Thanks for stopping by and reading my story and many thanks to everyone who has sent me an e-mail about it. If you would like to get in touch, don't be afraid, I won't bite. dandevdrew@sky.com

But for now, I hope you enjoy.

 

The Arrangement - Chapter 10

There was silence in the group, I guess they were all trying to process what Dane had just said.

Again, there were sudden subtle changes in the way these boys were standing. A couple of them backed away a pace or two, and there were varying looks of confusion on their faces. I could tell when Dane's smile faltered for a brief second that he realised that he'd gone too far and that his mates were in no way ready to hear what he had just said.

I think the only one of his mates to sense that though was Aaron Silverman, who was standing next to his mate Isaacs.

It was he who broke the silence. "You're joking. Right mate?" He then stepped from Isaacs' side to face Dane. That's when I saw Aaron make a slight nodding gesture to Dane, which to me said, `come on mate, I'm giving you a lifeline here'.

I looked around again to see if anyone else had comprehended what was going on, but by the looks on their faces I guessed that they didn't.

The smile on Dane's face had completely vanished now and when I saw his expression I saw that he realised that he had made a mistake. Aaron offered him a way out, but I think he knew that if he took it he'd really hurt me.

Dane looked down at his feet for a second and took a deep intake of breath, then said "Baker is..." he paused for a second, like he was struggling to repeat what he had just said about me being his boyfriend.

I couldn't let this go on. I loved Dane too much to see him in so much pain. "Gay" I cut across him before he had a chance to finish his sentence. All eight pairs of eyes were suddenly on me, having broke my silence and discarded my invisibility. For better or worse, I didn't care, just as long as the attention was off Dane.

"I'm gay. Not o'Hanlon" I remembered the protocol, to call him by his surname was the done thing.

Isaacs was the first to break the silence. "Then why did he say he was your boyfriend?"

To which Aaron replied to his best mate "You've really got shit for brains sometimes. He's sick and tired of you," then he pointed around at the others "and that lot, giving Baker a hard time. Didn't he say back at the start of the year that it was about time we all grew up and stopped giving people like Baker a load of shit? It ain't funny no more. I know it and o'Hanlon knows it, and it's about time you all grew up and realised it too. Especially you Isaacs, you're me best mate, so you know that when I tell you that you're being a twat, I really mean that you're being a twat."

The rest of the guys broke their confused looks and roared with laughter at Aaron's final remark. The tension was instantly broken and Isaacs went deep red at his mate's put down.

"Okay." Aaron went on with a cheery note to his voice. "So thanks to o'Hanlon, we've got ourselves an afternoon off. How about we go round to Barrington's and raid his parents well stocked liquor cabinet?"

There were murmurs of agreement from the rest of the guys. But Lee Barrington protested. "We can't go back to mine. My parents will go mental if I have you guys over again after last time."

"Stop crying Barrington." Isaacs shot back at his mate. "We'll clear up any mess so that mummy and daddy won't even know that we've been there."

"Well you better." Barrington replied.

"Trust me. No problem." Isaacs said with a wink to the other lads who started laughing.

With that they all headed out of the school gates to Barrington's house. Dane started to pull his trousers on, at the same time he made a nodding gesture for me to come along as well, but I shook my head, I didn't want to go and hang out with these guys. Then I noticed that Silverman had stopped at the school gate and turned back to walk towards us.

When it was definite that the rest of his mates were out of earshot, he looked at Dane and asked.

"Are you fucking mental o'Hanlon? What were you thinking?"

Dane was struck dumb by that sudden attack from Silverman. So I answered for him

"He was just trying to protect me, when Isaacs started..."

"I got that bit Baker." He cut across me. "What I meant was, what were you thinking coming out to these guys as gay? They aint ready to hear that, you of all people o'Hanlon should know that."

"I'm not gay." Dane shot back with venom to his mate. "I'm bi."

"Like that's going to make any difference to them." Silverman pointed towards the school gate to his mates who were now way out of sight.

"You don't sound surprised?" I questioned Silverman. "I mean about Dane and me."

"Of course I'm not fucking surprised. It's been obvious for ages."

"Obvious?" I asked with a note of shock to my voice. I thought we'd been anything but obvious and now I was worried how Dane was going to react.

"Well Baker, it don't take much to see that you've had the hots for o'Hanlon since the first day of school. You've been practically drooling over him for the last seven years. And as for you o'Hanlon, since we got back to school after the new year's holiday you've not been able to take your eyes off Baker when we're in the form room."

"Really?" I asked. Baring in mind that Dane sits at the back of the form room class and I'm three rows in front of him, unless I turn around I've got no idea what he's up to back there.

"Yeah he has. The amount of times I've wanted to tell him to get a room. But it wasn't my place, and it wasn't like either of you two have been that obvious."

"But you worked it out." Dane's voice had a note of panic to it.

"Yeah, only because I'm very good at observing people. Subtle signs that you two made to each other, consciously or unconsciously and I picked up on them. I've got a very well tuned gaydar as well. But I doubt if anyone else in the class would have seen what I have seen, so your secret is as safe as you want it to be."

"Gaydar? Are you gay then?" I asked him.

"No of course not." He replied to me like I was an idiot. "Like I said, I'm just really good at reading people."

"And you don't have a problem with Dane and me?"

"Why should I? It's not like I'm obsessed by what you two get up to. And besides, in my opinion and I mean this as one of his best mates, o'Hanlon is becoming a better person since he's been hanging out with you."

I beamed at Dane and said "See, you're becoming a better person because of me."

Dane looked at me and replied "I think he meant in spite of you." It was the first time he smiled since he tried to out himself.

"So cutting through the crap." Silverman interrupted Dane and I as we started bickering with each other. "Do you want to tell me what's changed? Why pick today to open that closet door?"

"Sammy and I had a fight earlier today and we nearly broke up."

He then went on to tell Silverman the events of the previous night. About the date in the cinema, Michelle's messages on his phone, going round there and breaking up with Michelle, and finally Michelle's brother's clip of us on his phone and his threat."

"Fucking hell o'Hanlon, you don't do things by halves do you?"

Just then a teacher walked out of the old building and yelled "You boys. Why aren't you in class?"

"Study period sir." Silverman answered back.

"Well get off and study then."

We headed out of the school gates and saw Dane's mates far down the road and well out of ear shot.

After a few minutes of silence Silverman seemed ready to share his thoughts.

"The way I see it, Michelle's brother is bluffing. If he were going to send that clip out to everyone, he'd have done it by now and it would be all around the school, we'd be having a very different conversation than the one we're having right now.

"I know Jake Fletcher a bit, I've been coaching his year's football team. I'll have a word with him and make sure that he doesn't rock the boat."

"How are you going to do that?" I asked.

"You guys don't need to know the details, but let's just say he'll have more to worry about if he does anything stupid. Leave it to me."

Dane and I thanked him. But he waived away our gratitude, by going on to say.

"Baker, I know we ain't been friends, even though we've been in a lot of the same classes for years, but I want to change that." He smiled and offered my his hand to shake before carrying on to say "You'll find the other guys will like you as well if you give them a chance. Just do yourself a favour and stop acting aloof and like a know it all. No one likes a smart arse."

"I don't know." Dane chipped in with a beaming smile at his mate "I think he's got a real smart arse." And to emphasize the point he slapped my butt."

"Oooh o'Hanlon. Way too much information mate." Aaron screwed his face up like he was going to be sick. "I may not have a problem with you two being together and all that, but I don't need mental images of it swimming round me head."

Dane laughed and said "Fair point mate." Then he turned round to me and asked "So do you want to come back to Barrington's with us Sammy?"

"I don't know." I sighed. "Maybe it's for the best that I don't go. I mean, it'll be easier on you if I don't."

"You're wrong Baker." Aaron answered. "Like I said before, if you give them a chance to get to know you then their `backs against the wall' attitude might just change enough for you both to come out to them as boyfriends eventually."

"Well may be some of them, but I doubt the likes of Isaacs will ever come round." I replied.

"Well Isaacs has issues of his own."

"What do you mean by that?" Dane asked.

Aaron, by the look on his face, clearly knew he had already said too much.

"C'mon." Dane said to him, "You can't just leave it like that. Is he gay? Is that it? Is he a gay hating gay?" This sounded like music to Dane's ears as he was pissing himself with laughter at the thought of it.

"No, no. Look, I shouldn't have said anything. Leave it."

Dane was clearly not going to leave it and kept on at Aaron until he finally cracked.

"Okay, alright. But I'm serious, none of what I'm gonna say goes any further. Right?"

Dane and I nodded.

"Otherwise, I'm gonna hafta kill ya." He went on with a smile.

"You can try Silverman, but you know you'll fail."

"Alright Dane," I cut in. "leave the posturing out and let him speak."

"o'Hanlon, it's lucky your boyfriend is smart. I've got no idea how you made it this far without him."

"Thank you." I replied. "I've been trying to tell him that for ages."

Dane shot me a look that said to me that I was going to pay for that last remark. But I guessed that he left it because he had a more pressing issue to deal with, he wanted to know what Aaron meant about Isaacs. So after a bit more cajoling, Aaron finally relented.

"Alright, do you remember after our GSCE's we had that rugby tour of Mid Wales?"

"No, I was in Dublin with my family, so I couldn't make it. It was one of the only times I didn't want to go, cos I'd miss the tour."

"Right yeah, I remember, you weren't there. Anyway, We'd just finished the tour and were celebrating our win of the cup. We'd sneaked a load of bottles into one of our bedrooms and we were up till god knows what time getting pissed. The teachers gave us a lot of rope that night and never bothered us, probably because they knew we deserved our party. Anyway, you know what it's like when you get a bunch of drunk guys together?" Aaron paused and looked at Dane and smirked then added "You especially."

"Fuck off, what do you mean by that?" Dane replied with the most innocent sounding voice that he could muster.

Aaron didn't answer straight away, and when he did, he looked at me rather than Dane. "Believe me, this guy, once he's had a few cans he can't keep his clothes on. If there's a dare to be had, o'Hanlon's the first with his pants off, running down the street bollock naked."

I laughed at the mental image.

Dane spluttered with indignation as his mate's comment.

I looked at him and then Aaron and replied "Believe me, he doesn't even need to be drinking for that."

"Wohah, I told you both. I don't need that kind of info."

"Anyway," I motioned for Aaron to continue with his story. "So guys getting drunk. Doing what exactly?"

"Just drunken dares and forfeits really."

"Like?" I asked, genuinely curious as to what goes on with these so called straight guys parties.

"Well" Aaron went on. "One of the popular ones that night was beer pong."

"What's that?" I asked.

Dane replied for Aaron, "We get a couple of teams together and set up ten cups on one side of a table. Then each team tries to get as many ping pong balls into the cups as they can. The winners get to drink their beer from the cups..."

"And the losers?" I almost hesitated to ask.

"And the losers also get to drink their beer." Dane paused, probably out of dramatic effect for my benefit. "out of their teammates backsides."

I looked at them both with puzzlement on my face, so Aaron went on.

"The winning team strip the losing team and each of them has to bend over and have beer poured down their arse cracks, while laying underneath is another member of the losing side who has to drink it as flows down."

"And this doens't sound in any way to be a bit gay to you?"

"No." They both replied in unison.

Then Dane went on to explain. "It's all about the humiliation. No one wants to be on the losing side, but if you do lose you've got to pay the price. That way in future you won't be so keen to lose."

"I'm sorry, but I'm still going with that sounds a bit gay. So anyway, what's this got to do with Isaacs?"

"It hasn't, I'm just setting the scene for you. We're all getting a very drunk and we were all in high spirits because we'd won the tournament. The party was winding down and I decided to make my way to my room for some kip before we had to get on the coach home in about three hours time. I didn't see Isaacs leave the party, so figured that he had either the same idea earlier, unlikely because nothing can get him away from a party normally, or that he was in the bathroom puking his guts up.

"Anyway, I put my card into the hotel room that I was sharing with Isaacs and flicked the lights on. There, laying on his bed was Isaacs and, well I'm not going to say who, another guy, who was kneeling on the floor sucking Isaacs off.

"To say I was shocked at what I was looking at was an understatement. I can tell you it sobered me up straight away. Isaacs looked like he had passed out on the bed while this guy was noshing on him."

