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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Life Goes On
Chapter 1

Thursday morning, I turned off the clock-radio then rolled over and reached for Prez. Once again, I found only pillows. He almost always wakes before me. Forcing my eyes open, I glanced around. The bedroom door was slightly ajar but Prez wasn't in the room. I wondered if maybe he was hungry and making us breakfast again. Sniffing but not smelling bacon or sausage cooking, I huffed. Wondering where my lover was, I sat up then got out of bed and wandered naked across the hall to relieve my bladder. When I finished at the toidy, I went to the sink, washed the sleep out of my eyes then brushed my teeth. Finished in the bathroom, I paraded towards the dining room and kitchen. Still, Prez was nowhere in sight.

Peeking out the sliding glass doors, I only saw Rush in the backyard. I wondered if Prez was in the garage practicing or lifting weights. Opening the garage door but not finding him, I closed it again and spun around to get a pair of shorts on.

From the moment he returned home from visiting his aunt, I noticed a positive change in his demeanor. The previous night at the beach, Prez was full of one liners and a total crackup. Hopefully, he didn't wake with his mom in his thoughts. He could be doing anything. I wondered if he was even home.

Slipping into a pair of shorts, I remembered that he wanted to wash his 4Runner. But my car needed to be washed too. I guessed that he wanted to get the job done early, before it got obnoxiously hot out. Since the rainy El Nino season had ended, it had gotten really hot. There hadn't been a day under ninety-five degrees in the prior ten days. Turning, I noticed the desk chair was missing and grinned.

It turned out that Prez had been waiting for his turn at toidy-sex since the prom. Last night, he got tired of waiting and mounted me while I was sitting on the desk chair! For a good ten minutes he rode me. At first he faced me but then he turned around. Then we heard a loud snap. Immediately, Prez stopped and glanced back at me then hurried off of me. We then got up and inspected the wooden chair. Both of the rear two legs had cracked. How it didn't collapse from beneath us, I have no idea.

"Oops!" I grinned.

Shocked but seeing the humor in the situation, Prez covered his mouth and giggled, "Oh, damn! I'm so sorry!" Taking him into my arms, we cracked up. A few minutes later, Prez was sitting me down on the corner of the bed where he mounted my cock and rode me again!

Stepping out the front door, I saw that Prez had parked his truck in the driveway. Like me, he had only a pair of loose sport shorts on. Mine were lime green and his were light grey. With a bucket of soapy water beside him, Prez was bent almost in half, washing the lower half of the passenger side doors and looking away, towards the street. His awesome bubble butt was pointed directly at me. Stealthily, I crept up behind him and insured that none of our neighbors were around. Then I grabbed his hips and forcefully ground myself against his ass!

"AHHH!" Prez hollered, and stumbled back against me. Then he glanced back at me and chuckled, "Rape!" Frowning, I let him go. He stood and turned to face me. "Was I complaining?" he grinned, "Did I say you could stop?"

Reaching for his hips again, I snickered, "Rape does imply unwillingness."

Quickly, he leaned closer and stole a kiss then smiled, "With you, I can't even fake that."

Stealing a kiss of my own, I softly said, "You were awesome last night."

Tightening his grip around me, he softly snickered, "I can't believe we broke the chair!"

Hysterical, I nodded and laughed, "We'll never be able to explain that!"

Letting me go and stepping back, Prez roared, "No matter what excuse we come up with, your folks will never believe it!"

Practically in tears, I rapidly nodded.

Reaching into the bucket but still laughing, Prez got the soapy sponge then turned to me and smiled, "Why don't you pull your car into the driveway, babe?"

I shrugged then formed my reply carefully. "Why don't we finish yours then we can work on mine?"

His eyes widened then quickly slammed shut. Opening them wide again, he laughed, "You are so bad!" and then turned around and concentrated on the 4Runner.

Together, we finished washing his truck. Prez had started from the top and worked his way down. While we worked, he explained that it was his mom that had suggested a more methodical approach when his father constantly complained that Prez didn't wash his car right. Amazingly, he spoke of his mom as if she were alive and just around the corner. Finished soaping up, Prez reached for the hose and aimed to rinse it off.

It was probably only ten in the morning but it had to be close to ninety degrees and I was sweaty. Feeling the need to cool off, I stepped directly in front of Prez and into the line of fire. Chuckling, Prez reduced the water pressure and concentrated on hosing me down. Cooled off and feeling playful, I warned, "Your turn," and reached for the hose.

Prez chuckled, "Oh no you don't!" and wouldn't let go! Laughing like we were possessed, we playfully struggled for the hose. Soon, Prez was soaked but we continued fighting for another minute or so anyway. Then Prez reminded that the soap was drying on the truck and let go of the hose. I aimed for the 4Runner and started rinsing it off. Then Prez sprinted through the spray a few times.

Drew and Corey walked out of the house moments after we had started washing my car. They immediately saw what we were doing and wisely chose to run across the lawn away from us. Prez squirted them with the hose but they had bolted so fast that they didn't get very wet.

A little while later, Tommy came by for John. I reached for the hose. Poised like an Olympic marathon runner at the edge of the lawn, Tommy grinned, "I've showered already today! No matter how hard I scrub, I stay brown!"

Chuckling at his joke, I aimed and fired. Laughing, Tommy scrambled away then spun around and sprinted to the front porch. He was fast but I had better aim. He knocked on the door then turned the knob and hurried inside!

In about another hour, Prez and I had finished washing our cars. Even this tedious chore had become something fun that we could do together. While we cleaned up, both of us admitted that we couldn't wait for our cars to get dirty so we could wash them again. Once everything was put away, we went back inside and directly into the bathroom to shower.

While washing me, my lover reminded, "Tomorrow we have to get haircuts for the trial."

Nodding, I suggested, "When we're done in here, let's try on our suits."

He shrugged, "I'd doubt that they'll fit."

"You're probably right."

Grinning impishly, Prez said, "We'll have to make a trip to the mall then?"

Shaking my head, I giggled, "Yeah but my parents will pay for any new clothes we need."

Prez smirked, "Did I even mention it? I was thinking of stopping by Musicland for a few CD's though -- like that Sinatra disc we heard. My mom doesn't even own any Sinatra but here I am, planning on getting a CD that was made way before we were born."

Taking the soap and starting to wash him, I reminded, "It was an awesome slow dance disc though. And we need to take a trip to Sav-On for lube. We'll have to look for a new desk chair too." Then I wondered aloud, "By the way, where is the chair?"

"I put it in the garage," he answered. "I was thinking that maybe we could destroy it and get one that looks just like it."

I giggled, "So no one knows!" Then I thought better of it and said, "I don't want you spending your money on a chair though, Prez."

He sighed and grinned, "Come on, Keith. We broke it, we should replace it."

Staring intently into his blue eyes, I stubbornly reminded, "The operative word here is `we'."

He slouched and argued, "I have about two hundred and forty dollars in the underwear drawer. Did you know that?"

Shocked, I loudly asked, "You made that much the last four days? That's at least twice what I'll bring home."

My baby smiled and nodded. "Even if I put half of it into the bank, I'd still have plenty for a few CD's and a desk chair."

"I'll pay you back when I get paid this Saturday."

He then suggested, "Why don't you just save it and take me somewhere?"

"Where would you like to go?"

Tilting his head, he thought aloud, "A romantic dinner for two would be nice. We haven't done that in long time."

"Do you have anyplace in particular in mind?"

"Any where you want."

An idea immediately popped into my mind and I knew he would love it.

We finished in the shower, stepped out of the tub and started drying off. Prez said, "I've been thinking about how much I need to save for car insurance and maintenance. I could easily afford to take Tuesday nights off and still have plenty of money to enjoy the summer."

"If you want to, baby. I know you can spend time alone, too," I said. Then I grinned, "You may even be better at it than I am!"

Prez snickered and ruffled my hair with his towel.

Shaking my wet head for a moment, I then smiled, "I love you."

He froze, as if stunned that I had said those magical words. I started drying myself off again and leaned over to get at my legs. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Prez's handsome dick and meaty nads swinging around as he toweled off his back. Of course, I started drying the other leg and watched, mesmerized by the sight. By the time my leg was dry, it was noticeably longer and fatter. Unable to control myself and with nothing to stop me, I knelt before my lover and dried his legs. I looked up at him and smiled.

His chest heaved and he dropped his towel whimpering, "I love you so much, babe." Then he began gently running his fingers through my damp hair.

With his mostly erect cock pointing at my face, I kissed just the tip and softly said, "Apparently so," then slowly licked the underside of his stiffie from the scrotum to the tip. He breathed in sharply, causing his chest to heave again.

As if he had the slightest chance of avoiding the inevitable, Prez softly reminded, "We just showered."

Forcing a pout, I softly insisted, "I really want to suck you off though."

Smiling down at me, he gulped and nodded.

After our sexual appetites were satisfied, we returned to our room to try on our suits. Prez took his suit out of the closet and unzipped the garment bag. He said, "Ya know what? I'm not even going to bother."

Taking my suit out of the closet, I turned and stared at him.

He explained, "Because of its history, babe." Immediately, I realized that was the suit he wore to his mom's funeral and on our first date. Returning it to the closet, he said, "It'll go up into the attic with the rest of the stuff."

It was good that Prez wanted to put that suit and a part of his past behind him. I knew that my suit wouldn't fit and I was right; the pants weren't long enough and the jacket didn't fit through the chest and shoulders. Prez pulled on a pair of shorts and slipped a T-shirt over his head. Finally, I tried on my dress shoes and discovered that they were way too tight. Prez went to the dresser and counted his tips, announcing a grand total of two hundred and thirty-six dollars. Joining him at our dresser, I got dressed for the day.

Starving, we raided the kitchen. Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches seemed like a good lunch. While I buttered slices of bread, Prez talked about memories of his mom without the slightest hint of sorrow in his voice. Remembering what he had said about the visit with his aunt and uncle, I knew that Prez was simply emulating them. Prez fried our sandwiches then put them on plates. I felt that he deserved a thank you kiss for much more than just cooking lunch. As soon as he put the frying pan down and faced me again, I reached for him. Cupping his face gently in my hands, I gave him my deepest, heartfelt kiss. At first, his hands were resting lightly on my hips but after a few seconds, he threw his arms around me and urgently kissed me back. A minute or so later, we sat at the table and wolfed down our sandwiches but were still hungry when we were done.

We cleaned up then Prez let Rush inside and led him to our room. I left a note for the `rents, telling them that we wouldn't be home for dinner and where we would be. With two Santana CD's in his hand, Prez hurried past the kitchen and into the garage, returning moments later with his bass effects unit. We then left for Doug and Brian's.

After Prez pulled away, I asked, "Do you think I have perfect pitch?"

Smiling, he glanced my way and nodded, "Probably so. You just don't know the names of the notes in the chromatic scale."

I wondered silently a few moments then said, "The root of `chromatic' is chrome and means colored."

He hummed uncertainly then said, "I didn't know that."

I asked, "What are the names of notes?"

He quickly answered, "There are twelve tones that repeat," and then rambled, "A, A sharp or B flat, B, C, C sharp or D flat, D, D sharp or E flat, E, F, F sharp or G flat, G, G sharp or A flat."

Remembering my few guitar lessons, I nodded, "Yeah, I know those. Is that all there is?"

Rapidly nodding his head, Prez answered, "Yep. The pattern repeats, from the very lowest notes to the very highest notes we can hear. Each set, from A to the next A is an octave."

I knew that `oct' meant eight and said, "There should be eight notes then, not twelve."

He grinned, "In the chromatic scale, there are twelve tones. Most scales are groups of eight though." Prez then cleared his throat and sang, "Doe a dear, a female dear. Ray, a drop of golden sun." He quickly glanced my way and asked, "Remember that from grade school?" I giggled and nodded. Prez then said, "That's the major scale. For every tone in the chromatic scale, there's a major scale so, theoretically, there are twelve different key signatures."

I smiled and asked, "Theoretically?"

Prez nodded, "Remember I said, "F sharp or G flat?" I nodded and Prez explained, "Theoretically, there are two different keys that sound exactly the same. Only the names of the notes in each key are different. Tonally, they're exactly the same."

We passed the 101 freeway and I commented, "That seems pretty strange."

Prez nodded and explained, "The way it actually works out, you rarely ever see more than five sharps or five flats."

That still didn't add up so I said, "But that's only ten keys."

He nodded, "There's also one key with no sharps or flats -- the key of C. Then there's the key of F sharp, with six sharps, or G flat, with six flats."


He said, "I'll show you the circle of fifths and how it works when we stop."

Moments later, we were pulling in front of Doug and Brian's place. The 442 was not there. Glancing at the clock, I grinned, "It's eleven fifty-seven. He's got three minutes."

