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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A New Life Chapter 40 Part C

Winding Turns

Smiling widely, I watched Prez, his arms wrapped around his belly, staggering around the front lawn and laughing hysterically. I started thinking of some other suggestive stuff to say to keep him laughing. But after a few moments, I couldn't tell if Prez was laughing or crying. Still staggering around, it appeared that he was laughing but the sound was beginning to worry me. Walking around the car again, I went to him.

Even in the dark, it was clear that Prez's face was tear stained again. He noticed me standing about a meter or so in front of him. I reached for him and Prez threw his arms around me, burying his face in my shoulder. My goodness, he squeezed me tight! After another minute or so, he began hiccupping through his laughter. Slowly he tried to control himself but then he'd hiccup again and giggle at himself. But he was just catching his breath and didn't dare let the giggle break lose again.

Cautiously, I asked, "You okay?"

Nodding rapidly, Prez hiccupped, "I lo-ove you."

Holding him close and squeezing tight, I whispered, "Always and forever, baby." Giggling with him at every hiccup, I began rubbing his back to relax him.

After a few more minutes, Prez stopped laughing but occasionally hiccupped, causing his entire upper body to bounce slightly. He hoarsely explained, "It was just like our first night, with the Nintendo. You have a wicked mind, Keith Hundser, and I do love you very much."

Then I noticed my mom peeking past the curtains out the living room window. Moments later, my dad stepped outside and walked over to us. On his way towards us, he asked, "Is everything all right?"

Turning us around slightly but never letting go, Prez smiled, "The very best."

All I could do was smile and shrug.

Stopping besides us and looking at Prez, my dad said, "From the house, it almost sounded like you were upset."

Breaking our embrace but reaching for my hand, Prez explained, "I just remembered something from the night we met." He then hiccupped and giggled, "It cracked me up then and still does."

My dad smiled and nodded, "It's close to ten, let's go inside." Shifting his glance between us, he asked, "Do you need any help?"

Shaking my head, I answered, "No thanks, dad, we've got it. We'll be inside in a few minutes." The amp was bulky and heavy but we could easily handle it.

Nodding, "Give a holler if you change your minds," my dad then turned and headed back into the house.

Prez let go of my hand and we went to my car. Looking over the roof of the car at me, he grinned, "I'll yank on it," and hiccupped one last time. We opened the back doors and began removing the amp. In order to get it out, Prez had to push down on his end because the seat cushion held the amp up and it wouldn't go past the rear doorframe. At first, it only moved a few inches at a time. But once we got the amp about a foot past the door, it took only three more combined pushes and tugs to get it all the way out. I closed and locked my door while Prez set the amp down. "Whew!" he breathlessly said as I walked around the car, "It sure is built solid."

Closing the other car door, I asked, "Do you think this will last most of your career?"

He nodded, "Definitely. Maybe someday I might need another but I'd doubt that would be any time soon."

Grabbing hold of the amp's handle, I wondered, "A really big one, like I've seen in concert posters?"

Squatting down and looking up at me, Prez replied, "Yep, like that. But I won't get one until I'm sure that I'll need it. Did you see the one at the store? It was six hundred watts and two grand! I couldn't use an amp like that at home any way, it would be way too loud." Then he took hold of the bottom of the amp. We lifted and carried it into the garage, putting it down next to Mike's amp, across the room from Prez's other amp. While Prez began plugging it in, I pressed the button to lower the garage door. Then Prez got a cable and his new bass guitar out of its case. Seconds later, my mom and dad stepped in from the house.

My mom nodded and smiled, "It looks very nice." They had several acoustic bass models on display at the store; some with solid colors and a few with sunburst finishes. The body of Prez's bass was plain wood with no color, just a gloss varnish.

My dad suggested, "Can we hear it without the amp first?"

Prez smiled, "Sure," and then began playing. While he played, he again compared the other acoustic bass he had tried at Guitar Center to all the features that this bass had. He happily said, "And this bass was actually about fifty bucks less than that other one," then stopped playing. Stepping back, he powered on the new amp, adjusted a few knobs and started playing again.

My folks nodded and smiled at each other then turned to Prez again. He was shaking his bubble butt around and getting into his playing. Every now and then, he accidentally slid a little too far past a note but immediately slid back. As usual, he grimaced briefly. Over the sound of his amp, he then loudly explained, "There's no frets so it's a new challenge." About a minute later, Prez stopped playing and powered down the amp.

We returned to the living room and on the way, my mom asked, "I don't understand why you need another amplifier, Preston."

As we took our seats, Prez explained that some of our friends were at the frolics and that, from where they were sitting, the drums and bass weren't loud enough. Then he expanded on it, telling my parents about the list of other things that the band needed so they could be prepared for gigs. He finished, "I've been thinking of getting an acoustic guitar or maybe a keyboard too but I'll be busy for a while with the fretless bass. Those things can wait since I'm not certain what I really want yet."

My dad nodded and smiled, "You're thinking ahead for the band and your career, that's good. Please remember income taxes and your other responsibilities, though. I'd hate for you to have to sell off any of your investments."

Nodding, Prez took my hand and smiled, "I will and Keith will too, I'm sure."

Squeezing his hand in mine, I grinned, "You got that right!"

My mom then asked, "Is there anything left over that you could put back in your account?"

Prez nodded again and explained, "I'll be able to do that after I get a bass pod, probably tomorrow, after school. I'd like to be able to deposit three hundred, hopefully as much as five hundred."

Standing and walking towards us, my mom said, "I'm glad you're pleased." Then she leaned over and kissed Prez on the cheek and gave me a peck too. She yawned, "It's bedtime. Nighty-night," and started towards her bedroom. Rush got up and followed her.

My dad said, "I'll be along in a few minutes."

Once my mom had closed the master bedroom door behind her, Prez turned to my dad and asked, "Are you upset with me or Keith?" Rush returned and lay down near the loveseat so he could watch everyone in the room and the front door while he gnawed on a rawhide.

Slightly stunned, my dad quickly said, "Not at all. It would be irresponsible of us to just let you go hog wild, don't you agree?"

Prez nodded and softly said, "Please don't put Keith between us. Anything you have to say, I'll listen to. I hope you know that."

My dad smiled and nodded, "We do. It's good to hear again though."

Turning to Prez, I softly said, "I don't really think I'm in the middle too much. You asked me to watch over you when you're spending that money. The trick is knowing when to even try and stop you."

My dad added, "We all have the same goal, to make sure the money is there for college and beyond."

Prez said, "We were talking about college tonight too."

I grinned and corrected; "We were talking about college finances." Then I turned to my dad and asked, "I have a college fund, don't I?"

My dad quickly nodded, "Of course! There's one for each of you."

I asked, "Do you expect any problems?"

Shaking his head, my dad replied, "There's over a hundred and fifty thousand in your account. That should be more than enough for tuition, books and room and board over five years. With any luck, there might be some left over. Don't count on a lot though."

Prez asked, "How did you figure how much you'd need."

"Based on what it cost for us to go to UCLA," my dad answered. "Back then it cost about five grand a year in tuition and books alone. So we figured that would probably double. We both lived in the dorms the first year but discovered that moving into rented houses with a few friends cost about the same. Based on what it cost us - and then factoring in inflation - we figured on twenty-five thousand per year for room and board. Add it all up and it comes to about one hundred and fifty grand. Drew will need a little more. And John, more than that."

A preview of eleven o'clock news started. They were reporting on another kid that had shot up his school two weeks prior. Twice in May, there were school shootings - a kid in Tennessee and then only two days later, another kid in Oregon. The first kid only shot one person - his ex-girlfriend's new boy friend. The other kid went berserk shooting people in the cafeteria. Holding my hands out, I asked my dad for the remote and he tossed it to me.

I hit the scan button and Prez said, "I've got way more than that!"

My dad grinned, "Your mom was a smart cookie. She took everything into account. That's what accountants do."

Prez asked, "So I can figure on at least half of that money still being there six years from now?"

Nodding, my dad reminded, "Stocks are more volatile than other types of investments. Right now, that's working to your advantage. Knowing when to switch to more stable investments is the magic act. I'm thinking about various charitable contributions you might make that would lower your taxes."

Prez said, "Can we concentrate on stuff that works for gay rights?"

My dad nodded, "Anything you'd like."

I suggested, "Maybe children's hospitals too?"

Prez smiled and nodded, "I over estimated what college would cost. It's a nice feeling, being able to give some back somehow."

Grinning devilishly, I whispered, "Concentrate on charities instead of CD's at Circuit City... or whatever else you might be looking at in there!"

Prez snickered then leaned closer and whispered, "Hawaii after graduation!"

Rolling my eyes, I fell back into the loveseat and giggled. I caught my dad smiling widely at us.

He said, "There's school and work tomorrow. Good night, guys," and then stood up and went to the kitchen. Moments later, the kitchen lights went off and he went into his bedroom.

Catching Prez looking off into space, deep in thought, I asked, "What are you thinking?"

He softly said, "I see you and me, in our mid twenties, done with school, with good jobs and living in a nice house. And, if my charitable contributions have any effect at all, we'll be able to get married too. It's right there, at the tip of our fingers but still out of reach." He sighed then turned to me and grinned, "Nothing would make me happier."

Leaning closer to him, I whispered, "As long as you're there, baby," and kissed him. Prez wrapped an arm around me and held me for a few moments. When we broke the kiss, I turned off the living room TV and we got up. Rush raced us to the bedroom but we first stopped in the bathroom. While we were leaking, I asked, "What is a bass pod any way?"

Prez smiled, "It's like Mike's GT-3, multiple effects in one unit, but it's made for bass. And with stereo outputs, I can connect to both amps and really make the ground shake!" I chuckled and he said, "I think that'll move enough air in our school's auditorium." Beyond the bathroom door, Rush whined. Prez sighed, "Another priority for this summer is Rush. Now that he's trained, I haven't been spending enough time with him."

I agreed, "And he's not shy about letting us know it."

He said, "As soon as school is out, he'll get a morning walk every day." Prez flushed the bowl then turned to me and asked, "Are there any beaches we could take him to?"

Walking over to the sink, I told him, "There's a place just a short drive north of Zuma. That's where we took Aldo."

Prez smiled, "Very cool! Between walks and trips to the beach, maybe we'll wear him out and he won't be such a spaz."

While washing up, I asked, "Do you want to take him camping with us too?"

Taking the soap from me, Prez answered, "Maybe - but not always. I'll be too busy with you to watch him."

In the mirror, I caught his eyebrows bouncing.

We finished up and opened the door. I could swear that Rush actually squinted and glared at us like he was angry! Then he trotted across the hall and we followed. I closed the door behind me and, before I knew it, Prez was pressing his entire body against me, rubbing his hands over my torso. His hands slid under my T-shirt and he whispered, "Skipping nights is good sometimes, don't you think?"

Turning around and hugging him tight, I nodded, "We were pretty emotionally drained. In some ways, the talks we have are as good as sex."

Nuzzling my ear, Prez said, "I'm still a little bit shocked over something you said."

I softly asked, "Which something?"

Hugging me tight, he sighed, "It was so sweet! You said that I was the center of your world."

I nodded, "You are. If there's any decision to make, I ask myself - is it good for us? Is it good for you? Only then do consider my own opinion."

Inhaling deeply, he pulled back slightly and smiled, "I'm ready for some physical bonding." Then he passionately kissed me. Soon, he began working his way down and around my neck. I slid my hands up under his shirt. Getting the hint, Prez stepped back and leaned forward, allowing me to remove his shirt. He then took my shirt off and we quickly moved towards each other again for another hug and kiss. A rather strange thought flashed in my mind while our tongues slid around.

Prez pulled away and began attacking my neck and throat. It gave me the shivers! For a few moments, I didn't know whether I should mention my idea or not. Prez moved down to my right nipple. I figured that I'd better say something soon or it would all be over but the sweating! Softly, I said, "Prez?"

He hummed on my nipple and my brain spun wildly. Shaking the feeling away, I asked, "Would you like to try something?"

Standing up again and grinding his crotch against mine, he smiled, "Like?"

Looking up thoughtfully, I grinned, "What if we didn't actually have sex until Friday night? We could still do stuff, just because we need it, but not actually touch each other?"

Prez grinned, "Like last summer?"

I nodded, "When we were showing each other what felt really good."

Prez asked, "Can we use our toys?"

I kissed him and smiled, "You read my mind."

Quickly, Prez kissed me again. Then he stepped back, turned around and went to the night table. I followed and said, "I already feel like I could burst any second. In two days..."

Turning around with both dildos and the lube in his hands, he finished my sentence for me. "We'll ravage each other."

Taking the smaller, seven-inch dildo from him, I grinned, "Let me see if this thing feels anything like your thing!"

Prez chuckled, "This big one is close to how you feel inside me. Once it's in, there's not too much difference in width. I don't notice the difference in length at all. But its not as silky smooth siding in and out."

I asked, "Do you want to try the smaller one then?"

Shaking his head, Prez answered, "Not this time. Tomorrow night, after you've tried it and confirmed how it feels, then we'll switch."

Nodding, I stepped back and put the dildo on the desk. Prez followed and did the same. Then we continued making out and got the rest of our clothes off. There's nothing like having someone very special to be with. I couldn't imagine what it might be like if Prez and I didn't share the ideas we had. And that same freedom of expression flows over into our sex lives.

The other day, after Mike's party, Prez wanted to try something and I went along with it. It was fun and really good for both of us. This was my turn to suggest something different and Prez seemed to like the idea. He broke our kiss and reached around me for the big dildo. I turned around, picked up the lube and the other dildo. When I turned around again, I smiled and gently pushed him back away from me, softly giggling, "If we're too close, the whole idea will fly out the window!"

Taking two steps back, Prez chuckled, "I'm wondering if we'll manage to keep our hands off each other tomorrow."

Flipping open the tube of KY, I drew a bead of lube along the shaft of my cock and then drew a longer bead on the dildo. Then I handed the tube to Prez. I watched him do the same while I spread the lube around the dildo. Watching my lover lube his big dick, my cock lurched and my heart beat relentlessly against my chest. Omigod! I wanted to be the one stroking his dick! Prez tossed the lube onto a pillow then knelt on the bed and shuffled over while he spread the lube around the other dildo.

I got on the bed, knelt down and faced him, with my back to the entertainment center. Prez reached for my cock. Stopping him just in time, I giggled, "Not until Friday."

He forced a frown but then smirked, "Just testing."

Jacking my bone slowly, I giggled, "Uh huh, sure!" then reached back and lubed my butt.

Doing the same, he chuckled and asked; "Does this feel the same as last summer to you?"

I shrugged, "In some ways, yeah. But we've already learned what to do and how. The exciting part is not touching you when you're right there."

He nodded, "Can we at least hold hands?"

I nodded, "Sure, just not the dick, nads or any other erogenous zones."

Moving his dildo behind and underneath, Prez grinned, "Cool. Reach for my hand when you're about to shoot." Then he lowered himself onto the toy. "Damn!" Prez softly groaned, "It's got a much bigger and rounder head. Getting it inside reminds me of last summer."

Holding my dildo in place underneath me, I lowered myself down onto it. The head easily slipped inside. I paused and said, "This isn't anywhere near as fat as you are. I can already feel the difference." Then I easily lowered myself the rest of the way down. My butt was touching the blanket and I could feel the rubber nads on the base of the dildo. I sighed and began slowly stroking my bone.

Softly whimpering, Prez lowered himself down, pausing and backing off slightly before finishing. Prez huffed, "I love you, Keith."

I panted, "I know baby. We're together, feeling the same feelings at the same time."

The soft, loving expression in Prez's eyes made me want to start moving. I raised my self up slowly until I felt the head just inside me then lowered myself down again.

Omigod! Watching Prez jack his cock and ride that dildo like he would ride me while I was doing the same almost caused a major cerebral hemorrhage! He was watching me too, moving at the same pace I was. Soon we began to speed up and got slightly out of sync.

