This chapter would not have happened without the help of Adam Phillips, author of Crosscurrents (/nifty/gay/relationships/cross-currents/) and “ghost writer” for the remaining chapters of ISWB. Thank you, Adam. Thank you also to Bill for his continued editing help.

Finally, as always, thank you to my partner. I'm a lucky, lucky man.

Chapter 13

The two jobs I’d taken that fall—the AIDS internship and the waiter job—were a huge part of an incredible burden I’d taken on that first year of college, but they were necessary, and they helped keep money from being too much of a worry.

I’d gotten connected with the AIDS organization in high school because we had to do 90 hours a semester of volunteer work, and it was just down the street, so it was easy to get the hours in; at least, that’s what I told myself. I think somewhere in the back of my head, I thought that contact with gay people would help me figure out those feelings swirling around inside me. I didn't know where else was I could find gay people.

The other job came from a friend of the family. Jimmy owned a tiny Italian restaurant; his father had come over from Italy with my grandfather, and when my family had gone nuts and thrown me out of the house, he had taken pity on me. He called the day after all hell broke loose and offered me a job waiting tables at the restaurant. He was a caring and compassionate man, and he gave me free food. I didn't make much, but it was usually the only meal I got and I could eat all I wanted.

Working at the AIDS center hadn’t really helped me figure anything out. I met plenty of gay men, but that only increased my confusion. I knew I wasn’t your standard-issue straight guy, but I came away from that volunteer work pretty clear that I wasn’t gay either.

While it hadn't answered the questions I had hoped it would, working there helped me get to a better place in my self-understanding and in my feelings about the disaster that had been my last year in high school. First, it was the most accepting group of people I had ever encountered. No one cared what you looked like, how much money you made, if you were gay or straight or old or young or anything else. It was partly that virtually everyone there knew what it was like to be shunned for one reason or another and partly that there was simply too much to be done and too many concerns that were fundamentally far more important.

Secondly, many of the center's clients had been tossed out when their families discovered they were gay--some when they were in their early teens--and they had done whatever was necessary to survive, or had become addicted to drugs and alcohol to kill the pain. That put a lot of my own troubles into perspective. Yes, I'd been booted out, but I wasn't thirteen or fourteen and alone on the streets; many of the people I was working with had been. I met people who had been through far worse than I could even contemplate, who were so sick they could barely walk, and they still pried themselves out of bed every day to go care for others who in even worse shape. They weren't bitter. They didn't just give up. They didn't spend their time going "why me?". They made every moment they had count.

Seeing that almost daily was one of the factors which assured that I didn't let myself wallow in self-pity. What kind of an insult would it have been to the people I was working with if, knowing the pure hell they had been through, I walked around giving off the attitude, "Hey, I know you got kicked out when you were fourteen and I know you got infected by some creep who raped you while you were on the streets and now you're 25 and dying by inches and totally reliant on the kindness of strangers and yet you're still trying to help others, but my life has really been awful and I feel the need to wallow"?

I don't think so. I was shut down enough that much of the loss I experienced then didn't really hit until years later, but even in that state, I couldn't miss the rather glaring lessons about how to conduct myself when things were rough. So, while I wasn't making much money, the primary payoff was in what I learned, and since my scholarship paid all of my tuition and books, I was doing reasonably well, all things considered.

My apartment-mates were two people I'd met at the AIDS center back when I first started volunteering there in high school. Adam and Megan came from families that made mine look positively warm and loving. We split the rent and food and carpooled everywhere. Adam was gay; Megan was a lesbian; I was confused; so we had one of each. They both had beds, so they took the bedroom. I only had an old circa-1945 army cot that doubled as our couch in the "living room". The room was about the size of most people's hallways, but that's what we had, so that’s where I slept.

On the social front, I avoided everyone I knew as much as possible. That was easy between the jobs and the school schedule I’d created for myself. I had a ton of AP credit from high school and I had taken classes at the university every summer. Being the nerd that I was, my idea of a fun summer vacation was learning about international politics or differential equations.

With the college credit I already had, I figured out that if I took a large overload, I could finish in five quarters. So I registered for 25 hours that first quarter and each quarter thereafter. That meant I never slept. I had to maintain a 3.8 grade-point average to keep my scholarship. That wouldn’t have been a huge issue for me--I’d always done well with my studies--but when combined with two jobs, it made things like organic chemistry a little hellish.

I’d decided to major in psychology. I was hoping to go to medical school, so I minored in biology, but I guess over the years, observing the twists and turns in people’s psyches had engaged my interest in people’s emotions. After all, I had major crazies for family members, and I considered myself something of a freak too. The dynamics of my disastrous life, while personally devastating, also interested me in a sort of detached, academic way as well, and I always had something of a knack for insight into the people’s psyches when I wasn’t personally involved in the situation.

I had a place to live, I had some meaningful work, I had my money concerns basically taken care of, and I had more schoolwork than anybody should take on: My plans for myself were pretty brutal, but they were manageable: Work until I dropped; don't think about the past or people from the past; and keep my attention occupied with productive things instead of focusing on my hurts.

Life never seems to go quite the way I plan. “Best laid plans of mice and men” and all that.

That first quarter, I met a guy at the AIDS center named Bryan. I didn't realize he spelled it differently from "my" Brian, so the name threw me at first, but the name was about all they had in common. He had two years on me, and a good eleven inches in height. Even so, he wasn't very imposing. He had dark brown hair that would have hung to his shoulders if it hadn't hung over his eyes most of the time, and he was totally uncoordinated. He had a voice to match; it was really low, but it still cracked like a young teenager’s when he was nervous. If you looked up the word “dorky” in an illustrated dictionary his picture might well have been there next to the entry. Still, for all that, he was incredibly nice.

I'd seen him in the company of a beautiful girl named Diane. I didn't know what kind of relationship they had; were they friends? More? I couldn't tell. But I thought she was wonderful, and I was attracted to her myself. I was talking to her one day when she'd stopped by the office to meet Bryan. Our conversations always seemed natural and easy, and it was obvious that we enjoyed each other's company. Still, I was surprised when she ended our talk that day with, "Hey, you know, we ought to go out on a date or something some time."

After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I said, "You're dating Bryan...aren't you?"

"We've gone on a few dates," she replied casually, "but really, we're just friends; he won't mind."

She laughed at the look on my face as I said, "Well, uhh...okay. Yeah. We oughta do that."

So much for my no-social-life vow.

I asked her out to a movie that weekend, but when we got there it was sold out, so we ended up over at her place watching old episodes of "Dr. Who" with her dad. It wasn't the most romantic first date in the world; in fact, it was pretty awkward, but I had a good time with her anyway.

We had some time to talk later that evening. I thought she was wonderful: Alive, enthusiastic, but also compassionate and accepting, and I was in such need of someone to talk to that I ended up telling her about my disastrous past with Mary and Brian.

We actually made it to a movie for our second date. Afterwards, though, in the car it became clear that, at least in this mode, our relationship wasn't going anywhere. I’d been talking honestly about myself and she’d been talking honestly about herself, and after a while the conversation paused and couldn’t seem to get started again. I leaned over to kiss her. She leaned in and kissed me, but it wasn't very passionate or very long. She moved away from me and smiled a little before she said, “I like you, Sam, but I just don’t see us having a third date, and I think if you’re honest you’ll admit you don’t either.”

I looked at her for a moment, “Why?”

“Oh, Sam,” she said. “You know why. You know you’re still hung up on Mary and Brian. I totally understand it, and I feel bad for you, but it would be awful for both of us to try and have anything serious as long as that’s true. I’m just not interested in playing that game.”

I stared at the steering wheel briefly, then looked up at her and shrugged. “Yeah, you’re right,” I admitted.