Aaron paused and Dane spoke "That kind of sounds like rape if you ask me. I mean, if Isaacs was passed out and some guy was doing that?"

I nodded in reply and waited for Aaron to go on.

"Yeah, well you see, I'd have thought that too, except for when I played the scene back in my head I saw two things that I didn't notice at the time. As I switched the lights on Isaacs had his eyes open and a stupid grin on his face. His hands were pulling at the bed covers and while the other guy was going down on him, Isaacs' arse was raised off the bed slightly and this guy had his fingers up it. It was only a few seconds, but I know what I saw. But when I looked at his face again his eyes were closed and he looked like he'd passed out. And that's what my brain took in.

"I admit, I'm not proud of what I did next, but I couldn't take in everything that I had seen. I stepped out of the room, closed the door and leaned against the wall next to it. My head started spinning going over what I saw and trying to work out if Isaacs was being violated or there because he wanted to be. A few seconds after I left the room I could have sworn I heard voices. Then the door opened and this guy staggered out.

"When he saw me leaning up on the wall he looked over to me and drunkenly slurred. `Isaacs kicked me out'. Then he staggered and fell on top of me. I pushed the guy away and told him to fuck off. I thought for a second that he was going to hit me cos he raised his hand to my face, but then he slurred `he's primed and ready, be a shame to waste it'. And he shoved his fingers under my nose. Believe me, that's no smell a guy wants to get off another guy."

I smirked and Dane looked at me with a knowing smile, that I've seriously got no problem with most male bodily smells.

Aaron missed this exchange of looks between us and went on.

"I punched the guy in the stomach and he doubled up on the floor. I stepped over him and went back into the room. Isaacs was laying there on the bed as I left him a couple of minutes earlier. He looked like he had passed out, but after hearing voices from inside the room I wasn't so sure. I called his name out a few times and when I didn't get any response I slapped his face a couple of times. He suddenly bolted up and jumped off the bed, made a dash for the bathroom and started puking.

"After what seemed like ages the chundering stopped and the moaning began when he had no more to throw up. I went in to the bathroom and saw him hunched over the toilet and knelt down to rub his back and tell him that it was alright. `I'm not gay' he slurred. I told him that I knew he wasn't and started to help him up. I pulled his sick covered t-shirt off him, then grabbed a flannel off the rail and ran it under the tap and started to clean him up. He tried to grab the flannel and push me away, but all he managed to do was stumble and fall over. He kept on telling me that he wasn't gay and I kept on replying that I believed him as I helped him up and finished off cleaning him up, then helping him into bed."

Aaron went quiet again and Dane asked "So is he gay?"

"I, er." He seemed to be having an internal battle in his mind as to whether to answer the question or not. Eventually he replied "Yes, but he's got major issues with it and he doesn't think I know. The thing was, I've tried to get him to talk about it several times since that night and he won't even acknowledge that it even happened. If he was smart I'd say that he should realise that I know about him just from what I saw that night, because he seemed to be enjoying himself when I walked in on the two of them at it, and as I got him clean I couldn't help noticing that he got himself a massive boner."

"Massive?" Dane asked sounding doubtful.

"Figure of speech. Truth be told he ain't bigger than me."

"Must have been a really small boner if he's smaller than you Silverman."

"Guys focus. Knock the banter off for a few minutes." They both looked down at the ground as I chastised them. But after hearing this story I was in no mood to mess around with jokes.

"Aaron." He snapped round and gave me an odd look like he'd never heard his name before. I'm sorry, but surnames might be for them, but I'm not part of their gang so I don't play by their rules. "Why are you telling us all this? A few minutes ago you weren't going to elaborate on what happened, in fact you didn't want to say anything after you let slip that Isaacs has issues. What changed?"

"Good question. I was angry with myself when I first said it to you. But then I realised as o'Hanlon was trying to coax me into spilling the beans, that if you knew what I knew, you might help him out. You said that you weren't sure about coming to Barrington's to hang out with us, but I realised that's exactly what I need you to do. You need to be there and more to the point Isaacs needs you to be there." Aaron pointed at Isaacs who along with his mates were way ahead of us down the street.

I was puzzled. "Explain"

"You need to be there and be around us, become our friend because having them know a real gay guy, who despite what he's been through can put that aside, will help them understand and when Dane is ready to come out and tell them that you guys are together, they might just be more receptive. Isaacs needs you there because he has to come to terms with who he is. Getting to know you, seeing that you're actually a normal guy who happens to like guys. If you can get past his bravado, you'll see that although he's a twat, he's actually a good guy in need of help. Help that I can't give him."

I mulled over Aarons words, they seemed like a genuine heartfelt plea. Then Dane spoke.

"Then wouldn't it be better if I did come out and tell them that I wasn't joking when I said that I was going out with Sammy? I mean if I did that then he'd see someone who he's known for years, who's well, y'know..."

"Dane." This time I was shocked at Aaron calling Dane by his first name. "Trust me mate, I don't think that is a good idea."

"Why not?"

"You can't even say the word gay."

"That's because I'm not gay." Dane tensed up and cut across Aaron.

Then I chipped in "You're not ready. If you were, you wouldn't have taken the life line that Aaron gave you when you suddenly blurted out that I was your boyfriend."

"Nor would you have let Baker cover for you. You'd have stood your ground."

Dane looked around at me and then said with a note of sadness to his voice. "You're right. I'm sorry, I'll put that right and tell them the truth."

"Dane," I replied. "I've said before, I don't want or need you to do that. Not till you know you are ready. If they react bad to it, you'll start to blame me for you losing your friends and I can't have you hate me for that. Aaron's right. Maybe if your mates get to know me first they might react better when they hear the truth and, I can't believe I'm saying this, if it helps Isaacs having me around as well then it can't be a bad thing. I'll just have to try to get used to being around a bunch of apes." I shrugged.

"Don't worry mate." Aaron laughed. "You'll get used to the smell."

"And me and the guys let you hang out with us because Silverman?"

"Because I whoop your butt at every sport we play."

That resulted in another five minutes of put downs and banter between them. When they finally stopped for some air I asked Aaron

"When you told us what you found Isaacs and that guy doing, why didn't you name the other guy?"

"Because it wasn't necessary."

"Was it one of them." I pointed to the guys who were now only just visible to us as we'd fallen so far behind them.

To my surprise Dane answered for Aaron. "It was Lloyd, wasn't it?"

Barry Lloyd was probably the worst of the whole bunch of them. Not just someone who was out for a laugh to make mine and other's lives miserable, but a real bully. To say that he was a psycho was putting it mildly, even his mates only put up with him because they were scarred of him. Well that was my guess, because when he didn't return to school sixth form after the summer break no one, not even Dane's crowed had a good word to say about him. I was relieved that he wasn't there as he wasn't just content with a bit of name calling. I was off school with fractured ribs for several weeks after he decided to use me as a punch bag. Of course, I told my mother I fell down the stairs. Why? That would be because if she pressed charges, Lloyd or any one of his psycho family would have torched our house. I'm really not exaggerating. There were several rumours around that it was Lloyd and his brothers who burnt down a nearby pub a few years ago, just for refusing to serve him.

"What makes you say that?" Aaron asked back, not revealing if Dane was right or not.

"When I got back from Dublin a week after the rugby tour, I was in the park with Isaacs having a kick about, and Lloyd came by. He wanted to talk to Isaacs about something and told me to get lost. I weren't going to argue with the guy, he's a fucking mentalist, so I made myself scarce and walked off. I heard a lot of shouting from Isaacs to be left alone. I turned back, figuring that Isaacs might need some back up, but Lloyd just walked away. I didn't think anything at the time other than whatever it was between the two of them, Isaacs was lucky not to have been hospitalised. I haven't seen him since. Not that I mind if I never see the nutter again."

"No, neither have I, but word has it that he's been chucked out by his family."

Dane smiled as if he'd just worked the puzzle out. "Well that would that would tie up if his family found out that he was gay, they'd bound to have chucked him out. So was it him? With Isaacs I mean?"

"Not saying it was, not saying it wasn't." Aaron replied with a mischievous glint in his eye.

"Aaron, can I ask you a question?"

He looked round at me and raised an eyebrow. So I went on.

"You seem pretty cool about the whole gay thing. I mean, you helped Dane and me out with your mates just now, and it's obvious that you care a lot about Isaacs. Are, you sure you're not gay?"

Aaron stopped walking and turned round to look at me. He seemed to stare at me for ages, as he did it looked into his steel grey eyes for a sign that I hadn't pissed him off.

Finally he spoke. "Baker, erm Sam, if we're doing the first name thing. Not comfortable with that though, but we'll save that for another time. The one thing you've got to know about me is that my mates mean everything to me. Even when they're being twats, which for some of them is most of the time. My brother is gay, I'm fairly sure that my best mate is gay, but like I said has issues. Then there's me other best mate, and well, you know all about him." He then turned round to Dane and pulled his arm around his neck and drew him into a hug. Then he kissed him very quickly on the temple as Dane struggled to get away from his friend's embrace.

"Fuck of Silverman." Dane almost spat out, then realised that he didn't have to act tough, not now. Then the confusion set in, was Aaron telling us that he was gay? Aaron laughed at Danes reaction and let him go from his grip.

He then put his arm around me and went on to say "and my new mate is gay." Then he gave me the same kiss as he did with Dane. I of course didn't struggle to get free, in fact a bit of blood headed south and I wooded up. C'mon, Aaron just kissed me! I'm a red blooded gay guy, of course I sprung a boner.

"Alright Silverman, take your hands off my boyfriend."

Aaron looked at me and winked, then replied "Well that's a good sign Sam, he's jealous. Too bad you're not the guy we thought you were."

"Huh?" I had no idea what he was on about.

"I thought you were the brains of the duo Baker. Looks like you're not as smart as you thought you were. If I was gay, do you think I'd be asking you for help with Tony? I'd do it myself. If I could help him in the way he needs it, I'd do it. But I can't. Not until he comes out to himself. Just because I care about me mates, some of whom happen to be gay or bi or whatever, doesn't mean that I'm also gay."

"I'm sorry, I didn't me to..."

"You didn't offend me Baker. But don't go round thinking that if someone doesn't have a problem with gay people that they automatically must be gay themselves, or you become as bigoted as the idiots who made your life hell at school."

"You're friends with a lot of those idiots though." I replied.

"Yeah, but it was me trying to get them to back off for years."

Dane interrupted by confirming that Aaron had indeed tried to get them to lay off me for the last few years, not that anyone actually took much notice much at the time. "Yeah, well if I had manned up as well as Aaron then it might have been different. I'm sorry."

"o'Hanlon," Aaron put his hand back on Dane's shoulders and went on "everyone has to put up with a bit of teasing in school, it's a fact. Yeah, maybe you could have got some of the guys to stop sooner than you had. But the real bullies, the likes of Lloyd, Smith, Aitkin and Greaves wouldn't have stopped. You know well, that while they sometimes hung out with us, they weren't our friends. Sam's problem is that he didn't know that, and lumped everyone in to one category. Us and him.

"Okay, so Isaacs gave out a bit more grief than he should have, but I think you'll agree there was probably a reason for that. I'd say the same for Lloyd, except that he was generally a nasty piece of work. Sam's problem wasn't that everyone was bullying him, it was that he thought everyone was bullying him for being gay.

"If he hadn't lumped everyone into one group, he may well have shown to some of us that he was an alright guy. I knew he was, I have half of my lessons with him. But he thought I was exactly the same as Lloyd and the rest and never bothered to try to get to know me. I wouldn't have been bothered if he was gay or not, but he didn't give me a chance for him to know that. Don't beat yourself up Dane, because you wish now things could have been different for Sam because you now care about him and don't like seeing him hurt. The sooner he gets over his victim mentality, the sooner he'll realise that some of it was his own making and some of that can be put right starting today, where if he gives everyone the chance they deserve, he might find out that he's got half a dozen new friends."

That was a lot to take in at once and it's not easy hearing home truths about yourself, even if he wasn't quite right about some of what he had said. If there's one thing I'll say about Aaron Silverman is that he calls it as he sees it.

Dane looked at me with a concerned expression on his face. He knew the nightmares that I had from school and how they had affected me. But Aaron's words cut deep and it almost felt like someone had just shown me a light at the end of a tunnel. I smiled at Dane so that he wouldn't worry and then replied to what Aaron had said.

