This is the sequel to Dance of the Wicked Boys. It is not imperative that you read the first novel before reading this one as I have included enough hints throughout the first chapter as to what happened before that a new reader will not be completely lost. However, I would hope you would read the first one as it will help you understand the motivations and the feelings of the characters in the sequel. The story takes place in 1970, so the descriptions of New York City, Times Square, and the drive from New York City to the Hamptons may not seem accurate for a contemporary story, but show the way it was forty-four years ago. Times Square wasn't always a Disney Theme Park. Also, the use of anachronistic terms such as “Negro” or “colored” represent the thinking and ways of speaking of the America of 1970 and in no way are intended to be disrespectful to African-Americans. One of the themes of this story is opposition to bigotry and prejudice! Further, there may be things and ways of thinking regarding sex and intergenerational relations that many today would find abhorrent, but which, once again, reflect the way things were in 1970 rather than today. SPOILER: no adult men have sex with underage boys in this story, though it might seem that such might happen. However, the story does explore the feelings and the anguish such desires might engender.

Ballet Academy of America and Ballet of America are fictional entities and any resemblance to existing institutions is purely coincidental. Greensburg is a fictional city.

DANGER WILL ROBINSON! DANGER! This story may contain scenes of sexual activity between underage males. If it may be illegal for you for read this in your jurisdiction or if you are offended by the subject matter of this story, please read no further. I would be very grateful to hear from you about my story. Please write to me at:

frthnkr1957nifty <at> gmail <dot> com

And PLEASE contribute to Nifty! This is an invaluable resource for the GLBTQ community and a bastion in the fight for Internet freedom and Free Speech!

Act Two- The Dance of the Wicked Boys
by FreeThinker

Chapter Four

Rafael shrieked.

The boys, accompanied by the great dancer, entered the commissary. Someone had brought a transistor radio, which began playing Aretha Franklin's “I Say a Little Prayer” and, immediately, Rafael slinked over to the first table of ballerinas and began singing, “The moment I wake up, before I put on my make-up, I say a little prayer for you...”

Jeremy watched in embarrassment and amazement as his boyfriend moved from one ballerina to another, running his fingers across their faces or along their shoulders. They grinned and cheered him on. Dylan laughed and then nudged Jeremy's shoulder. The older boy began to sing back-up.

While combing my hair now, and wondering what dress to wear now, I say a little prayer for you!

Self-consciously, Jeremy joined in, moving his hips and arms along with Dylan. Meanwhile, Rafael spun around the commissary to the cheers and shouts of encouragement from the diners. Conrad smiled indulgently and, to everyone's delight, joined the two boys in singing back-up to Rafael.

Forever and ever, you'll stay in my heart, and I will love you! Forever and ever we never shall part! Oh, how I'll love you!”

The crowd in the commissary cheered Rafael when the song finally ended and the teenager stood up on an empty chair, blowing kisses to everyone.

Thank you! Thank you! I love you!” he cried. “We'll be here 'til Friday and then next week, we'll be a Joey's in Cleveland. Be sure to tip your bartenders and waitresses!”

He climbed down from the chair and someone yelled, “Conrad! Since when do you take second place to Rafael?”

Conrad smiled stiffly and said, “I don't mind sharing the limelight with Eve, wonderful Eve,” referencing the antagonist in All About Eve. Rafael, as well as half the audience, caught the subtle put-down and he posed with a smirk and his fists on his hips. Conrad smiled with contentment and proceeded on to the serving line.

Rafael, you were wonderful!” Jeremy , having swallowed his embarrassment, gushed as the teenager joined them in line.

Well, you remember what Madame Pulchova used to say.”

Together they recited in a Russian accent, “Ve are alvays on stage!”

Especially this thing,” Dylan interjected. “She's a better Aretha than Aretha.”

Conrad ordered a chef’s salad and looked over his shoulder as he declared, “You know, Rafael, if you don't make it as a dancer, you can always fall back on cabaret singer.”

Dylan hid his grin as Rafael raised an eyebrow and said, “That's okay. I don't think I'll have time. You'll be retiring soon and someone has to dance Siegfried, Albrecht, and Conrad.”

The real Conrad grinned and nodded, as if conceding the point to Rafael.

The boys took their food and, after leaving the cashier, they followed Conrad to an empty table in the center of the room. The man set his tray down and pulled out his chair, saying, “You know, Jeremy, you're not half bad as a back-up singer.”

Grinning, Jeremy sat down and said, “I was embarrassed, at first because we never did anything like that back home, but then I reminded myself that I'm in New York and that's why I'm here—to perform. Then, it was easy.”

There you go, Jeremy! That's the spirit,” Conrad said with a warm smile. “That's what will propel you to the top, that love of performing.”

Jeremy smiled happily at the famous dancer before a ballerina at the table behind him said, “You're a great dancer, too, Jeremy. We were watching you this morning and you were amazing. You're so graceful and elegant for a dancer your age. You're very impressive.”

Yes, you are,” a danseur at another table added. “And, Alistair was impressed. He said so.”

A look of horror came over Jeremy's face as he looked at the young man, exclaiming, “Alistair saw me? Alistair Mountjoy?”

The danseur grinned and nodded as Jeremy looked at Rafael in a panic.

I'm not ready for Alistair to see me, yet!” he cried.

Relax!” Rafael said. “I could see on his face he was impressed.”

You knew he was watching?” Jeremy cried. “Why didn't you tell me?”

Rafael grinned along with the others around them and replied, “Because you'd have peed in your tights. Don't worry. You were great this morning and you'll be great when we go out to Amagansett. Don't worry. You're a great dancer, Jeremy.”

You really are, Jeremy,” the ballerina behind them said. “What's your last name?”

Fenwick,” the boy replied shyly.

Well, Jeremy Fenwick, you're going to be a star. You're the next Rafael Colón.”

Jeremy blushed deeply and said, “No one can be another Rafael.”

Well, that's for sure!” a younger dancer at another table remarked, and a number of people laughed good-naturedly.

Rafael grinned and said, “Competition just makes me better! Though I do have to ask, I was out there sweating bullets for you a moment ago, and all you people can do is compliment my back-up singer?”

Look out, Rafael! There's a new kid in town!”

Jeremy blushed ever more deeply and whispered, “I'm sorry, Rafael.”

What in the world are you sorry for?” Rafael asked with surprise.

Well, for taking the attention away from you. You're the best.”

