It's Hard to be a Saint in the City



Saturday, 18 January 2014

"It's hard to be a saint in the city," mumbled CJ, as he tried to extricate himself from Chipper. The two had moved around during their sleep, ending up in their current position. He found himself with one arm under his friend's head, the other one draped across his chest. His morning erection, covered by his boxer shorts, rested comfortably against the other boy's backside.

"What?" mumbled Chipper, obviously not fully awake. He pushed back against the hardness nestled against him, grabbing CJ's arm at the same time.

"I said, I'm no saint. If you don't let me get up and go pee, I'll yank your underwear down, and find something else to do with my boner."

"Yeah, yeah, whatever," replied Chipper, removing his hand from atop CJ's arm. "Maybe later. I gotta go pee myself."

"You better be careful, buddy. You keep using lines like maybe later, I'm gonna start thinking you want me to get up inside you."

"You don't scare me. How hard would it be anyway?" asked Chipper, giggling. "Never mind. I know how hard it can be. I felt it. Damn, CJ, you're hung like a horse. And you said your cousin was real big when you saw him with Ty? Is this a family thing? Is your dad real big too?"

"I have no idea. Never seen him hard, and never want to. Yuck!" Both boys had straggled into the bathroom and seemed to be at a loss on what to do next. They needed to pee, but their erections made it hard to aim properly. "Screw it. Let's piss in the shower, I'll run the water to rinse it off afterwards."

"You know something? What you need is a urinal in your bathroom. It'd be sooo much easier to go in the mornings."

• • •

With the temperature hovering around the freezing point, the six men bundled up for the short jog to Yates Fieldhouse. Chipper and Tyler turned it into a mini race, speeding away from the others, right after they hit the pavement of Prospect Street. There was no traffic this early on a Saturday morning, so they ran down the middle of the deserted road until they reached the edge of the university campus.

They bounded up the steps next to the library, but not knowing which direction to take once they reached Healy Lawn, they stopped to wait for CJ, his dads, and Randy. "Beatcha, muscle boy!" bragged Chipper.

"Yeah, yeah, whatever," replied Tyler. "Let's see you beat me lifting once we get inside the gym."

"Are you done comparing dick sizes?" said Brett, looking from one to the other. "Chipper's sixteen, what's your excuse, Ty?"

"He's fifteen!" chuckled Randy. "At least that's the way he acts when challenged." Laughing, he gave his boyfriend a quick peck on the cheek and took off after CJ, who had started jogging again.

At the front desk, each of the visitors was checked in as a guest of one of the members before they all headed towards the locker room to get rid of their coats. "Now we're gonna see who comes out on top, little boy," announced Tyler, jokingly pushing the teen towards the weight room.

"Little? I'm six feet tall. You're what, like five-five or five-six? And you're calling me little?" asked Chipper, staring Tyler up and down.

"Fuck you, you jerk. I'm five-nine."

"Oh, excuse me. Five-nine says shorty―"

"Enough!" grumbled César. "You two are giving me a headache."

"CJ!" The shout made the men turn to see a tall, Asian guy walking towards them. "You twerp! You haven't called me since you returned from Australia! Hi, Captain, César."

"Hey, Chatri, happy twenty-fourteen," replied Brett.

"How are you, buddy. And how's Helen?" added César.

"We're both great, thanks. So what do you have to say for yourself, young man? You been out on your new wheels a lot?" The last time the medical student had seen CJ had been at the teen's birthday party in December.

"Sorry, bud. It's been hectic since I got back. Hey! This is my friend, Chipper. He just moved here from New York. And the other two are my cousin, Randy, and his boyfriend, Tyler. They're visiting for the weekend."

"Hi, guys. Nice to meet you all. Where are the two of you visiting from?" asked Chatri, while bumping fists with his new acquaintances.

"Chicago," replied Randy.

"Oh, you're the cousins CJ visited last fall, right?"

"Yep. I'm one of the cousins. The other one's my brother. Not sure if he mentioned it, but I have an identical twin. That's who CJ referred to if he said cousins."

"What's new, Pad Thai?" asked CJ, grinning as he stretched. "I thought of you while we were in Sydney. I think one out of three restaurants we saw were Thai. And damn were they good."