"Six new friends? Not counting you two, there are seven other guys over there." I looked up and saw that there were actually no guys ahead of us, they were totally out of sight.

"Yeah, well. I wasn't counting Ridgewell. You're never going to win him over, he doesn't like anyone. Not even his mates."

Dane laughed at Aarons summing up of his mates. "It's true, why's he even hang out with us?"

"I think it's because he's got nothing else better to do." Aaron replied.

"Oh yeah, I forgot." Dane laughed again.

"But he's got a girlfriend?" I asked.

"Yeah, a long distance one." Aaron replied, then went on. "I feel sorry for him. It's no wonder that he's angry at the world. He's barely five foot five, he's got the brightest copper hair you can imagine and he's fallen in love with a girl who lives over a hundred miles away."

"Is this a real girl from miles away or a pretend one like Barrington's?" Dane laughed.

"No, she's real alright. She's one of B's mates." He paused and looked at me and filled in the blank "My girlfriend Becky. Anyway she was down staying with Becky and they met up when she came round. He was at my place, being, well Ridgewel, angry and shouting about some such crap that I don't remember. He soon shut up when Sarah turned up with B. Love at first sight does happen sometimes I suppose. From what I hear from Becky, he's gonna convert to Judaism and they're planning on marrying when they've graduated from uni."

"Converting?" Dane asked. "Doesn't that mean he's gonna hafta have it snipped off?" He made a cutting gesture with his fingers by his crotch and his face winced.

"Circumcised? Yep, if he goes through with it, he'll have to."

"That's barbaric man."

"Yeah, well we normally get it done as babies, so I've got no idea what it's like to have a foreskin. I can't imagine it being much fun to have it snipped as an adult though. Hey Sam, if you happen to get the chance before the mohel's butcher him, you should see what Ridgewell is packing down there. It's a work of art isn't it Dane?"

"Well it's big if that's what you mean. Not deformed like Millar, who's let's face it is the elephant man. But that's probably because Ridgewell's a short arse, on a normal sized guy it would probably look okay, just on him it looks big."

"No way, I'm telling you, even on a normal sized man it would look big. He's gotta be what? Six inches soft?"

"Easily," Dane replied. "But you know what it's like some guys are showers. They don't grow much more when they get hard, so it all averages out in the end."

"I'd agree with you, but I've seen that one eyed monster hard and it's fucking huge, like ten maybe twelve inches huge."

"No way, you bullshitting. When have you ever seen Ridgewell hard?"

"Last summer, him, me and Isaacs got back late from a club."

"Where was I?" Dane asked.

"With Michelle as usual. Anyway, it was during the heat wave and it was too hot for duvets, so I slept on top of my bed and both Isaacs and Ridgewell slept on top of their sleeping bags. I woke up during the night and saw that Ridgewell had a night time boner poking through the slit in his boxers. I'm not lying; it was a fucking work of art. It was bone hard, but I reckon that it was too heavy to stand up on its own. It was poking out of his shorts and went almost down to his knees. The guy's a fucking tripod."

"Sorry man, you're lying." Dane retorted.

"On my mother's grave. No way am I lying. I'd say ask Isaacs, but he'd probably freak out at you given his state of mind."

"So Isaacs saw it too?"

"Yeah, when I woke up I not only saw Ridgewell's boner, but also Isaac's staring at it. We must have been staring at it for ages before our eyes met. Isaacs quickly shut his eyes and pretended to be asleep, but I whispered to him `it's a fucking monster.' He opened his eyes and nodded. `We should take a picture of it and stick it on the internet.' He said. I told him not to be a prick, cos if Ridgewell found out that he'd done that, he'd be sure to knock him out and that I wouldn't stop him. We must have spent the rest of the night just staring at that fine piece of meat."

"You sure you're not gay?" Dane asked.

"After that night I did wonder for a while to be honest. But no, 100% metro-hetro here. Well, maybe 99%. I mean marvelling at another guy's equipment gotta count for at least .5%."

"And the other .5?" I asked.

"Well, I'd definitely bum David Beckham given half the chance. I had a bit of a man crush on him when I was younger and it's never entirely gone away.

"David Beckham?" Dane and I repeated in unison.

"What? That's allowed. I bet half the men in England would ditch their wives for a night with him."

Aaron's face flushed with red as he admitted something that was clearly personal to him.

"Anyway, how did we get on to this topic?" Aaron asked, clearly wanting to change it.

"We were talking about Rigdewell's girlfriend." I replied.

"Oh, yeah. I know what I was gonna ask. How did you know he had a girlfriend?"

"White silk boxer shorts with red love hearts on them?" I replied. "No one is sad enough to buy something like that for themselves. If it was his mum who bought them for him, I doubt that he'd have even taken them out of the packet, because let's face it, that's just weird when mums do stuff like that. So it had to be a present from a girlfriend. They looked new, so I figured that they must have been from last months' Valentine's day."

"There's no flies on you Sherlock." Aaron sounded impressed. "How did you figure all that out?"

"Sammy's got a thing for underwear. And let's face it, how could you miss those shorts Ridgewell was wearing? What was he thinking wearing them to school?"

"He probably wasn't thinking that some twat would stage an underwear protest in science class today."

Dane smiled. Then Aaron turned to me and asked "So what did you think of mine?" He raised his eyebrows a couple of times and then winked at me.

"Yeah, really good. You looked great in them."

"I thank you"

Dane looked incredulous at me.

"You looked hot in yours too." I smiled back at him.

"I should think so too, seeing as you got them for me."

Aaron laughed then said "What? No love hearts Sam? Shame on you."

"I don't need to get him shorts with hearts on. He knows how I feel about him."

"Instead you get him shorts that," Aaron turned round and looked at Dane and said "No offence mate." Dane just shrugged for Aaron to continue. Probably knowing what was coming next. "but let's face it they were obscene." Aaron then looked at me before he carried on. "Bright yellow, tight fitting and dare I say it engineered to push your packet out for the best possible view of what's down there?"

"Yeah, what can I say? He wears what I tell him to wear."

Dane scowled at my off the cuff remark. I looked at him with eyebrows raised and his face softened and he started nodding his head and with a sign of resignation replied "Yeah, alright you do."

Aaron was nodding in mock sympathy as Dane looked over at him and repeated "Yeah, he does."

"I don't know o'Hanlon, you've gone from being under the thumb in on one relationship to being under the thumb in another. Do you see a pattern emerging here?"

Dane seemed to be thinking about it for a while then replied "No, my ex-girlfriend didn't have a dick and my boyfriend has got a much tighter arse."

"Ahhh o'Hanlon, way too much information again man." He paused for a few second then in a different tone to his whine he went on to say. "I would have thought that it would be Sam doing the fucking?"

"What?!!!!" Dane exclaimed.

"Nah, it's just that he strikes me as, what's my brother call them? Erm, top. Yeah, I'd have thought that Sam would have been the top in your relationship."

"Eh? Why do you say that?" Dane sounded perplexed.

"I don't know. Maybe he seems more in control than you do. I mean I'm not saying that it's bad if you take it up the back passage."

Dane responded with gritted teeth "I don't take it up the back passage."

"Yet." I mouthed to Aaron, who pissed himself laughing.

"What? What did he say?" Dane demanded from Aaron.

"Hey man, don't get me involved in a lovers tiff."

He looked round at me and repeated his demand "What did you say?"

I looked at him and tried to keep a straight face, but broke down giggling as I blurted out "Yet, I said yet."

"Never gonna happen Baker boy, never gonna happen."

Still laughing I replied "Yeah, but you've said that about a lot of things that we've ended up doing."

He shrugged and smiled then said "I think we're more than several big arrangements away from even thinking about that."

"Arrangements?" Aaron asked.

"Long story." Dane replied.

"Hey, don't change the subject." I snapped back "So we're saying that turn about sex is on the cards."

"That's not what I said Sammy."

"But you didn't not say it."

Aaron laughed at our bickering.

Dane scowled at him saying "Y'see what you've started."

Aaron just carried on laughing at us and then raised his hand and snapped it back, while making the sound of a cracking whip.

That stopped Dane in his tracks. Aaron and I had taken a few more steps along the pavement before we realised that Dane wasn't walking with us. We both turned round to see that Dane seemed to be in deep thought.

"What's up o'Hanlon?" Aaron asked.

"You're right, I've gone from being whipped in one relationship to exactly the same in another."

I was shocked at his suggestion that I was like Michelle. "What? No!"

He beamed a big smile and said "Gotya."

He took a few steps towards me and pulled me into his arms then said "Don't be daft. I don't think you're anything like Michelle." He kissed me. "You're much hotter." Kiss. "And you give the best blow jobs I've ever had." Kiss.

Aaron laughed. "o'Hanlon. You romantic fool you."

"Shudup." I said to him. "With Dane, that's as good as it gets."

"Then I pity you Sam. You could do so much better than that idiot."

"Na, I'll stick with what I've got thanks. The rest? We'll work on it." I replied.

Aaron stopped in his tracks and nodded over to one of the houses we were just about to pass.

"Barrington's place."

Dane instantly removed his arm from around my shoulders, but softened his action with a smile. I knew the score.

We walked up the garden path and Dane rang the doorbell. A minute and three more rings later Barrington opened the door and nodded us to come in. But then asked

"What's he doing here?" He pointed at me.

Aaron responded "He's a mate. Problem?"

Obviously not as he stepped aside and let me in.

Dane and Aaron headed straight for the living room and after a moment's hesitation to gather my strength I followed.

Even though the guys couldn't have got there more than five minutes before we arrived, you'd have thought that they were there much longer. Blazers, bags and school ties had been dumped all over the room and they had already started to make a dent into the Barrington's booze supply, which to me looked quite considerable. It wasn't so much as a liquor cabinet, but a small off-licence with every kind of spirit that you can imagine. Next to that was a pile of boxes all holding 24 cans of beer each. Dane's mates had pulled open one of the boxes and had helped themselves.

"What the fuck is he doing here?" Isaacs pointed at me as I walked through the door. "We don't want no poofs here."

All of Dane's mates looked round at me and I went red in the face.

"Then what you doing here then Isaacs?" Dane replied to his mate in my defence.

Aaron shot Dane a look and I think Dane realised that he had over stepped the mark with his reply.

"C'mon ladies, play nicely." Aaron quipped. Then he went over to the boxes of beer and pulled out a few cans, offering me and Dane a tin each.

I followed Dane's lead and opened my can and took a sip then sat down next to him on the floor along with his mates who were all sitting in a circle.

The moment of awkwardness was over and the guys went back to their conversations, mostly about football and the up and coming game between West Ham and Arsenal. Apparently the group was split between fans of both those teams and a couple of the others who were Spurs fans. Banter ebbed and flowed between the two camps, with the Spus fans not caring who was going to win and if it were possible they'd like to see both teams lose.

While this was going on I asked Dane what the deal was with all the booze in Barrington's house.

"His dad's local pub closed down last year, so rather than find a new one him and his mates pool their money and spend most evenings round here getting pissed."

"Nice." I replied sarcastically.

"Everyone likes a drink Sammy."

"Yeah, but this is a bit over the top." I replied looking at the stacks of beer and bottles of spirits.

"Barrington's dad is ex-army, I think he had a bad time in Iraq in the early 90's. Him and some of his mates who live nearby get together most nights and get pissed."

"That can't be a good way for Barrington to grow up. I mean his dad getting drunk every night and all that. Doesn't his mother mind?"

"Step mother. His mum ran away with some bloke years ago. But no, his step mum's a piss-head as well. As for Barrington, I guess if that's what you grow up in, then you're bound to think that it's normal. Besides, I don't think there's been too much damage done, Barrington's alright. Not that bright, but not a bad guy either."

At that moment Barrington had chugged the dregs of his beer can and smashed it on his forehead, then chucked the crumpled remains in the pile of empties and opened another one. I looked at Dane as if to say `you were saying?'

An hour or so later and I was still on my first can of beer, I'm not much of a drinker, but the others were well through their third or fourth can, Barrington probably on his sixth. I hadn't joined in on any of the conversations as they mostly revolved round girls, football, girls, other sports, girls, cars, girls and generally taking the piss out of each other, oh, and did I mention, girls?.

