This story is fiction. It depicts, sometimes explicitly, sex between teenage boys, between boys and men, and between boys and females, both teenage and adult. If you find such things offensive, or reading such things is illegal where you live, please read no further.

XXI. More Decisions

Friday night. A full week of summer school down, only five more to go! This had been one barn burner of a week, and two young queers were ready to go dancing! Actually they were ready for most anything that could be called celebrating, and dancing was a good place to start. "You two are sure looking good tonight," Mom Edwards exclaimed when they came downstairs.

"Thanks, Mom," Dan replied. "We've got to hurry though. The girls are expecting us at eight sharp."

"Well, you two have a good time, but don't forget, we have to drive Dad to the airport early in the morning."

They were ready to celebrate! They were ready to party! They were ready to dance the night away! And this was the perfect night to do it. Street dances, or in this cases park dances, were nothing new in Truro, Nova Scotia. They were held in the park, on one side of town, most Friday nights during the summer. But this one was special. This was the July 1st weekend. July first is Canada's equivalent of America's Fourth of July, and it was always a big celebration in Truro. There was an old fashioned bandstand where band concerts were held on Sundays; tonight it housed a local band, and a good one. There was a large concrete pad, large enough for at least a thousand dancers. Within sight of the bandstand was a large pond, with ducks swimming lazily around. At the stroke of midnight, as the band played its last number, there would be fireworks, set off from the other side of the pond. Of course there would be refreshments: hot dogs, hamburgers, the Eastern Canadian/English staple: fish 'n chips. Every soft drink known to man was available. Of course there would be stronger drinks around, but these were against the rules and therefore kept and drunk discreetly.

Charlie and Dan had been attending these annual celebrations, always together, since they were tiny boys. Charlie's mom had brought him when she was able, the pair meeting the Edwards' and their son Danny at the park. Charlie and Dan had always watched the dancers, totally charmed by their fluid movements. They had never joined in because they'd never learned to dance. This year, there was no one there who could dance any better. This year they were ready.

What they were not ready for was the emotion that flooded their very beings as they danced every dance: Charlie with Lisa, Dan with Margaret. Then they switched. Then they danced with a few of the other girls. They were having the time of their lives! Several of the boys, and even some of the girls, offered both Charlie and Dan a drink of something stronger than coke. When they declined, they got called wimpy queers, gutless fags, or simply women! But tonight it didn't matter; tonight they were as high as anyone there; high on emotion, on fulfilled dreams, on the satisfaction of knowing that they had the self confidence, the ability, to do anything! They didn't need booze, nor did they need the approval of their peers! All they needed was each other.

"So why don't you dance with him?" Lisa asked as the time was approaching midnight.

"Huh?" Charlie responded. "What d'you mean by that?"

"You've wanted to all evening, Charlie. Every time he comes close to you, I can see it in your eyes. It's almost a hunger. You told me you and he have danced in that club you went to in Daytona, and according to Dan you were really good together. So why don't you dance with him?"

"Lisa," Charlie said, "you're my date tonight! I'm tryin' really hard to be a good escort. That would be selfish!"

"It wouldn't be selfish at all! And for your information, you're the perfect date! You're a great dancer, your manners are impeccable. You're attentive, friendly and talkative. And I don't have to worry about you wanting a roll in the hay after the dance. You're the perfect date! But I for one would like to see you REALLY dance! Like, I mean, the way you dance with someone you really love. There's a fast number coming up, so why not just go for it?"

Charlie did. Lisa gave him a gentle push in Dan's direction, just as Dan was getting up to lead Margaret to the dance floor. Charlie grabbed the astonished boy's hand and jerked him out on the floor, saying "Sorry, Marg, this one's ours!"

This had been a good choice. The music was familiar to them; it had a great beat, the band played it well; Dan and Charlie had danced to this song many times. They were in sync, a pleasure to watch no matter what your sexual orientation. Their dance could not have been choreographed any better, but they didn't even notice. They also didn't notice, until it was over, that they were the only ones dancing. The crowded floor had slowly cleared as the two teens virtually floated through their moves. Everyone, it seemed, wanted to watch, so graceful, so well timed, so coordinated were their moves. Nancy and Clarke Edwards had come down to watch the fireworks, and now stood at the edge of the dancing area watching the two boys. Neither spoke a word.

