SUMMARY: At a time of national turmoil, the lives of four boys become connected as each struggles to accept his sexuality and to address the challenges he faces in life. To the extent the boys succeed in coming to grips with those challenges, it may be in ways that prove surprising or troubling. This story is also being published on my blog and you can find a longer synopsis there. While some events, locations and features in the story have been moved forward or back in time for dramatic and other purposes, it takes place during an era when prejudice against homosexuals is rampant and the gay revolution in America is still in its infancy. Italics are typically used within the story to indicate what a character is thinking or saying to himself. Any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental.
WARNING: Sex is not the primary focus of this story. If you're looking for erotic content, you'll do much better with other stories on Nifty. While sexual content is secondary and incidental, the story does include some scenes that depict sex and violence, sometimes graphically depending upon the characters and circumstances involved. For that reason, the story is intended for mature audiences only. If you do not wish to read such material or it is illegal for you to do so, please look elsewhere. The story remains the property of the author and may not be reproduced in any form without written permission. It is protected by the copyright laws of the United States and other countries. You may download a single copy to read offline and to share with others as long as you credit me as the author, but you may not use this work for commercial purposes. You may not use any of the characters, bars or other fictional locations described in the story in your own work without my explicit permission. Nor may you use, alter, transform, or build upon this story in any way.
AUTHOR NOTES: This is my first effort at writing a story. As a general rule, I only plan to publish one chapter a week, usually on Thursdays. The latest chapter will always be posted on my blog before being published here. Comments and constructive criticism are welcome. Flames will be ignored. If you would like to let me know what you think, feel free to contact me at email@example.com. Thanks for reading the story. I hope you enjoy it.
THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER: In Chapter 17, Josh and his best friend at school, Jimmy, decide to attend the basketball team's season opener together. On the way to the game, the two boys run into Tommy Taylor at the park across from the library in town. Jimmy taunts Tommy about being gay and the two of them exchange insults. Josh tries to break up the squabbling and apologizes to Tommy for the things Jimmy said. Still defiant, Jimmy insults Tommy as he and Josh walk away toward the school. Before the game begins, a ceremony is held to retire Anthony Torricelli's basketball jersey. Josh and Jimmy discuss the ceremony after the game. Later, while walking home through the woods, Josh finds himself questioning why Anthony is dead. The next day he visits Anthony's grave to say good-bye. A few days later, on the day before Thanksgiving, Josh discovers that Tommy's locker has been vandalized. Walking home alone, he finds himself troubled by the events of the last few days.
Part II - Innocence Abused
It was the day after the day after Christmas. It seemed like it had taken forever, but the day I had been waiting for had finally arrived.
When I woke up that morning, I knew Josh and his Mom were already on their way over to Albany so he could catch the train to New York. He had told me on the phone his mother was planning to let him drive most of the way and I remember being jealous about that.
It was something my Dad would never have done and that tells you a lot about the relationship each of us had with our parents. Josh was the responsible one. His Mom trusted him completely. I was still the child who needed to be watched like a hawk all the time and that was definitely frustrating to me.
Not that I was going to let it spoil Josh’s visit. Like I said, I had been looking forward to it forever and was practically drooling when I woke up that morning. I even decided not to play with myself in order to let the tension keep building inside me.
At times I had wondered whether it would ever happen, but now months of frustration were about to end. After a quick breakfast, my Mom and I took a taxi down to Penn Station and together we checked the arrivals and departures. We were 45 minutes early, but that was just fine with me. In fact, I had insisted we arrive early. There was no way in hell I was going to let Josh walk into a train station in New York City and find no one there waiting for him.
While my Mom wandered off in search of some coffee, I took my jacket off, stretched out on the bench and tried to make myself comfortable, using my jacket as a pillow.
I remember closing my eyes.
Is this really going to happen? Are Josh and I finally going to be together again?
It was hard to believe it had only been two months since we were last together at Williams. It seemed like forever and I had missed him so much. I reminded myself again not to fling my arms around him or to kiss him when he came into the station. But it was going to be hard because I had missed him a lot.
I remember letting my mind drift.
It had been almost four months since my family and I had returned to New York from the farm. Throughout that time my life had largely revolved around the twin beacon poles of my life.
There was school, of course, The Barrington School, to be more precise. It had been named after its founder and patron, James Howard Barrington. I hated that place with a passion and I blamed that pretty much on James Howard Barrington himself.
