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 and you'll always find the latest chapter on my blog initially. However, I may publish more frequently on Nifty during the first month. 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 I will be away between August 20 and August 27 so there will no further postings on Nifty until August 28th at the earliest. If you would like to read ahead a couple of chapters, you can always check out my blog. If you have a comment on this chapter, on the story as a whole, or have something else you would like to say, please feel free to e-mail me during my absence. Be aware, however, that I will not be able to respond until my return.

THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER: In Chapter 8, Nolan helps Josh with his chores when the two boys oversleep. When he suggests they shower together to avoid being late for breakfast, Josh is shocked and embarrassed. Tired out from talking most of the previous evening, the two boys struggle to make it through the day. In the evening, they talk about being homosexual some more, with Josh expressing concern about never being able to kiss someone. One thing leads to another and Nolan finally agrees to kiss Josh’s goat if Josh will kiss him. When they finally do kiss, both end up liking it. Josh surprises Nolan the next day by taking him to his school and showing him how to work out on the weight machines. After dinner that evening, Nolan makes good on his promise and kisses Josh’s goat. The two boys fall asleep in each other’s arms after some more kissing.


Part I - Innocence Aroused

Chapter 9

It wasn’t long before Josh and I settled into a routine. Every day after lunch we grabbed what we needed and walked into town to his school. Josh had me work out with the weights one day and then exercise on different cardio machines the next. He said it’d be a mistake to work out with the weights every day because my muscles needed rest between weight lifting sessions.

Later, after we finished working out, we would take a shower and clean up the place. Then we would change into our suits and head off for some swimming. Usually we ended up spending the rest of the day down at the lake. Josh was trying hard to make me a stronger swimmer and I could see the results of both our weight lifting sessions and his swimming lessons soon enough.

Our evenings together were usually less programmed, partly because my parents would sometimes insist on doing things with me and partly because Josh and I liked trying different things as well. Sometimes we would go into town and hang out with his friends at the ice cream parlor. It wasn’t the most exciting thing to do, but I guess that’s how kids in Vermont killed time during the summer.

I don’t think it was a test exactly, but the fact I could pass muster as just one of the guys made the whole queer thing easier for Josh. He wasn’t ashamed or embarrassed to be seen hanging around me. And I was happy he trusted me enough to introduce me to his friends like that. Later on he told me some of the girls had even begged him to set me up on a date with them. That made both of us laugh.

When we weren't hanging out with his friends, Josh and I would take in a movie or watch television together or just go for a walk and talk about nothing much. To me it didn’t matter very much what we did. I was just happy to hang out with Josh and he seemed to feel pretty much the same way about me.

After the first couple of days just keeping an eye on me while I lifted the weights, Josh was satisfied I knew what I was doing and started working out beside me. That was good because it made a tedious chore a lot easier. When you can talk to someone while you’re using the different machines, everything goes a lot quicker and easier.

The other big benefit of having Josh work out with me was he needed to take a shower too at the end of our sessions. That meant the two of us would be naked together. Knowing my tendency to try groping him, Josh made a point of keeping his distance from me in the shower most of the time.

That was frustrating because I desperately wanted our relationship to become a lot closer than it was. But I knew Josh was still struggling with the whole queer thing so I tried my best to cut him some slack by not pushing him too hard about it.

Not that I was a saint, of course. Sometimes I would beg him for a little affection and Josh was usually pretty good about providing me with some kisses. On rare occasions, he even showed he was actually human like me!

Sometimes he would creep up and wrap his arms around me from behind while I was brushing my hair in the mirror, knowing full well he was stronger than me and could prevent me from making more of it than he was interested in. Other times he would pat me on the butt as he walked by, then flash me a smile that always left me feeling weak in the knees. I guess it was something his teammates at school did a lot.

One afternoon not very long after we had started working out together, Josh surprised me. We were down in the locker room getting dressed after our shower when he pulled me forward and started kissing me on the lips really passionately. That shocked me, but it felt totally awesome and I remember shuddering when he ran his hand under my t-shirt and started caressing my back while we kissed.

I had just started getting into that kiss in a really big way when I heard someone coughing. Opening my eyes, I saw a stranger just standing there, looking at the two of us. Josh pulled away from me immediately and started blushing big time. I didn’t know what to do so I tried to look nonchalant about the whole thing, like it wasn’t that big a deal. But I knew it was.

The guy was taller than us and in pretty good shape for his age. I couldn’t tell for sure how old he was, but I remember guessing he was a few years younger than my Dad. He wasn’t all that bad looking, but something about him bothered me. Since I couldn’t really put my finger on it, I decided to leave the talking to Josh.

