---POVs of Denny, Greg, Linda and Mikey---
I couldn't help thinking about what happened Saturday in Mikey's backyard; I hadn't had such an experience before; certainly not since I'd been packed off to Maine when I was thirteen and starting 7th Grade. I knew what friends were in theory, and I thought I'd had one until last year until my room-mate had gotten drunk and made me suck him off. It wasn't that I was small or weak, but I was quiet and preferred the more non-violent forms of sports like running and archery over basketball or football. Beyond that I liked to read, and was a pretty good student. A guy doesn't make friends easily when they know it's only a matter of time before your family ships you off to some hole in the middle of nowhere, thanks to some stupid family tradition.
I didn't know if things were any different at other private schools, but the Academy seemed to pride itself on catering to the nouveau riche, since all the Old Money families tended to favor more elite institutions. I can't vouch for bank statements, but I knew we could have afforded one of those, so it was my dumb luck to belong to a family that had attended that particular shit-hole for nearly a century now. I'd tried making friends my first year, and had a couple, but most of the boys only cared what your parents did or how much allowance you received. My father, Owain Watson, was a successful investor and was on the Board of Directors for a company with holdings in several areas, but that held no sway with the kids I met at the Academy. The final nail, I guess, was that Columbus Ohio was considered a backwater in any areas other than football, or basketball thanks to the Buckeyes, and if you didn't mention them by name, you got blank stares at best.
Do I need to mention allowance? I got outfitted at the start of the school year with uniforms, some casual clothes and one formal outfit; I had to call home for anything that I needed beyond my $25 monthly pocket money. I was informed more than once I needed no more than that to cover an occasional movie or trip to a candy store—careful budgeting would see I never lacked for funds. After a couple months, I'd learned the lesson well enough to be solvent until my next windfall, but that meant I couldn't spend money on buying things for my friends...so I was rapidly relegated to the fringe of our little social prison. My mother came through on holidays with a care package of sweets and some extra things like underwear or socks, but what good were those in making long-term friends?
Elementary school was normally a good place to make friends, and I'd had some until we moved out into the country when my Grandpa got sick. After that move, it was a debate every year as to whether my parents would send me off to Maine, so I didn't really try to make friends at a school I'd only go to for two years at most. No, the second semester at my new `family' high school was the first time I'd allowed myself the luxury of a friend—and Jay had turned out to be a godsend. Through that blond fire-cracker I'd been introduced to Miles—and the guy who was rapidly becoming the center of my world—Greg Newton. My Reb...my sexy Southern boy.
I won't go into the sexual experimenting at the Academy, but it had clarified fairly quickly for me boys would always be my main interest in bed. Guys would learn to jack-off together, and sometimes do it for each other, but that was as far as I took it—okay, I'd sneak looking at guys in the showers after gym—but what boy doesn't? It was just my bad luck my room-mate had been one of the guys I'd toyed with, and he'd decided it was time for more the first time he had too much to drink. I'd resisted him, and maybe I should have tried harder, but I was curious and thought he was a friend I could trust—he'd even stuck mine in his mouth first to persuade me—but after that first time, the only dick that got sucked was his, and he wasn't as nice about it now he'd learned something he could hold over my head. The older boys at the movie theater had been set up by him as some favor or something, and I knew the only way out would be to get expelled, or become the school's prime source for blow jobs. I'd seen it happen to another guy two years before, and I didn't want to become a sex toy or a punching bag who would then be forced to submit anyway.
So, you can imagine how much this new group of guys have come to mean to me—my first real friends who knew about me and accepted me for what I was—and shared the same impulses. Is it any wonder that I'd kissed Miles' cheek and whispered `thank you' into his ear? You might think I should have said that to Greg since he was my boyfriend, or Jay since he was the guy who introduced me to this amazing group of five kindred spirits. Miles, though, was the one who initiated this acknowledgment of our special bond, so the first belonged to him by reason of proximity—the other guys got their kisses and `thank you's a few minutes later. I thought it would be hardest to kiss Ben or Calvin since they were jocks, and wrestlers to boot, but it was Greg whose cheek made me feel awkward. We'd done more than kiss, but all that stuff had been in private, and I had those images running around in my head as I approached him. It was difficult to limit myself to a semi-chaste kiss on the cheek when I had a boner in my briefs, and could feel his as we hugged one another.
My Reb was helping me to be more comfortable with sex, or at least blow jobs, thanks to his `appointments', but I got the impression he thought it was everything related to being intimate I had a problem with...and that wasn't exactly true. Yes, sucking dick scared me, and so did the idea of getting one, but his timidity could have been frustrating if it didn't show me the depths of his love and concern. At my house last weekend, we'd shot our loads together with him on top of me and my dick against his butt-cheeks. At that moment I'd realized I could have entered him without any fear on my part...but I knew it wasn't the right time for us, not until we could share every act of lovemaking as equals. The time was going to be as special as I could make it, and a memory we both could cherish our whole lives.
Saturday's events had brought a sense of calm and belonging to me I hadn't felt for a long time, and while I'd only found it so far in Greg's arms in the past week , I was pleasantly surprised to find it with my other friends too. I was part of a group now who had more activities in common than just studying...we could do other stuff like going out to eat or shop—maybe even do movies. I was in a much better mood when I walked into school on Monday, period exams coming up or not.
I, Dennis Watson, the Loner, had friends.
* * * * * * * * * *
I was trying to keep a smile on my face as I served the other kids in the lunch line on Monday, but it wasn't easy. Almost every one of them had an idiotic grin and were obviously pleased with the one day reprieve our teachers had granted us: exams would start tomorrow rather than today for some reason known only to themselves. That meant we had another day to study for them—and another day to worry about our chances of passing them. At least there were fewer complaints today—Mystery Meat Monday had been put off when Mamaw C had decided on spaghetti and meatballs instead. She always made the sauce herself , adding her own spices, and the balls were ones she'd made by hand from a mix of beef and pork.
My smile turned genuine when I saw Miles enter the little aisle of the lunch line. His face brightened when he saw me, and I knew it wasn't just for my reservoir of chocolate milk—Saturday's barbecue and lazy afternoon had proven that for all of us in the study group. Several people greeted him by name, thanks to the incident with Zane which had made him a minor celebrity for a day or two, but I could tell he was still uncomfortable about standing out even that much. I watched him give a small nod, or a quiet `hey' in return, but never more than that. I decided to have a little fun with him, so when he got to my station, I leaned in close and put two cartons of his favorite drink on his tray.
In a horrible imitation of Edward G. Robinson's gangster role, I shot a glance toward Mamaw C and said in a gravelly voice: "Yeah, keep it under your hat, see...I got your stash from my moll, so if you know what's good for ya, you'll keep it quiet, see..."
Miles' eyes widened for a second, and then he laughed out loud, drawing a couple glances from the other kids nearby. I thought I had him, but he gave me a quick grin in return. His own voice was a little wheezy like a typical underling. "Right boss...gotcha. I ain't gonna wind up sleeping with no fishes."
I clapped him on the shoulder and said `good one' as he went by, my own chuckles being kept fairly quiet. A lunch line full of kids wasn't the place to say `You and me both'. Unless they were boy fishes, of course. I exchanged greetings with Ben and Cal when they came through, giving my neighbor a small bag of salted peanuts—an old joke between us—and I snickered when he held up two fingers and pointed at Cal's tray. I obediently put two of the treats on the blond's lunch platter. Did that mean Cal's nuts were bigger like I thought it did?
I was just beginning to wonder where Jay and Denny were when they showed up, about five minutes past their normal time. Denny gave me a very cute smile, and my heart soared just seeing him; I put a large orange on his serving tray, then turned to smile at Jay. I could see a patch of red on his upper arm not covered by his tee-shirt, and he winced a bit when he moved his tray along the line. "Nothing for me?" he asked with his trademark grin.
I made a show of searching under the counter, wondering what to pick since I didn't know what he liked best...then I gave him a truly wicked smile. It fit with the `nuts' theme I'd used on Ben and Cal, and from a brief glimpse one day at his house, it was something he had experience gobbling down. I put a nice ripe yellow banana on his tray. I should have known better. Jay didn't miss a beat as his gaze flickered from the banana to my grinning face. "My favorite! Bananas never lose their appeel."
