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 5


Before dinner, I overheard John telling the `rents that he was at Tommy's when he started getting abdominal cramps. John was already feeling better and not racing to the bathroom every fifteen or twenty minutes. Hurrying back to our bedroom where Prez was practicing with his bass, I told him and he softly snickered but didn't miss a note. My lover is so friendly and sweet and warm but he has a real mean streak. I roared laughing as much for my brother's predicament as for Prez's cold gaze and soft snickering.

After dinner, while we got ready to go out, Prez and I resumed our playful argument. Gathering his wallet and keys, Prez grinned and longingly sighed, "Elijah is so much cuter than Matthew."

Counting my cash, I chuckled, "But Matt's older, more experienced and still completely yummy!"

Slipping into sandals, Prez leered, "You just have beard fantasies!"

I nodded, "The first time your stubble scratches my dick, I'm gonna hit the roof." I then snickered, "Then I'll come back to bed and tell you to do it again!" and Prez cracked up.

In the living room, I told my folks, "We're gonna go to the mall and catch a movie."

Squatting down to say goodbye to the dog, Prez grinned, "Deep Impact."

Shaking my head and starting for the door, I giggled, "Godzilla."

My parents smiled and Prez said, "Expect us home around eleven." Then he stood and hurried after me chuckling, "Deep Impact!"

Outside, I snickered briefly and reached for his hand then suggested, "Okay, tonight you drive and we'll see Deep Impact. Tomorrow night, I'll drive and we'll see Godzilla."

Squeezing my hand, Prez said, "That sounds like a good plan."

We got in the 4Runner and while Prez pulled away, I scanned stations on the radio. I asked, "Do you want anything at the mall, baby?"

"Just the new Bass Player magazine," he answered.

Recognizing Steve Winwood's Higher Love, I settled on the station and leaned back. Turning to him, I reminded, "Now you have your own Carvin catalog." It had arrived in that day's mail and was waiting on the dresser when we got home.

Prez said, "That was a pleasant surprise," and turned onto Topanga Canyon.

"They asked for your e-mail address too that night. I'll bet that you'll get ads from them too."

"That's okay; we'll need to know when they're having sales."

"I can't believe the amount and costs of the stuff we need just to get off the ground."

Prez nodded, "Last year, the PA we have now cost a grand; then another two hundred and fifty for microphones and stands."

"And why can't we continue to use that system?"

"We can, for small parties. But the dances will be for more than a hundred or so people. More people and space means we need more power and speakers."

"How many people are you figuring?"

Prez asked, "At the dances?" I nodded and he answered, "Probably around three hundred or ten percent of the students. If the first dance goes well, we might do a little better but five hundred would be a really big turnout."

I groaned, "Omigod."

Glancing my way briefly, Prez smiled and squeezed my hand saying, "It won't be that bad, babe. Depending on start and end times, I'm figuring three or four hours. And we'll be taking fifteen minute breaks between sets." He then pulled into the mall.

Shaking off my anxiety before it drowned me, I asked, "How much power will we need?"

Prez said, "Remember the small system we looked at Saturday night? Twenty four channels and one thousand watts for the main speakers, another five hundred watt amp would run two monitors. We're talking a little over two grand."

I sighed, "It seems to me that lights and some kind of tarp would be the most practical investments to make first. But only when that first night time gig rolls around and we need it."

Pulling into a parking space, Prez said, "Let's mention it to Mike and Derrick then get some quotes." Stopping the car and turning to me, Prez smiled, "You're looking forward to it too?"

After kissing him, I sighed, "I just want to do a good job, Prez. Our senior class is kind of depending on the student council raising money." Understandingly, Prez nodded and smiled then stole a kiss of his own.

We got out of the car and went into the mall. We stopped at all our usual favorite shops Spencer's Gifts, Radio Shack, Dalton's books where Prez got his magazine. Then we went to the theatre and waited in line at the box office. We saw the Star Wars: Episode One poster, with a young boy carrying a pack. Behind him loomed the shadow of Darth Vader. Another poster we noticed was for `Apt Pupil', with Brad Renfro and Ian McKellen. We also got to see the trailer for the film before the feature began. The story seemed intense with a very dark Nazi plot. Prez and I were both looking forward to seeing both flicks. During the next forgettable trailer, I leaned closer and whispered, "Did you know that Ian McKellen is gay?"

Slowly smirking and turning my way, he softly chuckled, "How do you know?"

I nodded and grinned, "He's out... and one of Hollywood's best actors."

"Whew! For a second there I thought your gaydar pinged for that geezer!"

Covering my mouth, I cracked up.

Soon, `Deep Impact' started. At the scene with Elijah looking through a telescope at the stars, I looked over at Prez. He audibly sighed and I nudged him, cackling evilly.

I wound up enjoying the flick every bit as much as Prez. Morgan Freeman played a totally believable Presidential role, I believed. And the special effects were well done, showing the comet fragment striking the Atlantic Ocean from space and the resulting tidal waves. The story wasn't just about Elijah's character and his girlfriend but had another subplot revolving around a young female journalist. I thought it was a pretty good flick and, stepping outside with my partner, rated it four stars.

Bouncing into me, Prez snickered, "Why not five stars?"

I smiled, "It's too antiseptic. If a comet really was heading for Earth for an extinction level event, there would be total chaos."

Reaching for my hand Prez nodded, "There was plenty of death and destruction. Didn't you think that the girl's parents played their farewell scene beautifully?"

I nodded, "It was great. If it ever happened to us, all I'd need is to look into your eyes to find paradise."

Prez growled hungrily then smiled, "That's gonna cost you."

Turning to him, I saw the sexual sparkle in his eye and helplessly giggled. Letting each other go briefly, we then got in the 4Runner and kissed deeply. Prez started the car and said, "It's not even ten. Shall we go home or take a spin down by the beach?"

I shrugged and grinned, "You're driving."

Smiling, Prez shifted into reverse and backed out of the parking space. I turned on the radio and found Tom Petty singing Runaway. Soon, we were heading for the freeway and singing background vocals with The Heartbreakers. Once Runaway finished, we couldn't find anything we wanted to listen to so Prez suggested that I pop in the Sinatra CD. I checked the center console and found the disk then slid it into the player. During the remainder of the trip to the beach and back home, we sang a little and chit-chatted about a Father's Day gift, the band, our gigs, Corey and Drew and then the GSA club. When we pulled in front of the house, Prez asked me to bring the CD inside.

In the living room, my mom was kicked back on the sofa watching the eleven o'clock news. I wondered where my dad was and my mom answered that he had gone to bed. She then asked about the movie and Prez excitedly told her about it. I added that we took a short spin on PCH. Then my mom sat up and reminded, "There's still London broil in the fridge if you're hungry." Turning to Prez as she stood, my mom added, "I'm afraid the brownies are gone."

Petting the dog, Prez smiled, "I'm glad everyone enjoyed them."

"Very much," my mom said as she crossed the room. Heading for her bedroom, she waved and yawned, "Nightie-night."

Virtually simultaneously, we said goodnight. We watched my mom enter the master bedroom and close the door. Turning to Prez, I asked, "Did you have a good day, baby?"

He smiled, "An awesome day, thank you."

"Is there anything special you want to do tomorrow?"

He shook his head saying, "Just the beach, jams and movies tomorrow night. I'll probably give my aunt a call over the weekend."

"Why not invite them here? Check with the `rents first but I'm sure it'll be okay."

"That's a great idea!" Prez enthusiastically said. Then he grinned, "What would I do without you?"

I stole a kiss then stood and suggested, "Let's call it a night."

As I went to turn off the television, Prez whimpered, "We're still gonna slow dance, right?"

Pressing the button on the TV, I turned around and nodded. Prez took my hand and anxiously led me back to our room. Rush scurried past us. Prez turned on the stereo components and slid the Sinatra disk in the CD player. Soon we were dancing to the music while the dog contentedly shredded his new rope toy. After the first song, Prez suggested we take our shirts off. Bare chests touching, we silently slow danced some more. The music was so mellow and my lover smelled so sexy, even without after shave. Prez had not shaved since Monday and the feel of his soft mustache brushing against my lips with every kiss slowly drove me wild. By the time the fourth song began playing, we couldn't contain our passion any longer.

The next morning the radio turned on and I sleepily searched for Prez. He was already out of bed. Forcing my eyelids open, I scanned the room. He was sitting on our new desk chair, completely naked and slowly jacking his hard cock. "God Keith," he breathlessly heaved, "watching you sleep is far better than any fantasy I've ever had."

Kicking the covers off and exposing my morning wood, I started stroking and smiled, "You could've molested me awake."

"I wanted this... to jerk myself off to you and watch you masturbate."

"I haven't beat my meat in almost a year," I giggled.

Gazing at me through lust filled eyes, Prez nodded, "It's taking all my self control to sit here and not run to you." Then he raised his left hand to his mouth and licked from his thumb down and back up his index finder.

Gathering a mouthful of spit, I wet my right hand then moaned, "I want you Preston Albert O'Brian. No one is sweeter, no one is more fun, and no one is sexier than you."

