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.

Copyright Notice - Please, this story is copyright by Eggman Enterprises and the author retains all rights.  You may distribute, copy, print, staple or spindle this story however you like, PROVIDED this copyright notice remains intact and you do not change the story in any way.  Also you may not charge any fee to anyone to distribute or access this story.

A New Life Chapter 21

Beginnings and Endings

I couldn't believe that wipe out after six years of skiing without incident. Prez was great at the medical center, goofing around and at one point telling me he would kiss whatever it took to make me get better quicker. That sounded really great to me but what we found out later that afternoon wasn't great at all. I learned the hard way that those ligaments in my leg really hurt, up where the thigh meets the groin, when I was tensing up during sex. Suddenly what was uncomfortable became sexually threatening for me. At sixteen, I had been masturbating for at least three years and if I couldn't reach orgasm with Prez's help then, as far as I was concerned, there was a really serious problem. All night long I couldn't stay asleep because every wrong move of my leg would wake me up again. I'd lay there awake for a while, hard as a rock but unable to do anything about it for myself or with Prez and definitely not with my brothers and Corey in the room.

Spending the entire day alone Monday we entertained ourselves mostly with Gameboys, the little stereo radio and conversation. I was given the first painkiller right after breakfast then took a short nap. When I woke there was Prez sitting at the table leafing through a Car & Driver magazine he had brought with him. He came over to the bed, kissed me and asked; "Feeling any better?" while his fingers slowly traced little patterns around my belly.

Pulling him down to me I answered, "Yeah, pretty good," and kissed him back.

His hand slid down over my lap while we kissed and moments later he could feel my hardness. Smiling he asked, "Ya wanna try again?" and started untying the drawstring on my sweatpants.

Opening my eyes wide and nodding yes I said, "Let's go real slow. Maybe I won't tense up and my leg won't hurt." So Prez turned around into a 69 and we tried again, very slowly. I started to get close and with all my will power tried not to tighten my butt and leg muscles. But they involuntarily tightened any way and I had to push Prez away. "Damn!" I groaned in frustration.

"It's okay," Prez said resting his head on my thigh.

"It's not okay, I want to, really." I complained.

"I can see that! If you weren't getting hard then I'd be worried but you're hurt Keith. We'll try again later or tomorrow, whenever ya want."

I couldn't help but giggle a little saying, "With you I always want to."

"Guess we'll just have to wait." Prez said and started to try to shift away from my hold on him but I wouldn't let go. He laughed, "let me go ya horn-dog!"

"Nope! Not till I get what I want." I playfully insisted.

"Come on Keith!" Prez whined between giggles, "You did me yesterday. I can wait."

Tightening my grip on his waist I said, "You don't have to wait though."

Prez pried my hand loose then quickly shuffled off the bed. Pulling his sweatpants up he shook his head like I was crazy but still had that look of love in his eyes and a wide smile on his face. He helped me pull my sweats back up then kissed me softly, running his tongue across my lips, making my half-hard dick jump right back to attention. "Be good now while I go get us some lunch," he said in a fatherly tone after breaking our kiss. "Is there anything special you want?"

Pouting I said, "I had what I wanted just a minute ago." Prez giggled saying, "you are sooo bad!"

While Prez was out, I got up and went to the bathroom. Standing to take a leak with that brace on and my leg throbbing twice as fast as my heart was just another reminder that things were going to be different for a little while. I hobbled out to the table, sat down and waited for Prez to return with lunch. The only way my leg would stop throbbing was if it was elevated, so I lifted it on to one of the other chairs. Leafing through the magazine Prez was reading I noticed occasional dog-eared pages and circles around SUV's. I said to myself, yes! One of those sure would've been nice for the trip up the mountain in the snow a few nights ago and would be great for trips to the beach. When I saw that he circled the Pathfinder's featured fold down rear seat I had to laugh and ask myself who's the horn-dog? Mister Practical wants something he can feel safe in and something we can have fun in too! Even this minor revelation made my dick get hard again. A few minutes later when I saw from the window Prez returning with lunch I got up and opened the door for him. While we were eating I mentioned the SUV's in the magazine and the fold down rear seat of the Pathfinder making him blush. If only we could've had all that time alone and I hadn't hurt my leg I would've made love with him until neither of us could walk!

That night was something special for me because it was like the first double date with my brother. My mom and dad offered to take everyone to the movies and John wanted to go but Drew and Corey decided last minute to stay behind with Prez and I.

Corey was by the table helping himself to an apple as my parents and John left our cabin. The door wasn't closed two seconds before he turned and flashed a wicked grin at Drew, who was sitting quietly on their bed munching on a granola bar. Putting the half-eaten apple down on the table Corey slowly stalked my little brother.

With wide eyes Drew swallowed then whispered, "Oh no!"

Corey looked over at me and Prez for a second then back at Drew and let out a perfectly evil little laugh, rubbing his hands together and exaggerating the stalking even more. Holding his laughter inside Prez was about ready to explode. With those painkillers in me it looked like a cartoon unfolding before my eyes and I started laughing hysterically.

Drew tried once more to postpone the inevitable onslaught giggling, "Corey, chill dude, let's not put on a show."

Stopping for only a moment at the foot of the bed Corey then leapt up and hovered over Drew. As if to prolong the suspense Corey just stood there looking down until Drew whispered a fake, "Eeek!" then he fell down on top of him and they started rolling around on the bed laughing and play wrestling. The whole scene was about the funniest thing I'd ever seen, partly because of how shy Drew is and partly because the painkillers had me buzzing pretty good. When I buried my face onto Prez's shoulder he finally roared with laughter. I had to wonder if they had played that little game before. Judging solely by Drew's reactions they had at least once. That thought made me laugh more.

After Prez and I had regained our composure, we looked over to find Corey was lying on top of Drew which completely amazed me because Drew is claustrophobic. He'd almost always freak out after a while when I pinned him down but he wasn't stressing it with Corey. Their play wrestling had ended and they were practicing Olympic tongue wrestling. No sooner did I think to myself that we needed to defend our Gold Medal then Prez started sucking on my earlobe. The four of us spent probably the first half-hour we were alone paired up and making out.

After a while Prez started whispering sweetly into my ear, "You know I love you very much?"

"Yeah baby," I replied, "I love you too. Can't wait to feel better and show you how much." Hearing whispering from the other bed, Prez and I grinned for a few moments then Drew started giggling, Corey cracked up and Drew called him a horny bastard.

Corey chuckled and countered, "It was you that spent the afternoon skiing with a stiffie!" That was all I could handle and started laughing again. The previous day I was sportin' a woodie from the lift ride with Prez. Then I wrecked and Prez started feeling up my leg.

The greatest feeling in the world though is how Prez and I can lay close, boners straining for release but it's not from physical attraction alone; it's from the emotional build up of holding and kissing each other, reading each others minds through half closed eyes.

Rolling off me to one side and lovingly petting my chest Prez said, "I guess a healthy libido is a family trait."

Rolling off of Drew, Corey said, "If that means all three brothers are always horny then I guess I'd have to agree, judging mostly by this one here. John's got a good start too as far as I can tell. He sure helped me get Drew worked up today."

"The two of you drove me crazy every chance you got."

"What were they doing that got you worked up bro?" I asked.

"It's not what they were doin' it's what they were saying." Drew explained then looked at Corey as if to get permission to continue the tale.

Not only did Corey give permission he started to tell the story himself. "Drew's just a little bit fascinated by foreskin."

Drew nodded saying; "It's just different enough to make it more fun. And the worst mistake I could've made was admitting that to John."

"John and I spent the rest of the day passing Drew some ideas on what feels good." Corey said then looked at Drew and continued, "I think you were sweating ice cubes at several points during the course of the day."

