Not Always Easy

By Kit

This story is about how a gay teen male and some of his friends experience different types of friendship and different sorts of love. Some of those experiences involve sexual activity between males - if this is likely to offend you, or is illegal where you live then do not read this story. This story is completely fictional and any resemblances to real people are purely coincidental.
This is the first story  I've ever written so comments, especially nice ones, and constructive criticisms are always welcome. Thanks to Galacticflute (authors of Will & Tyler) and to D.Z. (author of the David & Tristan stories) for their encouragement and advice. I highly recommend their stories.

The story is copyright of the author and may not be distributed or placed on any web sites without written permission from the author.

Please send comments to:
I will respond to all comments, except flames.

Chapter 2 - Best Friends Share

Having heard Mike's little speech, I decided that I should at least tell him about my sexuality, but probably wait for another time to mention my recent experiences with Ben. As I didn't want Mike to get the wrong idea, I decided to withdraw my arm from around his shoulders before talking about being gay.  As an excuse for moving, I stood up and got a tissue to blow my nose. As a tactical withdrawal it was not exactly subtle and possibly a bit tacky, but my mind was not really up to much subtlety or originality just then.

When I sat down again, it was on the other bed and facing Mike. He gave me a strange look, probably wondering why I had apparently distanced myself. I looked at him and smiled weakly.

 "OK, Mike, you're closer to me than anyone else in the world and I know I can trust you not to react badly, but I'm glad you're already sitting down."  I smiled again at my own puny attempt at humour. "Well, rather than beating around the bush, I'll just say it....  I'm gay." I looked across at him and saw no apparent reaction. After a pause he gave me an almost puzzled look and said:

 "Are you sure you're gay?" Not exactly the response I expected, and for some reason I felt slightly irritated.

 "Are you sure you're straight?" I retorted with a frown. Mike just burst out laughing with a genuine merriment that was infectious, and I too began to laugh.

 "Sorry." Mike giggled. "Pretty stupid question, eh?".

The fact that Mike just laughed like that when I bounced the sexuality question back at him just reinforced for me what a great guy he was. How many heterosexual teenagers would have become angry and taken my rhetorical question as a challenge to their sexuality? How many might even have taken it as a proposition and become violent? How many would been resentful at the mere suggestion that their own question was stupid. Yet Mike did not feel challenged or threatened, and he laughed at his own silly question. I also noticed that he was so comfortable with his own sexuality that he felt no need to even mention it.

We both stopped laughing, but continued smiling, then Mike said:
 "Well, it's a bit of a surprise, but not a total shock. I've got  lots of questions on my mind, but I'll start by saying I don't care if you're gay, hetero, or ambidextrous. You are still the same person - Paul, my best friend."

He stood up, came over to sit next to me, and surprised me a little by putting his arm over my shoulders, just as I had done to him a few minutes earlier. As I mentioned, we didn't often show much physical affection, but I guessed he wanted to make sure I knew that my announcement made no difference to our friendship.

 "Have you told your family?" Mike asked.

 "No, you're the first person I've told." This was true - although Ben and others who saw me at the GLYG meeting might assume I was gay, I'd never actually told Ben or anyone before now.

 "Aaawww, I'm honoured. Do you want to keep it secret?"

 "For the time being at least, but I guess I'll tell mum and dad sometime."

 "How long have you known you were... um... gay?"

 "Not long... maybe even just a few days. I've only become sure recently, but I sort-of suspected for years...  Did you never suspect?"

 "No, I never even thought about it... but I never thought 'Oh, Paul's heterosexual' either. You're just you - the idea of your sexuality one way or another just didn't enter my head."

The discussion with Mike so far had made me very happy and I felt as if a heavy weight had been lifted from my shoulders. However, I began to worry that he might start asking questions about sexual experiences and I wasn't ready for that yet. At some stage I wanted to be totally open with him, but not just then - so I said:
 "OK, maybe you have more questions, but it's getting late now, so let's leave them to another time. I'm knackered and with school tomorrow we should get some sleep."

Perhaps Mike knew exactly what was on my mind - I wouldn't have been surprised as he often seemed to be able to read my thoughts. In any case, he said he was tired too.  Without saying any more on the topic of sexuality, we started getting ready for bed, brushing our teeth together, standing by the bathroom washbasin. We got undressed and got into bed. As usual, I slept nude and Mike wore boxers to bed.  That night was no different from any other - there was no embarrassment or inhibitions involved with seeing one another without clothes because we'd seen one another that way for half our lives.


