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.

XXXIII. Gettin' It Done

Charlie obediently pushed the button to allow Harry entrance to the ninth floor - the floor containing the suites. He shook Josh awake while he waited for the elevator to arrive. "Come on, little buddy," he coaxed, "soon as we get rid of Harry I'll give you a hot bath and put you to bed properly." That was an offer even Josh couldn't refuse! He sat up and rubbed his eyes, while Charlie went to let Harry in.

"You guys were so good today!" Harry beamed as he came barging into the room, almost knocking Charlie down in the process. "When is your dad getting here?"

"I'm not sure," Charlie answered. "He said he'd be here for sure for Saturday night, but I dunno if he's coming tomorrow night or Saturday morning."

"Do you know how to get in touch with him?"

"I know the hotel he's staying in, but he doesn't like to be bothered there unless it's an emergency."

"It is. Call him."

"What's up?"

"I've got to talk to him, Charlie! He's your attorney, right?"

"Well, yeah I guess. He's my dad! And he's a lawyer, so I guess that makes him my attorney. What's happened?"

"I've got two contracts, Charlie! They are both better than I had ever dreamed, but they're very different. I need to talk to him about them as soon as possible. I was hoping to have them signed before the Saturday night show. We could make a big announcement!"

"If I know him, he won't want to move that fast. I mean, none of us knows anything about the music industry, Harry. How do we know if the contracts are good or bad?"

"You don't have to know, Charlie! That's why you're paying me! But believe me, these are both extremely good contracts! In fact I've never seen one even close to this good, for a completely unknown artist. Here, see for yourself!"

Charlie did. Obviously he didn't understand all the words, the mumbo-jumbo, the pages and pages of legalese; but he certainly understood the numbers he saw. "Holy mackerel!" he exclaimed. "This says... it talks about lump sum payment at signing. Surely it doesn't mean..."

"That's precisely what it means, Charlie! That is your signing bonus, due and payable before the ink is dry! You're launched, my young friends!"

"Could be," Charlie said with a grin. "Right now that's not the word I'd use to describe my little brother." Josh had literally keeled over where he sat, and was again sound asleep. "I'll call home and let the others know, then they can let Dad know as soon as they can get him. And thanks, Harry. I know Josh'll be thrilled in the morning, but right now..."

"I know," Harry said. "The little guy really did have one hell of a day. I'll leave you two, but I'll be here for you at seven, ok? We've got a lot to talk about, and I want to start your training."

"But... we haven't signed anything."

"That's ok. I'll take the chance. So will a lot of other people."

Well, suffice to say, first things first. Charlie had promised Josh a bath, and a bath he was going to get. Never mind that they were soon to be overnight millionaires, a promise was a promise. "C'mon, gorgeous," Charlie muttered as he began to undress the sleeping boy, "you and I have a date with the bathtub."

When Josh finally awoke, he was stark naked and sitting... well, lying really, in the tub, almost totally immersed in very warm water. What had awakened him was the soft, gentle, almost worshipful touch of... of his brother Charlie. That touch! It had to have originated in Heaven! It was so gentle! So soft! So erotic! Josh could feel the love as it emanated from Charlie's fingertips into his body. "That feels so good, Charlie," he muttered.

"You little shit!" Charlie exclaimed. "How long have you been awake?"

"I just woke up. But you're gonna put me back to sleep if you keep that up. Your touch feels so... so awesome!"

"That's because I'm touching the most beautiful body on the planet," Charlie answered. He would have said more, but he thought better of it. As it was, Charlie could see Josh's tiny penis begin to grow. Charlie could see what was coming; he knew what he wanted to do, and there was no doubt in his mind what Josh wanted to do. But Charlie also knew what he had to do, and what he must not do!

Charlie finished bathing Josh, then wrapped his small body in a huge towel and carried him easily to the bed. After he had toweled him completely, he squirted some very erotic smelling cologne on Josh, then covered the still naked form with a sheet and blanket, then went to use the phone while Josh moaned contentedly and squirmed himself into the bed.

Dan was lying in bed, staring at the ceiling as tears flowed down the side of his face. Why tears? Dan honestly did not know. Tears of joy, perhaps, that Charlie and Josh had done what they all knew they could? Or maybe tears of sadness that their relationship as they had known it was over. Dan had often thought lately how great their lives had been: Dan, Charlie and Jerry, in the little townhouse that Jerry had bought and furnished. Life was so simple then! And now... Now their family had grown so much! Damn! Four boys were officially part of the family, and a fifth so close he might as well be. And now this! Charlie and Josh, in only a couple of days, would be so filthy rich they would literally never have to work again! So where did that leave Dan? His relationship with Charlie? Where did Josh fit in?