My lover whimpered and picked up his pace slightly. His legs extended and he leaned back in the chair softly affirming, "We're partners and always will be, Keith. I love you."

With our egos over flowing, we both started chanting "I love you". Then Preston's legs began shaking and I watched in awe as he took the final stroke that pushed him over the edge. He grunted and a long strand of white creamy fluid flew from his dick. It hit his neck and the subsequent shots drenched his torso. Focusing on me, my lover licked his jizz off his hand. That set me off and I almost fainted from the pleasure. Before I completely regained consciousness, Prez got up from the chair. He stepped up to the bed, leaned over and kissed me. I dove for the glob of sperm on his neck and savored his taste. Before I knew it, Prez was on the bed and licking my load off my chest and stomach. Not to be left wanting, I returned the favor and cleaned my baby's body with my tongue. Then we kissed deeply. Once again, Prez started my day with a proverbial bang.

Breaking our kiss, he whispered, "Shower?"

Shaking my head, I softly said, "Let's save that for later, when we get home and before we go to the movies again."

Prez nodded and shuffled off the bed. We slipped into our trunks then Prez opened another dresser drawer and held out our elastic rainbow flag bracelets. We put them on our ankles then started for the kitchen. Prez said, "I had another little episode when I woke up." I turned to him and he continued, "It's really starting to piss me off. I got up and let the dog out then came back to our room. I was almost afraid to look inside but forced myself. You looked so peaceful that I couldn't make myself wake you with bad memories." We went to the fridge and I opened the door. Prez grinned, "You know, I actually had to tell myself that it's alright to play with myself?"

Chuckling, I handed him a Sunny D and grabbed one for myself before closing the refrigerator door. Looking him directly in the eye, I smiled, "You can play with yourself in front of me any time you want."

Opening his bottle of juice, Prez giggled, "I don't know how often I'll be able to restrain myself. I kept telling myself, don't waste that load! Go get it!" I cracked up and had to put my opened bottle of Sunny D on the counter before I spilled it! Still giggling, Prez went to the pantry and returned with granola bars.

After our light breakfast, we went to the bathroom and brushed our teeth then relieved our bladders. Prez let the dog in. John wandered out of his room and croaked, "Hey," before stepping into the bathroom.

Closing our bedroom door, Prez loudly said, "We're going to the beach, John."

"See ya later," John loudly replied.

Cracking an evil grin, Prez walked down the hall. Leaning closer to me, he whispered, "Some day, he's going to brag that I never got him back." We stepped outside and Prez giggled, "That's the day I'll tell him that I did get him back!"

I laughed, "Remind me to never ever get on your bad side!"

Prez tossed me his keys and said, "You drive, I don't much feel like dealing with traffic." Catching his keys, I nodded and unlocked the doors. We got in and soon pulled away from the curb. Settling on KLOS, Prez leaned back and said, "I'm wondering when I might invite my aunt and her family over."

"Why not Tuesday, while you're home?"

"I want you there too!" Prez whined.

"Next Wednesday's our anniversary and Friday everyone will leave for Big Bear." Then I fibbed, "My plans for a party might not come to pass."

Prez assured, "That's okay, Keith."

"I don't want it to be just another day though, Prez. Sure we can go to the beach and jam for a few hours. I just wanted something special."

Squeezing my hand, he said, "As long as I'm with you, it'll be a fun day. Besides, a party would prevent me from following my instincts and urges."

Smiling at him, I felt my dick lengthen and snake down my thigh. I wondered, "Would you like to spend the day at home?"

As if he were foreseeing the future, Prez raised his right hand over his eyes and mysteriously moaned, "I see two very sore dicks."

Taking the on-ramp to the 101 North bound lanes, I beamed, "You were fantastic last night, baby. And this morning really was great too."

"Since I learned that you hadn't jacked off in all the time we've known each other I've wanted to see it."

"I was trying to imitate your hand working me over."

"You too?" Prez excitedly asked. We briefly glanced at each other and Prez said, "Anytime you want to do it again would be fine with me, babe." I nodded excitedly but wondered if I could ever restrain myself to simple masturbation.

The Phil Collins tune, In The Air began and Prez released me for a moment to turn up the volume. Even though the song told a dark story, for some reason I thought of Drew and the way he looks at Corey.

"An idea just flashed in my mind," I confessed, and exited the freeway at Malibu Canyon. Then I asked, "If my suspicions about Drew are correct, what if I let him borrow the smaller dildo?"

Prez shrugged, "We like it too. For how long would you let him have it?"

Thinking about his question for a few moments, I then answered, "Just for the trip to Big Bear or, if he delays, then a few days."

Prez smiled and nodded, "That would be really good for them."

My lover then grinned evilly. I smiled and prompted, "What are you thinking?"

Prez giggled, "I still can't get over how similar Drew's cock is to yours. He's still relatively thin; it appears out of proportion in comparison."

I loudly laughed, "I can't believe he let us see him hard! I've never seen him hard once!"

"I'll admit I was stunned."

I grinned, "We're wearing the same genes."

Prez then confessed, "Saturday morning, before you and Drew woke and while I was getting dressed, Corey tossed the top sleeping bag away." Waiting for the verdict, I glanced his way. "For a fourteen year old, he's well equipped." I started forward again and Prez grinned, "I'd wager that he's almost seven inches already. And Drew's right around the same length, don't you think?"

I shrugged and joked, "If the little shit winds up better endowed than me, I'll chop it off!"

Prez roared laughing for at least a minute. He then smiled, "I don't see Drew going out of his way for the muscle mass you developed."

"It depends on whether he joins the baseball team. If he does, then he'll probably have to work out." Suddenly I recalled what my dad told me and huffed, "Fuck! I have to drag John into the garage tonight or tomorrow morning."

Prez glanced my way and nervously asked, "You don't think he'd try and lift weights without a spotter, do you?"

I shrugged and sighed, "Hopefully, Tommy will be around."

"Let's do that tonight, before dinner," Prez suggested. He then reminded, "I expect Drew will be home for dinner. Maybe we can educate both of them?"

Making the turn onto PCH, I said, "I really don't think Drew will have much interest. When he is interested, he'll ask. John will just try it and wind up hurting himself."

I noticed Prez looking left, past me and at the waves. "The surf looks good today."

Glancing at the shore, I smiled, "Looks like four footers. I hope the water's not too cold." Prez turned to me and I explained, "Tomorrow's payday. I can't swing the extra bucks for a wet suit."

After a few seconds, Prez softly said, "Let me, Keith."

I smiled at my universe then turned my attention to the road and said, "I'll survive, baby." He whimpered and I reached for his hand. If I allowed it, Prez would pay for everything I ever needed or wanted. He turned to me and I stammered, "I know, it's just your turn now. Someday soon I'll be making better bucks. But it seems that you're fronting me a few bucks here or there an awful lot. I don't want to argue about this but I still can't accept every time, baby." It would've been easier to chew my arm off than say that to him but he had to know how I felt.

For the longest time, Prez said nothing. About half a mile from Russ's shop Prez sighed, "You know, I hate that fucking money. I really do. If she had died of cancer then it would only be enough for school. Lately we disagree more about money than any other single thing. I really despise that money." He then held up his hand and displayed the ring I gave him at me saying, "Everything like this I've seen is around three hundred bucks. When you had the cash you freely gave. That's all I'm doing."

On the verge of tears, I pulled across PCH. Parking his 4Runner, I turned to him. Tears flowed freely down his cheeks. I stopped fighting my own tears but lifted my lover's hand and kissed his palm. Wiping his eyes with his other hand, Prez faced me. Gulping down the brick lodged in my throat, I softly said, "I'm sorry, Prez. I can't help myself though. I watch your money as if it were my own. I've always waited for sales or done without. How can I let you cover a wet suit if I'm perfectly happy braving the cold water? It's only another seven bucks just seven bucks I won't have until tomorrow night. If the situation were reversed, how would you feel?"

He desperately groaned, "I don't know. What I do know is that you've given of yourself in so many ways. Your entire family saved me last October. Financially, I could never repay that kindness. What I can do though is make small gestures. What else can I do?"

I shook my head saying, "I won't remind you of all the little things you've done."

Prez sighed, "Let's see if we'll even need wet suits. If this whole discussion was for nothing..." Leaning closer, he forced a smile and said, "I want to talk more about this." I nodded and he then reached for the door handle.

But I held him back and asked, "You still love me?"

He seemed shocked but then squeezed my hand and grinned, "I'll always love you, Keith. You're just watching out for me... like you've always done. For me, giving feels good though."

Stealing a kiss, I assured, "I love you very much."

We took deep breaths then got out of the car. Russ was doing a booming business. There were about a dozen other surfers around, picking up or dropping off boards and wetsuits. It seemed half of them were in wet suits but half weren't. Stepping up to Russ, I asked, "How's the water today dude?"

"This morning it was choppier," Russ smiled. He then asked, "Just boards today?"

After glancing at Prez, I faced Russ and grinned, "Unless you think we'll turn bluer than the waves?"

"How long are you planning on hanging?" Russ asked.

Prez shrugged, "About two hours."

