The last story I posted on Nifty (other than my current revision of Sea Change) was The Least of These. I enjoyed writing the story, and readers seemed to really like it. However, circumstances forced me to finish writing The Least of These sooner than I intended, leaving unwritten several things I wanted to include in the story. And though I really needed to give my attention to my new work, the unfinished story continued to stalk my thoughts.

And so, when I found a little more time to work on it, I began to write a sequel, The Greatest of These. Michael, my friend and editor down in Australia helped, and I quickly produced the first eight chapters. When I showed them to friends for comment, they agreed that these chapters, which I had only intended to use to set the foundation for the rest of the story, actually worked well as a stand-alone piece.

And so, to all those readers who were so encouraging as I posted The Least of These, I offer Part One of The Greatest of These, The New Year.

I hope you enjoy the read. But I do strongly recommend that you read The Least of These first, if you have not already done so. Though I try to reprise the characters, most received their initial development there. You can find The Least of These at

The Least of These

And finally, I hope you enjoy the story.


As always, I wish to retain all rights to this story. However, I am delighted to grant permission for AwesomeDude, or any other person or entity, to publish this story as long as there is no charge to the reader and as long as no changes are made to the story.

Copyright 2004. All Rights Reserved.

“It’s OK to fall in love with your best friend.” – Davey Carlson.

PART ONE, The New Year

Chapter 1 Christmas, 1984

The front door opened as Jake came up the sidewalk. From inside, there came a blond girl of twelve, a red-headed youth who was two years older, and their blond mom. While the girl ignored Jake and the boy frowned at him, the mom smiled gently. “Good morning, Jake. Brandon’s still sleeping, but it’s about time someone woke him up.”

Jake liked Mrs. Fox. She was always friendly. That was decidedly not the case with Brandon’s dad. Mr. Fox still resisted the idea of Brandon being gay and freaked out the first time he met Jake. He freaked out again the first time Jake showed up with eye shadow and face glitter to take Brandon to Bodz, their favorite teen gay nightclub. They never told Brandon’s dad where they were going; otherwise he’d have really flipped.

“Is Mr. Fox around?” Jake asked, politely. Normally, Jake didn’t turn off his campy style for anyone, especially anyone who didn’t like it. But he liked Mrs. Fox. And Brandon was way too important to him to mess up the family situation.

“No,” Mrs. Fox answered, smiling at Jake’s caution. “He’s playing golf this morning. No monsters inside, Jake,” she ended with a chuckle. Brandon’s brother honked the car horn, impatiently.

She smiled apologetically, backing away. “Taking the kids Christmas shopping. Brandon needs to do that too. Maybe you can get him out to the mall,” she called as she opened her car door.

Jake smiled, thinking to himself about the kind of shopping he and Brandon liked to do at the mall.

The house was small, but expensive, like everything in California. Though Jake didn’t know the whole story, he knew that Brandon’s dad moved the family to California after Brandon had been outed back in San Antonio, and the move had turned out badly. Mr. Fox’s job had not gone well and he increasingly held Brandon responsible.

It hadn’t gone well for Brandon either. The previous year he’d been a junior, and though he played football and was good looking, LA was nothing like San Antonio. The school was cliquish and he never regained the confidence he had before his world collapsed back in Texas. Instead, he became quiet and withdrawn. That is, until Jake got hold of him.

That first time, Jake had found Brandon sitting by himself in the back of Bodz. At seventeen then, eighteen now, Brandon was the type to draw stares even in a room full of good-looking guys. But he was nevertheless alone.

Jake was instantly attracted by the deep red hair, the creamy skin, and the muscles… nice muscles. The guy had obviously pumped some iron, but he wasn’t all bulked up, just tightened up. Jake watched him from the bar and decided that he had to have the redhead that night. And even though Brandon looked a year or two older than him, that only added to the challenge.

Jake approached his table all campy and outrageous. It was the only way Jake could manage the courage to do that sort of thing. He flirted desperately, and Brandon had been amused. And when Brandon smiled warmly; and Jake looked into those wide set eyes, he realized there was a brain under all that red hair. And Jake began to fall in love.

When Brandon stood to dance with him, and Jake saw how tall and athletic Brandon was, he grew quiet. And he’d never grown quiet for anyone before. The music slowed and Brandon’s strong arms pulled him close. Then, when Jake placed his hands on the hard muscles of Brandon’s shoulders and felt Brandon’s taut belly against his own, he actually trembled. Brandon pulled him closer.

They became friends in that moment, and had been occasional lovers ever since. And Brandon, tired of trying to please a dad who would never be pleased, let his family meet Jake.


The bed jiggled. Brandon squeezed his eyes shut and pulled his sheets higher. The covers lifted and a warm, naked body pressed itself to Brandon’s back.

“Jake, you asshole,” Brandon mumbled.

“It’s OK, Foxy,” Jake replied happily. He brushed dark red hair from Brandon’s neck and kissed behind the taller boy’s ear. “We’re alone. I saw your family heading out. Your mom says they’re going shopping.”

“You piss off my dad again?” Brandon asked, rolling onto his back but keeping his eyes shut.

Jake pulled the sheets back from Brandon’s bare torso and down to the waistband of his loose pajama bottoms. “Ummm,” Jake murmured appreciatively, and rubbed his hand over Brandon’s muscled chest and belly. “Your dad’s always pissed at me; for being your friend. But no, Baby. I didn’t piss him off this morning. He’s playing golf.” Jake pulled the sheets completely off Brandon.

Brandon stretched, partly to stretch and partly because he loved showing off his body to Jake, who was predictably pleased. “Oh, damn, Foxy. You just keep getting hotter and hotter.” Jake bent over and sucked Brandon’s nipple, while he slid a hand into the fly of the pajama bottoms.

Brandon groaned and laid his hand on the hard muscles of Jake’s slender back. Despite his protests, Brandon was usually glad to welcome Jake to his bed. Jake wasn’t muscular, but his wiry body was both hard and flexible. In public, Jake often acted feminine. But in private, especially with Brandon, he was capable of being male and an expert lover.

From the night they met and found out they were both from San Antonio, Brandon had liked Jake; in spite of, or more exactly, because of his idiosyncrasies. There was something erotically exciting about Jake’s bold sexuality and campiness. And though Jake was undeniably male, in every department, his feminine moments aroused Brandon’s masculinity. So did his private vulnerability. That first slow dance, when Jake trembled in his arms, stirred something in Brandon that felt good to be stirred.

Jake made him happy again, and constantly managed to surprise him. Jake had changed his life.

He attracted Brandon on several levels. It wasn’t simply Jake’s flamboyant personality or his lean body that appealed. There was his jet-black hair and olive skin, his high cheekbones and fine jaw, and the sly intelligence behind Jake’s dark eyes.

The general agreement at Bodz was that Brandon was the more attractive of the two, with his grey, bedroom eyes, full lips, and wide brow. But Jake found it just as easy to pick up guys. The two of them often hunted, and sometimes scored, together. And when one of them hadn’t been lucky, the other was usually willing to make him lucky. Foundational to their friendship was ready access to each other’s bed; at least when their families weren’t home.

Jake slid his body up onto Brandon’s and grinned down at him. This morning, his mood was impish. He propped himself up on one arm while he opened Brandon’s pajama fly and lowered his semi-hard erection and balls into Brandon’s pajamas.

Brandon’s eyes opened and he smiled as Jake settled onto his own hardening cock He grabbed Jake’s bare butt in his large hands. “You like doing that, don’t you?” Brandon asked. “Stuffing yourself into my pajamas with me.”

Jake’s light laugh was as soothing as the feel of his body. “Don’t ever quit wearing pajama bottoms, Foxy,” he said. “They’re too much fun.”

Brandon held Jake’s butt in his strong hands and moved it around as Jake ground on him. They kissed and grew hard against each other.

“Damn, Foxy!” Jake said, brushing his fingers across Brandon’s cheek. “You kiss great… even when you do have bad morning breath.”

“Shit,” Brandon growled playfully and pulled Jake’s butt even harder to himself.

Moving his knees up along Brandon’s sides and placing his palms on Brandon’s firm belly, Jake pushed himself upright and rocked his hips, pressing their balls together, and in the process, Jake’s cock sprung free of Brandon’s pajamas.

Jake had always been proud of his cock. Uncut, it was thick, long, and curved upward. It was a good match for Brandon’s, which was cut and straight, but just as long and thick. Jake liked that Brandon had a big cock to play with. His last lover had a short one. And another lover, not long ago, had a huge one; too big. Brandon was just right.

Jake untied the waist string of Brandon’s bottoms and laid the corners back. Where the base of Jake’s cock pressed Brandon’s, his black pubes meshed with Brandon’s dark red ones. Jake combed through both bushes with his fingers, then grabbed their two cocks and held them together while he rocked his hips, sliding his cock on Brandon’s.

Brandon sighed, and his eyes rolled back.

“Hey, Baby. Get the lube,” Jake whispered hoarsely.

Brandon reached for his nightstand drawer and Jake ran his hands admiringly up Brandon’s stretching torso. Then, while Jake pulled Brandon’s pajama bottoms down to mid-thigh, Brandon poured a few drops of lube onto his hand and applied them to his cock.

Jake swiveled around on him and knelt astride Brandon’s middle, facing toward Brandon’s feet. When he did, Brandon spread more lube into the crack of Jake’s muscled butt and then held his erection upright while Jake backed onto him. With a satisfied sigh, Brandon grasped Jake’s hips and guided him down, taking his time, feeling Jake’s tightness and warmth moved down his shaft. Then Jake rocked his hips forward and back. Brandon’s sighs became moans, and the moans deepened when Jake reached down and held their loose balls together, fondling them.

“You’ve got great equipment, Baby,” Jake said softly.

Brandon rubbed his hands up and down Jakes flanks and back. “You too, Baby.”

Carefully, Jake laid himself back on Brandon, and Brandon wrapped his arms over Jake’s chest. They moved together, rising, falling; circling hips. Brandon kicked his pajamas the rest of the way off, and Jake arched back on him, taking him deep. He reached back for Brandon’s head while Brandon reached with both hands into Jake’s lap.

“Oh, damn, Foxy,” Jake breathed, running his fingers back into Brandon’s hair. “When are you going to fall in love with me?”

“Every time we do this,” Brandon said, chewing Jake’s ear. Holding Jake tightly, Brandon rolled them to their sides and spooned Jake snuggly, pumping gently forward with his hips.

“I’m serious,” Jake pouted, without stopping his movement.

“Me too,” Brandon replied, and then slowed as he thought about what he had just said. It was true, and the words had been spoken before he realized it. The more he and Jake were together, and not just in bed, the more Jake meant to him. Jake was his best friend, and even if he wasn’t in love with Jake, there was no denying the deep affection he felt for him. He wondered how close it might be to really being love.

Brandon had been “in love” only once, but it had affected him deeply. Michael Bentolli and Davey Carlson had gently taken his virginity and then exuberantly taught him how males made love. He was sixteen at the time and they were only fourteen, but they taught him and made it incredible. Everything Davey did was exuberant, especially sex. Everything Michael did, even at fourteen, was skillful, genuine, and sincere. Michael was beautiful and Brandon had fallen for him, hard.

The summer after Brandon had been arrested at the park and his dad moved them to California, Brandon went back to visit and stayed with Michael for ten days. Davey had run off with someone else and Michael was heart-broken and lonely. It was only a brief opportunity and he knew it, but he asked Michael to be his lover, even if it was only for the ten days of his stay. Michael agreed, and for ten days they were lovers. Michael, always sincere, held nothing back.

It might have been different if Brandon could have stayed and not returned to his new home in California. Things might have been different if Davey hadn’t come back to Michael with his tail between his legs. They certainly would have been different if Brandon had been there for Michael after Michael had been raped. But things weren’t different. And, at least for now, Davey was Michael’s lover.

Brandon pushed those thoughts from his mind and spooned Jake more tightly and kissed him behind the ear.

Carefully keeping Brandon inside, Jake twisted onto his back, throwing a leg over Brandon’s hips. Brandon took Jake’s other leg between his and bent at his waist to bring his face closer to Jake’s.

”Liar,” Jake said softly.

Brandon paused in his thrusting and rubbed Jake’s flat tummy. “No,” Brandon shook his head slowly. “Not lying. We may not be in love, Jake, but I do love you.”

A bittersweet smile played across Jake’s lips. He’d settle for that. Brandon did love him, as much as any friend loves another, and for now, that would be enough. Jake wiggled his bottom more snuggly into Brandon and laid long, elegant fingers on Brandon’s side. He blew a kiss to Brandon, who smiled.

Brandon threw the towel to Jake so Jake could wipe clean his belly and chest. Jake also rubbed it in his butt crack where Brandon’s deposit leaked and then lay back with his hands behind his head.

“Wanna shower?” Brandon asked.

“Depends,” Jake said. “What do you want to do? Your mom wants me to take you Christmas shopping at the mall.” Jake cocked an eyebrow. “That could be fun.”

Brandon sat down beside Jake and rubbed his belly. He loved to do that. He loved Jake’s soft skin and the way his stomach sank so flat when Jake was on his back. He loved Jake’s hips with their pleasant, slight roundness, and he loved the way Jake looked up at him when he rubbed him.

“I talked to your old lover last night,” Jake said quietly, watching Brandon’s face.

“Who?” Brandon asked, surprised.

“Michael Corleone,” Jake said, smirking.

“It’s Bentolli. Michael Bentolli, you screw up,” Brandon said, gently pinching the skin of Jake’s tummy. “Just because he’s Italian doesn’t mean he’s mafia.”

“Yeah, well it does mean he’s hung. Before I met him, listening to you, I figured he was half cock, half brain. You never told me how gorgeous he was.”

“I did,” said Brandon, standing and stretching. “You just never believed me.”

Jake watched Brandon stretch, and reached over to rub his thigh. “Well I like redheads. There are tons of black hairs around. Give me my redhead any day.”

“Ha! Now who’s a liar?” Brandon laughed and climbed on the bed, straddling Jake’s middle. “You fell for him as soon as you saw him,” Brandon accused. “And you fell for Davey, too.”

Jake shrugged and ran his hands over the muscles of Brandon’s thighs. “Well, they are gorgeous. And Davey’s no black hair. That boy’s hair is nearly white. But,” he squeezed Brandon’s thighs, “give me a man any day.”

Brandon chuckled and wiggled backwards on Jake, dragging his balls and cock down Jake’s belly until he was sitting on Jake’s crotch. “You wouldn’t kick either out of bed,” Brandon said with a smile.

“Well, Baby, you sure didn’t.”

Brandon nodded, and for a moment, his mind flashed back to Michael’s garage and times when he was sandwiched between them. No, he would never kick either out of his bed. Then he returned his attention to Jake. “What did you call Michael about?”

“He called me,” Jake said, enjoying the pressure of Brandon’s bottom on his middle. “About a party.”

Brandon raised his eyebrows.

“They’re going to have a New Year’s party, back in SA, for gay teens. He wanted to know if I knew any guys to invite.” Jake grinned broadly. “I told him I was coming. What I didn’t tell him is that you are too.”

Brandon frowned. “I don’t know, Jake. Davey wouldn’t like that. The little hypocrite gets jealous as hell.”

“Screw him!” Jake said. “You’re going as my date… at least until one of us gets Michael into a corner.”

Brandon considered, his jaw working.

“You know what I thought?” Jake asked.

Brandon shook his head.

“Well, you remember my friends Tyler and Blair?”

“Yeah,” Brandon said, resentfully. “I remember them. They got it on with Michael and Davey when they were out here. I hate their guts.”

“Oh, Baby,” said Jake, toying with the soft skin of Brandon’s cock and balls which lay nestled on Jake’s pubes. “You don’t want to hate two bodies like those, especially the way they use them. Anyway, I thought we’d see if they want to go, too. We could do a road trip. Drive out a day or two after Christmas. Come back a day or two after New Year’s. No one has to be back at school until a week after New Year’s.”

Brandon thought of Tyler’s short, gymnast style body and shoulder length brown hair. Then he considered Blair, tall, lanky, and blond. “The four of us in a car for a couple of days?” Brandon asked, thoughtfully.

“And in a room at my grandparent’s house, or maybe even a hotel room. Wouldn’t that be cool?”

Brandon shook his head. “You’d have to pay for it,” Brandon said. “And we’d have to take your car.”

Jake’s brow furrowed. “Man, your dad’s an asshole. Everybody should have an allowance.”

“Yeah, well my dad barely lets me live here. Forget the allowance.” Brandon chewed his lip. “I could always call Roger.”

Jake slapped Brandon’s leg. “Don’t you call that old fag! You don’t need a sugar daddy. You got me.”

Brandon shook his head. “Hey, I talked to a guy who’s done vids for Roger. He really does make porn and the guy says he pays well.”

“I don’t believe it,” Jake said, frowning up at Brandon. “Roger just hangs around Bodz cause he likes young guys.”

“It’d be good money. The guy said everything was cool.”

“Baby,” Jake said, rubbing Brandon’s leg hard. “I’ll pay for us to go to San Antonio. Don’t do it, OK? I don’t have a good feeling about that guy. I’ll drive. You can pay me back somehow.” He rubbed the outside of both of Brandon’s legs. “Michael gave me the phone number of his guitar teacher. He’s the guy organizing the whole thing. By the time I get done helping him, this is gonna be a hell of a party.”

“Dude,” Brandon said with a smile. “Some things are still illegal in San Antonio.” Then he bit his lip and wondered what it would be like to see Michael again.

* * * * *

“Hi Grandma!” Jake cried happily into the phone.

“Joaquin? Is that you?”

“It’s me. I’ve got some good news.”

“You got a girl friend?” Rose asked.

“You’re my only girlfriend, Grandma. You know that,” Jake answered with a chuckle.

Rose leaned back in her chair and sighed. Jake wasn’t going to change, at least not for a while. “What’s your good news, Mee-hee?”

“I’m going to stay with you for New Year’s.”

“Oh?” Rose answered, smiling unconsciously. She liked her grandson, and though some of her family would be with her for Christmas, they were all going to be away at New Year’s. It would be good to see Jake. “When will you be coming?”

“Probably a day or two after Christmas. But there’s something else… I’m bringing three friends if that’s OK.”

“What kind of friends?” Rose asked hesitantly.

“You’ll like ‘em, Grandma. None of them are as crazy as me. And we’ll stay out of your way. We’ll be out most of the time, seeing San Antonio friends, showing my California friends around.”

“But you’ll be here for New Year’s dinner?” she asked.


Four teenage boys for New Year’s dinner. It would be nice cooking for that; it would be nice having young men in the house again. “Bring your friends, Mee-hee,” she said.

* * * * *

“Come on back,” Brandon said, motioning for Jake to follow him. They stepped around Brandon’s little sister and her friend who were looking at magazines on the floor.

“Where is everyone?” Jake asked.

“My folks both had to work today, and my brother’s out with his buddies.”

“On Christmas Eve?” Jake asked. “They both have to work?”

“Yeah, but they’ll probably be off early.”

Once they were inside, Brandon closed his bedroom door. “Stay right there.”

He walked over to his closet, opened the door, and took out a big, gift-wrapped box. “For you Jake. Merry Christmas!”

Jake’s eyes lit up, then he frowned. “No fair! I didn’t get you anything. I didn’t think you had any money and I didn’t want you to feel like you had to buy me anything.”

“Well, I don’t have any money now!” Brandon said with a laugh. “And don’t worry about getting me anything; you’re paying my way to San Antonio and back.”

Jake took the box and sat down on Brandon’s bed. Then he carefully tore off the wrapping and removed the lid to find a stuffed caricature of a tiger.

“That’s Tigger,” Brandon said, sitting down beside him. “From Winnie the Poo. I was at the mall, and they had these out, and there was a TV playing this Tigger character singing, “bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, and the most wonderful thing about tiggers is… I’m the only one!”

Brandon looped his arm over Jake’s shoulders. “Well, bouncy, bouncy… I definitely thought of you.”

Jake elbowed him. “Yeah, I know what kind of bouncy.”

“But wait, dude… you’re also fun, fun, fun, fun, fun… and you’re definitely the only one.”

Jake turned the stuffed tigger over in his hands and looked then up to Brandon, his brow furrowed. “Does this mean you’re going to try calling me Tigger now?”

Brandon made a show of considering the possibility. “Nah. You’re not a tigger. You’re a Jake.” He frowned. “So does that mean you don’t like it?”

“No, Foxy, I like it a lot.” He looped an arm around Brandon’s back and leaned up to kiss his cheek. “It’s cute.” Then he hugged Tigger. “I’ll cuddle him when I sleep and hump him on lonely nights.”

Brandon shoved him over. “Dork. I give you a heartfelt gift and you don’t take it serious.”

Laughing, Jake shook his head. “No, I really do love him. Honest!”


“Yeah, really, Babe. I’m sorry I teased you.”

“Well in that case…” Brandon said, and getting up, he pulled another, smaller gift from his closet. “This goes with it.”

Jake sat back up and took the package into his hands. As he opened it, Brandon sat back down beside him.

“I thought, Jake, you’re really more like a tiger. So I looked all over for…”

Jake had the package open and held up a pair of yellow bikini briefs with black stripes, obviously applied by hand.

“… Yeah, I know,” Brandon quickly said. “I couldn’t find tiger briefs anywhere. The world’s just going to hell, Jake. Anyway, I finally settled on yellow ones and drew the stripes myself. I just thought you might look sexy in them when you go stalking prey.”

With a broad grin, Jake got up and pulled his shirt off.

“What are you doing?” Brandon asked.

“Why, getting ready to stalk some prey, Baby,” Jake said with a sly smile.

“Geez,” Brandon said, jumping up from the bed to lock the door. By the time he sat back down on the bed, Jake was naked, his cock growing thicker as he pulled the briefs on. He smoothed out the waistband and then the leg openings, filling the pouch to the size of a small grapefruit.

Then, with a low rumbling growl, Jake bent over Brandon, putting his hands onto his shoulders. “How do they look?”

“Oh, shit, Jake,” Brandon said, cupping the pouch with his hand. “You look hot… damn, you feel hot.” He fondled Jake and felt him thicken even more. Then he grabbed Jake by the hips and buried his face into Jake’s crotch, mouthing over Jake’s lengthening member.

“Ummm,” Jake moaned, and wrapped his arms around Brandon’s head.

Brandon chewed and mouthed through the fabric, and when the tip of Jake’s cock peeked over the waistband, he licked it, and then took it into his mouth.

“Oh, Baby,” Jake said as he grabbed Brandon’s hair and thrust his hips forward.

Wrapping his arms tightly around Jake’s hips, Brandon lifted him, dropping him back onto the bed, and then, without stopping his sucking, he pulled the briefs down Jake’s thighs.

Brandon liked performing fellatio on Jake, because he could drive Jake absolutely crazy. And grasping Jake again firmly by the hips, he set out to do so.

He had Jake writhing by the time he came, and Brandon sucked out every last drop until Jake firmly pushed him off his sensitive cockhead.

Then Jake lay there exhausted, eyes closed, on his back, while Brandon undressed. Kneeling back onto the bed, Brandon pulled Jake’s briefs off the rest of the way. He lay down beside him, putting a leg over Jake’s middle and wrapped his arms around him. The skin of Jake’s cheek was soft on his lips, as Brandon kissed him and rubbed his erection on the side of Jake’s butt.

He’d cum this way before, just holding and cuddling Jake. He took his time this way, and though he wouldn’t have thought of it in those terms, part of what he felt holding the familiar body of his only real friend was similar to what a small child feels holding his tigger. But then, it was not entirely like a small child holds a stuffed animal.

Jake wrapped his arm behind Brandon and placed the flat of it low on Brandon’s back, feeling the muscles work as Brandon moved against him. He smiled and turned his face to meet Brandon’s kisses.

They kissed, and stroked fingers over each other’s bodies. Then when Jake laid his head back, Brandon sucked his neck as he rubbed himself against Jakes side, and then he kissed Jake’s jaw, under his ear, over his cheek. He reached to fondle Jake and caress him and Brandon’s skin grew hot.

Jake moved his hips under Brandon’s hand, and against Brandon’s cock. His breath grew ragged. A whimper escaped his lips. Then he pushed Brandon onto his back and reversed himself over him, dangling his erection over Brandon’s face as he licked the underside of Brandon’s. He lifted Brandon’s cock, studied it a moment, and then growled.

“Are we going to lie here all day?” Jake asked, flipping Brandon’s cock back and forth to help him wake. “I thought we were going to plot out the route on a map.”

“You drive,” Brandon said with a sigh. “Just follow the signs.”

Jake flipped Brandon’s cock again. “I got you underwear, too,” he said.


“Yeah, Blair and Tyler, too. I’ll show it to you when we get to San Antonio.”

Then Brandon sang quietly. “Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, the most wonderful thing about tiggers is… you’re my only one.”

* * * * *

“It’s settled then,” