This story contains scenes of love and sexual interaction. Much of this involves males with other males. If the reading or possessing of such material as this is illegal in your country, state, province, county, municipality, etc., please leave this site immediately and do not proceed further. If you are under the legal age to read this, please do not do so.
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All best, Jon
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Matt and Jon
"We Shall Overcome."
That night the mood was a little strained around the Barker family table. Few words were spoken, and little eye contact was made. No one was angry; it just seemed like something needed to be dealt with. Even though he’d apologized earlier for having lied to his mother, Matt could tell he was still in the dog house.
Even though Ann knew that it was inevitable, on some level, part of her gently mourned the loss of her son’s innocence. Intellectually, she told herself that she was being ridiculous, but the mother in her couldn’t help but feel otherwise. She knew that this was something she would have to deal with on her own.
Matt desperately wanted to clear the air.
“Mom, I’m sorry I lied to you today.” He said, idly pushing food around on his plate. He figured she must have discussed things with his dad, because he didn’t seem surprised.
“It’s just that there are some things a guy doesn’t feel comfortable talking about with his mom, you know?”
Ann smiled warmly across the table at Matt. “Matt, I know it must have been embarrassing for you and Jon, but honestly, if you’d just said you’d be down in a minute, I never would have asked what you were doing. If it hadn’t been for the lie, I might not even have suspected. You never could lie to me, you know. I was just a little hurt that you felt you had to make up a story for me.”
Matt looked up from his plate. “Geez mom, you really know how to make a kid feel rotten!”
“Motherhood 101, all part of the job.” She said dismissively.
Bill added, “Yeah, but you could teach it on a doctoral level.” They all laughed at the comment.
“Seriously Matt,” Ann continued, “What bothers me most about it is that if anything ever did happen that hurt either one of you, physically, or emotionally, I’m afraid you wouldn’t feel that you could come to us. I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately on the subject, and the suicide rate is very high among gay teens. I know it may be hard for you to talk about some things with us, but no one ever actually died of embarrassment.”
“Mom, don’t you think you’re being a little dramatic? I’m not ashamed to tell you this much; everything we’ve done has been loving…and beautiful.”
“Matt, thank you for telling us that. I know it’s awkward, and yes, maybe I am being dramatic, but I’d never take a chance with the boy I love…we love. I said it once, and I’ll never say it again without reason. Just promise me that you’ll come to us.”
“Okay…I promise.” Matt said looking his mother lovingly in the eye.
Bill cleared his throat. “This is new to all of us, and I guess it’ll take a little adjustment. I think we’ve all learned a lot about each other in the last couple of days, and in many ways, we’ve become a lot closer. Your mother and I are enjoying watching you become a remarkable young man right before our very eyes and we want to do anything we can to help you along the way.”
The rest of the meal was relaxed, but subdued. They all had a lot to think about. On one level, Matt was very pleased that his parents were beginning to see him more as an adult, but on another level, he wanted to be their little boy again. He wasn’t sure he was ready for all of the burdens of adulthood. Ready or not he was in love with Jon, and that, he thought, could see him through anything.
The phone rang just as they were clearing the table. Ann answered.
“Hello? Yes, this is Mrs. Barker…oh! How are you?” A smile spread across her face. “Yes…uh huh…that’s wonderful! Yes, we’re very proud of him.”
If there was one thing Matt hated, it was hearing one side of a conversation, especially when he suspected that he was the topic.
“Yes…oh, thank you…thank you very much. Uh huh, uh huh…”
She continued infuriatingly. Finally, she said into the phone,
“Well he’s right here. You can tell him yourself.”
She extended the phone to Matt. He put it to his ear. “Hello?”
“Matt, this is Miss Selwitz. I wanted to call you as soon as I finished reading your paper so I could tell you personally that I gave it an A++!”
“I didn’t know there is such a thing.” Matt said a little surprised.
“There isn’t, really, and unfortunately your overall grade won’t reflect it, but the extra plus is to let you know how much it means to me to have a student who sees things the way you do. Have you shown it to Jon?”
