Chapter 4

The first week of summer was finally approaching. The annual end-of-school party up the canyon just outside of town was a long running school tradition. Anyone and everyone from all four grades would be there to celebrate, get drunk and have a good time the weekend after school let out. Everyone camped in the canyon so that no one was driving drunk, and the party lasted all weekend. The thought of an entire weekend with a bunch of drunken people and no way out didn't appeal to me all that much, but I didn't want to let Brian down. Besides, Mary would be there also and there was a chance we'd have some time alone.

Mary and I were both insanely busy, and with me living so far away from the school, it was hard to find time together. When we were together, Brian was almost always with us. We went on double dates, or just hung out at their house. We always had fun together, but it was a little uncomfortable trying to make out with my girlfriend while her brother was there. Brian had no such inhibitions. Mary and I had seen or heard him rounding the bases with half the girls in the freshman class. Logically, I knew that he wouldn't have a problem with us making out, and would in fact probably cheer us on. Hell, he'd actually handed me a condom on one occasion, but that didn't make me any more comfortable with the audience. Ironically, I was the one guy in our group of friends who actually had a steady girlfriend all year, and I was seeing less action than anyone else. I was more than a little bit frustrated with the situation, and I fully intended to take advantage of the little bit of privacy this party might provide.

Friday of the last week of school was graduation. I arranged to go directly from graduation to Brian's house for the weekend as we were supposed to leave early the next morning for the canyon. By this time I had spent so much time at Brian's that it was almost as familiar to me as my own home. Tom had joined us that night as well. He and Brian had known each other all their lives. He was like an extra brother to Brian, and he and I had gotten pretty close over the last year as well. We had almost nothing in common aside from a love of soccer and our friendship with Brian, but he was such a nice guy it was impossible to not like him. He was as much of a cut up as Brian was, and I'd taken to keeping an eye on him at parties as well. Beer goggles didn't do wonders for his taste in women.

Tom, Brian, Mary and I decided to do a Monty Python marathon that night. We piled onto the couch and shared a big bowl of popcorn: the air-popped variety with lots of butter. The movies were goofy, but after the stress of finals they were precisely what we needed. I drifted off during "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." The last thing I remembered was 'The Knights who say Ni!' doing their spiel.

I woke up hours later, still on the couch, with the morning sun shining in my eyes. Someone had taken the time to cover me with a blanket during the night. As I sat up, I noticed that everyone was still sprawled across the living room. Brian and Tom were snoring on the floor and Mary was on the other end of the couch just beginning to stir. You know you've got it bad when morning hair looks attractive. She had morning hair and she was still hot. I padded quietly down the hall to the bathroom before anyone else pried their eyes open and took a quick shower. When I got out of the bathroom the entire household had assembled in the kitchen and was busily cooking pancakes, and I joined in the preparations.

Brian's family was an amazing thing to me. I never quite got used to them. They welcomed anyone who walked through their door with open arms and adopted them into the family. Even though Mary and Brian were the last two kids left at home, there was almost always at least one of their older siblings visiting, plus an assortment of cousins, friends, aunts and uncles. It gave the house the aura of a very affectionate three ring circus. They were about as different from my family as they could be and still belong to the same species. What amazed me the most was that there never seemed to be any real discord in the family. I'd never seen anyone truly angry. There were disagreements--it would have been impossible to put that many people under one roof and not have a few, but they never escalated beyond mild grumpiness. I'd never believed that this sort of sit-com perfect family existed. The Partridge family had nothing on the Walker family.

After breakfast, Brian, Mary and Tom took their turns in the bathroom and then we packed our gear into the van. Brian's family sent us off with plenty of extra food, lots of hugs and several admonitions to be safe. You'd have sworn we were leaving for a month instead of a weekend. We were finally off for the canyon a little before eight in the morning.

We arrived at the camp-site in time to get a decent spot. We weren't the first ones there by any stretch, but we weren't relegated to the less desirable locales either. The party was held on a chunk of land that was owned by one of the school alumni. They allowed students to hold the party year after year with the agreement that the site was cleaned up at the end of the weekend and the partying didn't get too wild.