There was no way any of us who attended it could ever forget James Howard Barrington. For one thing, a huge oil painting of him hung in the lobby at the entrance to the school. Like New York City itself, it was in your face from the moment you walked into the place. In fact, that picture was the thing I remembered the most from the very first day I entered as a freshman four years before.
I remember taking a long look at the picture that first morning, then gagging. The guy had a really stern look on his face. I remember thinking Mrs. James Howard Barrington had probably stopped putting out for the dude long before that picture was painted; and that he had probably founded the school in an effort to score with some of the adolescent boys the place catered to.
I had told this to one of the other freshman boys and the word soon spread like wildfire throughout the school. I guess that’s when my problems began because the next thing I knew this dude was in my face screaming at me.
“Listen you little faggot,” he shouted, “if you ever say anything like that about my Great Grandfather again I’m going to beat the shit out of you.”
His face was contorted with rage and turning purple as he ranted at me, and I guess it didn’t help very much when I started laughing. He pushed me and I thought I was going to have to fight him. But the next thing I knew one of the teachers had stepped between us and that was the end of that.
“Who the heck was that?” I asked one of the other students.
“That’s Marcus,” he said. “Marcus Allen Barrington III. And now, because of you, he’s really upset that everyone thinks his Great Granddad sodomized little boys.”
So there you have it. My introduction to The Barrington School had not exactly been a rousing success. And the longer I remained there, the more I came to hate it. Not with the ordinary kind of hate every kid has for school. No, I hated The Barrington School with every fiber of my being. I hated everything about it.
I hated the name of the place, The Barrington School. Like there were lots of Barrington Schools but this was the only one that really counted because it was The Barrington School.
Give me a fucking break. It will take more than an oil painting of some old fart to make this place special.
I hated the building as well, one of those modernistic designs that tried to impress parents with all the glass and chrome it displayed. It was the most soulless place I had ever seen in my life, totally the opposite of Josh’s school.
But most of all I hated my fellow students, at least most of them. Like me, all of them had rich parents who thought they could buy just about anything in life, including the very best education for their sons and daughters.
I didn’t hold it against them that their parents were rich. Hell, my parents were rich as well. What bothered me about them was their arrogance, the fact they looked down on anyone who wasn’t rich like themselves.
I pretty much hated almost everything about them. I hated their cars, not because they had them and I didn’t, but because they looked down on anyone who wasn’t rich enough to own one. I hated their clothes, not because they were preppie and stylish but because they looked down on anyone whose clothes weren’t the very latest in high fashion. I hated the tight little cliques they formed themselves into to set themselves apart from everyone else.
And the student I hated the most was Marcus Allen Barrington III. Over the course of four years, he and the toadies who competed to kiss his ass had become my constant companions and tormentors. Not a day had gone by when they hadn’t tried to make life miserable for me in one way or another. And while they often succeeded in doing that, I was proud of the fact they never knew it. Like that very first day when I had ended up laughing while Marcus screamed at me, I put on an air of indifference and pretty much succeeded in fooling them.
If I still hated The Barrington School as much as ever, the other pole around which my life had revolved since returning to New York was the exact opposite. I liked the YMCA. I liked everything about it. I liked the building. It was old and decaying gently and it had character, lots of character. I liked the people who came and went. They seemed to have some purpose to their lives. And most of all I liked Brad although just thinking about him now made me sad and ashamed of myself.
My Dad had suggested a private club, but I had insisted on the YMCA. And although Dad had hired a trainer, it only took two weeks before the guy told my Dad I was perfectly capable of working out on my own without any professional assistance.
After that I would go down to the Y after school every day and work out. There were a couple of regulars who worked out at the same time, but no one I especially took note of. At least not until Brad walked in one day.
I didn’t know his name at the time, of course, just that he was freaking hot. I tried not to get too excited about it because I figured he might just be a tourist passing through that particular week. By the end of the second week, however, it was pretty apparent he was going to be a regular and that intrigued me.
I wanted to get to know him better so I studied him pretty closely. He was arriving every day at 3:15 p.m. and working out for about 90 minutes. Then he would go down to the sauna for fifteen minutes and finish up by taking a shower. Like clockwork, he left every day at 5:20 p.m. exactly.
Slowly I adjusted my schedule to his. I began smiling and nodding at him. I even managed to get down to the sauna before him so he wouldn’t think I was following him around. Yet, for all my flirtatious efforts, he hardly took any notice of me.
Oh yeah, sure, he would say hello. But it wasn’t like he was showing any interest in me. It was frustrating, especially since I had decided to seduce him by then.