She smiled and put her hands on top of mine. “But we can stay friends, right? I mean, you’re not in love with me anyway, so it’s not like I’m breaking your heart here.”

I laughed, and she smiled, and that was the end of that.

One day she invited me and Bryan both to lunch. The food was great and so was the company. We were laughing and having a good time, and things seemed comfortable. As we were finishing up and trying to help her clear the table, she said, “Sit down at the table for a minute, guys, I can get this myself. I want to say something to the both of you.”

I looked up at Bryan. He shrugged and sat down, so I took a seat myself.

She took the plates and put them in the dishwasher, then grabbed a seat and sat down next to us.

She stared at us with the hint of a smile. That really bugged me, so I said, “What’s up?”

“Not much,” she said. “I just thought we ought to clear the air a little." She paused for a minute, then said, "Okay, here's what it is. It didn’t work out with you and me, Bryan, and it didn’t work out with you and me, Sam.”

I looked over at Bryan; he looked as uncomfortable as I felt.

“Relax, guys, I’m not gonna kill anyone. I just wanted to say that you guys are pretty cool…but you don’t have your crap together.”

“Nothing wrong with that, though,” she added before Bryan or I had had a chance to protest. “In fact, that brings me to my point.”

She took Bryan’s hand in one of her hands, and one of mine in the other. “I think the two of you would make a good couple while you’re each getting your crap together.” Then she put my hand on top of Bryan’s, pulled hers away, and walked back to the kitchen, leaving us both sitting there, blushing. I pulled my hand back and mumbled something incoherent. Bryan just stared at the table.

I was tongue-tied. I’d never thought of Bryan as anything but straight. From the expression on his face, his brain was short-circuiting just as much as mine was, so nothing much got said for several minutes while both of us tried to unscramble the mess in our heads.

Finally I looked at him and said, “I seem to have a thing for women like her.” That got him laughing.

From there things got easier.

I don’t know how it’s possible, but Bryan was more shy than even I was, so at first things were seriously awkward. We both owned up to the fact that we wouldn’t be grossed out to give it a try, in a roundabout way, with much shuffling of feet. At the very least it seemed to me that we had the makings of a good close friendship.

We started hanging out together, mostly just to talk, learning a little bit about each other and growing closer in the process. I discovered that he played in a band with a guy I knew from high school, so I went to see them play a couple of times. He had amazing hands. I loved to watch them move up and down the neck of the bass while he played. It planted the idea that they would probably be just as amazing on something a little closer to home, but I didn't let myself dwell on that.

Diane was happy that we seemed to be succumbing to her matchmaking. One day at work she said to us, “I kinda miss hanging out with you guys.”

‘Hey, it was your call,” I told her, joking.

“And it was the right one, I can see,” she said, winking at me. “I don’t know if the guy I’m seeing has his crap together yet, but seems like you two might have a chance to. Hey, we’re going out Friday; come along with us. We’ll make it a double date.”

“I don’t think so,” Bryan said quickly.

“I didn’t give you the option,” she said, grinning. “Come on, guys, do it for me.”

Both of us were pretty much putty in her hands, so we did it. It went okay, as okay as double dates ever go. It was all perfectly chaste, but it was a date.

Beyond that, though, Bryan and I just “hung out together.” We danced around the notion of getting physical for almost two months. Neither of us had the stones to make any kind of move in that direction.

One night, for one of our “hangouts,” we rented a movie, Cinema Paradiso. Bryan lived in an apartment by himself, so we went there to watch it. We were enjoying the movie, and each other’s company, and as the night went on, it occurred to me that for the first time in forever, I actually had a friend that I felt comfortable around.

He had tweaked his back earlier that day and I offered to massage it for him. I know what that sounds like, but my intentions really were virtuous. There wasn’t any sexual subtext to it at all in my mind. The sum total of my romantic experience up to then was making love to Mary and barely kissing Amy, so it wasn’t as though I was experienced in the art of seduction.