“No, I’m not sure about that. I never told him that part of what happened after he left the lunch room that day, and he might be embarrassed.”
Miss Selwitz thought about it and replied, “Well, I’ll let you decide, but I think he might be proud of you.”
“I’ll give it some thought. I really appreciate your calling, Miss Selwitz, thanks for everything.”
“You’re welcome, dear. I’m going to pull some strings and try to get you in my advanced placement class in the Fall. Anyone who can pull a final grade up from a D to a B+ in a week is certainly up to the work.”
“Miss Selwitz, is Jon going to be in that class?”
“Of course!” She replied.
“Than I KNOW I’ll be up to the work!” Matt said wholeheartedly.
Miss Selwitz chuckled on the other end of the line. “Have a great Summer vacation, Matt. You earned it. I’ll see you next year.”
When Matt hung up the phone, both of his parents were standing behind him, beaming like they’d just won the lottery. If they were uncomfortable with each other before, there was no trace of it now as they congratulated him with heartfelt hugs.
After awhile, Matt excused himself and bounded up the stairs to fire up his computer. He had a lot to tell Jon.
Jon got up early on Saturday and gave Matt a wake up call. When he was satisfied that Matt was actually awake, he quickly dressed, jumped on his bike and headed for the running path. He told Matt that he could run by himself if he wanted to sleep in, but Matt insisted on meeting him.
They ran to the end of the path and took their break, lying side by side in the grass. Jon examined the blade of grass he’d been chewing on.
“Was something bothering you yesterday in the locker room at the pool? It’s the first time I’ve seen you look…almost shy.”
“I wasn’t sure how Andy and Trev would feel being naked in front of us, knowing we’re gay and all.” Matt replied.
“Yeah, I know what you mean. I wondered how they’d react, but when they just stripped off like it didn’t matter to them, I followed their lead. Usually, I’m shy about my body anyway, but they really made me feel like I was among friends.”
“Yeah,” Matt chuckled. “Seems like I was the only one who felt awkward…sort of funny when you think about it. You were right, by the way, I was definitely afraid I’d get hard, too.”
“Good old Mr. H. to the rescue!” Jon laughed. “Trev is cute in the buff, isn’t he?”
“Yeah, and Andy! My God, it hurt just to look at that thing…especially since I was still a little…tender back there.” Matt giggled.
“Poor Marla!” I guess it’s easier for girls, though.” Jon sighed. “I wonder how far they’ve gone.” He thought out loud.
“I don’t know. You’d never hear it from Andy. Marla’s right about him being a good boy scout. He’d never tell.”
“Well, I hope what ever they do is as great as what we have…Trev and Stacey too.” Jon said sincerely.
Matt found his hand and gave it a squeeze. Jon leaned over and gave Matt a kiss on the cheek. Just then they were aware of footsteps on the path. They looked up just in time to see two guys in their mid-thirties run by with broad grins on their faces giving them the thumbs up sign. An emboldened Matt returned Jon’s kiss, lingering for a few seconds on his lips.
“I guess that answers my next question.” Jon said, exhaling the breath he’d held during the kiss.
“Oh? What was it?” Matt asked.
“I was just wondering if you were jealous because I was checking out Trev and Andy in the shower.” Jon admitted.
Matt laughed. “Oh yeah, like I wasn’t? It’s okay to look. I don’t think it would be natural not to. It doesn’t mean we love each other any less just because we find other guys attractive.”
“I guess you’re right. Sometimes I just worry a little because neither of us has ever been with anyone else. Do you think you’ll ever look back and feel like you missed something?”
Matt thought about what Jon asked. “Jon, I know I’ll feel like I missed something. I’ll have missed spending years being miserable in a lonely closet instead of being with the boy I love. The boy who cooked me chicken cacciatore, and brought me roses for breakfast. The boy whose kisses I live for, and who willingly gave himself to me, mind, heart, body and soul.” The last word died away as Matt began to choke with emotion. If he hadn’t started to cry, he could have gone on reciting each precious, sacred moment of the last two weeks with Jon.