By then Josh had recovered from the initial shock of seeing the guy and tried his best to deal with the situation calmly.

“Coach, what brings you here this afternoon,” he asked?

“I just came over here to check up on you, Josh, and to make sure you and your, ah, friend here weren’t destroying the place,” the guy responded, nodding at me with his head without ever really looking at me.

“Like I told you when you asked, Josh, I’m not supposed to let the two of you work out here during the summer. In fact, I could get into trouble if anything happened. But I’m doing it as a favor to you, Josh. You told me helping your friend was important to you.”

“I just didn’t know how good a friend he was,” he added, staring directly at Josh in a way that made it clear he didn’t approve of what he had seen.

“It’s not what you’re thinking, Coach. I mean, um, well, the thing is, um,” Josh stammered.

“You don’t need to explain anything right now,” the guy interjected, cutting Josh off. “I have to get back to work. The only reason I came over here at all was to make sure the two of you weren’t destroying the place. I see you’re not so that’s fine. But, yes, I do think an explanation is in order, Josh, so I want you to come by here this evening around 7:30 after I get off work and have something to eat. Meet me at my office. We can talk about it then.”

“Sure, Coach, whatever you say,” Josh replied, staring down at the floor and shuffling his feet back and forth.

“And come by yourself, Josh,” the coach interjected. “I’m not interested in talking to your friend. Or whatever he is. Understand?”

“Okay, sure thing, Coach,” Josh responded. “I’ll be here by myself. 7:30 sharp.”

With that the guy turned and walked away. When he disappeared through the door, I remember being relieved. The whole atmosphere in that locker room changed.

“Who was that,” I asked, curious?

“Oh, Jesus, that’s Coach Johnson, Nolan, and I’m in big trouble now,” Josh replied. “He coaches three of the teams I’m on at school. I hope he isn’t going to tell anyone what we were doing in here, especially my Mom.”

“Do you think you’re in trouble,” I asked?

“He saw the two of us kissing, Nolan,” Josh replied, abruptly. “Are you dense or something? Boys don’t kiss boys in Vermont.”

It was the first time Josh had ever expressed annoyance with me.

“Oh, never mind,” he continued. “I’m sorry I said that, Nolan. I apologize. But now Coach knows I’m queer. Oh, Jesus, the one time I give into my feelings and do something about it, I get caught. What am I going to do now? How do I explain this to him, Nolan?”

“Well, the thing is, I don’t really think it’s any of his business what you do, Josh,” I said. “I mean, for crying out loud, it was just a kiss. It’s not like you were raping me or something. But if it’s a problem, just tell him it was my fault. That I threw my arms around you and started kissing you and that the whole thing was such a shock you hadn’t had a chance to push me away yet.”

“Do you think he’ll believe that, Nolan,” he asked, looking at me?

It was obvious by then Josh was desperate for any explanation that seemed plausible.

But before I could even answer, he dismissed the idea.

“I mean, not that I could ever tell him that, of course,” he said. “It would be lying. I was the one who kissed you.”

“You only did it because I’ve been bugging you so much lately to show me some affection, Josh,” I replied. “So, yeah, technically you initiated the kiss, but only because I’ve been bugging you too much. It would only be a white lie and I don’t mind taking the blame. It seems like I’m the blame for every screw-up that happens so being the blame for one more won’t hurt.”

“I don’t know,” Josh said. “It doesn’t feel right to lie about it, but I really don’t know what to do. We better get out of here right now. Maybe I’ll think of something.”

We finished up pretty quickly after that and went to the lake. It was a nice day and I had fun, but I could tell Josh was distracted the whole time, trying to figure out what he could tell his coach that evening.

I really couldn’t blame him. If the situation had been reversed, I probably would have been insanely nervous as well. The whole thing bothered me a lot because I wanted to help Josh, but wasn’t sure how.

Later, after dinner, the two of us went outside.

“I guess I better get going,” Josh said. “I don’t want to do this at all, but I better not be late.”

“You want me to come along,” I asked? “I would like to be there. I could tell him the story we talked about if you want. That way it wouldn’t be you who was lying. It would be me and I don’t mind. I would do anything for you, Josh, anything at all.”

“No,” Josh replied, “he told me to come by myself. It would only make things worse if I brought you along. But thanks for offering. I appreciate it a lot. You’re really a terrific friend for offering to do that, Nolan. I guess that’s why I love you so much.”

“Okay, then, you best be going,” I replied, soaking up the compliment he had just paid me. It felt terrific, but I would have enjoyed it more if the circumstances had been different.

