DISCLAIMER: The following story is a fictional account involving teenage boys who are gay and trying to cope with love and homophobia. Sexual activity takes place in this story and there are references to gay sex, and anyone who is uncomfortable with this should obviously not be reading it. With a few very obvious exceptions, all characters are fictional and any resemblance to real people is purely coincidental. Conversations with real individuals are strictly hypothetical and not meant in any way to imply an actually conversation that has taken or might take place. Although the senators in this story bear strong resemblances to Senators Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh of Indiana, any references to their beliefs are based on pure conjecture. Although the story takes place in actual locations and establishments, the author takes full responsibility for all events described and these are not in any way meant to reflect the activities of real individuals or religious establishments, governmental nor school or corporate policies. The author retains full copyright of this story, and of stories based on these characters.

Please note that this is the twenty-first in a series of short stories known collectively as Naptown Tales. The series of stories can be found on my GayAuthors Page and on the Naptown Tales Page at Awesome Dude. Slightly modified versions of some of these stories that are suitable for younger teens can also be found on the Altimexis Page at Codey's World. Please see the Introduction for important background on the series.

Summer Internship

A Naptown Tale in Twelve Parts

by Altimexis & David of Hope

Part Seven
Gathering Storm - Jeremy
by Altimexis

The medal ceremony for Kurt was un-fucking-believable, but the banquet afterwards blew everything else away. I kind of wanted to sit with David, but they sat me with my parents, which I guess was to be expected. They sat us at a table with Michael Phelps and even though his image had been tarnished recently by allegations of smoking pot, he was still ultra-cool. We talked a lot about what it's like to be on the US Olympic Swim Team. I just didn't know if I had the drive to do what he did. I mean I loved to swim, but the moment it became a chore rather than fun, my heart wouldn't be in it anymore. I think that was the difference between me and the truly great athletes. I just didn't want it badly enough to give up everything else in my life.

After dinner, I did get a chance to mingle with all the celebrities in the room. The experience was thrilling beyond measure. I saw Kurt doing the same thing - it was like he was on another planet. I could only imagine what it was like to be in his shoes.

Later in the evening, the Press Secretary ushered Kurt and his mother out of the East Room, and when I saw my parents following, I decided that maybe I should, too. "Is it all right if I tag along?" I asked.

"Actually, I think I'd like you there." Kurt answered before the Press Secretary spoke up. "David's welcome to come, too," he added.

I wasted no time in grabbing my boyfriend and we made our way back to the ground floor of the West Wing, where the press conference was being held. Of course, David and I already knew the way.

The Press Secretary started the session with a simple introduction and by saying, "Ladies and gentlemen, I'll remind you that Kurt DeWitt is a minor. He's only fifteen years old, so please keep that in mind when you ask him your questions."

The first question came from a man whose name I recognized immediately. He introduced himself as being from the Washington Post, but I already knew who he was. "Kurt," he said, "Most of us have seen the video of the speech young Sam Franklin gave last night about your rescue of him, and at least some of us have seen the DVD you made at your school last year. Can you tell us what went through your mind when you volunteered to take Sam's place as a hostage?"

Without any apparent hesitation, Kurt said, "At that time and place, I thought that even though I was small, I was much better prepared to defend myself than Sammy was if the opportunity arose. I also knew the chances of coming out of the situation alive were very slim. Sammy had his life ahead of him, as did I, but I was at peace with myself and prepared to meet my maker. That's what went through my head."

A reporter from the Chicago Sun then started to preface his question, "You've made no secret of the fact that you're gay . . ."

"I came out on the front page of The Star to a readership of fifty thousand a year-and-a-half ago," Kurt answered. "My boyfriend came out even earlier than that. We make no secret of the fact that we're gay and we're not about to hide it from anyone."

"Don't you think it sends the wrong message when, on the one hand, you are a hero, receiving these medals for your bravery, and on the other hand, you practice a gay lifestyle?" the reporter continued with his question.

Kurt took a deep breath and replied, "There have been gay heroes throughout history. How many people in this room went to a high school named after Walt Whitman, one of the greatest American poets of all time, and yet it is a well-known fact that Whitman was gay. Does the fact that he practiced the `gay lifestyle' diminish the value of his poetry in any way? Is a Tchaikovsky concert any less sweet, a da Vinci painting any less beautiful, or the teachings of Plato any less meaningful because they were gay?

"All of that said, I don't mean to sound apologetic the way a German would about Wagner's music. I'm not apologizing for being gay. What my boyfriend and I do is no more immoral than what most men and women do. We were born gay. We love each other and we are 100% faithful to each other, which is more than many straight couples can say. We plan to marry when we go away to college. We are living the life that God intended for us."

A reporter from ABC News asked, "I understand you were forced to perform sexual acts with Sam Franklin, who is now your boyfriend's foster brother. Does that cause any friction in your relationship with either of them?"

"Sexual coercion is rape," Kurt answered. "Sammy and I would never have had a sexual relationship otherwise. Besides which, Sammy's straight. He's Trevor's brother and my brother-in-law. End of discussion."

"So you're saying there is no kind of love triangle involving the three of you?" the reporter asked.

`What was it with this guy?' I thought.

Kurt scrunched up his face and answered, "NO! Like I said, Sammy's straight. He'd love nothing more than to find a girlfriend. Neither my boyfriend nor I have any interest in sex with anyone else, period."

Next a reporter, if he could really be called that, from a well-known tabloid asked, "Is it true that you're sharing a room with two other gay boys while here in Washington for the summer?"

"Yes," Kurt answered, "the guys the President mentioned in his speech, David Reynolds and Jeremy Kimball, who are interning at the White House, are very good friends of ours. They're standing right over there," he said, pointing in our direction. "They are sharing a room with us at Webster Hall, which is the primary residence for Senate Pages. It's no secret that David and Jeremy are gay. They have been together for two years and were instrumental in helping both Trevor and me to come to terms with our own sexuality."

"I imagine you must have some really good times with them at Webster Hall," the reporter continued.

