled back and relaxed a bit as she pulled over a side chair and sat in front of them.

"Having you here is very special for us," the sister said.  "We do get some volunteers from time to time, but most of our staff are paid.  And generally our volunteers are older.  Would I be prying if I asked you why you decided to volunteer here?"

"No, not at all, Sister," Matt responded.  "We're here because we both feel we have been extremely blessed in our lives.  In some small measure we'd like to give something back, and do it where we're needed."

"I'm. . .humbled to hear you say that, Matt," Angeline said, looking down briefly at the floor and then back at the boys.  "And personally renewed and grateful, I should add.  To pry a bit more, are you boys Catholic?"

"I am, Sister," Mike said.  "Matt's an Episcopalian."

"A kissing cousin, then, Matt," she said.  "I think I understand where you're both coming from.  What a wonderful gift of yourselves you're bringing to everyone here.  You're going to be a big help to our program, and I'm thrilled you chose us. Why don't I tell you a little about what we do here and how we do it."

She explained that the Hospice had purchased their current building about 20 years ago when a small maternity hospital had closed down.  They were certified for 35 beds, supported in the main by Medicaid and Medicare payments.  The yearly deficit resulting from the inadequate government payments was made up partly by the archdiocese, and partly from ongoing fundraising activities by their board of directors.  Generally, there were no patients admitted to the facility who were not projected to die within 6 months.

"Your duties will include providing a lot of the normal, basic care that the infirm and bedridden require," the sister continued.  "Serving meals, changing beds, emptying bedpans, responding to patients' special requests--the scut work.  But I'd like to ask of you something that I don't ask of every aide, and I can do that because I believe that the goodness in your hearts brought you here.

"You know, most medical people don't know how to handle the inevitability of death very well--they're trained to heal.  Death is a defeat they would rather not face, although they certainly do everything for the patients that they can, physically.  So, in the midst of all the drudgery we ask of you here, all the physical pain you're seeing, all the pain and fear involved for our patients as they begin to let go of this life in preparation for the next, I want to ask you to 'connect' with them whenever you can.  Dying is lonely work.  Some of our patients haven't had a hug in years, or felt a caress on their face or had anyone hold their hand, or had anyone really listen to them for a long time.  If you can do these things, you will bring a dimension to our care here that can't be mandated by an employer no matter how much we'd like to.  As you might surmise, that dimension is called love, and the ability to share it is the greatest gift of all."

Matt and Mike were moved, and sat there for a long moment looking at each other.

Finally Mike found his voice.

"Sister, you are. . . awesome," he blurted out, haltingly, feeling very inarticulate.

"I don't know about that," she said, smiling.

"One last thing," she continued.  "Some people, no matter how much they want to, simply can't do this work.  There's no shame in that.  I want you each to promise me that if you begin feeling overwhelmed, or sad and depressed, you come to me right away.  We have things you can do other than working directly with patients.  OK?"

"Yes, Sister," the boys said simultaneously.

"Do you have any questions?"

The boys shook their heads "no."

"Oh, yes, there is one more matter."  Angeline walked to her desk and picked up a message slip.  "The mayor's office called here today before you arrived--something about an incident a few days ago on Lake Shore Drive.  I don't know how they tracked you down here, but they seemed anxious for you to call them."

Matt and Mike looked at one another.

"You mean, the mayor of Chicago?" Matt asked.

"Yes," Sister said.  "That was the message.  You may use my telephone if you like."

"Thank you," Matt said, taking the message slip.  "Here, Mike.  You call," he said slyly.

Not wanting to bicker in front of the sister about who would make the call, Mike accepted the message slip and went to the telephone.

Sister Angeline continued to talk quietly to Matt.

"When Mike is finished, I want you both to meet my assistant, Sister Catherine Malloy.  She'll get you some uniforms, and take you around and introduce you to staff."

Mike wound up his telephone conversation and told Matt he'd fill him in later.  Sister Angeline introduced them to Sister Catherine, who was a taller and younger version of Angeline, and very pleasant and welcoming.

Catherine took them to a storage room, and the boys picked out some white uniforms that looked to be about the right sizes.  After knocking, they all went into the men's dressing room, which was empty at the moment.  She assigned them lockers, and then excused herself so that Matt and Mike could change clothes.

