This story is a work of erotic fiction involving teenage boys. All the usual rules apply. If you shouldn't be reading this now then don't continue on.

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Author's note: This story is a continuation of the gay teen romance "A New Life".

Life Goes On

Everyone experiences so many changes in their lives; the schools we go to, the jobs we work, the home we live in and even the people we live with. Usually, these changes happen slowly; perhaps over the course of many years. But lately, this is not the case in my life.

At age twelve, the summer before I started junior high school, puberty hit all at once. My voice changed, pubic hairs started growing like crazy and I grew two inches between June and September. Those things combined with an above average grade-point average and my lack of interest in most sports landed me in the "nerd" category.

I could never have been considered one of the most popular kids at school. In fact, more than a few classmates teased me about my red hair and over-abundance of freckles. But all through Catholic grade school, I had one good friend. Justin was the only one that told me to ignore their comments. But, that summer, just before my thirteenth birthday, Justin and I had a difference of opinion. For him, it was enough to end our friendship.

It would've been nice if kids treated me differently in junior high but they didn't. I seemed to be an easy target and was confronted a few times. The first time, not a single punch was thrown. I stood my ground. But the other time was nasty enough. The best thing about junior high had nothing to do with school. My parents got me a bass guitar for my thirteenth birthday and an amp for Christmas that same year.

Two years later I was starting high school. Changing schools was never a problem for me; hoping that I might at least be able to find someone to hang out with. But even the other nerds weren't interested in the things I was interested in. Building new friendships was somewhat of a puzzle to me. I didn't want to be a loner but it wasn't as if I could lure kids to my house or make them invite me to their house. So I did my chores and homework then practiced my bass for several hours every day. Near the end of my sophomore year, my mom and dad split up. He had been drinking heavily more frequently and I'm fairly certain that my mom didn't appreciate it. But his alcoholism was only one of several problems leading the split.

After school ended, my mom and I moved from a big three bedroom house in Sherman, Texas to a two bedroom apartment in Woodland Hills, California. During the drive cross–country, and for the first few days in our new place, my mom and I got to really know each other as individuals. We were both excited and very hopeful about California. I really wanted to go to the beach. A week and a day after we arrived, the movers delivered most of our belongings. I went for a bike ride to familiarize myself with my new home town and became hopelessly lost.

Another teenager about my age stopped along side me. It seemed he was about my age and was nice enough to help me find my way home that day. As a thank you, I invited him in for a Coke and my mom asked if he would stay for dinner. Around my mom he was pleasant and polite but alone with me, he was friendly and funny. Although we were virtually strangers, we got along famously. The very next night, while we got ready for dinner at his place, he came out to me and I came out to him. Only hours later, while we were at the beach with two of his other friends, Keith and I admitted how much we felt for one another and kissed. We've been a couple ever since.

Keith's friend Derrick and I quickly became friends. He was a drummer and I was a bassist. We were destined to team up.

Mike was Keith's best friend since grade school. While I was receptive and eager to make new friends, Mike was distant at first. But we had a common musical thread between us. Mike was a pretty good guitar player. Thankfully, we soon became close friends too.

Coming out to my mother made me extremely nervous but I absolutely had to. It was only me and her living together and we had already shared a lot of secrets. Hiding my feelings for Keith would've been impossible. I would've wound up making up fibs to cover other lies and all of it to conceal the fact that I was in love with another boy. The best way to describe her initial reaction would be: nervous and concerned. But my mom followed her instincts. That night we went over to the Hundser's house so she could meet Keith's family.

The summer of 1997 was the best ever. I got my first job working with Derrick as a busboy at the local Black Angus restaurant. Keith worked at Blockbuster Video. When we weren't working, Keith and I were together. We spent a lot of time at the beach; went to almost all of the major amusement parks; took bike rides around the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains and generally enjoyed each other's company. He spent a few nights at the apartment with me, but mostly we spent nights together at his house.

When Keith was working early in the day, I would spend time with Derrick and Mike forming a band. It took the entire summer but we eventually got our sound really tight.

Then school started. Suddenly, I found myself waking early and sleeping alone again. At school, Keith and I treated each other like the friends we were. Honestly, we wondered if we'd be able to do that. I couldn't ignore him. He wouldn't ignore me. That much we knew. But we weren't quite ready to display our true feelings at school either.

Our sixteenth birthdays were in September. To celebrate, we had one big party at the Hundser's. The whole day was great but that night, Keith and I shared the final two gifts. I gave him a silver bracelet inscribed with the words "Always and Forever". He gave me an awesome blue sapphire ring and promised that one day, he'd be sliding a wedding ring onto my finger.