“But look Josh, whatever happens, you need to remember you didn’t do anything wrong,” I added. “No matter what anyone says, there’s nothing wrong with being different and nothing wrong in liking someone. And there’s definitely nothing wrong in what we did because we like each other. Just don’t forget that. And don’t apologize either, no matter what he says, because there’s nothing wrong with you, Josh, nothing at all.”

“I don’t know,” Josh replied. “I like you an awful lot, Nolan. And when the two of us are alone together, everything seems perfect. I don’t feel guilty about liking you at all. But, then, when I’m alone and start thinking about things, I just get all confused about it. Everyone I know seems to hate queers or make fun of them or both. I just don’t know what to think. I’m so confused.”

“That’s pretty normal,” I said. “It can be confusing when you’re different than everyone else. I was pretty much the same as you when I first figured out I was queer. But, the thing is, being different doesn’t make you better or worse, Josh. It just makes you different.”

“Look, you’re a terrific person, Josh,” I continued. “You’re smart. You’re good looking. You’re in terrific shape. You’re a top notch athlete. You’re someone the other students at your school like and admire. Your Mom is really proud of you. Don’t beat yourself up for being queer. Be proud of yourself. It’s part of who you are and you’re a pretty terrific person as far as I’m concerned.”

“Thanks,” Josh said, looking over at me. “I am proud of myself when I’m around you. It’s just that I’m not as brave as you think when I’m all alone. That’s why I don’t want you ever to leave me, Nolan.”

“I won’t, Josh,” I promised. “You can count on me to be there for you. But you better get going now or you’ll be late.”

With that Josh gave me a nervous smile and headed off for town, his shoulders slumped and his head bowed down. Everything about him just shouted dead man walking. It made me really sad.

I had known all along Josh would insist on going off by himself, but I wasn’t about to abandon him now. When he was out of sight, I started toward town as well, making sure to stay hidden from Josh. I could tell Josh was dreading his meeting with the coach because he took the long away over to the school. But that was good from my point of view because it allowed me to get to the school before him.

I was pretty familiar with the school by then and quickly made my way to the gymnasium. There were actually two offices side by side in the gym, one for each of the coaches. The wall that separated them had one of those louvered vents pretty high up that would allow me to see and hear what was happening in Coach Johnson’s office if I stood on the desk pressed against the wall.

I had brought along my cell phone thinking maybe I should record the whole thing. A couple of minutes later Josh showed up and sat down. It was 7:30 on the nose, but Coach Johnson still wasn’t there. In fact, he never showed up until 7:45. By then I could tell Josh was nervous as hell just from the way he was fidgeting.

When Coach Johnson finally did show up, I could see he was carrying a folder. He sat down at his desk and spread the contents in front of himself.

“Sorry to be late, Josh,” he said. “I’ve been in the principal’s office looking at your student folder. You’re a very good student, Josh. Excellent grades. All your teachers say very nice things about you. Definitely college material. But I know your father died several years back and your mother is struggling to make a go of things at the farm. If you could get into college, would you go, Josh?”

“I would like to, Coach,” Josh responded.

I could tell from his voice he was relieved the conversation was about anything other than being caught kissing me.

“But it all depends on whether I can get a scholarship, a full one,” he added. “I don’t see how we can afford it if I don’t get a full scholarship.”

“That’s probably a good assessment, Josh,” Coach Johnson replied. “And while your grades are excellent, really the second best in your class, this is a pretty small school and I’m not sure they’re good enough to get an academic scholarship, at least one that would pay the entire cost of college. It might only pay some of the cost.”

“Of course, you do have one other important thing going for you, Josh,” the coach continued. “You’re an excellent athlete. Football. Gymnastics. Swimming. Hockey and baseball. In addition to being good, you’re a very well rounded athlete and there are a lot of athletic scholarships out there for a young man like you.”

“The thing is, while grades are important, getting one of those scholarships also depends a lot on what kind of recommendation you get from your coaches,” he added. “Most colleges can’t really afford to have someone recruiting athletes for them full time so they rely on what they hear from their high school colleagues, especially those they know and trust. Since I coach three of the teams you’re on, my recommendation would be very important, especially since I know a lot of the coaches at the different colleges around New England and New York. I have a good working relationship with most of them and they value my opinion highly.”

“Well, I was hoping the athletics would help,” Josh responded. “That’s why I work so hard at them. But, like you said, I know a lot depends upon how good a recommendation I get.”

“That’s right, Josh,” Coach Johnson said. “It does. And the thing is, at least up until today, I was planning on giving you an excellent recommendation, my very best. But what I saw today gives me pause, Josh. It makes me wonder. It really does. Why were you kissing that boy, Josh?”