Pulling up the emergency brake, Prez snickered, "Get an envelope from the glove box, please babe." He then picked up a pen from the center console while I dug a car insurance envelope out of the glove compartment. While we waited for Mike and Derrick, Prez showed me how the circle of fifths is formed and wrote it all out on the back of the envelope. It was amazing to me that Prez knew this stuff so well that he could easily explain it to me. More remarkable yet, I understood it!

Derrick's 442 pulled up to the curb and stopped behind us. Mike was in the driver's seat. We both glanced at the clock. It was four minutes after twelve. Rubbing my hands together, I evilly snickered. Prez turned off the ignition and chuckled as we got out of the 4Runner.

Before I could say a word, Mike hollered, "We stopped for lunch and got you dudes something too!"

Heading for the 442 and holding up the Santana CD's, Prez enthusiastically snickered, "What'd you get me?"

Getting out of the car, Mike held up a Burger King bag and giggled, "A chicky-tit sandwich, fries and lemonade."

Prez hummed hungrily.

Stopping beside Derrick, I grinned, "And for me?"

Derrick smiled, "The same but with a diet Pepsi."

We started for the house. Glancing at Prez and then Derrick, I happily said, "While we waited, Prez was teaching me music theory."

Derrick chuckled, "Sweet, dude."

I asked, "Do you know any of that?"

Derrick shrugged, "Fundamentally, yeah. But I don't need to use it like Mike or Prez. That's harmony; I deal with rhythms. Mike and Prez actually deal with both, harmony and rhythm."

Mike unlocked the front door and we stepped inside. The blinds and curtains were closed, making the large front rooms appear darker than I was used to. We all sat at the table; with the Yellow Submarine mobile swinging lazily off the lamp above us.

Turning to Prez, Mike asked, "Did you know that the dude that owns Carl's Junior is a phobe?"

Wide-eyed, Prez softly said, "No."

Mike and Derrick nodded.

"Brian mentioned it last night, during a TV commercial," Mike said.

Then Derrick stubbornly said, "We ain't going there any more."

I loudly agreed, "Definitely not."

Prez sighed, "I'm gonna miss those western cheeseburgers." Shrugging it off, he then commented, "It seems so weird being here when Doug and Brian aren't."

Derrick said, "Brian should be home in about an hour."

Chomping on a few French fries, Mike added, "Depends on traffic. He's down in Anaheim today." After he took a bite from his burger and swallowed, Mike turned to me and asked, "So what did Prez show you?"

Smiling at my lover and getting a very warm thought back from him, I turned to Mike and answered, "Lemme see, he started with the chromatic scale." I ate a French fry and then said, "Then we talked about keys, scales and the circle of fifths."

Prez then added, "When we get done eating, I'll turn on the keyboards and show you the major scale."

Turning to Prez, Mike grinned, "Saving the minor scales and modes for another day?"

Prez nodded and giggled.

Grinning uncertainly, I repeated, "Minor scales?"

Derrick answered, "Each major scale has a relative minor. Minor keys sound way different than major keys."

Mike reminded, "Like when Shaun sings Sandman; that's in A minor. Or like when we sing More Than Words; that's in G major."

Prez swallowed and added, "Some songs use major keys for the verse then switch to the relative minor for the chorus."

Derrick nodded, "It's just a different feel, not a different key entirely."

While I processed that, I ate. After I swallowed, I asked, "So, if you wanted to play something happy, what would you play?"

Mike and Prez smiled at each other then answered, "Major."

I asked, "And something sad?"

"Minor," Prez answered.

Derrick said, "A blues scale."

And Mike shrugged, "I'd concentrate on dominant sevenths."

Chuckling, I asked; "And maybe something eerie?"

Prez shrugged, "Locrian mode or a diminished scale."

"I'd be thinking flat fives," Mike answered.

Prez turned to Mike and said, "And that's what you get from the locrian mode; in the key of C its B to F."

Mike shrugged, "It accomplishes the same thing."

Finished eating, I loudly laughed, "I don't know what you're talking about!"

Mike and Derrick cracked up. But Prez simply smiled and loudly said, "But you could; and I'm not suggesting you learn an instrument either. With just your voice, you sing notes separated by intervals." Mike and Derrick stopped laughing and smiled at the two of us. Gathering his trash and finishing his lemonade, Prez then said, "All you need to learn is the names of the notes and intervals." He then leaned over and kissed my forehead before going to the kitchen to throw his trash out.

I got up and followed Prez into the kitchen to throw my garbage away.

Mike and Derrick met us as we started out of the kitchen. Mike said, "Let's get some more drum tracks started before D has to leave for work."

Prez and I moved aside so they could get past us. Derrick agreed, "You dudes can work on vocals and mixing after I've gone."

With me and Keith in the lead, we started for the studio. I immediately went to the keyboards and powered them on. Mike and Derrick went over to the PC and mixer, powering them on. With Keith standing before me, I sat down at the keyboard and played a single note -- middle C. Smiling up at him, I said, "Sing that note, babe."

Keith did as I asked, singing "Ah," precisely in tune with the note.

I played it again. "That's middle C, right smack in the center of the keyboard," I said, and Keith nodded. Looking down at the keys and finding the notes for a C major chord, I then looked up and said, "Sing it again." When he did, I then played the C major chord and explained it to him by playing the C major scale. Then I looked down and explained, "This next chord is the relative minor." Looking up at him, I smiled, "Again." Keith snickered but then inhaled and sang middle C. I then played an A minor chord. "Hear it? It sounds just as good as with the C chord but it's different."

Keith nodded and said, "It definitely belongs."

Mike then turned to Keith saying, "Later, I'll ask you to sing that C again."

Keith grinned, "Why?"

"To see how close you are to the piano," Mike dared, and wandered over to his guitar.

Heading for his drums, Derrick smiled, "But first, let's record the rhythm tracks for The Joker."

I kissed Keith then chuckled, "You get to play recording engineer!"

Keith kissed me back and smiled, "Later, you get to sing lead vocals!"

Snickering, I went and picked up Doug's Rickenbaker bass.

Once we were all settled and ready, Derrick pointed a drum stick at Keith. Keith pressed record then Derrick clearly said, "The Joker" and started to count. On queue, we started playing the song. About half way through the song, I noticed Keith concentrating on the mixer's LED levels. I was glad that he seemed interested and involved.

When we finished the song, Derrick pointed a drum stick at Keith. Keith pressed stop and took his head phones off. Derrick then said, "Sing C, Keith."

Keith snickered then cleared his throat and sang, "Ah."

Mike played a C on his guitar and then I played a high C on my bass. The three sounds were perfectly in tune. Shaking his head, Mike softly snickered, "You rat bastard!"

Keith's eyes widened and he cracked up.

Mike looked at Derrick and said, "We didn't wait long enough."

Derrick nodded, "We'll try again just before I have to get ready for work."

Chuckling at the three of them, I asked, "What's next?"

Mike smirked, "Breakdown... like the one I'm gonna have if Keith sings another perfect C later!"

Keith, Derrick and I cracked up. Once we settled down, Keith pressed the record button and we started playing. We listened to the playback and decided to re-take the drum tracks. Even with baffles in place, the guitar and bass still bled through onto the drum tracks. Once Breakdown was finished, Mike taught me the progression for Clapton's Badge then we recorded it. Around two that afternoon, we started recording vocal tracks for American Girl and Breakdown. Keith and Mike went into the booth with Derrick while I recorded them. Then Keith and Mike came out of the booth, leaving Derrick alone to sing the lead vocals for both songs.

Afterwards, we went out to the kitchen for something to drink and found Brian at home. Returning to the studio with Brian in tow, the four of us stood in a semi circle around the one vocal microphone and recorded the vocal tracks for The Joker. Then my three friends left me and I sang the lead vocals. Minutes later, I left the booth and joined Brian at the PC while the three of them returned to do the backup vocal tracks.

They came out of the booth and Keith smiled at me. Standing, I hugged him tightly. Mike went to the keyboard and said, "Brian, check this out. Keith, sing a C, bro."

Keith grinned and shook his head but again sang, "Ah."

Mike pressed middle C. What Keith sang and what Mike played were incredibly close. Keith was just slightly sharp, creating a wavering tone with the piano. Hours had passed and Keith had remembered that one note over all the others he had sung. Mike wore a crooked frown while Derrick appeared stunned. I was as proud of Keith as I ever had been and again squeezed him tightly.

Keith giggled, "I pass?"

I happily answered, "With flying colors, babe."

Standing, Brian said, "You've got perfect pitch, Keith. Doug had guessed it last New Year's. That's what he meant when he said that you've got talent and shouldn't waste it."

Noticing Keith's slight blush, I interjected, "We've just started working on naming notes and intervals." Then I turned to Keith and offered, "If you want, I can teach you more."

Keith smiled and softly said, "I want." Ecstatic, I enveloped him.

Derrick's watch started beeping. He then sadly said, "I have to get ready for work."

Mike then stepped closer to Keith and me asking, "Would you dudes mind running me over to the grocery store?"

I grinned, "You're cooking dinner."

Mike smirked, "And you dudes are cleaning up!"

Keith chuckled, "Only if it's edible and my belly is happy."

Following Derrick out of the studio, Mike huffed, "It will be, bitch."

Uncontrollably, I snickered at the two of them. Brian left the studio and Keith suspiciously asked, "What's so funny?"

I grinned, "I'm just so happy with you right now. I'm ready to teach you everything I know and wish I could do it all at once."

Keith kissed my forehead and whispered, "We've got nothing but time together, baby."

"I really do love you, Keith. Please tell me if I ever get too obsessed trying teach you, okay? Part me just wants to do a memory dump."

Leading me out of the studio, Keith smiled, "That's not the case right now. What we do have to worry about is Mike cooking dinner."

I snickered, "I'll let you watch what he's doing and I'll watch the clock so nothing gets burned."

"Sounds like a plan," Keith agreed.

We joined Brian in the living room while Mike and Derrick were alone in the guest room. Absent mindedly flipping channels on the TV, Brian said, "You seem different, Preston."

I beamed, "Last night, I had dinner with my mom's sister and her husband. It went really well."

Brian chuckled, "Obviously so."

Keith smiled, "You've got family again."

I happily agreed, "I've got two extended families."

Brian nodded, "Doug and me count too, don't we?"

Keith chuckled, "That's three."

The bedroom door opened and Mike asked, "What are you counting?"

I grinned, "My extended families."

"Oh," he said, "And mine would be four then?"

Derrick smiled, "I'd offer mine too but for now, that's just my mom and me."

I giggled, "The more the merrier!"

Turning to Mike, Derrick softly said, "I gotta go." Mike nodded and they stepped closer for a goodbye kiss. Taking a step back, Derrick then smiled and waved, "See ya around eleven, I guess."

We all said goodbye and followed Derrick out of the house. After we stepped outside, Keith asked, "And what are we over cooking tonight?"

Mike sneered, "Well, I've got about twenty-five bucks left. Let's see what that gets us."

Unlocking the 4Runner, I laughed, "You don't have a clue, do you?"

Mike giggled and shook his head then got in the backseat. I pulled away from the curb and Mike said, "Last night, after the beach, I recorded Dee and Mood For A Day."

Briefly looking into the rearview mirror, I asked, "The Yes song?"

Mike nodded and said, "More solo guitar pieces to add to our lists. I'm working on Spanish Fly too but it's not quite right yet."

Keith asked, "When did you get to bed?"

As we crossed Kanan Road, Mike answered, "Around four this morning."

Surprised, I asked, "Did you even make it to the beach?"

Shaking his head, Mike reminded, "We were with Keith's dad, getting prepped for the trial."

Pulling into the shopping center parking lot, I asked, "How'd it go?"

Mike shrugged, "Pretty good, I guess."

While I concentrated on parking, Keith changed the subject. "Since school let out, how many songs have you learned?"

Paused in thought, Mike softly bit his lip for a few moments while I pulled into a parking spot. Right after we came to a stop, Mike answered, "At least a dozen." Then he rambled out a long list of songs while we got out of my truck and walked across the parking lot into the store. Picking up a small basket as we stepped inside, Mike led us to the rear of the store saying, "The last few weeks, something clicked. It's been really great; any song I hear, I can figure most of it out in the first pass, sometimes without even picking up my axe."

Enthusiastically, I said, "The same thing's been happening with me. I haven't learned as many songs as you have though."

Mike shrugged, "You just haven't made the time. As soon as you get Tuesday nights off, I know you'll catch up." Then he looked down and began browsing the refrigerated butcher section.

Keith turned to me and asked, "Have you starting asking around for a replacement?"

I nodded, "No nibbles yet. I'll ask around some more this weekend."

Mike asked, "Do you dudes like pork chops?"

Stunned, Keith turned to Mike, grabbed his belly and roared.

Momentarily embarrassed, Mike looked around at the people watching us. He then nudged Keith hard and softly snickered, "Bitch!"

Stepping up beside Mike while Keith tried to compose himself, I chuckled, "We like `em, sure. What's the plan?"

Picking up a large package of thick boneless pork chops, Mike grinned, "Quick and easy, spend more time eating than cooking." He put the chops in the basket then spun around and looked up at the aisle signs softly grumbling, "I just wish I knew where shit was." He then started off to the right.

Keith stepped up to me and softly giggled, "I never ever thought I'd see the day. Mike Gibbons - rock and roll's very own teenage Galloping Gourmet!"

Spinning around and walking backwards, Mike sneered, "I heard that!"

Keith and I hurried to catch up with Mike. He went down the frozen food aisle and picked up a large package of corn. Tossing it in the basket, he looked at us and wondered aloud, "Fries?"

I nodded and said, "Steak fries."

We walked a few steps down the aisle. Mike picked up a bag of Ore-Ida Steak fries and dropped it into the basket. Mike then asked, "Where would you put Shake-N-Bake?"

Keith lost it again and I giggled, "Probably with the flour and bread crumbs."

Disgusted, Mike watched hysterical Keith wipe tears from his eyes. Then he looked at me and asked, "When we get outside, can I just give him one really good wallop?" He walked away from us and started reading the aisle signs again.

Shrugging, I giggled, "There might be consequences."

Spinning around again, Mike smiled wickedly and said, "It would be worth it."

Moments later, we were standing at the express checkout line. Keith grabbed a Snickers bar from the display and tossed it in Mike's basket. Mike took it out but before he could return it, Keith picked up a People magazine and dropped it in the basket. Mike glared and warned, "Would you please? Be cool."

Keith snickered and tossed a few Kit-Kat bars in the basket. Mike grumbled, turned to me and demanded; "Take the child outside, please!"

I nodded and took a hold of Keith's belt, dragging him along at first. Finally, he roared laughing and reached for my hand then rapidly led us out of the store.

Once we were outside and waiting beside my 4Runner, Keith turned to me and snickered, "Suzy freaking Homemaker!"

I laughed, "He passed the supermarket test. Let's see how he does in the kitchen!"

We both cracked up. A few minutes later, Mike stepped out of the store. From at least twenty paces away, he hollered, "You're setting the table and cleaning up, Hundser!"

Shoulders bouncing, Keith loudly giggled, "Oh no, we're making sure that you don't start a four alarm fire!"

Turning to get in my truck, I laughed, "Tragic dinner served by teenager, film at eleven."

Mike snickered, "You'll both be eating those words after a very edible meal!" We all got in the truck and Mike assured, "You'll see. It might not be a virtuoso performance but it will be good."

Slightly turning in the passenger seat, Keith smiled, "How were your mom's lessons."

Mike huffed then chuckled, "A royal pain in the ass. She watched and questioned my every move. But sometimes, I gotta admit, she caught me before I fucked up." Keith nodded and giggled then faced forward.

After I had backed out and started moving gaily forward again, I asked, "No burned pots or pans?"

"A few overflows into the burner pans but nothing disastrous," Mike admitted. He then hollered, "I cannot wait for July dudes! It's gonna be so great. I recorded those songs between one and four this morning. Neither Doug nor Brian heard a sound. They've said that it's only the drums and bass they can hear through the heat ducts."

I lucked out and made it back across Kanan Road without having to wait for the light. When we returned to Doug and Brian's place, Mike asked, "Take the groceries inside please, Prez?"

Keith's shoulders bounced and he snickered. Before I could turn around to ask why, both Mike and Keith had unlocked their safety belts and tore out of the 4Runner. From the driver's seat, I watched Keith bolt across the street to the park with Mike hot on Keith's heels. Giggling, I unlatched my seat belt, grabbed the sacks of groceries from the back and then started for the house. Uncertainly, I knocked on the door but turned the doorknob and entered. Much to my surprise, Doug was home. I was so preoccupied with Keith and Mike's shenanigans that I hadn't even noticed his car in the driveway.

Closing the door behind me, I smiled and said, "Hey Doug." Beside Brian on the far end of the sofa sat another teenaged boy I hadn't yet met.

In a thick Irish brogue, Doug hollered, "Welcome Master O'Brian. Bring your weary self indoors." Glancing down at the sacks in my hand, he licked his lips hungrily and asked, "That be dinner?"

Trying to imitate him, I chuckled, "Aye. The chef is chasing Keith around the park, right now."

I put the groceries down on the counter. Doug then turned to the teenager at the end of the couch and, in his normal voice, said, "Ben, this is Preston." Standing and coming to me, Doug patted my back and winked, "Preston, this is Ben, one of our friends."

I almost shouted, "AH HA!" but caught myself. Happily, I went over to Ben and offered my hand. "My pleasure."

Although he was sitting, Ben seemed to be about average height but stocky. He was dressed in painter's jeans and a plain white T-shirt with sandals on his feet. Cautiously taking my hand for an instant, Ben grinned and softly answered, "Same here."

Behind me, Doug incredulously screamed, "Pork chops but NO apple sauce? What the..." Starting for the front door, he grumbled, "Where is he?" Opening the front door, Doug hollered, "Gibbons! Dammit boy!"

Over the sound of the TV and Brian's snickering, I heard Mike offer a frightened yelp and Keith laughing as Doug raced out of the house.

Looking down at Ben and Brian, I chuckled, "While the boys play, shall we start dinner?"

Standing, Brian grinned, "We can get things prepped but Mike has to cook. Mom's direct orders."

Heading for the kitchen, I nodded, "That sounds like Mike's mom." Once behind the kitchen counter, I began emptying the sack. Brian stopped beside me and I looked up asking, "Can I rinse the chops?"

He nodded and smiled, "While you do that, I'll get the pots and pans out."

I started to wash my hands in the sink and watched Ben like a hawk.

Squatting down and reaching in the cabinet, Brian could still see over the counter. He playfully asked, "Are the Golden Girls that interesting, Ben?" Blushing, Ben did a quick double take between the TV and the kitchen. Then he shook his head. Putting the pans and one medium size pot down on the counter, Brian suggested, "Switch to whatever you like or you could come over here and have a seat at the counter?"

Ben then picked up the remote control as if he were going to change channels. But he obviously changed his mind, laid the remote back down on the table and stood. He was a little taller than Mike, I noticed as he approached; about five foot nine, closer to Derrick's height. But Ben was a little bit heavier than Mike or Derrick. I reckoned about one hundred and seventy pounds. He had a very handsome face but was unshaven. His hair was scruffy too, like it hadn't been brushed at all that day. He sat at the counter stool on the other side of the counter.

Finished washing my hands, I grabbed a few paper towels and softly asked, "Do you like to cook, Ben?"

Ben blushed but nodded, "Sometimes."

Brian sat on the stool beside Ben and asked, "Do you have a favorite or cook anything really well?"

Turning to Brian he shrugged. I opened the package of pork chops and turned the cold water on to rinse them. When I looked up again, Ben was smiling at me.

He blushed, "Breakfast; scrambled eggs, sausages and biscuits."

Smiling widely, Brian beamed across the counter at me as if I had done something remarkable. I didn't know what his deal was so I asked, "Have you ever tried making waffles?" Ben shook his head and I said, "You'd think it would be easy, just like pancakes. But when you close the waffle iron, you can't see when they're done. Some come out barely cooked while others are like checker boards."

Giggling, Ben turned even redder.

From the doorway, I heard Doug. "From now on, remember the Brady's. Repeat after me, pork chops and apple sauce."

A little closer, Mike giggled and repeated, "Pork chops and apple sauce."

Keith walked into the house first and immediately saw me in the kitchen with my hands in the sink. Stepping up close and wrapping his arms around my waist, Keith playfully asked, "You're not thinking of cooking for him, are you?"

Against my back, I could feel Keith's heart pounding. From his jaunt around the park, he was still breathing deeply and a little sweaty. But damn, he smelled good! Turning to him, I smiled, "Can't. If Mike's mom finds out..."

"We'd all be in deep doodoo," Brian finished.

Mike and Doug walked into the house still chanting, "Pork chops and apple sauce."

Giggling, I faced Ben and introduced Keith. Then I introduced Keith to Ben. Keith reached over the counter and offered Ben his hand. Forcing a smile, Ben quickly shook Keith's hand. Appearing sad, Ben looked at me for a brief instant. Before I could examine his expression, he spun around on the stool and went back to sitting on the couch. Mike stepped in front of the sink and gently hip-checked me. I moved aside then Mike lifted the package of chops out of the sink and started washing his hands.

Doug then went to the living room and asked Ben if he'd like to hear some music.

Ben shrugged and meekly offered, "It doesn't matter."

Doug loudly asked, "Anyone have a preference?"

I shook my head then turned to Keith. Leaning closer, I whispered in his ear. "Did Ben seem sad to you?"

Moving his head slightly, Keith softly replied, "I guess, a little. But I just met him."

Music began playing. I recognized it as the Tommy James version of Crimson and Clover. Curious, Keith stepped back to look at my face. I silently mouthed, "Ben needs a friend."

Keith grinned and nodded then reached for my hand. Leading me to the living room and turning us around so I couldn't see Ben, my lover started dancing. A little stunned, I started slowly moving my feet. Dancing closer, Keith took hold of my waist and whispered, "He needs to have some fun."

"You've got a plan?"

Keith giggled, "Doug's dancing behind you." We shifted positions so I could see Doug. Keith then leaned close and whispered, "Let's see if he'll dance."

Again we shifted positions so that Doug was dancing with us. Doug smiled, rolled his eyes and winked. Soon the three of us were swinging our heads to and fro with the beat. From the kitchen, Mike loudly laughed and Brian grinned innocently. While Ben was still processing Mike's laughter, the three of us stopped dancing and reached for him. He looked scared to death for an instant. When the song ended, I'll bet that Ben thought he was off the hook. But Draggin' the Line started playing. Hearing the prominent bass part, I really started getting into it. When the first verse started, Doug sang along. Ben still had three sets of hands beckoning him off the couch. Together the three of us sang, "I dig snow and the rain and the bright sunshine." Finally, Ben giggled but tried to suppress it. Much to my surprise, Ben started to stand and reached for my hands!

Leading him around the coffee table while Doug and Keith paired up, I wondered, was Ben infatuated with me? Was that sad expression because Keith showed up and wrapped his arms around me? Oh my God.

I told Ben to do what I was doing and he nervously started to move his feet, then his arms and eventually his body. Ben blushed bright-red but kept his rhythm and was doing okay. Throughout the song, I smiled at Ben and sang along with Doug and Tommy James. The next song was Hanky Panky. Doug and Keith moved over by us then Doug showed us the old 60's hanky-panky dance, complete with exaggerated ass swivels. Brian came over and joined us. Obviously panicking, Ben reluctantly followed along. By the end of the song, he was shaking his ass around, laughing and even singing along with us.

At the end of the song, I smiled at Ben and said, "I need to use the toidy real quick but hope to find you dancing when I get back." Then I nonchalantly stared at Keith, silently telling him to follow me. Crystal Blue Persuasion started playing as I went down the hall. I stopped at the bathroom and waited for Keith. Moments later, he turned the corner. Seeing me at the end of the hall, Keith's little grin grew to a huge, face-cracking smirk.

I waited for him in the bathroom. Part of me wanted to grab him and shake some sense into him!

Snickering insanely, Keith came into the room and quickly closed the door.

Charging him, I chuckled, "Very funny. What made you do that?"

Backing up against the door, Keith shrugged, "Well, his expression changed when I showed up. So it had to be me or you, right?" I nodded and he snickered, "I knew it was you -- you sex machine."

Forcing my grin into a disapproving frown, I asked, "What do I do now though?" and moved in front of the bowl.

Stepping up beside me and reaching for the zipper on his shorts, Keith giggled, "Just be nice -- but not too nice!"

Grinning, I whipped my dick out and playfully grumbled, "I'll fix your ass," then started to leak.

Keith snickered, "It needs fixing but let's save that for later."

I joked, "Wanna break some more furniture?"

Cracking up, Keith stepped away from the bowl. I had finished peeing by the time he composed himself enough to cackle, "I really need to piss!"

Grinning triumphantly, I went to the sink but waited until he moved in front of the bowl again before softly wondering, "Or maybe I should tan your buns like you tanned mine?"

Keith roared then glanced over his shoulder and whined, "Come on!"

Satisfied for the moment, I finished washing my hands and let Keith urinate in peace. Ready to leave the bathroom, I said, "I'd better check on Mike and our dinner."

Keith glanced over his shoulder and smiled, "You know how much I love you?"

His contented expression beckoned me and I slipped into position behind him then reached around to hold his dick. "I love you too," I whispered in his ear and then decided to snack on his neck. Before I knew it, he was done peeing but I didn't let go of his dick. I didn't shake it either. Keith whimpered and ground his ass against my crotch. His dick pulsed in my hand. Fully prepared to drop to my knees and suck him off for the second time that day, I thought better of it and sighed, "When we get home tonight."

Half-heartedly, Keith agreed, "We've been gone pretty long already," then he took his swelling dick from me and stuffed it back in his shorts. A minute or so later, after Keith washed and dried his hands, we returned to the party.

Doug had switched from Tommy James to Queen's The Game. The dancing had stopped but Brian was teaching Ben the chords to Crazy Little Thing Called Love. It seemed that Ben was struggling with the groove and he froze completely when I entered the room. Damn!

Figuring that my best bet was to act uninterested; I joined Mike in the kitchen but Keith went to the living room, singing along with CD.

Doug sat on a counter stool, quietly observing. As I stepped up beside Mike, he was just placing the last of the coated pork chops onto a large baking pan. I asked, "How's it goin', dude?"

Mike shrugged, "The corn's on low on the back burner. The fries are already in the oven."

"Did you preheat it first?"

Rinsing his hands in the sink, Mike nodded, "For a few minutes. It's a gas stove. I just put them in a minute or two ago when I heard the oven click off." He dried his hands then reached for an oven mitt. I took a few steps back to give Mike access to the oven. He then opened the oven door and turned the pan of fries so that the pan of chops could also fit inside. Closing the oven door and removing the oven mitt, Mike set the timer on the microwave. Glancing between Doug and I, Mike proudly said, "I'll flip the chops in about ten minutes. Ten minutes after that, we're eating." Then he smirked, "Who's setting the table?"

I grinned and teased, "Oh, okay." Passing me, Mike smiled and firmly gripped my arm then he went to the living room.

Doug said, "The plates and glassware are above the sink, Prez."

Stunned, I smiled widely, paused and repeated, "Prez?"

Crazy Little Thing Called Love replayed but this time, Mike demonstrated how the song should be played while Keith sang along.

Doug smiled and shrugged, "Everyone else calls you that. If you'd rather..."

"No, it just surprised me," I said as I moved in front of the sink. "Now that I think of it," I grinned, "that's one of the few times you've spoken to me in your normal voice."

Impishly, he returned to his Irish brogue and grinned, "Whatchya think, aye?"

Reaching above me for the plates, I teased, "It was very nice."

Doug's grin immediately flipped over into a frown and I snickered as I put six plates down on the counter. Doug took the pile and started setting the table.

I then got six glasses and asked, "Where's the silverware, Doug?"

In an Australian accent, Doug replied, "Top drawer to the left of the sink, mate."

Shaking my head at his never ending stream of accents, I chuckled and gathered forks, knives and spoons then brought them to the table. Doug whirled around me and retrieved a pile of paper napkins from the counter. He placed a napkin to the right of each plate and I placed the silverware. Doug said, "Brian said that you visited your aunt."

I nodded and said, "I probably should've done that long ago."

He tilted his head curiously and said, "Should've? Why make yourself feel guilty about it. It was your time. And you are very obviously pleased about it."

I smiled, "Really? How?"

Making eye contact, he said, "By your smile, the brightness in your eyes; the same sort of visual signals anyone can notice."

The CD player stopped then, at a slower tempo, Mike played the entire progression over for Ben. Keith got up and joined Doug and I. I gave him the knives to place beside the plates.

Choosing to trust Doug, I confided, "It's been weird lately. I've been flashing back to last year a lot. But I've decided to take control of it. It crept into my mind shortly after I woke up so I got up and went outside to wash the car. The feeling doesn't just vanish but doing something like washing the car, something I never did last summer, helps somehow."

Doug nodded, "By not letting it overwhelm you."

Keith frowned, "You didn't tell me."

Reaching for him, I apologized. Then I confidently said, "I've been overwhelmed enough."

"Hey, it was overwhelming," Doug said. Our eyes met and he said, "Death is difficult enough. When the person that passed is relatively young and healthy but dies from accidental reasons, there's no preparation time. Suddenly, everything is different."

He seemed to have experienced it himself. "Have you lost someone the same way?" I asked as I placed the last of the silverware.

"More than I care to count," Doug replied. "Some in car or boating accidents, a few massive heart attacks, one in an airplane crash, suicide and another was bashed, mugged and murdered. And those were friends and cousins -- not a parent. When I was sixteen, only my father's father had passed away. But he was seventy-two and diabetic. It still hurt but not like those that were ripped away from us."

Somehow, I felt better but still, I said, "I'm sorry to hear you lost so many that were close to you."

Doug smiled, "You never stop missing them but remembering them does stop hurting." He then turned to the kitchen and asked, "Get the pitcher of iced tea from the fridge please, Mike?" And Mike did as Doug had asked. Doug then put the pitcher down on the table.

Keith said, "Three times today, you've talked about your mom without the slightest bit of sorrow in your voice."

I shrugged, "I want to remember the positive. Really, my only negative memories of her are after the accident."

The microwave timer went off. Keith went into the kitchen with Mike and Doug said, "There are plenty of happier memories to focus on."

Taking a seat on a counter stool, I nodded then turned to supervise Keith and Mike.

Opening the oven door, Mike slid the rack out then carefully turned each pork chop. Then he gave the pan of oven fries a vigorous shake, slid the rack back into the oven and closed the door.

Keith peeked into the pot of corn and commented, "It smells good, bro."

Smiling, Mike nudged Keith and said, "I told you." He then leaned on the counter by the sink and loudly said, "Ten minutes till dinner, dudes."

Doug nodded over his shoulder and winked at Mike.

Mike then said, "You're staying too, right Ben?"

Ben didn't move for several moments but then shrugged and forced a smile. "If it's okay?" he meekly asked.

Mike grinned, "No problem. There are twelve chops and six of us." He then turned to me and said, "Shaun and Gil should be here around seven."

Ben and Brian stood. Then Brian led Ben down the hall - to wash up before dinner, I reckoned. Brian started back down the hall but ducked into the master bedroom.

Checking with Keith, I asked, "Do we have any reason to hurry home, babe?"

Keith shrugged, "I only need to tell my folks about the suit."

Doug offered, "Give them a call then."

Keith and I both checked our watches. It was only five in the afternoon. Keith smiled, "Thanks. They're not home yet but I'll call after we eat."

I asked, "Mike, do you and Derrick have suits for next week?"

Shaking his head, Mike answered, "We've got decent shirts, pants and shoes but we're gonna have to get sport jackets Saturday or Sunday. Keith's dad said that would be okay."

I hummed, "I have to get with him Saturday."

Keith suggested, "We could hit the mall Sunday then."

Turning to him, I grinned, "What should we do tomorrow morning?"

Cracking a wide smile, Keith glared, "Beach?"

"But back here by noon," Mike reminded.

Ben returned from the far end of the hall. Spinning in my seat, I asked, "Ya wanna hit the beach tomorrow, Ben?"

Again, he became perfectly still for a few moments and blushed. Ben then smiled and stammered; "I... uh... umm..."

I grinned, "That settles it then. We could pick you up around ten. How does that sound?" He nodded and I asked, "Where do you live?"

Turning and pointing down the hall, Ben answered, "Just down the street."

I chuckled, "Cool. Look for my white 4Runner."

Brian stepped out of the bedroom and smiled as he walked around us then sat at the table. Around me, Doug, Keith and Mike were all smiling.

Honestly, I didn't think I was being "too nice". Only a year ago, I didn't have any friends either. My communications skills were better than Ben's but, I figured that there was only one way for that to improve and it required talking with someone. A trip to the beach would afford me the chance to tell him my story. And maybe, if he did have a crush on me, he would trust me enough to break out of his shell.

The microwave timer went off and Mike turned it off saying, "I'll need a tray for the chops and bowls for the corn and fries, Doug."

"How about we minimize the formality and the mess," Doug answered, "We'll just pass you plates."

Taking the first two plates from Doug, Mike smiled, "Very cool."

Gathering the other plates for Doug, Brian said, "Grab a seat, guys." I slid off the stool and sat at the table, choosing a chair at the left end with an empty chair to my right for Keith. Ben chose the chair directly across from me and we passed our plates to Brian. The oven door opened and the pleasant aroma of Shake-N-Bake pork chops wafted into the room. My stomach growled loudly and I giggled at myself. Ben thought that was great and smiled widely. Picking up my fork and knife, I started rapping on the table and chanting, "We want the grub!"

Turning redder, Ben's shoulders bounced then he roared laughing. Brian joined me, chanting loudly and pounding on the table with his fork and knife. Soon, Ben followed suit but he couldn't chant because he was laughing so loudly. From the kitchen, I could hear Keith chortling.

Mike hollered, "I'm hurryin'!"

Passing the first plate to Ben, Doug smiled warmly at him and then me. Chuckling, I continued chanting until Doug handed me the second plate.

Brian said, "Go ahead and dig in."

Keith squeaked, "Oops!" and Mike grumbled.

Shaking my head, I said, "I'll wait for everyone to sit." But my stomach growled loudly again. Covering his face with his hands, Ben giggled.

Mike softly growled, "Wench!" and Keith snickered.

Noticing that Mike had lightly spiced the corn, I asked, "It smells great, doesn't it?"

Nodding, Ben then dropped his hands. Doug passed a plate to Brian.

Turning slightly, I loudly asked, "What're you doing, Keith?"

Keith chuckled, "Serving the corn and passing plates."

"Spilling the corn, ya mean!" Mike hollered and Keith giggled.

Doug then put a plate down beside me and turned around for the last two. Keith said, "Go ahead, dude. We've got the last two."

Nodding, Doug then walked around the table and sat between Ben and Brian. Then he grabbed the plate from Keith's spot and leaned over it, inhaling deeply through his nose.

"A fine first effort," Doug said.

Mike said, "Thanks. It's not exactly my first effort, just the first one here."

Keith walked out of the kitchen and sat down beside me. Moments later, Mike sat down at the other end of the table to my left. We all dug in and I first sampled the corn. After I swallowed, I turned to Mike and asked, "What's in the corn, bud?"

Pausing with a piece of pork on his fork, Mike answered, "Doug's suggestion; a light sprinkling of Mrs. Dash. And butter, of course."

Beginning to cut off a piece of my pork chop, I said, "It's great, dude."

Doug said, "You've got to be very careful with it though. It's easy to go overboard with it."

Keith swallowed and grinned, "I am impressed."

Mike snickered, "I can even manage grilled cheese..."

"On the stove and not in the oven!" Mike and Keith simultaneously laughed.

I snickered, "I wish I was a fly on the wall for that!"

"You would've fallen off the wall laughing," Keith snickered.

Doug shared curious glances with Ben and Brian. Then Mike started telling them the story of the broiled grilled cheese sandwiches and we all had a good laugh.

After a few minutes of silent eating, Brian asked about the recordings we had been making. Mike and I filled him in on the songs we had started and that we were planning on concentrating on vocals later that night.

Brian nodded, "The foam padding on the walls and ceiling in the booth can be removed for different sounds, adding more natural room reverb as you remove the tiles."

Doug agreed, "With only the ceiling tiles in place and the two of us singing in there, the playback sounded like at least six voices; infinitely better than computer generated delays or even spring reverb." Turning to Mike and I, Doug then suggested, "Try putting the amps in there. With an amp against a wall, use one mic inches away from the speakers and another pointing at the opposite wall; or choose a corner for even more reverb. The effect will be better than any microchip could simulate."

"If you want to use chorus, flange or any of the Vocoder effects then record with the tiles in place," Brian advised, "but if all you want is reverb, try removing the panels from one wall at a time until you get the sound you want."

Finished eating, Keith tapped my leg and asked, "So we could put your bass amp in there?"

I nodded and smiled but then glanced at Brian and Doug saying, "I brought my new effects unit. It has stereo outputs and a nice reverb, which is the primary reason I brought it with me today. Which would you prefer to use?"

Brian shrugged, "It would depend on the sound."

"Sometimes two reverb effects are just slightly out of phase," Doug said. "It colors the whole recording. If that's a sound you want, then by all means, use it if it sounds good. Your ears are always your best guide. Try it both ways and choose for yourself."

Putting his silverware down on his empty plate, Mike suggested, "We could try it out on a song?" I nodded. Quickly turning to Ben, he then asked, "Ya wanna help?"

Glancing nervously around the table, Ben stopped at me. He smiled and nodded.

Doug pushed his chair back then picked up his plate and silverware. Starting for the kitchen, he playfully chimed; "Kisses for the chef!" Briefly stopping at Mike's chair, he leaned down and kissed the top of Mike's head. He then headed for the kitchen.

Rolling his eyes, Mike blushed redder than I've ever seen.

Brian passed his plate and utensils over the counter to Doug and then walked around the table. He also kissed Mike's head then excused himself before disappearing into the master bedroom again.

I chuckled, "Do you want kisses from us?"

Mike nodded, "Damn skippy. I managed the entire dinner." Then he glared at Keith and snickered, "Are you ready to eat your words?"

Keith smiled but huffed impatiently, waiting for Mike's next sentence.

Drawing out the verdict, Mike grinned devilishly for a few moments. Finally, he said, "Just sing, bro. We've got a lot of tracks to work on, with you doing lead or backup vocals."

"And coaching you and Prez too," Keith smiled and nodded.

Mike sneered, "Now clean up that mess, wench!"

I roared and Keith nudged me. Then Keith got up, turned and put his plate on the counter. As he passed me, his fingertips brushed lightly across the back of my neck. Looking up and behind me, I shivered as my lover passed. He then picked up my plate and Mike's plate and headed for the kitchen.

When I looked forward, I noticed that Ben seemed confused.

But before I could ask Ben what was wrong, Mike tapped my arm and said, "Let's get back to work, dude." Standing and looking at Ben, Mike said, "Come on, dude."

Ben got up and followed Mike. I picked up Ben's plate and handed it to Doug. In the kitchen, Doug was rinsing things off in the sink while Keith loaded the dishwasher. I asked, "Do you need help?"

Doug replied, "No thanks, Prez. There's really very little left."

I then reminded them, "Come on back to the studio when you're done."

Keith said, "This won't take too long. Just a few minutes, baby."

Starting for the studio, I met Brian at the master bedroom door. I asked, "Are you joining us, Brian?"

He smiled, "If you like."

I stopped and wondered, "Why wouldn't I?" Starting for the studio again, I rambled, "It is your house. You and Doug are letting us use your stuff and giving us all sorts of ideas. Of course, I like. We'd all like." With Brian in tow, I stepped inside the studio. Mike was sitting with Ben at the PC and mixer. The basic rhythm tracks for our version of The Joker were playing through the monitors.

Entering the room, Brian commented, "That sounds like a good start."

Mike turned and nodded, "If you'll run the board for us, I can lay down the lead guitar tracks while Prez and Keith work on the vocals?"

Brian nodded, "I can do that," and Mike started to stand.

I suggested, "Maybe Doug would play the keyboard parts for us?"

"I don't see why not," Brian said, and then sat down beside Ben.

Passing me for his guitar, Mike said, "Go ahead into the booth, bud. We can at least get the levels set while we wait for Doug and Keith."

Entering the vocal booth, I turned the lights on and picked up a pair of headphones. Once I was situated, I stepped up to the mic and asked, "Do we want to try removing some of the foam panels in here?

Inside my headphones, Brian answered, "Let's do a few takes with them and then remove some later."

Mike started playing but I waited a few moments for the verse section to roll around then started singing.

Outside the door stood Keith but I continued singing as he stepped into the booth with me. Faintly, in the headphones, I could hear him chuckling as he picked up a set of headphones and put them on. Reaching for my hand, Keith sang the counterpoint background vocals while I sang the chorus' lead vocals. As we repeated the chorus, I started to hear keyboards.

The song soon ended and Brian said; "Just a few seconds while I reset."

Faintly, I heard Mike say, "I'm hoping that Shaun will redo the rhythm guitar part once he gets here." He then played a flashy trill on his guitar.

Keith smiled and said, "That was really good, baby. Sing strong like that right from the start."

Squeezing his hand in mine, I appreciatively grinned; "I'll try."

Brian asked, "Is everyone ready?"

Keith and I both said, "Yeah."

Seconds later, I heard Derrick's count and Mike's rhythm guitar part then I started singing. Soon Doug and Mike began playing their parts. Keith joined me at the bridge before the second verse then stopped while I continued. At the second bridge, Keith joined me again. The sound of his counterpoint background vocals between my lead vocals gave me shivers.

Once the song was over, Keith and I took our headphones off then grabbed a kiss before leaving the booth. After we listened to the playback, Mike and Keith went into the booth to add another layer of background vocal tracks. Since I was thirsty, I asked if anyone else was. Getting three positive replies, I left for the kitchen.

The dining room table was completely cleared and cleaned off, I noticed as I passed. Reaching in the fridge, I found the large pitcher of iced tea refilled and wondered how Doug managed to prepare it so quickly. But everyone said they wanted water and Brian had said there were plenty of cold bottles of water waiting. Most of the bottom refrigerator shelf was loaded with liter bottles of Avian. Grabbing three for Ben, Brian and Doug, I then hurried back to the studio.

Passing out the bottles, I faced Doug and asked, "How did you manage to refill the pitcher of tea so quickly?"

Shifting his eyes mysteriously, Doug then smiled, "Sun tea, lad. I work, it steeps in the rays."

That possibility hadn't even crossed my mind. I nodded and said, "I'll just get three more bottles and be right back. As I walked down the hall, I heard knocks on the front door and went to answer it. Pulling open the door, I found Gil and Shaun waiting Letting them in, I happily said, "Hey dudes! How's your vacation going so far?"

Stepping inside, Shaun grinned, "Too much work, not enough vacation."

Gil followed and said, "Its changing next week though, right Shaun?"

Nodding enthusiastically, Shaun snickered and threw his arms over Gil's shoulders.

Before I could say, "Glad to hear it," they were both kissing deeply and passionately. Closing the door, I chuckled, "Things must not be so bad after all," and then went to the kitchen.

Still holding each other close, Shaun and Gil followed me. I offered, "Water or iced tea?"

Gil said, "Water please."

Watching his boyfriend intently, Shaun nodded, "Same here, dude. Thanks."

Handing them each a bottle, I commented, "No guitar, Shaun?"

Shaking his head, Shaun said, "Mike said that I didn't need to bring it; that I could use one of the ones already here."

Taking three more bottles from the fridge, I said, "Yep, you could. We're working on the vocals for The Joker right now. Mike wants you to replace his rhythm guitar part."

We started for the studio and Shaun enthusiastically said, "I've been practicing that one. I'm ready."

By the time we stepped into the room, they were listening to the playback. Seeing Shaun and Gil with me, Mike and Keith hurried across the room. Smiling, Mike firmly shook hands with them and asked, "How does it sound, dudes?" Keith grinned and gave me a peck on the cheek then took a bottle of water.

Shaun quickly said, "Excellent. Are you sure you want me to re-record the rhythm part? It sounds great the way it is."

Gil nodded and smiled, "It's almost exactly the same as the record."

Taking a bottle of water from me, Mike waved us over to the PC. He then said, "Doug, Brian you remember Shaun and Gil from my party; don't you."

Both men smiled and nodded. Doug then appeared thoughtful and extended his hand to Gil but said, "Shaun?"

Extending his hand, Gil giggled, "Close but no cigar."

Snapping his fingers, Doug chuckled, "Sorry Gil," and they shook hands.

After Doug greeted both of our friends, Brian followed suit. Mike then showed Shaun the vocals booth and said, "Doug's got an Ovation just like yours. We'll plug it directly into the mixer and get your guitar part. Then we'll head in here and add your voice to the background vocals."

Stunned, Keith asked, "You want to do it all again?"

Mike teased, "Just me and Shaun, unless you're itching to get back in there again?"

Keith grinned and mumbled, "Once a closet case, always a closet case."

Mike growled, "Seems I recall coming out to you way before you came out to me!"

Blushing, Keith snickered and we all cracked up.

Turning to me, Keith said, "I'm gonna call home and talk with my dad."

I nodded and said, "Okay babe," then followed him out to the kitchen.

Picking up the phone, Keith smiled, "You could've stayed in the studio, baby. This won't be very interesting."

While he dialed, I slithered closer and asked, "We're hitting the mall Sunday?"

Wrapping an arm around me, Keith nodded and reminded, "I have to be at work at one so we're going to have to be at the mall when it opens."

I asked, "Why rush around?" then said, "We can go tomorrow or Saturday, if you want."

Nodding, Keith said, "Hey Drew, wassup?" Listening to his brother, Keith cracked a grin then said, "Lemme talk to dad, okay?"

Keith then snickered, "John's in trouble. He was loitering around the corner strip mall. Instead of just moving along when asked, he mouthed off. There was a cop inside the store who heard the whole thing."

Shaking my head, I smirked, "John's put his foot in his mouth this time."

Keith nodded but said, "Hi dad." Stunned and standing up straight as if his dad was there with us, Keith repeated, "Yes sir. Yes sir." Then he rolled his eyes and said, "Okay... yep, we did. Prez doesn't want to wear that suit again." Keith nodded and hummed affirmatively then said, "My stuff is way too small too." He paused then nodded, "The shoes too." Then he giggled, "We can't make ourselves stop growing. You're five-eleven. At least I should be slowing down soon." He paused and listened to his father a few moments then looked at me and said, "Probably tomorrow?"

I nodded, "Afternoon, once Derrick leaves for work. And if we still need to, Sunday morning."

Squeezing me tight, Keith listened to his dad a few more moments. He then glanced at me and asked, "Eleven or twelve?"

I shrugged, "Brian and Doug probably have to work tomorrow. That's about right, I guess."

After another few moments pause, Keith smiled, turned red and roared, "It was an accident!"

Letting me go and covering his mouth, he listened then giggled, "Okay, goodnight," and then turned the phone off. "We're set," Keith told me as he hung the phone on the base. "My dad's leaving me the credit card."

I grinned, "What was an accident?"

Taking me in his arms, Keith shuddered; "They saw the desk chair." And then he cracked up and threw himself on me.

Embarrassed, I snickered; "Shit! We were supposed to break it up and toss the pieces!"

"It's too late now!" Keith laughed.

"Oh my God!" I groaned, "What they must think of us!"

Pulling back and seeing my blush, Keith kissed me softly. He then smiled, "Okay, here's our story: You were at the PC and I went over and sat on your lap. We were just reading, like we have dozens of times before. But after a while, the legs just snapped."

I giggled, "And what were we reading?"

Keith shrugged, "How about the UCLA web pages?" Still blushing, I nodded then buried my face in his shoulder. Rubbing my back, Keith snickered, "Its okay, baby. Just stick to the story and try not to appear so guilty."

"Maybe I should make a point of taking Rush out or something the second it comes up," I mumbled into his T-shirt.

Keith softly giggled, "We'll deal, baby."

Nodding, I sighed and grinned, "I know they know that we have sex. My mom knew it too." Pausing, I shook my head sadly and snickered, "But breaking furniture?"

His shoulders bouncing, Keith smiled, "Now we know not to try it again. Our combined weight is too much." Then he asked, "Did you enjoy it?"

"I loved it," I seductively whispered.

"Me too," he nodded, and then passionately kissed me.

The studio door opened. Our version of The Joker billowed down the hall. Mike yelled, "Come on, dudes! Later, okay? Shaun's finished and we're checking out the playback." Separating, we started down the hall. Mike shook his head and snickered, "You dudes are incredible."

Keith sneered, "You don't know half of it."

Mike giggled, "You think I can't imagine? The only thing keeping me from thinking of Derrick is the music. Now get it in gear!"

Returning to the studio, we listened to the playback a second time. I still wasn't happy with my lead vocals and thought I sounded flat. Doug and Keith disagreed. Pausing the third playback, Doug played the melody on the keyboards and sang along. Brian then restarted the section I didn't like but this time, he muted everything but Shaun's guitar and my vocals. Keith sang along with the recorded tracks. Both Doug and Keith sounded better to my ears but we decided to leave well enough alone.

Brian suggested we start a new project. Doug moved behind the drums while Mike and I picked up our instruments. Immediately, I started playing Draggin' The Line. I had never played it before but it was the last bass part I heard and it stuck in my mind. Doug began pounding the drums. Mike watched and mimicked what I was playing at first. After the first eight bars he had figured out the progression and played the correct counter-point guitar part. Doug began singing lead vocals. Brian moved over to the keyboards and played the horn parts. We all sang backup vocals.

Our little diversion turned out pretty good and we decided to save the tracks and work on them more another time. Then we switched to Sister Golden Hair; a song that Shaun had memorized. Doug moved over to the PC with Ben and Brian while Shaun taught me and Mike the progression. The three of us then ran through the song at tempo before recording the third run. Mike played Brian's Guild twelve-string acoustic and Shaun played Doug's Ovation six string while I played the Rickenbaker bass.

After we checked out the playback of Sister Golden Hair, Shaun, Keith and Mike went into the booth and sang the vocals. While I was sitting at the PC, Doug said, "You latched onto Draggin' The Line pretty well, Prez." Ben nodded and shyly looked away.

I smiled, "Thanks. It's an easy bass line but a very catchy tune."

Brian added, "You and Mike learned Sister Golden Hair very quickly too."

I shrugged, "I've heard the song a lot. My mom loved the band America."

Doug admitted, "Those were some of the first songs I learned, way back around 1975 or so."

Brian asked, "Are you finding it easier to learn new songs?"

Enthusiastically, I nodded, "Both Mike and I are finding most songs really easy lately. There are a few real challenges though, like Asia and Yes."

Doug then said, "You've got a fretless acoustic bass too now, I hear."

