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 20, Josh returns home to Vermont. Although he dreads the long winter ahead, time starts to speed up for him. In April he finally receives a response from Williams College. While accepted for admission, he is forced to wait another couple of weeks before he finally learns the college has awarded him a full athletic scholarship. Aiming to win the state championship in the backstroke, Josh stays late at school one evening taking extra laps. On his way home, he runs into Tommy Taylor at a bus stop closed for the winter. Tommy is soaking wet and not wearing a jacket after being beaten up by Wayne and his cronies. Josh persuades Tommy to come back to his house to get a jacket, promising to drive the boy back to the bus stop where he has been waiting for someone.
Part II - Innocence Abused
I was a little surprised when Mom didn’t respond so I walked into the kitchen where I found the note she had left for me on the table.
I’ve gone into town to get my hair trimmed and to buy some groceries for supper this evening. I should be back around 6:30. Please stir the spaghetti sauce every thirty minutes once you get home. And don’t forget to do your homework either.
“Oh crap, I’m really sorry,” I said, turning toward Tommy and handing the note to him.
“My Mom isn’t here. She’s taken the car into town to do some stuff so I won’t be able to drive you back to the bus stop, at least not until she gets back.”
“Shit,” Tommy replied, a look of fear spreading across his face. “I’m in trouble now, really big trouble. I need to run back there right now. Maybe he’ll wait for me. Can I get that jacket you promised?”
“There’s no way you can get there in time, Tommy,” I replied. “Believe me, if there was any chance at all, I would tell you. But if your friend leaves when you’re not there at 5:30, he’s going to be gone for sure by the time you get back there.”
“Damn it,” Tommy cursed. “I knew I shouldn’t have come here. Why? Why am I so stupid all the time? Why do I do everything wrong?”
“I’m really sorry, Tommy,” I said. “I didn’t mean to make trouble for you. You just looked so cold out there and I felt really bad for you.”
“The truth is, you’re still shivering,” I added.
And he was, a lot. I was worried.
“Why don’t you come up to my room? It’s the toastiest place in the house in the winter and you’ll warm up pretty quick up there. I just need to stir this spaghetti sauce like my Mom asked. You could stay and have supper with us if you want. I know she won’t mind.”
To me Tommy always looked perpetually starved. He was thin and gangly and didn’t look like he was getting enough food at all. I think I must have been right about that because I could tell he was tempted by my offer.
“Um, well, I’m sure your Mom wasn’t expecting me for supper so I should probably go,” he said. “Anyway, I’m not really hungry,” he added, although it was obvious from the way he said it he was lying through his teeth and not even doing an especially good job of it.
“Like I said, my Mom won’t mind,” I replied. “And her homemade spaghetti sauce is delicious.”
“Here,” I added, holding the spoon out toward him. “Give it a try.”
Tommy leaned over and took the spoon into his mouth, slowly. I could see his eyes begin to twinkle with delight as the sensations hit him.
“That’s really good spaghetti sauce,” he said, looking at me and smiling, “really thick and delicious too. I’ve never had any as good as that. My Mom, she usually just buys what’s on sale at the store. But I don’t want to impose or anything.”
“You won’t be,” I said. “And you’ll like my Mom’s meatballs as much as the sauce. Now let’s go upstairs and get you warm.”
The two of us raced up the stairs, with me in the lead.
As much as I hated my room in the summer, I loved it a lot in the winter. It was really nice and toasty and you could see for miles out the window through the trees, especially now when they were devoid of most of their foliage.
When we got up to my room, I sat down in the old rocking chair by my desk that Mom had brought up in the fall. Tommy sat down on the edge of my bed.
“Nice room,” he said, looking around. “Nice and warm,” he added, folding his arms around himself as if trying to hold in the warmth.
“Yeah, it is,” I replied, smiling at him.
“And I see you have one of those really expensive teddy bears too,” he added, picking up Nolan the Bear and taking a closer look at it.
“Your kind of old to be sleeping with a teddy bear, aren’t you, Josh?”
“I guess,” I replied. “A really good friend of mine gave him to me last summer. I just keep him on my bed to remind me of my friend.”
“Is it someone I know,” he asked, “someone from school?”
“No, he isn’t from school,” I replied, “and you don’t know him, Tommy. His name is Nolan and he’s from New York City. He and his parents stayed at our farm last summer. He’s my best friend.”