A week later, Keith and I got a few hours together, completely alone. We couldn't make up for all the lost opportunities since school started but we sure tried! The next weekend was my mom's fortieth birthday. To celebrate, she went out to dinner one night, again leaving Keith and me alone. Beaming, she came home a few hours later with balloons and presents.

Everything was going so well. I had friends again and liked my new school. She was making new friends and enjoyed her job, too. Then my entire world was turned inside out.

On Friday, October seventeenth, 1997, at around seven-thirty in the morning, while she was on her way to work, my mom was in a terrible accident. Her old car didn't have airbags. She never regained consciousness. I stayed with Keith and his family. Early in the afternoon of Sunday the nineteenth, she stopped fighting and passed away. Three days later, she was buried.

For the next three or four weeks, I was a total waste of space. I don't recall much of anything I experienced during those weeks. But I do clearly remember how I felt. Above all, I was sad, angry and guilty. Alone, I packed up our stuff and saved as much as I could but sold off most of the furniture. I kept her entertainment center and all the components though. They were the last things removed from the apartment.

Soon thereafter, I woke up with Keith still sleeping beside me. A shiver raced up and down my spine. He loved me so much that he had arranged for me to move into his parent's home and into his bedroom! Rather than tell him how pleased I was, I showed my partner how happy I was. Since the day we met, I've always wanted to be with him. But it's one thing to say it; my lover actually made it happen.

That day, I told Keith what my mom had said as we crossed the border into California. "This day and all the days ahead will be better for both of us," she said. It was just one of those seemingly unimportant statements that I remembered. And I told Keith I wanted the same for our relationship. There would again be good times together. I felt the worst was over.

Keith's parents are really great people. Mrs. Hundser works at a hospital and has degrees in both sociology and psychology. She helps people deal with all sorts of trauma, both at work and at home, with me. Keith's dad is a paralegal and does research for a law firm. He helped me immensely by keeping me organized those first few weeks. Also, he helped with all the financial and legal things that needed to be taken care of.

Before I knew it, Thanksgiving, and then Christmas snuck up on me. Honestly, I was still in shock but not so far gone that I couldn't deal with the holidays. When I wasn't otherwise occupied, my focus was entirely on Keith. I had to make certain that our first Christmas together would be one that we would always remember. Of course, he was doing his best to keep me occupied and my mind off of my mom.

Soon after Christmas break started, Keith agreed to sing lead vocals for our band. It wasn't an easy decision for him but we all wanted him to at least try. Keith has a fantastic voice with a wide range and is probably the most humble person I've even met. He really believes that his voice is nothing that special. Along with that humility is a generous helping of stage fright. The only thing he's not humble about is his relationship with me.

Unwrapping gifts Christmas morning, I was surprised to discover a few presents from my mom. Keith's mom explained that my mom had started her Christmas shopping early. One of those final gifts from my mom was a new Citizen watch. The strange thing was that I had chosen a really nice ceramic clock for Keith's parents. The fact that we had both been thinking of time and that her time was cut horribly short freaked me out a little bit.

A white German shepherd puppy was the final gift given to me by the entire Hundser family. I named him Rush. I don't know if it was their intention, but caring for and training a puppy was the best medicine in the world for my mourning heart.

A few days later, we all went up to the mountains to go skiing. I had never been before and was excited about it. Keith was excited to be the one teaching me too. Unfortunately, Keith had an accident that wrenched his leg into an unnatural position. My baby wound up celebrating the New Year hobbling around with a brace on his leg. That injury led to a hospital trip the following Sunday morning. Keith woke in excruciating pain that day, unable to move out of the bed at all.

While we were in the emergency room, we overheard the doctor explaining hip joint injuries. I was worried that he may have broken his hip. The doctor rambled on past fractures and soon was describing other diseases, including cancer.

How I didn't mess my pants, I don't know. It couldn't be happening to me again, I thought. If I lost Keith, I didn't know what I would do. For a long few moments, I wondered if I was cursed.

The next twenty-four hours, waiting for the doctor's final diagnosis, were the longest of my life. My emotions were twisted in so many directions that I could barely identify them. A few times I broke down and cried. And for the first time since October, I slept poorly because of a few nightmares where Keith was either dying or dead.

Early the next afternoon the doctor's office called. The nurse said that there were no fractures or other diseases and that it was a soft tissue injury. We could expect Keith to be walking again by the end of the week and fully healed in about a month.

Not very long thereafter, Keith and I recognized our increased use of pet names while in public. We simply weren't willing or able to contain our affection any longer. The situation created some new challenges for us after we inadvertently "outed" ourselves to Keith's youngest brother's girlfriend. For everyone's sake, we got large pillows and were a little more considerate about when and how we had sex.