The site was beautiful. We were camping in a meadow with a huge fire pit in the center. The area was surrounded by trees and a path led through the them to a river, complete with waterfalls and pools of standing water. This early in the year the river was running pretty high, being filled with snow-melt. The water was ice cold, but people were already talking about hopping in.

Once we had our tents set up, we all wandered off to help gather firewood. As the morning wore on, more and more people arrived until the meadow was packed with people. There was a second clearing a quarter-of-a-mile or so down the track, and the late-comers had to set up camp there. Everyone was gathered around the fire pit at the main clearing by nightfall. People were roasting hotdogs and marshmallows over a roaring bonfire. The first of the kegs had appeared around dinner time, and while many people had a beer in their hand, no one seemed to be in any hurry to get drunk. Everyone just seemed to be simply enjoying the celebration and the freedom of the first weekend of summer.

Brian had found himself a new favorite flavor of the week. Kari was a pretty, bubbly little blonde with the intelligence of a rock. I couldn't imagine how anyone could hold a conversation with her, but I was pretty certain that a deep discussion about the meaning of life wasn't quite what Brian had in mind anyway. Tom had disappeared in search of "some hot babe" right after we'd set up camp, leaving Mary and I to baby-sit tweedle-dee and Brian. After an hour or so of watching the lovebirds make eyes at each other, I'd about had it. I figured that Brian didn't need an audience to make out with his cute little brainless wonder, and he wasn't likely to drink himself into trouble while trying to get into her pants, so this was the perfect opportunity to actually be alone with Mary. I looked over at Mary and she seemed to have about the same idea. I stood up, told Brian not to do anything stupid, and to come find us in the tent if he started to feel crappy. Brian looked away from Kari just long enough to shoot me a knowing grin, then went back to his conquest. I grabbed Mary's hand and headed to our tent.

I had always felt a little awkward with Mary physically. I'd love to claim that I was suave and knew exactly what I was doing, but she was the first girl I'd ever even held hands with. The sum total of my knowledge came from health class, the locker room, and watching Brian with his merry-go-round of girls. The fact that Mary was not only two years older than I was and had dated several guys before me didn't help the intimidation factor either. The ever present audience hadn't been the only thing that had kept us at a fairly slow pace. Our explorations thus far had been limited to fully clothed groping and lots of kissing. For the first time, we were alone and likely to remain so in a private place with a relatively comfortable horizontal surface. One half of my brain was yelling 'score!' while the other half was scared senseless.

It was pitch black in the tent as Mary and I settled into a pile of sleeping bags and started kissing. I'm not sure if it was the pent up hormones, or the fact that Mary and I knew each other so well in every other way, but soon I was just relaxing and enjoying this time with her. Slowly, clothing started coming off until we were lying together in nothing but our underwear. There was no hiding how excited I was. The feel of her bare skin under my hands was nearly enough to send me over the edge all by itself. We had rolled so that I was on my back and she was straddling my hips. Every time she shifted her weight it was like getting hit with a bolt of lightening. I was trying hard not to thrust against her because I didn't want her to feel like I was pushing her to have sex that night.

Suddenly Mary stopped kissing me and reached for her pants. I was certain that she was calling a halt to our make-out session until I heard a crinkling sound and she put a condom in my hand. I was thanking the heavens that the tent was dark because I know the expression on my face resembled a landed fish.

Mary leaned down and whispered in my ear, "I want to."

Yeah, that turned my brain into scrambled eggs. I realized that I hadn't breathed since she'd put the condom in my hand, and took a big gasping breath. "Are you sure?" I managed to stammer out.

I heard a snap as she undid the clasp on her bra. She reached for my hand, brought it to her breast and whispered, "Positive."

Well, she didn't need to tell me twice. Okay, so she did, but I wasn't waiting for a third invitation. I wrapped my arm around her and rolled us over so that Mary was on her back. I started kissing her again while I pulled off my boxers, then ran my hands down her sides and lowered her underpants. I kissed my way down her neck and ran my hands over her body. I had absolutely no clue what I was doing, but I was running on the theory that if I listened for happy sounds and kept doing whatever had triggered the happy sound, I couldn't go too wrong. It seemed to be working so far. I slid my hand between her legs and began to stroke her gently. Pure dumb luck must have still been on my side, because soon Mary was panting for air.

Mary reached down and wrapped her hand around my dick. "Now," she whispered.

To this day, I have no idea how I got the condom on. My hands were shaking so much, you'd have sworn I was in an earthquake. I suppose I was well motivated. I was absolutely terrified of hurting her though. I loved Mary and, as much as I wanted this, I knew I'd never forgive myself if it was terrible for her. I think that is the only thing that kept me under control. I positioned myself and slid a finger inside of her while I kissed her. I felt a shudder run through her and she gripped my hips and pulled them to her.

I pulled my finger out and started to slide into her. Absolutely nothing had ever felt that good in my entire life. Mary's gasp quickly returned me to reality. I felt her tense up and I immediately stopped moving.

"Should I stop? I don't want to hurt you," I said.

I heard her take a few deep breaths and felt her relax. "No. Just give me a second. I want this, and I want it to be with you."

If I hadn't been positive that I loved her before, that clinched it. I kissed her gently until I felt her pull on my hips again. After a few moments of kissing her, she wrapped her legs around my waist and I started a slow rhythm.

I was trying to make it last and make it a good experience for Mary. The intensity of the sensations soon got the best of me though. I had the most intense orgasm of my young life and all but collapsed over her. I managed to gather my wits about me long enough to take care of the condom. I put the used condom in my shoe so I wouldn't forget it, or lose track of it in the dark, then pulled Mary back into my arms.

I kissed the top of her head. "I love you, Mary."

Mary tightened her hold on me and whispered back, "I love you too." We cuddled for a while just enjoying the closeness. I was still worried that she hadn't enjoyed it, or that she would regret it.

"Are you okay? Do you sorry we did it?" I asked her quietly.

"No, Sam. Not at all. I wanted my first time to be with you, and I want the second one to be with you too....and the third one....and..." she chuckled softly.

I held her close and started to drift off. I'm not sure how long we cuddled together like that. I was more asleep than awake when I felt Mary get up and heard her start to dress.

"Where are you going?" I asked her.

"Shh. Go back to sleep. I just wanted to go check on Brian."

"Hand me my clothes and I'll go with you. I should probably find Tom too." I felt her set my clothes on my stomach and I started to dress. We dressed in a comfortable silence, grabbed our flashlights and crawled out of the tent. The tent had been sheltered from the light of the bonfire by the van. We walked towards the fire slowly, giving our eyes time to adjust, then started scanning the crowd for Brian and Tom. It was hard to pick anyone out in the dark, and I was getting frustrated when I heard the shrill sound of Kari's laughter off to the right. The girl did a brilliant impression of a hyena when she was drunk. Mary and I headed toward the sound and soon spotted her chatting away with a bunch of her friends. Brian was nowhere in sight. Mary's hand tightened in mine, and I felt a little knot form in the pit of my stomach.

I quickly stepped up next to Kari and tapped her on the shoulder. "Kari, where's Brian?"

She turned and looked at me with no sign of recognition for a few moments, then the little light bulb went off. "Oh, Brian! I lost track of him ages ago. We were kissing and he said he was getting nauseous so I left him to throw up alone. That's just icky." She giggled and turned back to her friends. I caught her shoulder and turned her back toward me.

"Kari, this is important. Where did you leave him?" I was trying to stress that this was a big deal without freaking the child out. I needed to find Brian, not deal with Kari's hysterics.

"Oh, we were down the path to the river. There's a big rock right off the path." She was slurring her words pretty badly. I just had to hope that she was remembering correctly.

I grabbed Mary's hand and said, "Let's go."

Mary and I ran down the path to the river, scanning the sides of the path with our flashlights and calling for Brian. I was kicking myself for leaving him alone. One look at Mary's face told me she was feeling twice as guilty as I was. I finally spotted the big rocks that Kari mentioned and then spotted Brian on the ground. When I got to him he was barely breathing. I grabbed his blood sugar test kit from the pack on his belt and stuck his finger to get some blood to test. I had gone into total autopilot. Somewhere in the back of my mind I was watching myself do this and totally freaking out. It was like my body had been taken over by some very calm competent person who was doing what needed to be done while my brain did Daffy Ducks and observed the scene. Sure enough, Brian's blood sugar was far too low. Mary saw the read-out at the same time I did. I heard a muffled gasp and looked over at her. Guilt, fear and total panic were written all over her face. She was about to lose it, and I knew I couldn't let her.

I took her face in my hands and made her look at me. In the calmest voice I could muster I said, "Mary, go back to the fire and send a bunch of guys this way, then get the van started. I'll have them help me carry him to the van and we'll take him to the hospital."

I could see her fighting not to panic and it tore me in two. I wanted to just wrap my arms around her, but I knew we didn't have the time. "Mary, he's gonna be okay, but we've got to get him to the hospital now. Go!"

Mary shook herself, took a last look at Brian then at me and took off down the path. I turned back to Brian and started frantically trying to get a hard candy under his tongue without choking him. Any thought that wasn't directly related to keeping Brian alive had been totally shut down. I had no idea how long he had been unconscious, and I wasn't sure if I was doing the right thing, but I knew we were at least 45 minutes from the nearest hospital and I had to do something. This was before cell phones were as common as breathing, and most of the ones people had were the size of shoe boxes and were wired into a car. Even if we could have found one, the chances of it working up in the canyon were nil. We were on our own until we got to the hospital. I took a deep breath and put one hand on his wrist to keep track of his pulse and watched his breathing while I prayed harder than I'd ever prayed in my life.

Seconds later I heard people running down the path toward me. I called out to them and saw several guys come into view. We scooped Brian up and practically sprinted with him back to the van. Somewhere along the line, Mary had found Tom and he was sitting in the van when I hopped in next to Brian. He was keeping a steady stream of calming chatter aimed at Mary as she navigated her way down the canyon. I spent the entire trip monitoring Brian's breathing, heart rate and blood sugar. I was relieved to see it coming down, but Brian still wasn't conscious.

We pulled up in front of the emergency entrance of the hospital and Tom took off inside to get help while I opened the door. People in scrubs swarmed out of the door and I pointed them at Brian. I started rattling off everything that had happened since we'd found him. Somehow I'd managed to remember every blood sugar level and his heart rate and respiration rate for the entire time. My thoughts have never been that clear either before or since. A man that I assumed was a doctor listened to everything I said and told me that they would take it from there. I watched them wheel Brian into the ER and felt a shiver start in the pit of my stomach.

I turned to find Mary and saw her sobbing as a woman fired question after question at her. I'm sure she was just trying to do her job, but she was about to send my girlfriend into a total mental breakdown. I walked over and pulled Mary into a hug. I pried the keys out of her hands and gave them to a stunned-looking Tom.

"Park the van for her, please?"

Having a task seemed to snap Tom out of his reverie. He nodded to me and went about moving the van. The woman from the hospital had still not stopped talking. Apparently our actions were "highly irregular", whatever that was suppose to mean. Mary was still sobbing hysterically against my chest, and I was pretty certain I was going to fall over if I had to keep standing. The adrenaline high was wearing off and I could feel my legs starting to tremble.

I looked up at the woman from the hospital and interrupted her. "Could we please take this inside? I'll be happy to tell you whatever you need to know, but this isn't getting us anywhere."

She glared at me and huffed out a terse, "Fine," then turned and stalked off. I assumed we were suppose to follow her. She lead us to the check in desk and started firing questions at me. Brian's full name, birth date, medical history, address, phone number, insurance information......I answered what I could and told her to call Brian's parents for the rest. Finally, the woman seemed to conclude that I could be of no further help to her and she sent us to the waiting room. A frantic looking Tom told me that he had called Brian's parents and they were on their way. We found a set of seats and settled in to wait.

I was totally numb. Aside from a severe case of the shakes, I seemed to be fine. Mary was still sobbing. Tom looked like he was about to join her, and I was totally numb. Some part of me registered this fact as being a bit strange, but I didn't really focus on it.

I was absently patting Mary and making soothing sounds when Brian's parents finally arrived with several of his older siblings in tow. His dad went straight for the information desk and his mom made a beeline for us. She took Mary from me and asked what had happened. I could hear the story of the night spilling from Mary's lips, with the part where we had sex edited to be us sitting and talking. I couldn't seem to get a word out. I was vaguely aware of one of Brian's brothers asking Tom to join him on a food and coffee run, and of Brian's dad sitting down next to me in the seat Tom had just vacated. His hand came down on my shoulder. I could hear him talking and I was pretty certain that he was asking me if I was okay, but it was hard to tell through the buzzing in my ears.

I turned to him intending to tell him that I was fine. Instead I blurted out, "I should have been with him." Then I lost it. I didn't start crying, I just went from the shakes to full body wracking shivers. Brian's dad just wrapped an arm around me until the worst of the shakes passed.

"Sam, listen to me carefully," he said quietly, once I was mostly back under control. "Brian knew damn well what he was doing was dangerous. He knew you and Mary weren't with him, and he knew that even if you had been with him, there wasn't a damn thing more that you could have done for him than you did, so don't you dare go blaming yourself. Got it?"

I managed a weak nod at him. No matter what he said, I still felt like I had let Brian down. One look at Mary told me that she felt the same. I pulled her close to me and we settled in to wait for news. An hour after we arrived, someone came out to tell us that he was stable, but not yet conscious and that they were moving him up to a room. We all trudged up to the waiting room outside of intensive care. People I recognized from school were coming and going. Appearing with food and flowers to offer their support. I guess our departure had caused quite the ruckus, and Brian was popular, so word traveled fast. Some tried to talk to me, but they soon gave up when I offered no response at all. I had lost all track of time when someone came out to tell us that Brian was finally awake. All I knew was that the sun was out, and Brian would be okay. Only Brian's parents were allowed to see him right away, but that was fine with me. As long as he was going to be okay, I didn't care. I fell asleep sitting up in the chair with Mary's head in my lap.

Hours later, Brian's mom woke me. She led me back to see him. Somehow I'd gotten credited with saving his life, not letting him down. It didn't feel right, but no one was listening to me. It was just a relief to see Brian alive and well and cracking jokes. His mom left us alone together for a few minutes.

Brian wouldn't look me in the eye. "Man, I'm so sorry I scared everyone like that."

"I'm the one who was suppose to keep an eye on you," I said.

"Sam, I'm the one who decided to get drunk with only Kari to keep an eye on me. I mean come on. She's hot, but I probably wouldn't trust her with a goldfish. I don't know what I was thinking."

I couldn't help but crack up at his description of Kari. "Man, what do you see in her?"

He gave me a sly grin. "You mean aside from the fact that she's hot and easy? Absolutely nothing."

I rolled my eyes at him. "Dude, you've gotta stop thinking with your dick."

"Uh huh. So...did you and Mary have fun?" Brian was wagging his eyebrows at me in the most salacious manner possible. I could feel my cheeks growing hot. "I knew it! Sammy got laid!" Brian announced loudly with a grin on his face. I let out a huge sigh and started to laugh. Brian was definitely back to himself.

"Brian, would you shut up before your parents hear you?!. If you weren't in a hospital bed I would deck you right now," I said while shaking my head at him.

"Okay. then," he leaned toward me and whispered, "Sammy got laid! Sammy got laid!" He sat back up and winked at me. "About damn time. Sorry I ruined the evening."

"Man, I'm just glad you're okay. Just don't scare me like that again."


We chatted about random stuff for a few more minutes until Brian's mom came back for me. Brian promised to call me as soon as he got home from the hospital. His mother took me home, and I stood between her and my father while she gushed about how I'd saved Brian's life. My father looked about ready to spit bullets The Walkers may have been convinced that I was the best thing since sliced bread, but my family wasn't buying it. They were never thrilled to let me out of the house. Mrs. Walker hadn't said that there was alcohol involved even once, just that Brian's blood sugar had gotten out of control, but it was obvious from the look on my father's face that he thought we had been totally wasted or something. It wasn't exactly an auspicious start to the summer. I was pretty certain that getting out of the house to see my friends was going to be next to impossible until school started again in August.