He had one of those awful metal futons; it was black, and it had lumpy black futon mattress on it. He put it down flat so that I could massage him while we watched the movie. We didn't watch much of the movie, but I really didn't intend for anything to happen.

Because of that, I was surprised at the jolt of electricity that shot through me when he took his shirt off. I’d never really thought of him in that way, or if I had, it was only a passing thought or two. He wasn’t unattractive, but he wasn’t stunningly beautiful like the other Brian I knew. Still, he was one of the nicest men I've ever known; intelligent, kind and engaging. I was attracted to who he was, and I guess all that combined with the sight of his bare chest that night sent sexual electricity surging through my body.

Having made the offer to give him a back massage, I had to go through with it, although I was feeling pretty nervous, so I set myself to the task.

I was totally mesmerized by the feel of his skin, and totally captivated by the look of it. It was slightly olive colored, almost like he had a light tan all over. It was also incredibly smooth, though nothing like a woman's; I'd never really thought about the difference before, or at least I hadn't let myself think about it much, had maybe shut down thoughts like that before. But tonight I was allowing myself to consider the difference between smooth male skin and smooth female skin, and I was enjoying the silky power, the muscularity that skin wrapped up. There was something utterly compelling about it.

He had a mole just to the left of his spine right below his shoulder. I don't know why--maybe it was fatigue, or maybe it was just that I'd kept my desire for guys suppressed for so long--but I kept watching that mole as I rubbed his back, and I was positively obsessed. I wanted to bend down and kiss it or lick it or something. Before I’d even realized it, the back rub went from something aimed at working a knot out of his back to something a great deal more sensual.

He must have noticed the change somewhere along the line, but I don’t know where that was. He must have known that this wasn’t back therapy as I was lightly ran my hands up and down his spine, his neck, his sides while I straddled his hips. Before too long I heard quiet moans from him every time my fingers went up his spine.

My brain was full of white noise and I seemed to be acting out of pure instinct. I was hard as a rock and well beyond thinking about my actions. At some point, I leaned over and kissed that mole that had me obsessed.

At that point, a flare of warning came up from deep in my head and I paused, but his only response was to sigh. That only succeeded in driving me back into a stupor of lust for him.

I pulled my own shirt off. Then I leaned over gently and began kissing his neck. I felt his breathing deepen. I started sucking on his neck. In response, he began moaning under me even louder.

Finally, he rolled over. Awkwardly, insistently, he pulled my face toward his and we kissed.

The last semblance of coherent thought totally left me. For all his awkwardness and dorkiness, he was an incredible kisser. I’d like to be able to tell you what I was thinking, but I was beyond thought; I was totally given over to the raw physicality of his lips on mine, his tongue sparring with mine, our mouths locked together. I couldn’t keep my hands from exploring his chest. His hands were all over my chest too, and I had been right about how wonderful those hands would feel.

It was pretty fiery, but when all was said and done we were both pretty shy; each of us were hesitant to move lower. I could tell he wanted to, but he was holding himself back. That made me feel inhibited and self-conscious about it, so I didn’t push things either. The end result was as hot a makeout session as a from-the-waist-up makeout session could be and nothing more.

Somewhere in all that, the movie ended and the TV went to very loud static. The noise jolted us back into the real world.

Awkwardly, we separated.

I looked at him and blushed; I was incredibly aware of my rock-hard dick, and my brain moved off autopilot and began a wild and somewhat frightened interior monologue.

He put his shirt on silently, blushing the whole time as well. “I guess…” he began, but trailed off. The he took a deep breath, smiled hesitantly, and said, “Thanks.”

“Uhh…you, too,” I said. So lame.

I put my own shirt on and stammered out, “Uhh, I guess I’ll see you later.” Still amped up sexually, I climbed reluctantly into my car and drove home in something of a daze.

My roommates were out when I got home, thankfully, because my dick was still trying to rip its way through my pants. I headed straight into the bathroom, locked the door, and undressed completely. I replayed the feel of Bryan’s chest, the intensity of his kisses. Caught up in the fantasy, I visualized the scene as it had happened, but here by myself, where I could be bold, I took the next step with him. I fantasized myself kneeling down and undoing his pants. What stopped with a makeout session blossomed in my head as a full-on sexual encounter. I stroked myself as I imagined his hands on me, his mouth on me, not stopping this time at the waist. I felt the sexual tension rise higher and higher, as my dick got harder and harder, until finally I exploded in the most intense orgasm I’d had in months.

My head felt light as I recovered my breath, and I felt a little foolish. I cleaned myself up and got dressed; just as I walked back into the living room my roommates returned. I did my best to act nonchalant, although it felt to me as though I’d been wearing a sign that said “I just jacked off thinking about making out with a guy.” They didn’t notice, though, and probably wouldn't have cared, so eventually I relaxed, and by the time I was ready for bed, I felt as peaceful and content as I had in some time.

Bryan and I continued to hang out, and virtually every time we were alone we would find some excuse for me to give him a back rub, and these back rubs always turned into intense makeout sessions. Neither of us had the guts to push it beyond that, so, to put it frankly, I was starting to experience bad cases of blue balls pretty regularly.

During those first months of college, Brian Walker called me every six weeks or so. It was pretty awful. I'd been trying so hard to get him out of my mind, and succeeding pretty well, and just when things seemed to be rolling, he'd call, which would always set me back a little. I had to be friendly, though. I'd hurt him too much already by pushing him away and I really didn't want to lose him even if I thought I should, so I tried to stay upbeat with him and have decent conversations when he called.

Early in October I was working on an organic chemistry assignment I wasn't sure I'd survive. My brain was fried and I needed a break, so I called Bryan and made plans to meet up with him at his apartment. Just as I was headed out the door, the phone rang.

I thought about letting it ring, but decided to grab it at the last minute.

I gasped a little when I heard the words, "Hey, Sammy, how's the brain?"

It was Brian; the "Brian" whose mere voice could melt my heart. I suited up in my emotional armor and walked into the battle.

Forcing a social laugh, I replied, "Under assault." Man, it was so good--and so painful--to hear his voice. Determined to make this a good conversation, I took a breath and asked, "What's up?"

"Nothin's up," he answered. "Just making sure you didn't fall off the planet or lock yourself in the science building."

"Well, I tried both of those things," I joked, "But you know what I failure I am in the really important stuff."

He paused for a minute. "Hey, Sam..."

"I'm just kidding, man. Relax."

"Okay," he said. I heard a note of relief in his voice. "So if you've gotten your crummy sense of humor back you must be doing something fun besides studying. How's your love life?"

Man, was this topic ever a minefield, but I was determined to defuse every last one of those suckers. "Well, as a matter of fact, I'm seeing someone, I guess you could say."

"Really? Excellent. What's she like?"

I took a deep breath. It was time. I needed to tell him; it would show that I'd given up any stupid hopes for anything between him and me; it would show him I'd gotten over him and moved on. I really needed him to believe that lie.

"Well, actually," I said, "It's a guy."

There was silence on the line for a few seconds. After what felt like an eternity, he said, in an oddly subdued tone, "I'm happy for you, Sam. You've been working too hard and you need to have some good times."

My head felt light and I felt my throat tighten up. I shook it off and said, "What's up with you?"

He said, "Well, I joined a frat."

"Oh, jeez, Brian, tell me you didn't. You really wanna be one of those guys?"

"Hell, yeah," he said. "It's the easiest way to get into the hottest parties with the hottest girls."

"Sounds like business as usual," I said. "Serial monogamy. Rapidly serial, I'll bet."

He laughed. "Why fix somethin' that ain't broke?"

"So who's the flavor of the week?"

From the sound of his voice I could almost see him leering as he said, "Hey, it's more like 'flavor of the hour,' Sammy."