"Yum," Mike looked approvingly at Matt after they were dressed. "You look dope.  Mr. Clean.  I love a man in white.  Are you a doctor, by chance?"

"Why, yes I am, young man.  A doctor of orgasmic science.  I will be demonstrating my finely honed skills for you later this evening at no charge.  Hehehe."

"Can't wait!  Gonna take notes."

"By the way," Matt asked, "what's with the mayor's office?"

"They wanna give us a medal for pulling those people out of the lake!"

"Oh, no!  I can't believe it.  How did they find us?"

"We told Tony Angelo where we'd be working when he took his report, remember?" Mike said.

"Can we get outta this?"

"Doesn't sound like it."

"Bummer!  Well, if it hasta happen, maybe it'll help get the family down here," Matt said.  "Mom and Dad would eat this up, I bet.  I miss 'em so much!  Well, what do we have to do at this point?"

"We hafta call the mayor's office back and agree on a date.  The mayor wants to present the award at a meeting of the entire city council, and fairly soon."

"What do they call this award, anyway?"

"'Chicago Citizen of Valor,' I think the guy said," Mike replied.

"Dayum!!  Who said, 'No good deed goes unpunished'?  They were right.  Do they know we're not citizens of Chicago?"

"They say we are now.  Let's just chill and get it done, 'K?" Mike said.

They rejoined Sister Catherine in the corridor, and she gave them a tour of the facility and introduced them to staff who were working that shift.  Almost everyone was cordial and seemed glad to meet them.

After the tour was over, they went back to the office and filled out their volunteer papers, and were given their shift assignment.  They would be working Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., with an hour off for lunch.

It was noon by that time, so Sister Catherine showed them the cafeteria, and said they could either eat there or go out for lunch.  They decided to take a little walk around the neighborhood, and grab a bite to eat on the street.

When they walked out the front door and started down the street, Matt's eyes lighted up.  A gym, almost right next door to the hospice.

"Dude, comon," he said.  "Let's join up right now.  Then when we feel like it during our lunch hour, we can work out."  He looked over at Mike slyly.  "You're starting to look a little flabby, my man."

"You lyin' sack!  I'm CK model material, and you know it!"

"Your mirror's lyin' to you, bud," Matt said.  "Thank goodness," he added.  "I don't like pasty lookin' guys!"

They went into the gym and signed up for two months.  Continuing their walk, they hit a pizza parlor, and went in and split a thin crust large.  It was excellent.  They agreed that Chicago was truly pizza town.

They went back to work, and Sister Catherine put each of them with an experienced aide.  They began to meet some of the patients and to learn their job, and before they knew it, it was time to go home.

They had to stand on the L all the way back to their home stop, but they didn't care.

"I gotta call Arnie and tell him where we live so he can find us Thursday night," Matt said as they walked from the L stop to their apartment.

"Yeah.  What'll we feed him for dinner?"

"How about lasagna with red wine and a tossed salad, and ice cream cake for dessert?" Matt asked.

"You're awesome, dude!  A chef and a doctor of orgasmotology, rolled into one!  You do cook up some gourmet stuff in bed, I hafta admit!"

Matt laughed, and put his arm around Mike's neck and hugged him as they walked along.

"We gonna run?" Matt asked.

"Yeppers, lets."

"You gonna give me back my jock?"

"No way," Mike said.  "It's not gamey enough yet.  I'm getting very attached to it.  And it to me, I might add."

"Hmmm.  It'll be able to walk to the washing machine on its own in a few days."

"I don't sweat.  If it's ripe, it's from you," Mike said.

"Ha, ha.  You're funny."

They arrived home, changed into their running gear, and hit the beach.

*  *  *

Over the next few days, Matt and Mike settled into their new routine without difficulty, each learning as he went along by watching an experienced aide with whom he was partnered.  The boys had talked with each other about Sister Angeline's special request for them to "connect" with the patients, and as they began to function more independently in their job, they began to try to do that.

They immediately had their favorites patients, of course, but made every effort to give everyone under their care the same good care and tried to eke out a little personal time for each one of them.  Naturally, the patients responded positively to the added attention and quickly grew fond of the two handsome new aides.