The fast number could be explained; justified if you like. It could be said that the two boys were simply very skilled dancers who were demonstrating their prowess. Many, perhaps most, people knew better, but those who were uncomfortable with the sight of two faggot teens dancing together could use the demonstration rationale if they wanted. But when the number was over, "last dance" was announced. Before the band started a man neither Charlie nor Dan knew stepped up to the mike and announced that he had a special request.

"This is a little unusual," the man said. "Two girls, whose names are Lisa and Margaret, have jointly requested this song for their dates, Charlie and Dan. They said the boys would understand, and that no one else needs to."

The band started. A soloist started. The boys recognized the song instantly, and without even thinking about it, they were dancing again. A few other couples started to dance as they recognized the song. It was a rather old rock 'n roll love song from the fifties, still popular in Truro:

The New Year's Eve we did the town,

The day we tore the goal post down

We will have these moments to remember.

The quiet walks, the noisy fun

The ballroom prize we almost won

We will have these moments to remember.

Though summer turns to winter, and the present disappears

The laughter we were glad to share will echo through the years.

When other nights and other days

may find us gone our separate ways,

We will have these moments to remember.

The drive-in movie where we'd go

And somehow never watch the show

We will have these moments to remember.

Though summer turns to winter, and the present disappears

The laughter we were glad to share will echo through the years.

When other nights and other days

may find us gone our separate ways,

We will have these moments to remember.

Just as the song was ending, as Charlie and Dan were staring intently into each other's eyes, the fireworks started. They hardly noticed. They wanted to kiss so badly they ached! But they were not so lost in their love that they didn't know that would be a very bad idea. Dancing that slow number had been really pushing the envelope and they knew it; but kissing, they both knew, would be well over the line. Fortunately the girls joined them to watch the fireworks.

"Thanks for the dedication, Lisa," Charlie said. Then he added an apology for not dancing the last dance with her.

"Not a problem," she replied. "We got so much more pleasure out of watching you two. You really are in love, aren't you?"

"More than you'll ever know," Dan said to both girls. "We feel guilty though, dating you girls and then doing things like that right in front of you. If we take you out, we have certain obligations to you as our dates."

"We understand how it is," Margaret said. "Actually, I'm glad that happened. I've known about homosexuality for a long time, but my ideas were so warped! I had no idea that gay love meant love, I mean real love. But the way you two danced that number didn't leave much room for doubt. I'm betting there's a lot more people here who learned a lesson too."

Well, Margaret was right. There were a lot of people that night who received an education. In Truro, Nova Scotia, in 1966, most of the people, young and old, thought of gay love as merely a sexual thing. They had no concept of the idea that two people of the same gender could actually fall in love. Those whose minds were not totally closed learned a lot about love that Friday night. But there were also those who found the display absolutely disgusting. There were those who believed what they'd seen was simply a blatant display of the defiance of two perverted teens. They made certain, as the crowd watched the fireworks, that the two queers heard their opinions.

"That was so cool!" Dan remarked as they drove home.

"Everybody didn't think it was that great." Charlie grumbled.

"The hell with 'em!" Lisa said vehemently. "You guys didn't do any harm. I thought it was beautiful, and so did anyone else who took the trouble to look, I mean REALLY look!"

I don't get it," Charlie said. "You've made no secret that you wouldn't mind going with me, and yet we go out, and while we're out I do something like I did tonight that tells you loud and clear that I'm in love with someone else, and you call it beautiful! You've got every right to be really pissed!"

"I have no right at all to be pissed, Charlie. You've never made any secret how things are. You've told me dozens of times that you enjoy my friendship, but that's all it is. You've got to quit beating yourself up over this! We know how it is. We just plain love being with you guys! I thought you'd get that message from the dedication."

"Oh yeah," Charlie said, "The dedication. What was that all about anyway?"

"You didn't like it?"

"I loved it! But, I mean, Moments To Remember? What gives?"

"You forget, Charlie, this is a small town. Word travels through here like wildfire. You already said you have to take Mr. And Mrs. Edwards to the airport in the morning. With the rumors flying around, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to put it all together. You're all leaving, right? Mr. Edwards is going for a job interview, and a big one, right? That song was for all of us, Charlie, not just you and Dan! We're gonna enjoy you two while you're here, because we know it isn't gonna last. Probably just as well too. I hate to say it, but Truro still isn't ready for you. It's our loss, but the town just isn't ready."