I groaned. "You're gettin' your studies done, I hope."

"Oh, man, Sam, you won't believe all the stuff I been studying." He laughed wickedly again. "But enough about my social life; let's talk about yours."

"It's not as exciting as yours, trust me," I replied.

"So fill me in. Like, for example, whatcha up to right now?"

I thought about Bryan and about what I'd be doing the next couple of hours. "Uhh...well, I'm gonna go watch a movie with Bryan."

He was silent for a moment, then he said in a serious voice, "I didn't realize we had plans."

I didn't know what he meant, or what to say; I thought he was making a crude joke, which made me blush, because my intentions for this evening weren't pure at all. Then the "name thing" dawned on me. Between that and feeling really embarrassed to be discussing my impending makeout session, my reply couldn't have been more ridiculous. ", man, is...I mean, not you. He...we...I didn't have plans with you; his name..."

I couldn't finish because he was laughing so hard at me. He stopped to say, "You're so damn hilarious when you get flustered. Damn, I miss that. I was just yankin' your chain, Sam. Anyway, I told you, I'm glad you got someone to have a good time with."

I was glad he couldn't see me blushing.

Since there wasn't any response from me, he continued. "So what's up with you and this Bryan?"

He might as well have been asking me about my organic chemistry assignment. I said, "Well, I...I met him at work,'s only....I...I...he...I mean I guess we..."

I heard him start to laugh again. I finally gave up and said, "I don't have a clue."

It was the truest thing I'd said to him the whole conversation.

We talked for a while longer. It was a good conversation. I couldn't escape the almost crushing sensation that a lot was being left unsaid on both ends--it felt like there were things that still needed to be resolved between us--but there wasn't anything I could do about it. I hung up the phone when we'd finished talking with a mixture of happiness and grief. Then I put it behind me, left the apartment, and drowned any residual sorrows in Bryan.

* * * * * * * *

Thanksgiving holidays were coming up. Both of my roommates were going to be out of town. “Dude,” Adam said to me one night. “It’s just gonna be you and the apartment over the holidays. So, I guess while we’re gone, you gonna be getting some like there’s no tomorrow.”

I was tired, and I was about as sexually frustrated as a young college guy could be, and so I sad back to him, none too pleasantly, “I’m not ‘getting any,’ as you put it, so just shut up, okay?”

He looked at me incredulously. “You’re not?”

“No,” I said, blushing. Again.

“Well, hell, Sammy, you got to make some moves, he said, grinning. “Just get over yourself and attack the guy.”

“Easy for you to say,” I said. “I’m don’t go around hooking up with every dick I can find so I don’t have your kind of experience.”

“Every dick I can find? Moi? I think I’ve been insulted; and to think I was considering doing you a favor.” He feigned offense, but his goofy dramatics had up both grinning.

“I didn’t mean it like that,” I said. “I just don’t know what to do to take the next step.”

He grinned. “It’s not rocket science. Just do what your dick wants you to do but your head isn’t allowing you to do. Talk back to your head, man. Tell it to shut the fuck up so you can get laid. Tell it that it’ll thank you for it.”

I grimaced at him. “Gee, thanks. I don’t know why I didn’t figure that out before.”

“Oh, and another thing,” he added. “That piece-of-shit army cot isn’t gonna cut it,” he said on his way out the door. “You get him over here, you use my bed. Trust me, it’s a lucky bed. It’s seen lots of hot gay action.” He started laughing like a madman at that. “Don’t worry, I’ll have everything you need all ready for you, so just go for it.”

I wasn’t sure whether I could, but I was getting pretty desperate and pretty frustrated, so I decided that when I had him over here I’d try to at least to get him out of his pants.

So the Friday after Thanksgiving he and I were in my apartment. I took Adam up on his invitation, and we were on his bed. As usual, a back rub had turned into a makeout session. I hadn’t noticed it when we first came into the room, but as we were getting into it hot and heavy, I saw that Adam had left a stack of condoms and lube fairly conspicuously out next to the bed. When I first saw all that, my face got hot, and I panicked at the thought that Bryan would see them and think I’d brought him here to seduce him.