The staff were interesting.  The facility doctor, sitting at the top of the medical pecking order, was a kind and compassionate man who was more than competent medically and was an expert in pain management, but was far from having a good bedside manner.  The three floor nurses and two floaters were very good at what they did, but consonant with the unfortunate practices of modern day nursing, were very much tied to their charts and other paperwork.  That left the licensed practical nurses and the aides, and of course the resident chaplain and visiting clergy, to carry the main burden of human contact with their dying charges, who were in dire need of it.

The aides as a group seemed very dedicated to their work, with a few exceptions.  Despite working long hours, having only modest wages and benefits, and being on the bottom of the facility hierarchy, many of the aides were wonderful role models for Matt and Mike.  Some were young, from all appearances in their first job right out of high school, and some were seasoned veterans.  Being quick studies, the boys quickly became aware of which of their peers were competent and trustworthy, and which were not.

One aide, a burly six footer with a shaved head, covered with tattoos and, it was rumored, pierced in strategic body parts, seemed to cast a pall over the other aides whenever and wherever he appeared.  Stan Rosinsky, who appeared to be about 23 years old, had been cool to Matt and Mike when they were introduced to him, and hadn't spoken a word to them since.

Matt was sitting in the cafeteria Wednesday noon of their first week, eating some soup and waiting for Mike to join him from upstairs, when he noticed Rosinsky wending his way through the tables to sit down to eat, alone as usual.  As the man passed by another aide who was seated, a thin, kind of cute young guy with puppy dog eyes who looked to be about 18 or so, Rosinsky reached down and tipped the kid's soup into the his lap, playing it as if it were an accident.  The young guy jumped up, the crotch of his whites stained and dripping with vegetable soup, and tried to use his one paper napkin to dry himself off.  Matt stood up from where he was sitting a few tables away, went over to the counter to grab a handful of napkins, and brought them over to the kid's table.  Matt noticed that everybody in the room had averted their eyes, pretending they hadn't seen what had just happened.

After they finished cleaning up the soup from the table and the floor, Matt introduced himself.

"Hi.  Matt Broman.  My brother and I just started working here a few days ago."

"Alan Peterson.  How ya doin'?  Thanks for the help."

"That's OK.  What's that guy's story?" Matt asked, nodded toward where Rosinsky was sitting.

"Rosinsky is the local version of the school yard bully," Peterson said.  "He gets off on calling me and a couple other guys who work here 'fags,' and doing whatever he can to make our lives miserable."

"He never gets called on it?"

"No.  He's a kinda big for most of us to handle, and we don't want to tattle to the Sisters.  So. . ."

Matt didn't say anything, and Peterson excused himself to go change into a fresh uniform.  Matt returned to his own table and finished his lunch.  Mike still hadn't come downstairs.

When he was finished eating, Matt placed his dishes on a conveyer belt moving along toward the kitchen, and went over to where Rosinsky sat, spooning soup into his mouth.  Matt pulled out a chair and sat across from him.

"I just hate it when someone makes a fool of himself like you just did, don't you?" Matt said.

Rosinsky's jaw dropped open for a moment, and then he resumed eating.

"Why don't you mind your own fucking business?" he said, swallowing some soup.

"You think I can sit by and let you ruin your reputation like that?  I don't think so," Matt said.

"The guy's a fag, and there's no place for 'em around here.  Did you enjoy helping him wipe his ass?  Maybe you're a fag, too," Rosinsky said.

"I wouldn't know whether the guy is a fag, or whether he isn't.  Not my business.  Maybe you're a fag, and picking on people is kinda your cover," Matt said.

Rosinsky's eyes narrowed, and he stood up abruptly and towered over Matt.  Matt got up slowly, and they were nose to nose.

"Nobody calls me a fag, asswipe.  I'm gonna tear off some of your body parts, and make you eat 'em!" he said, expecting Matt to back off.

Matt didn't move an inch.  "See.  Here you go again, trying to make a fool outta yourself.  I try to help ya, and ya give me attitude!  I'm gonna hafta give your situation some extra thought and straighten you out."

Sensing rightly that Matt wasn't the least bit intimidated, Rosinsky gave him a last "Fuck you!" grabbed up his dirty dishes, and strode toward the conveyor belt.  He slammed his tray down and left the cafeteria without looking back.

Mike had finished whatever he had been doing upstairs, and came into the cafeteria just as the confrontation wound down.  He walked over to Matt.

"Making new friends, bud?  Jeez, I can't leave you alone for a minute, and you're in trouble!" Mike said, laughing.  "What's the deal?"

"Tell ya later," Matt said.  "You wanna eat now and go to the gym, or go to the gym first?"

"Those are my choices?  I'll have some soup first, I guess.  I'm  kinda hungry."

Mike practically inhaled a bowl of soup, and he and Matt left the cafeteria, encountering a lot of nods and smiles from staff they hadn't even met yet as they did so.  Matt's little scene with Rosinsky had raised his reputation, for sure.

They got in a pretty good workout at the gym for the time they had available.

*  *  *

Thursday night at the apartment.  The smell of lasagna cooking  in the oven wafted into the living room where Matt and Mike were watching TV and having a beer.

They heard a knock on the door, and Mike got up to admit Arnie Watkins.  The guy was really good looking--fine featured, beautiful, almost, but still very masculine.  Good body, too.  He was decked out in a Backstreet Boys T and dark blue cargo pants.

"Hey, dude," Mike said, "comon in."  They bumped fists.

"Yo, Mike," Arnie said.  "Made it.  Here's a bottle of Kahlua for after dinner."

"Way cool.  I'll put it in the kitchen.  Matt's in the living room.  Go ahead on in."

"Sup, bud?" Matt said to Arnie as he snapped off the TV.  "Glad ya could make it."

They bumped fists, too.

"Thanks, dude.  Sup with you?" Arnie said.

"Just chillin'.  Can I getcha a beer, or wine, or soft drink?"

"What kinda wine you got?"

"Merlot, for starters."

"Sounds good."

Matt went to the kitchen and brought back a glass of wine for both of them, and Mike joined them, drinking a beer.  Matt put a Tracy Chapman CD on the stereo at low volume.

They all sat down and Matt and Mike checked out their guest.  Way good looking, they each thought to themselves.

"Nice place," Arnie said, looking around.  "How did you get it together so fast?"

"The stuff's all rented, including the stereo and TV," Mike said.  "Matt's a rental, too.  He was cheap cause he'd been on the floor for awhile and nobody wanted him."

"Where do I sign up?" Arnie asked with a leer.

"So, Arnie, did ya hook up the other night at the baths?" Matt asked, ignoring Mike's remark.

"Naw.  When I couldn't get you guys to do the nasty with me, nobody else came up to my standards.  I went home horny and alone."

"Oooo.  I like him," Matt said to Mike.  "He knows how to guilt me just like you do."

"You're funny," Mike said to Matt.

"How's the modeling business?" Matt asked.

"Pays well," Arnie said.  "Extremely well."

"How well?" Mike wanted to know.

"For me, $1500 a day.  Top people, mostly women, can make $100,000 a shoot or more, easy.  At least I'm workin' steady."

"Wow," Mike said.  "That's not chump change!"

"But it's so boring, sometimes I think I'm gonna pass out," Arnie continued.  "On the other hand, modeling is the perfect job for a young, big city fag who's hitting the bar scene all the time.  Appearance--that's all that counts.  A certain look.  You're just a prop.  That's a huge part of gay life in the big city, boys, get used to it.  Whatever other qualities you may have just aren't important as long as your look holds out and you can get it on with someone beautiful."

"Your look may help you score, if that's all you want to do, but those 'other qualities' are what make a relationship possible, doncha think?" Matt asked.

"Of course.  But that's not typical thinking for guys our age who are in 'the life.'  Are you sure you guys are queer?" Arnie asked, grinning.

"Very," Mike said.  "Very sure and very queer.  But listen.  On the modeling thing.  If Matt and I ever run short of money, I figured I was gonna put him out on the street and peddle his ass for a few bucks.  But if there's a market in modeling for a perfectly proportioned butt and beautiful dick, he's got 'em.  Maybe I won't hafta put him out on the corner waving at cars after all."