He looked over at Jon in time to see a tear escape from the corner of his eye, splashing on the grass and mingling with the remains of the morning dew.
Both boys lay there side by side, crying their eyes out, not wanting to think about what their lives were like before.
The two runners on their way back up the path noticed the two sobbing boys in the little meadow, and jogged over to them.
“What’s the matter guys?” The taller of the two asked. “Is everything alright?”
“Everything…couldn’t…be better!” Jon managed between sobs of joy.
The two men smiled. “Oops!” Said the shorter one, “looks like we stumbled into a private moment! We’ll just be going…” As they turned to leave, Matt stopped them.
“No, wait.” He said “You’re ‘high sign’ when you went by before meant a lot to us. Thanks.” He said as he sat up and dried his tears with the tail of his t-shirt.
“Oh, you’re welcome.” Responded the taller one. “You two looked so cute. Reminds me of us when we were your age. That was back in the dark ages, though. If anyone ever saw us kiss we would have been tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail!”
“You’ve been together since then?” Jon asked.
“Yup!” Replied the shorter one. “Twenty years last May.” He said, slipping his arm around his mate.
Jon and Matt exchanged a look, as if seeing the future. “If you guys aren’t in a hurry, there’s something we want to ask you…if it’s not too personal.” Matt ventured, looking hopefully at the couple.
The two men sat down on the grass across from Matt and Jon. “Go ahead, ask us anything. It would have been great if there had been someone we could talk to back then, the least we can do is help out the younger generation. I’m Tom Jones…don’t laugh! It’s my real name.” When he saw the puzzled look on the boys faces, he groaned, “God we’re old! He was a singer that was popular back in the Bronze Age. Ask you’re parents.” He laughed, then he introduced his partner.
“And this is Stuart Billings.” He said, giving the shorter guy an affectionate squeeze.
“Billings?” Jon’s ears perked up. “Are you related to…”
“Pastor Margaret’s my sister.” He headed him off. “We live in the city and we’re out here visiting her for the weekend. We’ve been to her church a few times, in fact we’ve heard you sing.” He said to Jon. “You have a beautiful voice.”
“Thanks.” Jon said modestly as Matt beamed at him with pride. Matt and Jon introduced themselves and they both shook hands with the men.
“So what do you want to know?” Stuart asked encouragingly.
Matt and Jon filled them in on the conversation they’d been having.
The two men smiled knowingly and nodded at each other.
“When I was growing up I was somewhat of an ugly duckling.” Tom began while Matt and Jon let their eyes wander over his chiseled features and well toned body and tried to picture him as anything but totally buff.
“You were so cute!” Stuart interrupted and kissed him on the cheek.
“Maybe to you,” Tom went on, “but I got teased a lot. I was all arms and legs. My ears were so big for my head that the kids in school used to call me 'Dumbo.' I was a mess.” Matt got a sudden picture in his mind's eye of Joel Salinski and smiled, fervently hoping that the poor kid turned out as well as their new friend had.
“Anyway, I guess I had pretty low self esteem back then. I just couldn’t figure out what Stuart saw in me, and I went around pinching myself all the time to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Poor Stuart had to constantly reassure me that I was all he wanted.”
Matt reached out and took Jon’s hand as both boys began to get misty eyed. Stuart’s hand found Tom’s as he said,
“Yeah, it was rough, all that hugging and cuddling.” He sighed. “What a hardship!”
The boys giggled, knowing full well what that kind of ego boosting session would inevitably lead to.
Tom picked up his story. “There were a couple of kids in our class that we suspected might also be gay, so one day I told Stuart that if he ever wanted to do something with any of them, I’d understand. You see I was so terrified that I’d lose him altogether if I didn’t let him be with someone I thought could satisfy him more than I could. He finally managed to get it through my thick skull that he wasn’t interested in anyone but me.”
“It took a lot of convincing!” Stuart agreed, wrapping on his lover’s head lightly with his knuckles.