"Can I crawl in?" Sean whispered.

"Sure," Dan replied. "Let me guess: Jerry's asleep, right?"

"Well, yeah. But I wanted to talk to you anyway."

"Yeah? What's up?

"Oh, nuthin' really. I just wanted to say how pleased I am that Charlie and Josh are doing so well. You've got to be one proud dude, Dan!"

"You got that right, Sean. I guess in a way I'm kinda jealous; not so much for the money, but... well, you know..."

"Yeah, I know exactly. I've been kinda jealous of Charlie ever since I met you."

"You don't understand, Sean. I didn't mean... I mean..."

"Dan, I didn't mean anything either. After all, Charlie and I fooled around, and you and Jerry as much as said it was ok, that you understood."

"I meant it too, Sean. I mean, Charlie has never had the self confidence that I've always had. He's always had this need, ya know, to be accepted, to know that he's ok, that people accept him. I've never had that problem."

"But Dan, you've got to believe that he and Josh... I mean, Josh is one great looking kid, even if he is a kid! You've got to know that by now he and Charlie..."

"You only say that because you don't know Charlie, Sean! You were one thing. You were the same age Charlie was, and willing, and you knew what it all meant, at least as much as any of us do. But Josh! He's just a kid! I happen to know more than anyone how much Charlie loves that little guy, and I know that he would die before he'd violate that love, that trust."

"Ask him, Charlie! We'll be seeing them on Saturday. Ask him! See if he can look you in the eye and tell you that he hasn't messed around with Josh!"

"I don't have to, Sean. I already know. Charlie is far from perfect, just like the rest of us; but I don't have to ask him what he's done with Josh because I already know. If you don't believe me, ask Jerry. He'll tell you the same, Sean. Go ahead, ask him!"

Friday and Saturday, Charlie and Josh learned more about public performing than they ever thought they would know, and certainly more than they wanted to know. But it was fun! They were getting into the swing of things now and starting to enjoy it! They spent countless hours on the stage of the Ryman, met with countless recording stars, all of whom had seen the young beginners, and all had come away knowing that this would be a force to be dealt with. But to Charlie's amazement, they were all, without exception, supportive! Some even went so far as to suggest that the newcomers consider recording a song that they, the old timers, owned! But all the talk appeared to come to an abrupt end when Clarke Edwards arrived late Saturday afternoon. After giving Charlie and Josh both their hugs, the hugs they'd come to claim as their just due, Clarke took copies of the proposed contracts and went into one of the bedrooms in his suite, and closed the door.

"I've got to ask," Dan said when the boys were alone. "This isn't for me, Charlie," he said, "but I said I'd ask, so I'm askin'."

"You don't have to," Charlie answered. "I know what you're asking and I don't think I have to answer. In fact, I won't answer you if you do ask. Ask Josh."

"Ok, Josh. Charlie said to ask you, so I'm asking. What did you and Charlie do every night?"

"If you mean what I think you mean," Josh replied, making no attempt to hide his disgust, "we slept! Charlie gave me a bath and a massage one night, but I was so tired I couldn't get undressed myself to save my life! But if you're asking if we... well, we didn't! Not even a little!"

Dan didn't say anything; he didn't have to. For that matter, neither did Charlie. But they were both impressed and gratified that they had come to know each other well enough that Dan had total confidence how Charlie would react to being alone with Josh. "I'd be lying if I claimed it never crossed my mind," Charlie admitted to Dan, "but... well... I'm not about to jeopardize our friendship, and his happiness, just to get my rocks off. And besides, I got you!"

Two very much in love brothers would have gone to bed right then and there, but it was time to get ready to go to the Opry. They all had tickets, and Harry had made it abundantly clear that attendance was a requirement for his two new stars. Nancy Edwards had disappeared into the bedroom where Clarke had closeted himself with the proposed contracts, then fifteen minutes later she emerged, still alone. "Is he coming, Mom?" Dan asked.

"I don't know," she replied. "He told me to gather y'all up and go along, that he'd be along when he finished studying the contracts."

"Not good enough!" Dan exclaimed defiantly. "Dad," he called as he pounded on the door, "It's time to go. This is really important to two of your sons, Dad. You need to be there!"

There was a long silence, then the door slowly opened. "You're right, Dan," Clarke said as he emerged. "I'm sorry, guys. I'm just trying to get it right."

"We know," Charlie replied. "But we've got all day tomorrow, and the rest of our lives for that matter."

The evening was a total blowout! Each, for his own reason, treasured this evening about as much as any they'd ever lived! Charlie thought of it as his last evening as just a spectator who could melt into the crowd; Dan, of course, considered it the last evening he and Charlie could disappear into a crowd. Josh, well, he spent the entire show watching and listening; in only one week he would be under those lights, and above anything in the world, he wanted to get it right. Jerry and Sean discreetly held hands as they each thought of their brothers and how incredible it would be, the brothers of two stars. But most important, they were happy for Charlie and Josh, that at last they would get, in spades, the recognition they had always deserved. Clarke and Nancy, and probably Emily as well, thought of their children - the ones who had been their children for such a short time, and yet it was as if they'd had them their entire lives! They couldn't possibly love them more, nor could they be more proud!

"Okay," Charlie said when they were finally in bed, at almost two AM, "I saw those tears, Danny. You gotta know how much I love you. You've got to know that you're the glue, man! You're the one that holds it all together!"

"Yeah," Dan answered. "But you just might lose me if you continue lyin' there and not doing anything."

"In your dreams!" Charlie laughed. "Just hold onto your hat, Danny my brother. You're about to go to the moon! And you're gonna be impaled all the way!"

Danny did go to the moon, but he wasn't impaled, at least in the sense we usually think of it. They lay together, naked, for over a half hour just kissing, caressing, fondling. "I missed you, Chah-wee!" Dan whispered.

"Dan," Charlie teased, "I've only been here four days! We were only apart for three nights!"

"Could be. It seemed more like three months to me." Dan glided gracefully down Charlie's body and too him into his mouth to lubricate him. Charlie had put on a new cologne this morning, which had mingled with his own body musk all day. Now as Dan slid the thing down his throat that he loved most of all, he could smell the resulting aroma. Now he wanted Charlie desperately! He wanted to feel that thing erupt in his mouth; to taste the nectar he knew wouldn't be long coming. Anal sex was totally forgotten as Charlie worked himself around to take Dan in his mouth. All the other things they did with their bodies were great, but nothing had ever come close to this! They had both developed their own pleasuring techniques, each working tongue, teeth, throat, suction to give the other maximum pleasure. Tonight was one of those nights!

Dan could take Charlie all the way down his throat now, and while in that position he would swallow repeatedly, which had a sort of massaging effect on Charlie's already raging member. Charlie did the thing with his tongue, they both moaned loudly and appreciatively.

Charlie came first, but only a second before Dan felt the thing in his mouth expand slightly, the balls in his hand suddenly pull up close to Charlie's body... and he too was gushing as if he hadn't had an orgasm for a year!

When it was over, the pair lay in each other's arms. It was true, they had only been apart for four days; but somehow it seemed as if it had been much longer. Suddenly Dan jumped slightly. "I just thought," he said, "Josh went right to bed with Jerry and Sean. I was sure he'd come with us."

"I'll go get him if you like," Charlie offered.

"No, that's all right. But I thought, you know, that he would automatically come with us. He usually does.... Oh shit! Charlie! You randy queer! You told him, didn't you?"

"Me?" Charlie said innocently. "Would I do that?"

"Yeah, you would! In a heartbeat! Now you're gonna pay!"

"Ok," Charlie confessed, "I'm guilty. For my penance, I'll go to sleep and not demand any more sex from you, ok?"

"You're tired, aren't you Charlie?"

"Yeah, man! I'm exhausted! But if you want..."

"I want you with me, Chah-wee! That's all I need. Just let me hold you, and you go to sleep."

Sunday morning, Clarke broke the bad news to his two would-be stars. "I can't let you sign these contracts," he said firmly. "I know it's a lot of money, but you'd be signing yourselves into slavery for the next five years! I simply cannot allow it!"

"But..." Charlie protested, "Harry said we could make minor adjustments. He said it was just a standard contract..."

"I don't know anything about standard or not, but you can't sign this. The better of the two, the one easiest on you, requires you to release five albums in the first two years! And one each the next three years!"

"That doesn't seem like that much..."

"It's a lot when you're trying to go to school. And when you add to that almost two dozen personal appearances a year... I'm sorry, guys, but they're gonna have to do better than this. Remember our deal: being kids is your first priority, and that is not negotiable!"

Charlie was disappointed, and Josh was devastated! But they both knew that Clarke would never veto something so important if there was any way of avoiding it. So they didn't argue. Harry was due over right after lunch, and then the negotiations would start, assuming there was room for any. If not, well, the week of glory had been fun anyway.

It took most of the day and well into the night Monday to iron out the details of the contract. Clarke had spoken with Harry, but they quickly determined that Harry was not authorized to make the drastic changes that Clarke was demanding. So they had to wait for Monday to discuss it with the recording company lawyers. They whined and squealed, complained that Clarke was being unreasonable, but they eventually gave in when it was obvious that Clarke wasn't going to budge. So now the boys had five days to get ready for the big show, if you count Saturday.

Friday morning, around ten AM, a very tired Josh had finished rehearsing his songs again, for the second time this morning, and had received compliments with none of the comments that he'd become accustomed to: "That was good, Josh, BUT you went a little flat toward the end;" "Great, Josh, EXCEPT for the part where you stumbled over the words;" "Super job, Josh, ONLY you got ahead of the band."

The band took a break, so Josh took the opportunity to go to the bathroom. He had found rattling about the deserted theater somewhat spooky at first, but it was getting a lot better. It was sort of neat, in a way, having the run of the place that was usually packed with people. He went into the Men's washroom and into a stall and closed the door. He was completely alone, so he dropped his shorts and sat on the stool, singing to himself as he did his business. Just as he was flushing the toilet, he heard the door open.

"Charlie?" Josh called as he opened the door to the stall. He saw a movement, then the lights went out. It was pitch dark. The lights in the hallway were not on because the auditorium wasn't open. There was no light!

"C'mon, Charlie, quit clowning around!" Josh called. "Turn the lights on, Charlie! I can't see nothin!"

Josh felt the arms wrap around his chest, immobilizing his own own arms. He tried to squirm, but the arms were holding him too tight. He felt his hands being pulled together and held in one strong hand, as the other ripped Josh's shorts down. "Charlie, please," Josh pleaded. "You're scaring me!" There was no response. Josh felt the hand holding his hands loosen its grip just a little. He tried to wriggle free, but got a terrific blow to the head for his trouble. His knees buckled. He struggled to stay on his feet, but his legs had lost all their strength.

On the floor face down now, his briefs were ripped from his body and stuffed in his mouth, as if his assailant somehow had read his mind. Josh had just been opening his mouth to scream when the underwear was forced into his mouth. Now his hands were being held behind his back, elbows bent up at an unnatural angle and completely robbing him of all his strength. Then he felt the finger probing his anus. Or was it a finger?

Now Josh found new strength somewhere in the depths of his being. He knew now that it wasn't Charlie. In the first place Charlie knew he didn't have to rape him; Josh had made it abundantly clear that he would be a willing partner, at least once to satisfy his curiosity. They were spending more and more time alone together, including this entire week after the family had all gone home. Whenever they were away from home they slept together. Josh also knew that Charlie was dead set against any sort of anal sex with anyone so immature. So now that Josh realized he was alone in a dark washroom with a stranger, he turned into a flailing tiger. His legs were kicking wildly, and the sudden explosion of energy took his would-be rapist so much by surprise that Josh managed to twist one arm free, and that too was swinging wildly.

Josh managed to get turned onto his back, which might not have been such a great idea. He felt a fist connect with his nose, bringing torrents of blood. The fist again, this time a glancing blow on his left cheek. The fist connected with his mouth, breaking a front tooth and cutting his lips. Josh had both his hands free now, but what could he do? His face was being pummeled into mincemeat. Then he got an idea.

Josh pulled the briefs out of his mouth and threw them with all his strength. Then he started screaming, and while his attacker was still reacting, Josh, realizing that the man had removed his own pants, drove both hands as quickly as he could into the man's crotch, got the testicles in one hand and then started punching them as hard as he could with the other. This had the man screaming too, and after the third punch, he toppled off his victim. Josh scrambled to his feet, pulled up his shorts that were somehow still dangling on one foot, then kicked the form on the floor that he could vaguely make out. Then he ran for the door. A hand reached out and grabbed his ankle, and Josh went down again. He kicked violently with both feet. He felt his left foot strike something soft. From the grunt he heard, he thought he must have kicked the man in the face. He scrambled to his feet again and got out the door.