Prez groaned, "It's beating the hell out of my prostate. Only another minute, if I'm lucky."

That sent a shiver of blissful anticipation racing around my body. I whispered, "Cum, baby. I love seeing you shoot," and picked up my pace.

He heaved and squatted all the way down, jacking his cock like crazy, thrusting his hips to and fro. Even with a dildo that was bigger than my bone inside him, Prez kept looking at me, glancing from my face to my dick with a hungry, desperate expression on his face. A mammoth orgasm was building and I adjusted my pace so I could cum with him. I whispered, "Soon, baby."

Reaching for my hand, he whimpered, "Oh God, Keith," and threw his head back. I watched him franticly beat his meat and suddenly slow to a third of the pace. He held his breath for only two or three seconds then huffed and shot across the bed. Some landed on my chest and belly. Raising himself up and quickly slamming down again, his next shot landed on my hand, leg and hard dick. That set me off. I sighed and shot straight up in the air, drenching us even more.

Moments later, when we where able to focus again, we leaned forward and kissed deeply; still milking our leaking bones. Sliding his face to one side, Prez then whispered, "Omigod!"

I chuckled, "It was pretty good, wasn't it?"

Leaning back and pulling the dildo out, Prez grinned, "You saying that we were feeling the same thing at the same time almost set me off!"

Pulling the rubber toy out of my bum, I reminded, "That was one of the reasons why we got them."

Getting up off the bed, Prez said, "Tomorrow, we'll switch." I got up and followed him across the hall to wash off the dildos. While we were finishing the task, Prez asked, "Did it feel like me?"

I shook my head saying, "It's supposedly a half inch longer but I honestly didn't notice. What I did notice was the width. The half-inch in diameter you've got over the dildo makes a big difference. And, you're right, it doesn't feel anything like lubed flesh sliding in and out." Done with the dildo, I wet a washcloth with warm water and began wiping cum off me. Grinning mischievously at him, I softly giggled, "Power shooter."

Wiping himself off, Prez chuckled, "You got me too!"

When he finished, I pulled him to me, hugged him and grinned, "That must've been close to three feet."

Blushing and giggling, Prez shrugged. We padded back across the hall. I closed and locked the door then turned off the lights. Getting into bed, Prez asked, "Did you ever jack off last October or November?"

Walking around the bed in the dark, I truthfully answered, "Not successfully. I wanted to and tried but couldn't. Most of the time, it wouldn't even get completely hard. With you hurting so much, it was pretty impossible." Getting in bed, I asked, "Did you last January?"

He snuggled close and softly answered, "I didn't need to. You kept me satisfied even though you weren't able to finish. I don't think I went more than two days before you'd attack me again."

I yawned then said, "And I would've done it more if you had let me."

Reaching for me, Prez yawned, "We can last till Friday night."

Snuggling, I sleepily said, "After Friday, maybe we can try to be like Mike and Derrick for a while."

Prez giggled, "Just to see the surprised look on their faces!"

Hugging him tight, I whispered, "G'night, lover."

Safe and secure in my arms, he sighed, "Good night, babe." 



Sunlight beaming in the room woke me before the alarm. Rolling over, I reached for Keith and held him tight. The room looked like it did last summer in many ways. Purposefully, to remind myself, I noted the changes. The desk was now where Keith's entertainment center was. My mom's entertainment center was where the dresser used to be. And behind me, the dresser now stood where the desk was last year. Again, I found myself fighting the feeling that I was visiting so I searched my brain for something else to concentrate on.

I thought of my new bass and amp. Then I wondered if there were any other multi-effects units for bass guitar and what they might cost. Silently, I thanked my mom for everything she had ever done for me. But I almost wished that she hadn't had so much life insurance. That money would be a constant reminder of her death for a very long time to come. All I could do was find appropriate ways to spend it and remember the price she paid. Tears welled in my eyes but I wouldn't let Keith go to wipe them away. They rolled freely down my face while I tried to make sense of everything. Half of me wanted to quickly spend every dime of that money. But another half of me realized it was for college and to start my life.

"That's right, sweetheart, it's for your life now."

"But it's so much, mom - three times as much as I'll need."

"I didn't know what you might need, Preston. As far as I was concerned, you might've stayed in the apartment. That would've meant you were responsible for rent and utility bills that you couldn't have afforded on your own."

"Didn't you think of Aunt Eileen or the Hundser's?"

"I thought of your Aunt. Being my only sibling, I knew that she'd be wrecked if anything happened to me. I also knew that you would be in shock for a very long time. As for the Hundser's, how could I ask them to support you? We'd only known them a few months."

"Am I still in shock, mom?"

"No, I don't think you are. You're confused, remembering me but still moving forward in your own life, as if you're living in two different time periods. You can stop it though. You have stopped it and will always be able to."

"Will it ever change?"

"Eventually. The memories will fade and become more pleasant in time."

"Are you angry because I spent some money yesterday?"

"Are you angry because I left?"

I thought long and hard about that question before answering, "Yeah, sometimes."

Keith rolled over. He gave me a peck on the cheek and ground himself against me. His eyes opened and he hoarsely whispered, "What's wrong baby?"

I softly whined, "She didn't answer my question."

"Who didn't?"

"My mom."

Blinking his eyes, Keith tried to focus and asked, "What was the question?"

"Was she angry because I spent some money yesterday."

Shifting to hold me, he groaned, "Oh, Prez." He kissed my forehead then asked, "It happened again, didn't it? You felt you were visiting?"

Sobbing, I nodded and held on to him for dear life. The clock radio turned on. While the DJ rambled on for a minute or two, Keith held me and softly reassured me. Then, in the background, I heard the DJ say, "This mornings traffic jam rock block is a left-over from last night. We were supposed to play it then but it got lost in the shuffle. This set is from Mike and Derrick for Keith and Prez, as an apology for a dirty prank, it says." Keith stopped talking and I reached to wipe my eyes. With the start of Open Arms playing in the background, the DJ continued, "For everyone else, hopefully this will make braving the morning rush a little easier to swallow." Then Keith began softly singing.

From the center of my soul, a hundred emotions seemed to burst out at once causing me to shiver. I couldn't smile, laugh or cry but simply held my lover and remained in a mild state of shock. Still singing, Keith got up and turned on the stereo. Quickly changing to the same station, he then turned up the volume and sang the bridge into the chorus. Then he beckoned me to him with his index finger. Swiftly, I shuffled out of bed and wrapped my arms around him. We began swaying slightly and Keith sang clearly through the entire song. I felt so alive - every nerve in my body seemed to be tingling. As the last notes were still ringing, Weird began to play. Keith never let me go. We continued swaying and he sang all of Weird while holding me close.

Strangely, while remembering the Hanson video, I saw myself traversing real life the days after my mom's accident. In my mind I saw doctors, nurses and priests, all with their faces blanked out. There were only two faces in my mind during that time - my mom's mostly bandaged face and Keith's face. I remembered my aunt and uncle at the hospital. Mike and Derrick would be at the Hundser's house late at night. All of them were faceless people, in a faceless crowd. Only Keith and my mom stood out.

After a brief station announcement, Don't Dream Its Over began playing. I stopped dancing and pulled back smiling, "They're playing our frolics set!"

Also smiling, Keith nodded and said, "I wish I had thought of it."

A little surprised, I asked, "They didn't mention it to you?" and Keith shook his head. I looked down and saw Rush sitting close by, wagging only the tip of his tail. Looking up at Keith again, I grinned, "I wonder why they did it?"

He shrugged, "Dunno. Maybe they were practicing last night. For Friday, ya know?"

Silently, we slow danced through the rest of the song. There was a brief station announcement and then Don't Worry Baby began playing. Turning, I glanced at the clock. It was about ten after seven. Facing Keith again, I suggested, "Might as well get started."

He nodded and went to the dresser. Handing me a pair of cotton sport shorts, he asked, "You're bringing the new bass today?"

Sliding the shorts up my legs, I said, "Yep! Mike's gonna be really happy."

Keith put on his shorts, then, just as I was about to call the dog; he took hold of my hand and said, "As long as you're happy, baby."