"You don't think so? Frankly I was surprised we didn't get lynched after we danced together in the park. I thought it went rather well."

"You didn't hear the comments we heard, Charlie. You haven't heard the talk around town. It's killing me to tell you this, but you have to know. Some of us have come a long way, and I hope I'm one of them. I really care about you and Dan, I guess maybe I love you both in a way, but I know you don't want to hear that, so let's just leave it that I care. The truth is I care enough that I don't want to see you hurt, and I think you could get hurt really bad in this town."

Lisa had a lot more to say, but she had started to cry. "I'm sorry, Charlie," she said through her tears, "but you've got to know. I know now after seeing you and Dan together, that you and I have no future, but right now that's not what's important. What's important now is to make sure you have all the facts before you make any decisions. And one of the facts is, there are people in this town who want to hurt you. They just... they just can't live with the idea that you two are so much in love."

"I know," Dan said.

"You know?" Charlie questioned. "You know what?"

"I know we can't live here, Charlie. I've always known, and the last week has confirmed it. It's just not gonna work!"

"If you're talking about all the comments at school," Charlie countered, "it'll pass, Dan. Even Ernie Provost has told Lisa he thinks we're cool."

"He told whom?"

"He told Lisa. You knew about that!"

"Uh-huh. I knew. He told Lisa! What did he tell you, Charlie?"

"I haven't been talking to him."

"Exactly. He told Lisa we're cool, but he didn't tell you or me. He hasn't spoken to you or me! And he won't, either! And what good are his thoughts if he keeps them to himself?"

"It's a start, Dan. Some things take time."

"Uh-huh. Years. We don't have years, Charlie! We're teenagers now! We're in what everybody tells us are the best years of our lives! So if they're so great, how come I feel so shitty all the time? How come we're always watching over our shoulders to see who's gettin' ready to jump us? How come we're always listening to hear what the whispered comments are? If these are the best years of our lives, how come we're even having this conversation? And how come we were happier living in Daytona, selling our bodies, enduring humiliations that society says were so horrible? How come, Charlie?"

Charlie didn't have answers, nor did anyone else. The questions Dan was asking were perfectly reasonable and rational, but still no one had answers. "It'll get better, Dan," Charlie said weakly.

"I know it will," Dan answered. "But it'll be too late for us. The fact is, Charlie, this simply isn't gonna work. The only thing that's gonna keep me here is you. I hope my dad gets that new job 'cause then we'll all be moving. But even if he doesn't, I don't think I can stay here and be happy. If you insist on staying I will too, but it's not what I want. I hate losing my parents, but I can't stay here. We were right to leave last November, and as far as I can see, nothing's changed."

Lisa looked at Charlie questioningly. "Answer him, Charlie!" she ordered."

"Answer him?" Charlie questioned.

"Yes, dammit! Answer him! Danny just told you he would stay here for you even though it hurts. Answer him! He needs to know where you stand."

"He knows, Lisa."

"He doesn't know anything, Charlie! You dummy! Answer him! Let him know where he stands, and where you stand!"

"Yeah," Charlie said, "I guess maybe... Uhhh... Dan, we'll work it out, ok? I mean, we'll talk about it, and whatever seems best, whatever we agree we need to do, we'll do. And we'll do it together."

"I know, Charlie," Dan answered, "I know you care and we'll work it out. I just hope Dad gets that job."

"I don't want this night to ever end," Lisa said, "but you guys have to drive Dan's dad to the airport in the morning. Let's call it a night, ok? Only you gotta promise you'll call us as soon as you get back from the airport, please?"

"We won't know any more then than we do now," Charlie said.

"I know that!" Lisa said with disgust. "We just want to spend the time with you guys! Can't you get it through your head that Marg and I really like you guys?"

"Yeah," Charlie said, "I can get that in my head. But can't you get it in your head that we're in love with each other? That we're gay, and therefore you're gonna catch some horrible disease if you touch us too much? We're contaminated with some horrible affliction, Lisa."

"Self pity doesn't look good on you, Charlie. Yes, we know you're gay. We know you're hopelessly in love with each other. But we also know you're two incredible human beings. We want to spend time with you, because you're not your typical scatterbrained teenagers. We like you guys! I'd kill to be your lover and I think Marg would too to be Danny's! But failing that, the least you can do is let us be friends, ok?"

Margaret agreed enthusiastically.

"Yeah," Charlie said sheepishly, "ok."

"Ok then. Now kiss me, you stupid adorable faggot, then get your tails home so you can get up in the morning. G'Night, gorgeous!"

Dan's parents were already asleep when the boys got home, so they crept quietly upstairs and went to bed. They wanted to talk, and they really wanted to make love, but they did neither. They were exhausted, both physically and emotionally; they undressed without speaking a word and crawled in bed where they spooned their naked bodies together. "'Night, gorgeous," Dan whispered as Charlie kissed his neck, and they were asleep almost instantly.

The boys took a drive into Halifax after dropping Dan's parents at the airport. They felt sure there was no way right now that they could make an appearance anywhere in Truro without being recognized, and they decided a day of anonymity would be a welcome change. They didn't do much, really, just wandered around town, taking in the sights of the city. It was warm and pleasant, so they simply parked the car and walked around all day. Early in the evening they found a little seafood restaurant on the waterfront where they had a nice meal, then headed for home. The house would be empty, of course, and they were certainly not going to waste an empty house!

When the Lincoln pulled in the driveway of the Edwards home, there were two girls sitting on the front porch. "You guys were supposed to call us!" Lisa scolded.

"Yeah, I guess," Charlie answered. "We decided to drive into Halifax. It was such a nice warm day, we just spent the whole day hanging out."

"We could've gone with you," Margaret pointed out.

"Uhhh... Marg," Dan said with a foolish grin on his face, "please don't take this personally, but, well, we kinda needed some time to ourselves."

"Oh," Margaret responded. "So does that mean, like, you don't want company tonight?"

"Marg," Charlie said, "what Dan meant is..."

"What Dan meant," Lisa interrupted, "is exactly what he said, that you guys need some time to yourselves. We understand that, Charlie. C'mon, Margaret, we just got the brush-off."

"Not at all!" Charlie argued. "In fact, we could use a couple hours of dancing, couldn't we, Dan?"

"Yeah, man!" Dan exclaimed enthusiastically. "You gals know any place where we can dance tonight?"

"You got it, Tonto!" Margaret replied. "Last one in the Lincoln is a wimp!"

"Gotcha!" Dan said with a grin. "I got the keys, so I don't know who's gonna be last, but I'm gonna be first."

"You gotta open the door for the ladies," Charlie reminded him.

"Ok," Dan answered with a mischievous grin, "soon as you show me a lady, I'll open the door for her."

Dan's insulting comment, meant of course in jest, set the tone for the evening. The girls did indeed know of a spot where teens go on Saturday night to dance, hang out, make out, be together, whatever teens do on a warm Saturday night in a small town in eastern Canada. They danced every dance; they laughed and made fun of each other; they forgot for a few hours summer school, their missing comrade, their dilemma, their parents, Jane, their burned out home. For a few hours, the world and everything in it was good. This was living! This was the world of carefree teenagers!

"You have fun tonight, Dan?" Charlie asked when they were in bed.

"Yeah, man." Dan answered, "the best! But the best is yet to come!"

"That's what I was thinking. But tonight I wanna do something different."

"Yeah? Like what?"

"Trust me?"

"You know I do. To the end of the earth."

"Ok then. Just lie on your back and don't move, ok?"


"Dan, you said you trust me. So trust me already!"

Charlie got out of bed and turned on the ceiling light. He looked at Dan, lying naked on the bed, uncovered, vulnerable, trusting. His eyes were closed, his chest rising and falling gently with his breathing. "God, you're gorgeous!" Charlie exclaimed. He turned off the light. When he reached the bed he turned on the bedside lamp, then moved to the foot of the bed. One by one he took all ten of Dan's toes in his mouth and sucked gently, his tongue working its way between the toes as he did. Dan jumped slightly and quivered, moaning softly. After sucking each toe individually, he worked his way over the rest of Dan's feet.

When he had finished with the feet, Charlie began slowly licking, sucking, nuzzling his way slowly up Dan's lithe legs. Dan was already having a great deal of trouble lying still, but Charlie kept reminding him "Remember, you promised to trust me."