I don’t know exactly when I had decided to do that; or why for that matter. I mean, yeah, sure, I missed Josh a lot, no doubt about it. Not having sex was hard, but it wasn’t like it was the end of the world or something. I don’t even think it was about the sex to be honest.
By then I had convinced myself it wouldn’t really be cheating on Josh. It was just a game I was playing. I wanted to see whether I could do something like that, make a total stranger care about me. It wasn’t about sex I kept telling myself. I would never have sex with someone other than Josh.
But I wanted to see whether I could make someone lust for me enough to end up begging to have sex with me.
So one day I asked Brad for help.
“Umm, I hate to ask, but I was wondering if you could help me out,” I said, smiling at him with the best imitation of bashful I could summon. “I’ve never used these free weights,” I added, lying. “Could you show me how?”
“Sure,” he said, returning my smile. “It isn’t that hard.”
And for the next fifteen minutes that’s what he did. He showed me the different weights, helped me to find just the right weight for me, and then spotted me while I did my reps. I wasn’t about to take any more rejection so that afternoon I decided to talk to him in the sauna.
“I see you around here quite a bit,” I said. “You’re really in terrific shape. I’m trying to get in better shape myself, but I don’t think I’ll ever be in as good a shape as you. By the way, my name is Nolan.”
“Hi, Nolan,” he responded. “My name is Brad. And thanks for the compliment. It was the Army that got me in shape in the first place, but now I like trying to stay in shape on my own.”
“But you’re really being much too hard on yourself,” he added. “You’re doing a terrific job of getting yourself in shape. Are you doing it because you’re on some team at school?”
“Not at all,” I replied. “I’m not on any of the teams. I’m just trying to get in shape to protect myself against some of the bullies at school.”
“Well, like I said, you’re doing a good job,” Brad replied. “I think any bully would be making a mistake by picking on you.”
“Really?” I said.
“You got some awesome muscles starting to develop, Nolan,” he responded. “If self-protection is one of your goals, you might want to think about taking one of the classes here. I go to karate every Wednesday evening myself.”
“That sounds like a terrific idea,” I replied. “Thanks. I’ll think about that.”
It wasn’t hard persuading my Dad to let me sign up for the karate class, and I took the opportunity to chat up Brad every Wednesday evening. I even persuaded him to join me for coffee after the class. It wasn’t long before the two of us were best buddies.
I learned a lot about him, where he had been born, where he had gone to school, and that he had spent two years in the Army, including one tour of duty in North Burkistan. He didn’t like to talk about that, though, so I didn’t press him on it very much.
Like I said, it wasn’t long before the two of us were the best of friends; and once we were, I started the next phase of my seduction. Mostly that consisted of being in the shower at the same time as he was and making sure he got a good look at me when we were.
I would accidentally drop the bar of soap I was using to lather up and then bend down to retrieve it, exposing my butt to him. Or I would ask him to pass me the soap and let my hand touch his arm as I took it from him. In the weight room, I would accidentally brush against his thigh while changing the weights.
I was looking for every opportunity I could find to make him undress me with his eyes. But, the truth is, I still didn’t seem to be having very much success.
By then I was getting pretty desperate so I decided to try acting a little more fem at times. It was a delicate balancing act, but I must have done a pretty good job because one day Brad asked me straight out.
“Nolan, are you gay by any chance?” he asked.
I had been hoping he would and decided to play with him about the whole thing.
“Umm, why would you, I mean, umm, I dunno,” I stammered. “Do you think I’m gay? Why do you think that? I mean, yeah, sure, sometimes I get all confused about things and I suppose I could be gay, Brad, but I’m not really sure. Maybe you could help me figure it out.”
It was an academy award performance and he bought it.
“Well, first off, Nolan, there’s nothing wrong with being gay if you are; and I’m not really saying you are. I just wondered because sometimes I think you’re coming on to me, but that’s probably just my imagination at work because I’m gay myself.”
It came as a really big shock. Nothing he had ever done or said had ever given me a clue he might be gay. He was just totally masculine and that had been part of the challenge for me. Now that I knew he was gay, I figured things would be a lot easier.
“Not that there is anything wrong with it if you eventually decide you’re gay,” he continued. “You’re a very good looking boy, Nolan. If you turn out to be gay, you’ll definitely have a lot of friends. But, the thing is, I’m 28 years old and you’re a lot younger. It wouldn’t be right for us to do anything even if you knew for sure you were gay.”
“Why not?” I challenged, doing my best imitation of a pout.