Tom smiled at him and continued. “Things were fine for the next few years. We were very happy. Eventually our families accepted us, and we told a few close friends. We only lost one friend, and even he didn’t hate us enough to out us to the whole school, or hurt us in any way, he just stopped hanging out with us. It might interest you to know, by the way, that we visited our hometown last Christmas, and we ran into him. He apologized for the way he acted, and insisted we drop by his house and meet his family. It was a great feeling for us, so never close doors if you can help it. But I digress, this part you’ll find interesting, especially you, Jon. Am I right in assuming that you’re out here running trying to get into shape?”
“Well, I had a late growth spurt, and all of my various parts gradually came into proportion. I’d been working out with Stuart a few times a week, and I’ll never forget when I noticed that other guys were checking me out. It terrified me at first, but then it started to intrigue me in a way I never thought possible. I never said anything to Stuart, but he was aware that I was getting my share of looks.”
Stuart gave Tom’s hand a squeeze and took over the story. “Now it was my turn to feel insecure. Even though Tom never was anything but polite when some cute guy flirted with him, I couldn’t help but wonder if he wished he was single. After all, we were going to N.Y.U. at the time, and there were lot’s of hot guys around. One night I told him how I felt, and that if he wanted to play the field a little, I wouldn’t stand in his way. We had a long talk, and I told him that I wouldn’t mind, as long as he didn’t do anything risky, and we talked about it before and after.”
“So did you ever…do anything with another guy?” Matt asked.
Tom chuckled. “Almost. We were in a bar in midtown, the legal age was 18 then and we were 19 at the time, and this guy, Roger, bought me a drink. He was incredible. Looked like he just stepped out of the pages of G.Q. I have to admit that after years of feeling inadequate, it was a real turn on to be noticed by a guy like that. Stuart encouraged me to join him, so I did. He was really nice and treated me with respect. He asked if I’d like to go home with him. My heart was racing a mile a minute. I really thought I wanted this. I told him I had to give the keys to my roommate, and went to talk to Stuart. He said he understood and that he’d wait in the bar until closing, and that if I wanted to stay, he’d see me at home. I’ll never forget the look on his face when I walked out of there with Roger. It was all love.”
Jon let out a sob and Stuart put a comforting hand on his knee. “Don’t worry Jon, the story has a happy ending.”
Everyone was surprised when Matt interjected, “Well DUH! We can sort of see that!” He gestured at the two men sitting together, holding hands on the grass. They shared a much needed laugh.
“So anyway,” Tom continued, “we got to his apartment and we had a glass of wine and just chatted for awhile. Finally, he moved closer and put an arm around me. We ended up kissing. It was nice, but just nice, nothing like I felt with Stuart. His hands started to roam all over my body. That felt ‘just nice’ too. I think he was surprised when he groped my crotch to find that I wasn’t even the least bit hard, but I think he was more surprised when I started to cry right there in his arms.”
Tears were flowing silently down the boys cheeks and they made no attempt to hide them.
“He asked me what was wrong, and I poured out my whole life story to the poor guy. He was great. He stopped feeling me up and just held me while I got it all out. He walked me back to the bar and I fell into Stuart’s arms and clung to him for dear life. Roger put his hand on Stu’s shoulder and told him he was a very lucky man.”
Stuart leaned his head on Tom’s shoulder. “After awhile we thanked him for being so understanding and told him we were sorry we ruined his evening. You know what he told us?”
“What?” Both boys asked in unison.
“He said that we didn’t ruin his evening, and that if anything, we gave him hope that he’d meet someone someday that would love him as much as we love each other.”
“Wow,” Jon interjected, “he was really cool.”
“Yes, he was.” Tom agreed. “The best part is that he did eventually find someone. We still exchange Christmas cards and run into them from time to time.”
“There’s an old saying,” Stuart added as a postscript to the story, “If you love something, set it free, and if it comes back it was meant to be, if it doesn't, well, then it was never yours to begin with.”
They chatted for awhile with Jon and Matt taking turns telling the two men their story.
Tom stood up and stretched. “I still find it flattering when a guy checks me out, but I’ve never been tempted to act on it. I get just as much pleasure when Stuart gets looks.”
“Yeah,” Stuart said, “and the looks we’ve been getting recently are more like looks of admiration, as a couple.”
“You’re getting one of those looks right now.” Jon said, a little shyly. They stood to leave, and both boys got a firm hug from each of the men.
Stuart handed them each a card. “That’s our number and email if you ever want to talk. We’d like to hear from you.”
The boys thanked him and promised to keep in touch.
Stuart added, “If you ever have any problems, you can always go to my sister, too. She’s really cool.”
“Yeah,” Matt agreed. “We know.”
Tom smiled at them fondly. “We’re going to church tomorrow with Margaret, will we see you there?”
Jon looked at Matt. “I don’t have to sing, but I thought I’d go anyway. I have a lot to be thankful for.”
“We’ll be there!” Matt confirmed, and the four of them jogged back to the head of the path.
They rode back to Jon’s house and headed to the bathroom to shower. When they’d taken their clothes off, Jon went to his knees in front of Matt.
“Can’t you wait for me to wash it?” He joked, waving his dick in Matt’s face.
“I’d rather it tasted like you, than soap!” Jon replied, taking Matt’s penis lovingly in his mouth. He made love to him unhurriedly. The musky scent emanating from Matt’s crotch made him light headed. He couldn’t get enough of him. It was only a few minutes before Matt emitted a low moan and fed Jon his love offereing. Jon saved a little in his mouth to share with his beloved boy.
When the kiss finally ended, Matt sat down on the toilet seat and spread his legs to make room for Jon, who wordlessly moved in front of him so that he could return the favor.
When the Barkers arrived at church the next morning, Matt immediately noticed the Kent family car in the parking lot and he raced toward the building, leaving Bill and Ann shaking their heads. When they caught up with him, he was sitting next to Jon and his family, and they took seats on the other side of him. The boys noticed Tom and Stuart sitting across the aisle a few rows in front of them and waved.
“Who are they?” Ann asked, not recognizing the two.
“Oh, that’s Tom and Stuart. We met them jogging yesterday. Stuart is Pastor Margaret’s brother.” Matt replied.
This seemed to satisfy Ann’s maternal curiosity. At first she wasn’t sure if she liked the idea of her son hanging around with older men she didn’t know, but she knew she had to start trusting Matt’s judgment. As she watched the two men open their hymnals for the processional hymn, she thought Matt’s judgment was pretty darn good.
It was another good service and everyone emerged feeling refreshed and renewed for the coming week. During the announcements, Pastor Margaret introduced her “big brother” and his partner. Stuart and Tom stood briefly to the welcoming applause.
At the coffee hour, Matt and Jon dragged their families over to meet their new friends. They all shook hands as the boys made the introductions. When he got to Tom Jones, the grown-ups suppressed a laugh and Tom smiled.
“It’s okay, I get it all the time. Do you know that your sons haven’t even heard ‘What’s New Pussycat’?” He said, grinning at the boys.
“We’ll have to dig out our old LPs when we get home. These kids need a little music history lesson.” Ann teased.
They chatted for awhile, and Pastor Margaret came and joined them.
“Oh, I see you’ve met my bro and his soul mate.” She said to the group.
“Actually, Matt and I met them yesterday while we were out running.” Jon said.
“Yes, they mentioned they’d run into you. I should be cross with you two, you made them late for breakfast! Maybe next time I’ll join them. Lord knows I need the exercise!” She said good naturedly, taking Stuart by the arm and leading them away to talk to Glen and Roy.
Matt giggled at the mental image of the rather large woman running down the wooded path with her white robe flowing in the breeze.
“Sounds like the four of you really hit it off.” Ann commented. “What did you find to talk about for so long?”
“They’ve been together for a long time and they shared some stuff with us that we were wondering about. They’re really cool, mom.” Matt answered.
Ann smiled at her son. “Ordinarily, I’d worry about you discussing adult topics with two people you just met, but they seem like good people.”
“Don’t worry mom, it wasn’t anything…sexy.” He blushed. “I’ll tell you all about it on the way home. A promise is a promise!”