It was only about five more minutes before I was loaded down with my own food and joined my friends at their usual table. Jay was being quizzed about his arm, but had waited for me to show up before telling us about it. I got distracted from the thread of dodge-ball antics when I felt something brush my leg under the table, and my Yank's grin told me it had been his unshod foot. That was the first time he'd ever been so bold in a public place, even if it couldn't be seen.
"...couldn't prove it, but I think Zane had one of his friends target me. He was looking smug until one of his goons got hit by the next ball, and one of the football players nailed him right in the `nads after that. Mr. Burton held us up with a lecture on sportsmanship and threats of detention for the whole class if it happened again." Miles was the only one who looked confused, every kid who ever took gym at our school knew Burton's detentions were spent doing calisthenics and laps for a solid hour.
Denny's foot had retreated, so I could concentrate on Jay's drama in gym class. I thought the jerk had been warned off, and the subsequent events reinforced that, but it seemed some guys were just too stupid to know their own limitations. "Timmy Zane has got to be dumber than a box of rocks if he thinks he can try shit like that..." Nods from the other guys came fast—Zane had no admirers at our table, or anywhere else among the school's nearly eight hundred students, for that matter. This would be a much better place when he and his chief flunkeys graduated in June.
Once again, I found myself drifting from the topic of Zane and his buddies...this time by seeing Ben and Calvin; the two had been sitting with a couple of other wrestling types, but were now approaching our table. They snagged two chairs from another, and plonked down on them back to front so their arms lay on the chair backs closest to us. Calvin nodded at us, and spoke up in his shy voice. "Since we're new to this thing, Ben and I are wondering if there's a meeting tonight?"
The rest of us exchanged looks, a bit surprised that the question needed to be asked...but we'd studied for exams all last week, so we were ready, weren't we? The only class I had any worries about was Chemistry, but my lab notes were all in order, so what more could be done? Math classes of whatever level were a cinch—if you knew how to work the problems, you passed; if you didn't then no amount of studying would help. Our English classes would be almost entirely essay questions, so if you'd read the book and listened during class discussions, you could do all right if you could support your arguments. I said as much and got nods all around, except for Mikey.
"I don't know...we spent a whole night on each of our major subjects, but divided Friday up for our electives." He took a last drink from his second carton of chocolate milk, then went on. "I don't want to be a drag, but you can never study too much."
Jay piped up next, "There is such a thing as burn-out..."
Mikey pointed his fork at his boyfriend, and winked at the rest of us. "Don't listen to him—if we do electives, he's afraid I'll put him in a diaper for Home Ec...Hey Cal, could you use a picture like that for a Photography project?"
The blond raised his two hands up in front of his face, thumbs together with the index fingers forming the sides of an imaginary frame. He frowned for a few seconds, then shifted his angle a bit, coincidentally stopping as his right thigh landed next to Ben's. "Hmm...with the proper mood lighting, like a fireplace...and a bearskin rug...it could work. A sort of `Before' and `After' if there's one in their family album somewhere."
Mikey rubbed his hands together gleefully. "There is! But I saw an even better one—his older brother Jerry was chasing him around the house holding a diaper, and Jay was naked...I'd love a picture like that for when he's old and back in diapers again."
Jay's face was red when all eyes focused on him, but I couldn't tell if he was mad or just very embarrassed. "Anybody trying to get a thing like that will find their camera shoved up their butt...so, what's the deal? We studying this week or not?"
The next ten minutes were spent on discussion of when, and for how long we'd open our books this week. Just before I had to start gathering up trays, we came to a decision: we'd study every night after school like always, but stop at dinner time. That would give us the rest of the evening to do whatever we wanted, either as a group, couples or alone. There wasn't much doubt that the `alone' option wouldn't be on the agenda, and the `group' one depended on how sick of each other we were after studying so much.
For my part, I was torn; Saturday had been a lot of fun just relaxing in Mikey's yard, and it brought all of us closer together, but my Yank and I had probably spent the least amount of time together among all of us. A half hour before I had to be home from Jay's, and the one night at Denny's house at Easter just didn't compare to the hours Mikey had with Jay before going home, or the time Ben and Cal could spend at Cal's grandmother's. Jay's hay mow was nice, somewhat romantic, but nothing like having time alone in a quiet place without worrying that someone would hear you. I had a crazy thought then—how old did you have to be to get a reservation at a hotel? Or even the Shannon Inn just east of my house on Route 40?
Even more important—how much did such a room cost for the night?
* * * * * * * * * *
Quiz weeks always did something strange to me; most of the time I wanted to look my best, but my priorities changed from that to acing my tests instead. I still kept my hair neat, but rather than my usual skirts, I wore comfortable jeans and blouses, and went from low heels to flats. I guess I thought that everything else was a distraction, and that had included Bobby...but I didn't have to spare any time worrying about him now. I hated to admit it, but my baby brother now had a better social life than I did...even if he couldn't flaunt it in public like other couples.
I wasn't jealous of him by any means—Miles wasn't the type I liked, even if he'd been straight—but the extra large dose of sappiness in Jay's demeanor did irritate me a bit. Jay had always been a friendly outgoing guy, and it was hard to keep up a bad mood around him, but `Jay in love' was going to drive me to distraction. I thought his study group idea had been a ruse to get more time with his boyfriend, but he'd shown himself to be more serious about it than I ever thought possible. Teen boy hormones might have been the initial reason, but Miles had brought a focus to my brother's life which hadn't been there before now.
I didn't have any real worries about my period exams, so the one day's delay didn't do anything other than irritate me—my grades were good, okay, very good—and the only class which might have caused me any concern at all was Mr. Maddox' American Government. He was a conservative Republican no matter what his party did, such as letting Nixon off the hook for Watergate. I was one of those students who questioned everything and asked for proof to support one's positions...the bane of any candidates who just said what the voters wanted to hear.
Despite our disagreements on politics, the man's tests were fair, and his grading system reflected that...even his essay questions were not biased as long as you cited proof for your assertions. Government, barring a change of goals every four years or so, was a stable and time-tested system which followed clearly defined rules. That fact could be lost if the citizenry began to exploit the system for personal goals which the Constitution had attempted to prevent with its `checks and balances' methodology. In bad hands, a class like this one could be nothing more than propaganda to support the current administration, but in good hands it could encourage debate and broaden the minds of students to accept viewpoints other than those of their parents or grandparents.
I was coming out of Physics with Ben when Bobby caught up to me in the hall, without Timmy Zane as his shadow. I was surprised because they'd been sitting together at lunch the last few days as usual, though there had seemed to be some tension between them. The pang of regret at seeing him was still there, though not as strong as last week—but it was there. He gave Ben a small smile, and asked if he could talk to me for a few minutes, saying it was important. Since we all were on lunch now, I gave him a nod.
Bobby's eyes were looking into mine, almost pleading, then he led me to the outside door next to the Chem lab where we had Physics as well as Chemistry. He cleared his throat a few times before he could get his voice to work.
"I wanted you to hear this from me before anyone else told you...I was late getting to gym because of a doctor's appointment, and heard one of Zane's friends hit Jay during dodgeball. The guy got hit in return by someone else, and one of the football guys got Timmy really hard for starting it..." I was going to interrupt him with my vivid opinion of his friend and what would happen if he tried anything like that again, when Bobby raised his hands to stop me.
"Lin—hold up a sec, okay? Burton reamed the class out pretty good, and then I jumped on Timmy as we were dressing..." Bobby's eyes looked down at the concrete sidewalk, then back at me again. "I thought I'd been calming him down the past few days, but I don't think it was as much as I'd hoped. He won't tell me what Jay said to him, and I get garbled details from the other guys, but I think Jay hit a nerve or something. I'm gonna sit on him if I have to, but he won't try anything else..."
I was a bundle of mixed emotions after hearing this, anger being the greatest one, but there was also some regret that the tall auburn-haired basketball player wasn't my boyfriend any more. There was also satisfaction that my plan had worked—Zane had gotten immediate consequences for his infringement of our pact, even though he'd done it by proxy. I'd have another word with him rather than go to Jenny's father just yet. The bastard had tried his limits, which I'd halfway expected, and now he knew what would happen. This was his only freebie, next time the result would be as I'd promised him. I was cold toward anyone who tried to hurt my family, but not heartless about it.
Bobby went on after another few seconds staring at his sneaker which was trying to dig a hole in the sidewalk between us. "Lin, this wasn't how I wanted to do this...and I don't expect you to say yes or anything...and I know we're not a couple anymore..."
He cleared his throat noisily, and I saw a hint of moisture in his eyes which brought me back into focus. This wasn't the usual self-assured boy I'd fallen for, and I began to doubt if my breaking up with him had been right, or too drastic. How deeply had I hurt him? After all, he wasn't the bigot here, Timmy Zane was. I was completely taken aback by his next words.
"Lin, would you go to the Prom with me?"
* * * * * * * * *
Something wasn't quite right the closer we got to Wednesday, the day Jay would have the Auto Shop class work on his truck—he seemed a bit more nervous as the days ticked by. I put it down at first to him worrying about his truck, but we'd finished up the prep work by Saturday night, with a lot of extra work by both of us, so I wondered what else it could be. It was almost like he was distracted, but my experience with being in a relationship was zero, so how could I be sure?
On Tuesday we had our quizzes in Chemistry and Physics, so we'd worked on those a bit on Monday, but I knew Jay would do well on that one, and his math class on Wednesday...no, it couldn't be because of test anxiety. The old Miles would have thought it was due to his losing interest in me, or that there might be someone else...but I had no doubt of his love for me—one look into those oceans of blue told me I was as secure in his heart as ever. When he thought I wasn't looking, I'd see him bite his lower lip, or stroke his pendant, and then when I'd speak to him, it was like he hadn't heard me at first...but then his face would break out into his dopey grin.
When the guys went home on Tuesday evening, we'd spent a couple hours in his room, cuddled up next to each other... there was no problem with that part of our relationship, because it took only a half hour for both of us to get off. I began to wonder what else could be wrong, until finally I thought of Uncle Mikkel's box. Could my Jay be afraid of taking that final step to fulfilling our bond? With studying last week, and the tests this week, neither of us had suggested experimenting with the dildos it contained, though we'd used some of the K-Y to rub our fingers over our openings. It had surprised both of us how much better it worked than the spit we'd tried those few times we'd attempted this earlier.
During the times we'd experimented with fingering each other so far, it seemed easier for both of us if we were giving blow jobs to one another, but I found it a lot easier to take Jay's fingers into me than vice-versa...though neither of us had tried to insert more than one at a time, or much more than half-way. With the lube it was a lot easier, and I hardly tensed up at all, though Jay still did, despite his willingness to take my finger inside him. Since I'd figured out his need to have me make love to him first, I began to think that was the problem—that he'd be unable to fulfill his condition, but when I brought it up on the way to school on Wednesday, he'd looked confused. "What? What are you talking about?"
Jay had gotten to my house about ten minutes early so he could take his truck to the Shop garage, but that didn't allow us enough time to talk at our usual spot, so when Mr. Duncan had put the truck on his lift and given it a quick nod of approval, Jay had led me back to the football bleachers behind the school. The wood and steel structure was deserted, and we had it all to ourselves. The only cars in the lot were the school's tow truck and Mr. Duncan's green Plymouth. We could see cars driving up through the open structure of the bleachers, so we sat facing each other with our knees touching, and I took his hands in mine to show him the depth of my concern.
"You gonna tell me what's wrong, kæreste? Are you worried about us making love some day? I can wait for you to be ready—it has to be right for both of us..." Jay shocked me then by leaning forward and placing his lips on mine, and I melted into it for a second before jerking back like he'd burned my lips with a branding iron. We were right out in the open—at school—anyone could have seen us!
Jay smiled at my alarmed reaction, and then chuckled. "You're so cute when you get flustered—nobody's out here but us, and maybe some squirrels in the woods. Anybody asks `em what's going on, nobody'll believe them because everyone knows squirrels are nuts." I was sorely tempted to punch him in the arm for that one, but I let it go.
"Don't try to bullshit me, Jay Beckel, I'm onto your tricks now," I scolded him. "You've been fretting about something for a couple days, so `fess up." I waited until my Dane dipped his head resignedly before squeezing his hands to encourage him further.
"Okay, elskede, here goes—I've been trying to come up with an idea for our one month date, and I can't think of anything since it's quiz week. It's bugging the heck out of me..." Jay swallowed hard and went on in a melancholy tone, and I thought I saw a tear beginning to form. "We ate in town and walked around the Indian Mound for our first week, so this has to be something better and I'm out of time."