He grinned, "You'll be fine." Prez and I handed him cash and went inside. We each grabbed short boards then tied them onto the top of the 4Runner. Those entire few minutes, Prez didn't say a word.

Getting in the car, we buckled up. Prez was too quiet. I turned to him before pulling onto PCH. He smirked, "I'm okay."

Humming suspiciously, I made my way into traffic. Prez turned on the radio then scanned the stations. He still said nothing. I got nervous. Suddenly he said, "Pull over Keith."

Shocked and worried, I immediately put on my directional and pulled over asking, "What's wrong? Are you alright?"

He nodded and devilishly grinned, "Perfect!" The car came to a stop and Prez unbuckled his seat belt. Before I could say another word, Prez was out of the car and walking back down the road. Wondering what was happening, I watched him from the rearview mirror. Prez walked up to a homeless man that we had passed. I saw Prez reach into his pocket and hand the man some money. They shook hands then Prez returned to the car and got inside. "There," Prez giggled as he buckled up, "I feel better."

Rolling my eyes, I wondered, "What did you do?"

Prez smiled, "When I learned that the water wasn't too cold and we argued for nothing, I about had a meltdown and wanted to shred all the cash in my pocket. Now it's not wasted."

Completely awestruck, I could only stare at him. Shaking my head, I flipped the directional to the other position and carefully merged with traffic. Barely a minute had passed before Prez asked, "Don't you want to know how much I gave him?"

Shaking my head, I answered, "Not really. I'm glad you didn't tear it up. Instead, you found a very cool way to deal with your frustration."

"Amazing," Prez snickered. "You'd rather I give money to a total stranger then give it to you?"

"I wouldn't necessarily put it like that," I chuckled. Noticing Prez's gaze, I attempted to explain. "I fell in love with you before you had all that money, Prez. Money was never part of what I loved most about you. I guess I'm afraid that I might come to rely on your money too much. I don't want it on the list of things I love about you. Like you asked, I'll help you watch your accounts. But it's yours, baby.

"Last night, you drove to the movies; you paid for the tickets and our sodas. Tonight, I'll do the same for you when we go see Godzilla."

"Just like we agreed," Prez nodded.

"If I had needed a wet suit, I still wouldn't have gotten one; primarily so I could take you out tonight. I know how to budget my money and brought only as much as I needed."

Prez smiled, "Will you have a few bucks for lunch?"

Reaching for his hand, I nodded, "Not much but enough for a burger and a soda."

"Good!" Prez chuckled, "Because I just gave away twenty of the twenty seven dollars in my pocket!"

Pulling into the Zuma beach parking lot, I grinned, "Better to give it to someone that needs it than tear it up."

Turning to me, Prez said, "It felt good but I still would much rather not argue about money."

Stopped in line to pay for parking, I nodded enthusiastically and asked, "Can we split the two bucks we need to park?"

Reaching into his pocket, Prez shook his head then handed me two dollar bills. He only had seven bucks on him and still insisted on paying! Leaning over for a kiss, I then softly thanked him. Prez put the rest of his cash in the glove compartment while I drove forward another car length. I reached into my trunks for my billfold then handed it to Prez. He stowed our wallets in the glove box then closed it. Driving forward, I rolled down the window, paid the attendant then rolled up the window again.

"Keith?"

"Yeah baby."

"We finally found a way we're completely different. You're good at saving money. I've always saved money for goals bass strings, bike tires and short term stuff. Now I have a lot of money and I don't know how to handle it."

I pulled into a parking space and slowly nodded. Setting the brake and turning off the engine, I turned to him saying, "Please don't be angry baby."

Prez squeezed my hand and smiled, "I could never stay angry with you and certainly not over money. We do have to reach some sort of compromise though." I nodded and then kissed him, tickling his lips playfully with my tongue.

Giggling, he pulled back and clearly transmitted, "No fair!" then reached for the door handle. We got out of the car and got our boards off the roof. We started for the beach and Prez said, "I've been thinking about the gear our band needs."

I smirked, "No surprise there."

He then asked, "If by September we're still short for a PA system, I'd like to offer Mike and Derrick an interest free loan. They'd probably only need a few months extra to come up with the cash."

Stunned, I softly wondered, "Did you mention this to them?"

"No, I wanted to run it by you first."

I sighed, "I guess it would depend on how much exactly."

"For discussion purposes, let's figure about five hundred."

"That means you're carrying two thirds of the costs, Prez."

Prez sighed, "Without lights and a tarp, we can't even get off the ground and get party gigs. And without a PA that can cover more than a hundred or so people, we can't go further. Mike and Derrick have started designing flyers. All we need is a band photo and to finish recording the CD's."

Walking directly into the water with my lover by my side, I asked, "Are we really ready Prez?" The water really wasn't that cold, I noticed, but didn't dare mention it.

Prez giggled, "I don't know of any other bands that can learn a tune quickly like we can. Mike and I are both coming up with cool progressions. But then again, I haven't seen or heard many other bands." In hip deep water, we straddled our boards and began paddling out. We passed Mike and Derrick riding a wave. Moments later, we were sitting on our boards waiting for the next set.

I wiped water from my face and turned to Prez saying, "One of the things I'm afraid of is spending the money and not getting enough use out of the equipment."

Prez nodded but then we felt the next swell. Simultaneously we smiled and started paddling. I hopped up and so did Prez. I was still getting used to him standing for entire rides. Judging by his laughter, so was Prez! About two meters to my left, Prez followed me all the way. In shallow water, we dropped onto our boards then turned around and paddled out again.

Passing us once more, Mike loudly laughed, "Fuckers!"

"Wait for us!" Derrick hollered and Prez cracked up.

Waiting for the next ride, Prez turned to me and asked, "What if we sell the PA we have now?" He then reminded, "The PA we're planning on getting would work just as well for small parties. We just wouldn't need to turn it up as loud."

I answered, "That would help meet the goal without you fronting so much money," and felt my board suddenly sink at least a foot. Again we started paddling and caught the next wave.

Derrick and Mike paddled out past us again. Shaking his head sadly at my hysterical partner, Mike then locked eyes with me and softly grumbled, "Bitch!"

I cracked up. I wasn't ready for them to hear any of what Prez and I were saying anyway.

Turning around and heading back out, Prez excitedly hollered, "That wave had to be close to five feet!"

I nodded and chuckled, "At least!"

Pushing up off our boards, we cut through a wave. Mike and Derrick let that wave pass and were waiting for us, it seemed. I paddled closer to Prez. He asked, "Can we tell them or do we need to talk more?"

"Suggest selling the PA," I recommended but stipulated, "We still need to talk more too."

Too close to Mike and Derrick to verbally respond, my baby nodded, smiled and winked.

As we approached, Derrick loudly asked, "Will you be ready for a lighting system next week, Prez?"

Prez waited until we had met them and turned around to face the shore before answering, "I could probably contribute about a hundred and fifty Tuesday."

Mike chuckled, "Sweet! In the Yellow Pages we found an Army surplus store where we can get a tarp too."

Turning to me, Derrick smiled, "The next six months of car insurance will be paid for by Monday and I'll still have about a hundred."

I smiled, "Mine isn't due until September."

Mike offered, "I'll probably have about two hundred. Starting next week, we start barbequing our own burgers."

Derrick turned to Prez and said, "We'll get the tarp, one rack and four lights to start."

"We'll set the lights up in my garage and check it out at night," Mike offered. The four of us felt another swell and started paddling into the next wave.

Catching the wave, the four of us stood on our boards. At the far left of the line-up, Prez cackled wickedly. I was to Prez's right and on my right Derrick smiled, occasionally looking past me at Prez. The surf was great that day and the four of us didn't leave the water until it was time to get lunch. Together, we discussed more financing options for the equipment the band needed. As promised, Prez didn't say a thing about fronting and expenses. After returning our boards to Russ's shop, we went through the Jack In-The-Box drive-thru then went to Doug and Brian's place.

We again started recording songs. The first hour we recorded tracks for Wild Horses, with Derrick singing lead vocals. Then Prez started playing an awesome bass part. Derrick added a drum part and hollered, "What's this one, bro?"

Prez loudly replied, "Flirting With Disaster by Molly Hatchet." He then turned to Mike and wondered, "Do you think Shaun could keep up with this?"

Mike shrugged, "He's not slouched once yet. Call out the progression, dude." Prez asked Derrick to slow down the tempo then began calling out chord names. After two full run-throughs, they asked me to press record.

Finally, Prez remembered the song I liked earlier in the week and asked, "Do you know Dancing Days, Mike?"

"The Zeppelin tune?" Mike asked, and Prez nodded. Mike answered, "I don't know it now but I'm sure Doug has some Led Zep in his collection." The four of us marched out to the living room. Painlessly, Mike figured out the song and called out changes to Prez. On a pad of paper, Derrick jotted down the chord names. Then we listened to the song a second time, pressing pause every so often to write down lyrics. Then we went back to the studio. The first take was a little sloppy so they recorded it all again. Satisfied with the second take, they sent me into the vocals closet. By the time I finished singing and stepped out of the booth, only Prez was sitting at the PC and mixer.

"They went to get changed for work," Prez smiled.

Sitting down beside him, I asked, "How did it sound?"

After resetting the song, he chuckled, "Excellent; in the same range as Plant but more American inflections. But I am very biased." My lover then leaned over and planted a kiss on my lips. He started to lean back after only a few moments but I held him in place. That was all the encouragement Prez needed and he willingly opened his mouth wider.

The door opened and Mike stepped in while buttoning his white shirt. He half chuckled; "Would you two gimme a break? You know how randy I get after we play."

Derrick nudged him and grinned, "I gave you a chance for a quickie."

Mike playfully tackled Derrick and pushed him against the wall. Mike whispered something and Derrick nodded, grinning over Mike's shoulder at Prez and I. Stepping back from Derrick and turning around, Mike said, "Let's hear it."

Prez stole another little kiss then broke away from me and clicked the play button. We quietly listened to the first minute or so. Prez clicked on the reverb. It sounded pretty great to me but I noticed Prez, Mike and Derrick appeared a lot less certain. "What's wrong," I finally asked.

Prez said, "It's not your singing, Keith. I don't know what it is exactly."

Derrick turned to Mike and said, "The guitar tone or something is off. That's the crunchy Marshall stack sound but there's something missing."

Shaking his head, Mike grumbled, "And I played a Les Paul Custom that's older than I am!" He then let go of Derrick and went to the door. "Doug," Mike hollered, "ya got a minute, dude?"

In the distance, Doug shouted, "On my way."

While we waited, I asked, "If we played it live, it would sound like this, right?" Then I smiled, "I think it sounds good the way it is."

Derrick nodded, "That's true but we want to show all of what we're capable of."

Doug walked into the room asking, "What's shakin'?"

Mike said, "There's something missing in the sound. With and without effects, it sounds thin."

Doug widely smiled, "Read that Guitar Player book I loaned you. In Jimmy Page's interview, he explains how he used multiple guitars and multiple amps, each with different tones and layered the tracks together. You could approximate the effect with your GT-3's digital delay. I'd start with a simple doubling effect at about one hundred and fifty milliseconds. They only had analog delays when the record was produced. Page chose to manually double parts in the studio. If you want to go to the trouble, bring your Fender amp over and maybe use a Telecaster. Contrary to popular belief, Jimmy Page did use Fender axes."

The playback ended and Prez pressed stop. Mike sighed and chuckled, "I guess I get to read later tonight... after I add another few stereo tracks to this tune."

Derrick grinned, "But we have to run to work. Will you dudes still be awake around eleven?"

Doug nodded, "Probably so. We'll try to be home too!"

Taking hold of Mike's arm, Derrick said, "See ya later," and started for the door.

Pointing at Prez and me as he was being dragged along, Mike said, "You dudes too. No excuses!"

Chuckling and turning to us, Doug asked, "Do you have plans for dinner?"

"Nothing special," Prez smiled.

"We're having chicken cacciatore, if you're interested?" Doug said.

Prez and I silently agreed to stay then I turned to Doug and said, "That sounds great. I'll just need to call home in a little bit."

"Where's Brian?" Prez asked.

Smirking, Doug grumbled, "Stuck in traffic, the last I heard."

I asked, "Do you need help with dinner?"

Shaking his head, Doug said, "Everything's in the oven already." He then suggested, "How about we work on some final mixes? The hard disk is getting pretty full."

I chuckled, "I have no idea where to begin."

Prez nodded and smiled, "Show us the way." Doug joined us at the PC and began by explaining that we were merely saving the songs' multiple tracks into stereo tracks. We started with The Joker. There were fourteen stereo tracks that needed to be mixed down to two. Prez added reverb and Doug explained compression then applied the effect. It took three full playbacks to get a mix completed and then of course, we listened to the results.

Almost an hour later, we walked out of the studio. Brian was sitting on the couch in their living room. Prez and I watched as Doug's expression softened dramatically. I quickly called home to let them know we wouldn't be there for dinner. Deciding to set the table, we went to the kitchen to retrieve plates and utensils. Doug went to greet his partner then they both stood. Heading for the kitchen, Doug said, "Ya know, at first I wondered why you two weren't visiting us as often as Mike and Derrick."

Prez smiled, "It really wasn't intentional. More than I'd like to admit, I was dealing with the loss of my mom." Out of habit, I looked at my lover only to check his expression. He held is smile after mentioning his mom.

Brian nodded understandingly and smiled, "We considered that too but then realized that you both have a strong father figure in your lives."

Holding eye contact with me while he puttered around in the kitchen, Doug smiled, "Your father is a unique man, in my experience anyway."

"How so?" I smiled, and set the last plate on the table.

While Prez laid down the last of the silverware, Doug answered, "My own father had plenty of strength but lacked compassion. Other fathers are all compassion but no strength. I've met maybe five men like Jim; capable of compassion and discipline but never leaning too far towards either extreme."

Sitting at the counter, I smiled, "You didn't hear him last week when John got in trouble."

Doug cackled, "But I heard enough about it."

Brian sat at the table and said, "In hind site, we should've figured that Mike and Derrick would latch on to us."

Prez said, "Don't think for a minute that we don't appreciate everything you've done, though. The chats we've had after the fight and before the prom made a big difference. Not to mention the musical experience you've shared."

I nodded and added, "We can't wait to find ourselves still together after twenty years, like you dudes."

Facing Brian, Prez smiled, "Watching Doug kiss you a few minutes ago made another impact. Sometimes just watching you two together is enough of a lesson."

Leaning over towards Prez, I whispered in his ear. "Should we mention our disagreement?"

Pulling back, Prez gazed deeply in my eyes. Smiling and nodding, Prez said, "We've got a challenge and would like your opinion."

Carrying a large pan of chicken cacciatore to the table, Doug smiled, "Fire away."

He then hurried back to the kitchen. Prez and I sat at the table, across from each other. Doug returned with a basket of toasted French bread and a pitcher of iced tea.

Brian picked up my plate and a large ladle. "Say when," he said.

I nodded and began explaining, "Lately we've been talking about our finances a lot. Prez makes about twice as much as I do." Brian was adding a fourth large spoonful to my plate and I paused to say, "That's cool dude. Thank you." He nodded and handed me my plate then took Preston's plate.

"To further complicate matters," Prez said, "I have a big stock portfolio from my mom's insurance. Every few months another couple of thousand bucks worth of dividends lands in my account. So whenever Keith is short a few bucks and I have it, I give it to him." He then smiled at Brian and softly chuckled, "Whoa! Thanks Brian." Putting his plate down, Prez leaned over and smiled at me saying, "It smells great! I've never had this before."

While Brian filled his plate, Doug grinned, "It's so easy. Get a pound or two of boneless chicky-tits, slice them up then add a can or two of peas and slice up some potatoes. Pour a jar of tomato sauce over it all and add a half a jar of water; season to taste then pop it in the oven at three hundred and seventy-five degrees for about two hours, and presto."

Finished serving, Brian picked up his fork and smiled, "Doug's arguably the better cook in this house."

Doug smirked, "You have a few culinary delights up your sleeve too." Glancing at Prez and me, Doug said, "Brian makes some great breakfasts, like potato pancakes and the lightest, fluffiest omelets ever."

We all started eating and then Brian turned to me and asked, "How much has Preston given you?"

A bit stunned at his question, I finished chewing then swallowed and answered, "A few bucks here or there, for lunches, parking at the beach, like that." I then smiled at my lover saying, "But he bought us Speedos for the frolics and a week later he bought us some other stuff."

Doug frowned, "Other stuff?"

"Expensive other stuff?" Brian wondered, glancing between us.

I shrugged and Prez snickered, "Keith and Derrick went to North Hollywood last month." Getting nothing but nods from the two men, Prez smiled, "Keith got us cock rings and Derrick got a dildo." Brian and Doug grinned.

I giggled, "The next week, I went back there with Prez. He got us two dildos."

Still eating, the two men smiled and nodded as if they weren't surprised in the least. Doug then turned to Prez and said, "Those are really nice gifts." Facing me, he added, "But you think it's too much?"

I shrugged, "Alone, no. But I can't continually accept cash and gifts, can I?"

Brian smiled, "Doug got me the Firebird for my birthday two years ago."

"And Brian got me a 1957 Stratocaster for a Christmas present that year," Doug added.

We were both stunned silent for a few moments. Prez then snickered, "I'm not planning on buying you car anytime soon!" He then showed the ring to Brian and Doug, telling them that I got it for him for his last birthday.

I smiled, "Prez got me an awesome silver bracelet and had it inscribed. I won't chance losing it at the beach." Prez beamed across the table and I felt his leg rubbing against mine under the table. We then told them about our argument over wetsuits and that we had both become emotional about it.

Brian said, "Society says that men are the primary providers. But more women are employed and making excellent wages in executive positions. Things are changing. How do two men both try to play that role? Can one man be less capable, simply to fit the mold? Would one of you feel less masculine because of this inaccurate assumption that the other should be the bread winner?"