Ann kissed Matt on the forehead. “I think you’re an excellent judge of character.”
On the ride home, Matt filled his parents in on Jon’s misgivings, and Tom and Stuart’s experiences. When he’d finished, Ann reached across the seat and squeezed Bill’s shoulder.
“You’re father and I have never been with anyone else. We knew we were right for each other after our first date.”
“Yeah,” Bill agreed, “it was a life sentence!”
“If you weren’t driving…” Ann threatened. As the three of them laughed, Matt knew where he’d gotten his sense of humor.
Jon changed out of his church clothes and headed over to Matt’s. When he arrived, he found Matt on the floor of the living room with his father looking at a stack of old records.
“Jon, check it out! Tom Jones!” Matt yelled as he waved an old 33 over his head.
“Cool!” Jon said as he took a seat on the floor next to Matt.
“I’m going to get the record player out of the basement. I haven’t heard some of these songs since I was your age!” Bill said, with just as much enthusiasm as if he WAS their age.
He came back a few minutes later with a dusty turntable that he expertly hooked up to the stereo system, and they settled back to listen to “What’s New Pussycat” amid a storm of pops and clicks. It sounded funny to the boys, who caught on to the melody and sang along, hamming it up in an exaggerated imitation.
Foraging around in one of the boxes of records, Matt fished out an album that seemed to interest him.
“This guy is still around, isn’t he?”
“That was one of your mother’s favorites. That whole box of records belonged to her parents so she grew up hearing them.” Bill said, taking the record from him and slipping it out of the sleeve. He put the ancient vinyl on the turntable, and they listened to Harry Belafonte sing “Abraham, Martin and John.”
When the second verse began, Matt whispered reverently, “He’s singing about Dr. King, isn’t he.”
“Yes,” his father answered, “and Lincoln and the Kennedys.”
Ann came out from the kitchen when she heard the song playing and stood in the doorway listening. No one spoke for the remainder of the song.
…Has anybody here,
Jon slid over next to Matt and put his arm around him. Matt’s head leaned dreamily onto Jon’s shoulder as the song finished with a verse about Bobby Kennedy. They were both aware that this was the first time they showed any kind of physical affection for one another in front of any of the their parents. It felt good.
Ann knelt down and rummaged through the box of LPs from her families' home. She retrieved one by Pete Seeger, and put it on the turntable.
“I know that guy.” Matt said. “You used to play that when I was little.”
“Yes, you’re right.” Ann said, remembering how Matt used to love to dance around and act out all the parts of “Abiyoyo” and all the other children’s songs just like she had when she was a little girl.
After they listened to “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” and “We Shall Overcome,” Matt observed,
“These songs should be museum pieces, but unfortunately, they’re just as relevant today as when they were written. Why do we always have to say “we shall overcome SOMEday,” why not today?”
Bill shook his head sadly. “I wish we could have given you a better world. Soon it’ll be up to your generation. Now you know why Miss Selwitz and your mom and I loved your social studies paper. It makes us very proud that you feel the way you do about society. Just remember that it keeps getting better.”
Jon gave Matt a kiss on the cheek. “Can I read your paper?”
Matt had already decided to let him see it. “Sure, after lunch. I’m starving!”
...and I'm starving too, so I guess this is a good place to end the chapter! Well, the boys made some new friends, and so have I. Thanks to Dustin, Jerry, Paul, Pete, Jay, James, Dave W. and Tim (yes! the one and only TimTheStoryGuy!) who finally taught me once and for all the difference between "to and too." Pesky homonyms! I've enjoyed all of your emails, but have only listed the ones that have written more than once. Please don't be offended, I loved them all! I think it's amazing that I haven't received a single flame. Someday, I'm thinking of posting "Gems From the Mailbag," exerpts from some of my favorite emails (not without your permission, of course). I'd like you all to know how special you are.
David, Doc (and company) and Niel, I hope you're still reading. Let me know how you think it's going.
As always, I'm interested to hear your thoughts or comments. All the best, Jon
P.S. If anyone wants to check out any of the songs I mentioned, the lyrics are all readily available on the web.