part two in a series about Jason, a young man coming of age after the
realization he his gay. It will contain sexual acts between consenting males.
If you have a problem with this or if it is illegal in your area please
do not continue.
Some of the people and events in this store really did happen in my younger years. The names have been changed to protect the identity of those involved. If you think you recognize yourself sit back and enjoy. I would have told you about it, but either you are no longer with us or we have lost touch over the years. Being that these events either happened to me or were a product of my imagination I hold all copyrights to this tale. It may not be copied, transmitted, reposted, published or sold without my permission. I can be reached at: email@example.com
Grocery Store Tales
Part II: The Next Day
I went in to work the following day and found Chris sitting in the break room with his girlfriend. She was one of those perky blonde cheerleader types who probably had to think how to spell her own name. He had his arm around her as they alternated between kisses and rubbing noses. Disgustingly cute breeder stuff that just made me wish that I was her. When he saw me he flashed me a look that said `stay away.' I quickly put my belongings in my locker, grabbed my name tag and headed to the front end to clock in. What I didn't notice was another person sitting in the break room that saw the exchange between Chris and me.The rest of the day was strange. Chris completely ignored me. He never gave me any cross looks or said anything derogatory directly to me, he just ignored me. But a couple of his buddies did smile when they looked at me and whisper amongst themselves. Since this was a Saturday, and not a school day I was scheduled the day shift. I managed to get through it with no humiliation or verbal or physical abuse from the jocks or Chris. When my shift finally ended and I went him there was a note from my mother.
"Jason, I boy by the name of David called for you and asked you call him back. See ya this evening." The note had a local phone number that I didn't recognize.
I had no idea who is could be, I had few friends and nobody I socialized with named David. I grabbed a Dr. Pepper from the refrigerator, a bag of potato chips and the cordless phone and headed out to the patio. Tinka, my eight year old Schnauzer followed close by hoping I would be nice enough to either drop or hand over a few chips. I plopped down in one of the chairs to relax. I ate half the bag, or should I say I ate a few and Tinka ate a few. She sat patiently on the patio beside me slowly wagging her tail, giving an occasional whimper to remind me she was there until I finally gave in and shared. She was smart enough to know that Mom wasn't home which meant her chances were pretty good at copping a few. Mom didn't like Tinka to be fed people food and forbid it. Had she been home Tinka would have quietly lay either next to me, or more then likely under the webbed lawn chair I was sitting in. It was several minutes later when I curiosity got the best of me and I decided to pick up the phone and dial the number on my mother's note.
I vaguely recognized the voice of an adolescent male on the other end of the line.
"Can I talk to David?" I said more timid then assertive.
There was a few seconds of silence followed by fumbling with the receiver on the other end before I heard a low muffled voice. "Jason?"
"Yeah, do I know you?" I was so far sure I didn't.
"Maybe," the voice was still barely audible. I could perceive what sounded like a door closing before he continued. Not as muffled but he was still obviously speaking low enough to keep from being overheard. "You've probably seen me around though."
I sat up my curiosity having been piqued. "OK then."
During the silence my mind raced wondering who this could be, or better yet, why was he calling me. "The reason why I called is because..."
"Hello? David?" I said after a few seconds of silence.
"I'm here," silence again, but when he returned it was with more confidence. "Look, I've heard that you're gay and was wondering if it was true?"
I almost dropped the phone as my palms became instantly sweaty causing difficulty in grasping the handset as a plethora of emotions when through me all at once. On one hand I was wondering why he was calling me and if this was someone playing a practical joke. On the other hand, whoever it was obviously not want to be eavesdropped on. But even though I knew I liked guys I had never admitted to myself that I was gay.
Jason you still there?" He asked after a while.
Still in thought all I could manage was an unintelligible "Uhhhh."
"I am if it makes you feel any better, gay that is." David said in anticipation of letting me off the hook.
"What make you think I am?" I finally asked with a hint of arrogance.
"Relax," David tried to put me at ease. "We have a common acquaintance who said he thinks you might be."
"Why, I mean how?" I was concerned. I always thought of the stereotypical limp wristed flamboyant homosexual. Even though I was far from what I now would refer to as butch I didn't feel I fell into that category.
"Don't worry," he chuckled, "I don't think you're obvious. That's what I think is cute about you."
"You know who I am?"
"Of course, I've seen you at school and around. I've always though you were kinda cute. Then when my friend told me he though you might be gay I had to find out." I didn't know whether to be privileged or disturbed that I had a voyeur. "So," He paused again, "are you?"
I really didn't know what to say. This was either a dream come true or a setup for the biggest fall in my life. My thoughts turned to Chris and what took place behind the store the previous evening and the way his friends had smirked at me all day. Could this possibly be one of them trying to entrap me? But what if it really was not only another gay guy but one who actually was attracted to me? "Yes," I finally said almost unconsciously. "I am."
"KEWL!" I could hear followed by a sigh of relief. I didn't know what to say from there and decided to follow David's lead. He remained silent for a few seconds before continuing. "So, Jason... wanna get together?"
"Well, I was kinda hoping that maybe we could get together. We could well, you know, or whatever."
My cautious side was showing itself again. Was he talking about sex? My teenage hormones kicked in sending signals straight to my dick causing it to instantly harden causing me to lose all inhibitions and toss caution to the wind. I wanted to find out who it was and what he wanted to do. "I guess. When?" I finally mumbled.
"What are you doing this afternoon; I know you're already off work." This was getting creepy. How did he know that? "I was in Grocery World earlier; I was with my mother doing the weekly grocery shopping. You looked right at me."
"Yeah, we checked out in the line next to where you were working. I was hoping you would come over and bag for us. But instead you turned and went to the lane behind there."
"Oh." I didn't know what to think. Could I have looked at him? There was the normal number of guys that came through the store that day that I thought was cute. He said he saw me at school? There were a few I knew from my school in the store today. But none that I knew of named David.
"You've got a car don't you?" He asked.
"Yeah," I was fortunate enough that my parents had bought me a car shortly after I got my license. Yeah, it was a ten year old Chevy Cavalier that has seen healthier days. But it was free and the insurance was cheap. That part I liked since I had to pay it myself.
"I don't," David said, "And I don't have one to borrow today. Can you pick me up?"
"Do you know where the Holy Name church is on Washington Avenue near Poplar?"
"Yes, I know it." It wasn't too far from my house.
"Can you meet me there in about ten minutes?"
"K, Jason, see you there."
As I pressed the disconnect button I wondered what I had gotten myself into. Was this a smart move in my part? Who was this David person and could he be trusted? But curiosity won me over and I had to know who he was and what was he wanting to do?
Tinka followed me back into the house and up to my room where I changed out of my Grocery World work shirt and into an old comfortable T-shirt before heading out for my rendezvous. In about the ten minutes agreed on I was in the church parking lot looking around wondering if he was there. I put the car in park and engaged the emergency brake then scanned the parking lot and nearby area. One side of me was anticipating what could happen, and on the other scared shitless of possible negative repercussions and hoping he didn't show. After two minutes I wiped my sweaty palms on my jeans and was just about to put the car in gear and leave when I noticed someone coming out of the bushes next to the church. I recognized him immediately from school. He was medium height and build with light brown hair. He was wearing blue jogging shorts and a gray T-shirt. I think he was on the swim team at school I know I've seen him around and do recall hearing rumours he was gay; I did recall him being in the store earlier. But I didn't know his name was David. As he approached the car he began smiling and gave a slight wave. I returned the smile and wave before reaching over to unlock the passenger side door.
"Hi Jason," He said as he sat down in the passenger seat. I could see now he had gray eyes, which were slightly bloodshot. "I'm glad you decided to come."
I looked him over for a few seconds before saying "I recognize you."
"I thought you would." As he smiled I realized he had a slight lisp to his voice. I've seen you watching me before."
"You have?" I said with a blush.
"Yeah, a few times. But that's OK, I was checking you out too."
"You was?""Of course. Why else did you think I was so anxious to hook up?"
"I don't know? What do you want to do?"
"Well, I thought we would o over to a friend's apartment, if you don't mind?"
"Why?" I guess I was getting defensive.
"It beats sitting in a car in a church parking lot." He cracked a smile which broke the ice and eased my nerves.
"Where are we going?" I asked as I released the parking brake and put the Chevy in gear.
"You know the apartments behind Grocery World?"
"The one I work at?"
"Duh!" He said rolling his eyes, "I don't think we'd go to the one out on the west side!"