"Yes, we are the best of friends," Kurt answered and I started to panic when I realized that Kurt didn't realize the implications of what the reporter was inferring, but then it suddenly seemed to dawn on Kurt and he practically shouted, "OH! No, sir, not like that! We are each monogamous with our boyfriends. I thought I just made that very clear. Besides which, David and Jeremy aren't my type, and vice versa."

"Ladies and Gentlemen," the Press Secretary interrupted, "I'll remind you we're here to discuss the young man's bravery that earned him his medals . . . not his sexual orientation."

That certainly put the reporters in their place, and the rest of the press conference was much less entertaining.

Once the press conference was wrapped up, the Press Secretary introduced Kurt, Trevor, David, and me to his agent, and he took all of us into the Press Secretary's office to go over Kurt's itinerary for the next couple of days.

"Kurt," the agent said, "I know you're probably already operating on very little sleep, but the good thing about being young is it's easy to catch up on sleep when it's all over. You're slated to go on Larry King Live at 9:00 tonight. Believe it or not, it's already . . ." taking a look at his watch, he said, "7:39" Whoa, what happened to the day!

Continuing, he said, "Given the time constraint, we're going to conduct the interview right here in the White House. It'll be much easier than wasting time getting you to CNN's studio in Virginia. In the meantime, I'll have your boyfriend gather up your things for an overnight trip to New York. I was originally going to send your mother with you, but she wasn't able to extend her stay. I assume you won't mind if he makes the trip with you?"

Rather than answer, Kurt simply smiled.

"Now here's the sickening part. There aren't any flights leaving late enough tonight, or early enough tomorrow, and LaGuardia is notorious for delays anyway. We can get you into Penn Station on a regional Amtrak train by 6:40 in the morning, and the service is very reliable. The timing's perfect for getting you on the air for the Today Show. The only hitch is that you'll need to leave here out of Union Station at 3:15 in the morning."

"Ugh, you've gotta be kidding me," Kurt said.

"It's a nice train, kiddo," the agent said, "It's unfortunate we couldn't get you there in time on the ACELA Express, but we'll put you in a reserved, Business Class seat and for a regional train, it rides smooth as silk . . . at least as much as a train can making seven stops. You can sleep most of the way, and they'll serve you a nice gourmet breakfast when you hit Jersey. I'll send a limo to pick you up at Webster Hall at 2:50, and we'll have a golf cart waiting inside the station to take you to your train, so you'll get more sleep than you think . . . and don't worry about your hair or shaving or anything. The makeup artists at NBC will handle everything when you arrive. Oh, we'll have a limo waiting for you at Penn station, too.

"After the Today Show, you're scheduled for a show called Teen Kid News. It's a local news show that's syndicated all over the country. You'll have a five-minute interview. The cool thing is it's a show done by kids, for kids.

"After that, you'll have a little free time in New York. You might be tempted to sleep, but New York's too romantic for that! We've scheduled a VIP tour of NBC studios and the Top of the Rock for you and Trevor, followed by a special horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park, and then a leisurely lunch at Tavern on the Green.

"At 4:00, you need to be back at the Ed Sullivan Theater, since they tape Late Night with David Letterman at 4:30 on Mondays. I know his show wasn't your first choice, but he did grow up in your home town, after all, and it turns out his schedule is early enough that you can tape for his show, and be on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer at 6:00 and still be back in Washington in time to be on Nightline at 11:35.

"It's an incredibly long day, I know, but I think you'll find it's a rewarding one."

"Assuming it doesn't kill me," Kurt sighed.

"Why don't you take off your suit coat, kick off your shoes, lie down on my sofa and take a powernap?" the Press Secretary suggested. "You'll be amazed how much it can help. I'll come get you fifteen minutes before they're ready for you on Larry King Live."

Man, I swear, Kurt was out like a light the moment his head hit the pillow. The whirlwind was about to begin. . . .

In the meantime, the rest of us headed back to Webster Hall and Trevor got to work gathering up his and Kurt's toiletries and clothing for their trip to the `Big Apple'. As instructed, they were to take clothes that were mostly `dressy casual', with a sports coat and a couple of ties for classier shows like The News Hour.

Later that night, we were all gathered in the lounge in Webster Hall to watch Kurt on Larry King Live. By `we', I mean all the male pages, but I'm sure the female pages were gathered in their lounge, too. When the show came on, Larry King introduced his guest for the evening and even after a long day, damned if Kurt still didn't look good. I mean he didn't have David's stunningly handsome build, but I could see where his boyish good looks would be attractive to some, as they obviously were to Trevor.

They started off the show with some footage from the school presentation Kurt and Sammy did last November, and then segued directly into some sort of Hollywood reenactment of the whole camp incident. Geez, I didn't know CNN stooped that low these days - it reminded me more of something I'd see on Dateline. It was really kinda spooky, seeing Hollywood actors pretending to be Gary, Trevor, Kurt and Sammy . . . watching Trevor being taken away in handcuffs, seeing Kurt `caught' when his cell phone pre-flash went off. At least they had the good sense not to show any sexually explicit scenes. It was amazing to think how fast they must have put the whole thing together, though.

When the segment finished and the camera switched back to Kurt, he was crying. When he realized he was on the air, he grabbed some tissues and composed himself, and said, "I'm sorry, Larry, but that segment brought back some horrible memories."

"What was going through your mind at the time, Kurt?" King asked.

"At first, the only thing going through my mind was to exonerate my boyfriend, and to stop any more harm from coming to the campers," Kurt answered. "The thought of any danger to me scarcely entered my mind."

"And when you were caught?" King asked.

"When you become the victim, you don't think of anything," Kurt replied. "You really can't. That's why, I've heard, some people fail to act when they could do something. There is a basic survival instinct to turn the brain off and not think of anything . . . to just let what's happening happen to you without thought, and that's what I did until the situation changed.

"When Gary, the pedophile counselor, threatened to take Sammy at knifepoint as his hostage, I couldn't let him do that. Sammy was only twelve years old. I knew that if Gary took Sammy, Sammy would never be seen alive again. At fourteen, my chances weren't much better, but they were better than Sammy's."

"What made you think Gary would take you up on your offer of a hostage switch?" King asked.

"It was just a hunch," Kurt answered. "I dunno . . . I guess I thought that if he'd had Sammy all summer, he'd be more excited at the prospect of raping and killing me."

"Are you saying you went with him, fully expecting to die?" King asked.

With the most somber expression I'd ever seen on his face, Kurt answered, "Larry, Gary had already warned us that if we tried anything, he'd kill us all before we could even dial the first digit of `9-1-1'. My getting him out of that camp was the most important thing I could do to save lives. If I could find a way to keep him from harming anyone else again, I was going to, even if it meant dying in the process. I was at peace with my maker and ready for whatever happened."

"What do you mean by that, Kurt?" King asked.

"I had accepted Jesus Christ into my life," Kurt explained, "and was at peace with myself and accepted my fate, whatever it might be. That's not to say I considered whatever might happen to be God's will. What I mean is that if I could save lives by doing anything to prevent Gary from going on to harm others, then I believe that's what God would have wanted me to do, no matter how horrible the consequences to me.

"If the opportunity had arisen for me to crash the SUV, killing us both, then that's what I would have done. In some ways, that would have been easier than what I did do in the end."

"How so?" King asked.

"I . . . ah . . . performed oral sex on Gary. It's what he demanded of me, and I took advantage of the situation to make sure he was . . ." Kurt started to turn beet red. "Well, lets just say he was in no shape to resist when I overpowered him when we were done. I seized control of the SUV and drove it too erratically for him to ever regain his balance. If I'd had to, I would have crashed the car, but fortunately, my erratic driving soon caught the attention of a local sheriff's deputy."

"That's an amazing story, Kurt," King said. "We'll be back after a short break."

"Ha! It figures he'd go down on the bastard," Seth Greenwald said.

"Get off it," Fred Nettles countered. "Just because he's gay doesn't mean he likes to go down on every guy in sight, especially that pedo monster."

"You got that right," Trevor chimed in. "Kurt still has nightmares about it."

"Like you haven't had lots of partners before," Seth chided Trevor.

"Not that it's any of your fucking business, but before Kurt, I only dated one boy, and we only got as far as a little mutual J.O. Not that I'm any less horny than you are, Seth, but to me, sex is something to share with someone special . . . someone I love."

"You wanna know how many guys I've had, Seth?" David asked. "Jer's my first . . . my last . . . my one and only. We met two years ago and I looked no further. I didn't need to."

"Same here," I agreed. "David's my soul mate. He's the only one I'll ever need. I feel sorry for you straight boys . . . having to prove yourselves by fucking every girl in sight." That last comment got a round of laughter from everyone in the room, except from Seth, who had a scowl on his face.

The commercial break concluded and Larry King came back on the TV. "We're here tonight with Kurt DeWitt, the youngest ever recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal, which he was awarded today in a ceremony at the White House for his bravery in rescuing a group of twelve-year-old boys from a pedophile counselor at a church-run camp for disadvantaged youth last summer. Kurt's actions went above and beyond because he not only saved the boys' lives, but he has worked tirelessly since then to ensure that the boys have counseling, he's made sure two of them who are HIV-positive have permanent placements in foster homes, and he's played a major role in helping other youth who are victims of rape and sexual abuse.

"Before we take questions from the viewers out there, I'd like to show part of a clip that was recorded last night at a dinner honoring Kurt that was thrown by family and friends. What you are about to see is a speech given by Sam Franklin, one of the boys Kurt rescued. Sam is the hostage that Kurt volunteered himself for in exchange, very likely saving young Sam's life. Sadly, Sam was found afterwards to be HIV-positive as a result of the repeated sexual abuse he underwent while at camp. Abandoned by his own mother, Kurt saw to it that Sam was placed in a loving foster home with his boyfriend's parents, where he is now receiving proper treatment for his HIV and will hopefully live out a normal life.

"Here now is a portion of that clip in which Sam explains what Kurt's actions have personally meant to him."

Even though we'd heard Sammy's speech live, it was still moving to hear it again, but to the pages in the room who were hearing it for the first time, it was almost like a religious experience. I don't think there was a dry eye in the room by the time King came back on the screen. Even Seth's eyes were a little moist, I noticed.

When Mr. King finished playing Sammy's clip, he cut to another series of commercials - why'd they do that?

During the commercial break, David and I got more comfortable. We were so tired, having been up most of the preceding night. We'd taken full advantage of the privacy afforded by our suite at the Ritz-Carlton. A smile came to my face as I remembered our night of lovemaking. No one was a more passionate lover than David. I leaned my head on his shoulder and he reacted by slipping his arm under mine, gently rubbing my chest, pulling me closer and kissing the top of my head.

"That's disgusting," Seth couldn't help but comment, "and it's against the rules."

"I think it's sweet," Lyle Hansen countered, "and what exactly about it is against the rules? I mean it's not like they're making out or anything. They're just cuddling, and it doesn't bother me."

The program came back on the air, and Larry King then announced the first caller, a woman from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

"Kurt," she began, "this isn't really a question. Last year, I was the victim of rape. A man assaulted me at knifepoint when I came out of a convenience store late at night, made me drive him to a deserted back alley, and then he . . ." she broke down and cried, "he repeatedly beat me, raped me, took my car and left me for dead. If it hadn't been for a trash collector finding me, I wouldn't be here today."

Breaking down and crying again, she said, "The man who did this to me was eventually found . . . he was high on drugs when he raped me. Going through the ordeal of identifying him in a line-up, and facing him at trial was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.

"Until today, I'd buried that part of my life away forever. Kurt, I just wanted you to know that you've given me the courage to face the emotional pain again . . . to turn my adversity into something good. My sister's been suggesting that the best way to heal would be to volunteer for rape crisis intervention. Your story . . . what you did . . . now I think I can, and I want to say, `thank you'."

"Wow, thank you," Kurt said.

King introduced the next speaker as a man in Atlanta, Georgia.

"Kurt, I'm not denigrating what you did in any way. You are a true hero, and you were certainly braver than anyone I've ever met, but how can you say you were at peace with the Lord when you admit to being a homosexual? You know what the Bible says about homosexuality and how God punishes the man who lays down with another man."

Kurt actually got a smile on his face as he framed his reply. "One of the things that I truly love about this great nation of ours is the diversity of its people and the plurality of opinions it allows. In a couple of weeks my boyfriend and I will be traveling to New Haven to attend the wedding of two dear friends of ours, Randy and Altaf. Randy is Jewish and Altaf is a Muslim. Altaf's story is worthy of a story on this program in and of itself. Caught in bed with his best friend at the age of fifteen, the imam of their village in Pakistan sentenced them both to death by stoning. This is, after all, what God's law suggests, is it not? The exact same thing appears in the Quran as in Leviticus.

"No offense to the gentleman from Atlanta, but I've been studying the Bible since I could read, and God has blessed me with a photographic memory. I can quote chapter and verse with the best of them, and point out differences among the more common translations. I can quote from the Talmud, the Quran, and some religious works you've probably never even heard of. This is my life's passion . . . next to my boyfriend, that is.

"What I'm trying to say is that the Bible isn't the monolith of perfection most people believe it to be. It was retold orally for centuries before it was even written down and it was a matter of millennia before the printing press was invented and the Bible was set into type. Even so, the Bible is a remarkable document and a force for good for the most part, but we cannot and must not accept it as God's unfiltered word. In many cases, humankind altered it for their own purposes or unwittingly corrupted the original content. Are we in the twenty-first century, for example, to believe that God condones slavery, even now?

"In a village in Pakistan, two fifteen-year-old boys were sentenced to death by stoning because they were found engaged in an act of love. The parents of one accepted the word of the imam as the rule of law. The parents of the other believed that homosexuality is God's will . . . not an evil act . . . and they sacrificed their marriage so that the boy's mother could help their son to escape.

"Today, that boy and his fiancé are recent graduates of my high school. They were co-valedictorians, with 4.0 GPAs. They will both enter as Pre-Med students at Yale this fall. Once they become established in their joint practice of Medicine, they intend to take in children who've been abandoned by their parents, simply because they're gay. Neither Randy nor Altaf may be Christian, but what they are planning is very much the Christian thing to do. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that it is certainly the sort of thing that Jesus would have done.

"But in answer to the gentleman from Atlanta, my sexual orientation has been a part of me since I first entered puberty. I did not choose it . . . it chose me. God made me what I am . . . I truly believe that. I have chosen to dedicate my life to doing good things for humankind . . . that is a choice I can make, just as I chose to rescue Sam Franklin, so how could my sexual orientation negate all of that? Why would God make me gay, if being gay is an abomination?

"No, there is a reason God wants there to be gay people in the world. We may not fully understand it, but if you look at some of the greatest, most artistic minds in history . . . men like Plato, da Vinci, Tchaikovsky, and Whitman, there almost certainly is a connection. Most of us do not believe in the laws on keeping Kosher anymore. We all find the idea of slavery to be repugnant in this day and age, so why do so many people cling so stubbornly to our prejudices against homosexuality?"

`Way to go Kurt!' I thought to myself. `You hit a home run.'

I'd always thought of David as the one who was quick on his feet, but I gained a new appreciation of Kurt that night as he responded to caller after caller, answering their questions with humility and dignity, but never with apology. More than one individual implied that he was a sinner and would go to Hell, in spite of the heroics for which he'd been honored that day. Their questions didn't faze him.

There was one very disturbing question, however, from a man in Reston, Virginia. He started out his question with, "I heard that you and your boyfriend are sharing a room with a couple of other boys at the taxpayers' expense . . ."

"Actually," Kurt interrupted, "the room's very Spartan . . . four twin beds they probably got from the Army when they were done with them, and a tiny bathroom . . . and for that we each pay $600 per month, room and board, so it's not at the taxpayers' expense."

"What I'm getting at," the caller resumed, "Is there are four homosexual teenage boys sharing a dorm room in the Senate Page Program. There have been scandals like this before and it sure seems strange whether you're a hero or not, that they'd have four of you together like that. I have a cousin who works on the DC police force and he says that the four of you were arrested and it had something to do with drugs, but some high-priced lawyer got you out of it . . ."

"Sir, with all due respect, we were never arrested," Kurt corrected him. "The four of us had just arrived in Washington and were undergoing orientation. We were with one of the White House interns when he discovered his girlfriend who, unbeknownst to him, had been using cocaine and had overdosed in his apartment. In fact, my friend Jeremy Kimball likely saved her life by securing her airway." I smiled at hearing that. "Naturally, the police took us in for questioning. We were never under arrest. The intern was never arrested, and his girlfriend got the help she needed.

"If you're going to make allegations based on things you know nothing about, please make sure you take the time to find out all the facts of the circumstances."

"Nevertheless," the caller continued - God, he was persistent, "it seems awfully strange given the past scandals of the Page Program that there are four of you in one room like that. It would be so easy for you to perform sexual favors for the members of Congress in a nearby hotel, or if they invited you to their homes, or to a party. It's happened before. For all I know, you could be running a prostitution ring out of your dorm room. That's all I'm saying."

"It sounds like you're a big fan of the notion that someone's guilty until proven innocent," Kurt countered. "In my US History class, I read all about the McCarthy era back in the fifties. The senator destroyed a lot of lives in his witch-hunt to root out communists at all levels of society. It was a complete travesty of justice and went against everything America stands for, and yet it happened less than two miles from where I'm speaking to you now.

"Yes, my friends and I could run a prostitution ring out of our dorm room, but it would be exceptionally difficult to do, given how tight security is in Webster Hall. Even more importantly, it would go against everything we believe in. Trevor Austin and I are 100% faithful to one another and the same is true of David Reynolds and Jeremy Kimball."

`That's telling him,' I thought to myself as I snuggled up with my boyfriend.