The next day we went to school and the routines of family, friendship and school continued as usual. Mike didn't ask me directly if I'd had any sexual experienced but he occasionally hinted that he'd like me to tell him about any such experiences.  Ben never phoned me - no surprise there - and I certainly did not feel like phoning him. Between my last meeting with Ben and the arrival of Christmas I had neither the time nor the inclination to go back to the GLYG.

Christmas arrived, with the usual family events, and Mike spent half of his time at my house. In fact both he and his mum spent Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve all together with me, John and my parents, just like one extended family.  As I passed my  driving test just before Christmas, my parents bought me an old red Ford Escort as a Christmas present. The car, which had belonged to one of dad's friends, was nearly as old as me, but had been well looked after and was in good condition. They even paid for the insurance so that all I had to do was provide running costs, petrol, etc. from my allowance. Of course I was overjoyed at having my own transport, and the fact that the car was old and not very exciting did not bother me because I'd never been one of those boys who was really into cars.

From my parents' point of view, providing me with a car was, of course, reasonable and while generous it was not totally altruistic. As mum could not drive I became the family chauffeur. Both my parents worked; mum was a secretary with a clothing manufacturer and dad was a manager in a local transport firm. Mum arrived home from work around 5.30 pm and dad about an hour later, so if my brother needed to go anywhere in the evening I usually ended up taking him. My brother also went to the same school as me so most of the time I gave him a ride to and from school. On the relatively rare occasions when my parents went out socialising, I usually took them and brought them back in my car so that dad could drink. Dad enjoyed alcohol, but was not by any means a drunk - he just enjoyed wine with a meal and a gin-and-tonic after work, but he would never drive even if he'd just had one small glass of wine.

Ferrying John around was not a burden for me; in fact I quite enjoyed it because it gave us a chance to get to know one another better and become closer as brothers. Maybe that sounds strange, but for the past couple of years we had not spent a lot of time together alone and we had never seemed to have time to just sit and talk. Driving my parents around wasn't bad either because they were generous with the 'petrol money'  they gave me for each trip, and as they paid my petrol costs for going to school, I very rarely had to pay for my own petrol.

Of course, with all the driving I couldn't have any alcohol myself, but at 17 I couldn't legally buy alcohol anyway. This was not a great disadvantage because I didn't much like alcohol, apart from a little wine with a meal or some champagne on special celebrations. At that age I had not acquired a taste for beer and I had a positive aversion to spirits  after Mike and I had shared that infamous half-bottle of whisky when we were both 15.

After we all saw in the New Year together, Mike's mum went home - it was only 3-4 minutes walk down the street - and the rest of my family went to bed, leaving me and Mike alone in the living room. We were sitting on the sofa, sipping the remains of the champagne and were already quite 'merry' but certainly not drunk. The room lights were dimmed and there was the slightly hypnotic flicker of light from TV, which was on, but with the sound muted.  After several minutes of companionable silence, Mike, looking at the bubbles  rising in his glass, said:
 "I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours."

 "What?!?" I said when his words penetrated the haze in my mind.

 "I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours," He repeated.

 "Tell me your what?" My voice squeaked a little as the significance of his words began to dawn on me.

 "You know... experiences..." Mike lowered his voice till it was almost a whisper. I had hoped he'd forgotten about all that and thought to myself 'Oh shit' when I realised that my mind wasn't agile enough to avoid this discussion.

 "Well, what d'ya say?" Mike pushed onward.

 "But you know I'm gay. You're straight. Why should you want to know if I've done gay stuff?"

 "We're best friends and I'm interested in what you get up to - aren't you interested in my love life?" Before I had chance to respond, he added: "And for all I know you might have done it with a girl as well..."

Well, when he put it like that, what could I do? I was backed into a corner and with the influence of alcohol and tiredness, I couldn't see a way out.

 "Erm... OK..." I mumbled. "How d'ya want to do this? I don't know where to start."

 "You've had so many you don't know where to start?!" He almost gasped.

 "Noooooo, silly, I really just don't know how to begin this! You suggested this, how do you want to get this started?"