“Umm, well, I don’t know, Coach,” Josh replied, stammering, then staring down at the floor and fidgeting in his chair. “I mean, well, um, you see it wasn’t really me, Coach. It was him. Nolan, I mean. That’s his name. He’s staying at our farmhouse with his parents this month. And, the thing is, well, I was just standing there and he came over and kissed me.”

And then Josh just stopped and started fidgeting around in his chair even more.

“No, that’s not what I want to say,” he finally continued. “It was me. I kissed him, Coach, not the other way around. And, well, I mean, umm, the thing is, well, I think maybe I’m different from the other boys, Coach.”

“Different how, Josh,” the coach asked?

“Well, you know, Coach, I’m not exactly sure how to put it, and maybe I am just going through a phase, but I seem to be attracted to boys for some reason, Coach.”

“Well, I certainly hope it’s only a phase, Josh,” Coach Johnson replied. “I certainly hope so. Because I don’t know any college coach who would want a faggot on his team. It’s very hard getting boys to function together as team. You know that, Josh. Having a faggot on a team makes it damn near impossible. So that would make it very, very, difficult for me to recommend you or for you to get an athletic scholarship. If you were a faggot, I mean.”

He paused to let the words sink in and I remember cringing. I could only imagine what Josh was feeling right about then.

“But, like you said, Josh, I think it’s probably just a phase you’re going through,” he continued. “It’s fairly normal, actually, for a boy your age. Now, as for what happened, I could see how it happened. That boy you were with, the one you’ve been trying to help out, is pretty obviously a faggot. Queer as a three dollar bill. So I would guess he’s been trying to come on to you, Josh; and being a normal boy, with raging hormones like other boys your age, I can understand why you might like to use that little faggot as a sexual outlet.”

By this time I was getting pretty hot under the collar. I didn’t mind being insulted. In fact, I was happy to be insulted if it was going to get Josh off the hook with the coach. But there was just something about the whole thing that made me sick to my stomach. Still, I knew it would only make things harder for Josh if I made my presence known so I just bit my lip and continued to keep my presence hidden.

“Well, no, Coach, that isn’t really fair to Nolan,” Josh said. “He’s a good friend and I like him.”

“I’m sure you do, Josh,” Coach Johnson interjected, cutting him off. “But it’s very dangerous for you to be nice to him, Josh, because faggots like that can’t keep their mouths shut. That boy will spill the beans to everyone if you do something with him. Maybe he already has for all you know. And you know how that would play in a small town like this, Josh. It wouldn’t play very well at all. So you need to break off that relationship, Josh, especially if you have any hope of getting an athletic scholarship and going to college.”

“Now, of course, that still leaves us with a normal boy who has lots of raging hormones,” the coach continued. “So I do think it would be good for you to have a sexual outlet, Josh. You’re old enough now and, the truth is, the two of us are pretty much in the same boat when it comes to sex. As I’m sure you know, my wife and I recently separated and I could use an outlet as well. It’s been really hard not having one.”

“That’s why I invited you over here tonight, Josh,” he continued. “Because, the thing is, I would definitely like you to get one of those athletic scholarships to a good college. But there’s lots of competition for those, even here at our school. There are other athletes who are very good as well, like Wayne. He's not as well rounded an athlete as you and definitely not as smart as you, but he's the best quarterback in central Vermont and you know how big football is at the collegiate level. So I could have a hard time deciding who to give my best recommendation to unless something tilts my decision one way or another. Do you understand what I’m saying, Josh?”

You fucking loser, I remember thinking to myself, you sick son of a bitch, trying to take advantage of Josh. I can’t believe what a piece of scum you are. I was getting hotter by the minute now.

“I think I understand, Coach,” Josh replied, nervously, “but, like I said, you’re wrong about Nolan. He isn’t at all like how you describe him. And I like him. And as for the rest of it, Coach, I can understand how you must feel being separated from your wife and all. I’m sure you must miss her a lot. But it just doesn’t feel right to me, Coach, and I wouldn’t be a very good substitute for her anyways.”

“That’s for me to decide, Josh,” Coach Johnson replied, sternly. “And I already have. What you have to decide is much easier.”

“On the one hand, you can get up and leave now,” he continued. “And I’ll have to report what I saw to the principal. And you know how that goes, Josh. First the principal will know, then before too long the whole faculty will know, and eventually the word will get out to all the kids in school. There are no secrets in a small town school like this. You know that, Josh. So people will know what went on and I doubt they’ll be quite as forgiving as me. And that doesn’t even take into account everything you’ll be throwing away, like one of those athletic scholarships to college.”