I nodded and grinned, "Mike and Derrick told you?"

Brian and Doug nodded. Then Doug asked, "Are you finding a fretless more interesting?"

"Definitely," I answered. "It's weird to practice solo on though. With a record or the band, it's a little easier but I still slide into the notes. At least I have the guitar to keep me honest and in tune. Alone though, it's a completely different story."

Doug agreed, "Those slides are what give fretless basses and fretless bassists their unique qualities. It took me a good six months of practicing before I tried playing fretless live for an audience."

Brian snickered, "Ask him which song it was?"

Smiling, I turned to Doug and he grinned, "Ozzie's Believer."

I nodded, "Good choice."

Brian then concentrated on the mixer and PC for a few seconds. Pressing the stop button, he leaned towards the console mic and said, "That's a take gents. Very good, thank you."

The booth door opened. Keith, Mike and Shaun stepped out of the little room smiling and still singing, "Doo-doo-do-doo, doo-wop-a-doo-wop, doo-wop-a-doo-wop, doo-do-wop-dooooo!"

Keith giggled; "We need to get the harmonies a little better."

Brian smiled, "That was a good start though."

Looking at me and Mike, Doug asked, "What's next?"

Mike asked, "What time is it?"

Checking his watch, Brian said, "About quarter to ten."

Sliding beside Gil, Shaun sighed, "We gotta split soon."

Gil nodded, "In about forty-five."

Grimacing in thought, Mike asked, "How about we record a few of Shaun's favs; just him and his guitar?"

Catching on to Mike's idea, I said, "We can add the rest of the tracks tomorrow and over the weekend." Turning to Shaun and Gil, I asked, "When will we see you again, dudes?"

Shaun smiled, "Saturday, Sunday and Monday."

Gil offered; "We changed our schedules around so we'll have more time together."

Something had definitely changed for the better between Shun and Gil, I confirmed. I smiled and sighed, "Saturday afternoon, I'll be busy with Keith's dad."

Picking up the Ovation, Shaun said, "Our Sunday afternoon is booked. Maybe we'll meet you at the beach that night though."

Nodding, Mike said, "Just play the tunes you know, dude. Like Prez said, we'll add our tracks and work on it some more." Shaun nodded, stepped into the booth and closed the door.

Keith stepped close to me and whispered, "Let's follow Gil and Shaun out." I glanced at him and he softly explained, "On the way home, we need to stop and get lube. We're all out, remember?"

Embracing my love, all the tension drained from my body. From the monitors, Shaun strummed the opening chords to Desperado then Shaun sweetly sang. Suddenly feeling exceptionally horny, I whispered in his ear. "But what if I want to suck your meaty dick?"

Wide-eyed, Keith pulled back and smiled. Sliding his face next to mine, he whispered, "We did that earlier. Is that all you want tonight?"

Softly, I giggled, "Did you have something else in mind?"

He whispered, "You know what I want. Last night was your turn, tonight's mine."

I softly smiled, "That sounds fair. You've been fantastic today. I want to make you that happy." Over the loudspeakers, Shaun played and sang America's Sandman.

Squeezing me, Keith assured, "You always do, baby."

Ben stepped up beside us. With a slight smirk, he said, "I gotta go now."

I nodded and reminded, "We'll see you around ten tomorrow?"

Looking down at the floor, Ben shuffled his feet and stammered, "I uh... can't swim."

"That's all right," Keith reassured, "you could still come with us."

I nodded, "If you want, we could teach you how to swim?"

Keith softly said, "Not a good idea in the ocean. Maybe Mike's pool though."

Shaking his head, Ben mumbled, "Maybe another time."

I said, "If you're sure, dude."

He nodded then swiftly went to the door. Keith and I said, "See ya," but Ben only forced a grin then closed the door behind him.

Inside the booth, Shaun began playing Fire and Rain, by James Taylor. Suddenly, just before the first verse, he stopped and giggled, "Okay this time for real." He started again almost immediately and soon started singing.

Keith then said, "We really need to run some errands tomorrow any way. We both need haircuts and suits."

"And a few CD's and a new desk chair," I giggled.

Leading me to the PC where everyone but Shaun sat, Keith asked, "How's it goin?"

Mike said, "Three tunes in fifteen minutes."

Doug smiled, "We can barely save the track and start a new one fast enough."

"He's got a decent voice too," Brian agreed.

I nodded, "I didn't know he knew this tune." Gil smiled proudly. I noticed and locked eyes with him asking, "You inspired this?"

Gil mysteriously chuckled, "Maybe," and we all snickered.

As Shaun wrapped up Fire and Rain, Doug concentrated on the saving the track and spoke into the console microphone. "Very good. What else have you got in your bag of tricks?"

Shaun softly chuckled, "Umm... how about some R.E.M.?"

Doug said, "Go for it," and pressed the record button. Shaun then started strumming Man On The Moon. As soon as Shaun started singing, Mike began singing the eerie background vocals. Starting to sway with Keith, I sang along with Mike. Soon Keith added his voice and Doug turned up the monitor volume so we could hear Shaun better. Minutes later, when Shaun finished, Gil clapped and chuckled, "Awesome!"

Glancing around the room, Brian nodded and asked, "First time?"

We nodded and Mike chuckled, "Prez takes the low road, Keith takes the high with me and Derrick in the middle."

Firmly grasping Mike's shoulder, Doug chuckled, "Not bad at all."

Shaun stuck his head out of the booth and asked, "All done?"

Gil replied, "There's time for another, if you want."

Shaun grinned, "Okay," and closed the door as he went back into the booth. Moments later, Shaun was strumming the old Creedence tune Bad Moon Rising. Brian turned down the volume.

Chuckling, Keith observed, "Shaun seems to have the moon on his mind." Turning to Gil, he grinned, "Why is that, dude?"

Gil turned red, shrugged and snickered, "It's night time."

We all had some comment on the tip of our tongues but knowing how introverted Gil was, we limited ourselves to soft chuckling.

Doug stretched and turned to Brian. Wordlessly, both men stood. Then Brian said, "You guys can finish up without our help. We're going to kick back for a while and watch TV before bed."

Mike nodded, "We'll be done in here pretty soon. Thanks, dudes."

Doug said, "You've got a good start. I'm anxious to hear some final mixes."

Smiling widely, Mike assured, "We'll have something finished before you go on vacation, guaranteed."

Coming over to Keith and me, Doug grinned, "It was good seeing you again."

Reaching to shake Doug's hand, Keith smiled, "Its summer vacation!"

Shaking Brian's hand, I joked, "You'll be tired of us by September."

Grasping my hand firmly, he smirked, "If today was an example, that's not very likely."

Brian offered his hand to Keith. Doug then moved in front of me and quickly gave me a warm hug. He whispered, "Congratulations," and then stepped back but held my shoulders.

Tilting my head curiously, I smiled, "For what?"

He knowingly grinned, "Everything... with your aunt and like that thar," and then dropped his hands.

Before he could pull his right hand away, I grabbed it and shook it firmly saying, "Thank you... for everything. It means a lot."

They smiled and nodded then left us. Shaun stepped out of the booth. I went to him and patted his back saying, "Good job, bud! Those will keep us going for a few days."

Shaun grinned, "Thanks."

With Gil following, Mike joined us and chuckled, "When did you learn Fire and Rain?"

"A few months ago," Shaun snickered, "I cheated and found the tablature on the net." Smiling proudly, Gil slid beside Shaun and reached for his boyfriend's hand.

"That's an excellent tune," I cheerfully said. "We've gotta work on that as a band."

Keith smiled, "Definitely; I'd like to hear that."

Nodding, Shaun smiled, "I'm looking forward to it too." Then he sighed, "We've gotta get going though. We've both gotta be at work by nine."

I wondered, "How about tomorrow night."

Mike agreed and suggested, "We could start here then move it down to the beach?"

Shaun and Gil held a brief wordless conversation. Gil then said, "We'll meet you here around the same time."

"Kewl!" Mike said, and then started for the door. We all followed and Mike asked, "What's the new schedule look like?"

Shaun answered, "Tuesday through Friday, nine until three."

"Same days but from nine until four," Gil chimed.

At the doorway, we stopped and said goodbye. Shaun and Gil stepped outside then Keith and I said our goodbyes too. Stunned, Mike groaned, "Derrick will be home soon, dudes."

Keith snickered, "We've gotta make a quick stop on the way home."

Since Brian and Doug were within ear shot, I leaned closer to Mike and whispered, "We're out of lube."

Keith smiled, "We'll be back again around one tomorrow, bro."

Frowning, Mike grumbled, "Why so late?"

"We're gonna get haircuts and suits for next week," I answered, and then said, "Since he's not back from work yet, you'll need to help Derrick unwind anyway."

He sighed, "Okay, dudes. We've gotta be over in Burbank by nine anyway. Goodnight."

Keith and I stepped outside and waved before Mike closed the door. I said, "Mike's frustrated by the trial. So am I."

"Me too," Keith nodded. "I can't wait for it to be over."

We got in my truck and buckled up then I started the engine. As I pulled away, I begged, "Is there anything you can tell me?"

Keith shrugged then thought for a few moments before saying, "It should only take two or three days for us. With any luck, we'll be out of there Tuesday."

Reaching for his hand, I assured, "I don't want to sit there and watch the rest of the trial either."

Keith shared, "It might take two weeks."

Moving into the left lane at the Kanan Road intersection with the 101, I smiled, "No way am I sitting in a courtroom on our anniversary."

Squeezing my hand briefly, Keith reminded, "Big Bear is the following weekend. If my dad is still awake when we get home, I'll ask again if we can stay home alone."

Accelerating onto the 101 southbound, I nodded and suggested, "After that, why don't we see if Drew and Corey are ready for a rematch."

Snickering, Keith loudly replied, "Definitely! This time, we make them run across the court!"

I chuckled, "Maybe we can find someway to get them revved up so their units are hurting?"

Keith laughed, "We could print out a Nifty story or just let them checkout the twink newsgroups." He turned to me and grinned, "Drew's got a thing for blondes. If Corey's not around, Drew always watches Derrick."

I shrugged, "Are you sure? Maybe he just likes the drums?"

Humming negatively, Keith then assured, "Drew's not watching Derrick's hands, I'm positive. He's watching his face, maybe even gazing deeply into his eyes."

I laughed, "Mike would've noticed if that were the case!"

"Mike's into the song, you're all too busy to notice." Then Keith turned and wondered, "It's always amazed me that you were never affected by Derrick."

Exiting the 101 at Topanga Canyon, I grinned, "Remember my friend Justin, back in Texas?" Keith nodded and I said, "Justin had blond hair and blue eyes. That's where the similarities end though. I'm just used to it, I guess." Back in familiar territory, I pulled into our local shopping center.

Shaking his head, Keith chuckled, "I guess I'm as bad as Drew. I was attracted to Derrick until I saw you. And once I saw you naked..." Keith hummed hungrily. I chuckled and he then said, "Derrick became my boyhood crush. He and Mike belong together every bit as much as we do, don't you think?"

Parking, I nodded, "I can't imagine any of us choosing to switch partners; not within our little circle or any other way either." We got out of the car and our hands clasped together as we headed for the pharmacy. "Now that I think of it," I commented, "I can't see Gil and Shaun or Jerry and Mack any way but together."

Keith nodded, "Gil was way more affectionate with Shaun tonight."

"Thank you," I said, then confessed, "I noticed that too. Something's obviously changed. I can only wonder what."

We stepped inside the store and Keith whispered, "Maybe Gil came out to his parents and they were cool?"

I smiled, "That would be great! It would surprise me though, judging by what Gil's said."

Keith nodded, "We can only hope." We walked down the aisle where the lubes were displayed and stopped. Keith quickly picked up a tube of KY gel and turned to me but I was checking out the variety of brands and the prices.

Looking up at him, I asked, "Why don't we try something different?" I then explained; "That's ten bucks but this bottle of AstroGlide is twelve and Wet is only seven."

"There's a smaller bottle of AstroGlide for eight." Keith then snickered, "I like the name Ass-troGlide."

I chuckled, "Do we dare consider the store brand?"

Keith smiled, "No," then put the KY down and picked up the bottle of Wet brand liquid lube. "Let's try this," He said and I nodded. We started for the checkout counter and stood together as Keith paid. The middle aged man that checked us out seemed confused at first but he didn't show any emotion while Keith gathered his change.

We stepped outside and I grinned, "We should've got some rubbers too, just to watch that guy's reaction."

Keith stopped and smiled, "Ya wanna?"

I giggled but then saw he was serious! "If we get them, we really should use them."

Keith nodded, "Any excuse to touch your dick is good enough for me," and then turned around. I followed and laughed hysterically all the way into the store. My lover picked up a small box of Trojans and grinned mischievously. By the time we returned to the checkout line, I had composed myself but was struggling to conceal my grin. Handing the box to the clerk, Keith smiled, "We almost forgot these." Wordlessly, the clerk scanned the box, took Keith's money and gave him change then the box of condoms. Hysterical, we bumped and bounced against each other as we hurried out if the store.

Once outside we cracked up and went to my 4Runner. Still smiling as he buckled up, Keith said, "I was thinking we could use these on our dicks and the dildos too. Pulling off a used rubber and tossing it is easier than having to get up and wash the dildo."

Glancing his way, I cheered, "Good idea!" and started the engine.

Only a few minutes later, we were home. From the curb, I could see the living room and den lights were turned on. As we approached the house, Rush started barking.

I unlocked the door and Rush stun around happily as we stepped inside.

I knelt down beside the loveseat and greeted my crazed hound. Keith smiled, "Hey dad."

Mr. Hundser smiled and asked, "How was your day?"

I said, "It was really good," and the outlined the day for him.

When I finished, Keith cautiously asked, "How was your day?"

Mr. Hundser sighed, "John is grounded. He's not to leave this house for the next week. No phone, no visitors. When he watches TV, he should be taking some notes on character dialogue and interaction." Keith and I nodded.

Shaking his head, he huffed, "Your mother thinks that John may be over compensating, you know, believing that he needs to prove himself tougher than his brothers."

Concerned, I asked, "What can we do to help?"

"Nothing," Keith's dad quickly said. "John needs to learn to communicate better. It's his tone as much as the words he chooses. He can't be a stubborn bull all the time."

He paused and smiled at Keith, "You three are all so different. After your grandparents passed away, you had charge over your brothers every afternoon. You've always been a responsible big brother. But, while you spent long hours thinking about your sexuality, Drew, the quietest and shyest of the three, starts having sex with his best friend. I had suspicions but couldn't bring myself to believe Drew would allow it to happen. And John has always been the most vocal of the three of you. Now we have to teach him to think before he speaks. He told me that he wants to try out for football in junior high and high school." He grinned, "Your mother almost had a stroke." Keith and I chuckled then Mr. Hundser smiled, "Did you play little league ball, Preston?"

I nodded, "During third, fourth and fifth grades."

Keith smirked, "I played from third until sixth grade."

"And Drew still loves to play baseball," Mr. Hundser said. "He's thinking of high school ball. So this week, if you would please, show your brothers how to lift weights safely. Since I told John, not yet, that almost guarantees he'll try it sometime soon."

Keith chuckled, "You're probably right."

Mr. Hundser nodded and softly requested, "Make sure he doesn't leave his nuts on the garage floor, please."

I chuckled and Keith nodded, "I'll have a chat with Nelson. Maybe he'll even talk to John."

Mr. Hundser smiled widely, "That would be good."

Keith then asked, "Have you thought about Big Bear weekend?"

Mr. Hundser nodded, "We'd like it if you joined the rest of the family. But if you're sure?"

Smiling down at me, Keith softly said, "Whatever you want, baby."

Turning to Keith's dad, I asked, "Are there plans for another trip this winter?"

He nodded, "Probably so; if not in December then President's Day weekend."

I smiled, "We'll definitely join you for the winter trip."

"Alright then," he said, "you know the rules. No loud parties, no band practice after ten at night."

I chuckled and nodded.

Then Keith asked, "Would it be alright if we had a small anniversary party?" Spinning around so fast that I startled Rush, I smiled at Keith. Rush then bounced against me.

Mr. Hundser nodded then softly pleaded, "No alcohol, Keith. Please, I've really got my hands full with John right now. If we're too stern, we might turn him against us. You know what I mean by `us', don't you?"

Keith nodded and softly said, "The bigger picture."

"Compassion, forgiveness and tolerance are important parts of being a man. They actually require more effort sometimes but the alternatives are so much darker."

Stunned silent for a moment, I beamed at my foster father. Finding my tongue, I smiled, "That was beautiful."

He shrugged and grinned, "It's true though. Isn't easier sometimes to just act or speak without thinking?" He then asked, "Are we still going camping tomorrow night?"

Glancing up at Keith, I enthusiastically nodded and said, "Let's see if Mike wants to join us."

Mr. Hundser then suggested, "Maybe Drew and Corey would like to come along."

Keith tapped my shoulder. "Tennis?" he softly reminded.

Turning back to Keith's dad, I grinned, "We've got to challenge Drew and Corey to a rematch before they crash."

Keith giggled and nodded enthusiastically.

Mr. Hundser stood and yawned, "It's sack time anyway." I stood and walked over to him then opened my arms, enveloping Keith's dad in a firm embrace. Keith stepped up beside us. We made room for Keith and the three of us shared a warm few moments before saying goodnight.

Keith and I then walked down the hall and I softly knocked on the den door.

Corey giggled, "Yeah?"

Grinning at me, Keith said, "It's us, dudes."

Drew asked, "What's up?"

Keith chuckled, "We have to tell you through the door?"

Drew whispered something to Corey. Then Corey clearly said, "Let `em in dude. I'm not ashamed." Moments later, the door opened. Corey stood before us in his boxers. A few feet behind him, stood Drew, also in his boxers. Neither of them had erections.

Keith smirked, "By the big stink, we thought we were interrupting."

Drew grumbled, "Well, you kinda are."

Reaching for Drew and pulling him closer, Corey giggled, "What did you want?"

Wrapping my arm around Keith, I challenged, "A rematch, this Saturday morning."

Stunned silent for a moment, they then both began laughing. Drew chuckled, "I dunno, there's these two old ladies we were gonna ask..."

Corey roared and shoved Drew. "Will you actually play this time?" Corey chuckled.

Keith grinned, "Without any impairment!"

Corey cracked up but Drew only tried not to chuckle. Drew then offered his hand to me and smiled, "You're on; Saturday, at the courts by nine."

We all shook hands then we said goodnight.

Across the hall in our room, Keith pulled his T-shirt up and over his head then tossed it at the closet. I turned the receiver on then scanned for something mellow. Keith moved behind me and slid his hands under my T-shirt. He spent a good minute running his fingers over my flesh before raising the T-shirt. I lifted my arms and Keith pulled my shirt up and off of me. He then knelt down and caressed my legs. Giggling at his touch, I selected the PBS jazz station then concentrated on my lover.

Sunlight beamed in the window the next morning, waking me. Scooting over, I embraced Keith. He hummed contentedly and shuffled back against me. For another hour or so, I drifted in and out of sleep until the clock radio turned on. Keith reached around and turned it off then turned over to face me.

His eyes still closed, Keith dreamily whispered, "It's so great waking with you every day."

I kissed his forehead then softly smiled, "All I ever wanted was to be with you."

For another few minutes, we snuggled and took our time greeting the new day. Keith then reached for the remote and turned on the TV. Rush began pacing the bed, practically demanding that we let him out. With a final kiss, we rolled out of bed and slid into shorts. I let Rush out the back door then met Keith in the bathroom. As we performed our morning routine, we talked about our dreams. Keith dreamt of our anniversary and the weekend alone. I dreamt of flying hand-in-hand with Keith. I then realized that I had awoken without feeling any remorse for the first time in a long while. And I made it plain that I didn't want to mourn by changing the topic.

"Should we hit the mall first, or get our haircuts?" I asked as I soaped up.

Keith rinsed shampoo from his hair and hummed thoughtfully. Then he said, "Let's hit the mall first. After we get our hair cut, I'll probably be all itchy and wanting to take another shower."

I agreed, "That's a good reason and a good plan."

Minutes later, after we had dried off and were standing at the bathroom vanity applying deodorant, Keith reached for my bottle of Drakkar Noir after shave and handed it to me.

I smiled, "If you're sure."

Keith grinned and nodded, "We're not in school. I'd kinda like to walk around with a boner today." I splashed a little on my neck and Keith's eyes glazed over. Inhaling deeply and smiling widely, he then sighed, "Luscious, like whipped cream on strawberries."

I kissed him and giggled, "I'm the strawberry. Where's the whipped cream?"

As we started across the hall, Keith laughed, "I hadn't even intended a double meaning." Down the hall, I noticed John on the sofa and flipping channels.

We dropped our towels but before I could open the dresser drawer, Keith slid closer and groped my package. Of course, I giggled and reached for his crotch and commented, "Our pubes have grown a lot in a week."

We faced each other and embraced. Keith nodded, "Still not back to normal but more than I expected." He then turned to the mirror and scanned our reflection. "We look good together."

Nodding at our reflections, I chuckled, "We can't go to the mall naked though."

Keith smirked, "I wish we could," and then kissed me. We released each other and began dressing; chattering about a world where there were no clothes and everyone walked around buck-naked. For the first time in two days, we put socks on; so we could try shoes on while at the mall.

As we walked to the kitchen, I commented, "It's been a week since school ended. Does it seem like a lot has happened to you?"

Keith shrugged, "For you, visiting your aunt, probably so. Once we get this trial behind us, we can really enjoy ourselves."

I helped myself to an apple and the phone rang. Picking up the handset and turning it on, Keith said, "Hello? Oh hi mom... We were just heading to the mall... Okay, I will... Just a sec." Dropping the phone to his side, Keith loudly said, "John, it's for you." As his brother approached, Keith said, "We're outta here, John."

Obviously upset, John took the phone from Keith. I let Rush back inside. With a nod from Keith, we started out of the house.

Once outside, Keith asked, "Were you ever grounded during summer vacation?"

"I don't think so," I said, and unlocked the 4runner. "I would think I would remember it."

Buckling up, Keith grinned, "I ripped of an Aladdin video when I was about eight, I think. Two weeks trapped in the house with no TV; absolute hell on earth." Snickering, I started the engine. Keith said, "And they even returned the video!" I cracked up and Keith smiled, "I'll bet John will be getting plenty of calls this week, but only from my parents; checking to see if he's home and contemplating his evil ways."

Pulling away, I nodded, "John occasionally says dumb shit but he doesn't have any malice in his voice, not towards me anyway. It's just poor words."

Keith shrugged, "I hope I'm wrong, but I think that John's gonna have to have the shit scared out of him."

I turned the radio on and tuned in KLOS. Keith listened for a few moments then said, "That's got a cool sound. Who is that?"

I answered, "Dancing Days, by Led Zeppelin."

He nodded and commented, "It's pretty cool; decent lyrics -- not at all what I expected." Turning to me, he asked, "Do you think Mike would play it?"

Listening closer and beginning to see fingers dancing across a bass fretboard, I shrugged, "I don't see why not. They don't play this on the radio very often. It would be a unique cover choice."

Keith said, "Tell him about this tune later."

Concentrating on the bass part, I nodded. Barely a minute later, just as the song was ending, I pulled into the Promenade Mall parking lot. After a brief station announcement, they started playing Bennie and The Jets, by Elton John. I quickly turned the radio off.

Reaching for my hand on the shifter, Keith softly asked, "Not yet, huh?"

I shook my head and sighed, "Still makes me think of her."

"It's okay, baby"

Pulling into a parking space, I grinned, "I'm already concentrating on you and me, spending money!"

Keith chortled, "I've been instructed to insist on buying your clothes."

Turning the engine off and spinning in my seat to face him, I yelled, "What?"

Squeezing my hand, Keith smiled, "Come on, Prez. You are their foster son."

"I prefer son-in-law," I stubbornly grumbled.

"Tell you what," Keith began, "let them do this. We still need to replace the desk chair. And, you can get us anything you like that you can afford with the money in your pocket."

We got out of the truck and Keith reached for my hand as we started for the parking lot. We glanced at each other and he anxiously asked, "What do you say?"

I sighed, "Did they set any kind of limit?"

Keith nodded, "Six hundred. That's plenty for everything we both need; shirts, suits, socks and shoes."

I had already figured it would take most of what I had on me in tip money. Obviously, Keith parents figured about the same amount. Turning to him, I asked, "And I can get us some stuff?"

Keith nodded, "Two hundred and forty bucks worth of CD's or whatever." He then chuckled, "And a chair too."

Grinning widely, I said, "Fine."

After we reached a compromise, Keith watched me carefully then warned, "I can see that green glint in your eyes, Prez."

I started to hurry for the mall and Keith tried to hold me back. Wriggling free of his hand, I bolted for the mall laughing, "It's too late!"

Chasing after me, Keith laughed, "I said stuff for us, Prez! PREZ!"

Screeching to a halt at the mall doors, I breathlessly chuckled, "I heard you."

Keith stopped beside me and grinned, "I'm watching you."

"Good," I smiled and leaned on my lover.

After ten or twelve steps, Keith turned and whispered, "You smell so good."

I smiled, "Your turn," and dragged him into Macy's. Our first stop was at the men's cologne counter. I greeted the salesgirl and asked, "Do you have Paco Rabanne?"

"After shave or eau de toilette?" she smiled.

I answered, "After shave, please." She wondered off.

Keith smiled, "This is for me, obviously."