"I didn't know," I felt a little stupid.
"I just messing with you girl." This was the first time anyone had called me that. I'm sure I must have given him a look of total confusion to which he just laughed.
"You'll get used to it."
As we pulled into the lot for the apartment complex he directed me around the buildings and instructed me to stop. I fidgeted as killed the ignition and engaged the parking brake. David was already out of the car and waiting by the door before I got out of the car.
"Well who do we have here?" I immediately recognized Kenny as he opened the door. He was the floral designer at the store and a person who I knew was gay but never thought about. He was older, by older I mean in his thirties which is old when you're seventeen. He only stood about five foot eight but weight in at at least two-fifty. His brown hair was thinning with a bald spot in the back. He seemed like a nice enough guy, but just someone who I never talked to. I'm sure I was standing there with my mouth wide open. "Close that mouth dear; around here you may get something shoved in it. Come on in girls."
He closed the door once we were both in. He had the drapes closed with only a small lamp and a television providing light.On the sofa was two other guys who I didn't recognize holding a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other watching TV.
"Can I get you a drink?" Kenny asked as he disappeared into what I guess was the kitchen with David right behind.
"Gee Miss Thang can't we have what they're having?" David asked as Kenny handed us both a Diet Coke.
"Because you're underage I could get in enough trouble with the things you do around here Miss Tommy."
"Oops," he turned red as he looked at me. "Jason, my name really is Tommy. I just said David because I was scared. In case you told me off."
I understood what he was saying and appreciated seeing a bit of a human side. "No problem."
We followed Kenny back to the living room and it was then that I could get a look at the TV screen and what the other two were watching. And got my first glimpse of a porno! Call me naïve, but even though I knew I was attracted to guys and probably gay. I never really thought about the sexual aspect of it. I was instantly transfixed as the activity on the screen and tuned out the rest of the world, so much so that I didn't even realize when my teenage penis came to life. We sat around for about an hour watching porn movies and chatting. I learned that the two guys' names were Robert and Michael and old friends of Kenny and had been together for almost ten years. Or should I say I was watching and the others were chatting. They were talking about people whose names I didn't recognize and had no meaning to me at that time.
"Um, Kenny," Tommy whispered to his friend. He had noticed my fixation with the video. "Might we..."
"Of course dear," Kenny gave his approval before Tommy could complete his request. Tommy stood up and motioned for me to follow.
"Have fun girls." Kenny said as I followed Tommy down the hallway leading to the master bedroom as my uneasiness once again kicked in. After spending over an hour watching porn there was no doubt in my mind what Tommy wanted to do, I also I knew I wanted to do this as well. But I also knew that other then hand job I had given Chris Sellers the previous night I had zero sexual experience. I think my nerves were more from worrying about what to do then what might happen. I continued into the room as Tommy closed the door. I stopped at the foot of the bed and turned around to face Tommy wiping my sweaty palms on my jeans. Tommy came over and stood right in front of me looking me directly in the eyes. So close that I could feel his warm breath as he slowly exhaled. He just stood there with a blank stare as if he was trying to read my thoughts. After what seemed like an eternity he finally broke a smile as he grabbed my hands.
"This is your first time isn't it?" All I could do was shake my head in confirmation. "Don't worry, I'll show you what to do." Still holding my hands he bent over to kiss me, just a quick kiss then pulled back and once again smiled before finally releasing his grip on hands and grabbing the back of my neck to pull me to him. This time when our lips met he was much more aggressive forcing my lips apart and invading the inside of my mouth with his warm moist tongue. I released all control of my body as I was enjoying this new sensation. Tommy must have sensed my readiness by noticing my body relax as he began exploring my body, slowly going down my torso to my hips and back up. My inexperienced hands just hung lithely to my side as I enjoyed feeling him touching me. His hands felt so smooth and delicate against my virgin skin slowly traveling from top to bottom where he once again grabbed my own hands. He took my right hand and placed it on his crotch where I could feel his rigid cock struggling to break out of the thin shorts. I opened my hand to get the maximum feel as he placed his palm directly over the back of my hand. He gently rubbed the back of my hand causing me to push into his crotch. When he finally released my hand I left it there, wanting to feel his engorged organ as he then put the hand over my own hard crotch all the while never letting his eyes leave mine. "Feels like you're enjoying this." Once again I just shook my head yes. "Good, the first time should be enjoyable." We both continued to rub each other's crotch as I followed for his lead. "I think it's time to get rid of the clothes." Tommy grabbed my shirt tails and slowly raised the garment over my head. "Not bad," I took it that meant he liked my naked torso. He tweaked my nipples before running the backs of his palms down my chest eventually stopping at my belt. But when I didn't resist he must have took that as his cue to continue.
He slowly and masterfully unhooked my belt letting the two ends drop benevolently and hang to the sides as he immediately unbuttoned my jeans. He looked back up at me I guess to see if I had any reaction, when he realized that it was safe to continue he then slowly lowered my zipper, making sure his finger gently massaged my stiff prick along the way. He then in one swift and graceful move drops down on one knee grabbing either side of my jeans and pulling them and my underwear down at the same time in one swift move before I had a chance to even think, much less react. I was then standing with my pants around my ankles with Tommy only inches from my very hard virgin cock that was standing at full salute ready and begging for some attention. He stayed in position momentarily before he gave it a quick kiss, more of a peck then stood back up. "Not bad, about what I was expecting." I'm really not sure what he meant by that comment.
He stood looking at me as if waiting while me in my inexperience just stood there waiting for him to make the next move. "Aren't you going to undress me?" Tommy finally broke the silence.
"Oh, uh, OK," I stuttered and then attempted to mimic his moves. As I grabbed his shirt tail he raised his arms so that I could easily pull the garment over his head. I marveled at his body as it slowly became exposed to me. Unlike the muscular football player body that Chris had, Tommy's was much more trim and defined without being overly bulky. He was completely smooth with the exception of the small brown tufts on his armpits. It was his chest that I became immediately drawn to. There was a definite separation causing the individual pecs to stand out yet he was not overly muscular. I could imagine him easily moving through the water and made a mental note that maybe I should attend a swim meet, maybe learn how to swim myself. I grabbed his nipples in attempt to give him the same pleasure which he had given me. Apparently I didn't quite have the hang of it yet as he jumped, grabbing my hands and pulling them away.
"I don't think you're quite ready for that yet," Tommy said as he released my hands over his shoulders. I waited for him to make a move while he just stared at me. I finally became anxious and wanted to go on and leaned over to kiss him. He pulled away and played a tease by staying just out of reach. When I finally took the hint he looked down at his crotch. He glanced back and forth between my eyes before I finally took his hint. I attempted to follow his move and drop to my knee. I had forgotten my jeans were still around my ankle until I almost fell over. Tommy laughed as he helped to steady me. He then turned ninety degrees and sat at the foot of the bed I soon followed when I realized he was removing his shoes and socks. I was then completely naked and feeling vulnerable as he glanced over, checking me out. He hopped to his feet and stood right in front of me this time I had no reason to screw up as I reached over and grabbed his shorts and slowly pulled them down to his knees. His magnificent manhood stood straight out and proud as it was freed from the confines of the cotton fabric. I was soon enjoying the wonderful aroma that could only come from a young mans crotch.
I immediately felt inferior when I realized that even though he was a year younger then me he outsized me by about an inch in both length and girth. His circumcised cock was magnificent. I sat there in awe, admiring the mere beauty of it. Before I was finished admiring it Tommy bent over to push his shorts down the rest of the way then stepped out of them. He then climbed onto the bed and made his way up to the head where he turned over and lay on his back motioning me to join him. I quickly complied.
There we were, two horny teenagers sitting naked on a bed, our bodies touching in several locations causing our pulses to jump and bringing our cocks to full attention. I was an eager student ready for my first lesson in man to men sex. Tommy reached over and grabbed my stiff prick and slowly stroked my rigid six inch tool. I lay reached over and grabbed his dick and matched his movements trying to follow his lead. Even with my inexperience Tommy must have enjoyed my technique as he let out a low moan and encouraged me on. The mutual hand jobs lasted several minutes before Tommy suddenly stopped and pulled my hand away from his hard member.
"Be careful, I'm not ready to get off yet." With that he rolled over on top of me and began fervently kissing. After sating himself he then moved downward until he was directly over my impatiently pulsing cock. My manhood seemed to have a life of its own eagerly waiting some attention. Without warning Tommy opened his mouth and let my whole cock slide in. I was powerless to resist, or to do anything for that matter as my body went limp, with the exception of my very hard cock which was feeling the warmth of lips around it for the first time. Although I enjoyed it greatly at the time and still have fond memories of my first blow job I look back now and realize that he was merely going through the basic motions with very little technique or emotion. But at the time I was in pure heaven, my mind was completely devoid of thought as my mind concentrated on the pleasure I was receiving. His lips were tightly closed around my teenage cock as he sucked feverishly tightening his grip and increasing his speed with every pass. But the thrill was far too short lasting. My hormones were raging so it took less then a minute for me to build up the feeling that I had only felt by jacking off in the past. Once the feeling started it was merely moments before my cock erupted with and explosion of cum bursting into Tommy's mouth. If anything he became more passionate at this time eagerly swallowing my load then licking around the base to make sure he hadn't missed one drop.
At this point my whole body was weak, totally drained from my first real orgasm with another man. Tommy on the other hand was very animated and full of energy after drinking my seed. He knelt between my legs and looked at me licking his lips while I slowly came back to Earth. When I began to sit up to meet him he callously pushed me back on the bed. "Not so fast," he said. I was powerless to resist and eager to find out what he had in mind next. I didn't wait long until he grabbed my legs and raised them over his shoulder. "Are you ready to be deflowered?" He said, more telling me then asking me as he moved into place. When he reached over to the nightstand and grabbed a tube of lotion it didn't take me long to figure out his intentions. "Don't worry, I'll be gentle" he said noticing what must have been a look of pure terror on my face. At this time he was clearly in the dominate position and had me powerless to resist under his more muscular frame. I was scared, yet at the same time curious as to how it would feel. He dropped the lotion to the bed beside me and lowered himself for a kiss. This time was much slower and more passionate then the pure animalistic kiss before. He must have sensed my readiness to submit as I slowly relaxed. He broke the kiss and looked directly into my eyes as he allowed his hard cock to slowly rub between my ass cheeks. He released his grip on me so that he could pick up the discarded lotion. He quickly popped open the top with his thumb and squeezed the slippery solution onto his now harder then ever cock. He then put another dab on his fingers and begin rubbing my ass, allowing his fingers to go into my hole a couple times. He meant it to be sensual, but in looking back I have to laugh at how cliché it was. At first my ass was unsure if this invasion and clamped shut. But Tommy was unfazed as he continued to rub his fingers around his target, every once and a while would press into it. Each time meeting with less resistance as my body began to relax. When he was able to get one finger in up to the second knuckle he began wiggling his finger and rotating his hand in attempt to loosen my up and stretch my hold open a bit. When he was satisfied he had completed the mission he removed his finger and grabbed again for the tube of lotion. This time he squeezed some directly onto my now dilated and waiting ass. He closed the lid and once again tossed the lotion aside then rubbed the new lotion directly into my, lubricating my virgin hole preparing it for what was about to happed. He then pulled my legs higher over his shoulders and moved into position. Then without warning he slid the head of his cock into me. I jerked and screamed at the invasion of the foreign object my sphincter attempter to contact and expel the trespasser. Tommy stopped momentarily to enjoy the tight muscle around his cock then looked me in the eyes and said "Don't worry, it always hurts the first time. Just relax, it'll get better."
His words were not very reassuring. I honestly felt severe pain and did not want to continue and tried to push him away. But in that position I was clearly underpowered under the much more strapping swimmer. When I ceased in my attempts to resist he began slowly pushing further into me. My body clearly lost all resistance as the muscled relaxed allowing Tommy full access to fully insert his rigid member all the way into me.
"See, that's not so bad, is it?"
"I guess not."
"How does it feel to have my dick all the way in you?"
"It feels OK." I said after thinking about it a moment.
He didn't wait for a response as he slowly pulled his dick almost all the way out. In an instant I realized that what had been painful only moments before I was now missing. Tommy stopped when only the head of his cock was still in me for only a second before he slammed all the way back in. I flinched for no reason as the pain I was expecting didn't happen. He just gave a smug half smile showing his confidence as he began to fuck. The pain had subsided and was actually replaced with a form of pleasure. I was beginning to enjoy having my ass invaded by his prick when the feeling hit. I tensed up as my ass once again began to instinctively clamp shut. I could tell by the look in his eyes that the tight muscle around his penis was giving him great pleasure.
"Stop or I'm going to shit!" I begged him.
"Naw, it just feels like that," Tommy never missed a beat as he continued to pound me. I began to squirm; wanting him to stop before I made what I thought was an inevitable mess in Kenny's clean white sheets. But the extra pressure on Tommy's dick only made him pump harder. He let out a yell I'm sure the neighbors, in the next building heard as he tensed up and began pumping his cum into me. He then collapsed his sweaty body landing on top of mine. He lay there for about a minute until the door opened. I looked over to see Kenny standing there.
"Aw, to be young and virile, I thought you might need these." He tossed a couple towels on the bed then closed the door behind him as he left. Tommy sat up on his knees and took one towel and handed the other. I followed his lead and wiped the sweat and cum from my body. It was while I was toweling off that I felt the urge to purge. I pushed him aside and hopped up and ran to the bathroom connected to the master bedroom just barely making it before my body began expelling the fluids which moments before had been deposited in me. When I finished and cleaned up I returned to the empty bedroom to dress alone. I made my way to the living room where Tommy and Kenny were waiting for me. Apparently the Michael and Robert had already left.
"What goes in must come out." Kenny said as he handed me a can of Diet Coke and held his own up to mine. "Cheers to queers." I gave him a half smile, embarrassed by him knowing what I had just done and surprised by his nonchalant attitude. I learned in the year to come that was just the way Kenny was. "Welcome to the fraternity Jason. I hope Miss Tommy here didn't use and abuse you too much."
"No, I'm OK," then looked at Tommy, "are you ready to go?"
"Well what's your hurry?" Kenny sat down on the couch and patted the seat next to him making me even more nervous at this turning point in my life."
"I need to get home before my parents do." I lied knowing they wouldn't be home for several hours.
"Oh, well. I guess if we must." Tommy rolled his eyes as he stood up.
"Tommy Girl you can stay if you like I can give you a ride later."
"Um, hmm, I bet you want to give me a ride." Tommy bent over to give his friend a kiss on the cheek. "You know I love you dear, I'll call you later."
"Oh, alright just leave a middle age retired drag queen all alone."
"You'll manage," then looking at me, "let's go."
There was no conversation between Tommy and me as I took him back to the same church parking lot where I had picked him up earlier. "Is this where you wanted me to take you?" I asked as I pulled to a stop.
"Yeah, this is fine. Thanks." He got out of the car but hesitated a minute before he closed the door. "Look, Jason," he paused as is composing his thoughts. "I guess I'll see you around." He closed the passenger door on my Cavalier and walked away, never looking back. I couldn't help but to wonder what he really wanted to say. I went straight home and to my bedroom. I had just lost my virginity and should be happy, but why wasn't I? In looking back I realize that the whole act revolved around Tommy and his enjoyment. I was an easy target and easy to use at that time.
That was the one and only time Tommy and I got together. When we did see each other from that point on I never knew what to expect. One time he would be cordial and smile and if I was lucky. If I was really lucky on a few rare occasions he would actually speak but it was only exchanging a couple sentences and never a real conversation. More then likely he would just stick his nose up in the air and ignore me.
Kenny and I actually became close friends, with him `adopting' me and referring to himself as my `mother.' It was in a long talk with him that helped me to get over Tommy and move on with my life. And many other long talks over the years that made me more comfortable with who I was.
I did hear the gossip that Tommy spread saying that I was a `lousy fuck' and that he hated being a teacher. Tricks, as well as friends I made down the road did come to my defense and tell him that it was his loss that I learned fast. But he unfortunately didn't live long enough for reconciliation. I saw his name in the obituaries six years later, him being another statistic, another victim of AIDS. Seeing his name brought my own mortality into focus as I couldn't help but to wonder if he had it when we were together. Even though I have played in safe ever since, my first experience could have been the one that ultimately led to my own fate. I also felt sorry for his family in that their other son had been killed in a car accident the year before.
Thanks for reading my little story, some of which was autobiographical yet some was pure fiction. Which was which? Wouldn't you like to know? Did you like reading this? Do you want to read more about my coming of age as a young gay man in the eighties, then my later exploits? Drop me a line and let me know. Make sure you put "Grocery Store Tales" in the title.
Also check out my other story posted on Nifty. "Welcome to the Family" in the `Beginnings' category.