“Or, on the other hand,” he continued, “you can consider my offer in a more positive light. No one will ever know. You’ll undoubtedly get one of those athletic scholarships and go off to college. Instead of the Army, which I imagine would be the only other option for someone like you when you turn 18.”

“Do you remember Anthony, Josh,” the coach suddenly asked? “Anthony Torricelli?”

“Sure,” Josh responded. “He was the captain of our basketball team last year.”

“And a hell of an athlete, Josh,” the Coach said. “A hell of an athlete. Kind of like you in some ways. Came from a poor family. Excellent athlete. Just average grades, though, not at all like yours. I knew it would be a waste of time to give him my very best recommendation because of those grades of his. They were never going to fly with an Admissions Committee so I couldn’t give him my best recommendation. His parents didn’t have enough money to send him to college so he never even applied. He ended joining the Army instead. It’s kind of sad, really.”

“What’s sad,” Josh asked?

“Anthony,” the Coach replied. “We just got the news a few days ago he was killed over there in North Burkistan. It shocked me, Josh, really shocked the hell out of me. A terrible waste if you ask me.”

Again, the Coach paused to let his words sink in.

“That’s terrible news, Coach,” Josh responded. “Everyone liked Anthony. He was just a terrific guy. He even took time to help me out. I can’t believe he’s dead.”

“Well, like I said, I’m afraid he is,” the Coach replied. “But your grades are better than his, Josh, much better, so I think college is a real option for you; and a much better one for you than the Army I think. If you know how to play ball, of course; and you’re a good enough athlete to know how to play ball, aren’t you Josh?”

“Well, um, I don’t think, I mean, um, I,” Josh was stammering, trying to get the words out. “I can’t. I just can’t do that, Coach,” he finally blurted out, standing up and pushing his chair away from the desk. “It would be wrong. I need to leave now.”

I remember being very proud of Josh. I wondered whether I would have been brave enough to say no.

“Listen, you little shit,” the Coach suddenly screamed at Josh, standing up and grabbing him by the arm. “We can do this the easy way or the hard way. I’ve been trying to make this as easy as I can on you. But I’m going to fuck that tight little ass of yours before this night is over one way or the other. It’s up to you whether we do it the easy way or the hard way. Do you understand?”

Josh struggled to get away but the coach was holding him tight and he couldn’t break free. I couldn’t take it anymore. Something needed to be done.

“Leave him alone,” I screamed, jumping down from the desk and rushing next door. “Take your fucking hands off of him, you slime ball,” I added.

“What the fuck,” the coach said, looking at me, then at Josh. “I told you to come by yourself.”

“I did, Coach,” Josh said. “He must have followed me.”

“Yeah, I followed you, Josh,” I said. “Because I had this guy pegged as a creep from the first moment I saw him. And I’ve got this whole fucking conversation recorded, too,” I added, pointing my cell phone toward the coach. “So you had better back off now, asshole, before I take this to the cops.”

Coach Johnson turned away from Josh momentarily and lunged at me, trying to grab my phone. But I was too quick for him and backed out of the door to his office.

“It doesn’t even matter if you get it,” I added. “Because I saw the whole thing so it isn’t just your word against Josh’s, Coach. Josh has a witness. So you better sit down right now and maybe the three of us can work something out.”

I was kind of surprised when he didn’t come charging after me, but decided to sit down instead. It was the first time I could ever recall an adult doing something because I told them to do it.

“What the hell do you want, you little faggot,” Coach Johnson asked?

“I would rather be a faggot than what you are,” I shot back. “But as for what I want, I want a couple of things. First of all, I want you to leave Josh alone and not just right now either. I want you to steer clear of him in the future as well. Yeah, you’re going to be his coach, I suppose. And, yeah, you’re going to have to see each other more than either of you will like. But I want you to try just being a coach for a change, not a predator.”

“And the second thing is, I don’t want you screwing with Josh’s chances to get into college. So you had better plan on giving him your very best recommendation or else. If you do both those things, this recording will remain between the three of us. But if I get any hint from Josh you’re screwing with him or trying to hurt his chances of getting into college, this will go to the police. Understood?”

“It was all just a joke,” the coach offered lamely, “a test really. I was just trying to find out whether Josh was a faggot like you. I can tell he isn’t. So everything will be okay between the two of us. You can count on that. And he’s the best athlete we have so he’ll get my best recommendation to whatever colleges he applies to.”

“Good,” I replied. “I’m glad to hear that. So now Josh and I will be leaving and you can do whatever you want, Coach, including going to hell. Come on, Josh,” I added. “Let’s get out of here.”

And with that the two of us beat a hasty retreat.

[Please check the Author Notes in the header above for the posting schedule if you haven’t done so]