Josh didn't stop running until he was back on the stage of the Ryman, surrounded by all the people he had come to know. Charlie wasn't there. "Where's Charlie?" he demanded.

"Josh," Will, the band leader and the boys' tutor exclaimed, "what in the world happened to you?"

"I got attacked in the fuckin' bathroom, that's what!" Josh said, then he collapsed on the stage and cried. "Where's Charlie?" he sobbed. All present rushed to see if he was ok, but Josh would have none of them.

"Charlie went looking for you," Will answered. "Please, Josh, let me look at your face."

"NO!!!" Josh screamed as he began to tremble violently. "Don't touch me!"

"Get away from him!" Charlie yelled as he came from backstage. He ran to Josh, pushing people out of the way as he went; he knelt and picked up the shaking boy and held him. "It's ok, lil bro," he soothed. "No one's gonna hurt you. What happened?"

"Charlie, can we go home? Please?"

"Course we can, Josh. Let's just get you cleaned up a little and I'll call a cab."

"Now, Charlie!"

"Never mind the cab," Will offered, "I'll take y'all back to the hotel."

Charlie thanked him, then picked up Josh easily, much more easily than he would have expected, and carried him to Will's car.

"But Josh," Clarke protested when he arrived Friday afternoon, "I can't understand how you could have no idea at all who did this." The entire family had flown in as soon as Charlie phoned. Dan, Jerry and Sean were ready to kill someone; Nancy and Emily were determined to nurse Josh back to instant health, unless of course they killed him with attention.

"I told you, it was pitch dark!" Josh said. "And at first I thought it was just Charlie fooling around. Can we go home, Dad? Please?"

"I can't let you do that, Josh. You have to see this through till tomorrow night. You and Charlie agreed to make one album each and I want you to keep your word."

"The contract, right?"

"No, son. I'm sure under the circumstances we could get out of the contract, but I just don't want you leaving like this. You need to see it through and then make your decision."

"But... I was thinking even before this happened that I might quit."

"Let's do the show tomorrow night, and then we'll see how you feel."

"I don't want to, Dad! Please don't make me!"

"I won't make you, Josh. But I'm asking, please do it for me, and Charlie, and yourself! You've worked hard, and you deserve this! You've worked hard for it, and no perverted sicko child beater is gonna keep you from it."

"Besides," Charlie reminded him, "my grand-dad is flying in to Nashville in the morning. It's the first time he has ever flown, and he said he wouldn't dream of getting on a plane if there was any other way. But he's gonna be there, Josh."

"Oh, Charlie," Nancy said, "I almost forgot in all the excitement. There was a call from Nova Scotia this morning. They were trying to get in touch with you. They said it was very important. The number is on the desk by the phone in your dad's office."

"We'll all be there," Sean assured him. "We won't leave you alone for a second. He probably won't try anything anyway, but if he does we'll be there."

When Charlie came back from the phone, there were tears in his eyes. "Grand-dad won't be flying in," he said. "He died last night. He had a stroke."

"Oh, Charlie," Nancy said as she took his hands in hers. "I'm sorry. Are you going up?"

"No, ma'am. That was my Aunt Hazel that called. She said his last words were to tell me to knock 'em dead, because he would be there. The funeral is tomorrow, so she said I could have my own memorial in the Ryman."

"I'll help you," Josh said as he hugged his brother.

The perverted sicko didn't try anything, but he did show a lot of nerve by showing up. Jared, the drummer, arrived at almost the same moment that the Edwards entourage did. It was 5:30 PM, and Will had asked them to have Josh there good and early so the makeup crew could work on his face. Jared was there for the same reason: he was sporting a huge black eye, and all around the eye was... very clearly, bruises and abrasions in the exact shape of the sole of Josh's sneaker!

"Damn, little brother," Jerry exclaimed, "remind me to get out of your way when you start kicking."

"I'm gonna kill that bastard!" Dan exclaimed.