"I'm a man of God," Kurt continued. "I also happen to be gay. The two are not mutually exclusive. On the other hand, you should recall the admonition against gossip and the starting of rumors that God clearly spells out in the Bible. You have alleged that my friends and I were arrested on drug charges, which was not true, and attempted to start a rumor that we are running a prostitution ring, which absolutely is not true. If you really believe in the Bible, I suggest you spend more time reading it."

Before the man had a chance to respond, Larry King broke in to say that time was up. He thanked Kurt for being on the show, he thanked all the callers and then broke to the final commercial break.

The first words came out of Trevor's mouth, naturally. He said, "Kurt was awesome, don't you think?"

"Trevor, I had no idea," I quickly agreed. "He's nearly on a par with David, and that's saying a lot."

"He's not the politician David is," Trevor countered. "He'll never be tall enough to have the `presence' a politician needs to make an impact, but he has an amazing mind. He's going to make one hell of a minister some day."

"He'll make one hell of a something," David agreed. "He's too brilliant to be the mere minister of a congregation . . . even a large one. With his mind, he should be dealing with the thorniest ethical dilemmas of our time . . . or giving advice to presidents."

"Now that I could see happening," I said as I looked my boyfriend in the eyes.

"What?" David asked as I continued to stare at him. . . . He then said, "Let's not even think it for now."

It was not long after that that Kurt bounded into the lounge, still riding a high from the day's events. He was literally shocked to see us all gathered there, and to see David and I openly cuddling in front of everyone. But before he could even react, Trevor stood up, grabbed his boyfriend in a tight hug and gave him a quick, although not subtle peck on the lips.

"Honey, you were abso-fucking-lutely amazing," Trevor said as he spun the two of them around in a complete circle. "I'm so proud of you." He gave Kurt another peck on the lips and said, "You really put some of those callers in their place. You showed the world you really know your shit. You were fantastic."

As they separated, Trevor said, "Hey, we need to get some rest. We only have, like four-and-a-half hours. Maybe a quick shower first. I packed a sports coat for each of us and a few ties, but was told they'd probably want you to wear `dressy casual' stuff. You know . . . polo's and khakis and the like. They want you to look like a `normal' teenager . . . not that there's anything normal about you . . ." Trevor continued as he led his boyfriend out the door.

"God, you guys are so gay," Seth said, intent on rubbing it in.

"And what's wrong with that?" I asked.

"You know, in a way I'm kind of jealous," a kid named Randy Michaels from Brownville, Texas countered. "Not that I'm gay or anything, but my girlfriend and I have never been nearly that close. Don't get me wrong . . . we both like the sex and all, but seeing the way these two are cuddled up on the couch like that," he said as he pointed to David and me, "and seein' the way Trevor and Kurt interact . . . man, they're just so in love. I've never had love like that. I never knew fags . . . oops, sorry . . . I mean I never knew gay guys could be in love like that."

"Two years next month," I said. "Once I fell for David, I never even looked at anyone else, but why would I? Not only is he a perfect ten in the looks department, but he's a ten on the inside, too."

"C'mon, Jer," David said, "you're embarrassing me. No fucking way am I a ten."

"Don't be so modest, David," Lyle Hansen said. I may be straight, but I think any guy who's honest can recognize good looks, and you're GQ cover material. You and Jeremy are both cover material. That's prolly why Seth gives you such a hard time."

"No it's not," Seth complained.

"Sure it is," Lyle continued. "It's hard to get the girls interested in him when he's at best a five and they can't keep from drooling over a couple of perfect tens, even knowing they're gay."

"Shit!" Fred Nettles exclaimed.

"That's preposterous," Seth barked.

"Then let's put it to a vote," Lyle said. "How many people think David Reynolds is a perfect ten?"

Not surprisingly to me at least, about three-quarters of the hands in the room went up, including my own and Lyle's. David, however, looked absolutely shocked. He truly had no idea how handsome he really was.

"How many think he's a nine?" Lyle asked, and nearly all of the remaining hands went up except for Seth's, I noticed. Lyle went through the rest of the numbers, and Seth's finally went up when he got down to `one'.

"Very funny, Seth," Lyle said in response to that.

"OK, now how many think that Jeremy's a perfect ten?" Lyle asked. This time it was my turn to be shocked when a little over half - perhaps two-thirds - of the hands went up. Most of the rest went up when Lyle asked for `nine', and a couple went up for `eight'. As before, Seth raised his hand when Lyle got down to `one'.

"Finally, how many here think that Seth's a perfect ten?" Lyle asked. None of us raised our hands, but that wasn't exactly unexpected - there was no way Seth could be considered a `ten'. A few people raised their hands for `seven', which I thought was a stretch, a few more for `six', and several of us, myself and David included, for `five'. In my opinion, Seth was very average in his looks. A few raised their hands for `four' and the rest for `one'. Paybacks, as they say, are a bitch.

"What a crock," Seth said as he stormed out of the room.

"What a sore loser," Lyle said.

"What a late night," David said. "It's past our curfew, and some of us didn't get much sleep last night as it is," he said as he wiggled his eyebrows.

"TMI, guys," Fred Nettles chuckled.

"C'mon, Jer," David said as he got up, extending his hand to pull me up.

Trevor and Kurt were already fast asleep in our room when we got there, and so we tiptoed quietly to the bathroom, where we brushed our teeth and emptied our bladders before quietly slipping into our respective beds, content in the events of the weekend.

Sometime during the night, I heard Trevor and Kurt's cell phone alarms go off and I guess I heard them slip out of the room but I was so out of it, I don't think I even truly woke up when they left.

When David's and my cell phone alarms went off, however, tired as we were, we got up, got ready and headed for breakfast, ready to start another week at the White House. When we arrived at the White House, Will corralled us into a media room with a bunch of other interns and staffers. The Today Show was already in progress, but he'd set it up on an HD-DRV, so we wouldn't miss any of Kurt's interview.

It was really cool, seeing Kurt on the Today Show set at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, with all the screaming New Yorkers peering in the window behind them. Kurt looked adorable in a cream-colored polo with our school's mascot, a panther, embroidered in black and red on the pocket and a rainbow flag pin on the collar. Nothing subtle about that!

Again, I was amazed at how natural Kurt was on live TV. That he was being watched by millions didn't even seem to faze him. His answers were thoughtful and direct, and the only thing that seemed to embarrass him was talk about his bravery.

In the second half of the program, they brought out Trevor to join his boyfriend on the set, and they asked Trevor about what it was like being falsely accused of molesting the campers, and the broader question of what it was like growing up gay in a Christian Evangelist home. Trevor was quite obviously much less comfortable in front of the camera, but Kurt managed to put him at ease. The dynamic between the two was quite evident . . . so much so that Meredith Vieira commented on it.

"Kurt's one in a million," Trevor said. "I'm never letting him go. In thirteen months, we're getting married."

"Thirteen months? But you're so young," she exclaimed.

"I'll be eighteen, and Kurt will be a few months shy of seventeen, but it's the only way we can be together when I leave for college," Trevor explained. "We want to do it legally, so there will never be any question about our relationship." Smiling, he said, "I'm not a child molester," as he hugged his boyfriend.

"It's quite evident that you two share a bond of strong affection," Vieira agreed, "but a lot of people would question whether anyone your age, particularly someone in a gay relationship, could truly be in love."

"Katie," Kurt challenged, "It's not common, but it's not rare that straight couples . . . high school sweethearts . . . go on to marry, and very often these young relationships stand the test of time. Why should a gay relationship be any different than a straight one?"

Trevor and Kurt were holding hands at that point and, God, they looked so cute together. `How could anyone have anything against their relationship?' I thought to myself.

The interview turned to Trevor's role as president of the GSA, and Vieira seemed awed by the way Trevor had designed the GSA's website from the ground up using raw code.

"I'm a bit of a computer geek," Trevor admitted, "but if I can build something using free, open-source software rather than having to rely on the likes of Microsoft, Apple and Adobe, I think I'm way ahead of the game. Not only that, but there's a satisfaction that comes from knowing exactly what's going on `under the hood' of my computers. There aren't many viruses targeted at Linux, and my firewall is virtually hacker-proof."

"What was that about being a bit of a computer geek?" Vieira asked.

Kurt laughed and then told the story of how he and Trevor got together in the first place - of how he had Trevor hack into his father's computer so they could figure out what was going on with his father's petition drive to get the GSA disbanded, and how they discovered his father knew Kurt was gay all along, and was planning to ship him down south for a bit of sexual reprogramming. The way the two of them told the story was funny as hell.

On the program, Teen Kid News, Kurt had a very limited, five-minute spot, but he made good use of it. The whole focus was on what it's like to meet the President and to work in the Senate, and what makes a person a hero. In the last minute of the spot, one of the anchors, a cute girl, who looked to be about fifteen herself, asked, "I know you're gay and have a boyfriend, and you're wearing a rainbow pin on your collar and all," to which Kurt simply nodded. "I'm sure a lot of kids who are watching this are gay, too, but a lot of them are probably afraid to come out, to their parents, to their friends, to their school. Is there any advice you'd like to give them?"

"Wow, Angie," Kurt answered, "I could spend the rest of the program talking about that, and the next one, too!

"For the most part, my story had a good outcome. I have a boyfriend who loves me, my mother and brothers love me, my friends accept me, and with very few exceptions, I'm accepted at school . . . and it's a very conservative, Midwestern school. On the other hand, my father to this day cannot accept his `faggot son' and, as a result, it split our family. My mom says that's his problem, but if she'd sided with him over me, my life today could have been hell.

"There are a host of websites dedicated to gay teens with advice on coming out, some of which I believe are being displayed on your screen right now," as indeed they were. "The bottom line is you need to have a backup plan before coming out. You need a place to go if things go wrong at home. The last thing you want to have to do is to run away from home in the middle of the night. Nearly all of us have someone we can turn to who will accept us for who we are, no matter what. The key is finding that person. For most of us, though, if we stand up for ourselves and what is right, our friends will come around in the end."

`Well put, Kurt,' I thought.

With Kurt's interviews over until The News Hour with Jim Lehrer at 6:00, David and I got back to work, wondering what sorts of fun Kurt and Trevor were having up in `The Big Apple'. The timing of The News Hour presented us with a dilemma, however. If we stayed at the White House until Kurt's interview, we might well miss dinner at Webster Hall, but we didn't want to leave early, either. Will solved the problem for us by ordering pizza - it was damn good pizza, too - from a place on Dupont Circle.

It was just as well we stayed, as Kurt wasn't on until the second half of the hour. This time he was dressed in a navy blue blazer over a white shirt with a red tie. He looked sharp. At one point when they showed him from the side, I could see he was still wearing his khakis, but even so, he looked great.

Kurt was on a good fifteen minutes out of the hour, and the entire focus of the interview was on what it means to be a gay teenage hero. It was evident Kurt felt more comfortable in this role than any other he'd played. He didn't care about being a hero per , but being a gay role model was important to him. If getting a pair of medals could help other gay teens feel acceptance, then he was more than willing to step up to the plate and accept the mantle of responsibility that went along with being the recipient.

The interview touched on the allegations that had been raised last night and earlier in the day of prostitution and scandal, and Kurt quickly put them to rest.

"As someone who was raped . . . who was forced to perform oral and anal sex with a pedophile, the last thing I would ever want to do is submit myself to that sort of thing on an ongoing basis, no matter what the reward," Kurt stated in no uncertain terms.

"I don't know, guys," Will said. "This is just how scandals get started in Washington. Some idiot makes an allegation on a talk show or in the tabloids, or both, and then the major news outlets pick it up. Of course there's nothing to substantiate it . . . there's no need once it's already out there. Just the fact that there's an allegation is enough. Pretty soon you have folks calling in to the talk show circuit, and next thing you know, people are asking questions in letters to the editor. Then there's an op-ed piece . . . `What are they trying to hide?' . . . what congressman was seen with which page entering what hotel . . . who's banging who at the White House . . . that sort of thing. Before long, everyone's tripping over everyone else to be first to demand hearings into the matter."

"Are you serious?" I asked.