To be honest, it wasn’t really just an imitation. By then I was kind of annoyed that he didn’t seem interested in me at all, that he seemed to be treating me like my father did, as some immature little kid.
“I’m almost eighteen for crying out loud,” I lied.
“Really?” Brad said.
“I would have thought you were younger But like I said, there's still a big age difference between us,” he added. “And then the other thing is I already have a boyfriend. But we can still be friends because we like each other and there’s never anything wrong with that.”
It was a pretty crushing blow to be brushed off like that and I refused to believe what he was saying. I had never seen him hanging around with another guy at the Y. I had never seen another guy drop him off or pick him up at the place. And, besides, even if there was another guy, I still believed Brad was attracted to me. He just didn’t want to get into any trouble with the law, I figured.
As far as I was concerned, it wasn’t over. It hadn’t even begun. There was no way the two of us weren’t going to end up in bed together.
The next day I deliberately tripped myself in the shower and fell down. There was no one around except Brad and he quickly came over to help me out.
“Are you okay, Nolan?” he asked, offering me his hand. I could tell he was genuinely concerned.
“I think so,” I said, taking his hand and starting to pull myself up. Then I let my knee buckle and started to fall again.
Brad grabbed hold of me so I wouldn’t. When he did that, I threw my arms around his neck and started kissing him hard, really hard.
His body froze momentarily and he started to pull away. But I held him tightly against me and didn’t let go. He stopped struggling and I pressed my tongue into his mouth. Then, as quickly as it had started, he pulled away.
“Stop, Nolan,” he chided, looking around to make sure no one had seen the two of us kissing. “I’ve already told you I have a boyfriend and it would be wrong to do anything with you.”
“That’s not what you cock is telling me, Brad,” I responded.
He looked down and saw he was hard.
“But don’t worry about it,” I added. “You can have me, Brad. I just needed to know you wanted me first.”
I remember gloating about that to myself. He wanted me. Both of us knew it. And now that he knew it, I was ready to let him have me. But Brad had something else in mind.
“I have to leave now, Nolan,” is all he said.
He got out of the shower and started to dry himself off.
I couldn’t believe it. He wasn’t kidding. He was actually going to leave.
By then I was mad, really mad; mad at being rejected, mad at making a fool of myself.
“Fine,” I said, storming out of the shower. “Suit yourself, girl.”
I quickly changed into my clothes and dashed out of the place. I hadn’t gone very far when I decided I needed to confront Brad again. I turned around and headed back to the Y. Just before I got there, I saw him come out the door and turn in the opposite direction.
I decided to follow him and that’s what I did, being careful to make sure he never spotted me. We must have walked about ten blocks. Then he climbed some stairs to an old brownstone and went inside.
I didn’t know what to do at that point and was about to go home when he reappeared and walked down the stairs to the sidewalk. At that exact moment a taxi pulled up. The cabbie got out, opened his trunk and pulled out a wheelchair.
As I stood there watching from a distance, I saw Brad open the door to the cab and lift another guy out of it. The guy he was lifting was mssing a leg and Brad carried him up the stairs while the cabbie brought up the wheelchair. The three of them disappeared inside, then the cabbie reemerged and was on his way.
The whole thing was devastating. I had never been so ashamed of myself in my life.
Brad must have changed his schedule after that because I didn’t see him at the Y any more. He even stopped going to the karate class and I knew why.
I remember wondering why I had done it, then feeling guilty about what I had done and how I had cheated on Josh.
I knew what I had done was wrong. It was wrong to Brad and his friend, and it was wrong to Josh. I kept telling myself I couldn’t apologize to Brad because he had disappeared from my life completely. But that was a lie because I knew where he lived.
I just didn’t have the courage to do it. I even went to his place one evening and just stood there in the cold for forty-five minutes, trying to bring myself to ring the doorbell. But I never did. I was just too much of a coward to do it. I hated myself right about then.
It was the same thing with Josh. I kept delaying and delaying and delaying. But finally one Wednesday evening I worked up the courage and told him what I had done. I remember bawling like a baby the whole time and I was so grateful when he forgave me.
“I know it’s really hard, Nolan,” he said. “I miss you so much and I know you miss me. But both of us are human. It’s not like I don’t look at other guys. But then I think about you and that helps. I know you still love me. But I hope you won’t do something like that again. At times I think knowing you haven’t is the only thing that prevents me from messing around with someone else myself.”
Josh, I remember thinking. In the end, it was Josh that held everything together for us.
I love you, Josh, I remember telling myself. I’ll never do anything like that again.