Humming his agreement Drew teased, "You'll be sorry when I start trying some of that stuff out on you." Corey looked at Drew anxiously for a few brief moments. While they stared at each other I wondered if Drew was going to start experimenting immediately.

Pulling at the front of his pants Corey said, "I think we'd better change the subject now." We all chuckled a little except Drew. He just grinned and looked really proud of himself.

Prez said, "Hey Corey. How'd you figure out you were gay? I mean it took me a while, it took Keith a while. It seems so easy for you though."

"I've always liked looking at boys and being with my friends." Corey explained, "Way back in second grade I knew I was different. I was talking with my dad about it when I was in fourth grade one time. He was cool about it. He said it was probably just a phase and that eventually I might have a girlfriend. Now I know that will probably never happen. I just get no excitement from girls. Even talking with them in school sometimes is like totally foreign to me. I never had to hide it from my folks or myself so it was just easy for me. I hide it at school, thankfully that's not too rough either." He paused for a moment, glancing sideways at Drew and said, "I save my frilly silk panties just for Drew!" then he cracked up.

Prez and I laughed at Corey's joke but Drew just shook his head in disbelief and mock annoyance saying, "Dude, don't you ever dare, not even as a joke."

Corey softly shushed Drew and whispered something in his ear. Drew can be so intense and serious that sometimes I'd like to smack him with a rubber chicken just to get a smile on his face. What ever comment Corey made wiped the frown off of Drew's face right away.

Before my parents and John got back from the movies, Drew and Corey started yawning, got cleaned up and changed then slipped under the covers and fell fast asleep. I must've followed soon thereafter since I don't remember John even coming back to the cabin. But the next morning he was there asleep on the cot.

The next day Prez drove my car all the way down the mountain with my mom riding shotgun and me stretched out in the back seat. My dad, brothers and Corey stayed behind for another day of skiing but my mom wanted to get my leg looked at. I was kinda zonked out on painkillers but I remember Prez talking with us about dreams of his mom and those déjà vu experiences he had. It was freaky the way he had a premonition that something was going to happen. My mom was more than understanding but reminded him of his loss and that there was no way he could've known anything would happen then or now. Near the bottom of the mountain we stopped at a gas station and my mom offered to take over driving but Prez said, "The worst part's over. I can deal with the rest of the trip."

That's my bud! I said to myself. Both my mom and I were very aware of his bad weather driving fear but he wanted to prove to himself that he could do it.

Prez will talk to me about his fears and my mom too sometimes but then turn around and face them with a vengeance. Those same blue eyes that show me so much love can appear cold as ice when he's filled with determination. My dad would tell me about how men fight their own personal demons. I didn't know what the hell he was talking about until I started seeing Prez do it after his mom died.

When we pulled into our driveway early Tuesday afternoon I was surprised that Mike and Derrick weren't jamming in the garage. Since we had left Big Bear earlier than expected I asked my mom to call home and warn them before we got on our way. I laughed to myself; they're either making love in our bedroom or rushing around cleaning up whatever mess they've made.

What we found was Mike sitting alone in the living room watching TV. He got up quickly and, for the first time since his dad died, threw his arms around my mom and started crying hard. Shocked, Prez and I looked at each other wondering what could've happened. My mom held him and asked what was wrong but nothing Mike attempted to say made any sense through his sobs.

It was all too clear what had happened when Derrick hobbled into the living room. His face looked like he had been beat to a pulp with bruises, a fattened lip, one black eye and a bandage over his jaw on the right side up by his ear. My mom shouted, "What in God's name happened to you?"

"My dad's idea of a seventeenth birthday present." Derrick mumbled - his mouth barely moving.

Dragging Mike along with her to inspect Derrick's wounds we found out more than his face was bruised. So were his arms, back, chest and sides. His father didn't cause the limping directly but Derrick tripped while he raced out of his house. The ankle was swelled up as big as a melon and an ugly purplish color.

"All this happened yesterday?" My mom asked and Derrick nodded. "Have you seen a doctor?" she asked and he shook his head no. "Why not?"

With tears in his eyes he mumbled, "I deserved it."

"Did you rob a bank or rape a child or kill some one?" my mom shouted.

Derrick only shook his head and wiped a tear away then Mike said, "It's because he's gay," and he started sobbing again. My heart sank to the floor, bounced back up into my throat then almost burst.

"Well that's just fucking wonderful!" my mom shrieked at the top of her lungs. I thought to myself, a siren needs to go off now warning of a nuclear blast because my mom does not normally curse. Peeking under Derrick's bandage again, she sighed then turned around saying, "Preston, you stay here with Mike. Keith and Derrick, come with me."

Derrick protested during the drive to the hospital saying his dad wouldn't pay and my mom assured him that his medical insurance would cover all expenses but he kept complaining. He's one of my best friends but man; he can be so stubborn and dopey sometimes. How could he possibly think that he deserved a beating like that, especially over something as unchangeable as his sexual preference? Briefly, I thought of where I might be if my dad weren't as accepting as he is. Quickly I pushed that idea right out of my mind.

What really blew me away was that Derrick's grandfather came to this country in 1935. It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that he was escaping Germany as the Nazi's were taking power. And now, some sixty years later that man's son was beating the shit out of his grandson. The irony is so thick you could slice it with a knife.

The next thing I knew we were at Valley Presbyterian Hospital where my mom works as a counselor. The emergency waiting room was almost empty but as soon as they saw my mom everything went into hyper-speed like Derrick and I were both dying or something. Every nurse and doctor that wasn't already occupied came from out of the woodwork while we filled out the admittance forms. Derrick got put into a wheel chair and taken away then a few minutes later it was my turn.

My mom came in with the doctor and watched while he started to remove my brace. They had more X-rays taken of my leg then another orthopedic doctor came in the room. That orthopedic guy may have been one of the best like they said but to me he was pure evil! He kept touching my knee, trying to move the kneecap around then he started bending my toes. When he bent my knee I gripped the table hard and cursed him under my breath. I was just fine with my brace and painkillers until Doctor Frankenstein started screwing around. After all those tests he tells me that my ligaments weren't torn after all and I should be walking without the brace in two or three weeks but to make an appointment with him before taking PE class again. Yeah right, I thought to myself, I'd rather start jacking off with steel wool pads! I probably should have asked him why I felt pain in my crotch during sex but the thought never entered my mind; I just wanted to get away from him as quickly as possible.

As soon as Doctor Killpatient was done torturing me I asked to see Derrick. My mom and I took a walk down to the far end of the emergency room. In the room with Derrick was his mom, a cop and another guy with a camera. Mrs. Siebert came out to the hall with my mom and I. She thanked my mom for her help and said that she never knew her husband was capable of such brutality. She wasn't home when the fight happened and wondered why she hadn't seen or heard from Derrick on his birthday. My mom told her no thanks were necessary and that she was welcome to spend New Year's Eve with us the next day. Mrs. Siebert said she would come by with Derrick in the afternoon, after picking Derrick up but would have to leave before dinnertime for her husband. Derrick got six stitches in the gash on his jaw. He had a broken nose; two cracked ribs and would be spending the night at the hospital for observation.

During the drive home, I asked my mom what was going to happen with Derrick's family now. She sighed and said, "I don't know but I had a long talk with Derrick's mom. If Mrs. Siebert were to press charges against her husband it would surely destroy their marriage. Naturally, she doesn't want that. But if Derrick pressed charges then the courts would certainly make sure that Derrick was safe from his father and ensure that he had a place to live. I'm afraid there's much more for the Siebert's to work out in the next few weeks and months." I could barely comprehend all the ways this would effect Derrick. And that would surely effect Mike then that would indirectly effect me and Prez.

Exiting the 101 my mom said, "We might have some other things to worry about."


"Such as Mike. He's got to be frightened and having all manner of thoughts crossing his mind." I nodded my head then she continued, "And Preston too."

"Why Prez?"