"Throw away the rules," Doug said. "I already know that you've both heard of giving and receiving abundantly. This is just an extension of that premise." He paused to wipe the last of the tomato sauce off his plate with a piece of French bread.

"I don't see either of you as less masculine than the other," Brian said as he put his fork and knife down. "I'm no more masculine than Doug."

Finished eating, I interrupted, "I really don't think that's the issue. It's more about being able to occasionally refuse cash. Presents are a totally different issue, especially when they're for both of us, like the Speedos, cock rings and dildos."

Doug nodded, "You should be able to refuse cash."

"Even if I have it and spending it won't matter?" Prez asked.

Brian nodded, "Yes, for unimportant, little things like wetsuits or lunches, Keith has the right to chose whether to accept or not."

Turning to Prez and reaching for his arm, Doug interjected, "If I might suggest something?" Prez nodded and Doug softly said, "You lost but gained financially. You hate that money and knowing its there because of the circumstances." Prez nodded and Doug smiled, "Part of you wants to burn that paper so you spend it on little things for Keith. Why don't you spend it on some things that you want, Prez?"

"I have," Prez insisted, "on the 4Runner and on a new bass and amp."

I nodded, "He even changed his dividend disbursements so he wouldn't have quite so much liquid cash around."

Facing me, Brian assured, "You have the right to refuse." Turning Prez, he smiled, "And you need to accept a few things from Keith too."

Doug tapped Prez's arm and suggested, "Get the things you want; with an emphasis on you, Prez - not for Keith or Derrick or Mike. We all know you would never intentionally try to buy their friendships but giving too much can make it appear that way."

My baby sighed and nodded, "I have been considering a few things like an acoustic guitar and keyboards. But even if I bought them both tomorrow, I'd still have thousands lying around."

"Reinvest it," I softly repeated.

Doug smiled, "You deserve anything you want, Prez. I wish I had met your mother, she sounds like an exceptional woman."

"She was," Prez excitedly nodded.

"Her name was Margaret?" Brian asked.

Prez answered, "Everyone called her Maggy."

Brian then asked, "Have you named anything after her?"

Prez giggled, "Name my car or bass?"

"Soitenly!" Doug loudly laughed, sounding like Curly from the Three Stooges. Prez and I both started laughing. "Let's go shopping!" Doug excitedly said in the same accent. Pointing out things on the table, Doug joked, "I'll take one of dem and a few doze and some o' dat too!" In his normal voice, Doug then told Prez, "Now you try it." Prez howled and tried to imitate Doug imitating Curly.

Brian turned to me and grinned, "You can't stop him either."

"I wouldn't dare!" I chortled loudly. "I told him the same thing a few weeks ago. We went out the very next night for the acoustic bass and amp." I smiled at Prez and snickered, "We'll be going out again soon, won't we?"

Prez shrugged and smiled, "For a Father's Day present and to the movies, your treat."

Checking my watch, Prez and I then stood, thanking Doug and Brian for an excellent dinner. We helped clear the table and loaded the dishwasher, explaining that we had already planned on going to the mall to catch a movie. I added, "We need to shower and change too," and then thanked them again.

Prez reached for my hand and said, "Tell Mike and Derrick that we'll be back after the movie."

Nodding but with his hands in the sink, Brian said, "Will do. Have a good time."

Wiping down the kitchen counters, Doug said, "Drive safe, we'll see you later."

We said goodbye and then walked outside. I unlocked the car and Prez said, "Ya know, part of the reason I got a 4Runner was because it was a Toyota, like your car."

Starting the car, I snapped my neck turning to him and asking, "Really?" Prez nodded and, pulling away from the curb, I reminded, "It really was the best choice."

He turned on the radio and flipped to KLOS then sat back in his seat and reached for my hand. While waiting at the Kanan Road and 101 intersection, Prez said, "I'm sorry Keith."

"About?"

"Arguing over money. I was wrong."

Driving forward, I sighed, "That's not what I heard, Prez. We both made some mistakes."

"I need to let you choose."

"And I need to remember it's your money to spend however you want." Tightly squeezing our hands, we dropped the topic there. Don Henley's Sunset Grill began playing and we remained silent through the entire song.

When the song ended, Prez asked, "Where do we stand?"

"It's your money. My dad said you need to keep about five grand around for taxes. That leaves you another five to play with. What would you like to get for you baby?" I exited the 101 at Topanga Canyon and stopped at the light then turned to him.

Prez heaved, "An acoustic guitar... an electric piano like Jessy's... those will cost about two grand. I'd like a cam-corder, there's another thousand." The light changed and Prez said, "I'd like to get the sound system for the band."

I nodded and said, "It would be yours, not the bands."

"I could afford it and still have money left over."

Carefully watching my tone of voice, I smiled, "Whatever makes you happy, baby."

Stopped again at the turn into our neighborhood, Prez said, "I'm thinking of investments for my future. I need some harmony to practice my new fretless bass. Without a frame of reference, I can't be sure if I'm playing in tune."

The light changed and I turned across Topanga Canyon. I suggested, "Tell that to a salesman at Guitar Center. Ask him to fix you up with whatever equipment you need to accomplish that goal."

"Some of these things are pretty big; too big to fit in our room. I'll have to talk with your parents... or maybe I can get a shed for storage?" Prez then sighed, "I have a lot to think about again."

Approaching our house, I slowed and sincerely said, "You know how I feel, Prez. Weeks ago I told you to get the things that you want. And you know about income taxes. I'm going to trust you to make good decisions, like you always do." Pulling in front of the house and stopping I wondered, "Do you still want me to warn you if there's anything to be concerned about?"

"Definitely," Prez softly smiled. He leaned over for a kiss and assured, "Your opinion matters and I promise to listen."

I stole a kiss too then we got out of the car. Stepping into the house, we heard my folks laughing in the kitchen. Rush scampered around at our feet and Prez leaned over to greet his dog. Grinning and wondering what my parents were laughing about, I hollered, "We're home," and walked through the living room. I noticed the dining room table was already cleared and cleaned. In the kitchen, my folks were washing pots. Prez stepped up beside me and I smiled, "You got a quiet dinner alone?"

My mom nodded and my dad playfully asked, "Aren't you going back out tonight?"

Prez snickered, "We just need to shower and change," and took hold of my hand.

Holding eye contact with my dad as Prez tried to drag me away, I teased, "Since we're obviously interrupting something." My mom loudly giggled and Prez yanked me past the wall. Covering his mouth, Prez snickered and pulled me into the bathroom then into his warm embrace.

We undressed and prepared to go out. Prez turned on the radio and flipped to a soft jazz station. After brushing his teeth, Prez wondered if he should shave. Liking the soft hairs on his chin and above his lip, I suggested that he wait until the next day, when he had to shave for work. I guess that was sufficient innuendo for Prez. As we stepped into the shower, I noticed his magnificent penis fully engorged with blood and pointing skyward.

Taking my lover in my arms, I grinned, "What happened?"

He shrugged, "We gained something today. Some of it hurt but I feel even more attached to you than I was this morning."

Happy tears welled in my eyes and my dick swelled. Stepping closer, I felt his boner on my hip and whispered, "I love you because of what you say and do, not because you have money."

Prez squeezed me tight and started grinding. Once he felt my bone poking at his hip, my lover knelt down and took me into his mouth. His oral talents were always good but more often, Prez dreamily smiles up into my eyes while he's licking and sucking my privates. More than anything I wanted to hold off and actually tried to pull him up so I could take a turn. But Prez held on tight and shook his head while my stiffie was in his mouth. That was all I could take and held onto the shower wall to steady myself through a dizzying orgasm. Satisfied and still licking his lips, my lover stood and rested his head on my shoulder. "That's just a down payment," he whispered, "Later tonight I want to be inside you. Would you like that?"

After kissing him, I grinned, "That sounds good but we're not leaving this room until I get my desert." Then I slid down his wet body. Noticing the change in his skin tone from tan to creamy white, I commented, "You're getting a nice tan." Then I finger combed his pubes and smiled, "They're fanning out nicely too." Prez giggled and I swallowed him whole and sucked hard, causing his knees to buckle.

Two things were great about the experience. First of all, we were both still feeling the emotional drain from our disagreement. We desperately needed to make love in some fashion. My fuse was short. Prez only had to work for three or four minutes in order to set me off. I got my reward from him in about two minutes. Holding on to both the shower doors and the wall, he quaked violently.

The second great thing was how we quickly changed from sexually satisfied and appreciative to life partners by considering various possible gifts for Father's Day. Washing my back, Prez wondered, "Are we still going to pool our money with Drew and John?"

Still shampooing, I shrugged and said, "We could but I think it might be nicer for us to get individual presents; one from each of his son's and another from his son-in law." Suddenly, my lover stopped soaping me up and a moment later, I received a passionate embrace. I giggled, "I wasn't trying to get this response but..." Feeling a firm poke in the buns, my eyes widened and I uncontrollably laughed, "Again?"

Prez kissed my neck and whispered, "From what you said more than the body contact."