"Let me handle him," Sean said. "This is my specialty. But you guys don't know me, all right? Y'all just go ahead on in, and I'll take care of our black-eyed friend." They did. The entire family, minus Sean and Jerry, who hung back to watch out for Sean, walked into the auditorium. Josh was a little nervous, but mainly because he didn't see how all his bruises and fat lip could be hidden by make-up. No problem, he was told, when he appeared on that stage he would look good as new, as long as no one got too close.

Charlie and Josh, and especially Josh, submitted to all sorts of indignities during the next two hours. Josh had lipstick, blush, skin tone, and various potions applied to his face, some of which he didn't even know the names of. But he had to admit, from a distance, he looked pretty good. As the makeup crew did their magic on the two boys, they heard a few comments, increasing in regularity and intensity as time wen on. The comments were expressing some concern that Jared hadn't shown up.

When the boys were finally ready, the auditorium was practically full, the various bands and artists were warming up, and still no Jared. A backup drummer was told to get ready to go on just as Sean and Jerry appeared. They hugged Josh and Charlie warmly, wishing them well, then turned to go to their seats. "Where's Jared?" Josh asked.

"Who?" Sean said with a grin. "Oh, you mean that no good drummer that was in the band yesterday? I dunno exactly, but I heard a rumor that he had broken three of his fingers. It's kinda hard to play the drums with broken fingers." Then before anyone could ask any more questions, the pair were gone. The rest of the family gave their new stars a hug, Nancy and Emily both kissed them, and they too were gone. Josh and Charlie were alone backstage. It was less than a half hour now until they would be on that stage.

It looked so different when the place was full of people! There were so many lights, it was hot even backstage. The audio system was cranked much louder than it had been in practice, and the applause! As each performer went out he or she was greeted with thunderous applause, then again after the song was finished. Charlie looked at Josh. The kid was terrified, but at the same time he was dazzled. "I dunno if I can do this, Charlie," he said doubtfully.

"Are you kidding?" Charlie answered. "This is what you were born for, Josh! I can see it in your eyes, on your face, even through all that paint! This is your destiny, little brother! But we got no time to talk now, we're on as soon as they announce us!"

The MC stood in front of the microphone and began to introduce the next singers. Two brothers, he said, and as harmonious in their everyday lives as they were on the stage. It's no wonder they could sing like angels, he said, they were as happy as any two boys he had ever seen. He gestured for the pair to come on stage, the band started playing, and Josh and Charlie were singing. For you, Grand-dad, Charlie thought as he fought the tears, then he concentrated on Josh, on the blaring music in his ears, the sea of faces in front of him.

Their first number, a duet, was flawless. It was a new song that Harry had bought for them and it worked well; not spectacular, but certainly well. Next, Josh was to sing a solo; an upbeat song that he loved to do, and his body English showed it. The audience loved him! Adored him; worshiped him!

Charlie's turn. His solo was a slow love ballad, the kind of Jim Reeves song that everyone had told him suited his voice. It worked. The audience cheered enthusiastically. And then their finale: another duet. It was a very fast, danceable type song, the kind that Charlie and Josh loved to do together. In this song they did their all: Josh began with the lead while Charlie harmonized low. They switched. Josh's harmony, in his clear soprano voice, was an octave higher, but perfect harmony nonetheless. All the while they were singing, Josh was cavorting about the stage like a miniature Elvis. The audience loved it! They loved Josh! They embraced him! Everyone in the place knew they were witnessing the birth of a star!

Then the final touch: Just as they were singing their last phrase, with Josh's clear voice so high it threatened to shatter the huge chandelier, he looked down until his eyes were locked on Nancy's; his mother now, and he smiled. Many might not even notice, but Nancy sure did!

There was still a lot of show left, but two pretty tired boys, wet with perspiration, were being smothered backstage by everyone in the place. Then, when he least expected it, Charlie felt Dan slip his hand into Charlie's. "Let's get outta here," Dan whispered. Charlie didn't have to be coaxed.

Dan led Charlie through a bunch of curtains and props, unused equipment, and into a room full of all sorts of electronic gadgets. He closed the door. They could still hear the music, the crowd, but it was muffled. "You two were so awesome," he whispered as he threw his arms around Charlie's neck.

"Josh was awesome," Charlie corrected. "He was so incredible!"

"You both were, Chah-wee. You were both so incredibly awesome! But enough of that. Kiss me, please?"

They kissed; long and deep and passionate. They kissed again, and then again. Dan's hands started to wander, fumbling with Charlie's belt. "We can't, Dan," Charlie protested. "I think there's gonna be an encore call. I'd look real cute out on that stage with your semen all over my face, wouldn't I?"