"He might be just as scared. I get the impression Preston's father would be capable of the same as Derrick's, don't you?"

"OH SHIT!" I shouted. "He's just starting to get it all back together too. You don't think he'll get all inside himself again?"

"I don't know but it hits pretty close to home for him." She said as we pulled on to our street.

My dad, brothers and Corey were sprawled out in the living room eating pizza when we returned home. Mom and I found Prez and Mike, both teary-eyed, in our bedroom. It was such a sad scene even Rush was sprawled out and looking about as depressed as a puppy can look.

Mike was scared that Derrick would leave him and with a quivering voice said, "You know last year Derrick came out to me, not the other way around." Forcing a chuckle he said, "He was so scared that I'd hate him. When I told him I liked boys too man, it was like a three hundred watt bulb turned on he was shining so much. He never told anyone else but me. I told both of you dudes. It's only the three of us that make up this side of his life. He could choose to just turn his back real easy." Then he sniffed and started sobbing again. "What the fuck am I gonna do? I don't know how to spend a day without him. I can't think of a single day in a year! Every day, at least for a little while."

He was wrecking me and it was difficult to try and think of something positive. Softly I said, "Derrick's not gone anywhere bud. Let him heal and take the time to think. Maybe I don't know him as well as you but he always chooses to hang with us, not any one else he knows from school or work. He'll come back, better than ever." I could almost believe my little pep talk yet I was as much in the dark as any one else.

Mike talked to us a lot until almost ten that night before deciding to go home. Prez didn't have a whole lot to say, just nods and one-word answers; that worried me. Together we walked Mike out to the 442. He hugged us both and we watched as he pulled away.

Taking my arm and wrapping it over his shoulder as we walked back to the house Prez joked, "Need some help there gimpy?" I laughed because he was joking around and looking for an excuse to hold on to me.

"I'm starving! How about we have dinner before breakfast?" Prez said as we walked into the house. As if we had been gone forever Rush came flying around the corner to welcome us, body slammed into the wall and it didn't even phase him.

"Sounds good to me. I hope there's some left over pizza." I said. My mom heard me from the living room and said there was almost a whole pizza sitting in the oven being kept warm. Prez and I went out to the kitchen and in a few minutes were joined by my parents.

"John doesn't know any of what's happened," my dad said. Prez and I nodded while we stuffed our mouths. We both knew that John would freak if he found out why Derrick got beat up.

"What does he know?" I asked thinking we'd better keep the story straight.

"John believes that Derrick slipped and fell here in the house." My mom answered.

Washing down his pizza Prez said, "It seems Derrick is always falling down or bumping into things. Mike said that was Derrick's explanation for a lot of bruises. I never caught on either. Guess we all know better now."

My dad got up and helped himself to a beer mumbling, "I'll never understand it. How can a father treat his son that way? Why would a kid think he deserved that kind of treatment?"

"You simply come to expect it." Prez said quite plainly. My parents just looked at Prez. I looked at them all for a long minute then, seeing us pausing he continued, "My dad never did anything like what D's dad did. Still he did hit me but with my dad it was more psychological than physical abuse. He'd say I didn't sort the mail right, I didn't mow the lawn right, I didn't rake the leaves right, whatever… nothing was ever good enough to make him happy so I started to believe that I wasn't good enough either."

"Do you still feel that way?" My mom asked.

"Sometimes but far less often recently." Prez answered with a smile.

My mom got up from the table, walked behind Prez and kissed the top of his head saying, "Just for the record, I think you're good enough," then walked off to the kitchen.

"Seconded." My dad quickly said. Prez just smiled and blushed.

In the kitchen my mom set up the coffee maker then came back to the table saying, "Some people have to work in the morning. Good night boys."

"I'll be along in five minutes." My dad said watching her leave the room. Then he asked us, "Have either of you met Derrick's father?"

I nodded saying; "Yeah, a few times but I've never had a talk with him. He seems really quiet."

"Only once but he never spoke to me either." Prez answered.

My dad finished his beer then shrugged and said, "I've never even heard his voice on the phone. I have to wonder if this was a one time only event or if it's happened before." Then he sighed and got up from the table, dumped his bottle into the recycling bin saying, "Derrick's a strong kid, he's going to be just fine. Good night guys."

Once my dad had left the room I leaned over and whispered to Prez, "Let me show you that you're good enough."

Smiling, Prez took my hand and started to stand asking, "How are you going to do that? Have you had some miraculous recovery?"

Pulling me up with him I replied, "Nope but I've got some ideas."

"I'll bet you do!" he laughed as he cleared the table. I opened the back door to let Rush out and found it was raining again. The pup didn't seem to mind though and I had to call him twice before he would come back inside. Prez grabbed the little maniac with a towel as he came in. Even as a puppy, Rush had no fear and he thought being toweled dry was some kind of new game. When we got back to our room Rush watched us get undressed then, when Prez turned on the TV and shut off the lights, he crawled into his crate for the night. I thought it was remarkable that in about a week the puppy had found his own pattern around our lives and routines.

Prez and I cuddled and chatted for a while before we went to sleep. At first I tried to talk him into sitting on my chest so I could suck him but he wouldn't here of it saying, "I'd just rather if we made love together." I thought it best to give that aching ligament a rest even though my cock demanded attention so we just talked. The conversation quickly turned to Derrick and Mike's problems and how we might be able to help. Again, I played the Devil's advocate and asked what he thought about the whole situation with Derrick and his dad. We talked for a few minutes about how rotten it would be to have something like that happen and especially on your birthday.

Then he caught my intentions and asked, "You really want to know more about my father, don't you?" I nodded and he sighed then said, "I don't think my old man would've done something like that. But seeing Derrick all smashed and bruised makes me wonder. I'll bet Derrick wasn't expecting it at all. I never knew what fucked up shit my old man would do or when. Would he have ever beaten me like that? I really don't know. I'm just thankful I don't have him to worry about anymore."

"I can barely imagine it."

"It's like getting a sudden severe case of jitters, like butterflies in my stomach whenever he's around. Even talking about him kind of has the same effect."

Taking the hint that he'd rather not discuss it further I wrapped my arm around him and pulled him close. A few minutes later, Prez was breathing deeply while I lay there awake for a little while longer watching TV. Eventually, I stopped fighting the painkillers and dozed off.

A thundering bang woke me up and practically scared the shit out of me. The TV had turned itself off then I looked at the clock as I tried to figure out what was going on. It was 4:30 in the morning. Reaching over to find out if Prez had heard the sound I discovered he wasn't even in bed. I got up, turned on the light and saw that Rush was also missing. For a minute or two I sat on the edge of the bed thinking that Prez had just taken the puppy out but what had made that sound, I wondered. Then my dad came to the room and called me to follow him.

"Did you hear that bang?" He asked stopping at the linen closet for some towels. I nodded and he explained, "I think Preston's sleep walking. He's out in the rain with Rush." When my dad and I reached the end of the hall we saw my mom standing at the opened front door. Peeking outside I saw my boyfriend wearing only his briefs and sitting cross-legged Indian style in the middle of the front lawn in the pouring rain. For some reason the scene struck me funny and I started laughing. My dad smiled and elbowed me. Mom saw no humor whatsoever in any of this, especially at that hour and said, "You'd better put a coat on and go get your boyfriend before he winds up with pneumonia."

My dad and I both put trench coats on and went out to get Prez. It was beyond weird dealing with Prez in his dream. We were only props in his sleepy world. Talking with him got us absolutely no where. When he did speak it certainly wasn't to us or about anything we said. Pulling me aside my dad said, "We're gonna have to try and pick him up without waking him or we'll be out here all night. Be gentle and be ready to move out of his way quick." Watching my dad closely I put my hand under Prez's arm then when he gave the signal we both started lifting.

Prez turned to me and asked, "Where are we goin'?"