As I finally emptied the contents of my can of beer I decided that it was time that I paid the toilet a visit. I think it was my body's way of telling me that beer and me just don't go well together. I told Dane and he pointed the way up to the loo for me. He didn't need to as Barrington's house was the same lay out as my house.

I'm guessing that someone in the 1930's designed a house and liked it so much that they rolled the design out everywhere in the area. Most of the houses round here look exactly the same. Through the front door there was a hallway that led to the kitchen at the back of the house and the living room to the right. It used to be two rooms, but I guess that like most houses, mine included, they had the living room and dining room knocked through into one years ago. Upstairs were three bedrooms and a bathroom.

After emptying my bladder I was just about to walk downstairs when I say Lee's name plate on the outside of his door. I'm sorry, but curiosity got the better of me.

I realised that this was the perfect opportunity to see if the story that Dane had told me about Barrington all those months ago was true. The one where he was spotted by his mates showing a bit of whale tail over his jeans in a pub one night and outed as a thong wearer, earning himself the nickname of `T-boy' in the process.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't fancy Lee Barrington in anyway. Okay, he's a fairly good looking guy, as most of Dane's mates were. But he doesn't stand out like Dane, Aaron or even, and I hate to say it, Isaacs.

But I have a natural curiosity as to what underwear people are wearing. Okay, so it might not be natural for you, but for me? Well...

For most guys of our age the answer to what they have on under their trousers is simple. Boxers, boxer-briefs, or if they were bang on fashion at the moment then it would be the little brother of the boxer-brief called trunks. Briefs or anything smaller are a rare sight and that's probably why I'm turned on by seeing a lad in something that isn't the norm. Especially when it's something like a thong. You've got to have guts to wear something like that, and aside from the ones I had seen Dane in, which I had got him, I had never seen anyone else who wasn't on Youtube wearing one.

Lee's bedroom was the smallest bedroom in the house, knowing that this was the same house design as mine was, this meant that he must have an older sibling, who would have been in the second bedroom, which was twice the size.

As I opened the door I was greeted with that teen smell of stale spunk and general un-cleanliness. I'm guessing that by the state of the room, his parents left him alone. There was no way my mother would have allowed me to let my room get into this state. The bed was unmade and had dried spunk stains on the bottom sheet. There were piles of worn clothes strewn all over the room, where I spotted several pairs of boxer-briefs and a couple of pairs of compression shorts like the type Dane wears for sports.

The walls of his room were covered in flags, the Union flag, the St. Gorges cross and one that looked like it was an army regimental flag. Any other spare inch of wall had other such military regalia and photos. I spotted loads of Lee and his mates over the years, including a few with Dane . But most of the photos were of someone that could have only been Lee's older brother as he had the same fair hair and stocky build. One of them was a large 10x8 of him in full dress uniform, he looked like a better looking version of Lee.

Other pictures were of him and presumably his mates from his regiment. A lot of them seemed to have been taken in the desert, I wondered if Lee's brother was serving out in Afghanistan?

As I looked over the pictures on Lee's wall it was clear that his brother was in a very tight group of mates. All the same faces popped up again and again and there was something about each and every picture that told me that no matter what, these guys were looking out for each other. I'd call it love, but I am sure that they would call it camaraderie.

That's when I spotted it. A photo of Lee's brother in the middle of a line up of ten of his mates, they were all wearing their camouflage helmets and holding their rifles and in boots. But each of them was posing in their underwear. Most of them were in boxer shorts of varying patterns, but lee's brother and two of his mates were standing there in a khaki camouflage thongs.

Then a few pictures across was one that looked like it was in a bar. The table in the foreground was full of plastic cups of beer. There was a guy sat at the table looking very drunk with a beaming smile on his face, oblivious to Lee's brother behind him showing a full moon. And in between his cheeks was a black strip of material.

So putting two and two together I figured out that Lee had an older brother who, judging by the amount of pictures of him, he looked up to. By a lot of the scenes in the various photos I was guessing that Lee's brother was probably the joker in the pack. And by the two photos with him wearing the thongs, I was guessing that he had two pairs, maybe more. If Lee did look up to his brother, then maybe his choice of underwear was an influence to Barrington junior?

I looked back down on the floor at the piles of worn clothes and wondered if there was a thong or two under there? I cautiously kicked aside a few of the piles of clothes but without closer inspection I saw nothing.

I thought that maybe if he had any, but wanted to hide them, then under the mattress would have been the place of choice of most lads. Tentatively I lifted up his mattress and found underneath, not what I was looking for, but two dog eared magazines. On the front cover of one was a large breasted girl smiling up at me, promising much more inside. While the other cover had a bondage scene on it with a fully leathered up dominatrix standing over some guy in a gimp mask, spiked collar and leather shorts.

Barrington, you kinky fucker! I thought to myself as I let the corner of the mattress drop back in place.

Then I spotted a chest of drawers. Tip toeing in between the piles of clothes on the floor, trying to step only on the small visible parts of carpet, I got to the drawers and opened the top one.

Good call, for inside were his socks and boxer shorts. While the shorts were clean, they were obviously old and had seen better days. I pulled out a couple of pairs of what were supermarket boxer-briefs that looked like the elastic was about to go and a couple more that had small holes in them. Then as I got to the bottom of the pile of shorts. Bingo!

Six thongs and two g-strings.

Two of the thongs and one of the g's were camo patterned, one of which was a shiny material and looked just like the one Lee's brother was wearing in that photo, while the other was a nylon one which would look almost see-thru when worn. There were two pairs of Calvin Klein's one white and one black. The other two were a silky wet look black one and a Union flag one. Finally, the second g-string had a leather pouch.

"What the fuck are you doing?"

I nearly jumped out of my skin with the interruption. I turned round and saw Barrington standing in his doorway. His hair looked wet and from the colour of the stains on his shirt I guessed that someone had just poured beer over him.

He made a lunge at me across the room and grabbed my throat in one hand, while the other was balled up into a fist which he looked like he was going to smash into my face.

"I'm sorry Barrington. I just got curious. I'm really sorry."

He looked over my shoulder to see that his underwear drawer was open and I had found his thongs. He dropped his fist down to his side and slackened his grip on my throat.

"So you thought you'd find these to take the piss out of me?"

"No," I croaked. "Nothing like that."

He took his hand from my throat and I coughed a couple of times.

"Then what then?"

"I-I heard a rumour that you were seen in a thong, so I just thought I'd check it out. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have invaded your privacy."

"No you fucking shouldn't have. What's it to you anyway? You don't fancy me do you Baker? Cos y'know I aint into that shit."

"I never thought that you were and I don't fancy you." I replied.

"Then why are you bothered what pants I wear then?"

"Look." I said with a tone in my voice that I hoped would come across as reasonable and calming. "Just because I am gay, doesn't mean I fancy every guy I see. But on the other hand I have an almost uncontrollable fetish for underwear. So like when I came up to take a leak and saw your room I had to check it out. You know what a fetish is Barrington?"

"Course I do, it's like kinky for stuff in it?"

"Yeah, some people are into all kinds of stuff, y'know, like bondage and domination."

His eyes grew wide when I said that and he made an involuntary glance over to his bed. So I continued.

"Me? I'm into guys underwear. Okay, to be honest it's only mild compared to some fetishes that I have heard of, but it's my thing. Like I said, I heard a rumour that you were seen in a thong, and thongs to me are high up on my list of favourite pants."

"Yeah, well, me girlfriend got them for me." He replied.

"Funny that." I replied. "Because this pair." I held up the shiny camo thong from his drawer. "Looks just like the one that your brother is wearing in that photo over there."

He looked over his shoulder at his wall of pictures and then back at me and made a grab for his thong in my hand. I let go of it and he stuffed it back in the drawer and then closed it.

"So are they your brother's then?" I asked.

After a few moments of silence he replied "Yeah, yeah they are." He sat down on his bed and looked up at me and continued his explanation. "Since we was kids I got all Dave's hand me downs. We aint rich like some people."

"Hey," I replied. "if I had an older brother I'd probably have had the same. It's just me and my mum, so there's not been too much money going around. It was only last year when I got a job with my uncle that I started having enough to do things myself."

"I hear ya. My parents both got crappy jobs. Me dad can't do much cos of his wounds in Iraq, so he works part time and gets a small army pension and me step-mum works cleaning jobs. So money's tight most of the time and I've always had me brother's old clothes."

"So what about the thongs?" I asked trying to get him back on subject.

"Well last year, Dave comes back on leave from Helmand. He had a bit of a spending spree the first week back home because when you're out there, it's real easy to save your money cos there's nothing to buy apart from the beer.

"So he comes back with loads of bags and after having a sort out, he dumps a load of clothes in my room and tells me that I can have any that I want. That's when I saw that he gave me all his boxers. I thought he'd made a mistake giving them all to me so I ask him, and he told me that he weren't wearing them no more.

"He showed me what he'd bought instead. I never knew they made thongs for men, I'd only seen them on birds before. But he told me that they were well comfortable and he liked the way they held him in place. Him and a couple of his mates got them for a laugh when they was on holiday the year before, but he said that he liked them so much that he weren't gonna wear nothing more again."

"That's a bit risky." I interrupted. "I mean, in the army, surely they'd take the piss out of him?"

"Yeah, he probably got a bit of ribbing from `em, but they're all good mates and when it comes down to it, they've all got each other's backs. Like him with me, I know he's always gonna look out for me. So anyway, he gives me one to try. There's no way I would have tried one if it weren't for Dave. But he could always get me to do stupid things without much pushing."

"You look up to him, as anyone would with a big brother."

"Yeah. I suppose." He laughed to himself.

"What?" I asked.

"I just remembered a time when I was, I donno, maybe thirteen and Dave was sixteen and we was playing out in the woods. When we was younger he would tie me up to a tree, pretending to be cowboys and Indians. I had to try to struggle to get free, sometimes he's leave me there for hours until he'd come back to let me go. But that time he told me that I have to strip before I was tied to a tree and even though I didn't want to, I did, cos he told me too. So when he told me to try one of his thongs on I just did.

"Then he told me that it would take some time to get used to them when I said that I didn't like it. So he told me that for the rest of the summer until I was back in school, that I wasn't allowed to wear any other underwear. Just the thongs."

"And you went along with it just because he said you had to?" I asked trying to lose the note of dubiousness to my voice.

"Course. I told you. Dave's always got my back. If he tells me to do something then he's got a good reason for it, and like in the army, you follow orders cos you have to. Me dad taught us that since we was kids.

"So, anyways I did what he said and wore his thongs all summer. They were cool and all that, but some of me mates took the piss out of me. It got to me at first and I told Dave that I weren't gonna wear them no more. But he told me it was okay if I didn't want to, but if it was because I was worried about what people would say about me then I should man up and tell them to stick it."

"He's right, you can't let people dictate to you what you should do. Besides, they're only underwear."

"That's just what he said. But he didn't have your fancy way with words like." That kind of sounded like a compliment. I think he realised that and blushed slightly and looked back down at his hands on his lap. After a few moments of silence he carried on with his story. "That was the last bit of good advice he gave me. By the end of summer his regiment was called back to duty and he was back in Helmand. Then two weeks before Christmas he was killed. His unit were moving supplies and their truck was taken out by a roadside device. The rest of his unit escaped with injuries, but Dave took the full force of the explosion and died before they got him back to base."

He lifted his eyes back up to me and I could see that he had started to well up.

He rubbed his eyes and sniffed a couple of times and composed himself, then went on. "They sent all his stuff back to us after the funeral. Me step-mum wanted to chuck it all away. I don't think she could deal with it at the time. But I knew that he'd want me to have his clothes, cos he always gave me his hand me downs. I wear them, thongs and all, to remember him."

I really didn't know what to say, so I crouched down in front of him and put my arms around his shoulders. He instantly recoiled at my gesture and I saw a look on his face that said `What the fuck?'

"I'm so sorry." I pulled back "I just thought that you could use a hug."

He didn't reply with words, but he leaned into me and I put my arms around him again. He rested his head on my shoulder and started to sob, so I just held him for a few minutes until he pulled away from me again. I don't know why, but I got the feeling that he hadn't had a hug from anyone in a long time.

"Barrington, you never said about your brother. Why didn't you tell us?"