Charlie's hands were not still as he made his way slowly up the legs of his lover. His left hand slid under Dan's buttocks and kneaded gently, while his right found Dan's balls, hanging limp in a very distended sack, and began squeezing and kneading them gently as he continued his journey northward.

Dan's hands began to reach for Charlie... any part of Charlie... but Charlie pushed them away. "My treat tonight," he whispered as he licked at the underside of Dan's right knee, "you're not allowed to move."

By the time Charlie had made it to Dan's crotch, Dan was nearly wild with desire, with anticipation. He yelped when he felt one of his balls slip into Charlie's hot mouth. Charlie held it there, rolled it around with his tongue, then sucked hard as he emitted a low moan, the vibration traveling from his throat to his mouth, then into the entrapped testicle, causing Dan to quiver again. Charlie released it, then repeated the process with the other one. Then both. That tongue slipped under the scrotum until it found the anus, then gently but firmly entered. Dan was squealing with delight, knowing what was coming next. But he was wrong. Dan knew, and evidently Charlie did too, that if Charlie took Dan's cock in his mouth the resulting explosion would be almost instant. So Charlie didn't.

Dan felt Charlie's lips brushing his own. He opened his mouth slightly without opening his eyes. As Charlie's tongue entered, Dan could taste, or was it smell, or perhaps both, his own essence. Charlie's face had just been buried in his crotch, his mouth just had a large part of Dan's sexuality inside it. Now the scent he had found there was being shared with its owner. They kissed long and deep and thorough. Then Charlie moved on again. The left ear got licked until it was slimy; then the right. Charlie sucked on Dan's throat, where his Adam's Apple would have been if he'd had one. Down to the right nipple. Dan's hands would no longer obey his orders to be still as they grasped Charlie's hair, as Charlie sucked hard on that nipple, with his tongue working constantly. Now the left nipple, this time biting gently as his left hand cupped Dan's balls, then stroked his raging member ever so gently.

It seemed to Dan that Charlie had spent at least an hour sucking and licking his navel, then another month and a half running his pubic hairs, every one of them, one at a time, through his lips. Meanwhile Dan was absolutely positive at least fifty times that he was coming, but he never did. Then finally, when he didn't think he could stand it any longer, he felt the soft warmth of Charlie's lips as Charlie slowly, gently, lovingly took Dan's most sensitive body part in his mouth. Dan uttered a low guttural growl as Charlie lowered himself on Dan's member, which was larger, hotter, more sensitive than he'd ever seen it. It reached the back of Charlie's mouth, but there was still more. Charlie used every minute particle of control he could muster to resist the urge to gag, and slid the raging head on down his throat.

Dan shuddered as he felt himself impaling Charlie even more deeply. Charlie bottomed out and exhaled hotly into Dan's pubic bush. He withdrew until only the head was still in his mouth, then with a loud moan he again descended, this time sliding the head smoothly down his throat, all the time growling so that the vibration was transmitted to Dan via his buried manhood. "OMYGOD, CHARLIE!" Dan screamed as Charlie's right index finger penetrated his anus.

Charlie repeated the process. Each time he had only the head in his mouth, he sucked hard, as if to extract some hidden flavor from an all day sucker. But this sucker was not about to last all day!

"CHARRRRLLLIIEEEEEEEE! I'm CUMMMMIIIINNNNGGGGG!" Dan screamed. But he needn't have bothered, because Charlie was well aware as every fiber in Dan's body began to quiver, his grip on Charlie's head tightened and his fingernails dug into Charlie's scalp. Charlie withdrew until he could get his tongue against the slit where the eruption was about to take place, made sure his lips were sealed tightly around the shaft so nothing would leak out, and held on as wave after wave of Dan's orgasm filled his mouth.

After the storm was over and Charlie was sure there was no more nectar to extract, Charlie continued to suck on the wilting thing in his mouth. He knew it would be extremely sensitive so he was very gentle. When the erection was completely gone and he could bear to release it, he slid his body northward until his face and Dan's were two inches apart. They kissed deeply, the last remnants of Dan's explosion shared as their tongues danced and their hands grasped each other's head. "I love you, Danny Edwards," Charlie whispered when they finally broke the kiss.