“Must be nice,” Tommy said, turning to stare out the window. “To have a best friend, that is.”
“Um, Tommy, I was thinking you should get out of your clothes so I could wash them for you,” I replied, turning the conversation in another direction. “They’re soaking wet and dirty and, well, I’m sure you’ll be a lot more comfortable if I wash and dry them for you.”
Tommy turned and looked back over at me without saying a word for the longest time.
“I see,” he finally said, standing up suddenly. “You want me to take off my clothes. Is that it, Josh?”
He just stood there looking at me kind of weird.
“Okay, why not,” he added, shrugging his shoulders as he started unbuttoning his shirt. “I understand now.”
I guess I hadn’t really thought about how he might take it, but suddenly it dawned on me what he was thinking. He thought I was trying to get him out of his clothes so the two of us could have sex together.
“Wait,” I said, jumping up and grabbing his hand. “It’s not what you’re thinking, Tommy,” I added, staring into his eyes.
“It don’t matter, Josh,” he said, in a voice that seemed more resigned than angry. “You seem nicer than most of the boys at school. I’ll suck your dick if that’s what you want me to do. It’s the only thing any of the guys at school want from me in any event.”
I was getting frantic by then, beating myself up for not even thinking about how he might take it.
“No,” I said. “That’s not what I want, Tommy. I mean, um, not that I don’t like you or anything. I do. Like you, that is, a lot. Just as a friend, I mean. Because, you know, the thing is, we may not be all that different, you and me. You know what I mean? Oh, hell, why would you know what I mean? I don’t even know what I mean half the time; let alone what I’m trying to say. The truth is, there are times when I don’t even know what I want any more. But that’s neither here nor there.”
By that time Tommy was just staring at me as if I was some kind of babbling idiot and I couldn’t really blame him for that.
“In any event, well, um, I appreciate the offer, not that you were really offering, of course. You just said that because you misunderstood what I was saying. But even if I wanted to I couldn’t. It wouldn’t be fair to Nolan. But the point is I wasn’t really asking you to take off your clothes for that reason anyway. They really are dirty and wet, Tommy, your clothes I mean, and I really do want to wash and dry them for you so you’ll feel better when you leave.”
Tommy was still just standing there staring at me. I didn’t have a clue what he was thinking.
“Here,” I said, walking over to my closet. “We’re not too far apart in size. You can wear a pair of my jeans and one of my shirts and some of my socks and underwear until yours are clean,” I added, tossing the stuff on to the bed next to him.
“I’ll go down to the next level and you can toss your stuff down to me and then I’ll go put them in the washer and you can take a shower if you want and when you want me to come back up to the room just shout. If you want me to come back up at all, that is. I can stay downstairs if that would make you feel more comfortable. But, please, Tommy, I really don’t want you to think I was asking because I wanted you to do that kind of stuff to me. I wasn’t. I just want us to be friends.”
Tommy continued standing there staring at me in silence. I think he was trying to make sense of it all, trying to figure out if he could trust me. I don’t think he had trusted anyone for a really long time, to be honest, and I wasn’t sure if he would trust me right about then.
“Okay,” he finally said. “Thanks. I wouldn’t mind taking a shower and I wouldn’t mind wearing your stuff until mine are clean and dry. I’ll call you when I’m ready for you to come back up.”
“Okay, cool,” I said. I smiled at him briefly, then turned and descended the stairs. “Just toss your clothes down when you’re ready,” I shouted up at him.
A couple of moments later his clothes came tumbling down pretty quickly, first his shirt, then his jeans, and finally his socks.
“What about your underwear?” I asked.
He didn’t say anything in response to that and I was just about to go downstairs when something came floating down. I wasn’t sure if he knew it, but it was a pair of girl’s panties and I remember struggling to suppress the giggle.
What the heck is this, I remember thinking, holding them away from my eyes? Why is he wearing a pair of pink panties?
There was no way I was going to ask by then so I just went downstairs instead. While I went about putting his things in the washer, I could hear him taking a shower upstairs. By the time the washer was running and I had finished stirring the spaghetti sauce again, he was done. The next thing I heard was a shout.
“You can come up if you want, Josh,” he said. “I’m decent.”
I ran up the stairs and was surprised by what I saw. Tommy was standing there in my clothes and I have to confess he looked great. I could feel myself becoming a little aroused so I turned around quickly and pretended to straighten up some of the papers on my desk.
The two of us sat around the room chatting about nothing much, waiting for my Mom to get home with the groceries. It was me doing most of the chatting because I was nervous. Tommy just sat there mostly, trying to understand what I was saying. But most of what I was saying didn’t make a lot of sense, even to me.
Why am I so nervous around this kid, I remember asking myself? What is he, fourteen years old? I’m seventeen, but I sound like I’m ten years old.
And no matter what I said, I couldn’t get them out of my mind even though I figured he wouldn’t want to talk about them. But it was like an itch that way. It needed to be scratched and finally I broached the topic, trying my best to do so as carefully as I could think of.
“So Tommy,” I finally said, “that underwear of yours was, well, it was definitely, um, different,” I said, unable to suppress my curiosity any longer. “Not that I’m saying there is anything wrong with them or that I’m making fun of you, but I’ve never seen those kind before and I was just curious why you were wearing those?”
“Well if you haven’t seen them before, I guess that must mean you’ve never gotten into a girl’s pussy, Josh,” Tommy replied. “Because they’re a pair of girl’s panties.”
“And as for why I was wearing them, he likes me to wear them,” Tommy said, a look of anger spreading across his face. “The guy, that is. He bought them for me over in Rutland. I only wear them for him.”
I was pretty sure he was being honest with me, but I still didn’t understand what he was saying at all. Everything seemed to be getting more and more confused.
“I don’t mean to be nosy,” I finally said, “but now I’m really curious. Who is this friend of yours?”
“It’s a long story, Josh,” Tommy said. “Maybe I’ll tell you about it some other time. I don’t want to talk about it.”
I decided to drop the subject and we just started talking about other stuff once again. It wasn’t very long after that when I heard my mother come into the house.
“Mom, I’m home,” I shouted down the stairs. “I have a friend with me. He’s going to stay for supper so be sure to make extra spaghetti for him.”
“A lot,” I added, knowing how hungry Tommy probably was.
“Who is it, Joshua?” my Mom asked, emerging from the kitchen into the hallway and looking up the stairs toward my room.
“His name is Tommy,” I replied. “Tommy Taylor. Oh, and by the way, he slipped and fell in a snow bank real bad and his clothes got all dirty so I’m washing them for him.”
“Well, I guess I should put them in the dryer then,” my Mom responded. “They’re done washing.”
Right then both Tommy and I looked at each other and I could see the fear in his eyes.
“No, I’ll do it,” I said, racing down the stairs two at a time as fast as I could. I almost broke my neck in the process, but I did manage to get to the washer just before my Mom.
“Why don’t you just start making the salad and bread,” I said, trying not to show how fast my heart was beating. “Tommy is really hungry, Mom, so the sooner we can have supper the better. I’ll take care of putting his stuff in the dryer in the meantime,” I added.
“Fine,” she said, turning and heading back toward the kitchen.
I tossed all of Tommy’s clothes except the panties into the dryer. I stuck the panties into my pocket and walked back up the stairs.
“Got them,” I said, smiling, pulling the panties out of my pocket. Then I draped them over my rocking chair to let them air dry. “You can wear that pair of my briefs home tonight if you want. I’ve got plenty of extras,” I said.
I never saw anyone look as relieved as Tommy was right about then.
It wasn’t long before my Mom called the two of us down for supper and served up our plates. It looked delicious, but I remember being surprised when he said it.
“Do you have any wine, Mam?” Tommy asked. “My mother doesn’t make spaghetti very much, but usually she serves it with wine for me and my Dad when she does.”
“Well now, Tommy, I do have some wine,” my mother replied, “but you’re much too young to be drinking wine. You’re welcome to have some milk or water or even some ginger ale, but there’s no wine in this house for a youngster like you.”
“Okay,” he said, without any resistance. “I’ll just have some milk then. And thank you for inviting me for supper, Mam. I do appreciate it.”
“You’re very welcome, Tommy,” my Mom replied, smiling at him.
To be honest, I was astonished at just how much food Tommy put away that evening. His legs seemed to be hollow because he was just packing in more and more of the stuff. I usually had one or two meatballs at most, but Tommy asked for two, then two more when those were done.
It was kind of hard to tell what my Mom was thinking. I guess she was amused at just how much he was eating, but also probably worried about when he had last eaten. To tell you the truth, I was worried about that myself. He seemed totally famished.