 "How about question and answer? Any question one of us asks he has to answer himself. No fibs allowed, but if you really don't want to answer, you can refuse. Is that OK with you?"

 "That all sounds very detailed - have you got this all planned out?" I voiced my suspicions.

 "Well, I've been thinking about it for awhile..." he admitted, "so do you agree or not?"

 "OK." I sighed deeply.

 "Right... have you ever done it with a guy?"

 "Done it!!??" I exclaimed "How do you define 'done it'?"

 "Sorry - guess I should be more specific." From his words and the sound of his voice I was beginning to suspect he wasn't as drunk as I thought - and certainly not as 'merry' as I felt. "Have you touched a guy's dick?" he continued.

 "Yes" I answered.

 "How many?"

 "Ahhh!!" I interrupted, "your rule said you have to answer your own question! and then I get to ask a question!"

 "Um - OK the answer is no. What's your question?"

 "Have you touched a girl's private bits?"

 "Does that include breasts?"


 "Then the answer's 'No' - have you?"

 "No, of course not..... Hold on," I said, getting even more suspicious, "Do you have anything to tell or are you just using it as an excuse to get me to tell you stuff?"

 "Hey - it's my turn to ask a question!" Mike said.

 "Not if you don't have much to tell... you cheated!" I was getting irritated.

 "OK, I admit I don't have much to tell, but I didn't know you had either, so it wasn't really a trick." He gave me one of his smiles and I knew I couldn't be angry at him. We both sat there considering this apparent stalemate. The effects of Mike's smile, combined with the alcohol put me in a generous mood, so I said:

 "If you don't find out more tonight, you're gonna keep trying, aren't ya?"

 "What do you think?" He looked me in the eye and his eyes twinkled.

 "Just as I thought... tell ya what... I'll just tell you everything then you tell me everything.  That way we can clear up the whole thing, go to sleep and save lots of future aggro. Agreed?"

 "Agreed," he said, folding his arms and settling deeper into the sofa. "I'm all ears, so you can get started right away."

So I told him the only guy I'd ever been with was Ben, and I told him what we'd done - of course, just the outlines, not the minute details, though he was eager for as much detail as I was prepared to give. I even surprised myself by telling him about that first time when I came in my pants. He laughed and told me it had happened to him as well, and more than just once! Mike then told me that he'd never been totally naked with a girl, but had got at least as far as French-kissing and breast-feeling with 5 girls and been 'quite intimate' with 3 of them. Two of  them had wanked him off and one had given him a blow-job, but only once, and not to orgasm. All this had happened within the last couple of years.

 "You sly dog!" I complained. "How come you never mentioned any of this before?"

 "Private" he smirked. "And you notice I didn't name any names."

 "Yeah, I noticed - you always were a gentleman... but I was just wondering...has Sue been one of those girls?"

 "Well, I can answer that cos the answer is 'no'," he replied, looking wistful. "Anyway," he continued, looking at the carpet, "Sue's special."

 "Ooooow!" I said, sounding more camp than intended, and showing Mike my patented evil grin, "Is wittle Mikey in lurrrve?"

 "Not sure," he admitted, much to my surprise, "but she's special and I like her a lot... anyway, haven't you ever been in love?" he countered.

 Not IN love, no. I've fancied lots of people and love family and a friend or two, but I've never been IN love." A long pause followed - at least a couple of minutes - then Mike, looking at the silent TV, said:

 "Am I one of the friends you love?"

 "Actually, you are the only friend I love... closer than a brother."

 "Yeah, me too" he said. We sat in silence for a few more minutes, finishing our drinks. Then I turned off the TV and we went upstairs to prepare for bed.


In January and February I went to a couple more meetings of the GLYG. Ben was there both times and it was clear he was avoiding me, but that suited me fine. After the 'business' part of the meeting in January two guys  came over to say 'hi' and introduce themselves. They were a couple, Dan, 17, and Steve, 18,.  Both, I was interested to learn, were in the 6th Form at Mike's school. Dan was in the Lower 6th and Steve was in the Upper 6th. Although both were good looking, for some reason I couldn't define I thought that Dan was considerably more attractive.