"It's happened before, Jer," Will answered. "Sometimes, there's even been some truth to the allegations, but I know better this time. Some idiot tabloid reporter just couldn't resist the implications of a scandal, and some idiot caller couldn't stand the idea of a `queer' winning a Congressional Gold Medal."

"It's so fucked up," David said. I couldn't have agreed more.

"C'mon, babe," I said, putting my hand on his. "We'd better get back to Webster Hall."

"I wonder if Trevor and Kurt'll have time to stop by before going on Nightline?" David asked.

"I doubt it," I answered, "but you never know, since we're practically on the way to the studio from Union Station.

"It's a shame Nightline and Letterman are opposite each other," I added as an afterthought.

"Don't worry about it," Will interjected. "I'll set both to record on the DVR, so you'll be able to catch up on either one or both in the morning, just in case they enforce the curfew tonight," he said with a wink.

"Thanks," David smiled back at Will as we headed out to catch a limo back to Webster Hall.

"Do you really think this is going to turn into a scandal?" I asked David as we rode down Pennsylvania Avenue, to Daniel Webster Hall.

"It's hard to imagine how," my boyfriend said as he gave my hand a reassuring squeeze. "One thing's for sure, though. These things have a way of taking on a life of their own. This allegation thing's either gonna fade away, or it's gonna snowball until it's this 800 pound gorilla we just can't ignore."

"That's what I'm afraid of," I said. "I mean, I know the President and the senators who sponsored Trevor and Kurt know the truth and all, but they can't just ignore public pressure if everyone else thinks there's a scandal."

I could see the worry lines forming on David's face. "If it comes to that," he said, "They'll have no choice but to hold hearings. Right or wrong, we'll be dragged through the mud and all anyone will remember us for will be a gay teen prostitution ring. It won't even matter that we're exonerated in the end."

"Yes it will, David." I stated with more emphasis than I felt. "You've gotta believe that in the end. There are too many people who believe in us to let the nay sayers have the final word at the end of the day."

On Top of the World - Kurt
by Altimexis

"It's so beautiful," I said as I leaned my head against Trevor's shoulder. My arm was wrapped around his waist as we looked out across Central Park from a hundred stories up. The view was magnificent. All of north Manhattan spread before us . . . New Jersey was to the left, across the Hudson . . . Queens and Brooklyn were to the right, across the East River, and The Bronx was straight ahead, just beyond the Harlem River. We'd already spent the last couple of hours on a VIP tour of the NBC studios and ended up here, at the Top of the Rock - the Rockefeller Plaza, that is. Our tour guide had already pointed out all the landmarks on the skyline. The Empire State Building was so close, it looked like you could reach out and touch it.

Even though the major buildings were all to the south, Trevor and I were mesmerized by the view to the north, looking out over Central Park. It really was beautiful. The juxtaposition of so much green space in the middle of a huge city was amazing, and seeing it from so far up put it in perspective. From up here, you could see the lakes and the reservoir, the stables and the pathways, the Tavern on the Green, where we'd be having lunch soon, and a large group of elegant looking older buildings that took up a large part of the eastern edge of the park.

"You know, Kurt," Trevor said, "compared to the museums of New York, Washington's a backwater. Sammy would go nuts in this town."

"I've never been here before," I replied. "Do they have nice museums like the ones we saw in DC?" I asked.

"Nicer," he answered, "although they're not free, and they're not all in one place like at the Smithsonian." Pointing to the huge complex I'd just been looking at on east side of the park, he said, "You see that large building inside Central Park?"

"I was wondering about that." I answered. "How'd they get away with building somethin' inside the park like that?"

"That, my boy, is the Metropolitan Museum of Art," he said, "and it's one of the largest art museums in the world. Sammy could probably spend a week in that place alone, and there are a lot of other museums in New York worth seeing. There's the Museum of Modern Art, The Guggenheim, the Cooper-Hewitt, The Cloisters, The Whitney Museum, and those are just the ones I remember. And then there's Broadway. If you think the play we saw at Ford's Theater was something, imagine seeing a real live Broadway musical."

"I think you're onto something, Trev," I agreed, "but you know that David and Jer would want to come, too, and the logistics and cost of a trip for eight kids to the Big Apple could be something else." After thinking about it for a moment, I said, "We gotta do it, though. We're just gonna hafta think of a way to talk the `rents into it."

"That's what I love about you, honey," Trevor said, before he gave me a quick kiss. "We think so much alike."

Sighing, he added, "We'd better head back down if we're going to make that carriage ride through the park before lunch."

"Yeah, I guess," I agreed, much as I hated to leave the spectacular view we'd been enjoying.

We went back down the stairs from the unenclosed area of the observation deck and found our guide, who was waiting for us below, and she took us to a private elevator car that avoided the line of tourists that were waiting to descend to the bottom. I was amazed to find our carriage waiting for us when we exited at street level, right on Sixth Avenue.

I would have thought that all the New York drivers would be irate being stuck behind a plodding horse and buggy, but I should have known better. There were double-parked delivery trucks and taxis picking up and dropping off fares all over the place. People were used to anything and everything - even a horse-drawn carriage. When we reached 59th street, we just headed straight into the park, meandering our way through and on up to Cherry Hill, where we overlooked a beautiful lake.

I so enjoyed snuggling up with my boyfriend without a care in the world, and lots of people smiled at us. Some even gave us a big thumbs-up. I'm sure some didn't exactly approve, but at least they kept their feelings to themselves. New York was a real eye-opener - this was the way it should be. Eventually, we came to West 67th Street, and Tavern on the Green, where we were ushered inside for our lunch.

The setting was charming - there was no other way to describe it. There was a tree growing in the center of the room, which in itself looked like a greenhouse. We were literally surrounded by the park and it's greenery. I wouldn't say the food was exceptional, but it was nice, and the service was impeccable and the atmosphere was simply elegant.

After the meal, we got back in our little chariot and continued our tour of Central Park, skirting around the Jackie Onassis Reservoir and eventually ending up at Harlem Meer, which was quite beautiful. Trevor and I got out of the carriage and walked hand-in-hand around the little lake, enjoying the warm summer day. I was surprised when people kept coming up to us and asking me for my autograph.