“So how do you know Tommy, Joshua?” my mother asked me.
“We go to school together,” I said. “Our lockers are pretty close. He’s a cool guy, Mom, and we’re friends.”
I could see Tommy eyeing me while I said all of this, shoveling more spaghetti into his mouth.
“Do you have classes together with Joshua?” she asked, turning to Tommy.
“Not really, Mam,” he replied. “Josh takes advanced classes mostly. I’m kind of dense myself when it comes to the school work.”
I was kind of surprised he knew what classes I was in at all because I sure didn’t know what he was taking.
Later, after supper was over, Tommy took me aside.
“Did you mean that stuff?” he asked.
“What stuff?” I replied.
“That we’re friends?” he asked. “You told your Mom we’re friends.”
“Sure,” I said. “I would like us to be, Tommy, but it’s up to you.”
“Can we go back up to your room?” he suddenly asked, looking around.
“Sure,” I replied. “But I need to help my Mom clean up first.”
While my Mom washed the dishes, I started drying them while Tommy just stood there watching the two of us working away.
“I could help with the drying if you want, Mam,” he finally said.
“That’s very nice of you to offer, Tommy,” my mother replied. “There’s an extra towel on the chair over there,” she added, pointing at it with her shoulder and head.
After the three of us had finished with the dishes, Tommy and I walked back up the stairs and he sat down on my bed once again.
“Before your Mom came back and just before I took off my clothes so you could wash them, you said some stuff that didn’t make any sense to me, Josh,” Tommy said. “Like who is this guy Nolan you keep talking about? And what wouldn’t be fair to him? And why do you keep saying the two of us may not be all that different? You’ve said that before and I don’t know what you mean by it. It’s kind of confusing. If there’s something you want to tell me, I wish you would say it straight out.”
“Okay,” I replied. “I’m not trying to mess with your head, Tommy. What I mean is, um, well, everyone at school says you’re gay. I don’t know if you are, but it wouldn’t bother me if you were. Because you know, um, well, I’m gay too. Although I hope you won’t tell anyone at school,” I added, looking over at him.
I remember being nervous all of a sudden. I had never said that to anyone except Nolan.
Why did you just tell him that? I asked myself. If he decides to tell the kids at school what you just said, he could solve a lot of his problems just by deflecting all the attention on to you instead of himself.
But for some reason I trusted Tommy so I decided to tell him more.
“The thing is, last summer some people from New York City came to stay on our farm,” I continued. “They had a son. His name is Nolan. He’s gay too and eventually both of us came out to each other. He asked me to be his boyfriend and I said yes. And before you even ask, yes, we’ve messed around some. So now that you know all of my secrets, how about telling me all of yours? Because I’m worried about you, Tommy. I really am.”
“What do you want to know?” he said.
“Well, for one thing, are you gay like me?” I asked.
“I’m not really sure, Josh,” Tommy replied.
“I might be. But I might be bisexual,” he added, stroking his chin as if he had given the matter a lot of thought. “I kind of like some of the girls at school. But I’m also attracted to boys too, at least some boys.”
I wanted to ask whether he was attracted to me, but I was afraid of what the answer might be.
“There’s something else I should tell you too,” Tommy said. “But you probably won’t believe me.”
“What?” I responded. And I could see him struggling to get the words out. But then it was like a curtain falling at some play.
“It isn’t important,” he finally said.
I wondered if I should pursue it, but I had others questions I was looking to get answered. So I asked them instead.
“Tell me something else, Tommy,” I said. “Who is this person you meet every day up at the bus stop?” I asked.
“He’s an older guy,” Tommy replied. “That’s all I am going to say. We have sex every day. Usually he wants to have it three or four times a day. He’s a very horny guy. He takes me back to his place and that’s what we do. Usually we have sex right away when we get back to his place. Then he’ll order a pizza or whatever and we’ll have dinner together. Then we’ll have sex a couple more times before he finally drives me back to where I live late in the evening.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
“Umm, has he ever, umm,” I stammered, trying to find the words to ask what I was wondering about right then. “Oh, Jesus, that’s none of my business. Forget about that,” I added, ashamed of myself for even wondering about that.
“Has he ever fucked me?” Tommy responded, knowing exactly what I was trying to ask. “No, he hasn’t. He wants to. He wants to really bad. But, no, he hasn’t fucked me, Josh. I just suck his cock. Sometimes he sucks mine if he’s in a good mood.”
“How did this get started, Tommy?” I asked. “Do your parents know what’s going on? And why do you let this man keep doing this to you? Because it sure sounds like something you don’t really like doing very much.”
“I don’t,” he replied. “Like it, that is. But it’s part of the agreement we have and it isn’t that big a deal. How it got started is a long story. Maybe I’ll tell you some other time. But the main reason I keep having sex with him is because he buys food for me and lets me stay at his place and it helps to pass the time before I have to go home.”
“I mean, the thing is, I only go home around 11:00 every night and then just to sleep. I don’t like being there when my parents are home. My Mom and Dad work hard every day, but neither one of them makes very much money. They have lousy jobs, Josh, really lousy jobs. And then they come home in the evening and start drinking and smoking. And it isn’t very long before they start arguing with each other and shouting and throwing stuff. And it just isn’t pleasant to be there at all, especially because they almost always end up taking stuff out on me. I mean, my Dad, he whips my ass a lot and I don’t like it so that’s why I try to stay away from the place when they’re around and just sleep there instead.”
“I use to go to the library and stay there until it closed to keep away from them,” he continued. “But then the librarians caught on and figured out that I wasn’t really studying or even reading a book. So they told me I couldn’t hang out there anymore, which wasn’t too bad when the weather was nice. I could just hang out in the park across the street instead until it was time to go home. But it’s been hard this winter, what with it being so cold and all. And then this guy approached me and offered to let me stay at his place until it was time to go home. And he was buying food for me too. And I’m sure you can figure out what happened next. So that’s the deal with that.”
“Is it someone I know?” I asked, curious.
“I’m not going to say,” Tommy replied, “and you need to stop asking. You know him, but that’s all I’m going to say. If he found out I told anyone, he would be really mad. It’s bad enough he’s going to be mad at me for not being at the bus stop today when he came by. I’ll be really sorry for that tomorrow.”
“Why?” I asked. “Will he hit you?”
“Yeah, but not with his fists,” Tommy replied. “He’ll probably spank me. Look, Josh, the dude is kind of sick actually and he likes spanking me when I do something he thinks is wrong. He gets off on it. That’s the thing I hate most of all, the spankings.”
I didn’t know why, but I had a sinking feeling in my gut and I decided to take a chance.
“Is it Coach Johnson?” I asked.
I’ll never forget the look of astonishment on Tommy’s face when I said Coach’s name.
“How, um, how did you, I mean, why, um,” he stammered, unable to complete the thought at first.
“Why would you think that?” he finally blurted out, still unwilling to confirm my suspicion.
“Because he came on to me last summer,” I replied. “But fortunately I was able to get out of doing anything with him. That guy is a pedophile, Tommy. You’re right. He’s sick. You need to stop seeing him. In fact, you need to tell the Sheriff what he”s doing to you.”
“No way. No how. Forget about it,” Tommy replied, dismissing the idea. “That ain’t going to happen.”
“Why not?” I pressed.
“Well, like I said, the guy is sick for one thing. If he came on to you, you already know that, Josh. And for another he can be violent. He has a really nasty temper, just like my father. But mostly I wouldn’t do it because it’s better being at his place than at home with my parents. He feeds me; and except for the sex, he usually leaves me alone. Besides, it would just be my word against his and who’s going to believe me? No one at school does. Why would anyone else? So that’s why.”
“Plus if my parents ever find out about this, I’m dead meat with my Dad,” he added. “My father will kill me if he ever finds out I’m sucking Coach’s cock. And I’m not kidding about that either, Josh. He hates faggots. Having a son who’s a faggot? Forget it! He would rather see me dead. So I’ve already told you more than I should have, Josh. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”
I didn’t really want to drop it because I knew Tommy needed help. But I also recognized he was done talking about it for the moment as well. After that we talked about other stuff for a long time. Finally, around 10:45, I drove him back to where he lived. Where he slept was more like it because Tommy didn’t seem to have much of a life at home as best I could tell; or anywhere else for that matter.
After getting out of the car, he smiled and blew me a kiss. That surprised me and I remember going hard almost immediately.
Then he turned and went into the place.
Discouraged, I drove back home, not knowing what to think or what to do. The whole thing was a mess, a big one, that’s for sure. About the only thing I knew for certain was I needed to help Tommy deal with it somehow, just like Nolan had helped me the previous summer.