Back in the real world and in the current time frame again, I nodded enthusiastically; "I am now! Mike's timing is impeccable!" Then I slid close to him whispering, "And you're about the sweetest person in the whole world."

With Rush galloping around, Keith smiled and kissed me softly. Then we started for the door. Keith said, "They were supposed to play it last night."

I opened our bedroom door and Rush tore out of the room. As we walked down the hall, I said, "Last night would've been very cool too but this morning... you and the music really cracked the time warp."

Heading into the kitchen, he giggled, "Time warp?"

I nodded and let the dog out saying, "That's what I've been doing - flashing back and forth sometimes. Any little thing sets it off too."

Grabbing two small bottles of apple juice from the fridge, Keith asked, "What set it off this time?"

I shrugged, "Just the way we were laying and the way the sun was shining past the blinds into the room." Then I sighed, "I don't know how you put up with me."

Smirking, Keith handed me a bottle of juice and said, "The alternative is far less interesting in so many ways." He began drinking his juice but his eyes were smiling and glimmering in the sunlight.

He was right too. After being alone for so long, having someone to do things with is so much more fun. And it wasn't like we were doing much. We were just drinking juice while Rush inspected every corner of the back yard. But I wasn't doing it alone. I had been facing too many realities alone, I realized as I finished my juice. What I needed to learn was how to bring the memories into the present. Keith's mom has always told me to do just that. I guess I just didn't understand all that entailed.

Keith was smiling at me. I giggled, "I'm still here."

Mrs. Hundser walked in the room dressed but without her makeup on. She said, "Good morning! You two are mobile earlier than normal."

Taking my juice bottle and tossing them in the trash, Keith shrugged, "It's summer!"

Pouring a cup of coffee, Keith's mom smirked, "I'll remind you that you said that, two weeks from now when you're sleeping in until almost noon!"

Keith snickered briefly. Then I turned to him and suggested, "Ya know, just for the sake of being different, we could start our days a little earlier?"

He said, "But still later than school days?"

I nodded and said, "Eight."

He grinned and giggled, "Ten."

Passing us on her way back to the master bedroom, Mrs. Hundser said, "Nine it is." Just before she steeped in the room, she turned to me and asked "Would you like me to pick up sun-block at the market this weekend?"

I shook my head saying, "No thanks, we need to go get a few things tomorrow night anyway."

She nodded and said, "Don't forget to get it before you start going to the beach," then stepped into her bedroom.

Keith softly giggled, "Ready to shower, my fair skinned lover?" and started for the bathroom.

Following and chuckling at his silliness, I countered, "Any time, my sexy surfer stud!"

He giggled and groaned, "Oh jeez! Is that the best you could do?"

Dressed and ready for school, Drew stepped out of his room just as I said, "If I can be your fair skinned lover then you're my sexy surfer stud."

Rolling his entire head, Drew chuckled and walked past us as we ducked into the bathroom. Addicted to Love was playing so I immediately turned on my old boom box that now decorated our bathroom vanity.

We began getting undressed and Keith asked, "That's not really how you think of me, is it?"

Taking my place at the sink to brush my teeth, I grinned, "Sometimes. Other times you're my humble boyfriend or my polite partner or my smart schoolmate. Shall I go on?"

Stepping up beside me, Keith smiled, "As long as I'm not just a surfer stud."

I was just about to put my toothbrush in my mouth but paused and chuckled, "Sexy surfer stud!" Then I stuffed my toothbrush in my mouth. Silently, we brushed our teeth and grinned at each other in the mirror. When I finished, I leaned forward and checked my face in the mirror. We hadn't shaved since the prom the previous Friday and I definitely needed to.

I decided to quickly run the electric razor around my face. Keith picked up his razor and stepped into the shower. Done shaving, I stepped into the tub and picked up the soap while Keith shampooed his hair. His back was turned away from me. I was only washing my upper body but the sight of Keith's tremendously strong back made my dick rock hard. In the background, The Boys Of Summer played. Mike and Derrick had requested our entire frolics set as a rock block. I was determined to give them both big hugs at the first opportunity. Finished rinsing shampoo out of his hair, Keith turned around. Then he looked down and saw my condition. Smiling widely, he held out his hand for the soap. I wasn't quite done yet but handed it to him anyway. Then my lover washed my crotch and lovingly soaped my shaft. I smiled and whimpered. During those few seconds, I realized just how much Keith did that kept me from being sullen the last few months.

Rinsing the bar off, he began to wash himself then chuckled; "We can play after school but no touching yet."

Wide-eyed, I yelled, "Tit-for-tat!" and then took the soap back briefly, just to wash his dick and balls.

For the next few minutes in the shower and then drying off, we were silent. I knew that Keith was purposefully refraining from mentioning any dreams because I woke in a time warp.

Knowing what to say and when is a tricky thing in relationships. At a young age, I learned to be careful what I said because any little thing might've set my father off.

We went to our room and started getting dressed. I reached in the closet for a pair of jeans. Keith noticed and said, "It's gonna be hot again today, Prez. Why not wear shorts? It is allowed, ya know?"

I just hate my white, string bean legs. But I listened to him because, the last few days, I was very warm in the afternoons. I still put on socks and sneakers though. Grabbing my wallet and keys from the dresser and crossing the room to get my SAT scores from the desk, I said, "I'm gonna give Mike and Derrick big hugs for requesting that set."

Pulling up a pair of shorts, he said, "Cool." I paused to look at him. He sweetly smiled, "That was pretty cool. It sure brought you back to the here and now in a hurry. I'll remember to do that the next time you go into a time warp on me." Then he picked up a pair of sandals, sat on the corner of the bed and put them on.

Racing to the kitchen to let Rush in, pleasant thoughts of my lover crisscrossed my mind. He was way more than my sex surfer stud. I took Rush back to the bedroom. Appearing disgusted with the idea of another day at school, Keith was still sitting on the corner of the bed. But he was wearing the new shirt I bought him. Grabbing my new bass case, I smiled, "Come on, babe. Today and tomorrow, then it's all over."

Keith nodded and got up. We double checked the bedroom door, leaned in for a quick kiss and then hurried out to his car.

I joked, "Guess I'll just sell my truck."

Unlocking the trunk, he paused and looked up stunned saying; "Huh? What for?"

Putting my new bass in the trunk, I grinned, "I never drive it anymore. It's out of gas so I must need a new one!"

Squinting because he fell for it, Keith quickly kissed me and chuckled, "Get in the car!"

I got in and, moments later, we pulled away. Searching the radio but finding only DJ's and pitiful news, I settled on Keith's favorite station saying, "I hope we haven't heard our limit of good tunes for the day already."

He nodded, "Lots of people are talking about the school shootings."

I said, "That one guy that shot his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend? That was somewhat understandable, compared to that other kid in Oregon. That dude just lost it and took his problems out on about 25 people. Only two died though, right?"

Nodding, Keith sighed, "He killed his parents too, probably the day before."

Quaking in my seat, I grimaced, "He slept in that house with two corpses! He was only fifteen too!"

Stopping at a light, Keith looked at me for a long few moments. I nodded and he took my hand, seeing that I was all right. Mostly, I was all right, but just barely. Part of me was angry at the loss of life for obvious reasons. Lots of people would be feeling the same grief that I was. I honestly felt sad for all those people that died way before their time and felt pity for the loved ones left behind.

Just before he drove forward again, Keith softly said, "When kids are bullied to the extreme, something is gonna happen."

"I was bullied and bothered a little too but I haven't killed any one because of it."

Shaking his head sadly, Keith softly chuckled, "Over red hair!"

I shrugged, "It's what I was born with."

Enthusiastically, Keith said, "And I love it too! And the freckles on your back...and your bush! Omigod!" Blushing madly, I chuckled. Keith glanced my way briefly then said, "I really do love your appearance, baby."

Squeezing his hand in mine, I said, "Just looking at your back muscles before caused that stiffy."

Pulling onto Mike's street, he loudly chuckled, "At this rate, we'll never make it until tomorrow night!" I snickered evilly for a few moments. Then I saw Mike and Derrick in the distance. I turned to Keith and said, "I'm gonna say thanks now." Keith smiled and nodded.

We pulled up to the curb. I got out, stepped up to Mike and hugged him tightly. At first Derrick was stunned but his expression quickly turned to confusion and he loudly said, "Hey! What's this?"

I smiled, "There's one for you too - for the set you requested last night."

Mike looked at me and said, "How did you know about that? They didn't play it."

Stepping back from Mike, I went to Derrick and explained, "They played it at seven this morning."

Acting shy, like he didn't want a hug, Derrick giggled and stepped back. I kept following him and he kept backing away!

Leaning over and looking into the car, Mike said, "Pop the trunk, bro."

I began going faster after Derrick. Turning and jogging away, he giggled, "It was Mike's idea!"

Chasing after him, I loudly said, "The DJ said, from Mike and Derrick though! Now stand still and take your medicine!"

Picking up the pace, Derrick laughed and ran into the street! There was no other traffic at the moment so I turned up the juice and tore after him. Just as we were approaching the car, Mike yelled, "You got a bass! Sweet!"

Running past the car, I hollered, "Last night," and continued after Derrick.

Derrick laughed, "Am I gonna have to run all the way to school?"

I chuckled, "Or let me hug you, ya bastard!"

Out of the car window, Keith hollered, "We're gonna be late again!"

Derrick changed direction towards the car and slowed down. We met half way and hugged each other. I asked, "You were jamming last night?" and Derrick nodded. I said, "This morning was perfect timing. Thank you."

He chuckled, "Any time, dude," and then stepped back asking, "What bass did you get?"

We started for the car and I answered, "The Carvin, a five string, fretless acoustic-electric."

Turning to me, he smiled, "I told you. I can't wait to hear it."

I said, "Lunch time today," and got in the car. Derrick followed behind me and Keith pulled away. Turning to Mike, I asked, "Did you open the case?"

Mike shook his head and said, "Nope."

I grinned; "Five string, fretless."

Smiling widely, Mike loudly said, "DUDE! That's awesome!"

Facing forward again, I chuckled, "I got another amp too."

After a second's stunned silence, Mike and Derrick both loudly laughed, "DOO-OOOOODE!"

Keith and I busted up laughing. The rest of the way to school, I described both the bass and the amp in detail. Mike had obviously studied the Carvin catalog and rattled off the model names. Tentative plans were made for a trip to Guitar Center that afternoon.

While I was digging through the contents of my locker, Rebecca came over and cheerfully said, "Good morning, Prez."

I did not expect her come to me! Smiling widely, I said, "Hey! How're you today?"

She nodded and stepped a little closer saying, "Better. I ... understand what you were saying yesterday."

Remembering what I had told her about my father, I nodded and smiled, "Friends?"

She nodded, "That's the best I can hope for?" I nodded and she grinned, "Then that's the way it'll be."

Pulling my books from my locker, I asked, "You'll come over tomorrow after school?"

She smiled and nodded, "I have to work at six though. I got a new job!"

Excitedly, I said, "That's great! Where?" and closed my locker.

She answered, "At Marie Calendar's," and I began chuckling. She smirked, "Why is that funny?"

I said, "Sorry, my friend Mike just quit a job there, a week or so ago. He was busing tables."

She shrugged and smiled, "I won't be busing tables but I'm sure I'll be setting them again." Then she asked, "Will a lot of your friends be at your place tomorrow?"

I nodded, "Probably so. We're all inviting people." Her head tilted and she grinned curiously. Quickly, I explained, "All of us in the band. Mike and Derrick will say something. Jessy probably will too. She'll at least bring Nelson along."

Her grin faded and she asked, "What about Keith?"

I rapidly nodded, "He'll find someone to invite. If you want, you can bring someone with you."

The bell rang and she smiled, "Thanks, maybe I will."

I said, "See ya later."

She nodded, "At lunch, hopefully," then turned and headed for her homeroom.

Taking my seat in my homeroom, I thought of the conversation with Rebecca. I was very pleased that she came around and decided not to hold a grudge. I certainly had no reason to dislike her. The best word to describe her general personality is, buoyant, I think. Bubbly is too extreme for her.

The teacher called my last name and I said, "Here." A minute or so later, there was an announcement over the PA. As I expected, my meeting with a guidance counselor would be before second period. Finally, I would have a list of schools to compare with Keith's list. And my name was within the first range to report to the office. Visions of Keith and I living a college life flashed through my head and remained there while I waited for my turn to speak with the counselor.

It seemed only moments later that a student stepped out of an office followed by Mr. Khullar, a rather short man of Indian descent. Some kids in our school refer to him as, "Ghandi in a suit and tie".

Holding his hand out, Mr. Khullar said, "Next, please."

Thinking, that wasn't a very long wait, I stood and followed him into his office.

"Good morning," he softly said, then closed the door behind me and asked for my SAT scores.

Pulling the slip of paper out of my English text, I cheerfully said, "Good morning," and handed it to him. The office was sparsely decorated with a steel frame desk and two filing cabinets. On the filing cabinet closest to the window there was a houseplant. Beside it, on the other cabinet, there was a family photo. Mr. Khullar had a wife, a son and a daughter.

Chanting, "Very good scores, very good indeed," Mr. Khullar walked around the desk and then sat down. Noticing the only other chair beside his on the other side of the desk, I stood and waited for him. Smiling up at me, he said, "Come, sit," and then he pointed at the computer monitor saying, "We both need to see the screen, yes?" Smiling at the high tone and accent of his voice, I sat beside him. He turned and asked, "You've been thinking of college, yes?"

I nodded and grinned, "Yes I have. A music degree is my primary goal. I'm pretty good at computer stuff too."

Turning to the PC, Mr. Khullar began typing. He pulled up my records. In front of me were all my grades for the last three-quarters. The fourth quarter grade for gym class was already submitted, I noticed. Our school gives only three possible grades for physical education class - an A or a P for passing, or an F. I got a P, probably because of the day last week when Keith kissed me outside the locker room and I didn't dress for class.

Referring to my computer class grades, Mr. Khullar said, "Yes, straight A's in that class. You'd like to stay that course next year, yes?"

Still remembering the major buzz I got from the kiss last week, I smiled, "Yes."

Typing in my choice, he asked, "And a math?"

I replied, "Statistics."

He tapped some keys and asked, "A science?"

I said, "No."

Pausing, he turned and said, "Science is good. Your chemistry grades are good."

I grinned, "They are but most of physics doesn't interest me. Maybe someday I'll learn a little about sound properties but gravity and the rest doesn't really interest me."

He shrugged, "If you're sure?"

I nodded, "I am."

He pressed a few keys then asked about my other class choices. Hoping that we might share more classes in our senior year, Keith and I had already discussed it with Mike and Derrick. I repeated them for Mr. Khullar. In addition to the computer and statistics class, I lined up another history, macroeconomics for another elective, a writing class for my English requirement, and of course, physical education.

Once we had finished filling my schedule for the next year, Mr. Khullar asked, "Tell me about college plans, please."

I dreamily sighed, "We'd like to stay in California." Remembering what Keith had said about a conversation with Mike, I said, "We want to stay within a reasonable drive of family and friends. Concentrate on schools around LA, San Diego, Santa Barbara and up by San Francisco but not any further north, if you can." Mr. Khullar tapped away while I rambled on, "Of course, a quality music program is important. I guess that most every school has computer courses."

He typed and nodded, "Some better than others."

I said, "It's important but a better music program would out weigh it and swing my decision."

Mr. Khullar finished filling in the form on the screen and pressed the enter key. I watched the screen and waited when Mr. Khullar asked, "Who is we?"

Turning to him, I smiled, "Excuse me?"

He said, "We. You said, we want this, we will that, we won't this. Who is we?"

Giggling at myself, I thought for a moment then said, "My partner and I."

Smiling, he nodded and said, "Music programs require auditions - usually in person but some allow recordings."

I said, "Not a problem."

We both turned to the screen. A long list of colleges and universities, prioritized by location and music programs was still loading! Near the top of the list, only about ten miles from home was a branch of UCLA. USC was on the list too. Both of those schools were on Keith's list.

Amazingly, to me any way, the Musician's Institute was also listed on the first page. Pointing to the name on the screen, I asked, "Is the Musician's Institute an accredited school?"

He nodded and clicked on the link. Surprisingly, they did offer bachelor of music programs! I wondered if Mike knew that.

Nodding to Mr. Khullar, I said, "A friend is thinking of going there."

He pressed the back button on his browser, returning to the main list. Moments later, he pressed the print button and the printer whirred into life.

Moving over to the printer, Mr. Khullar then said, "Music is good. It's very competitive, though. Take advantage of opportunities, yes?"

Standing and moving over by him, I said, "I always try to."

Mr. Khullar picked up two pamphlets and handed them to me saying, "These will help you decide and write letters to admissions offices. If you have questions, come back and see me, yes?"

I nodded and smiled, "Sure, maybe I will any way. Just to say, hi."

Smiling up at me, he asked, "You like my accent?"

Blushing, I nodded and chuckled, "Very much."

He then said, "You have a different accent too."

I nodded, "I'm from Texas."

Gathering the pages from the printer and handing them to me, he said, "It's unique."

Taking the pages and folding them, I said, "Not as unique as yours. Thank you for your time and help."

Stuffing the pages in my textbook, I extended my hand and he shook it saying, "Unique is good. Goals are good. Some don't have goals. They take more time." Releasing my hand, he showed me to the door and said, "Good luck."

I headed out of our school's main office and into the hall then glanced at my watch. There was almost fifteen minutes left to first period. Browsing though the list of schools, I slowly wandered the halls in the general direction of my second period English class with Keith. I had more options than Keith did! Figuring that writing courses had to be slightly more common than music, I was a little surprised. But then I realized that I had expanded my search slightly. One of the schools near the end of my list was UC Berkeley. Everybody has heard of Berkeley, I thought.

Waiting in a stairwell not far from our English class, I began daydreaming. A degree from Berkeley could be too cool! Is there a more liberal school anywhere in the world? I'd doubt it. And, if I recalled my California geography correctly, Berkeley was near San Francisco, the gayest city in the country! The people around there would be very cool. I imagined Keith and I walking down the street holding hands without a care in the world. No one would say a word. I'd wager that no one would even look at us strangely.

But it was so far away - it had to be around four hundred miles to the north. We might be able to fly home on occasion but that would mean finding someone to watch Rush. Whereever we wound up, I wanted my hound dog with me. Figuring on a drive maintaining sixty miles an hour, I guessed that would be almost six hours on the road. I couldn't see us driving all night on Friday's and then having to return Sundays. It could be done over a three-day weekend with both of us driving though.

The bell rang and I stepped out of the stairwell and into the hallway, facing the direction Keith would likely come from. About a minute later, I saw him and he obviously saw me. God, he was a shining beacon in a sea of humanity. I met him part way and asked, "How does Berkeley sound to you?"

Stunned, Keith loudly said, "Berkeley? Up near San Francisco?"

I nodded and smiled, "That's the one."

He shrugged, "That's awful far, don't you think?"

I said, "I know, going that far wasn't really in our plans. But the more I thought about it, the more it seemed, yeah, that's the place for us! Getting back and forth would take about six hours, though."

Noticing how excited I was, Keith patted my back all too briefly and chuckled, "We could at least take the drive and check it out this summer."

As if I wasn't excited enough, hearing Keith say that really got my blood pumping! Grinning provocatively, I glanced his way. Doing a quick double take my way, Keith's eyes got wide.

"You know what I'm thinking."

He giggled. "I know."

"I'm gonna sit on your dick and ride you until we both collapse!"

He giggled and rolled his eyes. "Not until tomorrow night! Still no touching, remember?"

Having momentarily forgotten that, I grimaced and whined. Chuckling hysterically, Keith guided me into my seat. Immediately, I wondered why he wanted to stand in front of me and sit me down. The answer came as he turned slightly and slid between desks to take his seat. He got another erection! It wasn't poking out directly away from him but I knew where to look and saw it quite clearly under his shorts. Grinning widely, I wondered how in the world we were going to manage another day. Last night, I had reason enough to eat him alive!

While the teacher handed out the last of our final exams, she said, "Tomorrow we can all kick back and glide. Remember to return your textbooks. But bring something to keep you occupied tomorrow, preferably something to read. If there's too much chatter, I'll find something to lecture you about." A bunch of kids grumbled.

From the back of the classroom, a girl said, "It's so ridiculous keeping us here the whole day. We all know we could accomplish the goals of the day in an hour or two."

The teacher grinned, "Think of it as quiet social time."

A bunch of kids chuckled or laughed and one kid loudly said, "That's an oxymoron, isn't it?"

The teacher nodded, "Like rap and music. You may begin." Immediately, everyone looked down and began taking the test. About thirty-five minutes later, I looked up and slouched back. Most of the California form tests were easy to me. I glanced at Keith, still busy, his head resting in his hand. For an instant, he reminded me of his dad. Almost hearing him, I grinned. He shook his head slightly and, I swear, his words flashed into my head: "The word, 'catastrophe' is used correctly in which sentence? It's used right in every sentence, for fuck's sake! Argh! I'll give ya a catastrophe! Choose option C, when all else fails."

Grinning, I looked down at my answer sheet. I chose C for that question too. Then B and then D and then, for the last question, A.

I glanced back over at Keith. He was grinning and staring at me like I did something ridiculous that I'd be embarrassed about later. Then he looked down and scribbled on his answer sheet and turned to me again.

A game of classroom charades began. Keith pointed at his eye, then his ear and then at me.

Eye - ear - me? I hear you? I heard you!

The bell rang loudly. Keith and I stood. I softly asked, "You heard me?"

Keith smiled and nodded excitedly. Grabbing our books and test sheets we eyed each other suspiciously. We handed in our tests and dropped our books in the big box at the front of the room then stepped out of the class.

The second we were out in hall, Keith exploded, "C then B then D and finally A, right?"

My spine froze solid and instantaneously thawed. I nervously chuckled, "Come on, Keith."

More loudly, Keith smiled, "That's right though, isn't it?"

I grinned, "It's what I answered. How correct they are remains to be seen."

Triumphant, Keith chuckled, "How did you do that?"

I shrugged, "We send each other little messages all the time."

He giggled, "Yeah, when we're looking right at each other! This time it was like, bang! And I wasn't even looking at you!"

I smiled, "Coincidence?"

He chuckled, "Yeah, just like the traffic lights last weekend. And how the Guitar Center sales guy pissed you off so you could get something better two days later!"

I chuckled, "For my next trick, I'll make you magically appear in your chemistry class on the other side of the school!"

Wide-eyed and stunned, Keith quickly checked his watch and grumbled, "Shit!" Then he looked in my eyes, smiled and transmitted, "See ya later, baby." He then turned and hurried in the opposite direction.

I watched him disappear down the hallway then walked into my next class. About an hour and a half later, I met up with Mike and Derrick outside the cafeteria.

Mike asked, "Carl's or Taco Bell?"

I shrugged, "I'd rather Carl's. Those broiled chicken sandwiches are good and plenty filling."

Mike grinned, "You had that yesterday. A burger won't kill you, ya know?"

I smiled and leaned closer to whisper; "I don't want to spoil my figure!" Simultaneously, they cracked up. Smiling widely, Gil and Shaun stepped up beside me.

I greeted them and Shaun asked, "Where are we eating?"

Turning to Mike and Derrick, I asked, "Carl's?" and they nodded.

Facing Shaun again, I said, "I got an acoustic bass last night. I'll be jammin' today too."

He nodded and smiled, "Cool. I brought my guitar too."

Mike said, "After our trip to Guitar Center this afternoon, we'll have some more percussion instruments."

With another girl beside her, Rebecca stopped outside our circle and smiled at me. I said, "Hi," and told her we were going to Carl's for lunch.

Rapidly nodding, she said, "We'll meet you there." Rebecca and her friend turned and headed for the exit.

Derrick nodded and smiled, "Stuff for the beach and any other acoustic jams. Bongos, a cowbell and a tambourine just aren't enough."

Mike agreed, "We need something deep, like a bass drum, but way more portable."

Keith stepped up beside me and said hello to Shaun and Gil. We started for the exit and Keith asked, "Where's Jerry and Mack?"

Shaun evilly grinned, "They made other plans for lunch." Gil smiled widely and blushed. We stepped outside and started for the parking lot.

Turning to Keith, Derrick said, "They'll be over for the jams tomorrow though."

And Keith nodded, "Everyone brings their own drinks and munchies. No beer though! I don't want my mom or dad coming home to any of that. We'd hear about it for weeks!"

Then Keith turned to Gil and asked, "Did Jerry say where they were going?"

Shaun snickered and Gil nodded, "He just said they were going home."

Mike cackled, "Sounds like its sausage for lunch!"

Derrick nodded and laughed, "Really big sausages!"

Shaun giggled, "If Jerry can't earn a living with basketball then he's got a promising future in porn." Again, Gil blushed.

Lightly nudging Gil, Keith giggled, "We all know it, dude. Jerry's hung like a horse!"

Gil blushed and sighed, "But do we have to talk about it? Especially when he's not here?"

Mike chuckled, "We've talked with him about it! At the party Saturday night."

And Derrick said, "If we can't talk about it with each other, then I guess we can't ever talk about it. Sorry dude, but I have to talk about it some time."

I noticed Shaun, looking down slightly but with a pleasant little smirk on his face. Then Shaun leaned close to Gil and whispered in his ear. While briefly wondering what Shaun whispered, I began to think about Gil. He was extremely quiet. While Drew is a little shy sometimes, Gil is virtually mute. Those two sentences he just spoke were the most I'd heard from him since the party. And he did say that his parents would flip if they found out he was gay. It was obvious to me that Gil spent so much time and effort hiding his sexuality that he was stuck in that mode.

The sad thing was, I could relate. Back in Texas, after Justin and I went our separate ways, people probably thought the same of me. Amongst my school peers, I didn't want to hear sexual innuendo - mostly because I couldn't relate. By the time I started high school it was everywhere too. I became an observer, sitting on the sidelines watching everyone else pair up while I tried to figure out what was so wrong with seeing both sexes as attractive. There was nothing wrong with it, of course. But that's not how I saw it then. And it wasn't how Gil was seeing things, I was sure of it.

Reassuringly, I said, "It's okay man," and, the next thing I knew, I was telling Gil all about Justin and the way I was generally treated back in Texas. I stopped only for a moment to tell Keith that I would drive over to Carl's with Shaun and Gil. Getting in the back seat of Shaun's car, I continued with the second half of the story - moving to California and meeting Keith.

As we pulled into the Carl's Junior parking lot, Gil said, "I guess I want it to change too, dude. But it's my parents. I couldn't tell them. And as long as I'm keeping it from them, I kinda need to keep it hidden all the time. God forbid, I slip and say the wrong thing at the wrong time by mistake." He then sighed and said, "After I move away for college, when I'm not living with them, maybe then."

Parking the car, Shaun said, "I wish you didn't think you had to leave town. I'm planning on staying around here."

Gil said nothing for a long few moments after we got out of the car. Shaun grabbed his guitar from the trunk of his car. Closing the trunk, he turned to Gil and suggested, "Maybe we could get a place of our own nearby?"

Stepping a little closer to Gil, I softly said, "You could start now, dude... with us."

Smiling at me, Shaun then moved closer to Gil and softly said, "Please relax a little. Show them some of what you show me."

Keith's car pulled into the parking lot. Mike was sitting in the front passenger seat, I noticed. As the car passed us, I also noticed the windows were closed but still heard heavy metal music blasting. I snickered. Shaun and Gil smiled at me. Quickly, Keith parked, popped the trunk and hurried out of the car. Closing his car door, he turned and chuckled, "Don't you ever leave me alone with them again!"

Heading towards him and nodding, I grinned, "Even one at a time, they are a bit much!"

Leaning over to grab his guitar case, Mike smirked, "Bitch, bitch, bitch!" Behind me, I heard Shaun and Gil chuckling at us.

And Derrick chuckled, "Can we have some cheese with that wine?" Keith glared evilly at them.

I reached into the trunk and got my bass case then we walked across the parking lot. Keith took my order inside. Gil did the same for Shaun and Derrick took Mike's order. Noticing Rebecca and her friend sitting at an outside table and already beginning to eat, I waved. Mike, Shaun and I meandered over to a table, got our axes out and immediately began tuning up. Once he finished the task, Mike asked, "Do you wanna try Take It Easy?

I said, "Sure."

Then Shaun finished and said; "I know that tune. Can we try Hold My Hand again afterwards?" He then smirked, "I already forgot the middle section leading to the chorus."

Mike grinned, "Sure, dude."

I prompted, "Give us a count when you're ready."

Shaun nodded and closed his eyes. His head began bobbing slightly then he counted off. Simultaneously, we each played the opening G chord and kept on going. On queue, Shaun began singing lead vocals. The fun began when I had to sing backup vocals with Mike. Keeping my voice from slipping and sliding into notes like my fingers were on the bass proved to be quite humorous! And of course, Mike tried to follow me when I was trying to follow his voice!

Leading up to the guitar solo, Shaun half laughed and half sang, "We may lose and may win. Though we will never be here again. So open up I'm climbing in. Take it easy." While Mike giggled and picked out the solo, Shaun grinned at me and I started laughing. Then Shaun chuckled, "We're losin' it! She's breaking up!"

Trying to concentrate but failing miserably, Mike threw his head back and roared, "Ah hahahaha! Sliding into notes on the bass is one thing! Try not to sing that way!" Everything got really sloppy and we stopped playing.

Excusing myself, I laughed, "It's fretless! I'll get used it!" Over at the other table, Rebecca and her friend were giggling hysterically.

Shaun chuckled, "You're playing fine, dude."

Nudging me, Mike giggled, "Sing with frets, fer cryin' out loud!"

Getting it back together and done laughing at ourselves for the moment, we tried again. This time I concentrated more on singing, allowing myself the time to get the feel of my new bass. Of course, I still made a few mistakes but we managed to keep our vocals together through the first two verses. Derrick stepped outside while Mike was playing the lead solo. Then Gil came out moments after Shaun began the final verse. While unwrapping his burger, Derrick sang backup vocals with us. About eight bars before the end, Keith stepped outside with our tray. Looking right at me, he added his voice to the mix as he walked to our table. Appearing slightly suspicious, Rebecca looked up at Keith as he passed.

We finished the song and a few nice people clapped as they got up and left the area. Getting up to stow my bass, I smiled and wondered - should I kiss Keith here at Carl's? I really wanted to and I could tell that Keith knew it. With those thoughts in my mind, my dick started getting hard. Sitting down beside him, I leaned close and whispered, "Rebecca's over there watching us."

Grinning and blushing, Keith then picked up a French fry and fed it to me. My dick tried to tear free of my shorts!

While we ate, we talked about the tunes we played the previous afternoon, dissecting various parts where we needed work. As we finished, Mike and Shaun began commenting on the song we had just played. Of course, a lot was said about the first attempt and my wandering vocal chords! Leaning slightly against Keith, I chuckled, "I have to learn how to play and sing all over again!"

Shaun warmly smiled, "The second time was much better, Prez."

Crumpling his trash, Mike grinned and nodded, "You lay back a little on the beat when you play anyhow. Take that time to adjust." Then he picked up a napkin to wipe his hands and face.

Derrick then said, "We need to know who's working when. I'm working Friday though Monday nights this summer."

Turning to check with Keith, I said, "We're working Saturday through Tuesday nights," and Keith nodded.

Shaun hummed and said, "I'll be working weekdays."

Mike said, "That's all right dude. I'm waiting for a job at Black Angus. Maybe we can get together and work on some tunes over the weekend?" Turning to see Shaun nod, I noticed Gil slouch a little bit. I glanced at Keith and I knew that he noticed Gil too. It was obvious that the poor guy felt left out - maybe even a little jealous of Mike. I wondered briefly if I might say something to Shaun. Or maybe it would be better to say something to Mike?