"In the house bud." I answered knowing full well that I could've told him we were going to the moon and he probably wouldn't have cared.

Turning to my dad Prez asked, "Who are you?"

"A really good friend." My dad answered then he looked at me, smiled and crossed his eyes for a second as if to say his life is completely insane and out of control.

Finally, we got Prez into the house. My mom threw a towel over his head and another one over his shoulders then wrapped him in a blanket. Prez smiled at the nice lady then walked into the living room where he lay down on the floor and went right back to sleep.

"You better stay with him." My dad said and headed back to bed.

My mom explained, "He's either walking towards something or away from something in his dream. When he wakes up try and find out which it is." Then she yawned and shuffled back to bed. Since Prez was safe and snug on the living room floor I figured I'd go to my room and grab the blanket off our bed and crash there with him. Returning from my room I saw him sit up, look around then start to stand. Only the towel on his head remained as he wandered back towards the front door.

Blocking his path to the door I asked, "Where ya goin' baby?"

"To brush my teeth." He answered in a monotone voice as he tried to move past me to the front door.

Realizing right away that he was still asleep I told him, "that's not the bathroom Prez."

"It's not?"

Gently I put my hand on his shoulder to guide him but he shrugged it off. That bothered me a little bit but I had no idea what role I might be playing in his dream. After the accident, he had some restless nights and occasionally talked in his sleep but he never walked in his sleep before. "Come on bud, follow me." I instructed and started to walk back down the hall. Prez followed me and I opened the bathroom door for him. He waited for me to step aside then went inside and picked up his toothbrush. Opening the cabinet and looking in there for a long time I wondered what he was doing since the toothpaste was right on the sink. Where ever he was in the dream the toothpaste obviously was expected in the cabinet. The next thing I saw was Prez take the tube of Neosporin ointment out and begin opening the top! He was going to brush his teeth with antibiotic ointment! Blech! I almost shouted at him but just took the tube from him and quickly replaced it with the toothpaste. He stood there brushing his teeth, wearing wet briefs that I could see through, with that towel over his head like this was all quite normal.

My boyfriend is a barrel of laughs awake and asleep. I swear, it's more surreal than smoking grass!

Deep inside though the concern raised by my mom kept me from laughing hysterically. I just prayed that he wasn't dreaming of Texas and his dad. His peaceful dream would turn ugly in no time and that thought scared me. What if he thought at some point I was his dad and lashed out at me? I certainly couldn't move fast enough to avoid him and I sure as hell wouldn't fight him in any way. Fearing my destiny was to get slugged I was thankful when Prez finished brushing his teeth and left the bathroom. Rush was following us back and forth all this time but now that Prez was moving again he was right under our feet, wagging his tail and ready to play. Kneeling down on the living room carpet and wrapping him self in the blanket Prez went quickly back to sleep. I propped my bum leg up and got settled on the sofa behind him and fell back to sleep.

About an hour later, Prez woke me and asked how we got into the living room. When I told him that I'd tell him later and suggested he go back to sleep he said, "Yeah, well I think I'd just as soon stay awake. Bad dreams, ya know?"

The whole night it was obvious there was a lot on his mind. I felt like holding him close and never letting go, as if I could protect him from all dangers, both real and imagined but at the same time I knew that all I could do was listen. Lots of times I wish there were more that I could do. When I started to stand Prez helped me up. I wrapped him under the blanket with me as we walked back to our bedroom and I starting telling him of his late night activities. He didn't believe me at first but I had witnesses. Then I turned him around so that he could see in the mirror the grass and mud stains on his briefs. Completely shocked Prez began apologizing for keeping me up all night and then he asked if he had done anything embarrassing. I couldn't help myself and made up a story about him with an erection, wrapped only in a blanket and dancing with my mom. Unable to hold back as he gazed more suspiciously at me while telling my tale I started laughing uncontrollably. That's when he climbed up on the bed and attacked me while carefully avoiding my bad leg.

After a while we heard my parents in the kitchen. Prez got up off me saying, "I'm gonna go apologize for waking everybody up." I told him that he didn't need to and that he was being silly but he changed out of his soiled briefs, put on a clean pair of sweatpants and went out to the kitchen anyway with me and Rush right behind him.

As I expected, both my parents quickly accepted Prez's apology but told him it really wasn't necessary. Then my dad started goofing on him for parading around in the pouring rain wearing nothing but white briefs. After my dad left for the office, my mom started asking all her questions about why Prez was sleep walking. Since all Prez could recall was parts of the nightmare he had just before waking up she settled for that story.

"It was as if my mom and I never moved to California," Prez began, "but she died anyway and I was stuck there in Texas with my dad. I kept seeing all you guys though, on TV or in newspaper and magazine articles. Every time I saw y'all I'd get really happy and excited. That's what caused my father and I to fight. I wasn't allowed a moments happiness. I woke up when I took a swing at him and my hand hit the coffee table." He held up his left hand and sure enough, there was a bruise there.

My mom finished her coffee and said, "It sounds to me like you've reached a new conclusion by standing up for your right to be happy Preston. I would be very surprised to see you sleep walking again." Then she gathered her purse and got ready to leave for work, reminding us that she would be home around noon.

Prez offered to make me breakfast but I really wasn't hungry. "You need to eat before you can take a pill," he said then opened the refrigerator and asked, "how about some microwaveable sausage biscuits and a big class of juice?"

I nodded and minutes later I had been fed, given my painkiller and shuffled back to bed where I stayed until Prez woke me after noon.

Prez whispered, "Come on babe, wake up. Your folks are home. Mike's here with his mom and sister. The New Year's Eve party will be starting soon."

"Ok," I yawned and then stretched making my bum leg pop loud enough that Prez heard it.

"Oh man! Did that hurt?" He asked.

"Nah, it didn't," I said then tried to move my leg and continued, "but I don't think it helped much either."

"As long as it didn't hurt." Prez said standing up and offering his hand to help me up.

I gave him my hand and, as he helped me up I said, "I need some help in the shower."

Prez chuckled and asked, "Do you need help or just want company?"

"Does it matter?"

"I suppose not." He said just before he kissed me long and deep.

In the bathroom while Prez helped me take off the brace I whispered, "It's been four days dude. I can't remember the last time I went without four days."

"We could try again now if you want." He replied.

I thought for a minute then said, "I want to now but if we rush it my leg will probably hurt. How about we try later tonight, when we have more time and less people around."

Turning on the shower Prez said, "When ever babe. You still want me to join you or just wait here?"

"Join me," I said, "it would be a hell of a lot safer if I just held on to you. I felt like I might've slipped at any time when I showered at the cabin yesterday morning."

Quickly Prez took off his shirt and sweatpants, stepped into the shower and took my hand as I hopped over the tub. We were both hard as I held on to his strong shoulders while he washed my front. When he was ready to soap up my back he stepped out of the shower then back in again behind me rather than ask me to try and move. Once everything was washed and rinsed off Prez whispered, "I love that you want me to help you Keith. You've always been there to help me and it would bother me if you didn't ask me."

I shut off the water and said, "Of course I'll ask you Prez. There's nobody I trust more. Not too many dudes would understand about this groin cramp I get either."

"Anybody that saw you tumbling would. Besides, no one else matters. You're mine," he said wrapping his arms around me from behind.

I could feel him holding me upright and turned my head for a quick but somewhat awkward kiss.

By the time we toweled off and got dressed my aunt, uncle and grandparents were sitting in the living room with my dad watching a bowl game. I went to greet everyone and when I got to my aunt she hugged me and whispered in my ear, "Next time pay more attention to the slopes than to the lump in your pants." I started laughing. She pulled back and said, "Bet you can't call me a liar."

"Nope, I guess I was a bit preoccupied at the time." I said.

Then my aunt called Prez over and she gave him another big warm hug and whispered something in his ear. His reply, "Yeah I can feel her too," told me that what she whispered was about Mrs. O'Brian. I was still a bit over protective and silently wished my aunt hadn't said anything but when Prez turned around he looked fine.

We excused ourselves then went to go say hello to the folks gathered around the dining room table and kitchen. Kim's parents, Corey's parents, Mike and his mom where all there. Prez and I got some sodas then Kim's dad said, "maybe someone could check the three boys and two girls supposedly playing video games in the back bedroom?"

"Oh shush! They're just kids and they've only been alone for half an hour." His wife admonished.

I made a mental note to warn John of Kim's father. There's nothing more frightening than a nervous father protecting his daughter.

"I'll go check on them." Prez offered. Kim's father looked relieved until Prez started to leave the room joking, "of course if I'm not back in five minutes…" and everyone around the table laughed except Kim's father.

Taking a seat at the counter to give my leg a rest I heard Mrs. Gibbon's tell my mom that she believes her daughter has a crush on Drew. My mom said that Drew was very shy and that Lindsay would have to make the first moves. Then Mrs. Gibbon's said that Lindsay would either loose interest or eventually say something in desperation because she's shy too. What the hell is it about Drew, I wondered? He's only fourteen and has a cute boyfriend and a cute girl chasing after him too.

Mike came over and sat next to me asking, "How's the battle injury bro?"

"It's still sore." I said reaching up high on my thigh showing him where it hurt. "I'm feeling lots better since my morning nap though."

"You and Prez stayed up all night, huh?"

"Yeah, but not doing what you're thinking."

"Oh? What did you do this time?"

"He was pretty shook up by Derrick and spent half the night sleep walking."

"Really? That sucks."

"And when he stopped sleep walking, he had a nightmare this morning too."

"Jeez dude, I don't know what to say except I'm sorry."

"There's no need for you to be sorry. It's these fucked up fathers and the way they mess with their sons."

"I know, it's fucked up. I talked with my mom till late last night. As soon as D and his mom show up we're gonna offer him the spare bedroom in our house."

"Really? That's cool bro! He practically lives there half the time anyway."

"My mom says it's temporary but ya know I'm hoping it works out more long term, like till we get out of high school. It would be even better if he could just share my room with me."

"I'll keep my fingers crossed dude. A lot can change. Ya know last year I would've never guessed anything like this was possible. I was plenty happy just having a boyfriend and now that he's living here it's the best. Even this morning, around 5AM my dad and I were out in the rain trying to get Prez back in the house."

"Sounds like a Kodak moment." Mike chuckled.

"Definitely. And I wouldn't trade any of it for the world."

Prez returned and asked, "Wouldn't trade what?"

"Wouldn't trade you." Mike answered before I could.

"Geez! I hope not."

"I'll trade you my guitar for him." Mike joked.

"What the hell would I do with a guitar?" I asked playing along. "Now if you happen to have a Lamborghini or a Mazeratti we could start to talk a deal."

"Uh huh. Would a sports car hold you close and keep you warm at night?" Prez teased.

"He's got a point there dude."

"I'll throw in one of those giant stuffed Panda bears."

"Sold!" I shouted and the three of us cracked up.

My mom came over and waited for us to stop laughing with that "why do boys become men and go insane" twinkle in her eye then said, "I hate to interrupt this obviously intellectual conversation but the caterers will be here in about an hour. Would you boys get the folding tables in from the garage and set them up in the kitchen? I'll ask the other boys to help."

I nodded and Prez said, "Sure thang," exaggerating his Texas accent. With every step past the dining room and down the hall towards the garage I could feel myself getting light headed as all the blood rushed into my pants. As Mike opened the garage door I said, "hey dude, the deals off," and pulled Prez up against the wall. He looked kind of confused for a few seconds but soon the smile swept across his face and I kissed him. I intended just a few short tasty kisses but I leaned against him and his arms slid up my back holding me in place for a knockout lip lock. Out of the corner of my eye I could see Mike watching and smiling for a moment then he growled and turned away. A few seconds later Drew walked past giggling, then John kidded us saying, "break it up," followed immediately by Corey's comment, "they take a lickin' and keep on tickin'". I pulled away from Prez and his entire face seemed frozen in time, still holding the kiss. Slowly his eyes opened up and he smiled.

Barely above a whisper I said, "God, I love you."

"I love you too." Prez whispered.

Standing in the garage Mike said, "And I love you both but I swear I'm gonna flip out if you dudes don't get your buns in gear!" Grinning madly we stepped into the garage hand-in-hand. Mike surveyed the situation and said, "We have to move the drums aside to get at the tables." Pointing towards the corner he instructed, "You dudes move the drums over there and I'll move the cymbals. God forbid anything should happen to these babies…"

"And none of you would ever hear the end of it!" Derrick said from the open doorway. Mike looked up, his face turned white and expressionless.

Prez swung around quickly and said, "Hey bud, glad ya made it. How do you feel?"

Limping into the garage Derrick answered, "Good. Just a little tired. The last place you should ever go to get rest is a hospital. All that moaning and groaning… hope I didn't keep anyone else awake." As soon as he finished he looked at Mike for a long few seconds.

"I see they were able to patch up your funny bone." I said.

Derrick replied, "Yep, that was near the top of the list," but only glanced at me for a second before turning his attention back to Mike. Another uncomfortably quiet few seconds passed as Mike and Derrick took turns staring and looking away from each other. "Let me help move them drums." He said hobbling over towards Mike.

The tension was thick while we quietly moved the drums aside and began pulling down the folding tables from the ceiling. Drew and Corey left with the first one and John was right behind them as they left. Prez and I took the second table out into the kitchen leaving the third table for Mike and Derrick. After a few minutes my mom got my attention and she pointed at her watch. The caterers would be here any minute and we were still short one table. I tapped Prez on the shoulder and we both unwillingly headed back towards the garage.

At the garage door Prez stopped and said, "They're either arguing quietly or making up."

"In either case I don't want to bother them. They obviously need the time alone." I said.

"It's us or your mom or dad or someone else. I guess it might as well be us." Prez said with a sigh, turned the doorknob and peeked inside. Seeing them face to face and Mike's face red and tear stained again Prez said quickly, "Scuse us, just gotta get the table."

"Take all the time you need." I said picking up one end of the table. Prez picked up the other end and we got the heck out of there.

Prez closed the door behind him and said, "I hope they get things worked out soon. It really sucks seeing them like that."

"I know and completely agree. They can stay in that garage until school starts next week for all I care. As long as they pull their act together."

Prez and I unfolded the table and set it where my mom pointed then she threw one of those holiday paper table clothes over it. No sooner did we get the last table setup did the doorbell ring. It had to be the caterers because no one else we know ever uses the doorbell. For the first time Rush barked his head off when he heard the ringing sound. Prez picked him up and opened the door. Playful, hyperactive Rush turned into an untrained attack dog, trying to leap out of Prez's hands when the caterers came in. Prez quickly took Rush back to our room and put him in his crate.

I couldn't believe the amount of food the caterers had. One table was filled with cold cuts, rolls, breads and various salads. Another table was what they called their "International Buffet" and had fried rice, egg rolls, macaroni, meatballs and tomato sauce, Kilbasa and sauerkraut and more. Finally the last table was filled with more cookies, assorted snacks and little cakes; "truffles" my mom called them. What a fancy name for little cakes!

I want to know who thinks up these names! Like pigs in blankets aren't just little hot dogs wrapped in bread; they're hors d'oeuvres! Gimme a break!

The smell of fresh food had everyone scrambling around, chit chatting and loading plates. My dad was standing next to me and I commented, "there's an awful lot more food than usual. Are more people coming?"

"We hope so or we'll be eating this stuff for the rest of the week." He whispered.

"Who else is coming?" I asked.

"Just some friends of mine and your mothers. People we know from work. You'll like them."