"I love you too, Charlie Nelson," Dan answered. "Did anyone ever tell you that you're one hell of a lover?"

"Yeah," Charlie said, "You've told me lots of times. But you're biased."

"Biased, in love, whatever. But I'm one happy dude!"

"Yeah, man, me too! You're the greatest, Dan!"

"My turn," Dan said as he groped Charlie's still very hard sex.

"Not tonight, handsome," Charlie said. "Just hold me. I want to go to sleep with your taste fresh in my mouth, that whole experience still fresh in my mind."

"But... aren't you gonna get off at all?"

"Nope. Just go to sleep in my arms, handsome."

Well, Charlie did get off, but not until they were both sleeping soundly. When the wet dream came, it came in torrents that very effectively glued Dan and Charlie together from navel to crotch. They both woke up, realized what had happened, kissed as they giggled at the mess Charlie's wet dream had made, and went back to sleep. This was Charlie's first wet dream in a very long time.

Sunday morning it was raining, a typical cold rainy Nova Scotia day. It was a perfect day for staying in bed, so that's precisely what our two heros did. They hadn't had this much time to themselves since leaving Florida, so they made it a mini-honeymoon, and just romped about in the bed all day.

Clarke and Nancy Edwards were gone over a week. They called home every night, as arranged, to check on things. Dan and Charlie were doing fine, Dan told them; no, they had not heard from Jerry. Yes, they had called John Jenkins regularly, and yes, Chuck had been in contact with Jerry but would divulge nothing except that he was ok. In spite of the regular contact, it was two relieved teenagers... well, make that four teenagers, who met the Edwards' at the airport. Lisa and Margaret had been Charlie and Dan's constant companions the entire week, and were not about to be left out of the reunion at the airport.

"So, tell us!" Dan said as they were all in the Lincoln, headed back to Truro.

"Tell you what?" Clarke said with a grin.

"Don't do this to us, Dad!" Dan scolded. "Are we moving or not?"

"I don't know, Danny. We haven't made a decision yet."

"Dad," Dan said impatiently, "Quit clowning around. You've been gone more than a week, and that's all you've got to say? You haven't made a decision yet?"

"Ok, son, I guess that's not fair. Yes, we had a fabulous week. As you know, Jane met us in Boston, flew with us to Atlanta. She has some holdings there. I think there are five commercial buildings and a small shopping center, and some land downtown that is probably going to be developed by the city. Then we flew to Richmond, Virginia. Again, two or three office buildings and some vacant land. Next we flew to Charlston, South Carolina. Again, some real estate downtown, but nothing major. From there we went to Daytona. I can really see why you boys fell in love with that place. In spite of the heat, it is really a beautiful city."

"You were in Daytona?" Dan said. "Did you see Jerry? John? Did you hear anything?"

"We spent an evening with the Jenkins', and really enjoyed them. They certainly think a lot of you three boys."

"But what about Jerry? Have they heard? Do they know anything?"

"They've told you everything they know. We took a drive past the townhouse where you lived. I hope you don't mind, but we wanted to see it. It's still barricaded off by police, but we could see enough to know you weren't living in a slum. But I'm afraid we don't know any more about Jerry than you do."

"So what about the job?" Dan demanded. "You gonna take it? You think you can do it?"

"It's a big job. I've gotta say, Charlie, Jane sure thinks a lot of you. She told me she never had to learn about being rich, because she always was. But you taught her how to be human! She said you and Dan, and mostly you because she spent most of her time with you, taught her how to be humble, and proud, and caring, and a lot of other things that don't come easily to people like her. Oh, and Charlie, she asked me to tell you that she behaved the entire week. I'm not sure what that means, but she said you'd know."

"Yes, sir," Charlie said with a grin, "I know. But the job..."

"All I've told you so far is pretty well what I've done anyway, on a larger scale. But the big thing... I just don't know..."

"What big thing?" Dan demanded.

"OK," Clarke said, "I guess you have earned the right to know it all. I assume you all know something about Disneyland in California?"

"Yes, sir," Dan answered. Everyone else nodded.

"They are planning something like that near Orlando. And Jane owns a lot of the land they're talking about using. She wouldn't tell me how she got it, but she owns it now. She also has several other holdings in the Orlando area that are already prime real estate, but of course if this Disneyland thing takes off, they will all go through the roof! That was her primary reason for hiring someone new. Her present manager is crooked as a snake, and she doesn't trust him to take on this project. She wanted someone who is honest, but still a good businessman and not easily pushed around."

"That's you, Dad!" Dan said proudly. Everyone could see the admiration in Dan's face.

"I hope so, son," Clarke answered.

"So," Dan said excitedly, "you gonna take it?"

"That's pretty well up to three boys," Clarke answered. "I've committed to giving you all a home and I don't back away from commitments. It means we'd have to move to Florida, probably live in Daytona, Jacksonville or Orlando. No more Nova Scotia any time soon. This is a long term commitment, and once we get into it there's no backing out."

"Really?" Dan questioned.

"Really," Clarke answered.

"When do you have to give your answer?" Dan asked.

"I told her I'd get back to her within a week. I said I had to talk to all three of you, and you all have to give your blessing."

"You've already got mine," Charlie said.

"Me too," Dan said, "and the sooner the better."

"Ok, Dan," Clarke said shaking his head, "now I'm confused. I thought you'd be the problem. I thought you were the prime mover in the decision to move back here. And now you're saying the sooner the better?"

"Uh-huh. It's not gonna work, Dad," Dan said as he started to cry. "As bad as I want to come back here and just be a happy teen again, I can't. I can't ever live here again, not like we did."

"What's happened, Dan?" Nancy asked with concern. "You seemed so happy, so committed to staying when we left."

"Nothing really happened, Mom," Dan answered. "I just did a lot of thinking, and... and..."

"I think I'm partly to blame," Lisa added. "I'm afraid I told Dan and Charlie about some of the things I've been overhearing, and I'm afraid some of them aren't very nice. I told them I thought they'd made a lot of progress, but there's so much further to go."

"Yeah," Dan agreed, "and I just get so tired, every time someone speaks to me I have to analyze if they're really being friendly or setting me up. I just don't want to have to do that any more."

"But Dan," Clarke argued, "what makes you think it would be any different in a new town? High school is high school."

"No it isn't, Dad. In the first place, we could be a little more choosy about who knows and who doesn't. And there wouldn't be all that history, that story that's all over town about what happened that night in the camp, which is blown all out of proportion. And Charlie and I have changed too. We're not the wimps we were. I think we'd be more popular if we could make a fresh start. I think we'd be more accepted now than we ever were here. And... and there's another thing too. Dad, Mom, this is gonna sound really weird. I... I don't want to quit the escort business."

"WHAT?" Charlie demanded as he almost lost control of the car.

"I love escorting!" Dan stated. "I love dressing up, being all suave and dancing with those society ladies. I love the fancy meals, the parties, and... well... I guess I just enjoy, for the first time in my life, feeling good about myself and knowing that I'm good at what I do. Charlie, I know you feel the same so there's no use pretending."

"Well..." Charlie said, "well, yeah! I do! But Danny, I thought..."

"I thought so too, Charlie! But, well, I guess that's a part of me now. It's what I do well, at least until I learn to do something else well."

"But Danny," Clarke said, "I thought... I mean, all the humiliating things you had to do. You said you hated them!"

"I do, Dad! But don't you see? We wouldn't have to do those things any more! This would be a part time job now, and so what if it takes years to build into something! We've got years! We're students! We're not homeless kids any more!"

"So if I understand you correctly," Clarke said as they neared home, "if we all move to Florida, you want to continue what you were doing in Daytona? Both of you?"

"Not the same, Dad," Dan said, "it'd be above board, mainly fancy balls, parties, proms, that sort of thing. And maybe if we get more well known, dance lessons. It's part of us now, right Charlie?"

"I... I..." Charlie stammered, "I guess so. I mean, YEAH! I just didn't know you felt that way, Dan!"

"Well, you know now. I know you do too, just from the way you love it when we've gone out dancing with the girls this past week. So when do you call Jane and tell her yes, Dad?"

"It isn't that simple, Dan. First, there's all our commitments here in Truro, and then there's Jerry. We don't even know where he is!"

"He'll be delighted!" Dan assured him. "Trust me, Dad, he'll be blown away!"

"All the same," Clarke said, "I'd like to hear it from Jerry himself. He's a member of this family now."

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