Lee and I looked over to the doorway of his room and saw Dane standing there, looking concerned for his mate.

"I didn't think that any of yous would give a shit." He rubbed his eyes again, clearly embarrassed that Dane had seen him crying.

Dane stepped through the doorway and navigated his way through the piles of clothes until he drew level with us. I stood up and stepped back a pace and Dane took my place crouching in front of Lee and put his hand on the lad's shoulder and replied

"Course we would give a shit, you dipstick. We're your mates."

"Don't stop you taking the piss outa me though."

"C'mon Barrington, everyone gets the piss taken out of them. It's the way it is, you know that. But no one would when it matters. Trust me. Go downstairs and tell them."

"Nah, not today." He smiled weakly at Dane. "I don't want to ruin the good time we're having and bring people down."

"Okay, mate, your call. But we'll be there for you if or when you want to talk about it."

Barrington nodded at Dane, who smiled back at him. I was so proud of Dane right then, despite all the bravado and posturing that goes on with him and his mates, it was good to see that they really did genuinely care about each other. Not that I think they'd ever admit it.

"So," Dane said as he stood up. "I guess the next question Baker has for you is, are you wearing a thong now, and if so, can he see it?" Dane smiled and the tone in the room immediately lightened.

I shot Dane a look that I hoped would show him my shock at his inappropriate question.

"Ignore him." I said to Lee.

"C'mon Baker, you know you're more than curious." Dane shot back.

"How do you know I'm wearing one?" Lee asked.

"Easy." I replied. "You didn't join in with your mates when they all pulled their trousers down in science today."

"Yeah, but I might be going commando."

Then Dane jumped in with "Ten quid says that you're not."

"Keep your money o'Hanlon." He stood up and started to unbutton his shirt while saying "I only came up here to change after Isaacs emptied his beer over me head." He then looked over at me and asked "You telling me the truth before? You ain't queer for me are you Baker?"

"No." I replied. "You're quite safe. But we can go back downstairs if you prefer."

He just shrugged, indicating that he wasn't bothered, then pulled his shirt of and chucked it on the floor to reveal to the left of centre of his smooth chest was a red heart tattoo which was held by two winged angels and underneath the script read `Brother R.I.P'. How could Dane and his mates not have known about Lee's brother being killed?

Around his neck was a chain with two discs on it, which I guessed were his brother's dog tags. From another pile of clothes he picked up a khaki wife-beater, sniffed it and then pulled it over his head. He then unbuckled his belt and let his school trousers drop to the floor revealing a shiny leopard print t-back thong.

Lee's bulge filled out the pouch quite nicely, we're not talking massive here, but not a bad showing either.

He slipped his hand under the elasticated waistband of his pouch and scratched his bollocks a couple of times. From where I was standing I caught a long enough glimpse of his uncut meat and two veg to see that he was completely shaved down there. In fact, as I looked over his body I saw that he was totally almost hairless. He had a light dusting of fine blond hairs on his legs and arms and a little bit of stubble under his arms, but that was it.

He blushed as he saw me blatantly checking him out, but he didn't say anything. He looked around on the floor until he found a pair of combats, which he pulled on, signalling the end of the show.

"Don't know about you guys, but if I don't get another beer soon there's a danger that I might sober up." Lee laughed at his own remark while making a gesture that he expected us to leave his room.

Back down in the living room the rest of the lads had made a huge dent in the Barrington's booze collection and were at varying degrees of drunkenness. Dane and I sat down on the floor among everyone else, while Lee picked up some more cans of beer and handed Dane and I one each, then sat back down in the space that he had vacated earlier.

We caught the drunken chit chat mid way through Isaac's account of what had happened earlier in Southwards science class, much to everyone's amusement.

"...and Ridgewell, what the fuck's up with those shorts of yours?"

I wondered if Ridgewell was going to explode in rage at being taunted. But I guess he was used to the banter between mates and just replied.

"Me girl got them for me for Valentine's day."

That earned him a round of sarcastic "ahh's" from the guys.

"What? Just cause none of you are getting any right now!"

"No" Replied Isaacs. "Just that none of us are wearing love heart boxers. Let's see those silky babies again."

"Fuck off you queer." Ridgewell shot back.

Undaunted Isaacs jumped up from the floor and made a bee-line to Ridgewell's trousers and was trying to pull them off. But as Ridgewell was sat down and started thrashing about the task looked impossible.

"Man, stop queering me off, you bender," Ridgewell laughed as Isaacs made another attempt to yank his trousers down.

Isaacs was getting nowhere until Mike Lundy joined in the fun and between the two of them managed to get Ridgewell's school trousers removed and tossed to the other side of the room, much to the amusement of everyone else in the room.

Again, given Ridgewell's short fuse I was surprised that he was, all be it breathlessly, laughing it off.

I have to say that the guy was hot. True, he may be short, but hey, who am I to talk? But he did look good in his love heart silk shorts. He didn't have an ounce of fat on his body, his abs were an eight pack and his pecs were bulging. He had a dense line of dark red hairs running down from his belly button into his boxers. His legs were muscular and covered in light blond and red hairs and as he got up from the floor to retrieve his trousers I got sight of his small pert arse encased within the silk confines. Sweet!

I wasn't the only one to notice that he had a nice arse. Isaacs grabbed hold of Ridgewell as he stood up and gave him a loud slap on his buns.

"What the fuck?" Ridgewell cried out in shock.

I drew my breath in as I figured that this was the moment that he was going to explode. But no, he just looked down at Isaacs and said "You gonna take your hand off me arse?"

"I donno mate," Isaacs replied, now running his fingers up and down Ridgewell's left buttock. "It kinda feels nice and soft, I think I might keep doing this for a while."

All the guys in the room were laughing at the exchange between the two of them.

"Soft? Fuck that. My arse is 100% pure hard muscle."

"Maybe you're right." Isaacs replied. "Hey, I'm no expert, but he is over there." He pointed at me.

My eyes grew wide with shock at being bought into this dialogue between them.

Ridgewell looked round at me and said "Yeah, that's right, we've got ourselves a real proper gay here. So Baker, You've checked out me arse, what do you think?"

For a moment I just wanted to melt away, run away or do anything to get the attention off me. But then I remembered what Dane said just before we arrived `if there's any banter flying around and you get caught with some then give as good as you get and they'll soon respect you and back down. If it goes over the line, I'm there for you.'

"It's alright I guess. But I've seen better." I replied to Ridgewell with a tone that I hoped conveyed that I wasn't bothered either way.

"Oooh, disrespect to you by the gay guy. That's gotta hurt." Isaacs laughed out loud, while making obscene gestures with his fingers at Ridgewell.

"Nah, no way man, I ain't having that. Gimme your hand." Ridgewll actually pulled my hand up and placed it on his arse. Instinctively I squeezed his globes through the silk of his shorts and too be fair they were just as hard as Dane's backside.

"Well?" He prompted.

"Yeah, like I said, not bad." I replied as I dropped my hand.

"Not bad? What's the point in having a bona fide gay boy in the group if he can't do a proper arse evaluation?"

The group laughed and Dane replied to his comment. "You sound disappointed Ridgewell."

"Nah, not disappointed, just don't think your gay friend there knows his stuff that's all."

"That sounds like a challenge." Aaron cried out and after he took a swig of beer he went on. "Baker, who here in your expert gay opinion has the best arse?"

I was at a loss for words. I mean, this was not a conversation I would have expected to have had with a bunch of guys, most of whom had been responsible for giving me a hard time just because they thought I might have been gay.

Maybe, I wondered to myself if they were all at pains to show Dane, the guy who was pretty much their leader that they were okay with him having a gay mate, or maybe it was true what they say that the difference between a straight guy and a bi guy is four pints?

I just shrugged my shoulders and said that I couldn't tell who had the best arse without seeing them all first. I thought that by taking it that far it would be the end of the subject and they'd move on to something else. I was wrong.

"Silverman, you can't ask him something like that. Not without making it worth his while." Dane piped up.

"What, you want us all to drop our trousers and let him feel us up?" Isaacs replied sounding slightly worried.

"No, I meant really worth his while, cos I don't think he's gonna have much fun touching your shitty arse."

"What's the plan then o'Hanlon?" Aaron Silverman asked.

"All right, everyone puts in a fiver and we blindfold Baker. We stand in front of him with our trousers down and he then has to feel our arses. He's then got to work out who he's touching. If he gets it right he keeps the fiver, if he gets it wrong then he loses that person's fiver and has to double it, so that guy gets a tenner back. Then at the end he tells us in his expert opinion who's got the best arse. All in?"

They all looked around at each other and agreed to Dane's suggestion. Well all except Simon Parsons and Lee Barrington. Lee, I instantly understood, he wasn't about to reveal to his mates that he was wearing a thong.

Parsons vocalised his objection to the group.

"Sorry guys that's too gay for me. I ain't having some poof" He looked over at me and interjected "No offence. Feeling my bare arse."

Dane replied "He ain't gonna be feeling anyone's bare arse. We're keeping our underwear on you prat."

"Oh, that's alright then." There was a tone of sarcasm to Parsons voice.

"Sit it out if you want, but you could stand to make a fiver." Silverman replied, then he looked over to Lee and said "What about you?"

"No, no way. I ain't into that."

"That, or you're wearing something that we're all gonna find a bit funny. Is that right T-Boy?" Issacs sniggered.

Lee blushed up scarlet. He'd been given so much crap over the last year or so because he'd been caught wearing a thong and now I knew why it was significant to him I really felt sorry for the guy.

I looked over to Dane and mouthed to him "help him."

"Isaacs, what's the big deal? So the guys wearing a thong? So what? I've been known to wear one meself from time to time. They're just pants!"

"Besides, you shmuck." Aaron Silverman chipped in. "you've given the game away. As soon as Baker feels some bare flesh he's gonna know that it's Barrington. There's no point in him playing now."

Isaacs must have felt a bit of an idiot after being put down by Dane and Aaron, and no one else seemed to be laughing along with him, in fact half of the guys were having a go at him for giving the game away. It certainly seemed to shut him up, for now at least.

As the rest of the guys bantered between each other as to who I was going to say had the best arse, Dane looked over at Lee and gestured for him to get up and follow him upstairs. I don't think anyone noticed them leave, but everyone saw them re-enter the room a few moments later.

Both of them came in wearing just thongs. Lee was in his leopard print one that he showed us earlier and Dane was in a camouflage one. Everyone's jaws dropped as they took in the sight before them. Dane looked every bit like the thong was made for him and I reckon that everyone in the room on some level appreciated that he had the fittest body there. Lee, on the other hand, while not bad looking and was more stocky in build, didn't look as comfortable as Dane was standing in front of his peers almost naked.

Parson's was the first to break the silence. "Nah man, this is getting way too gay for my liking"

"All right guys, put your money in the middle there and let's get this show on the road." Aaron announced, ignoring Parsons. "Just to recap, everyone puts a fiver in and Baker gets to keep the money from each person he guesses correctly. For every wrong guess that person gets his fiver back and Baker has to give him a fiver on top. Agreed?"

Everyone nodded, even the reluctant Parsons.

"How about we make this even more interesting?" Aaron continued. "I've got a fiver to say how many Baker will guess right, and another fiver as to who he'll judge has the best arse. Who's in?"

There was a general round of agreement and then Aaron went over to his school bag and pulled out a note book to write the bets down. As he did so he looked over to me and said. "Baker, you're gonna hafta leave the room so that you don't know what's being bet on. That way it'll be fair."

I looked over to Dane and he nodded his agreement with Aaron so I got up and went out into the hallway, closing the door behind me.

I heard a lot of muffled talking and laughing, but I couldn't make out what was being said, so I just went and sat down on the stairs thinking to myself that this was a bit on the weird side. Then the door opened and Dane stepped into the hallway, closing the door behind him.

"They kicked me out, cos they thought I might find a way to tell you how the bets were going."

I admired him for a moment as he walked up to me. I loved how he had so much confidence, that he wasn't in the slightest bit bothered about walking around in front of his mates in just a tiny nylon leopard print thong.

"How do you do it Dane?" I asked as he approached me.

"Do what?" He replied.

"Walk around in front of all your mates, almost naked without a care in the world?"

He shrugged and then replied "I guess firstly because I've got nothing to be ashamed of."

I smiled and stood up on the first step of the stairs and ran my hand down his chest.

"You've got that right." I agreed.

He smiled at me and put his hand around the back of my head and drew me in until our lips met and he gave me a quick kiss. Then went on to say

"Secondly, the guys have seen it all before. We play sports together, `s no big deal. Thirdly, everyone's a bit drunk, so I can put it down to the booze."

"And fourthly" I finished for him. "You're a bit of an exhibitionist."

He laughed and replied that is what Fel, his brother said to him recently.

"This is a bit fucked up, y'know." I said to him sounding out my worries.

"Nah, it's just a bunch of drunk guys having a laugh. And don't worry, when they blind fold you I won't let anyone do anything bad to you."

"I know you won't. Thanks."

"So you feeling confident?"

"Erm, I guess so."

"I know you can do it. Because I am guessing that you've committed to memory from this afternoon in science class what each and everyone is wearing under their trousers."

I smiled at him and said that he knew me too well.

"Yeah, and that's why you're going to give me my fiver back later."

"Not if I win it fair and square, your money's mine o'Hanlon."

"Don't get too cocky, you aint won it yet." He replied with a glint in his eyes.

Then Dane went in to the Barrington's kitchen and emerged seconds later with a tea towel which he was folding over and then gestured for me to turn round so that he could blindfold me.

The world went dark for me, I couldn't see a thing. Then I felt Dane fumbling around my waist, trying to pull my shirt out from my trousers.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Saving you from getting embarrassed." He replied. "With your shirt out, the guys are less likely to spot that you've got a raging boner."

"But I haven't got a raging boner."

"Sammy, I know you. And by the end of this you'll be tenting your trousers out good and proper. If someone spots that, they'll take the piss somewhat chronic."

"Yeah, but they already know I'm gay, boning up is a natural reaction." I replied.

"Yeah, but they're just mucking around right now. It's a laugh. But it might become a bit too real if someone spots that you've got a stiffie."

I laughed at his reason, but I was also happy that he cared about me, to save me from embarrassment. But that didn't stop me from having a bit of fun with him. Sightlessly I ran my hand down his body until I reached his pouch and gave its contents a bit of a squeeze.

"It won't be so bad for me if you've got a boner too." I laughed.

He pulled himself away from my touch and said "Don't even joke, it's gonna take all my will power not to bone up when it's my turn to get my arse fondled by you."

"I'll take that as a compliment."

"You do that, but just go easy when you get to me, that's all I'm asking."

"Don't worry Dane, I said to you before that I'd never out you to your friends. I guess earlier today at school they all believed that you were joking when you said that we were going out together. But I know the risk that you took by saying it and I love you even more for it. But hey, if you do bone up will it really matter? I mean we're talking about a bunch of guys all waiting for me to feel their arses in there. Not exactly normal behaviour is it?"

"No, but they're all a bit drunk and all showing off to each other. It's all just good banter for them. The challenge has been made and no one's going to back down. Even Parsons, who was the only one to object, isn't going to make himself look like a wuss in front of us. Now, are you ready for this?"

I nodded.

Dane kissed me again and then put his hands on my shoulders and guided me back to the living room. He knocked on the door and someone shouted "Come in."

Dane led me across the room and gestured for me to sit down on a chair that I had just bumped in to.

"Are you ready Baker? There's a lot of money riding on this." A voice to my left that sounded like Aaron asked.

I heard a bit of whispering, someone laugh and a bit of rustling around, but I tried to blank it out.

I nodded and took a few mental deep breaths. I cleared my mind and a mental image of the classroom from earlier that day filled it. One by one I followed my thoughts around the room picturing each of them standing up and dropping their trousers in slow motion. I remembered every sight and every sound that was around me at the time and it all became clear to me.

Then I felt the presence of someone standing in front of me. I raised my hands and made contact with my first contender. Straight away I felt that he was wearing boxer shorts. I thought back to the picture in my mind and remembered that three of the guys were wearing boxers. These were cotton, so that eliminated Kyle Ridgewell and his silk ones. So it was between Isaacs and Joe Richards. I felt the mounds of flesh covered in cotton and realised that it was quite a big arse, probably wearing size X-L shorts. That had to be Joe, as Isaacs was not as big as him.

"Richards." I announced to them.

"One out of one." Silverman replied.

Richards moved and someone else replaced him. Again I raised my hands and came into contact with what felt like Lycra stretched over a very tight muscular butt. I remembered that Mike Lundy was wearing compression shorts and to confirm that it was him I ran my hands down his legs a bit to make sure that they were longer than boxer-briefs.

"Lundy."

"That's two."

The next guy came into position and my hands felt up the best butt that I had ever felt and it wasn't Dane. This butt was as muscular as Dane's, but rounder. I confirmed my suspicion as I carried on feeling around and came to a waistband with nothing to the sides but bare flesh. Aaron was wearing a CK sport brief so it had to be him. Not that I announced it straight away, I was having too much fund fondling this amazing arse. But then Dane's words about unwanted boners came back to me as I felt my dick twitch and lengthen in my underwear.

"Silverman"

"He's got three!"

The next one was bare flesh. But I instantly knew that it was not Dane, I'd know his arse anywhere and this was not it. I was about to say Lee's name, as he was the other thong wearer in the group, but just as I opened my mouth I quickly closed it. I realised that this couldn't have been Lee, as this butt was small and pert and covered with a fine down of hairs. I remembered from when Lee showed me his thong upstairs that he didn't have a hairy arse. Looks like someone was playing tricks with me and had swapped their underwear.

"I'm not sure. Can I come back to that one?"

There was a roar of laughter and what sounded like the slapping of a couple of hands probably in a high five.

"No, we need an answer now gay boy." Laughed Isaacs.

Well that put him out of the mix as his voice was too far away. Everyone would have known that I already knew that Dane and Lee were wearing thongs so it would have been a 50/50 chance with them. But no one other than Dane could have known that I was guessing right because I had remembered what each and everyone was wearing, so I knew that he had to be in with the joke, but he wouldn't have given it away because I was betting that the bet he made for me would be to guess them all right. I swore to myself that I would get my revenge on him at some point. Then it came to me, if Dane was going to trick me, but still want to win, he'd swap with the one guy whose body was a lot different from everyone else's. I confirmed this by running my hand up the butt crack and felt that the strap was pulled up too high, as if the thong was too big for its wearer. As I run my hand along his crack Kyle Ridgewell jolted away as if being shocked by electricity. I'd clearly got too intimate for him so I gave my answer to the waiting crowd.

"Ridgewell."

There were a few gasps of surprise at my not falling for the swap.

"He's done it again." Aaron called out.

That Dane was behind the swap was confirmed to me the moment the next one stepped up. From my first touch I knew it was Dane's arse. How could I mistake that work of art? After all I had been up close and personal with it for the last few months.

I could have announced it straight away, but hey, if he wants to joke around with me, I can do the same. I slowly caressed my hands over the silk fabric of Ridgewell's shorts that were stretched tight over his globes, clearly two sizes too small for him. His buns clenched as I did that and I found myself hoping that he was trying to will away his awakening stiffie. Not knowing if I was being watched closely by the others or not I moved my hands further down until the tips of my fingers reached underneath and I started massaging his tender perineum through the silken material. With my other hand I felt his cheeks clench even tighter and I could almost hear him mentally begging me to stop. How he thought he could get away with tricking me by swapping underwear, I do not know. After all, he must have known that I was more than aware that the quickest way to stimulate Dane was to play with that little bit of skin between his arse and balls. And he would have known that as he can play dirty, so would I.

When he took a step away from me I figured that he had had enough and as I didn't hear any whoops of joy from his mates I figured that he hadn't thrown a woody, but was losing his ability to control it much further.

I inwardly smiled to myself that I had got pay back on him and that he knew it, but I also knew that it was time to end my fun before any real damage was done. So I dropped my hands and said

"o'Hanlon" Remembering that surnames were the norm with these people.

"Once again he's got it."

The next one up was definitely Simon Parsons. I guessed this not just because I felt what were probably boxer-briefs, but also because the second I touched his bum he jumped away and not just a bit, but totally out of my reach.

"Don't be a dick" Isaacs called out and suddenly I felt Parsons body fall back on to me as if he had been pushed. Again, he couldn't get away fast enough and stood up real quick. Then I heard a lot of movement and I felt his backside being almost thrust into my face. There was a lot of struggling and muffled shouts. My guess was that he was being held in place by a couple of the lads who were laughing away and obviously one of them had gagged Parsons with their hand.

I felt sorry for the guy, he was clearly being bullied into doing something that he didn't want to do.

I did as I was told to do when someone said "Give his arse a feel and give us an answer Baker". I quickly confirmed that the guy was wearing Boxer-Briefs and said

"Parsons."

Instantly they let him go and received a torrent of abuse from him for their trouble. Clearly Parsons had issues.

When things calmed down I was presented with my next butt. Again, I knew instantly who it was as the wearer had boxer shorts on and as I'd had the other two boxers I knew this had to be Isaacs.

I said his name instantly as my hands came into contact with his shorts and that got a few laughs and cat calls from the rest of the guys.

"Baker knew that one too quickly Isaacs, is there something you want to tell us about you two?"

That voice sounded like Ridgewell and it got another laugh from everyone else.

When you can't see, it's amazing how you can tell that someone is blushing and Isaacs was blushing up somewhat chronic. He sort of stammered out a "F-fuck off Ridgewell." That got more laughs at him from the guys.

Then the laughter died down and I figured I had two more butts to go, Adam Millar and Lee Barrington. Now neither of them were the brightest guys on the planet, but their little rouse to fool me might have worked had they presented themselves in a different order.

I knew that Lee was wearing a thong, but as soon as I felt bare flesh and hair I knew it wasn't him. Like I said earlier, when I was faced with the first switch, Lee's got a hairless butt.

So I announced "Millar" as my guess.

"And that just leaves?" Aaron asked.

"Barrington." I replied without even needing to feel his butt.

"And the gay guy gets all eight." Aaron announced.

I felt someone get close to me and soon I was blinking into the bright light around me as my blindfold was removed.

As my vision came into focus, I could see all the lads either looking at me or milling about still just in their underwear.

Aaron came up to me with a handful of cash and counted out 40 and gave it to me. Meanwhile, Lee Barrington opened another can of beer and told me to get that down me. Then Aaron announced to the group that only two people guessed correctly the amount of people I would get right. He gave 20 to Dane and pocketed 20 himself.

"So." Aaron continued. "That just leaves the judgement. Baker, who in your expert opinion has got the best arse."

I blushed up red as all eyes turned to me. "Erm, I don't know."

"You want a line up before you make a decision?" He asked me.

Then without a confirmation from me he got everyone to stand in a line with their backs to me. I know, loyalty to Dane should have made me not even hesitate to answer. After all, standing there in Ridgewell's shorts stretched tightly over his buns, he did look hot. But I didn't want to bring any more attention to our friendship and accusations of it being a fix would have been inevitable.

As I scanned the line of backsides Isaacs dropped his shorts to his knees.

"What the fuck are you doing Isaacs?" Aaron asked while pissing himself laughing.

"Stands to reason that these boxers aren't showing nothing off to, cos otherwise Baker would have already called it for me."

The rest of the guys laughed at him. But to be honest, if I could put aside that the guy was such a prick, he was easily one of the best looking guys in our year, probably in the whole school. Only bettered by Aaron and of course Dane. Truth be told, there wasn't too much to separate the three of them. Except that in my eyes, it was only Dane that was perfect.

But as I scanned the rest of the guys, just checking out their arses, I acknowledged that all of them had their merits. From the petite, yet pert arse of Ridgewell to the, built like a brick out-house Joe Richards. The guy was huge, but none of it was fat, just pure muscle.

But in the end, there could be only one winner and as much as I would have said Dane in a heartbeat, I called out Aaron's name.

"And that's fourty quid to me." Aaron announced to the guys. Some of whom seemed put out by my judgement and started taking the piss out of him. He just laughed it up and said that as it made him 40 richer he didn't care.

As things calmed down and more beers were opened, the guys started to pulled their clothes back on.

"Fucking hell Barrington." Millar said while pulling off the thong he had swapped with his shorts and handing it back to Lee. "I don't know how you can wear these? Fucking strap up the arse if well uncomfortable and there's no room for the family jewels."