They all laughed.

"I noticed on the mailbox downstairs that you guys have the same last name.  What's the deal?"

"My parents and brother and sister and grandmother were killed in a plane crash," Mike said.  "I didn't have any other relatives.  Matt's family were my guardians at first, and then adopted me formally, and I took their name.  We're a very close family, and I'm really lucky to have them.  Matt and I are bro's now in real life," Mike said.  "And we became lovers after I grabbed him away from all the women who were fighting over him."

"Yeah," Matt said.  "I was a happy hetero.  He pulled me kicking and screaming right out of my last girlfriend's arms, and made me service him that very night.  It was awful.  He's such a perv!"

"You guys crack me up!!" Arnie said, laughing.

"Don't encourage him, man!" Mike said.  "He thinks he's funny."

"Are you out to your family?" Arnie asked.

"Yeah, thanks to Mike's honesty, and I mean that seriously.  And we're out at school to anyone who asks.  Mike's a swimmer, and I'm a wrestler, and we told our teams we were gay after an incident where Mike got beat up because he was outed by an old friend from high school.  There have been a few bumps in the road, but everything considered, we feel pretty good about where we are when it comes to being out."

A timer went off in the kitchen.

"We can eat any time," Mike said.  "You hungry, Arnie?"

"Yeppers.  I've been saving my appetite for tonight."

"Well, comon in the kitchen.  We sent the state dining room furniture out for refurbishing, so we'll have to eat at the kitchen table," Matt said.  "And now we get to grill you on your story," Matt said.

They got up and went into the kitchen, where three place settings were laid out on the table.  They held hands around the table, and Matt offered thanks.

"Wow.  Do you know how long it's been since I've prayed?  Awesome!" Arnie said after grace.

"I hope you like lasagna," Matt said, putting on oven mitts and pulling a steaming pan out of the oven.  "Umm, smells good."

"I'm switching to red table wine," Mike said.  "You guys?"

"Yep," Arnie and Matt said.  Mike poured.

They sat down, picked out their salad dressings, grabbed some garlic bread, and began eating.

Arnie took a mouthful of lasagna.  "Dayum!  This is so good.  If I were around you guys very much, my modeling days would be over.  Fat boys don't cut it."

"You'd be all right," Mike said.  "We'd haul your ass over to the beach and make you run with us every day.  You'd stay thin as a rail."

"If I made it a city block at faster than a walk, that would be miraculous," Arnie responded.

" 'K, bud.  Let's have your story," Matt prompted, swallowing a mouthful of wine.

"Well, not much drama here," Arnie said.  "I grew up in Detroit.  My mom is black, and my dad is white.  I have two brothers and two sisters.  It's a pretty good family.  Middle class.  My parents are teachers.  I moved here to Chicago to take some modeling jobs when I was 18, and I've been here ever since except when I have to travel for shoots."

"Are you out totally?" Mike asked.

"Oh, yeah.  Everybody I know, knows."

"I hope you don't mind getting grilled like this," Matt said.  "But believe it or not, you're the first gay friend we've ever had.  We've been kinda curious about other gay people's experiences.  How old were you when you knew you were gay?"

"It seems like forever.  I spose I began to think I might be different when I was about 10, and by the time puberty hit, I knew I was different.  Big time.  I fucked and blew every guy I could get my hands on.  I don't know how I avoided STD's or AIDS early on, but I did.  I'm a little more selective in my partners and careful about using protection now, of course.  Hehehe."

"When did you come out?" Mike asked.

"Freshman year in high school."

"Did the kids make it tough on you?" Matt asked.

"No.  I was always big for my age, and never took much shit of a physical nature.  There are always those who try to fuck with ya, though.  All in all, it wasn't as bad as it could have been.  My family took it well, and gave me a lot of support.  When did you guys know?

"I dated girls through my sophomore year in high school, and then another guy on the swim team and I had sex.  That's when I knew I liked having sex with guys more than girls," Mike said.  "As luck would have it, Matt and I were paired as roommates our freshman year in college, and when I first laid eyes on him, I practically came in my pants.  I also thought there might be something more to him than I was used to finding."

"I thought I was straight until the end of my freshman year in college," Matt said.  "Then Mike came out to me, and told me he had been in love with me since we became roommates.  I knew that over time I had grown to love him more than anybody on this earth, but I couldn't admit to myself that I might be gay.  I finally had to face it, though.  Then we came out to the family on Thanksgiving vacation of our sophomore year."

"We've been through some pretty weird shit together that has really made us bond," Mike said.  "I love this guy for more than just having the most perfect butt on earth, believe it or not."  Pause.  "Well, maybe not," Mike laughed.

"Are you lookin' for someone special, or deliberately playing the field at this point?" Matt asked Arnie, ignoring Mike.

"I thought I was pretty content just getting laid every now and then, but seeing what you guys have together. . .I'm pretty jealous, and that's the truth.  I want it, and I want it now!!!"  Arnie pretended to pound his fist on the table.

They all laughed.

"Hey, answer a question for me," Arnie said.  "Do I come across to you guys as a fem?  Tell me the truth now."

"Not to me," Mike said.  "Matt?"

"No, if we met anywhere other than a gay bathhouse, I wouldn't have a clue you were queer," Matt said.

"I just wondered.  I can really play the flamer when I want to," Arnie said.  His face turned to putty, and he shot them a möue.

Matt and Mike cracked up.

"Pout for me, babe!" Mike said, roaring.  "You're good!"

Arnie relaxed his face, and laughed at himself.

"Just keep in mind, guys, I can humiliate you in public anytime I want to," he said.

By this time, they had finished off all the food on the table.

"Hey, why don't you two hit the living room, and I'll bring in desert," Matt said.

" 'K," Mike said.  "Arnie brought a bottle of Kahlua, you know.  Pour some on my ice cream cake, will ya."

"Hmmm.  Me, too," Arnie said.

"You got it.  I'll be right in with the goodies," Matt said.

The boys ate the ice cream cake in quick order, and then continued to polish off the Kahlua until they were feeling no pain, listening to music and talking as if they had known one another all their lives.  Before they knew it, it was midnight.

"Shit, bro, look at the time," Matt said to Mike.  "We gotta be on the L by 6:30 in the morning."

"I'm sorry, guys.  I didn't realize it was so late," Arnie said.  "I gotta boogie."

"Did you drive or come on the L?" Mike asked.

"I drove.  But I'm OK," Arnie said.

"I don't think so, dude," Matt said.  "We're gonna make up a bed for ya here on the couch, and you can stay here.  And you can leave whenever you want tomorrow morning, 'K?"

"Well. . ."

"Good," Mike said, and went to the hall closet for sheets and a pillow and pillowcase.  He and Matt made up the couch.

"I'll put out a fresh towel, and we have a new toothbrush for ya.  You know where the bathroom is.  Need anything else?" Matt asked.

"Nothin' I'm gonna get, I'm afraid," Arnie smiled crookedly.  "Seriously, I really appreciate this--we only met the other night."

"Hey, no prob, you're our bud.  And believe me, down the line you're gonna pay for it dearly!  You're gonna be our official guide to Chicago's gay life 'til you're so sick of it you turn straight!" Mike laughed.

Arnie stood, and gave each of them a hug.

Matt decided to forego his usual evening shower in the interest of sleep, and he and Mike piled into bed, entwined.  The last thing either of them remembered before morning was looking into his partner's eyes and exchanging a good-night kiss.  They were deeply asleep in a matter of minutes.

My life was threatened if I didn't post soon, and also if I ended Part 9 with another cliffhanger.  Being sensitive to these threats of physical violence, I acquiesced.  (Just kidding.)  Hope you liked Part 9.  I really appreciated all the emails of support.  In Part 10, Matt's and Mike's family visits Chicago for the big award ceremony, and Mr. and Mrs. Broman amaze their sons by something they do.  And one of the boys finds out he's not as tough as he thought when it comes to working with dying people at the hospice, and in the process learns more about himself.  By the way, it's Spring, and motorcycle weather is upon us.  So please be patient in waiting for the next part to the story--I'll be spending as much time as I can "out there" on the road.
© 2000 Don Hanratty.  Email me at Don Hanratty <> .