But hadn’t I?

We were both clearly enjoying the makeout session, but I couldn't get the condoms out of my head. Somewhere in the middle of making out I blurted out, "Do you want to?"

He stopped kissing me, and I saw his eyes light up.

Looking straight at me, breathing heavily, he said, “I...are you…do you mean what I think you mean?”

I dropped my eyes and looked down at the bed. “Yes,” I said quietly.

I hardly got the word out before he said, “YES!” His voice actually cracked, and he said it so quickly and with such enthusiasm that I nearly burst out laughing. He yanked me back down on him and we lost the remaining clothes.

It was pretty awkward on the bed. He was too long for the bed, by a lot, and it was a day bed, not exactly the most comfortable thing ever. It had a twin size mattress with no box spring, and it was too high up off the ground. I’m not sure where Adam got this particular nightmare of a bed, but it was clearly intended for a little girl's room: It had metal sides, and the metal on the sides and back was supposed to look like flowers and leaves. I think it was meant to look like wrought iron. It didn't. It was just ugly. It was also pointy and hazardous. We kept banging into it, but we were so horny it didn’t matter; it was only occasionally distracting.

Bare skin was rubbing bare skin all over. Dicks smeared precum on body parts. I was as turned on as I’d ever been.

At one point in our mutual grope, he whispered, “Reach over and grab a condom.”

Suddenly I was more than a little nervous. We had never actually talked about any of it. Even though it was the sight of those condoms that caused me to ask him if he “wanted to,” I was kind of expecting that we'd exchange blow jobs or something, not have anal sex. I certainly wasn't ready to let him go there.

I guess he caught the look on my face, because he said, “Sam…I want you to do me.”

I don’t know why I assumed he’d want to be the guy on top. I looked at him. “Are you sure?”

“Yeah,” he said. He looked slightly to the left of my face, avoiding my eyes, and said, “I like it.”

I was a little shocked. He’d never said anything about sex with other people, but obviously this meant I wasn’t his first.

I wasn’t sure what to tell him. I won’t for a second pretend that I hadn’t thought about doing it. Hell, I’d thought about it with Brian, or at least I'd thought about thinking about it; it wasn't very often that I'd allowed myself to think about that with him at all, and my mind always pulled back before the thoughts got too explicit. So I wanted to do this with Bryan, but I was nervous. I was even more nervous than I had been my first time with Mary. There wasn't the same level of comfort with him. I liked him--he was a good friend--but I didn't love him. More importantly though, was the fact that he was a man. As much as I wanted it, the taboo aspect of the whole idea was doing a number on my head. I couldn't deny how much I wanted it, though.

I grabbed a condom. My hands were shaking so much I could barely hold it. I absolutely couldn't get the wrapper open.

Bryan chuckled a little. “Here, let me,” he said. He tore open the package and pulled out the condom out of the wrapper. Seeing that little roll of latex caused my dick to jump. He moved closer toward me, and took my hard cock in his hands. It took all my concentration not to blow my wad right there.

It was apparent Bryan hadn’t been with an uncut guy before, though, because between trying to figure out what to do with my foreskin and trying to position the condom right, his fingers got all tangled up, and the condom went flying across the room. “Dammit!” he said, blushing.

It was my turn to chuckle. “No problem,” I said, grabbing another one from where Adam had left them. I tore open the package and put it on, and then wondered what I should do next.

He lay back and bent his legs at the knee spreading them to give me access. “You gotta get me prepped; you know, kinda stretch things out.”

I looked at him questioningly.

“Put some of that lube on me there. Then put some on your finger and slide it in kinda slow and gentle. When I get used to that, lube up two fingers and put ‘em both in. Then three.”

I looked at him a bit skeptically.

Trust me, it’ll work.”