We found a keyboard player for our band in January, too. Jessy is her name and she's a straight African American girl that can play classical, jazz and rock with ease. But then again, most of her family is musically inclined. And more than we could've ever hoped for, Jessy and her boyfriend Nelson both turned out to be trustworthy friends.

All during February and March, things went smoothly enough. Keith and I spent Valentine's weekend alone together at a hotel in San Diego. The rest of the time is a blur of school, work and band rehearsals.

In early April, right after spring break, I decided to use some of my mom's life insurance money to get a new Toyota 4Runner. It's got a CD player and a cassette tape deck with six speakers and enough power to feel the bass without distortion. That very afternoon, Keith and I picked up Mike and Derrick then went for a joy ride up to Santa Barbara and back to Woodland Hills. With the stereo cranked, the four of us sang along and goofed around.

The next weekend Keith and I took the SAT's. I was sure to go to college and Keith wanted the option of college but was leaning more towards a technical school before I came into his life.

The last two weeks of April, things turned topsy-turvy on me again. Friday the seventeenth of April, 1998 was rainy and dreary like the same day six months earlier – the day my mom got into her accident. Needless to say, I wasn't a very happy person early that day. Keith took me to the cemetery. We then went home where I went to bed and cried myself to sleep.

When I woke after a long nap, I went to the living room and snuggled up next to Keith on the sofa. After school, Mike and Derrick showed up. They both had told me that they wanted to perform at the school's Student-Faculty frolics. I told Mike to talk with Keith about it. But did he? Fuck no! He just went and signed us up! And then I asked Keith to the junior prom. For a few seconds there, Keith looked like he wanted to take a very long nap!

To further add to the confusion of that day, I had hid from Keith that some of our other classmates were figuring out we were all gay. He was so disappointed; it was written all over his face. Finally, Keith's youngest brother John, asked our band to perform at his thirteenth birthday party. We were all surprised but I think Keith was completely blind-sided. After Mike and Derrick left for home and we had dinner, Keith and I went for another long ride so we could talk alone. I promised him that night I would never hide anything from him again, especially something as important as someone else knowing we're gay. I haven't hidden anything from him since and never will again. Friday, the seventeenth of April, was a completely screwed up day.

A week later, Mike and I were confronted in the locker room by a homophobic cretin. Since the locker room is really not the best place to be discussing homosexuality, Mike and I made light of the situation and goofed on the guy. The next day, that same `phobe was a complete jerk and again on Friday, he threatened to kill the both of us. After school, he attempted to make his threats reality by starting a fight. And to make sure that he won, he brought along two friends and a switchblade. What Jake obviously didn't know was that Mike and I both had boyfriends who saw the fight in progress and stepped in to defend us. It wasn't pretty. Jake, our tormentor, and his two accomplices were arrested. My friends and I wound up suspended from school for a week.

So we jammed and partied and rehearsed for John's birthday and the frolics.

Our first gig at John's party went really well. It was the first time Derrick and Mike had performed before a large audience. I had played with the school jazz band back in Texas a few times but really, only Jessy had experience. By that time, she had been playing at her church for a few years. Derrick, Mike, Jessy and I were totally into the show but Keith was so nervous. Over the course of each set, Keith chilled out a little, at least in appearance. After each break however, he started getting that cautious, freaked-out look again.

I didn't like seeing him that way. And knowing that he was doing it mostly for me, made me feel worse. During the week after John's party and before the frolics, Keith and I talked about it a lot. I promised him that I would back off and let him choose what he wanted to sing or if he wanted to sing at all.

I'll never forget the two nights we performed at the frolics. We were the final act and a big hit both nights. Although he was nervous, Keith sang and moved around the stage like a pro. But he had dark sunglasses on and I'd bet that he only saw a few camera flashes now and then.

Whenever I hear Journey's Open Arms, I don't hear Steve Perry singing. I hear Keith Hundser singing.

Two weeks after the frolics was the Junior Prom. The four of us went in a big stretch limo with four lesbian girls at our school. We shared the ride and the table but when it was time to dance, it was boy-boy and girl-girl.

One of the strangest side-effects of mourning is flashbacks. For the last few weeks, I've been seeing the Hundser's home, Mike's back yard and even Derrick's car as if it was still 1997 and my mom was still alive. It's been bizarre but Keith and his parents have been guiding me through this phase too.

Now the school year is over. Keith's been helping me remember things that happened last October, when I was overcome with grief and totally out of it. He even suggested that I call my mom's sister. Not knowing any better, I left her out of my life for a while. Mostly it was because my Texas family had turned their backs on my mom and me. Therefore, I didn't expect anything from an aunt I barely knew.

Now that I know better, I'm mending that relationship too.

And life goes on.

I hope you enjoyed the story. Comments and constructive critisisms are always welcome.
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