I felt my throat close up and my heart skipped a beat at those words...he was worried about how to celebrate the first month of us being together? I almost cried myself, and would have kissed him long and deep if we'd been at his house, but since we weren't, I settled for raising his hands to my lips instead. I had to blink several times as I looked back into those bottomless pools he called eyes, and I was lost for more than a few seconds when something in the back of my head tried to get my attention.
I frowned for a bit while I tried to figure out what felt wrong...it was something in his last words, but my head was muzzy with thoughts of kissing his pouty lips, so it eluded me. "What did you say?"
Jay gave me his puppy-dog eyes and grinned. "Now who's distracted? What do you mean, `what did you say'?"
I flicked his right ear with my index finger, and he yelped before rubbing it. "What the hell did you do that for?" he demanded in an aggrieved tone.
"I asked you to repeat what you said, `cause something didn't sound right, but I couldn't figure out what, then you got all smart-alecky on me. Now, what did you just say?"
Jay's brow creased in thought, and he started to say something, but then changed his mind when he saw my look and a finger raised to flick his ear again if he smarted off a second time. He shook his head wearily from side to side and sighed. "You're no fun anymore... but he went on before I could punish his cute ear again. "I said I was trying to think up something for us to do on our one month anniversary..."
I nodded, and waved that aside with one hand, the other still grasping his on our knees. "I got that bit—it was after that. Then I remembered it. "You said something about `time'—what was it?"
Jay hung his head low, and he had one of the saddest expressions on his face I'd ever seen there. His voice was hardly more than a mumble now. "I said I was out of time, since today was the day, and I still couldn't think of anything." I ran my finger down his right cheek, raising his eyes to meet mine.
"Jay—kæreste—I'm happy just spending time with...," I trailed off, and my eyes focused on my watch. The red digital numbers on their black background reminded me of its other function. I pushed one of the tiny buttons on the silver case, and the time changed to display the date: 4-28-76. I knew what had bothered me now, and I thought it was hilarious that Jay, my math wizard, had screwed up something this simple. The urge to laugh was almost irresistible, but that would hurt the feelings of the man I loved more than anything in my life, so I just showed him today's date instead.
"So—I know the date—it's a cool watch, but I've seen it before." He didn't get it, so I knew I'd have to make it plainer without gloating.
"You remember, you said our anniversary was the day you asked me out, rather than our first date the following Friday?" His nod affirmed he remembered, but the connection still wasn't made. "Jay, think—what day was it? What was the date?"
More puzzlement drew his light blond brows close. "It was the day I first wiped away your tears, and the day I wanted to kiss you—but we were both too scared..." He grinned at my scowl of frustration, then snickered when I changed it into a warm smile of recollection. "It was the seventh..."
"And, O Math Guru—twenty-eight minus seven equals what?"
The smile spreading across his face was brighter and sweeter than the sunrise happening to our right, beyond the low brick school and the fields across the street to the east. "Duh, yep, yep, yep...twenty-one?" His voice was a great imitation of the dopey fox-hound from the Bugs Bunny cartoon where he's trying to hunt a fox, and Bugs tricks him until the very end.
"I still have time—and our tests will be over!" He leaned forward and grabbed me in both his arms and hugged me until I was gasping for breath. His lips were on mine and I felt his tongue probe for entry into my mouth, and I let him in.
From the corner of my eye, I caught a flash of light, and broke the kiss to stare at the parking lot. A car had just turned in, and was taking a place in the student area. I pulled back reluctantly, though I knew the dark woods behind us, and the chain-link fence around the football field would hide us from view. "Yeah, thirty days won't be until May seventh, but if you stick to Wednesdays, then that's the fifth...so which will it be?
Jay stood up and led me down the couple of steps to reach the ground from our spot in the bleachers' third row. When we rounded the corner to exit through the open gateway to the parking lot, we put a couple feet of space between us. "Well? Which day do you want," I asked, trying not to whine.
He pretended to ignore the question for a second, then pointed at another oncoming car. "Look, it's Denny and Greg—let's go say `hi'!" I let out a low growl and pulled him around by his right arm. He gave me a clearly fake look of confusion, then I got his mischievously evil grin.
"Friday works for me," he said casually, which aggravated me even more. "I just got my idea—and it works out great that the real day turns out to be at the start of the weekend!"
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