Except for the fact that we kept bonking our heads on the bed, I managed all that with relatively little problem. But when I actually lined up my dick with his hole, all kinds of problems with geometry and friction were conspiring together to see that it just wasn’t happening. I was getting more and more frustrated; it was enough to make a bi guy completely give up on the “gay” side. If I hadn’t had a two-month lead-up of utter sexual frustration, I probably would have given up. Fortunately, Bryan was really patient, and a good teacher, so after repeated fumbling attempts, I finally felt the head of my cock opening him up.

I was amazed at how easy I slid into him from there. I went very slowly. I wasn’t sure what I was doing, and I didn’t want to hurt him. But, oh,
man, it felt so amazing. Once I’d pushed in to the hilt, he lay on his back staring into my eyes. They were wide and full of expectation and wonder.

You’re in, Sam,” he whispered. “Go for it.”

I pulled out, and took a first firm thrust into him. The forward motion caused us both to smack the crap out of our heads on the bed.

Both of us said, “Owww” simultaneously.

The utter absurdity of the whole evening smacked us in the head too. After the whole comedy of errors--all the ridiculous fumbling and bumping and condom tossing and geometry mistakes--the joint brain concussion was the last straw.

We both fell into hysterical laughing fits. I was laughing so hard I could hardly breathe. So, of course, the bed from hell struck again, and since the bed was too high and kind of poorly balanced, our thrashing around in hysterical laughing fits caused us to fall out of the bed.

Let me mention again that the bed was
way too high. Add to that the fact that the floors were hardwood. When our naked bodies hit the floor, insult turned to injury once again. I’d heard people say that love hurts before, but I’d never experienced it quite like that. We kept right on laughing, though; in fact, this set us off even worse than before.

Finally, when we’d both recovered from our laughing fits, horniness and a kind of grim determination took over. I grabbed condom number three and put it on, lubed up again, and nailed him right there on the floor. We went at it like a couple of wolves in heat.

After it was all over, my knees were killing me, but I felt like I'd finally gotten past some huge hurdle in my head that I didn't know was even there.

Bryan and I "dated", unofficially, until that spring. We never talked about what was happening between us, never talked about any attendant emotions, or about expectations of any kind, or about what was happening next. We had a standard routine: We always got together to “watch a movie” or something of the sort, and always ended up with me giving him a back rub; which always ended up with us in bed. I always topped when that was what we did, which seemed perfectly fine with him.

The sex was great. Well, I had almost nothing to compare it to at the time, but even today I remember it as good.

It was an important time for me. The relationship with Bryan had come just at a time when I was in danger of shutting my entire personality down. Beyond that, my relationship with Bryan helped me move farther down the path of self-acceptance. I'd thought about sex with guys before, especially with the “other” Brian, but back in high school, whenever my fantasies moved in the direction of making love to him, I'd wrench them back. Part of me wasn't ready to be okay with the notion of having sex with guys. I wasn't fully able to accept my desires for men.

Having a sexual relationship with Bryan helped me get over my mental block about sex with guys. This led to another complication, though. I found that I was now able to fantasize about being with a guy, and when I did, the man I wanted to think about, to dream about--to
love and make love to--was Brian Walker. I cared deeply for my new friend, but he was never really the guy I wanted to be making love with; to be brutally honest, he was just a stand-in. I found myself once again wanting Brian so much that it frightened me, and that created nine kinds of chaos with my plans to put him behind me and move on with my life. The bottom line of my relationship with Bryan was that it was a breakthrough for me, but the breakthrough just made it harder for me to get over Brian.

All this pretty much dictated that there wasn't much of anywhere for my relationship with Bryan to go, so there were no hard feelings in May when he said he'd met a woman he wanted to date. We'd never made our relationship very clear to each other, and whatever we were doing, it didn't involve the kind of emotional intimacy that I'd experienced with Brian Walker, so I was okay with seeing our physical relationship come to an end.