But my wondering suddenly ended when Keith asked, "When will you be working, Gil?"

Gil glanced down the table at us and then stopped at Shaun. After a long moment, Gil answered, "Monday through Thursday, ten till six."

Mike smiled, "We'll probably be moving over to Agoura Hills this weekend..."

Obviously shocked, Derrick loudly chuckled, "You're jinxin' it, dude!"

"I am not," Mike insisted, "I'm being positive."

Derrick giggled, "I'm positive that you'll freak out on me if we don't get to move!"

Shaking his head sadly, Mike smirked, "Another summer waking in the pool house..."

And Keith, Derrick and I chimed in, "roasting our asses off!"

Chuckling, I turned to Shaun and asked, "Remember those older dudes at the party Saturday night?" Shaun nodded and I said, "Hopefully Mike and Derrick will be house-sitting for them this summer."

Mike excitedly added, "They've got a room set aside as a studio, dude.

Shaun chuckled, "It sounds sweet!"

Derrick grinned, "That studio's gonna be flooded with sweet sounds this summer."

Mike enthusiastically nodded, "I feel a musical growth spurt comin' on." Smiling widely, we all turned to Mike. Falling slightly against Derrick, he loudly giggled, "One of many growth spurts, I hope!" and we all cracked up. Gil even lost it for a few seconds. Then he shook his head sadly but smiled widely at us.

Looking at Gil, I chuckled, "Are we bad?"

He snickered, "Very!"

Shaun giggled, "You love it too!" Smiling widely, Gil shrugged.

Grinning mischievously, Keith asked, "Have you got someone less rude, crude and socially unacceptable to hang with this summer?"

A snicker broke lose from Gil and he grinned, "No, I guess not."

Grinning insanely, Derrick asked, "Where's the fun in being nice?"

Mike said, "There's a time to be nice like around parents and teachers."

Keith smiled, "Don't be that way with us, dude. It'll only cause us to be ruder and cruder."

Turning to Gil, I softly said, "There's no reason to be shy or distant with us, man."

Smiling and nodding, Gil explained, "It's rough, ya know? I've been raised to believe its wrong. Whenever the topic comes up on the news, my parents act like being gay is the most horrible thing in the world." He paused and we could see that Gil was uncomfortable. He then smiled at Shaun saying, "Until recently, I have felt guilty. But now I'm seeing how much more there is to it."

Shaun smiled brightly.

Turning around, Mike reached for his guitar and was soon strumming Hold My Hand. While Mike named each chord in the progression as he played it, I turned and got my bass. I sat down at the table across from Mike. Shaun got his guitar, sat down beside me and began copying Mike. Then Keith and I began singing and I began sliding my fingers around the neck of my bass. Just before the first chorus, Derrick slammed the table with his hands and began singing backup vocals with Mike and Shaun. It sounded really good at first but then Keith grinned at me and started really belting out the lead vocals, instigating me to do the same. We had practiced the song dozens of times as a band. Though we only had Derrick's table drumming and no keyboards, the two guitars, bass and our combined vocals sounded pretty good. Mike didn't care that he was playing acoustic guitar and nailed his solo. By the time we got to the last verse, sweat was pouring off me because it was very warm out in the sun and I was putting so much of myself into the lead vocals. Every time Keith and I sang, "I'm gonna love you, gonna love you, the best that I can", a huge shiver ran down my spine. The other people at Carl's that day didn't seem to mind the free entertainment. When we finished lots of folks applauded and we all smiled or said thank you. I noticed Rebecca standing and pointing at her watch, signaling me that it was time to head back to school. It was a good thing too because Mike was starting to show Shaun how to play Under The Bridge. I stood and grinned, "I might need a shower before gym class today!"

Gathering our trash, Keith stood and smiled, "It is really hot today. It's gotta be in the mid-nineties."

Rebecca stopped beside me and said, "That was really good! Play that tomorrow, please."

I nodded and smiled, "Sure thang."

Glancing back and forth at us, Rebecca's friend then asked, "What's tomorrow?"

Rebecca answered, "A little after school party. Ya wanna go with me?"

The other girl said, "Sure!" and started towards the parking lot.

Rebecca followed and happily said, "See ya!"

While I stowed my bass, I heard Derrick say, "We've got ten minutes, dude."

With my bass case in hand and ready to leave, I stood and turned around. Mike grumbled, "Already? Shit!" He and Shaun quickly stopped playing and stowed their guitars. Keith stepped up beside me with a handful of paper napkins and wiped my face saying, "We'd better get that sunscreen tonight." I smiled and nodded. On our way to the cars, Keith tossed the napkins in the trash. We started across the parking lot and Mike said, "We're heading over to GC later, Shaun. Ya wanna join us?" and we all stopped walking.

Shaun turned to Gil and said, "I need new strings anyway?"

Gil said, "Go ahead, dude! I gotta work tonight."

Shaun softly asked, "If your sure?"

Gil turned and smiled, "Give me a call after supper?"

Bumping into Gil slightly, Shaun grinned, "At seven on the dot." Before heading to his car, Shaun said, "See ya about three, Mike."

Mike nodded and smiled, "Kewl. Later, dudes."

I thought it better to let Shaun and Gil return to school alone so they could talk and followed Keith to his car.

Keith popped the trunk and Derrick said, "Playing fretless must be easier than I thought."

After stowing my bass, I turned to him and chuckled, "You missed the first attempt at Take It Easy!"

Stowing his guitar, Mike giggled, "That was ridiculous!" Then he closed the trunk, turned to me and grinned, "Once you finally stopped thinking and just played, every thing worked out much better."

I nodded and sighed, "It's almost always that way, I guess," then got in the car and Keith followed on the driver's side.

Opening the back door and getting in the car, Derrick sighed, "I wish I could just turn off and float during next two finals today."

Sliding in the back seat, Mike said, "I'm gonna feel a ton lighter tomorrow afternoon," and closed the door.

Starting the car, Keith said, "All my finals stop after today."

I said, "So do mine," and Keith began backing out.

Once we were out of the Carl's Junior parking lot, Derrick asked, "What's happening after dinner tonight?"

Keith and I grinned at each other briefly then I said, "There won't be any homework to deal with. After today, I won't have any books left to bring home, just a few notebooks, pens and pencils."

Turning on the radio, Keith said, "It's time to empty lockers and wrap it up dudes."

Derrick then suggested, "Why don't we go to the beach then? We could hit Guitar Center after dinner?"

I shrugged and smiled, "That's cool." There was nothing but DJ chatter on the radio so I reached and switched to another station, stopping when I heard a section of Living On A Prayer.

Mike then reminded, "Russ opened up a new surf shop somewhere on PCH between Malibu and Zuma. We should try to find it."

Keith loudly sang with radio, "We'll give it shot!" and immediately, we all began singing the chorus. Reaching forward again, I cracked it. Keith reached for my hand and continued singing the final verse. We pulled into our school parking lot, the four of us loudly singing the final refrains. Keith parked the car, turned off the radio and glanced around. He giggled, "Damn, we sound good!" and opened his door.

Derrick, Mike and I cracked up and we all got out of the car.

Hurrying across the parking lot, Mike chuckled, "You were singing in public again!"

Keith laughed, "It wasn't me! That was my clone!"

Derrick giggled, "Your evil twin!"

Mike laughed, "The half baked one!"

We stopped at the school doors and briefly gathered in a circle - Mike stood beside me with Derrick across from him and Keith across from me. I glanced around and saw no one nearby but noticed Keith, Mike and Derrick all looking around too. Mike quickly stepped forward and gave Derrick a quick kiss right on the mouth. Reaching for Keith's hand I did the same and whispered, "See ya later, babe."

We turned and went our separate ways. I got the same rush that I did the other times Keith and I kissed at school. I really liked the feeling too and told Mike in just those words.

He giggled, "I feel like I'm walking on a big wet sponge! What's wrong with my legs!" The bell rang. We glanced at each other. Mike laughed, "Oh fuck!" and we took off running for the locker room.

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