Dan was slim and about my height whereas Steve had a more muscular build and, at around 6', was taller than either of us. Both were wearing blue jeans, Dan with a black polo-neck sweater and Steve with a dark blue V-neck sweater over a light blue shirt.  Dan  had black, slightly curly hair and deep brown eyes, while Steve whad light brown hair and hazel eyes. I noticed that even though it was winter, Dan had a nice light-gold tan, so I guessed that either he had been away somewhere sunny or that he was one of those people who maintained that attractive skin tone throughout the year.

During our chat, Steve mentioned seeing me at a meeting before Christmas.

 "Oh," I said, "pity you didn't say 'hello' then."

 "Well", replied Steve, "you were being monopolised by Ben. As usual."

 "As usual?" I echoed.

 "Yeah, Ben usually tries to monopolise new guys - particularly cute ones." Dan said.

 "Is that a compliment?" I blushed.

 "Might be." Dan smiled and looked at the floor.

 "Sounded like a compliment to me!" Steve said. Dan blushed and playfully punched Steve's arm.

 "The pity is," Dan said, looking at me, "a lot of the people Ben monopolises never come to another meeting, so it's nice to see you here again.... By the way - I notice you and Ben have been avoiding one another tonight."

I smiled, but decided not to say anything about my interactions with Ben, and I was grateful that Dan did not pursue the matter.

 "It's interesting that Ben's boyfriend never comes to the meetings - I wonder what he would make of Ben always chatting up new guys." Steve said.

 "Boyfriend!?" I sputtered, trying to keep my voice down.

 "Yeah, me and Dan met Ben and his boyfriend last summer in The Castle - ya know the gay pub on Boulton Street?"

 "Oh, yeah, I've seen it, but I've never been inside." I said.

 "Anyway, we saw Ben there and said 'hello' and the guy with Ben introduced himself as Ben's boyfriend."

 "And is Ben still with the same guy?" I asked.

 "Well he was when we saw them at the pub's New Year party." Dan added.

As our conversation continued across various other topics, my mind started absorbing this information. It occurred to me that Ben was doing things with me while he was, supposedly, still attached to this unnamed boyfriend. At the end of the meeting Dan and Steve went off to a pub and invited me to go with them, but I went straight back home. As soon as I got home I phoned Mike to share the information about Ben; it was great to be able to share such things with my best friend. No matter how straight Mike is, it doesn't stop him enjoying a good gossip!

The next GLYG meeting I went to was in February. Again Ben was there and again we avoided one another. Unfortunately Dan and Steve were not there and no-one else came over to my corner to talk to me. Yes, I suppose I could have tried starting a conversation with someone, but they all seemed to know one another and seemed busy talking in their own little groups. Maybe if I'd attended more of the weekly meetings it would have been easier to make new friends, but I didn't want to make my parents wonder where I was going if I went out every Wednesday. Also, there was still the nagging fear that the more often I went, the more likely it was that someone I knew might see me going into the well-sign-posted room. If and when I decided to let people know about my sexuality I wanted it to be my decision - not the result of  someone spotting me going into the GLYG meeting and spreading the news.


One Wednesday evening just before Easter, I was just finishing off some Maths homework when my mobile phone made it's usual irritating beeeep-beeeep, and I thought to myself for the one-millionth time that I must ask Mike to reprogram the ring-tone for me. When it comes to technological gadgets I'm totally useless  - it took me ages to work out how to set the timer on my video recorder and my computer skills amount to using the word processor and playing games. So I usually end up getting Mike, who is a genius with such things, to come over and help me out.

 "Hallo Mike, I was just thinking about you." I said.

 "Hi Paul - nice thoughts I hope?" Knowing him so well, I could hear the grin in his voice.

 "Of course. I was just thinking that I should ask you to help reprogram the ring-tone on my phone."

 "Any time, pal - you decided what to change it to?"

 "Not yet. Any change would be good as long as it's not one of those bloody silly tune things."

 "OK, remind me next time I see you. Which brings me to why I called - would you be annoyed if I cancelled our usual Friday night meet-up?"

 "Not annoyed, no." I knew the disappointment in my voice could not be hidden from Mike. "What's up?"

 "Well, nothing I can't postpone if it's going to spoil your plans." Mike, as usual,. was being sensitive and considerate with me.

 "No, it's OK. I'd nothing planned and we'll still meet up on Saturday won't we, so no problems."

 "Yeah, still see you Saturday."

 "So, what's happening Friday then? Don't keep me in suspense! Not your dad trying to get to see you again is it?"

 "Nah, nothing that awful." Mike laughed. "In fact something good. Sue's invited me over to her place - her parents will be out till late". Hearing the enthusiasm in his voice, I couldn't help smiling.

 "Aaaahhh!!. If this is a development in the Sue-saga then I couldn't possibly get in the way of true love." There was a slight tease in my voice, but I was genuinely happy for him - he'd been seriously dating Sue for over a month.

 "Well, I don't know yet if it's true love, but she is really nice..."

 "And you fancy her real bad!" I interrupted.

 "Mmmm - that as well." Again, I could hear the grin in his voice.

 "Yeah, pal, you go for it - and tell me all the juicy details on Saturday, OK?"

 "What!" Mike retorted pretending to be shocked and offended. "Do you think I'm the sort of boy who kisses and tells?"

 "Not normally, no, but you've been sort-of dating her for almost two months now and giving me, your best pal, a running commentary, so why should this be different?"

 "Yeah, well, let's just wait and see." Did I detect a hint of embarrassment in Mike's voice? Maybe I just imagined it, as I'd hardly ever known him to be embarrassed with me.

 "OK," I laughed, "if you have any nasty secrets I'm sure I can pry them out of you on Saturday."

 "You can always try! Anyway, I'll phone you Saturday afternoon and let you know what time I'm coming over."

The conversation drifted on to other topics for a few minutes before we said our good-byes and I returned to my homework. Despite the fact that our Friday meeting had been cancelled, I still felt more cheerful than I did before Mike phoned. He had such an infectious good humour and zest for life that even just chatting with him on the phone was enough to brighten my day. Of course, that still left me with the question of what to do on Friday night.

Well, there was the special Easter party meeting of the local Gay and Lesbian Youth Group this Friday. I'd stopped going to the usual Wednesday meetings as I wasn't really interested in most of the introductory discussions, which were usually related to politics, marches, etc. Also, it was difficult for me to make friends there, probably my own fault for being so shy and not going to many meetings. Perhaps the most convincing reason for me not going to the usual Wednesday meetings was the fact that Ben would almost certainly be there. Still, this was to be a purely social meeting, and there was a good chance that Dan and Steve would be there. I couldn't think of anything better to do on the Friday, so I decided to go.

On Friday evening I showered, splashed my best aftershave liberally, and chose my clothes carefully - loose dark blue trousers and a new white T-shirt underneath a light blue Chinos shirt, left unbuttoned and outside the trousers. No matter how unlikely it was that I would meet and talk to someone, if it did happen I wanted to give as good an impression as possible. After checking my hair and making sure I had my wallet and phone with me, I got my little tiny notebook, just in case there was a chance that some cute guy wanted to give me his number. Well, not much chance, but one can live in hope, and I didn't  want to risk missing any opportunities! Then I set off to the 'party'.

The party was due to start at 8 pm, but I made sure I didn't get there before 9 pm because I didn't want to be among the first to arrive. After paying the entry fee, which was to cover the cost of food and soft drinks, I looked around the room and saw more people than I expected - the room looked about half full with at least 50 people. The centre of the room had been cleared and the chairs and tables, bearing food and drink, were placed around the edge of the room.  Much to my relief, I quickly found Dan and Steve not too far from entrance doorway, and I immediately went over to them. They were chatting to a couple of girls, aged around 16-18, who I guessed were among the few lesbians in the group. Steve introduced them as Helen and Kate, and it didn't take long for me to work out that the two girls were a 'couple'.

Dan turned to me, nodded his head at the far corner of the room, and said:
 "I see Ben's up to his usual trick.".

When I looked in the direction he indicated, I saw Ben, whom I had not noticed up until then.  Ben was deep in conversation with a guy who seemed quite young, maybe 15 or 16, and quite attractive in a non-cute sort of way.

 "I guess the lad that Ben's talking to is a new guy?" I asked.

 "Probably - we've never seen him before, have we Steve?"

 "Nope," Steve confirmed "but we're not here every week."

I took a closer look at the boy who was chatting with Ben. He was wearing tight dark blue jeans, with a dark green polo-neck jumper and looked to be about 5'6" to 5'8". He had a chunky build, with short curly ginger hair - the shade of ginger was nearer to brown than it was to a true red-head. Although he did not fall within my usual definition of classically 'cute', there was something attractive about his round face with its ruddy cheeks and shy smile.  There was also something about him, and especially that distinctive hair, made him seem vaguely familiar.  I felt rather sad at the idea that Ben might treat this new boy in the same way he treated me, but there wasn't anything I could do about it, so I turned my attention to the discussion between Steve and the two girls.

Later on in the evening, as I went to refill my orange juice, I  notice Ben still monopolising 'Ginger-top'. Then, suddenly, it hit me why he was so familiar - he went to the same school as me! One mystery solved, but I still had no idea of his name or even what Form he was in, except for the fact that he was definitely younger than me. Now I saw him in a new light - if he was here then presumably he was gay; and if he was gay then, apart from myself, he was the only gay boy I knew about in my school. This 'bond', tenuous as it may be, made me consider again if there was anything I could do to save 'Ginger-top' from Ben's clutches.

No matter how hard I thought about it, I could not see any viable course of action. Anyway, with any luck there was no need to do anything; maybe 'Ginger-top' won't want to go with Ben; maybe Ben won't try to seduce him; if 'Ginger-top' is only 15 maybe Ben will be put off because 15 is below the 'legal' age.... While I was pondering these possibilities, I saw Ben leave the room, probably going to the toilet. As the nearest toilet was one floor down and some distance away, Ben might be away long enough for me to at least say 'Hi' to 'Ginger-top'. Without further thought, I decided to grasp the opportunity and went over toward the younger boy. As I approached him, he looked up from his drink and gave me a shy smile.

 "Hi - don't you go to the same school as me?" was my rather lame opening.  I couldn't help staring into his unusual blue-green eyes.

 "Oh, yeah, I thought I recognised you," he replied.

 "My name's Paul." I held out my hand - he looked startled, but shook hands anyway. At this point I was beginning to feel that maybe he didn't want to be recognised by someone from the same school, but I was reassured when he said:

 "I'm Robert... Rob." He sounded a little hesitant, but he gave me a big grin.

 "What form are you in?" I was encouraged enough to ask.

 "Fifth - you're a Sixth-former, aren't you?" If he'd seen me at school this was easy for him to know because the Sixth-form uniform was a different colour to that of the 'lower' forms.

 "Yeah, Lower Sixth Science."

 "Oh. I do Sciences too - I'll be doing mainly Science GCSE exams this year."

 "Poor sod!" I quipped, and he grinned again. Then for a few brief moments there was a slightly uncomfortable pause.

 "So you're gay too, then," Rob said, more as a statement than a question.

 "That's right - I can't believe we are the only two out of more than six hundred boys at our school, but I don't know of any others, do you?"

 "No. Fraid not."

 "So if you're in the Fifth-form, you'll be 15 or 16?" I said.

 "Sixteen, just two weeks ago. Legal now - that's why I'm here tonight." He shot me a big cheeky grin. I returned the grin, but my mind was racing.

The conversation temporarily ground to a halt while I thought to myself: 'Oh Shit! Rob seems to be a prime target for Ben.... What can I do?... I can hardly just warn him about Ben, and why should he believe me if I do?...   Maybe everything will be OK'.

 "I noticed you talking to Ben earlier." I tried to sound nonchalant.

 "Yeah - isn't he great!" Rob said enthusiastically. I thought: 'Double-shit!'.

 "Oh.. errr you fancy him then?" I said as calmly as I could.

 "Not half!" Rob replied, apparently slightly embarrassed. "He's invited me to a party at his place a week on Saturday," Rob continued, looking as happy as a puppy with two tails. He was such a shy and gentle guy, and he looked so sweet and innocent that I felt he was just a kid, even though he was only a year younger than me.

Time was running out as I could see Ben returning - he was chatting to someone and hadn't seen me yet. Even if I had time to warn Rob, he was so keen on Ben that he'd probably ignore me - or, even worse, think I was just jealous of one or both of them. The only thing I could think of was to make sure he had someone to talk to if he got hurt. So I ripped a page out of my tiny notebook, jotted down my mobile number and gave it to Rob.

 "Look Rob, here's my number. If you ever want to chat or you ever need anything call any time. Anytime - day or night! OK?" I said.

 "OK." Rob said, giving me a strange look but taking the paper anyway.

Ben came up to us, smiled at Rob and glared at me. Rob was beaming his happy smile and I tried to smile as sweetly as possible at Ben. After the initial glare, Ben totally ignored me, as if I didn't exist at all. Rob, not knowing what was going on, but feeling the tension,  looked confused.

 "Ben, this is Paul. He goes to my school," Rob said.

 "Yes, I know him already." Ben's voice was cold and he did not look at me.

 "Well, Rob, I'd better go now. See you at school!"

 "OK, see ya!" Rob replied, still looking confused.

I felt sorry for Rob, but having done all that I felt I could, I beat a hasty retreat and went off to look for Dan and Steve. I caught up with them only to find that they were preparing to leave and go to a pub, so I decided to walk out with them and drive straight home. When I got home I tried calling Mike, but he wasn't home, and I decided not to call his mobile - even if it was switched on, if he was still with Sue then it would be rude of me to interrupt.

The next day, Saturday, Mike called me earlier than expected; it was still not quite noon and I'd only just finished breakfast.

 "My, my - you're an early bird for a Saturday!" I joked.

 "Yeah, I was thinking of coming over early today - like now - and wanted to make sure you were out of bed and decent."

 "Out of bed, and about as decent as I ever get! Come over when you like; mum and dad are shopping and John's out somewhere - I guess you must have some news about last night?"

 "Mmm - yeah, but not over the phone, OK?"

 "OK! Come right over... I can't wait!!" I smiled to myself.

 "See you in 10 then."

 "See ya."

Well, he said 10, but it was only 5 minutes before he arrived, and he was so excited that he dragged me up to my room almost before he finished saying hello. He sat on my bed and I sat opposite him on the other bed. He was bright red, and I wondered if it was because he was excited, because he had rushed over to see me, or... maybe...  he was a little embarrassed. I looked in his eyes - any excuse to look into those deep blue eyes .

 "Well?!?" I asked.

 "I'm not a virgin anymore!" He exclaimed, looking as if he'd just won the jackpot on the National Lottery. Well, of course I was very happy for him, but I wasn't sure what the appropriate reaction should be - it's not a situation I encounter very often and I don't think it's in the etiquette books. So I jumped up and punched the air.

 "Yaaaaayyyy!! Congratulations!" I shouted.

Mike jumped up off the bed and  raised both arms in the air.

 "Yaaaaayyyy!!" He shouted as well.

Then, taking me completely by surprise, he grabbed me in a big bear-hug.

When things calmed down, we started to talk normally again. Of course he didn't give me any of the 'gory details' (and I wouldn't want to know them!) but all appeared to have gone well the previous night at Sue's house while her parents were away. Mike didn't actually use the word 'love' but from his eyes, his smile, his happiness and his whole body-language I guessed he was in love. Presumably, since Mike was so happy and he was no longer a virgin, he had good reason to believe she felt the same way about him. We spent the rest of day together, and I enjoyed basking in his happiness.

He went home to have his evening meal with his mum but came back later to spend the night at my house. When I asked if he'd told his mum about his new non-virgin status he just grinned, called me a 'stupid bugger' and threw a pillow at me, so I interpreted his response to mean 'no'.

By the time we were watching a late night movie together in my bedroom, he had calmed down to his normal merely-happy self and we began to talk about my Friday evening at the GLYG party. I'd told him the details earlier in the evening, but I think they were just sinking in.

 "What do you think will happen with Rob and Ben?" he asked me.

 "No idea. I just hope Rob doesn't get hurt"

 "He may need a friend...." said Mike, being his usual considerate self, "I'm glad you gave him your number - it was very thoughtful of you. I'm lucky to have you as my best friend."

 "It was all I could think of to do. And I'm lucky to have you."

 "What about school - will you see more of Rob there?"

 "Mmmmm - you know my school's more formal than yours about things... uniforms and so on... it's not really 'done' for Sixth formers to socialise with lower forms, and especially not in school. But I'll keep an eye open for him."

 "And what about Ben's party next Saturday - I presume you're not invited?" His remark was clearly meant as a joke, but I replied anyway:

 "No, and if I was invited, I still wouldn't go."

 "Let's just hope that Rob's going to be OK."

 "Yeah," I sighed, "We'll just have to wait and see...."