Rafael placed a hand on Jeremy's shoulder while Conrad munched on his salad and studied the boy. “Jeremy, never, ever apologize for getting attention or accolades. Remember what I said Saturday night. You are never embarrassed. You are never self-conscious. You must always know you are good. You are great and the audience is there to see you. You are great and fantastic and you will perform fantastically. Never be sorry for getting attention or for taking attention from someone else. I'm a big boy. I can fight for my own attention. You focus on getting your attention, Jeremy, and you will surely get it. You don't believe me when I tell you how good you are, but these people saw you. They've been here for years training at Ballet Academy or dancing for the Company and when they say you're good, Jeremy, you're good. You need to start believing it.”

Several people started applauding Rafael's speech and within seconds the entire commissary was applauding.

Conrad's face showed an enigmatic smile. He watched and for a moment his eyes met Jeremy's and held. They boy felt his breath being sucked out of him.


Alistair Mountjoy calmly strode across the lobby of Ballet Academy with his usual controlled serenity, his standard demeanor of professionalism and majesty. He passed a couple of trainees entering the front doors and nodded to them with an encouraging smile, though without any words. He stepped outside into the midday air—and the perpetual shadow along the street—and to the charcoal Lincoln double-parked in front. He opened the door, tossed his briefcase into the backseat, climbed in, and dropped onto the seat with a weary sigh.

Rough day?” Geoffrey asked as Alistair slammed the door and lay his head back against the seat. Closing his eyes, he replied, “This has been a God-awful day and a glorious day, both, and I need a drink. Get me the hell out of this city.”

You've got it,” Geoffrey replied as he started forward and moved to the left turn lane. “I have a glass of Scotch with ice waiting for you in the cooler.”

Oh, bless you, Geoffrey,” Alistair exclaimed as he reached to the cooler. “Remind me to give you a raise.”

Are you referring to my salary or something else?” the young man asked with a grin as they turned left onto Seventh Avenue.

Alistair simply smiled as he(dropped two ice cubes into a glass, poured in two fingers of Scotch, lifted the glass and gratefully took a sip. He sat back and stared at the stores and restaurants that lined the street.

So, talk to me,” Geoffrey said. “Pretend I'm your priest—or your bartender.”

Alistair sighed heavily and asked, “What do you think of Jeremy?”

Geoffrey raised an eyebrow and glanced back in the mirror. He paused a moment and asked, “Did you see him dance today?”

I saw him practicing with Rafael and Dylan Thackeray. Jeremy's... very talented and I'm very...impressed.”

Geoffrey glanced back and forth between the traffic before him and the mirror. Alistair was looking to the side.

I got the impression last night,” Geoffrey said, “that Jeremy is very much a twelve-year-old boy. He's not the kind of boy I would expect to be training as a ballet dancer. He seems very much a normal boy.”

You mean to imply that boys training for ballet are not normal?” Alistair asked with a smile.

You know what I mean. He seems like he would be more comfortable on a football field than in a dance studio. Then, when you hear him speak, you realize he is absolutely devoted to ballet—and to Rafael.”

Alistair nodded as he gazed out the side window.

He strikes me,” Geoffrey continued, “as someone who would be at the top of whatever field he chose to be in. He's easily embarrassed, though, by Rafael and Teddy, but he's so sweet about it that you know he doesn't harbor any ill feelings. However, he's absolutely petrified of not being good enough. He's concerned that he won't get enough practice time or that he won't impress you this week. I can tell he's ambitious, though, because he repeatedly said he has to be the best. He seems fixated on his desire to be the best.”

Alistair nodded and sipped his Scotch thoughtfully.

It means a lot to him to be here in New York, though,” Geoffrey added. “He cried when I stopped at Ballet Centre and let them stand on the sidewalk and look up at it.”

He's been through hell during the last few months,” Alistair said. “His coming to New York and training at Ballet Academy wasn't a sure thing until he actually got on the plane with Teddy and Rafael.”

He paused a moment and asked, “How are Jeremy and Rafael together?”

Geoffrey smiled and said, “They're a cute couple. Rafael pushes Jeremy, I think. Rafael wanted to make-out with him in the car and Jeremy was shy and embarrassed. I tried to put him at ease about it. However, it's clear that Rafael truly loves him—and that Jeremy worships Rafael.”

Geoffrey looked into the mirror and saw Alistair's frown.

I get the impression,” Geoffrey added, “that Rafael is in the sexual department.”

You could say that.”

Geoffrey smiled and added, “I also get the impression that he is more than quite fond of you.”

You could say that, as well.”

Alistair never looked at Geoffrey as he replied to the questions, which did not go unnoticed by the young man.

In some ways,” Geoffrey added, “I think the two boys are very mismatched. I mean, Rafael seems to be quite the promiscuous and social homosexual, but Jeremy seems very shy and conservative, maybe even naïve. I'd be willing to bet that the extent of his sexual experience before he met Rafael was jacking off with his best friend.”

And, your point?”

What they have in common is special. Rafael needs Jeremy's innocence and goodness and Jeremy worships Rafael's beauty and talent.”

Alistair took a deep breath and said, “Rafael inspired Jeremy to become a dancer when they were seven and eleven. And, then, Rafael rescued Jeremy from an intolerable situation in Greensburg after Jeremy's parents died.”

Ah,” Geoffrey replied with surprise.

But, you're basically correct,” Alistair added as he looked at Geoffrey‘s eyes in the mirror. He took a sip of his Scotch and then glanced over at his briefcase. After a long moment, he reached over, opened it, and removed Jeremy's file. He opened the file and gazed again at the boy's school picture. Geoffrey couldn't see what the man was looking at and returned his attention to the street and the traffic. However, the next time he looked in the mirror, Alistair had set the photo on the seat beside him and Geoffrey could see what it was. Quickly, he looked away before Alistair could see him. He pressed his lips together thoughtfully. A couple of minutes later, he glanced back up at the mirror and saw that Alistair had set a second photo aside, this one showing Jeremy performing an arabesque. Geoffrey looked away again and driving through Times Square, he took a breath and said, “Alistair, I want to tell you something.”

The man looked up and met Geoffrey's eyes in the rear view mirror, responding, “Yes?”

Geoffrey paused and then said, “My parents discovered I was gay one night when I was caught messing around with a couple of boys in my fifth grade class spending the night with me. They weren't happy and they made my life very difficult after that. In the eighth grade, I tried to commit suicide and after, it was my art teacher, Kenneth Sanders, the artist who introduced me to you, who became my savior. We had an affair for a couple of years.”

Geoffrey glanced back up at the mirror. Alistair was looking him in the eye, but his face was inscrutable. He continued, saying, “Throughout my teens, I had several affairs and went to a number of parties where I met men who... liked to be...sociable with young men. What I'm trying to say is this. I know I'm nothing more than a glorified prostitute who runs errands for you, but I really like you, Alistair. A lot. You're a decent man and I understand why everyone loves you.”

I assume there's a point to all this butt kissing.

Geoffrey took a deep breath and said, “Alistair, are you...interested in Jeremy? If you are, I understand. I really do. I've met some real schmucks over the last few years, but you're a good man, really the finest man I've ever met, and if you're... interested in Jeremy in...that way, I'd understand and, if you need any help, encouraging him or maybe checking the situation out for you or distracting Rafael or...anything, I'd be happy to help.”

He looked up into the mirror and met Alistair's cold eye, immediately regretting his words.

I don't have... those kinds of relationships with my students,” the man replied flatly.

Geoffrey nodded, wondering if the man was lying, but sensing he had crossed a line he shouldn't have. Alistair turned his head and looked out the window as they turned onto Forty-second Street. Geoffrey took a breath and said, “Forgive me if I was presumptuous.”

You weren't presumptuous,” Alistair replied still looking out the window at the stores on the south side of the street. “At least, I didn't take it that way.”

Neither spoke as and, after a bit, Geoffrey turned the radio on to WQXR, the classical station to which Alistair normally listened. However, the man said, “Could you turn that off? I'd rather have quiet.”

Geoffrey nodded and turned off the radio. They crossed Sixth Avenue and Alistair stared at a couple of hustlers in Bryant Park. He sighed. He should have felt elated at finding such a gifted dancer as Jeremy. And, yet, he felt more lost and alone than he ever had.


Now, the thing to remember about Dmitri Koronov is that he was as gay as a goose.”

Conrad Hartsfeld stood before Rafael and Jeremy in the center of the studio with Dylan standing to the side. Jeremy was listening with rapt attention while Rafael tried not to reveal the discomfort and confusion he felt. Dylan was looking at the rise in the front of Jeremy’s tights and smiling to himself at the younger boy's arousal.

And, like Tchaikovsky, Koronov was in love with a beautiful youth. Now, of course, this was Imperial Russia in the nineteenth century, so this sort of thing was frowned upon even more than it is in America in 1970. So, when Koronov decided to write a tribute to the object of his love, he couldn’t come out and describe a love affair between a thirty-five year-old man and a fifteen year-old boy. So, he made Prince Andrei twenty-one and his commoner friend, Sasha, seventeen. However, Sasha has a few qualities of a youth much younger than seventeen. So, when the two of you are dancing as Andrei and Sasha, you are actually in love. You aren’t just the closest of friends, as Koronov portrays them. You are in love, as you and Rafael are, Jeremy.”

The younger boy smiled and looked up at Rafael with love as the older boy smiled at him and ran his fingers along Jeremy’s cheek.

We need to remember the story of The Ice Prince. Prince Andrei’s best friend is the commoner Alexander, or Sasha, which is the Russian nickname for Alexander. However, Andrei’s mother, the queen, insists that the heir to the throne cannot have a commoner as a friend and orders him to give up his friendship with Sasha, which he refuses to do. Meanwhile, the evil king of The South wants Andrei’s fiancé, Maria, for his own wife and threatens war with The North if they don’t allow him to have her. When he attacks the North, Andrei and Sasha go off to fight. At the climactic battle, Maria has come to watch and when she is endangered, Sasha rushes to protect her and is wounded. Andrei is unable to come to his friend’s aid until it is too late. The North has won the battle and the war, but Sasha dies in Andrei’s arms. At the end, his spirit is seen rising to Heaven and looking benevolently down at Andrei and Maria, giving his blessing to their love.”

The older boy smiled and briefly caressed Jeremy’s face as Conrad watched and smiled. Dylan watched all the interactions and Conrad in particular with interest and suspicion.

So, the scene we are working on, ‘The Dance of the Friends,’ despite it being in Act One instead of at the end, is actually the most exciting and the one that invariably leads to a standing ovation and wild cheers and applause. However, audiences also invariably misunderstand what it is. After the queen orders Andrei to end his friendship with Sasha and he refuses, the queen marches off in a huff and then Sasha sneaks in and teases Andrei. When Andrei catches him, they dance together in a wildly athletic series of moves. Most people think they are competing with each other, trying to out-dance the other, but it’s not a competition.”

Rafael sighed with boredom, but Jeremy was rapt as he listened to the great man.

Koronov, like any educated man in the Nineteenth Century, was familiar with Ancient Greece and what was derisively known at the time as ‘The Greek Love.’ It was common and expected for an older man to take a youth under his wings, to be his mentor and lover. This was considered a more pure form of love than that between a man and a woman, which is explained in Plato’s Symposium. Well, in Thebes, they took that a step further and built an army of male lovers called the Sacred Band of Brothers, based on the belief that lovers would fight all the more valiantly to defend their beloved and to make their beloved proud of them. Well, that is sort of what’s happening here. Andrei and Sasha aren’t competing with each other, but with themselves. They are trying to prove their love to the other by dancing better than they ever have. And, at the end, when they are standing center stage, gazing proudly off at the audience, they are showing their pride in the other and in themselves, and especially in the fullness of their love. Of course, in all the librettos, the word they use is friendship, but we all know what Koronov was actually talking about. So, Jeremy, when you’re dancing in the ‘competition’ with Rafael, you are actually showing him how much you love him. So, you have to dance the best you ever have.”

With a look of determination on his face, Jeremy nodded and declared, “I will. I’ll dance better than I ever have in my entire life!”

Conrad smiled as Jeremy looked worshipfully at Rafael. The older boy’s eyes grew moist and he kissed Jeremy’s forehead.

All right, then,” Conrad declared as he walked toward the turntable in the corner. “You both know ‘Dance of the Friends,’ so let’s run through it and see what we have. Dylan, you make the perfect Queen, so we’ll start where Andrei tells his mother to shove it.”

Dylan grinned as he walked to the center.

Your Majesty,” Conrad said as he pointed, “stand to Rafael’s right. Jeremy, you’re off stage over there. Everyone ready?”

The three boys nodded and Conrad placed the needle at the appropriate point on the record album.

The music began and The Queen glared furiously at her proud and defiant son before turning in a huff and marching off the stage. Dylan made the moment as dramatic as possible and it was all Rafael could do to maintain his professionalism and stage presence and not burst into laughter. Quickly, Andre turned back to the front, crossed his arms, and haughtily looked about. Sasha, meanwhile, watching the scene from the side, tiptoed out on stage and approached Andrei from his left and behind. He playfully tapped Andrei on the left shoulder and then jumped to the right as Andrei looked where Sasha no longer stood.