I nodded, "And later, after we check out the men's clothing here, we'll stop at Musicland and I'll get some CD's for me."

"And then?" he softly giggled.

I smirked, "We'll find something."

"For us?"

"For us," I assured.

The girl returned and opened the box for me then handed me the bottle. Opening it, I sniffed the contents and smiled, "Try this on, Keith."

My lover smiled widely and took the bottle then sniffed it himself before splashing a little on. "What do you think?" he happily asked.

I leaned closer to him and inhaled deeply. Smiling, I answered, "That really works for you." I then asked, "Do you like it?"

Handing me the bottle, Keith nodded, "It's a nice clean scent; not overpowering at all."

Replacing the top on the bottle, I handed it back to the salesgirl and said, "I'll take it." She nodded and smiled then turned to the cash register. While she rang up the bill, I moved closer to Keith and smiled, "Yeah, that smells great on you babe." A woman nearby heard me and turned. Making eye contact with me, she smiled and blushed then hurried on her way.

The salesgirl returned and said, "Thirty-seven ninety-two, please."

I handed her two twenty dollar bills. She turned away but quickly returned with my change and a small sack. We thanked the salesgirl then started down the aisle.

Keith suggested, "Let's try and find a desk chair right after Musicland."

I nodded and said, "I was just wondering if I should stick with a dark blue suit or try another color. I don't recall ever owning a suit that wasn't blue."

Scanning me, Keith said, "A grey suit would work with your complexion and hair color." He then suggested, "Try both a light grey and a charcoal grey."

"And what about a suit for you?"

"I was thinking basic black with a white shirt."

I groaned, "I don't want to see you in black."

We stopped and browsed some packaged shirts. A salesman came over and asked, "May I help you?" He was in his mid twenties, it seemed and looking really dapper in his work suit.

Keith nodded, "We both need new suits for Monday. Nothing too conservative, but snappy, ya know?"

The salesman asked, "Do you know your chest and shoulder sizes?" We shook our heads and he asked, "Inseam length?" Glancing at each other, Keith and I smiled but shook our heads. The salesman grinned, "I'll get you fixed up. Come with me, please."

Moments later, Keith was standing like a scarecrow while the salesman measured his neck, shoulders, chest, waist and inseam. Then Keith took the sack of after shave from me and I stood like a statue. Keith asked the salesman about a grey suit for me. The salesman agreed that would be a good choice. While he finished my waist, I asked what color might be a good choice for Keith. He glanced at Keith again then knelt down to check my inseam. Standing again, he smiled, "How about a medium or dark blue?"

Keith snarled, "A medium blue?"

The salesman nodded, "Not quite as dark as a navy blue but much darker than sky blue." He then led us over to a mannequin that was dressed in a really sharp medium blue jacket and slacks.

I glanced at Keith and he shook his head vigorously. He then suggested, "How about something based around browns and tans?"

The salesman observed, "You've got a tan, brown hair and brown eyes." He shook his head and suggested, "A dark grey or black might work well though."

I firmly interjected, "I don't want him looking like he's going to a funeral."

The salesman looked at me curiously then turned to Keith.

"You heard him," Keith snickered.

The salesmen then led us to another mannequin dressed in a light grey pinstriped suit with white shirt and hanky, and a red tie. Facing Keith, the salesman said, "This would work really well on you." Then he led us around the circular display to another mannequin dressed in a charcoal grey suit. This one had a sky blue shirt and matching hanky with steel grey tie. Keith and I nodded and agreed to try on those suits. We shadowed the salesman as he gathered shirts, suits and the miscellaneous accessories. On the way, we picked up a few pair of socks and selected belts. Another salesman came over to help us into the dressing rooms. We each stepped into a small stall. The wall between us was about a foot shy of the floor and the ceiling.

Keith commented, "I can't believe I have a seventeen inch neck."

Removing me shirt, I said, "And I finally have a thirty-six inch chest."

"You're getting some nice abs too. There's a nice four pack developing."

Removing my shorts, I grinned, "From those bedroom calisthenics."

Stumbling, Keith chuckled and softly warned, "Don't get me started."

Minutes later, we stepped out of the booths and started checking each other out. Of course, I lifted the rear of his suit jacket to check out his buns. Grinning over his shoulder at me, Keith then bent forward. I smiled, "They look great. How do they feel?"

Keith hummed, "Pretty comfy for a suit."

The salesmen then stepped in the room. One worked with me and the other with Keith, marking the suits and slacks where they would need alteration. We went back into the booths and changed into our shorts and shirts again. As we started out of the dressing rooms, Keith softly said, "I think we're going a little over six hundred."

I asked, "How much over?"

He smiled, "We haven't even looked at shoes yet. About a hundred, including tax, I figure."

Holding his arm and preventing him from re-entering the main store, I said, "What if I got the belts, socks and hankys?"

He smiled, "For us?"

I grinned and nodded, "I could cover my own shoes too."

He shook his head, "I'm figuring on about eighty bucks a pair for shoes. That gets us to right around six-sixty, altogether."

I said, "Cool. I don't want to have to start the whole process over again," and started into the store.

Keith followed and said, "These are good suits, dude. Yours looked awesome on you."

Reaching for my lover's hand, I smiled, "You looked great in yours too."

Minutes later, we had both finished at the cashier. The salesmen guaranteed we would have our suits by Sunday and Keith even paid extra for the speedy service. I gathered the sacks with our purchases then we went to check out shoes. Initially, we both chose the same style shoe and started kidding each other about our interchangeable wardrobe. Eventually, we found shoes we liked and Keith handed the lady his dad's charge card.

On our way to Musicland, we stopped at the food court and shared a double cheeseburger combo. Then I picked up the Sinatra CD we had heard on the radio earlier that week. I also decided to add to my very limited jazz collection. After a good twenty minutes of browsing, I finally settled on a Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd disc and another by George Benson. We browsed around for someplace that might have a desk chair but time was slipping away. Soon it was almost one in the afternoon. We decided to hang it up and started for the exit.

Our next stop was the barber shop; arguably one of our least favorite places to visit. But the last time we had haircuts was around April, we figured, and we definitely needed to loose the hippy look for court. Almost an hour later, we could see our ears again. We then started for Agoura Hills.

Keith dreamily sighed, "I enjoyed that, baby. Before school starts, we get to do this again and I have to admit, I'm looking forward to it."

I grinned, "Next time, lets share a dressing room."

Keith giggled, "I'd love to but they're so small. We'll be bouncing against each other and before you know it, we're staining clothes we haven't even bought!"

With that vision implanted, I roared laughing.

Keith turned the radio on. A Black Sabbath song was playing. Keith snarled and pressed the scan button. Soon he happened to find Peter Gabriel singing Sledgehammer. He stopped the scan, dropped his hand onto mine and leaned back. We both sang along with the final refrains but then another heavy metal song started and Keith pressed scan again. This time he coincidentally found David Gates and Bread performing Everything I Own, one of his favorite songs. Keith sang along, sending shivers down my spine that landed in my wiener. I pulled in front of Brian and Doug's place but left the engine running until the song ended and Keith finished singing. Leaning over, I planted a big wet kiss on his smiling lips.

Kissing me back, Keith pulled my hand over to his lap. He had a chubby snaking along the top of his thigh! Pulling his hand to my crotch, I proved to him that I was similarly aroused.

Pulling back, I grinned but softly whimpered, "I want some."

"I'm ready to give myself to you too," Keith nodded.

Hopeful, I said, "Maybe we'll get a few minutes?"

Releasing his seat belt, Keith leered, "We'll make a few minutes." We then got out of the truck and started for the door. It sounded like Mike and Derrick were inside jamming. Knowing better than to knock, Keith opened the screen door then turned the knob on the front door. Stepping inside, we then made a quick left and walked down to the studio. On the door was a red aluminum sign with yellow writing that read: "Session In Progress".

Keith smirked, "I wonder where they found that!"

I leered, "It doesn't matter to me," and then pulled him into the bathroom. Keith closed the door. Dropping to my knees, I confessed, "I want your dick in my face so bad!"

Like greased lightning, I deftly relieved my lover of his shorts and boxers, pushing them down to the floor. Gently, I massaged his swelling cock then leaned forward and inhaled his musky aroma before taking his tool into my mouth. Smiling up at him, I watched as his head fell back. Keith then ran his fingers through my hair and softly affirmed, "Oh Prez, you are the absolute greatest."

Letting his dick out of my mouth and picking up a nice slow pace with my hand, I smiled, "For everything you are and everything you do for me, babe. I love you." Then I returned my attention his majestic cock. Minutes later, I had a hold of Keith's bone and he was humping my mouth. I could feel the head swelling more as it entered then exited my mouth. He was so close and I wanted his load so bad. Suddenly the music stopped and Keith's whimpering seemed five times louder. The studio door opened and Keith muted himself.

Passing the bathroom, we heard Mike grumble; "Where the fuck are they?"

"Dunno, dude. They said they had shit to do," Derrick said.

Two or three seconds later, Mike laughed loudly and giggled, "Sure, start me up. They'll walk in on us."

Keith raised one hand from my head. I looked up to find him biting his fingers. He then shivered and tensed every muscle in his body. With a final thrust, I received my reward. Then Keith slumped against the wall.

While I savored my lover's juices, I heard Derrick softly say; "What was that?"

Mike hummed thoughtfully.

Pulling Keith's drawers up with me as I stood, I kissed my baby's lips. He opened his mouth wide to accept me. Still huffing and panting, he then leaned against me as he came down from his orgasmic high. Finally, Keith whispered, "I'll never see this room or Looney Tunes the same way."

Suddenly, there was loud banging against the bathroom door.

Derrick chuckled, "Is there anybody in there?"

"And what might they be doing?" Mike melodically snickered.

Still collapsed against me, Keith heaved briefly then started snacking on my neck. Holding my love upright, I giggled then loudly said, "Guess!"

Mike loudly laughed, "Fuckers!"

Snickering, Keith bounced in my arms.

I howled, "Close!" and Derrick roared.

Mike laughed, "If you're done in there?" and slowly rapped on the door. Derrick's laughter echoed down the hall.

Leaning back and carrying his own weight, Keith leered, "We're not quite done yet."

Wide-eyed, I giggled and playfully backed away from my love.

Mike chuckled, "Come on, dudes! D's gotta get ready for work in an hour!" Trapping me against the opposite wall and reaching for my shorts, Keith kissed me hard. Mike whined and giggled, "Derrick!" My shorts fell to the floor. With a very determined glare, Keith massaged my package through my CK's, turning me to butter. Beyond the door, Mike said, "Okay, fifteen minute break." With that, Keith dropped to his knees. And with fifteen minutes to burn, Keith purposefully mouthed and nosed my crotch for at least five minutes before finally lowering my CK's and finishing me off. Drained, I hung off Keith and lapped at his tasty neck. The scent of Paco Rabanne wafted into my nostrils.

Satisfied, we relived our bladders, washed up and went into the studio. Keith and I sat at the PC and replayed the tracks Derrick and Mike were working on. It was Ozzy's You Can't Kill Rock and Roll. Keith wasn't sure if he remembered the tune so I started singing the lead vocals for him. Soon, Keith joined me for the chorus. At the end of the tracks, we decided that I would play the bass part and Keith would get it recorded. We used my new effects unit's stereo outputs; running one channel through the amp and into the board while the other channel went directly to the mixer. I picked up Doug's Rickenbaker and chose the chorus and reverb effects. Moments later, Keith restarted the tracks. Soon after I started playing, Keith put the headphones on and started singing. He smiled up at me and nodded as the first chorus began. Singing along and pounding out the bass part, I noticed the door open.

Arms wrapped around each other, Mike and Derrick walked in. They smiled and nodded as the walked closer. Derrick began slapping his thigh in time. Cupping his free hand around his mouth, Mike loudly said, "It sounds awesome. You two have lead vocals on this one." Turning to Mike and smiling, Derrick planted a lingering kiss on Mike's cheek. Obviously liking it, Mike faced his partner and they kissed deeply. They didn't stop until the song ended.

Still hanging off of Derrick, Mike looked at Keith and said, "Playback, please?" Without comment, Keith smiled at Mike and then concentrated on the PC. The song replayed through the monitors. I took the bass off and went to sit beside Keith.

Derrick smiled at me, winked and squeezed Mike. Immediately, I got the impression that he enjoyed and needed his break time alone with Mike. I could only reply in kind, reaching for my lover's hand and leaning back against him, secure in the knowledge that Keith could and would hold me up. Proving me right, Keith wrapped his free arm around me and kissed the top of my head.

We silently watched each other for a few moments. Derrick and Mike began swaying and slowly turning in place. Keith then lifted me slightly. He stood and offered his hand. Soon we were dancing in place too. There was so much happiness radiating in the room that it must've warmed the entire neighborhood. When the song ended, none of us moved to press stop on the PC. But we did sway closer together.

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