"Pad Thai? You're still a twerp! Busy as hell. Hardly have time for the gym these days. I'll be graduating at the end of the semester, and I'm waiting to find out if I get to stay in Washington."

"Really? You gonna do your residency in DC?" asked CJ, sounding excited.

"I hope so. George Washington is my first choice. Dr. Calhoun and Dr. Harding are both pulling strings on my behalf. We'll see what happens."

"Cool! And what you asked about Defiant, I've driven it once. Maybe I'll call you one day and you can take a break and go out with me? I need to get a bunch of hours of practice with someone over twenty-one in the passenger seat."

"Defiant? Is that what you named the Jeep? I'd be happy to go out with you for an hour or two if we can time it right. There's something I want to ask you anyway. I may need a favor from you sometime early in the summer."

"Anything I can do, you got it. I'll text you sometime this week."

• • •

Although CJ had wanted to take his own car, hoping he'd be able to get some practice time in, his dads vetoed his plan. "You're not ready to drive in Washington traffic, bud," said César, after the kid had vehemently argued in favor of his idea. "And you're definitely not ready for being behind the wheel with snow falling."

"But, Dad, they said on TV all they expect is a dusting."

"That might be, but the answer's still no. And how the hell would you fit the four of you, plus Thiago and Harley in it?"

"Stop arguing, cuz," Randy grabbed CJ's neck, and gently shook the kid. "Let's take Uncle César's Caddy. We'll all fit that way."

"Fine! You people are no fun..."

"Come on, CJ," said Tyler, stepping over to the sink to rinse out his coffee mug. "Walk with me to Dixie. We'll be back in a few, guys," he added, glancing at the other men.

The sign in front of Dixie Liquors, located on the corner of M and Thirty-fifth Streets, proclaimed it had been in business since the nineteen-thirties. The shop staff boasted they had served area residents for several generations―Georgetown University students included.

"What are we getting?" asked CJ, grabbing his coat from the hook by the front door and slipping it on.

"A bottle of something or other for our hosts," replied Tyler, following the youngster out.

"You don't have to do that. Hell, we're not even going to their house."

"Yeah, but we're spending the night on their boat. It's common courtesy. How about you fill me in on the details of what's going on as we walk?"

"Ummm, I'm not sure there's much to tell. Uncles Tom and JP are the dads' best friends. It's who we went to Australia with. They have a house in Alexandria they're selling, so they won't have a dock for their catamaran any more. They're moving it to a marina here in Washington today, where they'll keep it from now on."

"Okay, that much is clear. Who are Bradley and Patrick?"

"They're Uncle Tom's kids. Bradley's my age, Patrick's a couple years younger. They live in Boston with their mom. Uncle Tom hadn't seen them in a long time, until they got in touch with him after he got shot last year. I met them when we all spent a weekend in New York together. That's also when we met Chipper."

"And Harley and Thiago?"

"Those are my besties from school. They've never met the guys from Boston, but they've all heard so much about each other from me, they want to meet."

"So, you're telling me there's going to be six teenagers together and Randy and I get to babysit you?"

CJ chuckled. "I'm not sure I'd say you're going to babysit, but yeah, you got the idea."

"Fuck! I'm getting a bottle for your uncles, and one for me and Randy."

"Let's make it bourbon..."

• • •


"Damn, CJ! What's with the shouting, I'm right here, you know?"

"Ooops, sorry. Harley and Thiago texted me. Thanks for calling their `rents." While CJ and Tyler had walked to the liquor store, César got in touch with Harley and Thiago's parents. They had given permission for their sons to join their friends for the remainder of the weekend without hesitation.

"No problem. You better head out if you want to pick them up and make it to the marina on time."

"Is Chipper up in my room?"

"Yeah, he went up to put stuff for tonight in his backpack."

"CHIPPER!" called out CJ from the bottom of the stairs. "Can you bring my bag down with you?"

César closed his eyes, placed his hands at his temples and slowly shook his head. Brett rolled his eyes and facetiously unclogged his ear with a finger. "Damn, boy. What's with you and all the shouting this morning? Calm down already."

"Ooops, sorry. Guess I'm kinda excited about seeing the guys from Boston. It's been a while."

"Hey, César," said Tyler. "I bought a bottle of bourbon so Randy and I could have a couple of drinks tonight. Maybe I should let CJ down a shot or two so he can relax?"

"He and Chipper can have one or two. You'll have to ask Tom for permission before his kids can have any."

"Wait. I meant right now to calm him down. And I was kidding."

"He wasn't," put in Brett. This caused everyone one in the room to look at him. "You don't need to walk on egg shells around us, Ty. We're fine with CJ having a drink, in private, now and then. Please, don't drag them to any drag shows tonight."

César hung his head and raised his hands in a display of resignation. "My husband, Brett, master of the cheesy puns."

• • •

It was late in the afternoon when Brett and César left the marina and headed home to shower; they planned on going out for dinner alone that evening, since CJ and their house guests would be spending the night aboard the PP. Tom and JP followed, once they had ensured all lines were properly tied, the water and power connections to the dock were secure, and the bubbler system to prevent icing was functioning properly. The idea for the sleepover on the boat had been Bradley's. It being the one place where their group of eight―six teens and the two guys from Chicago―could spend the night together, each having a bed.

The gage on the thermometer was dropping once more as the sun set and the lights of the city became visible through the portholes of the cabins and the windows of the salon. The boat wasn't the warmest place to be on a night when temperatures were expected to fall below freezing again, but they had all come prepared with warm clothes to sleep in, and every blanket they could scrounge from home.

Harley and Thiago would be, as before, sharing a cabin, Bradley and Patrick would be using their dads', while CJ and Chipper took the one usually reserved for César and Brett on the opposite pontoon. Randy and Tyler would occupy the one on the bow, on the same side as their cousin's. When they finally came out to the main room, they found the younger guys dressed similarly to them: sweat pants, sweat shirts, and thick socks. Tyler carried the bottle of Four Roses he'd bought earlier in the day in his hand.

"Hey, that's pretty good music," he said. CJ had stuck one of the CDs he'd bought at the concert in Sydney into the player. The music wafted throughout the entire vessel, providing a nice background to the gloom outside. "Okay, you guys have permission to have a couple of shots each from your parents. We thought we'd start with one now, and then do more after we eat."

"I don't want food yet," said Chipper. "Hell, we just finished those subs."

"I could eat―"

"Harley, you can always eat!" interrupted Thiago. "You guys wouldn't believe the amount of food he puts away. I'm with Chipper. If we're going to order pizza, let's hold off for a bit. I'd rather spend time hearing from the Chicago and Boston guys. After all, we just met. The other three I see almost every day at school."

"Well, I wanna hear about Australia," said Randy. "My cousin hasn't given us the details about Owen yet."

A frustrated looking CJ stared at his cousin and rolled his eyes. "Why does everyone focus on Owen when they talk about my trip? I mean, ask me about surfing instead. Or climbing the Harbour Bridge? Or visiting the Opera House!"

"Did you do all those things with Owen?" asked a smirking Randy.

"Well, yes, but―"

"And did you two sleep together during the trip?" asked Thiago, already knowing the answer.

"Well, yes, but―"

"But nothing, cuz," put in Tyler. "The way that man was looking at you in those pictures you showed us told us most of what we wanted to know anyway. Now we need details."

"Oh, really?" replied CJ. "And what exactly did they tell you?"

"That the two of you were prolly fucking the minute the door to the room closed." Tyler's comment elicited laughter and cat calls from the others. Even Patrick had a smile on his face.

Looking at him, knowing what had happened during the trip to New York, CJ became concerned with the direction the conversation was headed. "Ummm, how about we not discuss any more about my trip for now. Or at least about Owen. You two"―he said looking at Tyler and Randy―"need to remember the three of us are the only gay ones in the group. This talk might make the rest of the guys uncomfortable."

"Won't bother me," Chipper was quick to point out.

"Me neither," added Bradley.

"Or, me," put in Thiago.

"Fine, whatever." An exasperated CJ threw his right hand up in the air. "It's making me uncomfortable, so we're changing the topic. What did everyone do for New Year's Eve?"

"I had a pretty good time," replied Chipper. "Uncle Matt took me to dinner at Rogo's. His friend Dash was with us. I got to meet Dr. Harding―that's his business partner―Danno, Dragon, Trip, and a bunch of the older guys your dads hang out with." He looked between CJ, Bradley, and Patrick. "Danno promised to show me his place next door next time I come by. He and Trip were having a party after midnight in there, and he said it was just for adults that evening."

"You already know what I did," said Harley. "Bruh, I missed you being in town. The people on my block close down the street every year and hold a party. At midnight, everyone's outside, but most of the time's spent going from house to house. I had to keep an eye on my little sisters all night long!"

"Patrick and I went to a party some kid from my school had. And it sucked!" Bradley looked at his brother for confirmation which he didn't quite receive.

"It wasn't that bad. I mean I was like the youngest guy there, but your friends were nice to me."

"Yeah, but I was hoping to get laid. And the girl I was making out with almost all night wouldn't even let me touch her pussy. Bitch started talking about how she was saving herself for marriage, the way the church taught. What the hell good is that? Fucking Catholic girls start much too late. I'd never marry a virgin. What if she turns out to be a lousy lay? At least you gay guys fuck first. If it's no good, you try again with somebody else."

"Amen, brother!" exclaimed Thiago, extending his fist to bump. "I'm happy to report CJ wasn't the only one who got laid on the thirty-first. I got lucky that night. Although, I doubt she'd admit to it since she's in college. Not sure she wants to brag about putting out for a high school junior."

"And what makes you think I got laid that night?" asked CJ, trying to suppress a smile.

"Oh please, homes," replied Thiago quickly. "The way you talked about hanging out on the streets with your rents and that blond guy. And the amount of wine and whatever else you drank. How hard can it be to figure out? You scored."

"You were drinking in the streets? With your dads?" Patrick's surprise was shared by his brother.

"Drinking age in Australia is eighteen, and I look old enough I had no problem buying anything I wanted. But even if you're younger, you can drink at restaurants and stuff if you're with your parents."

"Damn! I think Patrick and I need to convince Pops to take us next time he goes to visit his family." Bradley's eyes were open wide in amazement. He looked at Randy and Tyler who appeared a bit lost. "Pops is John Paul. It's what we decided to call him when we found out he'd married our dad. That drinking stuff rocks. What about you guys? How come you were in Washington and not in Chicago?"

"Our girlfriend―" replied Randy before being interrupted by Tyler.


"Fine, our ex-girlfriend had never been to DC and wanted to come visit. And since we had Uncle César's place..."

The silence which greeted his comment made CJ smile. He was now looking forward to hearing Randy and Ty explain about having a girlfriend. He was a little worried about how Patrick would react, but he could already tell this was going to be the topic for a nice, long discussion.

"Hey, you guys never said what happened with Natasha." CJ had been told she was out of the picture the previous night, but no details had been offered.

"Who's Natasha?" asked Patrick, looking as confused as the other guys did.

• • •

"Man, that's wild. Your cousins are a pair of horn dogs!" said Chipper, walking out of the bathroom in the cabin he was sharing with CJ.

"Yeah, they are. Wait until you hear about what I saw when I was in Chicago. Let me go to the head first. What were you doing in there anyway? Took you forever."

Randy and Tyler had related their experiences on New Year's Eve to a group of avid listeners. Although they weren't graphic in telling their story, CJ knew he'd be asking for details privately later. The two of them and Natasha had gone out to a gay bar that night, danced most of the evening while doing shots of tequila, and flirted with anyone who came near their threesome out on the floor.

At midnight, they found themselves in a clinch with two additional guys―students at American University―and ended up inviting them back to Georgetown. By time they called Uber the next day, Natasha was passed out, Tyler was complaining about being sore, and there was a pile of wrappers and used condoms in the wastebasket by the bed.

The PP had been shut tight for the night. The heat had been turned on after their food had been delivered, but the cabin was still chilly when CJ walked back towards the bed. Chipper was already under the covers, his back propped up by pillows, clasped hands resting on his lap. His bare shoulders revealed he'd taken off his shirt.

"Aren't you cold?" asked CJ.

"Nah, it's a little cool, but once we're both under the covers it'll feel warm. Plus, I can't sleep with a lot of clothes on. Last night, those damn boxers kept bunching up on me. I had a hard time falling asleep."

"You're naked?"

"Yeah... You don't mind, do you?"

"Ummm, no. But aren't you worried about sleeping naked next to me? I mean, considering the way we woke up this morning and all?"

"Nope. Not worried. You might as well lose your clothes too. We'll warm each other up."