Okay,” Conrad called out as he lifted the tone arm from the record. “Let’s stop there for a moment.”

Rafael frowned and asked, “What did I do wrong?”

Nothing, Diva,” Conrad replied with a grin. “You’re perfect as the arrogant prince.”

Rafael raised an eyebrow and dramatically bowed.

Jeremy, you were great and your style and form were superb as you made your entrance.”

The younger boy smiled as he looked expectantly at the man.

However, this is one of those moments when you need to remember that you aren’t just a dancer, Jeremy. You’re an actor, as well. Now, let’s look at Sasha. Who is he? What is he? What’s his personality?”

Well, he’s Andrei’s best friend—or lover—and he’s younger than Andrei and he’s a commoner. He’s not an aristocrat.”

Yes. Everything you said is correct. But, it’s his personality we have to look at. Sasha’s younger, yes, which means he’s also not as mature as Andrei. He’s a kid, a brat, and he likes to play pranks on Andrei, which is one of his ways of showing his love and friendship. So, since you can’t speak, Jeremy, you have to have Sasha demonstrate his mischievous personality. You can be a brat, can’t you, Jeremy?”

Rafael grinned and nodded as Jeremy smirked and replied, “I suppose.”

Conrad grinned and said, “I have a feeling that if I were your boyfriend, I’d be spanking you every day.”

Jeremy blushed and grinned as Rafael looked Conrad in the eyes for several seconds.

So, Jeremy,” the great danseur continued, “you need to think of ways to make Sasha’s playful personality more apparent to the audience and do so in a way that makes them love Sasha as the cute, sweet, mischievous little imp that he is.”

Jeremy nodded thoughtfully and Conrad said, “Go back off stage and think about this for a moment and then, when you’re ready, we’ll try it again.”

Jeremy stopped and asked, “So, how did you do it when you were Sasha?”

I can’t tell you,” Conrad replied. “I did Conrad Hartsfeld's Sasha. You have to perform Jeremy Fenwick’s Sasha. You have to make this role yours so that years from now, when the audience sees someone else perform Sasha, they compare it to the memorable Jeremy Fenwick Sasha. Okay?”

Jeremy nodded and slowly walked to the side as he thought about the role. Rafael smiled as he watched and then glanced to the window, where he saw another audience of six or seven dancers gathered to watch.

He glanced back at Conrad, who was watching Jeremy, his eyes moving up and down Jeremy from behind. The man glanced at Rafael and cocked his head as Rafael frowned

Okay,” the younger boy declared. “I think I’ve got it.”

Conrad grinned at him and then patted Rafael on the butt.

All right, then. Let’s do it!”

He walked back over to the turntable and said, “Places!”

The three boys took their places and Conrad started the music again.

The Queen marched off stage, Andrei looked around thoughtfully and arrogantly, and Sasha tiptoed forward. However, he paused a second and broke the fourth wall as he bent forward, grinned at the audience, pointed to Andrei and pretended to giggle as he covered his mouth. He then tiptoed exaggeratedly toward the Prince. He tapped Andrei’s left shoulder and then, performing a Grand Jeté en tournant, leapt and spun around to Andrei’s right. Andrei looked around and, seeing no one, turned to the audience, taking his cue from Sasha, and broke the fourth wall himself but holding his hands out dramatically and giving them a curious look. He then crossed his arms and resumed his proud and belligerent gazing around.

Conrad grinned as he watched Sasha giggle behind his hand at the audience and then tap Andrei on the right shoulder before leaping and spinning to the left. Andrei looked to his right and, with growing irritation, looked back at the audience and frowned dramatically as he crossed his arms and huffed. However, when Sasha giggled silently behind his hand again at the audience and tapped Andrei’s left shoulder, the Prince turned not to his left, but to the right as Sasha leapt and spun to Andrei’s right. Andrei silently made as if to cry, “A ha!” and clutched Sasha, whose face took on a look of fear and shock before he grinned. Andrei grinned and then the two joyously embraced before pulling away and holding each other’s shoulders, smiled and laughed at each other. Then, happily, they began to dance around each other, each mimicking the other’s moves. On and on, they danced about the stage in a circle, each move becoming more and more energetic and athletic as well as dramatic and engaging, until the two posed at opposite sides of the stage and performed a dozen fouette en tournant, the spins on the left foot with the right leg raised and bent, whipping them around. Then they proceeded on to the six Grand Jeté en tournant that mark the climax of the dance.

They circled the stage opposite each other, their hair flying about their heads, sweat flying off their faces, their legs flying upward with each leap, parallel to the floor, looks of determination, exertion, and pride on their faces as they leapt and spun and leapt and spun, until they both met in the center and turned to face the audience, their feet turned out, one before the other, the outside arm curved down toward the hip, their inside arm thrown upward in triumph as they gazed out at the audience with triumph and joy, struggling to hide their desperate breathing.

The door to the studio burst open and the spectators who had been watching in the hall ran forward and encircled the shocked dancers as they slapped them on the back, applauded, cheered, and congratulated them. Conrad and Dylan both smiled as they stood back and watched the enthusiastic ovation for the boys. Rafael noticed, however, that most of the celebration seemed centered on Jeremy and, after a moment, he stepped discreetly aside and left Jeremy to receive the attention he deserved.

Walking over to Conrad and Dylan by the turntable, he wiped the perspiration from his forehead and said, “Man! Did you see that?”

Conrad grinned and nodded. “You were fantastic. The two of you are incredible together. It’s like the perfect partnering. It’s amazing. One of these days, Alistair’s going to have to choreograph a pas de deux for the two of you!”

God, that was better than sex!” Rafael exclaimed and Dylan laughed.

I never thought I’d hear those words come out of Rafael Colón’s mouth!”

It was!” Rafael declared. “It was...fantastic! I want to do it again!”

You will,” Conrad replied. “The two of your are amazing.”

Rafael nodded and looked back at the gathering around Jeremy, who was joyously, if not a little shyly, responding to everyone’s comments and congratulations. A little wistfully, Rafael remarked, “They really seem impressed with Jeremy.”

He’s new, Rafael,” Conrad replied. “They already know you’re fantastic, but they’ve never seen a boy Jeremy’s age dance that way before. Come to think of it, neither have I—except for me.”

Yeah,” Rafael muttered.

Conrad studied the fifteen-year-old and said, “You feel uncomfortable with the competition?”

Rafael frowned and said, “Jeremy's not competition. I'm three years older than him.”