"I'll like them? Who did you invite, rock stars and movie stars?"

"Nothing like that, just good people. One of my friends is a part time musician and happens to be gay. I thought you guys might like to meet him and his boyfriend." My dad had filled his plate to overflowing but was still looking around the table and the room. "Where's Mike and Derrick?" he asked.

"In the garage talking." I said.

He nodded and said, "Their mothers are also missing it seems."

"I think that's a good sign." I said and took a seat at the counter next to Prez. I looked at his plate and saw a single sandwich and a small pile of potato salad. "What's the matter, not hungry?" I asked.

"This is enough for now. I don't want to stuff myself and fall asleep before midnight."

"If your gonna start sleep walking again you could be the life of the party." I teased.

"I want to be the life of our party, later. You won't make it to five days if I can help it." He said teasing me back. I was so damn horny that even with a house full of company his statement sent all the blood rushing back into my pants again!

While I ate I prayed for just one orgasm that wouldn't hurt my leg and bring tears to my eyes. It was our Christmas vacation and, as far as I was concerned, lots of opportunities to make love were slipping right by us because of my stupid leg.

Prez had finished his sandwich and was waiting for me to finish my meal when Mrs. Gibbons and Mrs. Siebert reappeared from the garage. My mom got up, excusing herself from the table and I watched as the three of them disappeared again down the other hall, probably to the den.

"They didn't look upset or anything," Prez commented, "that's a good sign."

"It's Derrick's mom, she's stuck between her husband and son. What a shitty situation that must be." I said shaking my head.

After a minute's pause Prez said, "I can't wait. I'm just gonna go check out what's happening in the garage." Passing behind me he ran his hand across my back saying, "I won't be long."

The phone rang and I got up to answer it. "Hello?" I said.

"Hello." A familiar woman's voice said. "May I speak with Preston please?"

"Who's calling?" I asked.

"His Aunt Eileen."

Oh great, I thought to myself wondering how Prez would deal with hearing from his aunt. Her voice sounded so much like his mother's I almost messed my pants. "I'll get him. Can you hold a sec?"

"Yes, I'll hold." She said and I rested the phone on the counter then went to get Prez. This woman on the phone was his aunt and as far as I was concerned she had abandoned Prez the day of the funeral by not calling for the past three months.

I guess I had a funny look on my face because my dad asked, "What's wrong?" I sighed and told him who was on the phone then asked, "should I tell him or just hang up?"

"Let Preston deal with his family in whatever way he chooses" my dad said. I nodded but liked the idea of hanging up the phone much more.

Prez came into the dining room elated and said, "They're doin' just fine. Still talking, still teasing each other and me too." Then he saw the same funny look on my face that my dad saw. "Now what?" he asked softly.

"The phone's for you. It's your aunt." I said watching his face for reaction.

A crooked smirk moved slowly across his face. He nodded his head saying, "It's ok. I can deal with that."

"She was grieving too, Preston," was the only comment my dad made before Prez picked up the phone.

He turned and faced me after saying hello. It was plain that I was eavesdropping. If that woman got him upset or made him cry I was going to loose all restraint. Prez beckoned me to him with his finger. I went to him and he wrapped one arm around my shoulder while he carried on the conversation.

Prez said, "I'm sorry too… Yeah, I took care of that… I know… No, my life is here now… Very happy… I'm not angry, just disappointed… Yes… Sure we could… I kinda need to be here today but I could ask… ok, some other time… Whenever you want, just call… Yeah, I have your number… Happy New Year. Bye." Then he hung up.

We stood there quietly for another minute. With his arm over my shoulder I could feel him shaking. Finally, with a quivering voice he said, "Ya know, she sounds just like my mom. Excuse me," and started walking away.

I followed asking, "Are you okay Prez?"

He turned and looked at me with a weak smile and tears running down his cheeks saying, "Just give me a few minutes alone, okay Keith? It just freaked me out some. I'll be right back."

Watching Prez walk away and down towards our room my blood started to boil. Filled with rage, I quickly limped away towards the garage. Derrick was sitting on Mike's lap and they were a little surprised to see me storm into the garage, lay down on my weight bench and with every press mumble expletives. If I didn't have those weights then I'd need a punching bag sometimes. I mumbled curses and swore up a storm with every exhale and lift of the bar; "stupid fucking inconsiderate assholes never stop to think of a single goddamn thing but themselves." Finally, I had nothing but four-letter nonsense streaming from my mouth, my arms and chest ached and I had released most of the tension that had built up. Resting the bar on the holder I sat up, pulled off my shirt and wiped the sweat off my face.

Derrick turned to Mike and asked, "Was it good for you?"

"Hell yeah dude," Mike said excitedly, "I especially liked the `bitch bastard mutha fucker' one."

"Yeah that was good but the `stinky skanky fuckin scumbag whore' one had a certain ring to it. I'd give it a ten if you could put it to music and dance to it." Derrick said and they both cracked up.

At first, I was too tired to laugh but they just kept on goofing on me and my loss of patience. "Mister Wonderful has a temper and a filthy mouth. Does his boyfriend know of these attractive personality traits?" They would say stuff like that until I couldn't just smile or chuckle anymore but was roaring with laughter.

Prez came into the garage while we were still laughing and asked what he missed. Mike and Derrick filled him in on my outbursts. I guess maybe they thought Prez would be more surprised but he wasn't. We live together in the same room, watch the same TV, listen to the same music and hear the same daily news stories. Of course he knows I'm capable of my share of cursing and swearing. He just shook his head and chuckled then asked, "Is anyone besides me hungry? There's a lot of food out there still."

"What kind of food?" Mike asked.

"The un-powdered, un-Pasteurized, un-frozen kind." I said getting up and heading for the door. Mike and Derrick followed us out to the kitchen where they all loaded up their plates. Since I already ate a bunch and just did God only knows how many bench presses I settled for a sandwich.

Mike's mom came into the kitchen and told them everything was discussed with Derrick's mom. Derrick would be moving into their spare bedroom. Mike was ecstatic; it was written all over his face. She told Mike it was talking with both my mom and Derrick's mom that made up her mind to allow it. Tomorrow, when Mr. Siebert went out, Mike and Derrick could move his stuff. Prez and I offered to lend a hand.

Once Mrs. Gibbons had left the table and joined the folks in the living room Mike stopped eating and started giggling, "oh dude, it's gonna be great!"

"It'll be good," Derrick said with a weak smile, "I still feel like I'm imposing though dude. This is my dad's doing. He couldn't wait another year to get his faggot son out of his house. You know he and I have never been close. I tried to make it easier for them and me just by steering clear as much as I could."

"Please don't beat yourself up any more." Mike pleaded. Derrick sighed and shrugged his shoulders.

Prez reached for my hand under the table then said, "I feel like I'm imposing too sometimes D."

"What?" I exclaimed with a mouthful of partially chewed sandwich.

Squeezing my hand Prez said, "Sure, only sometimes. My mom is gone and my dad doesn't care. The Hundser's took me in, God knows they didn't have to. Those first few weeks I was lost and wishing I could change things to bring my mom back but I can't. Things had to be done those first few weeks that I wish I could forget but I know I never will."

While Prez talked I stopped eating and listened wondering why, after he had just got done weeping, he was saying this stuff that would likely make him cry again.

"I had no choice. You don't have a choice either, do you?" Prez asked.

Derrick replied, "None that I can think of. I sure can't afford a place of my own yet."

"Neither can I. But good people took me in, good people are willing to take you in. You need to find a way to not think that you're imposing, to become part of the family. Just the other day Keith's dad called me his son-in-law and made me feel more like a part of the family than ever before."

Taken completely by surprise I asked, "He did? When?"

Prez giggled and said, "Yeah, Saturday morning I think it was."

I thought back to Saturday morning, remembering how we made love that day and how incredible he was. Finally I knew why.