That comment got them both giggling hysterically. They kissed again. "Rain check?" Dan queried.

"You got it, handsome!" Charlie answered. They started to giggle again as they rejoined the others.

"What in the world are you guys cackling about?" Clarke asked.

"Nothin' Dad," Dan replied as he started laughing harder.

"You better calm down, Charlie," Clarke said. "You're on again in about two minutes."

The boys had practiced a total of seven songs, and they performed them all. After they had left the stage for a second time, they were called back to sing along with several of the stars in a finale. It was truly an evening to be remembered by everyone in the Edwards family, or anyone even remotely associated with them.

There was a short break after the big show. Mel Angstrum, their producer, declared that the songs they had done on stage were good enough to go on the album, so Josh and Charlie got a week off while they processed those cuts and worked on perfecting the arrangements of the remaining songs. The boys had instrumental recordings which they were required use to practice, but aside from that, they had a week at home for fishing, swimming, hanging out, and whatever else... oh yes, making love. Oh, did they make love! Two, three, four at a time! Probably one at a time now and then as well, but that was kept a secret. Josh knew what was going on, but his close call in the washroom had for the moment dampened his appetite for sex, so he was content to enjoy the very happy faces of his brothers.

When school started in mid August, Josh and Charlie were both in their seats with their regular classes. The album had been completed and had gone to production. It was due to be released in another week. There were a few personal appearances over the next few months, but for the most part life was returning to normal. Dan was beginning to relax; it seemed that he wasn't going to lose Charlie to show business just yet. Actually Charlie was trying to fade into the shadows and let Josh fly. He was truly the star, the talented one; it was Josh who could wind an audience around his finger. Josh was the one who had an uncanny talent for recognizing a hit song when he heard one, and then recording it to make it even better. Charlie would stay with him as long as he needed vocal and moral support; but eventually Charlie knew that his show business days were numbered. He was enjoying himself, but he had decided it wasn't how he wanted to spend his life. As for the future, well, he didn't know. But a career in electronics, perhaps computers, a rather new field in 1968, was beginning to look attractive.

Sean and Jerry moved out of the Edwards home the following spring after graduation. They both went to college in North Carolina: Sean took veterinary medicine, Jerry went into law. They would return to Florida, they said, unless they could find a better place to live, and they both doubted that there were any places better than a certain large house on a canal in Daytona, Florida.

Dan and Charlie had worried that they would drift apart after they became brothers. They needn't have concerned themselves. When they ran away from home, which seemed like eons ago to them, they had to work together just to keep alive, to keep warm. Now they had a great home, their financial future was totally secure. Not having to spend all their time working just to survive, they could spend more of their energy building their relationship, drawing closer together, so that's what they did.

So, you ask, where are they now? Well, pretty well where you'd expect. Sean and Jerry are still together, still very much in love. They ended up in Orlando, both working in the entertainment business. Sean is one of the primary veterinarians at Sea World. He doesn't make a lot of money, but he is totally happy. Not only can he take care of all the sea creatures in the park, he gets to swim with them, dive with them, be one of them in many ways. Jerry has a very lucrative law practice, dealing with large corporations such as Disney and Sea World, and handling the affairs of the business Clarke Edwards started and still retains controlling interest. It is more than likely that Jerry will take over the business if Clarke ever decides to retire.

Josh got married a few years after high school and has fathered four children: three boys and a girl. He lives with his family in a small town just outside of Nashville Tennessee. He is still in the entertainment business, but he restricts himself mostly to producing and coaching now. He made millions in his singing career and invested it wisely, so now he only works because he loves what he does. He finally got his chance in bed with another male, and to make his dream come true, that chance was with Charlie.

Two days past his sixteenth birthday, Josh and Charlie headed back to Nashville. They had bought a comfortable townhouse for convenience, and Charlie had been living there more or less alone for the past six months while Josh's voice finished changing. That voice had been kind to him, keeping his high soprano voice until well after his fifteenth birthday. When it finally did change, it cracked so badly that Josh couldn't sing a note. The experts told him it would be temporary, but in the meantime he shouldn't even try. They were right: within three months a beautiful baritone voice emerged that was even clearer than the one he had lost! So now the powers that be were anxious to get this new voice on tape.