Conrad smiled and said, “That three year difference will be irrelevant when you're both in the company. You're used to being the prince, however, and there's a boy who could be the next prince. Can you handle that or will you feel the need to try even harder?”

I want Jeremy to be the best dancer he can,” Rafael replied. “Just because he's successful, though, doesn't take away from me.”

Conrad studied him for a second and then looked back at Jeremy and his group of admirers. “All right, let's let Jeremy get back to work.”

The spectators finished their compliments and congratulations and left the blushing and grinning Jeremy to face Rafael, Dylan, and Conrad. Enthusiastically, he cried, “Wasn't that fantastic?”

Rafael grinned and nodded, replying, “You were fantastic, Jeremy.”

Yes, I was!” Jeremy exclaimed. “Man, that was better than sex!”

Dylan laughed and said, “That's what Rafael said!”

Conrad smiled and said, “Perhaps the two of you have found something to do together now besides violating the New York state sodomy statutes.”

Jeremy giggled as Conrad stepped forward and said, “That was excellent. Now, lets work on making it stellar.”

Jeremy nodded and Conrad added, “By the way, Jeremy, are you sure you've never seen me perform 'Dance of the Friends?'”

Jeremy shook his head and replied, “No, sir. Never.”

Conrad smiled and said, “I ask because the way you chose to portray Sasha is almost exactly how I portrayed him.”

Jeremy smiled and responded, “Really?”

Conrad nodded and looked at Rafael, asking, “Are you up for dancing 'Friends' with me?”

Sure!” Rafael replied. “I never pass up a chance to dance with someone from the company! You want to be Andrei?”

Oh, no,” Conrad replied. “You're Andrei for Alistair, so you dance that. I'll do Sasha, if you don't mind Sasha being two inches taller than you.”

Rafael grinned and said, “I'll get over it.”

Dylan hurried over to the turntable and Conrad said, “Thank you, Dylan. We will do without the Queen this time around.”

He turned to Jeremy and said, “Now, pay careful attention to my glissade, my chaines tournes, and my Jeté. Okay?”

Jeremy nodded and stepped back from the “stage.” As Rafael stood in the center, assuming the haughty air of Prince Andrei, Conrad crouched “off stage.” Jeremy stared at him and marveled at the man's slim muscles, his perfect form, his beauty. Even crouching and assuming the air of a seventeen year-old imp, he still reminded Jeremy of a Viking commander about to plunder and pillage, though his face also had a beauty and grace that seemed distinctly un-Viking-like. He realized he was erect again and, blushing, he tried to discreetly cover the rise in his tights with his hands as he wondered how long he had been that way.

The music began and within seconds, Sasha was hopping forward and Jeremy giggled at the humorous way Conrad was dancing the role, amazed that he had chosen to dance the character almost exactly as the great Conrad Hartsfeld was dancing it.

He gasped however, once the “competition” began, and watched in utter amazement at the ease and grace with which Conrad leaped, spun, and glided across and around the stage. Even Rafael seemed energized by Conrad's dancing and when the climactic Grand Jeté came, Jeremy's mouth fell open as he watched the perfection of Conrad's spinning leaps and how he stood with out seeming to breathe at all at the end, his arm thrown triumphantly into the air as he and Rafael smiled proudly atthe audience.”

Bravo!” Jeremy cried as he ran toward them. “Bravo! You were magnificent!”

Forgetting his erection, Jeremy clasped his hands together as he exclaimed, “Mr. Hartsfeld, you were... you were... I can't think of a way to say that was the best dancing I've ever seen!”

Conrad smiled and looked at Rafael. He held out his hand and said, “I understand now, Rafael, why they call you 'The Gazelle' and 'Wildboy.' You danced that with such energy and spirit. You were excellent.”

Thank you,” Rafael replied with pride. “I was feeding off your energy.”

Yes, I suppose you were,” Conrad said. “Now, I want to see you do that with Jeremy.”

Rafael grinned and said, “Okay! Let's do it!”

For the next several hours, the boys repeated their moves as Conrad critiqued them and offered suggestions. Rafael felt slightly uncomfortable and defensive, at first, but after a while, he began to understand the logic behind what the dancer was suggesting. Jeremy was simply thrilled to be coached by one of the greatest dancers in the world.

It was not until Conrad noticed Jeremy wincing that he stopped them and approached the younger boy.

What's the matter?” he asked gently.

Nothing,” Jeremy replied bravely. “Let's try the Grand Jeté.”

I don't think so,” Conrad replied. “I think it's time to stop for the day.”

Oh, no! There's nothing wrong!” Jeremy declared emphatically. “I have to get ready to dance for Alistair Mountjoy. I have to be at my best!”

And, you won't be at your best if you have blisters all over your feet, Jeremy,” Conrad responded. “You haven't danced all summer and you're feet are not as calloused as before. This is non-negotiable.”


Rafael stepped forward and said, “Jeremy, its one thing to argue with me, but Conrad Hartsfeld is a principal dancer with Ballet of America. He has performed all over the world and is acclaimed as one of the great dancers of our time. Are you really going to argue with him after he's been kind enough to help us for the last three hours?”

Jeremy looked down in mortification and said, “I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to be disrespectful! I'm sorry! I just wanted to show you that I can take anything. I want to be the best. I have to be the best. I'm so sorry if I was rude!”

Conrad smiled and placed a gentle hand on Jeremy's face, gently tilting it up so their eyes were locked together.

You weren't rude or disrespectful, Jeremy. I admire your grit and determination. And it is true that the great dancers dance through the pain and we push ourselves beyond the limits of normal endurance. You will be that kind of dancer, Jeremy. I can see that. But, as great dancers, we must also be able to know our limits and not do things that will harm us in the long run. If you want to astound Alistair Friday night, you don't need feet covered with blisters. Let's stop now.”

Jeremy nodded and looked worshipfully into the man's eyes. Conrad smiled down at him for several seconds before he removed his hand and turned to the older boy.

Rafael, I will be driving out to Amagansett in the morning. I will be happy to work with the two of you again while we are out there, if you would like.”

Um, well, sure,” the teenager replied. “Thank you!”

Conrad turned back to Jeremy and said, “Sometimes, an older dancer will take a younger dancer under his wings as a mentor, giving advice, offering a shoulder to cry on, and so forth. You impress me, Jeremy, and that is rare. Rafael impresses me, but he has Alistair and you can't find a better mentor than he. However, if you would like, I would be pleased to mentor you. You have potential, Jeremy, and you have an attitude that I admire. Would you like that?”

Jeremy looked at the man in shock, his eyes wide, his mouth open in utter amazement. “Do you mean it?” he breathed.

Conrad smiled and nodded. “Lionel Mountjoy took me under his wing when I was training here and I would not be the dancer I am today were it not for that valuable experience. I would consider it a privilege. After all, fifteen years from now, when you're a principal and renowned around the world, you may find a boy who deserves to be mentored, as well. And, I want to be able to tell people that I helped you become the great dancer I know you will be.”

Jeremy's eyes grew moist and he was trembling with emotion as he replied, “Yes. Thank you.”

Conrad smiled again and then turned to Rafael.

As I say, I'm driving out tomorrow. Perhaps, Jeremy can ride out with me. I'm taking my new Porsche 911 out on the road for the first time. Perhaps he would enjoy riding along. We can discuss Ballet Academy and Ballet of America while we get to know each other a little better and Jeremy can get a taste for the best of German engineering.”

Rafael struggled to maintain a smile on his face as he saw the eagerness on Jeremy's face. “That...sounds great,” he replied, trying his hardest to sound enthused.

Conrad nodded and leaned over to the teenager, whispering in his ear, “I know the two of you are in love. I assume you are still sleeping with Alistair?”

Rafael turned pale and whispered, “No! Um, once. Uh, how did you know?”

Conrad simply smiled. “Every boy of talent and beauty needs a mentor,” he whispered back.

Rafael swallowed and nodded solemnly. “I...understand.”

Good,” the man replied, reverting to a normal voice as he turned to face Jeremy. “I'll be by at nine o'clock. I'll call before leaving my apartment. Where shall I pick you up?”

Rafael answered for Jeremy, “West Eighty-sixth, between Broadway and Amsterdam.”

Oh, excellent! Just two blocks from where I live!” Conrad replied. “That will be perfect.”

He extended his hand to Jeremy, who shook it. “Until tomorrow morning, then. It's a pleasure to know you, Jeremy.”

Thank you, sir. Thank you,” the boy replied.

Jeremy, I'm doing this because you deserve it. You're gifted.”

He winked and then slapped Rafael on the back and blew a kiss to Dylan on the way out the door.

Rafael looked at Dylan with concern and Dylan pressed his lips together. Jeremy, however, was moved to tears.

Rafael,” he cried, his voice breaking. “Rafael, I don't believe this! I can't believe it! Conrad Hartsfeld wants to be my mentor! Conrad Hartsfeld! My mentor! My mentor! Can you believe it? Can you believe it?”

Rafael forced himself to appear thrilled for the boy. He stepped over to him and wrapped his arms around the boy. “I'm so proud of you, Jeremy. I knew you were good, but I don’t think you realized you were that good. You see, now? You see, Jeremy? Can you accept that you're a gifted dancer?”

He looked down into the boy's eyes and Jeremy nodded.

Yes, I see it now. I mean, I'm not stupid. I've always known I was good. But... to have Conrad Hartsfeld of all people tell me how good I am... and for him to want to mentor me! Rafael, I can't believe it!”

Rafael held the boy tightly as Jeremy lay his face against his chest. Dylan walked over to them and met Rafael's eye.

Call me later,” he said. “I need to shower and get out of here.”

Rafael nodded and Dylan gave him a significant look. “Seriously. Call me.”

Okay,” Rafael replied with a worried look.

It'll be okay,” Dylan added. “We have to talk, though.”

Rafael nodded and then kissed the top of Jeremy's head, burying his face in the boy's sweaty, red hair. Dylan turned and left the studio. Rafael whispered into Jeremy's ear, “Come on, sweetheart. Let's shower and get home. I want to take care of your feet. Okay?”

Jeremy looked up with beatific smile and whispered, “All right.”


Mario de Stefano was in the shower in the locker room for the company's danseurs. He was partially erect, as he often was after a workout in the weight room. Hot water flowed down the strong, soapy body, off the black curls atop his head and down the strong back to the massive thighs and powerful calves. He rubbed the soap into his skin and closed his eyes as his erection came to life.

He felt strong hands on his hips and a familiar cock sliding into his ass cheeks. He smiled.

I didn't know you were here, Conrad,” he said. “What's kept you here on an August afternoon?”

I think I'm in love,” Conrad replied as he breathed into Mario's ear, his hands sliding up the Italian dancer's strong, smooth body.

I've told you a thousand times,” Mario replied. “I'm not into monogamy.”

It's not you, jackass,” Conrad replied as his tongue snaked around Mario's left ear.

Mario turned around, his strong, soapy body sliding across Conrad's slender, yet powerful body. Their rigid erections slid up their abdomens as Conrad brought his lips to Mario's. After a long, deep kiss, tongues wrestling and breath exchanged, Conrad pulled away and replied, “A trainee. A new kid.”

Oh, God,” Mario replied with a knowing smile. “The Curse of the Twenty-nine-Year-Old.”

Conrad smiled and raised as eyebrow as he asked, “What are you talking about?”

Mario chuckled and said, “Every time a danseur in the company turns twenty-nine, they either become wildly promiscuous and try not to loose their youth, or they start looking at the females and thinking of settling down, or they turn to the academy and develop an insatiable hunger for the delights down there.”

Too late, Mario. I've already dipped my toe in that particular cesspool.”

Mario nodded and said, “Oh, yeah. I forgot about Dylan. By the way, have you had Rafael yet?”

No, though I have no doubt I could after this afternoon,” Conrad replied. “I get the impression I may be the only danseur in the company who hasn't.”

Just about. So, tell me about this newby.”

Jeremy Fenwick.”

Oh, my God! You can't be serious?”

Conrad frowned and asked, “You know him?”

Mario shook his head and replied, “No, but that name. My God, he sounds like a little dream boy.”

Conrad looked away with distaste. “I would like to think I'm not that superficial or predatory. He is fantastic, however. Red hair, freckles, a gymnast's body. He's twelve and he'll be starting here next month, but it's not the outside that has grabbed me, though he is certainly the hottest twelve-year-old since Rafael to come in.”

Don't tell me the great Conrad Hartsfeld with his ice water blood and his granite heart is actually falling in love,” Mario taunted.

Conrad slowly pulled away from the beautiful Italian man and started a second shower head. As he adjusted the water, he said, “This boy is different. He's special. He is utterly devoted to ballet and he's gifted. He has a grace and elegance that is almost impossible to find in boys that age. And, looking at him, you'd never know he was a dancer were it not for those thighs. He could easily pass for a football player.

I know you love fucking muscle boys,” Mario remarked as he resumed bathing.

Conrad shook his head. “Jeremy is...different. I won't take him to bed... yet. Maybe later. I don't know. This boy is special. He truly needs to be nurtured and mentored. The only problem is he lives with Rafael.”

Oh, Lord!” Mario replied. “He'll already be fucking the Heinous Anus.”

Conrad shook his head and said, “I don't think so. I think Rafael is actually in love and I think he's sincere. I think the Heinous Anus has finally met someone who has taken his heart.”

But, what about Alistair?”

Conrad's face darkened. “I know for a fact that Rafael is the only boy Alistair has ever fucked at Ballet Academy. I think when Alistair needs to satisfy that particular demon, he heads down to Times Square. But Rafael...he mentors Rafael. He truly loves Rafael. That's what I want with Jeremy. I want to mentor him. I want to be his friend. I want to give him what he needs but won't get from Ballet Academy. He has the potential to be one of the greats and he needs more than Ballet Academy can give him. Just as Alistair is giving Rafael that extra something, I want to help Jeremy get the hints and nuances, the performance insights required to shine twenty years from now.”

Mario frowned as he looked at the strong, slim man with white blond hair. “You're serious, aren't you”? You really mean this. You're not taking Jeremy to bed?”

I won't rule it out, but that's not what this boy needs, though I'm sure it would take nothing to persuade him. He had an erection from the moment Dylan introduced us before lunch this morning. No, Jeremy needs to dance. He needs someone to guide him. He needs someone he can trust.”

Mario raised an eyebrow as he rinsed the soap from his body. “You're scaring me. I've never heard you speak this way before. You aren't one of those pod people from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, are you?”

Conrad smiled and said, “I've met the perfect boy, Mario. I can't destroy that.”

Mario turned off his water and said, “Well, have at it. I'm off to Provincetown tomorrow and I won't be back until the night before we start working on Corsair.”

You should come back a few days earlier and put a little work in before we start.”

Mario smiled and said, “You're always Mr. Professional. You need to live, Conrad.”

Oh, I do,” the blond replied. “I live very intensely.”

Mario shook his head, but grinned before turning and leaving the shower. Conrad closed his eyes and put his face in the shower stream, letting the hot water flow off his face and down his perfectly sculpted body. However, he was barely conscious of it. What were filling his mind were images of the afternoon he’d just spent. All he could think of was Jeremy Fenwick.


This has been the most glorious day of my life,” Jeremy declared as the two walked through the doors of Ballet Academy and out onto the sidewalk along the street.

Well, it's not over yet,” Rafael replied as he stepped out to the curb and waved down a cab. “We still have six hours before bedtime.”

I have to wait that long?” Jeremy asked with a naughty grin.

Slut,” Rafael replied with a smile as a cab pulled up to the curb.

Jeremy took a deep breath and looked away as he tried to suppress his sudden doubts and shame. He climbed into the cab as Rafael gave the driver their address and sat back.

Why are we taking a cab instead of riding the bus?”

Because of your feet,” Rafael replied. “Besides, we deserve a little luxury today. You've had such a great day, I don't want to diminish it.”

I really have. I can't believe that Conrad Hartsfeld worked with us and wants to be my mentor. I have to write to Benji and Aunt Jane and tell them about my first day in New York and how wonderful everything is!”

You should write to your brother, too,” Rafael suggested as the cab crossed Seventh Avenue.

Jeremy shrugged and said, “Yeah, I guess. I hope Brian cares.”

He does,” Rafael replied. “I know you have a lot of resentments from the way he treated you over the years, but I think he's really sorry.”

If he isn't drunk or stoned and can remember who I am,” Jeremy replied bitterly. “I just don't understand why my parents always treated him so special and left me alone. I just don't get it.”

Rafael frowned with sympathy and pain for the boy, but said nothing. He simply put his arm around him and hugged him tightly.


Teddy was sitting at his desk in the study when the boys entered the apartment.

Teddy! Teddy! I had the most wonderful day!” Jeremy cried as he ran into room.

Teddy turned and grinned with reflected joy at the boy. They hugged tightly and the man said, “You must tell me everything!”

Rafael winked and nodded as he passed by the door and let Jeremy describe the day's events. After informing him of Conrad Hartsfeld's desire to mentor Jeremy, however, the man's smile dimmed slightly. He remained upbeat and positive, but he looked up at the door as Rafael returned.

Hey, Urchin! Go take your shoes and socks off and I'll be in there in a minute to take care of your feet.”

Hey, I'm not a little kid!” Jeremy declared. “I can do it myself.”

Teddy chuckled and said, “Remember the famous Anacin commercial? 'Mother! Please! I can do it myself!”

Rafael rolled his eyes and said, “I want to do it my own special Rafael way, unless you want to suck your own dick.”

Jeremy blushed and looked away from Teddy and replied, “Oh, um, well, um, I mean...”

Get out of here, brat. I have some secret grown-up stuff to talk over with Teddy.”

Hey! I'll show you who's grown up!” Jeremy declared before Rafael muttered, “Yeah, yeah. Whatever.” He shoved the protesting boy out the door.

Ain't love grand?” Teddy asked.

Yes, it it,” Rafael replied. “But I want to talk to you about something.”

Teddy pointed to the door and Rafael closed it. As he turned around, Teddy softly asked, “Conrad Hartsfeld?”

Rafael nodded.

Dylan suggested we ask him to help us with 'Dance of the Friends'. Dylan dated him for a while and said he's like the resident expert on Ice Prince. Well, he was great, but Jeremy quite obviously fell for him and at the end, Conrad offered to mentor him. Plus, he wants to drive Jeremy out to Alistair's tomorrow.”

Oh, dear. Is he…?”

I don't know. Dylan wants me to call him. He dated Conrad briefly. I never knew Conrad Hartsfeld had a heart. He's always been the coldest and most...professional dancer in the company. He's like a dancing Spock, if you can imagine. I've never been able to understand how he can put so much beauty and emotion into his dancing when he's basically a Prussian robot with everyone else.”

Will he hurt Jeremy?”

I don't know. Jeremy can use the mentoring. Except for Mario de Stefano or Jacob Linley, Conrad's the best dancer in the company. In some ways, he's even better than Mario or Jacob. I mean, I wouldn't be what I am today if it weren't for Alistair. Jeremy can use the mentoring, but...I'm just afraid of what the cost will be.”

I'm not comfortable with Jeremy driving out to Amagansett alone with him. Can you at least ride along?”

Rafael shook his head and said, “It's a Porsche 911.”

Teddy shook his head and asked, “What is that?”

It's a race car. The back seat is microscopic and the car's designed for the autobahn, not for New York City driving.”

Oh, God. No. We can't allow this.”

Rafael frowned and said, “Jeremy will be crushed. He's so excited. We can't say no now.”

Will Conrad be safe?”

He's Spock, like I said. I'm sure. It's just Jeremy being alone with him. I mean, how much trouble can he get into out in the open with the top down? It's the emotional element that has me worried. What if Jeremy's just the flavor of the week at Baskin-Robbins for Conrad? And, how much time will Conrad realistically have to devote to Jeremy? He's in the company. They don't get up and arrive at the studios until ten or eleven in the morning. And they don't get out until nine or ten at night. If its a performance night, he won't get home until after two or three. The only time they can get together is a Saturday afternoon or Sunday, unless, once again, there's a performance.”

Teddy nodded and said, “Its not much different with you and Alistair, yet he finds time to work with you in the studio.”

Jeremy's an all-or-nothing type, though. I just don't want him to get his hopes up and then have them dashed by a dancer who can't make time for Jeremy because of his hectic schedule. Besides, Conrad does extra work with other companies. I just worry that Jeremy's going to expect more than Conrad can give him...or will give him.”

Teddy nodded and asked, “You're not worried about the sexual aspect?”

Rafael sighed and replied, “I don't know if there's going to be a sexual aspect. That's the real thing. I just don't know. And, how can I ask? 'Hey, Conrad. Are you going to molest my boyfriend?'”

Teddy nodded and said, “Perhaps I need to have a talk with Conrad at the house and see what his intentions are. We won't have the issues of rank between us that you and Conrad would have.”

Rafael nodded and then said, “You know, maybe I shouldn't worry about the sexual aspect. I mean, Alistair and I have done it and... well, I'm a lot less...insane than I was. Maybe, Conrad would be a good and...loving sexual mentor, too. I don't know. I...I'm just so confused about it all.”

Call Dylan.”

I will. Later,” Rafael replied. He stood up. “In the mean time, I'm going to take care of Jeremy's feet. He's starting to get blisters. Um, we might be a while.”

Teddy smiled and said, “I'll order Chinese take-out for later.”

Rafael smiled and whispered, “Thank you.”

Teddy smiled and nodded. Rafael turned and walked out the door.

Jeremy was lying on the bed, having removed his sneakers and socks, when Rafael entered. The boy smiled up at him and said, “This is the most wonderful day.”

Yes, it is,” Rafael replied as he walked past the bed toward the bathroom. When he returned, he was carrying a tube of ointment and some bandages. He sat down on the side of the bed and began to carefully massage Jeremy's feet. The younger boy moaned.

So, what do you think of Conrad?” Rafael asked carefully.

Oh, Rafael, he's so...handsome and he's such a beautiful dancer and... I can't believe that he wants to mentor me! Me!”

Rafael nodded and said, “It's not uncommon for one of the dancers to take a trainee under his wings like this. And, you are a terrific dancer, Jeremy, so it's not surprising one of the top dancers in the company would take an interest in you.”

Jeremy watched Rafael as he began to apply the ointment to his right foot. He studied him for several seconds before he asked, “Rafael, can I ask you something?”

Of course,” Rafael replied with a smile.

You've...done stuff with Alistair.”

Rafael nodded and said, “It wasn't exactly 'stuff.' He took me to bed and made love to me. It was beautiful. Truly beautiful. Everything a romantic boy would dream of.”

Jeremy pressed his lips together in thought for another long moment as Rafael applied the bandages to the foot. He took a deep breath and asked, “Will Conrad want to do that with me?”

Rafael didn't look up. He focused his energy on the bandages before replied, “I honestly don't know, Jeremy. Often, these kinds of relationships include...going to bed, but I don't know if Conrad is expecting that or not.”

Jeremy nodded and Rafael moved to the boy's left foot. After a moment, he asked, “Do you want him to?”

Jeremy didn't answer right off, which in itself answered Rafael's question in the teenager's mind. After a few seconds, the boy replied, “I love you, Rafael. I don't want to do it with anyone else.”


Jeremy looked at Rafael and whispered, “Yes. I do.”

Rafael looked up and smiled. “Of course, you do, Jeremy. You'd be insane not to. Conrad is a beautiful, handsome man. He has the perfect dancer's body, he's an amazing dancer. There would be no reason why you wouldn't. But, Jeremy, I don't know that he would want to do it. After all, he's twenty-nine and you're twelve. There's the moral issue to consider, and a legal one, and it's possible that he prefers men.”

But, he dated Dylan.”

Rafael nodded and said, “I really don't know if he's going to want to do that with you or not. But, I want you to know that I don't want you to be hurt. I don't want to see you get your hopes up for a romantic relationship with Conrad or a serious mentoring relationship and then have your hopes dashed because he's so busy. You have to understand, Conrad is one of the three top male dancers with Ballet of America. He will be in every major production this year. He'll go on tour. Plus, he has his own engagements with other companies around the country and across the Atlantic. He may not have much time to devote to you, Jeremy. I don't want to hurt you or disappoint you, but I don't want you to get your hopes up and think this is your magic Prince and that all's going to be romance and Cinderella and beautiful.”

Jeremy nodded and looked down at his foot as Rafael bandaged it. The teenager continued, “I don't get to spend more than a couple of days a month with Alistair. Of course, he's got a lot more on his plate than Conrad, but you shouldn't expect to see him more than once or twice a month, on a Saturday afternoon or a Sunday. Plus the dancers in the company work later than we do and their schedules don't mesh well with ours. And, when you do have time, you may be so tired and he may be so tired that neither of you wants to do anything except sleep. Things are different when you're at this level in the ballet world. There's almost no downtime. This is the big leagues, Jeremy.”

The boy nodded and said, “I understand.”

Rafael grinned as he reached up Jeremy's legs and began to massage the rise in the front of the boy's shorts. “So, how about I take care of this boner you've had since eleven-fifteen this morning, then we can hold each other and take a nap?”

Jeremy smiled and said, “That sounds like a plan. ”

Rafael nodded and as he began to unfasten Jeremy's belt, he added, “And, you can close your eyes and dream about your Prince Conrad and I won't even mind.”

Jeremy smiled and said, “You're my only prince, but...he is beautiful.”

Rafael nodded, but inside he was crying. How could he, Rafael Colón, with his reputation, be jealous if the sweet boy before him found a man attractive? And, what could he do to protect Jeremy? And, should he?

Maybe a broken heart was what Jeremy needed to toughen him up to face the harsh realities of the new world in which he found himself.

I hope you are enjoying my story. Please let me know at: frthnkr1957nifty <at> gmail <dot> com