We exited the park to find our limo waiting for us on 110th Street. We were quickly informed, however, that we would have to hustle, as we would be making an unplanned stop at ex-President Clinton's office. Clinton had asked to meet with us in advance of my appearance on Letterman. Wow!

Meeting President Clinton was an amazing experience . . . not that meeting President Obama hadn't been thrilling, too, but Clinton has a certain electrifying `presence' that he exudes . . . it was no wonder that people loved him. I'd never really met anyone like that before except perhaps . . . David. Clinton congratulated me on my medals, and encouraged us to `hang in there' when it came to the allegations people were making about us running a gay prostitution ring. He of all people knew what it's like to live under the cloud of a scandal, and his words of encouragement meant a lot to us.

After the ordeals of our recent interviews, our stint on Late Night was a major relief. Maybe it was because Letterman grew up in our hometown, but he treated us like long lost friends. He had us both on the show, and reminisced about growing up in the Midwest, and how much things had changed since he was a boy there. He even talked about a friend of his he'd known growing up whom he'd later found out was gay, and how tough life was for him, and how unfair. I was really touched. Letterman even gave us each a hug at the end of the show. It didn't feel like a fake hug, either - it felt like it was from the heart.

The News Hour with Jim Lehrer ironically has its main studio back in Washington, but there was no way we could get back to DC in time, so we were interviewed in the WNET studio in New York. The interview was conducted the same way as with Larry King Live last night, with a live video link so that I could see Jim Lehrer down in Washington as he asked me his questions. This one was entirely my interview, and with the exception of a brief mention of the allegations raised by the man in Virginia, which I of course quickly dismissed, the entire focus was on my medals. I was pleased to see that Mr. Lehrer simply gave the allegations the due they deserved, which was basically nothing.

The whole interview lasted about fifteen minutes, and once I was done, we headed back to Penn station for the trip back to Washington. This time we traveled in style on the ACELA Express, which was a whole lot nicer than the regional train we took on the way up. Lulled by the gentle, rocking motion of the train, Trev and I slept most of the way, waking up only when we reached Union Station back in Washington.

Before heading to ABC's Washington studio, we stopped back at Webster Hall - after all, it was mere blocks from Union Station - and dropped off our things. It was nice to be able to say hi to David and Jeremy, and while we were at it, we washed up and brushed our teeth, and were on our way.

All of the good feelings of the afternoon vanished as soon as we arrived at ABC. From the moment we arrived, it seemed, there was an atmosphere of sleaze. I'd heard it wasn't always that way, but there was no doubt from the way we were being treated that showmanship was the name of the game. I could see Trevor could feel it, too, and as `makeup' was getting us ready, I leaned over and asked him, "Why do I get the feeling we're here for them to exploit us in any way they can?"

"Stick to the truth, Kurt," he replied, "and no matter how much they try to make it look like there's something else going on, don't dignify them by letting your emotions show. Don't give them anything to exploit."

I smiled back at him and gave him a big thumbs-up.

Once we went on the air, if there was more than a brief mention of my having just received the Congressional Gold Medal, I sure didn't hear it. I guess Trevor decided the task of reminding the viewers why I was there in the first place was going to have to fall on him, as he sure took every opportunity to mention it. The entire focus of the Nightline segment was on our alleged involvement in a prostitution ring and the emergence of yet another scandal involving the Congressional Page Program. The question was even raised as to whether or not there should even be a page program. In the latter half of the program, we were completely ignored while the talking heads debated the merits of simply disbanding the program. That was almost worse than being accused in the first place.

Finally at the end of the program, just as time was running out, we were all asked for final thoughts, which gave us each a chance to have a say in the matter. Trevor said, "The bottom line is that some homophobe didn't like the fact that a gay teenage boy did some very heroic and brave deeds for which he was awarded the highest honor in the land. Rather than celebrating the wonderful person that is Kurt DeWitt, they decided to drag his name through the mud by starting an unfounded rumor.

"Tonight's program isn't supposed to be about the totally baseless allegations of what someone says he and I have done, nor is it supposed to be about the merits of continuing the Page Program. What tonight should be about is the wonderful things Kurt DeWitt did for which Congress voted unanimously to award him the Congressional Gold Medal. He is the youngest recipient in history to receive this honor. That is the real reason he is here tonight." I almost teared up hearing Trevor say that - it was awesome!

But I felt there was an even more important message, and I went on to say, "I do want to put in a word in favor of the Page Program. It really is an outstanding opportunity for the best and brightest youth of our country to see how Washington works, first-hand. Yes, there have been scandals in the past, but they represent a tiny fraction of the history of the Page Program. I should also point out that the fault is generally not with the pages, but with the politicians they serve. Politicians as a group seem to have a history of zipper problems . . . or perhaps it's just that the news media are particularly vigilant at reporting them . . . but they certainly have a responsibility to protect the youth who serve as their employees in the Page Program.

"Teenagers are naturally curious about sex, but politicians are adults and should know better than to become involved with anyone underage. Yet, I have been approached more than once in the short time I've been here, I suspect because it's known I'm gay. I have of course turned these offers down. I am completely faithful to my boyfriend. I am a gay Christian with firmly Christian values, which is why the whole idea of my being involved in prostitution is preposterous. For those who think being gay and being Christian aren't compatible, give me an hour and I'll turn your whole idea of what's in the Bible on it's head. But seriously, if there are problems in the Page Program, blame the people who take advantage of the pages . . . not the pages themselves."

After we were finished and our makeup was being was being removed, Trevor said, "Wow! I'm so proud of you, Kurt. You really put everyone else on the program in their place with your final argument. You took the high road and made the Nightline staff look like fools. God, I loved you!"

"I'm just glad all this shit is over," I answered my lover. "It'll sure be nice to see things get back to normal."

"Amen to that," Trevor agreed.

The authors gratefully acknowledge the invaluable assistance of Alastair in proofreading our stories, as well as Gay Authors, Awesome Dude and Codey's World for hosting them.


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