Turning around, I kissed him and sucked on his bottom lip. Then my baby tried something new. Sliding the bar of soap between our chests, he began sliding against me, effective washing both our fronts at the same time. I began giggling and Prez started loudly laughing. The soap fell with a loud clunk and I leaned over to pick it up. Of course, I took the opportunity to soap his hard shaft but only briefly. Then I took hold of him and put the soap between us again, wiggling and grinding against him.

At that moment, I realized that Prez was not only my confidant, friend and lover, but he was also my playmate; someone that could be sillier than me at times and we have such fun together.

But we had taken too long in shower again and the water began to get cool. Prez quickly shampooed while I washed his arm pits, crack and crotch. After swiftly rinsing, he turned the water off then we flew out of the tub. While drying off we returned to our Father's Day conversation. I had decided to look for a sharp tie for my dad. It was my job to keep his wardrobe as close to current fashions as possible, I reckoned.

By the time we crossed the hall, I had agreed to let Prez front me the money for my gift so that we wouldn't have to run out the morning of the holiday. But Prez still hadn't decided on gift.

Pulling up his CK's he whined, "I don't want to get him a CD like I got your mom."

Sliding into my boxers, I said, "Sure you could. My folks have hundreds of vinyl records but only thirty or forty CD's." Sitting on the bed to pull on socks, I suggested, "Once he opens it, just sign and date the inside of the sleeve. Every time he plays it, he'll see it came from you."

Prez giggled, "But we like the same kinds of music! Just about anything I bought for him could easily wind up in our own collection."

I went to the dresser for shorts and chuckled, "That makes it easy for you. I know next to nothing about music history or seventies pop music but you do." Handing him a pair of navy blue shorts, I grinned, "Go for it baby."

Prez took the shorts and smiled, "For me, it's just another excuse to browse Musicland."

We pulled up our shorts. Still facing each other, I reached for him and asked, "How much cash is in the drawer?"

He shrugged, "I'm not sure. About sixty bucks, I think." He then nodded at the drawer and said, "Go ahead and check it out while I get us shirts." Before I could tell him to count his own money, he turned and breezed across the room to the closet. I dug under the stack of his CK's and pulled out a thick wad of cash. Prez asked, "T-shirt or polo shirt babe?"

Beginning to count, I answered, "Polo, please."

He asked, "How about the one I got you?" and I nodded as I passed sixty.

Prez handed me the shirt. I handed him his money and smirked, "Eighty six bucks."

Already wearing a T-shirt, Prez nodded, "Cool."

Pulling the polo shirt over my head, I laughed, "Is that all you have to say? You were twenty plus bucks off the mark. If I lost twenty bucks it would mean no surfing or no Burger king for a week."

Prez huffed, "What have I been saying the last few months? I don't have to work and could survive pretty well just on dividends. You want to know why I work?" I nodded and he answered, "What else am I going to do while my boyfriend and two best friends are working? Now I'm working with both of my friends and soon I'll be working with my boyfriend too. The only reason I work is so I won't be alone. In three nights, I made almost two hundred and forty dollars. What have I spent money on? Twenty bucks in the gas tank, another twenty on a CD for your mom, twenty on lunches the last few days and another twenty on renting surfboards and wet suits, and twenty on the movies last night."

"That's only a hundred, Prez. Where's the other sixty?"

He shrugged and giggled, "Umm..."

I grinned, "I know you only fronted me about ten. And the other fifty or so is where?"

Turning redder, he snickered, "Umm..."

"You are so bad!" I loudly laughed. "That fifty bucks could get that homeless man off the street and into a cheap motel for the night! He could shower and I'm sure he needed one!"

Prez chuckled, "And why did I ask you to help me watch my money? Because you're better at it than I am. I rarely have more than forty bucks on me on any given day. That's what I had on me Tuesday; a little less on Wednesday. There was less than twenty Thursday so I grabbed another twenty that morning and again last night for the movies; then again this morning before we left for the beach. I'll spend twenty tonight on a Father's Day gift and card." His smile waned as he spoke then he softly added, "By Tuesday, I'll have enough to chip in for the lighting system and still have sixty bucks for the next few days, before I go back to work again. I'm swimming in money, Keith. I could wipe my ass with dollar bills and not notice or care. And to fight over it makes me want to do just that, wipe my ass and flush it away."

Obviously hurting inside but not shedding a tear, I went to him. Wrapping my arms around his waist, I assured, "I'll help you make a budget later on and help you stick to it." Prez nodded and I asked, "When was the last time you put money in your savings account?"

He hummed, "Before the prom... before the frolics. But from January through April, I was dumping three or four hundred a month in there. Then I got the truck and started keeping my work money in the drawer for the everyday stuff, like gasoline. I got the monitor for the PA and some other stuff in May and then finally our tuxes. Most of what I withdrew for the bass and amp was money I earned, now that I think of it."

"How much is still in there?"

"About ten thousand but I'll bet more dividends will be deposited again soon between two and three grand, I figure."

"It's yours baby, to do whatever you want for you. Are you ready to spend for your goals, Prez?"

"I think so."

"Whenever you're ready baby."

"But it'll soon be back," he sighed.

I suggested, "How about this idea; you get what you need and want this summer. When school starts, we'll save for Christmas, keeping in mind income taxes will be due early next year. Once we're past that, then we'll save for next summer, graduation and start considering tuition." Pulling back and smiling, I admitted, "I loved watching you at the Carvin store that night. You were so excited. I enjoyed seeing it too. I'll enjoy watching you make investments for the future. When we see Mike and Derrick later, I'll tell them to sell the PA..."

"And keep the money for things they need," Prez interjected. "Please Keith. If they get a thousand it'll be a lot and I really don't need another two or three hundred. They do though, for drum mics or whatever."

"If you're sure?" I asked, and he nodded. "One thing though Prez, and I'm not going to budge on this next point. If we do move in with Mike and Derrick, you pay one forth of the expenses. Not one half or two thirds or anything more than your share. Promise me that, okay?"

"I can't," he softly said, and then quickly added, "I'd pay your way rather than see you working and going to school simultaneously, to the point of exhaustion. Having or not having you around matters that much to me. I will promise that we'll watch our finances together. And I know you won't take advantage, Keith."

I rapidly nodded and chuckled, "You'd better believe it."

After a slow kiss, Prez stepped back and joked, "Maybe, if you're good, I'll buy you a Corvette for your twenty-first birthday."

I hollered, "PREZ!" and he hurried out of the room, giggling his bubble butt off! Grabbing my keys and wallet, I raced after him.

"Tonight, we're going to see Godzilla," Prez told my parents. They nodded and he added, "Then we're going over Brian and Doug's place for a little while."

My dad nodded, "Home by one."

I shrugged, "We might wind up talking and stay the night."

My mom reminded, "Call by midnight to let us know."

Prez said, "Please let Drew and Corey know that we are playing tennis tomorrow."

"We'll pick them up here around nine," I added. My parents agreed and we all said goodnight then Prez and I stepped outside. I nudged him and teased, "I don't want a Corvette!" Prez snickered and we got into my car. Before starting the engine, I turned to him and said, "All I ever wanted was you by my side. Nothing you can buy with all your money could add to that." He leaned over for a soft kiss.

I started the engine and Prez softly wondered, "Why don't we open a joint savings account?"

Pulling away from the curb, I nodded, "That's a good idea. When I start working at Black Angus and making great tips, I'll want to save as much as I can anyway."

He squeezed my hand like I said something especially nice and I glanced his way briefly. "I thought you might not want a joint account," he said.

"Of course I do. I don't expect to be independently poor for the rest of my life. With all the talk about college, and now the Musician's Institute, I'm considering lots of possibilities."

"Such as"

"I could get my degree in recording engineering in six months. While the three of you still have additional year of school, I'll be working, or at least that's the goal. I'm looking forward to sharing my life with you, Prez. It's so close I can almost feel it."

"This time next year we'll be putting things in motion for school and looking for a place to live..." He paused and grinned, "After we get back from Hawaii!"

I chuckled and nodded, "That's part of the reason for a joint savings account, for vacations and anything else we decide to do together."

Prez reached for the radio, turned in on and then flipped stations. Unbelievably, he stopped at the PBS station, where they were playing some really old big band music. Prez turned to me and said, "Your dad likes this style too, doesn't he?"

I nodded, "All the really old oldies, fifties and sixties mostly, like the old doo-wop stuff."

"Perfect!" Prez chuckled, "I just didn't want to get him something then turn around and ask to record it."

"He likes this one vocal group, I can't recall the name."

"Are they really old? Like maybe The Platters or The Drifters?"

I shook my head. "No, he recorded a concert off the TV. They looked kinda young but sang all kinds of stuff, not just doo-wop fifties stuff."

"I have an idea," Prez grinned. "When we get to the mall, I'll find a payphone and call Doug. They work together and he might know."

I smiled and turned the corner. A few minutes later, I turned into the mall parking lot. Soon, I was standing beside Prez while he dialed Doug's number.