Isaacs turned round to see Millar and replied "I don't think there's a pair of pants made that can hold that donkey dick of yours Millar."

It was true, when I saw Millar's bulge in his shorts earlier I knew he was packing. But seeing it free hanging above an ample set of balls was something else. As he took back his shorts from Lee I had to marvel at the sheer size of Millar's dick now bouncing about as he pulled his shorts on.

"I don't know." Ridgewell spoke up as he started over to Dane to swap underwear back. "I could get used to this." He then looked over to Dane and asked him as if he were looking for his leader's reassurance. "You wear these a lot then?"

"Yeah, sometimes." Dane replied. "depends what mood I'm in."

While Ridgewell's pouch was as full as Millar's you could see that the waistband of the thong was a bit loose on him. I couldn't help myself as I piped up with

"You might need to get a size up from what you normally wear or the pouch might be a bit tight on you."

"Yeah, thanks Baker. I kind of worked that out on my own." He replied in a curt manner. I blushed and mentally kicked myself for not staying quiet.

He pulled the thong off and handed it to Dane, who had already stripped out of Ridgewell's silk shorts and passed them over to him. Aaron and Dane were right about his dick being a work of art. It was easily as long as Millar's, but Ridgewell's looked fatter. But on such a small guy, this appendage just looked obscene. As long soft as most average guys are hard, it looked amazing. And this work of art was framed by a patch of neatly trimmed fiery red pubic hair. I was sure that every guy in that room was secretly jealous of him.

"What the fuck are you looking at" Ridgewell shot across in my direction. I jumped and immediately looked away. But he went on to snap at Isaacs, who was standing next to me at the time. "You like what you see then?"

"Donno what you're talking about Ridgewell."

"Yes you fucking do. Him. "Ridgewell pointed at me. "I can understand checking me out. He's gay and can't help himself. What's your fucking excuse?"

"I donno, I guess I was just wondering how such a midget get to have a wang the size of yours."

There was no warning. Ridgewell, now totally naked except for his socks, leapt over to where Isaacs was standing and punched him on the jaw.

"Alright, fucking calm it down." Aaron yelled as he got in between the two of them in time to stop Isaacs retaliating with a punch back. Then Dane stepped in and tried to pull Ridgewell back from having another go. He wasn't having much luck as the guy kept on trying to get passed him. Then with one arm Dane grabbed Ridgewell around the waist and lifted him off the ground, with arms, legs and dick flying all over the place.

Aaron looked over to me and asked me for some help with Holding Isaacs back.

Me? What could I do? He was a good head taller than I was and a hell of a lot stronger.

Aaron pushed Isaacs into the hallway and got me to open the kitchen door. Once the three of us were inside he closed the door, but we could still hear a load of shouting and cursing coming from Ridgewell from the other room.

"What the fuck's wrong with you mate?" Aaron asked his mate. "You know what Ridgewell's like. Anything can set him off."

Isaacs, red faced with anger yelled back "I ain't scared of that little scroat and I ani't gonna walk on eggshells around him like the rest of you do. If he can't take it he shouldn't give it."

He then tried to barge past Aaron and head for the door. But Aaron was having none of it and pushed him back.

"Calm down Isaacs, Fucking get a grip." Aaron shouted back as Isaacs started pacing the kitchen like a caged tiger.

Stepping back from this tense situation, my brain switched to sex mode. Here I was in a room with two hot muscular guys, testosterone filled the air with each exchange of words and actions and they were both just standing there facing each other off in their underwear. Isaacs was in his red and white striped boxers and Aaron in his white CK skimpy sport briefs. Neither of them seemed at the least bit bothered of their lack of clothes. But then, with all the sport they play together, I suppose they were so used to being around each other in various states of dress that it didn't even register with them.

"You know." I said to them both as they hadn't moved for the best part of a couple of minutes. "Throw in some baby oil and we've got the makings of a good gay porn movie here."

Note to self: Engage brain before talking.

Aaron looked round at me, I think he'd forgotten that I was still in the room as he was trying to deal with Isaacs. But his expression went from `what the fuck?' look to a smirk, then to an all out belly laugh. He stepped away from Isaacs and clapped me around the shoulder.

"I suppose you'd like that wouldn't you Baker?" He replied.

"Hey, I'm only calling it as I see it." I smiled back up at him.

"What, you saying I'm gay?" Isaacs barked back to me.

Aaron replied before I could "No dickhead. He's just remarking about the stupidity of this situation mate. Now look, take a deep breath and calm the fuck down. That way we can go back in the other room, have a drink and move on."

Isaacs turned round from us and faced the kitchen window. He placed his hands on the sink work top and seemed to be taking some deep breaths as Aaron had instructed him to do.

As he had his back to us I couldn't help marvel at the guys perfect v shaped back that disappeared into his shorts. If only he wasn't such a dickhead. I caught myself thinking.

"Alright" Aaron announced. "I'm going back in to the living room to see if Ridgewell has calmed down now. Baker, don't let him leave this room until I tell you to."

Isaacs turned round and sneered at his mate "What makes you think that he could stop me if I wanted to get out of here?"

"He probably couldn't, but if you lay a finger on him I won't be happy and will visit you with a whole heap of pain. Now play nicely. Isaacs, you might want to start by apologising for the years of shit that you've been giving Baker."

"Fuck you." Isaacs replied to Aaron as he left the room.

So there we were. Stood facing each other in the kitchen. Alone. Silence.

I mean, I know I said earlier to Aaron that I would try to help Isaacs. But really? How was I supposed to even start? `So I hear that you are gay' no, not a very good opener. I decided against that one.

How about small talk?

"I hear you were made man of the match last week against Hopwood High". Well it was the best I could come up with at the time. Isaacs just looked at me like I was mad and grunted a "Yeah"

I looked round at the closed kitchen door, almost willing it to open and Aaron coming back to tell us that all was okay.

"I've had enough of this." Isaacs announced and then tried to push me out of the way of the door. "Get out of my way Baker."

I stood firm and decided to stand up to the guy. Maybe not the best decision I have ever made, but it seemed the right thing to do.

I tried to push back, but it was like pushing a brick wall. Isaacs laughed at my pathetic efforts to stop him from leaving the room.

"Come on then Baker. If you think you can stop me then really go for it." He sneered.

I tried to push him again, but he didn't budge.

By now he had me pinned to the door, his almost naked body just inches from me. I looked up into his face as he towered over me and said. "If I were you Isaacs I'd turn around and walk away."

"Big words for a little poof. What you gonna do? Give me what for?"

"No." I forced a smile up at him, while at the same time brought my hand down and made contact with the bulge that had started tenting out his shorts and wrapped my fingers around the cotton covered flesh. "I just wanted to save you the embracement of an awkward boner moment."

Within seconds his semi had become a full hard on in my hand. The look of shock on his face as he boned up was a picture.

Despite being petrified that he was going to beat me up I managed to keep my voice cool and unshaken when I said to him.

"You must really get off on intimidating and bullying people, because that's not the first time I've felt you bone up. Back in January in the school hallway when you had me pinned to the wall I thought I felt something. There were other times as well, like a couple of years ago when you were humiliating me in form room in front of the whole class by shoving your crotch in my face. You were hard then too, and you knew that I felt it and gave me a look that said if I said anything to anyone about it you'd beat me up. I was terrified of you back then. But guess what? You don't scare me anymore, you're pathetic. It would be laughable if it wasn't so sad. You can't deal with being gay and you have to take it out on other people."

I still had my hand wrapped around his boxer shorts covered cock and could feel the dampness of his pre-cum starting to ooze through the cotton material, but even though I could feel him shaking I didn't stop stroking his appendage.

Looking up at him with a big smile on my face, as if to prove to him that I was not afraid of him anymore, I could see in his eyes that he was having an internal battle rage through his mind. He then suddenly pulled away from me and turned round. He drew his hands up to his face and started to breathe heavily and was shaking.

For a brief moment I had an immense feeling of self satisfaction run through me. I'd finally got the courage to face down a bully. It wasn't about knowing that I had Dane and possibly Aaron in the next room ready to back me up if Isaacs hit me either. It was the realisation that this guy couldn't hurt me anymore. After all, how could I be scared of someone so pathetic looking as Isaacs did now?

But then I remembered the reason that Aaron wanted me to be here. He wanted me to try and help his best mate. That sudden feeling of elation dissipated into one of guilt.

I took a step up to him and put my hand on his shoulder and said "It's okay Isaacs. It's okay."

"No it's not." He mumbled, then added "I'm not gay."

He then turned back round to face me and lunged forward. Not to hit me. No, what he did surprised me even more. His lips homed in on mine and he started kissing me.

It was my turn to go into shock as I didn't quite believe what was happening. I don't know how long I was frozen to the spot as he had his lip on mine, could have been ten seconds, it could have been a minute. I only came to my senses as I felt his hand fumbling with the button of my trousers. I pushed him and he stumbled back.

I think the look on my face must have mirrored the look of shock that was on his. Then he raised his fist and I flinched, but instead of punching me, he hit the door behind me.

"Fuck. Fuck. Fuck." He repeated over and over as he backed away from me to the other side of the room.

The door behind me burst open and a worried looking Dane was standing there with Aaron behind him.

"We heard a thump, you alright Sammy?" He asked as he put his hand on my shoulder. Not seeming to care that he was in full view of Isaacs.

I looked over at Isaacs who had gone as white as a sheet. I didn't like lying to Dane, but I thought that it would be the best all round if I did when I replied that everything was okay and to give us a couple of moments.

Aaron smiled at Dane and said "There you go o'Hanlon. Told you it was alright. Now for fuck sake go upstairs and put your clothes on."

Dane looked back at me and I gave him a reassuring smile that I thought I was okay and then he turned round and made his way upstairs. At the same time Aaron asked Isaacs if he was okay, but he didn't get a reply.

I also told Aaron that it was all okay and that we just needed a couple of minutes. He got the message and closed the kitchen door behind him.

I walked up to Isaacs and asked him if he was okay now. He didn't reply at first, but eventually he nodded, but then added "Please don't tell them what happened in here."

I put my hand back on his shoulder and replied "Look Isaacs, I don't like you. I never have. I think you're a twat and you made my life hell for the last few years. But seriously, I think you need to get help. You're heading for a breakdown if you keep everything bottled up like you've been doing. Being gay isn't the worst thing in the world, it doesn't even have to define you as a person. Just let it become part of who you are. Nothing else will change, you'll still be a twat, but at least you'll be a gay twat who is happier with yourself than you obviously are right now."

At least that raised a smile from him.

"Tony, if you need someone to talk to, then give me a call and I will give you the number of Gay Switchboard. You can talk to them and they can put you in touch with somewhere that you get proper help."

He looked at me like I was mad or something, that or he was at least thinking about what I was saying. After a minute or so of staring at me, he just replied

"I just need a drink."

And with that he left the kitchen and went into the living room.

I sighed to myself and went out into the hallway, just as a fully clothed Dane came down the stairs.

"Dane, I've had enough. Can we head off?"

"Are you gonna tell me what happened Sammy."

"Yeah, but first I just need to get back home. You coming?"

"Sure. I'll just grab our stuff from the living room."

A few minutes later and Dane appeared back in the hallway with Aaron right behind him. He handed me my school blazer and bag and gestured over to the front door. I thought that Aaron was just going to see us out, but he said that he was going to make a move as well.

Outside the house the evening air had a touch of mist to it. We walked down the street in silence for a few minutes until Dane asked.

"What happened in the kitchen Sammy?"

I told them everything that happened from when Aaron left to go into the living room. When I finished I saw that Dane's fists were balled up as he turned round saying that he was going to kill him.

I looked at Aaron and as one we grabbed hold of Dane and stopped him heading back to Barrington's house to face down Isaacs.

"Dane, it's okay. Please you don't have to do anything. It's sorted."

"I meant what I said before Sammy." Dane replied through gritted teeth. "No one's gonna hurt you ever again."

"He didn't hurt me. That's the point. He could have, but he didn't."

Dane stopped pulling against Aaron and me and seemed to relax a bit. He looked at me and replied.

"But backing you against the kitchen door and then trying to kiss you. It's still another form of bullying."