The brothers had all been home for the birthday party, and one of the things they had discussed was Josh's sexual awakening. He was still pretty sure he wasn't gay, but he was equally sure he wanted to try it. So they had agreed, Charlie and Josh would do... well... whatever seemed to fit as soon as they were alone in Nashville.

"Are you sure about this?" Charlie asked as soon as they had got settled in the house. Josh had announced that he would rather go to bed than go out to eat, even thought it was still early.

"I'm... Uhhhh.... I'm sure, Charlie."

"You don't sound very sure, and you're shaking like a leaf."

"I'm nervous, Charlie. I've never had any kind of sex experience! I'm just nervous, but I'll be ok."

"Just promise you'll tell me if you want to stop."

"I will, Charlie."

"Ok, lil bro. I'm gonna kiss you, ok?"

It was more than ok, it was spectacular for both of them. They kissed long and deep and passionate. Josh melted into Charlie's arms just like he'd been doing since the first summer they met, in a detention center in Canada; only this time the outcome would be different. This time, Josh trembled as the thought came to him, this time they would make love! Really make love!

They did. Charlie had never, not even with Dan, ever experienced anything so passionate, so intense! Josh had wanted this night almost as long as he'd known Charlie. They both realized long before they were through, that this was far more than simply satisfying the curiosity of a boy. This had nothing to do with gay or straight, young or old, boy or girl! This was the consummation of a love that had started before either of the participants had known it was happening.

Charlie hadn't planned to get too intense or to do half the things they did that night; but when the first volley that was Josh's first orgasm filled Charlie's mouth to overflowing, all bets were off. Even in his state of total and complete arousal, Charlie wouldn't have hurt his little brother; but that little brother had grown up a lot, had become even more gorgeous as a teen than he'd been as a child, and Charlie certainly wasn't going to be the one to put on the brakes.

Josh enjoyed the night, and admitted it freely. He said he could understand now how two men or boys could love each other and spend their lives together. He never did it again, but he assured them all that he now felt that he could possibly fall in love with another boy. It didn't happen though, because by the time he was 17 he had fallen helplessly in love with a girl. That one didn't work out, but there were others, and eventually one became his wife. She is incredibly pretty and the whole family loves her, and their offspring have got to go down as some of the most beautiful children on the continent!

That brings us to Dan and Charlie. Dan did exactly what he said he was going to do: he got a degree in criminology, then attended a police academy in New York State, then joined the Florida State Police. He heads a special unit now, dealing with homeless kids, kids on drugs, runaways, and prostitutes. No children? On the contrary; Dan has kids all over the country who are safe, home, and off drugs thanks to a pretty hard working, dedicated cop. So what about Charlie?

Charlie got his degree in electronics, then another in computer science, then another in criminology. He works for Dan, handling the scientific aspect of tracking down kids and getting them out of whatever trouble they are in. They absolutely love their jobs, especially now that the social climate is getting a little more tolerant of gay cops. Charlie made a lot of money before he finally got out of the recording business, and he still does some singing in nightclubs in the Daytona area. They never did leave home and probably never will now. Clarke keeps threatening to retire, but Nancy swears he never will.

In three weeks from this writing, they will celebrate thirty-five years together as lovers. There is going to be one hell of a blow-out at the Edwards home in Daytona. No one will be drunk, nor will there be any drugs; but the music will probably go on until daylight, and so will the dancing.

They all spend most of their holidays in the big house in Daytona. Josh likes to take his children north to visit the old house in Truro, but he is about the only one these days who ever goes north. The rest are just too busy, enjoying the South too much.

If one could ask then individually what would they change, if they could re-design their lives and live them over, they would all give you the same answer: Why tinker with perfection?

* * *

If you like this story, or for that matter if you don't, please let me know by writing to

This marks the end of my story about Dan. I want to apologize for taking so long getting the final chapter out. I simply got busy with company, family, etc, and I'm afraid they take precedence. I also want to thank all the faithful readers, and the many who have written. I have received compliments, some friendly criticism which I appreciate a great deal, and the odd note that was not so friendly.

The thing I like about publishing on Nifty as opposed to producing a book, is that the feedback is immediate! No, I will never get rich, but I doubt that I would anyway, given the genre of these writings. So I'll just say I've enjoyed writing this one, I've enjoyed and appreciated the email, and I look forward to doing something a little different next time, after a bit of a rest.

Thank you all again!

I love y'all,