Frowning, he said, "Hi, may I speak with Doug please?" A moment later, he smiled, "Sorry," and hung up the phone. "I misdialed," he snickered, and pulled another quarter from his shorts pocket. While he dialed, I rattled off the number aloud with him and then uncontrollably began chuckling. Prez said, "Hi Brian, its Prez... We're at the mall and want to get a Father's Day gift... Hey Doug... We're cool, just calling to dig for information..." He paused and loudly laughed, "NOT THAT KIND OF INFORMATION!" I rolled my eyes and chuckled, wondering if I should even ask what Doug had said. Composing himself, Prez giggled and said, "There's a vocal band Keith's dad likes but Keith is drawing a blank... No, Keith thinks they're relatively new. Something about a video his dad recorded." Prez turned to me and asked, "When?"

"More than a year ago, like around Christmas 1996."

Prez then smiled, "Yeah, they're awesome. I know of them but haven't really heard anything by them, that I recall... Yep, we'll be there. Thanks dude. See ya." He hung up and reached for my hand saying, "It's The Manhattan Transfer."

"Yeah!" I chuckled, "That's the band. And I'm sure he doesn't have any of their CD's. At least he hasn't played any recently."

"Cool," Prez smiled as we stepped inside the mall. "Let's head for the Hallmark store and get cards first."

I nodded, "That always takes a while." A long while later we had gotten cards, a tie and finally, a CD for my dad. We took our gifts out to the car then went back inside the mall and directly to the movie theatre. We caught the eight-forty showing of Godzilla.

Since the first time I saw `Ferris Bueller's Day Off', Matthew Broderick has been one of my favorite actors. But I must admit; I was disappointed with the movie. The story was okay and the special effects were cool yet it just didn't hit the mark. And I told Prez how I felt as we walked around the outside of the mall back to my car. He liked the flick a lot more than I had.

"Didn't you think Godzilla was too small? In the original flicks, he's like ten stories tall, at least."

"If it were a reproduction of that old cheesy monster, I would've been bummed. The new lizard is pretty cool."

Simultaneously, we grinned and imitated the Taco Bell commercials. "Here, lizard, lizard, lizard," and laughed out loud.

We got in the car and I started the engine. The fuel gauge read only a quarter of a tank. For no other reason but to be honest, I said, "There's barely enough gas to get us to Agoura Hills, back home again and then to work tomorrow. Would you mind driving to Agoura Hills?"

"You can drive my car, if you want?"

I nodded and started to back out. Minutes later, we were back home and switching cars. From the street, we could hear Rush barking up a storm inside the house. I started the engine. Prez noted the time and commented, "We're gonna be late and Mike's gonna go off the deep end again."

Pulling away from the curb, I grinned and shrugged, "They don't need us. Mike said that he wanted to record more guitar tracks anyway. I'm going there to talk, not sing."

"Do you really want to spend the night there?"

"If our chat with them gets long and involved then sure, why not?"

Prez whined, "I still want to make love tonight."

"We can do that there too but if you're more comfortable at home, that's fine."

He reminded, "We do have to be rested and at least try to actually play tennis tomorrow."

"Don't tell them all of what you're planning, okay Prez? I want you to be able to take your time, like you did with the 4Runner."

"How about this," Prez started. "I'll go shopping with them with no money. We'll hit Guitar Center and the Carvin store and I'll pay attention to everyone's opinion. When I'm satisfied that I have the best choices narrowed down, I'll take you along when its time to buy. They'll know all of what I'm planning when I show it to them."

"That's perfect!" I excitedly said. "I just don't want them pressing you, baby. If you want an acoustic guitar, an electric piano or whatever else, I want these to be your choices and your toys."

"An acoustic guitar will be first on the list," Prez assured.

Turning onto the 101, I nodded then asked, "Do you think it'll be easy to learn?"

"With Mike as a tutor, I'll progress pretty fast."

"Whatever you want Prez."

"I need an instrument like a guitar or piano," Prez sighed, "there's not much more I can do with the bass. I wish there was something I could use for practice purposes, to provide harmony and accurate rhythm for me."

"Shop around baby. There's gotta be something out there."

"I want to be able to play guitar and sing with you, alone together, anytime we want not with CD's playing in the background like we have been but just you and me."

I nodded but remained silent for a few minutes thinking. Taking the Kanan Road off-ramp, I sighed, "Ya know what? Maybe it would be better if we didn't mention selling the PA. If we tell them that, they're going to assume something's going on."

Prez smiled then giggled, "We'd be shopping around anyway."

"The less they know the better," I chuckled. With that settled, I parked in front of Doug's house.

As I expected, Mike was already recording tracks for Dancing Days when we stepped inside the studio. The only clue Mike and Derrick had was when Brian referenced our dinnertime conversation. But Doug and Brian didn't know about everything we had discussed since dinner so no harm was done. For the next hour we mixed some of the recordings already on the PC's disk. Of course we talked about the gear we needed. Derrick and Mike had even made a list with round numbers attached to everything. Doug and Brian added a few important items to the list. The grand total was eight thousand dollars for just "the basics". Mike and Derrick resigned themselves to working another full year before having most of the items on the list.

Before Prez burst at the seams, we said goodnight and started for home. During the drive, my baby was giddy, bouncing with enthusiasm. He didn't begin to get serious again until we were home and alone in our bedroom.

There were knocks at our bedroom door the next morning. While I regained consciousness, Prez slid out of bed. He put on his shorts from the previous evening, staggered to the door and opened it.

Drew giggled, "I knew it." Looking at Corey, my brother added, "Let's go find those old ladies."

Prez smirked, "Yeah, yeah. Half asleep, we'll still present more of a challenge."

Corey grinned, "You didn't over-do it again, I hope."

I stretched and said, "Fully capable of whipping your asses," then tossed the covers aside.

Shaking his head sadly, Drew said, "Thankfully, it's noticeably cooler this morning." Prez and I started to dress while Drew led Corey down the hall. After a quick breakfast, we filled four large bottles with ice and water to take to the courts. We grabbed our rackets and started for the 4Runner. Prez drove to the courts. Again, we had time to stretch, taunting Corey and Drew the whole time. A court freed and we took our positions then volleyed for first service. Finally, I could see what Preston was capable of with a tennis racket. He easily sprinted around the court and sliced the ball. When it hit the ground, it bounced to the other side of Drew, leaving him there wondering if time had shifted. We won the first serve.

Prez and I played well and so did Drew and Corey. We won the first three games then they won their first two games. The next two games were ours then we lost another, due mostly to a few poor services. They capitalized and won another game. Corey was getting tired. The final game of the set took a long while to play. Beyond the fenced off area, about a dozen people watched us battle back and forth. In the end, Corey couldn't reach a back hand shot and we won. Switching sides and pausing for water, we congratulated each other on a well played set.

The day still wound up getting pretty warm, I noticed as we took sides for the second set. By the end of the first game, it was obvious that Corey was tiring. We won the first and second games. My serves were too long and I passed a few balls over the net to Corey. His first serve hit the net. Drew turned and nodded reassuringly at Corey then leaned forward, ready to pounce. I watched in total amazement as Corey tossed a ball up, hit it but then fell to his knees and crumbled onto the ground.

"Corey!" Prez and I hollered simultaneously. We jumped the net while Drew tried to understand what was happening.

Three of us knelt down around Corey. Prez said, "It's the heat, let's get him into the shade." I went for Corey's feet and Prez moved to lift Corey's shoulders. My brother was in shock and crying. "It'll be all right," I assured.

My brother loudly cried, "It's not all right! He's anorexic!"

Surprised, Prez asked, "What do you mean he's anorexic?"

Drew yelled, "I mean he hasn't been eating right for a long time. He's been seeing doctors and everything!"

I looked at Prez and said, "We have to get him to the emergency room." The people that had been watching us play were now on the courts surrounding us.

One kind man with a cell phone said, "I'll call nine-one-one."

By the time an ambulance arrived, I could have Corey at the nearest hospital. Shaking my head, I said, "Thanks but don't bother, we'll get him there."

Prez excited nodded and said, "Let's get him to the truck." We lifted Corey and I reminded Drew to gather our stuff. As if his ass was on fire, my brother flew around the courts then ran past us to the 4Runner. We put Corey down in the grass then Prez unlocked the truck. He started the engine and cranked the air-conditioning. I folded down one of the rear seats. Prez and I lifted Corey while Drew guided him in. "You drive," Prez said. "We don't have time for directions right now."

I nodded, "We're going to the Kaiser Hospital; it's the closest."

Moments later, we were on our way. Corey groaned and I looked in the mirror to find my brother wiping his boyfriend's brow. Drew had stopped crying but wore a concerned frown.

Prez turned and asked, "He's really anorexic?"

Drew nodded and said, "For a least the last couple of months, according to his parents. I just figured it out after school ended."

I wasn't exactly familiar with the emergency entrance for the hospital and just drove into the area where I saw ambulances. Drew and Prez hurried out of the car. As soon as I had the engine off and the emergency brake set, I joined them. Prez and I lifted Corey and started for the doors. But before we got there, two men hurried out with a gurney then raced Corey inside. A nurse met us and prevented Drew from following Corey.

I explained the situation then told Drew to give the nurse Corey's home phone number. Prez tugged at my hand and said that he would call home then move the 4Runner. In the waiting room, I sat my brother down.

"He's always said he's fat," Drew softly said. "It's one of the first things he ever told me."

"How long have you known he's anorexic?"

"Since earlier this week."

"Do mom and dad know?"

Drew nodded.

Wrapping an arm around my brother's shoulders, I assured, "It'll be okay. We all know now." Drew sniffed and shuddered. If he started crying again, Prez would return to four very red and wet eyes. I weakly joked, "It's the Holly-weird mind set, bro. You know that this is going to piss mom off. She'll get Corey alone and in minutes, she'll have him bawling like a baby."

Wiping his eyes, Drew nodded and giggled, "If I haven't already pounded the living shit out him for scaring me."

We waited silently another few minutes. I began to wonder what was keeping Prez. The main parking lot was around the corner. Then I realized he was back at another hospital emergency room. Memories of his mom's accident, my hurt hip and getting stitches after the fight were engulfing him, I was certain of it. And I wasn't surprised when I saw Prez's tear stained face. I got up and went to him as he stepped into the waiting room.

He forced a smile for me and said, "Let me find the men's room and wash up, okay babe?"

I nodded then quickly kissed him, not caring what anyone else thought of it. Sitting down beside Drew again, I wondered, "Do you think Corey is still unconscious?"

Drew shrugged, "Ask."

So I got up and asked the desk nurse. Another nurse softly answered, "He's still delirious, mumbling incoherently."

Thanking her, I went back to Drew and Prez returned. I only had to look in my lovers eyes to get the message: I fucking hate hospitals!

My parents showed up barely a minute later. Prez and I stood and went to my dad while my mom went to Drew.

We quickly explained what had happened. We learned that Corey had been eating poorly for many months and even more disconcerting, Corey was finding ways to expel what he was eating. Joining Drew and my mom, we all agreed that Corey wouldn't be playing any more tennis this season. Our primary goal was to get Corey to accept a satisfactory amount of nourishment.

Pulling my dad aside, I softly explained, "Prez does not need to be here. And I need to go to work in about an hour too."

My dad nodded and smiled, "You kept your head in an emergency. I'm proud of you. Take care of Preston and we'll take care of Drew."

I smiled, "Thanks dad," then got Prez and quickly said goodbye.

We started for the 4Runner and Prez huffed, "Part of me wants to see Corey to hug him and another part wants to slap him silly." I chuckled and Prez said, "Camping with them last week was really cool. And talking alone with Corey... I wonder if this is why he thought about a break-up with Drew?"

I shrugged, "I don't know baby. Drew's been with Corey most of this week though. I didn't even know they were in the den last night until they told us this morning."

Prez said, "You guessed something was wrong with his weight," and handed me his keys.

"Believe me, I wish I wasn't right this time," I said, and unlocked the car.

We buckled up and Prez wondered, "Why would he not want to eat? I love most food."

Starting the engine, I grinned, "You hate lima beans"

Reaching for my hand on the gear shifter, Prez smiled, "And you only like shell fish and tuna fish."

"Lately, I've only seen Corey eat fruits and veggies," I said as I backed out of the parking space.

I started driving forward. Prez nodded, "But if he's forcing himself to vomit, he's not getting any vitamins."

Pulling out of the parking lot and into traffic, I agreed, "That's worse than limiting your diet. And doing both... I just don't understand."

"Drew said that Corey thinks he's fat. You saw him. Corey is far from fat."

"How could he not like the way he looks? If he were any cuter, I'd have to call him pretty!"

"And he's sure to be a stud in a couple of years," Prez said. I turned and grinned at him. "What?" Prez giggled, "His dad is tall and in good shape for a middle aged man."

I grinned, "I know baby. It doesn't make sense to us but it must to Corey."

Reaching no conclusions, we became silent. A few minutes later, I turned into our neighborhood. As I slowed, Prez asked, "I wonder if John is home?"

"I'd think that he'd be out for the day by now," I said, and then wondered, "What made you ask?"

Prez reminded, "You need to teach him how to lift weights safely. We've been busy the last two nights."

Slowing and pulling in front of the house, I rapidly nodded. "If he's not home, I'll do it tonight, before you get home from work." Stopped, I turned off the engine and set the emergency brake saying, "Right now, I'm more concerned about you, Prez."

My lover stole a kiss and smiled, "We're away from the emergency room now." Nodding, I got out of the car. He waited for me and reached for my hand sighing, "I would really like to go three months without taking a trip to a hospital." Turning to me as I unlocked the front door, Prez smiled, "I'm going to write a big note." Waving his hand as if he were righting the words in the air, he snickered, "No one else is allowed to get hurt or require emergency care for the rest of the year!"

Chuckling, we stepped inside the house. From our bedroom, Rush loudly barked; as if we might forget about his spastic ass! Following Prez to our room, I wondered, "What are you going to do after I go to work?"

Prez opened the door and Rush tore out of the room. Prez shrugged, "I'll call my aunt. Then I'll call Mike's place and head over there for a while." We went to the backdoor and let the dog out.

"Good," I smiled. "The last thing I want is for you to hang out alone."

Taking hold of both my hands, Prez walked backwards and said, "Not today. It's time to get you showered and ready for work." Leading me to the bathroom, Prez stopped at the door and asked, "What would you like for lunch?"

I grinned, "You!" and pulled him into my embrace.

Giggling hysterically, Prez loudly explained, "You've got forty five minutes and we both need real food!" He was right and I knew it but still toyed with his earlobe for another few moments before whispering, "How about some barbequed cheeseburgers? I'm starving."

Taking one step back, Prez nodded, "Me too." Before letting me go, he wondered, "Two cheeseburgers or a double?"

"A double please," I replied.

Releasing my hands, he promised, "It'll be ready by the time you're finished," and then closed the door. Left alone, I performed my daily ritual. About fifteen minutes later, I had shaved, shit and showered then went to get dressed. From our bedroom window, I could see Prez playing fetch with Rush. By the time I was dressed, Prez and Rush weren't in the yard any more.

I went to the dining room. Two plates waited on the table. He had made himself a double cheeseburger too. Prez was just putting two glasses of Coke down on the table when he noticed me. "I considered making some fries too but blew it off," he smiled.

Sitting down at the table in Drew's usual chair, I chuckled, "This will be plenty. I get to come home for dinner too, remember?"

"Oh yeah," Prez softly said as he sat. Famished, we gobbled down the burgers in no time. Soon the plates were rinsed then stowed in the dishwasher. For a few minutes we sat close together on the sofa and watched TV.

"I've been thinking," I began, "We're the same in a lot of ways but we are different in a few ways."

"Such as?"

"You wake up on your own earlier than me most of the time."

"And you dress better than I do, taking a few extra seconds to find matching clothes."

I smiled warmly, "Wear more green T-shirts, baby. They really bring out the blue in your eyes."

Prez giggled and nodded, "I'm happy with jeans and white or gray T-shirts."

"And last winter, you wore lots of plaid flannel shirts over the T-shirts."

"Those are the only shirts of mine you rarely wear."

I nodded, "Solids and stripes for me. I'm on the lookout for green shirts for you."

"Is that what you're considering for an anniversary gift?"

I grinned and shrugged, "I'll tell you if you tell me what you're getting for me?"

Shaking his head, he snickered, "Guess!"

I chuckled, "Animal, vegetable or mineral?"

"I'd have to say mineral."

"Jewelry?" I wondered, and then Prez shook his head.

I hummed thoughtfully. With practically unlimited resources at his disposal, it could be anything. "Would it be solely for me or something we could both use?"

He shrugged, "It's something we both could use, I suppose. But you'd use it more."

I tried again. "A camcorder?"

"Ooo, you're getting warmer now."

"A camera?" I guessed, and Prez shook his head.

"That's three guesses; your turn."

"I thought you said shirts?"

"That's part of it."

He excitedly asked, "There's more?" I giggled and nodded. "CD's?" he guessed.

I nodded but laughed, "Nope!"

"Other clothes, like jeans, shorts or undies?" he guessed.

I shook my head. "That's two, one more."

"Does it have anything to do with music?"

I nodded and he hummed. Reaching for him, I stood and led him to the doorway. "Something you could get at Guitar Center?" I shook my head. Prez smiled, "If it's not CD's or something you might be able to get at GC, I'm stuck."

"You'll love it," I assured.

"Have a good night, Keith."

"You're going over Mike's?"

He nodded.

Then I kissed my lover goodbye. Walking to my car, I made a mental note to check with Derrick and ensure my mystery gift had been purchased or at least would be soon. On the way to Blockbuster, I started wondering what Prez was getting me for our anniversary. And I wondered about it every chance I got. At home for dinner, I sat down with my mom and John and Kim. My dad and Drew stayed at the hospital, I learned. Neither my mom nor John had heard Prez mention anything about anniversary gift ideas.

But on a positive note, Corey was conscious again. Drew was confused and frustrated but had been carefully watching his boyfriend the prior week. My mom was already preparing a speech for Corey. Whether he knew it or not, Corey was better off in the hospital; at least for a few days to give my mom a chance to chill.



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