"Maybe." I replied to Dane. "But, and I hate to say this because I'm not his biggest fan, I think it was more a cry of help from him. I think Aaron was right, he's not dealing with his sexuality well, the trouble is that I don't think that I'm the one who can give him the help he needs. I think it's going to have to be someone who is trained in that sort of thing, I doubt anything else will get through to him."

Aaron sighed and then said. "I hear you Baker. But I just don't think that he'd be happy about going to see a shrink or anything like that."

"Well you know him best Aaron, maybe you should keep on at him until he sees getting help as a good thing."

"We might be best friends, but we don't do heart to hearts. Isaacs' not one for sharing what he's thinking at the best of times."

I laughed. "That's probably because he hasn't learned how to think yet."

Aaron shook his head, but his face wore a wry smile. He knew I was telling the truth!

The mood lightened and Dane had seemed to have calmed down about Isaacs so we turned round to continue to walk towards the bus stop.

When we got to the park gates I continued walking as I'd never go that way after dark. Even during the day I'd avoid the park as there were some very nasty people who hung around there. That obviously didn't faze Dane or Aaron as they went through the gates. I shrugged and followed them, reasoning that it was unlikely that I'd get any aggravation if anyone was in there while I was with those two. And after all, it would cut about ten minutes off the walk to the bus stop.

As I caught up with them Dane instantly put his arm around my shoulder and pulled me in close to kiss me on my forehead. I looked up at him and grinned.

Okay, so the park was dark and probably deserted, but given all that had gone on during the day, Michelle seeing the clip of us last night having sex and dumping Dane. Then us nearly breaking up, and Dane almost outing himself to his mates, I'd say that this little gesture from him said that he had come a long way.

While I said to him earlier that I don't need any public reaffirming of our relationship, it was good to see him relaxed enough in front of one of his friends to be affectionate to me.

Aaron turned round as he heard Dane kissing me and with a smirk on his face he said "I hate to say it, but you guys kinda look good together." Then I think he realised that he had over stepped the bounds of cool with his remark and went on to say "not that I give a shit about that sort of thing."

"It's okay Aaron, your secret is safe with us." I replied.

"Secret? What secret?"

I laughed and replied "That you're a closet romantic."

"Silverman's a closet something, but I don't think he's a romantic." Dane laughed.

"Well on both accounts you'll have to ask Becky. She knows that romance runs through my veins and if you ask her, she'll tell you that she's more than satisfied if you get my drift."

"Yeah, but if you asked Michelle if she was getting it good from me, up till last night she would have said that she was. It didn't stop me from wanting Sammy though."

"You know, I offer the hand of friendship and tolerance to you guys and all it get back for my trouble is accusations about my sexuality from both of you. Remind me next time to be a bit more bigoted."

That started a three way banter session and it went on for the next five minutes as we continued to walk through the park.

Once the three of us realised that no one was going to come out on top the subject was dropped and silence fell for a few minutes until Aaron asked Dane and I what we had planned the night?

"Well." Dane replied. "I'm gonna be pushing Sammy until he sweats and he'll be waking up tomorrow all sore and achy."

"Again, with the too much information o'Hanlon." Aaron replied with mock disgust.

I shrugged and told him what Dane really meant. "Tonight's gym night and he's going to shout things at me that he thinks encourages me, but actually I pay no attention."

"That's only because you'll be spending the whole time scoping my dick out."

"Well you're the one who suggested that you strip down while we work out as an incentive for me."

"But it works though. Doesn't it."

"Well if you mean that it takes my mind off lifting all those weights, then I suppose you're right."

"You guys go down the gym and exercise naked?" Aaron interrupted sounding a bit confused.

"Sammy's uncle has got a gym at the bottom of his garden; he lets us use it along with the swimming pool anytime we want."

"Wow, that's pretty cool. Maybe I can check it out some time?"

Dane looked over at me and I nodded.

"You can come round tonight if you want."

"Thanks, but you're alright. I'm off to Becky's. Thanks to Baker here I've got sixty quid burning a hole in my pocket, so I'm gonna take her out for a nice meal to celebrate my win."

"Are you gonna tell her how you won it?" Dane asked.

"Nah, I'd just be telling her what she already knows, that I've got the best arse."

Dane rounded on me "Which reminds me Sammy, so much for loyalty to your boyfriend. How come he gets the best arse prize?"

"I'm sorry Dane. It was a close judgement call. Maybe on a different day it would have been you. But as you tried to trick me by swapping underwear with Ridgewell, I figured that you didn't deserve the prize."

Before Dane could answer back Aaron cut across to ask "That reminds me Baker. How the fuck did you know who's arse was who's?"

"Well, since you bet that I would get all of them right, you must have known why?" I replied.

"I only bet that because I saw the number that o'Hanlon put on his paper and copied him. I figured that as he wrote eight that he would know something that the rest of us didn't."

"Yeah, I did." Dane replied. "Sammy's got a thing for guys in underwear and a very good memory. I betted that he would have remembered everything he saw in science class today and that using his super analytical brain he would be able to work it out easily."

Aaron seemed to be thinking for a while and then retorted "I asked what you knew that I didn't? I'm in a lot of his classes, so I know he's got a computer for a brain."

"But you didn't know about the underwear smart arse."

"Wrong again o'Hanlon."

"Eh? What?" Dane and I echoed each other.

"Well, aside from you mentioning it earlier today on the way to Ridgewell's, I'd already kind of figured that out when I spotted him going down your bag and pulling out your shorts when we were doing after school training back in year nine."

That shocked Dane "Year nine? You've been perving over my pants since we were thirteen?" He threw a light punch at my shoulder.

"Erm," I replied sheepishly. "Actually more like since our first year when we were eleven."

Then Dane rounded on Aaron "And you knew? How the fuck did you know and why didn't you say anything about it?"

"Well, like I said I saw him when we were in year nine. I got sent off the pitch for fowling someone. You know what Hubbard is like. He made me run round the pitch ten times and then sent me back to the changing room to mop the floor while thinking about what I had done. I got to the room and saw Baker pulling out a pair of your pants from your bag and sniff them."

Dane looked at me and said "You didn't tell me that Silverman caught you ages ago?"

"That's because he didn't know. I didn't confront him. To be honest I was a bit shocked at what I had seen and I didn't want to have that conversation with either of you." He shrugged and then turned round to me and asked "So you've been doing that since you were eleven? Just with o'Hanlons or was it with anyone else's?"

"No, just Dane's. Although, there were a few times that I thought about checking yours out."

"So what stopped you then?"

"I don't know, I guess that when it comes down to it I'm just into Dane more than anyone else."

"Nah, I'm not having that." He replied and at the same time stopped walking and kicked his shoes off. He then undid his trousers and let them drop and stepped out of them.

"What are you doing Silverman?" Dane asked quizzically.

Aaron slipped his thumbs under the slim waistband of his CK sport briefs and whipped them off. He stood there in front of us naked from the waist down, and even though his shirt was covering up a lot of the front view I could see his beautiful limp circumcised cock, resting on an ample pair of balls. He then held his briefs out to me.

"Well go one then, take them." He shook his pants at me. "o'Hanlon's the only exhibitionist here. Me? I'm feeling a little exposed."

I took his pants from him and then still feeling a bit confused I asked "Why are you doing this Aaron?"

He shrugged and replied "Well two reasons I suppose. Firstly as we're now mates I wanted to say a thank you for making me sixty quid richer. I've been trying to think of something to get you, but not knowing you that well..."

"You don't have to get anything for me. You won that money fair and square. Besides, I'm up 40 on the deal myself remember."

"Well, if you don't want me pants I'll take them back."

"I didn't say that." I replied and held them to my face. Aarons scent filled my nostrils as I took a deep inhale of the briefs he had been wearing all day. While the smell was different to that what I was used to with Dane's the effect was the same and I boned up instantly.

That didn't go unnoticed by Dane who shook his head in disbelief. Even after all these months, he still really didn't get it.

He looked over at Aaron and said "So what was the second reason?"

"Well, there's no way that I'm having it said that you're anyway better than me. If Baker has some misguided image of you, blinded, no doubt by his feelings for you, then he should have the full facts. There's no way that your pants smell better than mine."

"That's fucked up Silverman. I know that you've got this inferiority complex when it comes to me. I know how much you hate losing whenever we compete against each other, but this is going too far.

"Why, you scarred that Baker will say that mine are better than yours?"

"No." Dane replied and then they both looked at me.

"What? Don't drag me into this competitive spat between the two of you."

"C'mon Sammy, settle this. Who's smell best?"

I looked at Dane and then at Aaron. I would have pleaded the fifth, except we don't have that amendment in our constitution. Actually we don't have a constitution, but that's beside the point.

"Does it really matter?" I asked.

Before Dane could answer, Aaron laughed and then replied "No. I just love winding your boyfriend up. It's one of my favourite hobbies."

I looked back at Dane, who clearly wasn't happy about his mate's antics. Not that it seemed to bother Aaron, he started chuckling to himself as he turned round to pull his trousers back on.

"Y'know Silverman, I've never noticed before, but Sammy is right. You do have a nice arse. You defo earned your sixty quid."

Aaron turned back round and replied "Keep your eyes to yourself. Besides, like I said before, it's purely exit only."

That started another round of banter between them, slagging each other off for the next five minutes until we reached a fork on the pathway in the park.

"Well guys, I've got to love and leave you." Aaron said as he pointed to the path that would take him to his bus stop. Dane and I were heading off in a different direction so we said our goodbyes. Dane and Aaron grabbed hands and bumped shoulders.

"Dane." It was one of the rare occasions that Aaron had used his first name. "Seriously mate. I'm glad that you're where you are now. I know it's not been easy for you. All jokes aside, I've got your back, no matter what happens."

"Thanks man, that means a lot."

"And another thing. Look after that boyfriend of yours, cos you don't deserve him. He's way out of your league." Aaron looked at me and gave me a wink and knocked my jaw lightly with his fist.

Then he turned round and walked away from us.

"Alright Sammy, now that Silverman has gone do you wanna tell me why you accepted Silverman's pants and why you were playing around with Isaacs dick back at Barrington's kitchen?"

I looked at Dane to see if he was joking or not as his voice was quite deadpan. His expression was neutral, so I decided that he was probably trying to wind me up so I replied with a cheery tone

"Just seemed like the right things to do at the time. Not jealous are you Dane?"

"No, course I'm not." He snapped back. Maybe he wasn't joking? But then he softened his tone and continued "It's just that I think that you ought not to be doing things like touching up Isaacs or blagging Silverman's pants now that we're going out with each other."

"Hang on a sec." I replied as I stopped walking and grabbed his arm so he turned round to face me. "You don't have the right to play holier than thou with me. You've spent the last few months two timing Michelle. Talk about double standards."

"Erm yeah, two timing her with you. And if you haven't noticed, I'm not going out with her anymore. So that leaves it just you and me. Unless you want to keep this thing that we've got open? In which case I should probably get on the phone to Amanda Walsh and follow her up on that date idea or hers."

By now I knew that Dane was messing with me. I drew in closer to him and put my arms around his waist and buried my face into his muscular chest and inhaled that Dane scent of manliness. I then looked up at him and kissed him on the lips before I replied

"You know that's not what I want. But I'll not be the one to tell you that you can't. That's got to be your decision. I on the other hand don't know if you feel the same, so maybe I should be the one looking around for something better?"

"What? Like Isaacs?" He laughed and then kissed me back.

"Well, he's fit. Nice arse, fairly big dick and he's gay. It's a shame that he's a wanker otherwise you'd have some real competition."

"Is that right?" He replied while leaning into me so hard that I lost my balance and ended up falling to the grass with Dane on top of me. We kissed some more and I felt his hand fumble with the zip on my trousers and when he gained entrance he started massaging my hard dick through my briefs.

He looked me in the eyes as he continued to wank me off in my pants and said "You know and I know that Isaacs is no competition for what we've got."

"What have we got Dane? After all, you know what I feel about you. You know that I love you. What do you feel?"

"I love being with you." He kissed me again. Then he slid his hand down the waistband of my briefs and I felt his hand on my bare tumescent flesh and said "And I love doing this with you. Isn't that enough?"

Was it? Did I really need to hear those three words from him?

 

Thanks again for reading my story. I am working on chapter 11. Your e-mails keep me fired up to write more. You know what to do. dandevdrew@sky.com