CJ was surprised, apprehensive, and a bit scared of what his friend was implying. "What's going on, man? Are you drunk?" They'd made hot cocoa while watching a couple of movies after dinner; Ty had been generous with the bourbon shots he added to their mugs.

"Are you?"

"No, all I had were those shots. And the two after dinner were probably soaked up by all the food we ate."

"I'm the same. I'm not drunk."

"But it sounds as if you want―"

"I do, CJ. Look, I've been around gay people at school, and plenty more since I moved here. You became my friend the moment we met. I'm not sure why, but I liked you, and knew I could trust you. This is something I've thought about for a while. I've fooled around with a couple of guys before, but I've never been fucked. I wanna try it. I know you won't hurt me, and I want you to be my first."



Sunday, 19 January 2014

For the second day in a row, CJ woke up snuggled to Chipper's warm body. His friend's head nestled on CJ's chest, cradled by an arm thrown over Chipper's shoulders. Each breath ruffled CJ's chest hair, bringing a tingle of pleasure with it. He smiled remembering the previous evening. His thoughts felt warm and so did most of his naked body. Slowly slipping his way out of the half embrace they were entangled in, he tried not to disturb the sleeping teen.

CJ quietly pulled on his sweatpants, sweatshirt, and socks, gently opened the cabin door, and carefully closed it behind himself. He headed for the galley intent of getting at least a cup of coffee in himself before the others woke. Things had certainly taken an unexpected turn the previous evening; his relationship with Chipper would never be the same. No matter what happened in the light of day. He needed to do some thinking and the time before the others woke up would most likely be the only alone time he'd have all day.

"Good morning." Patrick's almost whispered greeting startled CJ, making him drop the small coffee pod he was holding.

"Damn, Patrick. You scared the crap out of me. Good morning. What are you doing up so early? It's barely past sunrise."

"I was cold. Bradley kept pulling all the covers. Hey, do we have hot chocolate left? Or are there any of those little things for the machine? I could go for half coffee, half cocoa."

"How about Swiss Mocha? There's a couple of them."

"Good. I'll take it. And hide the other one."

"Here," replied CJ, tossing the small plastic tub at the boy. "You hide it. I'm glad your dads got this machine. I didn't feel like brewing an entire pot, not knowing what time people would be getting up."

"Yeah, me too." Patrick stuck it in the pocket of his gold edged black hoodie. "So, how come you're up?"

"I don't know. I woke up in a good mood, full of energy, and decided to get up and enjoy the quiet. But you're right, it's cold. I think I'm gonna grab one of those blankets on the couch, and wrap it around myself like you did."

"Can I ask you a question?"

"Sure, anything."

"When did you know you were gay?"

"Oh, hell. Not sure there ever was a light bulb shining on top of my head when I figured it out. You see, I went through puberty early. The kids at school used to make jokes `cause I needed to shave in the seventh grade. Anyway, my step-dad and a couple of older guys would kid around about me chasing skirts, and I got a very stern talk about condoms and not getting a girl pregnant."

"From your step-dad? The guy who doesn't like you?"

"Yep, from him. Anyway, the problem was I'd look at girls and didn't have any interest in doing anything with them. A couple of the guys at school though, they always made me feel nice when I was around them. Two summers ago, I spent a couple of days alone while in Washington. Walked all over the Smithsonian. And I realized I kept looking at the guys, deciding which ones I thought were good looking."

"So did you tell your dads?"

"Nah. I wasn't sure it was what I thought it was. I went back to Miami and eventually figured it out. My dads didn't know about it until Lieutenant Colonel Dickhead threw me out. How come you ask?"

"Oh, at school during a class, we got into a discussion about homeless teens. Somebody brought up the fact many were gay who'd been thrown out of home by their parents. The teacher said the parents were wrong, but so were the kids. That no one that young could know if they were gay or not."

"Bah! That's bullshit. Ask my dad. He says he knew when he was eight years old!"


"Yeah, really. Anyway, how you doing, bud? Still having problems with the guys on the team?"

"Meh! Sometimes. I play for a Police Athletic League team, the same one my cousin plays for. After I hurt him, he complained to grandpa who told him to be a man and stand up for himself. After I returned home from New York, he tried to push me around during practice. After a couple of days of him giving me shit, I was really pissed off. So the next time he tried to hit me, I turned the tables on him. Smashed his knee with my stick and fucked it up. He's still not able to play."

"Remind me not to piss you off!" CJ chuckled and put his arm around the younger boy. "But good for you. Bullies are cowards and once you stand up to them, they tend to back off."

"Problem is grandpa went berserk, called my mom and bitched up a storm. She backed me up, told him I was standing up for myself, and she was proud of me for doing so."

"Good for her!"

"Yeah, she came up big for me. Anyway, I was suspended for a month. Coach warned me next time I'd be thrown off the team."

"You should be okay, since your asshole cousin ain't playing."

"Yeah, but now a couple of his friends have started making little comments. Like saying they're going to take care of me for hurting their friend."

"Have you told the coach?"

"Yeah, he gave a big speech about teammates having to stick together and help each other. I'm not sure it'll do much good with those jerks. And even though our school doesn't allow bullying, a couple of those guys also go there and they've been whispering shit to me when nobody can hear them."

"Ignore them if you can. Tell a teacher if it keeps going, and if worst comes to worst, you kick the shit out of them. Let me know if you need a hand and I'll come up and help you do it."

"Help him do what?" asked Randy, walking into the salon closely followed by Tyler. "I need coffee."

"Want one of those little things? Or we can brew up a pot of the real stuff." CJ pointed toward the container holding a multitude of the little containers.

"The real thing. Pod coffee tastes like instant shit to me. Where's the stuff?" asked Tyler, heading towards the galley.

"I'll do it for you," replied CJ, standing.

"So, what are you going to help Patrick with?"

"Prolly nothing. I offered to give him a hand beating up some bullies picking on him. But I think this guy can take care of himself."

"Bullies are nothing but cowards," said Tyler, sitting next to Patrick. "When I was in high school, I was a skinny runt and got picked on all the time. I decided I needed to get bigger, so I could defend myself. Since I couldn't make myself taller, I decided to make myself wider. I started hitting the gym one summer, and by the time school started, I'd bulked up enough it stopped most of them from making fun of me. One guy kept at it and I beat the shit out of him. I was suspended for a week. When I returned, all those guys gave me a lot of space when they saw me around."

"Ha! Exactly what I told him. Stand up to the assholes. Patrick has an advantage. A lot of it happened during hockey practice, so he has a big stick to defend himself."

"That's what we should do today. We should go ice skating," said Chipper, stopping next to CJ and draping an arm around him. "Morning, everyone. I need coffee."

"Morning, Chipper. Why are you walking that way?" asked Patrick.

"I went to the gym yesterday morning with CJ, his dads and his cousins. Short stuff over there"—he pointed at Tyler—"sets a punishing pace. I think he has this idea everyone should look like a body builder. Like him. And then, I had this guy here," he added, squeezing CJ. "He and his dad, Captain America, kept trying to outdo each other in the weight room. I was stupid and tried to keep up with them. I'm sore in places I've never been sore before!"

• • •

Since there wasn't much to eat aboard, the guys cleaned up, dressed, and headed out to brunch at National Harbor, where one of the best outdoor skating rinks in the city was located. Patrick complained incessantly about the quality of the rental skates, but he took his turn helping CJ out, patiently showing the rookie how to move, turn and stop.

"Hey! That's the first time your ass hit the ice in a while," he said, extending a hand to help CJ up. "You're getting better."

"Fuck that hurts," complained CJ, rubbing his ass. "I haven't skated since I was a little kid living in Germany."

"Don't be a wuss. Stop complaining. It can't hurt any more than getting fucked. And you seem to have survived that."

"What? Fuck! Did you make a gay joke?" CJ stared at Patrick in disbelief. "Who are you and what have you done with my friend?"

"Ha, ha! Funny. I figured I better get used to those jokes. I noticed you tried to change the topic a couple of times last night and I think it was because of me. Thanks. I'm just trying to fit in. All of you seem fine talking about sex and with so many gay guys around I figured I better get in the swing if I'm going to be part of the group."

"Damn! That's a big change from the way you acted last fall."

"Yeah, I think what's helped me the most is talking to Mom's boyfriend. He seems to have no problems with me having a gay father."

"Your mom has a boyfriend?"

"He's not really her boyfriend." Bradley had skated over to them to take his turn with CJ. "You have no idea what you started when you trashed our grandfather, bud. You inspired our mother to stand on her own. Not only did she let us get in touch with Dad, but after a couple of months she started going out on dates. I mean not a lot, but she's been seeing this one guy and he even came over for dinner Christmas' Eve."

"Wow! That means if she remarries you guys will like have three dads!"

• • •

Back home in Georgetown, after dropping Harley and Thiago off at their houses, CJ organized his friends so each took a turn in his bathroom showering and changing clothes. Chipper was spending one more night; Bradley and Patrick would be going back to Alexandria with their fathers later in the evening. They'd all been invited to dinner by CJ's dads.

"Ground control to Commodore Tom. Come in please." Brett's quip brought groans from the adults and questioning looks from the kids.

"Huh?" Tom shook his head and looked at the others sitting at the table.

"Damn, dude! Where the hell were you? Did you even hear Patrick ask you a question?"

"Sorry. I was daydreaming. What were you saying, kiddo?" His blue eyes fixed on his son, the cop seemed to return from wherever he had drifted to.

"I was asking about the house hunting. You didn't like any of the houses you saw today?" asked Patrick.

"Nope. One was too small. One too expensive, and the others too far away from the Georgetown area."

"Yeah, dad. You guys need to buy something close to CJ and Chipper," said Bradley. "Otherwise it'll be a pain to get together when we come visit."

Brett took a sip of beer and wiped his lips with the back of his hand before joining the conversation. He'd been quiet for a while, observing the dynamics between the teens. Something felt different. "Obviously, we'd like you guys to be as close as possible."

"If you find something close enough to what you want, you can always make changes to the place," offered Randy. "Ty and I would be happy to help in that regard. We've decided we wouldn't mind spending more time in Washington."

"Speaking of spending time in Washington," said CJ. "When are we fixing the basement? And are you guys going to be here while the work's done?"

"By the time we finalize the plans, get bids, and pull permits, I'd say summer," replied Tyler. "And we'll be here at some point. Though I don't think we need to spend a lot of time around the construction once it starts."

"Unless you get a DC license and move here to serve as general contractor for the job," suggested César. "Who knows, you may get enough work around town to justify a regular commute."

• • •

JP, Tom, and their sons left after dinner. Randy, Tyler, CJ, and Chipper ended up in CJ's bedroom engaged in what they swore would be an epic Madden Football game. Sometime around midnight the game ended; Randy and Tyler went to their room, while CJ and Chipper took turns in the bathroom getting ready to go to bed.

Uncertain of how to start the conversation he knew they needed to have, CJ chose the direct approach. "What a day," he said, pulling off the dark blue Tombs t-shirt he'd been wearing. "You and I need to talk, bud. About last night."

"Are you upset we fooled around?" Chipper's question made CJ chuckle.

"Hell no, man. But I'm a little worried about what happens now."

"Nothing happens now," replied Chipper, rubbing his boxers covered behind. "I'm a little sore."

"I wasn't saying I want to do it again right now, ding-dong. I want to make sure what we did doesn't change our friendship."

"Why should it? It may have been the first time I went all the way with a guy, but I haven't been celibate the past couple of years, you know?"

"Yeah, but―"

"But nothing, CJ. You were my friend yesterday, you're my friend today, and you'll be my friend tomorrow. I wanted to try something and you helped me do it. Not sure I'll ever go there again, but I have no problems whatsoever with it."

• • •

The conversation César overheard coming from CJ's bedroom, when he went upstairs to his own room to retrieve a file from his desk, was more an insult trading match than anything else. When he and Brett decided to call it a night, the door to both CJ's and the guest room were closed, and there was no screaming or cursing any longer.

"I think something happened with CJ and Chipper last night," said Brett, once they'd closed their door.

"Like an argument?"

"Nope, like hanky-panky!"

"Hanky-panky? What the hell? Are you back in high school?"

"Hell no! I couldn't keep up with those guys. I think they fooled around some."

"Really? My gaydar hasn't gone off around Chipper."

"I can't be sure. And I'm not asking. They can tell us if they want to. If they even did. But there were a couple of looks between the two of them..."

My thanks to all of you who've e-mailed me with your thoughts on the CJ series. Your continued encouragement helps get me through those times I don't feel much like writing. You may contact me at:

And just like your messages keep me going, your contributions help Nifty stick around. Please help support this wonderful site.