Mike looked over at Derrick and said softly, "My mom's main concern is my little sister. If we're careful maybe we can make this a long-term temporary arrangement. I want you with me dude. Try not to feel like you're imposing, okay? That would bum me out majorly."

Derrick sighed and said; "I'll try."

He wasn't sounding all that convincing so I said, "No one's life is perfect Derrick. Prez wants his mom, Mike wants his dad, I wish I hadn't done things to hurt my family and myself and your dad is an abuser. Join the club buddy, we're all fucked up in our own way."

And Prez added, "Maybe you could do stuff so you wouldn't be an imposition at all. All the things I used to do living with my mom, cooking and cleaning and stuff I still do, I'm just doing it here now. You've been doing your own laundry as long as I've known you. Bet ya Mike's mom would be pleased to see that done when she got home from work."

"She's already talked to me about some painting that needs to be done around the house this spring. With you around it'd be done in no time and a hell of a lot more fun too." Mike suggested.

The stereo in the living room was turned on and filled the house with big band music. My parents and aunt and uncle were dancing. I smiled and hollered, "All ya gotta do is keep the old folks chillin'." Finally Derrick smiled.

I kept thinking about my dad calling Prez his son-in-law. Every time the word "husband" crossed my mind my dick lengthened and throbbed. I started giggling to myself and Prez looked at me with questioning eyes. Maybe the idea of a permanent relationship would be scary to another guy but not to me and definitely not with Prez as my husband. I smiled wider and leaned over for a quick kiss. His hand slid over my lap and I could tell he felt my "problem". Alas, it was just another of many erections that would be left unattended to thanks to my bum leg. I swear I was starting to think about having my leg amputated from the hip down!

Prez finished eating and went to get Rush from his crate. My grandparents came over wishing everyone a happy New Year and kissed me goodbye before they left for home. Prez came back with the puppy and I went out back with them. It was a cloudy, balmy night but thankfully it wasn't raining. Mike and Derrick finished eating and joined us outside. The four of us spent a while outside playing fetch with Rush. Derrick and I sat on the lawn chairs while Prez and Mike stood and played fetch with the puppy. We could still hear the music from inside the house and Derrick was drumming on his knees. Then he started to giggle a little. He pointed to Mike who was shaking his ass around when he wasn't playing with Rush and Prez wasn't looking. I smiled and pointed this out to Prez.

Laughing for a moment Prez shook his head in disbelief and shouted, "What the fuck! Hey Mike I thought only rock and heavy metal music counted in your book."

"Heehee! Oops!" Mike giggled. "I give it a five on the nostalgia scale only cause you can dance to it."

"You rat!" Prez yelled, "all this time I've been looking for songs that meet your qualifications."

"I appreciate it too, really!" Mike said through restrained laughs as he took two steps back.

"I'd kick his ass," Derrick teased, "but I'm on the injured reserve list."

"Get him Prez!" I laughed as Prez started to advance.

Mike moved sideways, starting to circle and giggled again, "Don't make me hurt your skinny ass."

Throwing the squeaky ball for Rush to chase Prez then started to circle and chuckled, "my ass is NOT skinny - shorty!"

"I may not be tall but I guarantee I am not short!" Mike argued and dove for Prez's waist but he jumped swiftly aside and they circled around again.

I commented, "His ass is definitely not skinny."

"And Mike's definitely not short." Derrick added.

Head to shoulder they continued to circle preventing their hands from getting a good hold. "No fair kissing!" I shouted. Rush went back to them with his ball and, since neither obviously wanted to play fetch anymore, he brought the ball over to me. Taking the ball and throwing it I heard Prez start laughing harder. I told Derrick, "If Prez keeps on laughing he's a goner."

"I wonder what Mike said to make him laugh?"

"I don't think either is doing much but gabbin' and grabbin'."

"Hey! What are you two doin' over there?" Derrick shouted.

"Wouldn't you like to know?" Mike shouted back and Prez laughed again.

Drew and Corey came outside and Corey said, "Weird, they're trading partners inside and outside."

Drew asked, "What's going on?"

"We're not sure." Derrick answered.

My dad came to the back door and asked us come inside saying, "There's some people I'd like you to meet." We all went into the dining room and my dad introduced his friend from work, Doug and, "his significant other, Brian."

Both men stood offering their hands and Doug laughed saying to my dad, "very P.C." Each of the six of us introduced ourselves then Brian said, "We hear you guys are forming a band? Doug and I play a little now and then."

Brian was tall, about 6'2" about 170 or 180 pounds. Doug was much shorter and stockier, about 5'9" 180 or more pounds. Both men were in their late thirties and had brown hair, slightly graying hair and brown eyes. Noticing Prez and Derrick staring at Doug I gave Prez a gentle nudge.

"We haven't met but I've seen you guys around." Doug said with mysterious smirk. "What kind of music do you guys play?"

"Please don't say grunge." Brian added.

"Eighty's and ninety's classic rock. ZZ Top, Def Leppard." Prez said.

"All hard rock?" Doug asked.

Mike laughed and said, "Mostly, but I get the feeling that's gonna be changing very soon."

"You got that right!" Prez said.

"We want to mix up a bunch of old and new rock and R&B tunes, maybe mix in some other stuff. We've been thinking of what ballads to do lately." Derrick said.

"There's lots of good ones, old and new. Bonnie Raitt does a few really sweet ones." Brian offered and sat down at the table.

Doug sat down next to him saying, "and the Beatles."

"Crosby, Stills and Nash have a few excellent ones to choose from." Brian said.

"And the Beatles." Doug said.

Brian smiled at him. "Sit down guys, we don't bite on the first date."

"You did too!" Doug said chuckling as we sat down. "Right on my friggin' nose!"

"Quit yer bitchin', you liked it and still do." Brian said and Doug grinned widely and blushed. We all laughed.

"How long have you two been together?" I asked.

"About seventeen years. We met in October of 1980." Doug said.

Brain said, "By February 1981 we were boyfriends."

"Wow, that's a long time." Mike said.

"We've had our good times and bad times." Doug said.

"We lived apart for almost a year once around 1986."

"But we were still together, just not in each other's face every day." Brian said.

"Sometimes you have to do things you don't want to before words you don't mean start to fly. We still got together for dinners and occasional weekend sleepovers."

"Just like we never did as kids," Brian laughed, "there were even fun times then."

For a few moments pause in the conversation I thought that I could definitely see Prez and I in our thirties and still together. It was weird just trying to imagine us that old but I knew we would still be a couple.

Prez said, "My mom liked the Beatles a lot."

"Oh now you've done it!" Brian laughed.

"Would you guys like to jam? We could show you a few ballads and you could show us your chops." Doug said.

Brian laughed and said, "Don't mind him. He can't help speaking in tangents and innuendo."

"I didn't mean it that way!" Doug said then giggled.

Getting up and running his hand across Doug's shoulder Brian said, "I'll go get our stuff from the car."

"What's the matter Preston?" Doug asked noticing Prez staring again, "You still haven't figured out how you know me?"

"I'm sorry." Prez said blushing, "I couldn't help but stare. I do recognize you somehow."

"Me too," Derrick said, but I don't know how or from where."

"One afternoon last summer we were at the McDonald's drive-thru on Kanan Road."

"That was you?" Derrick exclaimed and Doug started to laugh.

"Singing Beatles songs in the car, yeah I remember now." Prez said smiling.

"You sing pretty good." I said

"I try. One too many cigarettes over too many years."

"Ugh! You smoke?" Mike said.

"Not too many cigarettes any more, if you get my drift." Doug said and took off his tinted glasses revealing two very blood shot eyes.

"Well that's alright then." Mike said.

"I don't do that very often either but I figured, what the hell, a little bit just for Brian and I for the holiday weekend."

"We don't toke out much either. Too expensive and there are much better things to buy." Derrick said.

"Just as well. That year Brian and I were apart was partially because of drugs. Arguments over who was into the stash, who got wasted finishing that last little bit, stupid fucking shit." Doug said. Pausing for a moment a whispering he asked, "None of you do anything more than a little weed?" We all shook our heads. "Good. Stay away from coke and cigs. They're the most addictive, body destroying substances out there that are just too easy to get. That one-year Brian and I blew three grand up our noses in three months time. The withdrawl was hell on earth for weeks. Do as I say guys, not as I do. Cool?"

We all nodded and Prez took my hand saying, "Speaking for myself only of course, I've been getting into other more natural highs lately."

Hell yeah he has, I thought to myself grinning. And as soon as I get this damned brace off my leg we'll definitely be getting light headed!

Brain returned with two cases and Prez suggested, "Why don't we move into the garage? There's lots more room and the rest of our stuff is there." We all got up and moved to the garage. Prez and Mike brought a few folding chairs with them.

While we were getting set up Brian asked, "What were you dudes talking about while I was gone?"

"Sex, drugs and rock and roll, what else?" Doug said plainly.

"Figures," Brian said opening up a case and setting up his keyboard. "Put your glasses back on you middle aged burn out."

"What does it matter?" Doug said opening up a case and putting a guitar across his lap, "I can't see anything with or without them now." We all giggled a little.

"Oh my God," Mike whispered as if he was in church, "A Martin D-35. In my wildest dreams… some day I'm going to own one of those and I swear I'll sleep with it."

"Umm… I don't think so." Derrick said walking behind his drums and sitting down.

Doug started playing various tidbits of recognizable tunes but he moved from one song to the next so quickly that I never figured out any of the titles. He was really good. "I sat down across from him and asked, "how long have you been playing?"

Never missing a beat he played and answered, "since I was thirteen, about 25 years now."

"There was a time when Doug would wake up in the middle of the night, get out of bed and spend hours drinking coffee and writing music." Brian said. With the wire for his keyboards in his hand he asked, "can I plug this in to the PA?"

Prez took the cord from him saying, "Sure, I'll take care of that." He plugged the cord into the PA and powered it on.

The keyboards came to life and Brian said, "Some bass drum please Derrick."

Derrick started playing the drum and Prez adjusted the volume with Brian's help. Those keyboards sounded amazing. One second they sounded like a piano the next a church organ then a string section, then a horn section. Prez and Doug tuned up a little bit to the keyboards. I nudged Mike and said, "see dude, sounds pretty cool."

"Are you going to play or just watch Mike?" Doug asked. That was all the encouragement Mike needed and he went to get his own acoustic guitar out. He sat next to me across from Doug and started playing Dee. A few beats into the song Doug played the song with him. It sounded fabulous with two acoustic guitars. "Good man," Doug said then started finger picking a different tune, "try this one." He started calling out chords and Mike watched and learned while they played. Just the two guitars sounded so sweet together. Looking behind me I saw John, Kim, Drew and Corey watching us.

"What song is that?" I asked.

"Helplessly Hoping by Crosby Stills and Nash." Doug answered. Brian began humming softly in the back ground while Doug and Mike worked out the song. A minute later Doug said, "great Mike. That's the whole song."

"Cool. That's easy. We don't know the words though."

"Not a problem. Bry, lend me you vocal chords."

"Say when." Brian said and Doug counted out to four then he and Mike started playing. Both men started singing and it sent a chill down my spine in seconds. They finished the song and I couldn't help but applaud. So did Prez and my brothers. I turned around and saw my mom and dad in the garage doorway also applauding.

Doug said, "This next one is real easy and you all know it so I hope to hear more voices. It's called Teach Your Children" He started strumming chords and Brian started playing his keyboards making them sound like a pedal steel guitar. Brian tapped Prez on the shoulder and started giving him instruction. They did the introduction a second time with Mike, Prez and Derrick then Brian and Doug started singing. They sounded so good together. After seventeen years I guess they've had plenty of practice. I think everyone in the garage sang along with the first chorus. During the second verse Doug sang the lead part while Prez and Brian sang the backup vocals. When the song finished my dad said, "Hey! They can play without knocking the plaster off the walls!" and everyone laughed.

Brian said, "Thank you very much and I hope we've passed the audition," then let out an evil little chuckle and Doug started strumming and singing If I Fell by the Beatles. Brian came in with harmony vocals. Soon Prez, Mike and Derrick each started playing. I looked around the room seeing my parents and aunt and uncle and John and Kim slow dancing. They finished to another applause and Doug started strumming then singing You've Got To Hide Your Love Away. Right away Brian started playing and singing Moondance by Van Morrison. Derrick and Doug came in right away. Prez and Mike soon joined in. I liked Brian's vocals much more than what I heard on the radio.

Brian asked, "Do you dudes get into surfer music much?"

"A little bit," Mike answered, "some is just… I don't know, way out dated."

"There's two good ballads by the Beach boys you could learn." Brian suggested.

"This will be the end of my voice for a while." Doug said, "Warmth?" he asked Brian.

Brian nodded then he counted to four and they played Warmth of the Sun followed immediately by Don't Worry Baby. Doug has a beautiful falsetto voice and sang the Beach boys as easily as the Beatles. I found myself humming along to see if I could reach those high notes and discovered that I could.

It amazed me how Doug sat there a few feet in front of me singing and looking at every one in the room. Sometimes he was looking right at me. Sure he was looking away and blinking but basically he was looking around at everyone. When he finished the song I asked him how he did that so easily. "I'm really not looking at anyone." He answered, "I look over them and past them. I'm giving Mike signals, concentrating on the lyrics and what I need to play and seeing almost everyone else dancing. That's more than enough to do all at once. There's only you sitting there watching me really. I do wish you'd knock it off by the way. Join in or something."

Making an excuse for myself I said, "I didn't know the words."

"Somebody name a Beatles ballad that Keith knows." Doug asked loudly. My eyes almost shot out of my head!

Before I could even say "no" my mom said, "Play Yesterday, he knows that one."

"Okay, good tune." Doug said to me, "Brian will do the strings part and it'll sound just like the record. I'll get you started and you come in." He immediately started strumming then came in on the first verse. He sounded good and I thought I could sound as good so at the second verse when the strings started I closed my eyes and started singing. All too quickly I thought his voice faded out and it was only me singing. Doug kicked my good foot twice while I sang making me open my eyes for a few moments but basically I kept them shut. When the song finished and everyone started clapping again I didn't know whether to laugh, cry, shit or go blind! While they were clapping Doug leaned forward and said, "You're good, don't let it go to waste."

That night we made two new friends and they're twice our ages. In only a few short hours we learned we had lots more in common than music and sexual preference. Brian said that he had taught a girl to play keyboards in the area and he would see if she were interested in playing in our band. They played two more songs before midnight; Brian sang Walk Of Life and Doug sang the acoustic version of Revolution.

Five minutes before midnight we all went out to the living room to watch the ball drop in Times Square on TV. My dad and uncle each popped a bottle of champagne. With the customary ten-second countdown everyone yelled Happy New Year then the hugs and kisses traveled around the room.

A lot of things had changed over the past year. For some of us it got better. For me stronger relationships were formed and I say it's because of Prez. For Prez and Derrick there was a sense of putting the sadness behind them as much as they could and look forward to better days ahead. I sure had no clue what 1997 would bring my way after a depressing close to 1996. What would 1998 bring us? We would very soon find out.

A lot has happened already this year. Many of you have learned that my web site was shutdown. The Link below is NEW! A site that will not likely go away anytime soon so update your links. There's a mailing list, message board and the ful MP3/RMJ Audio/Video gallery along with pictures of the main cast of A New Life. I hope you visit soon. Peace,
Come visit me and others at The Glass Onion.
Comments and constructive critisisms are welcome.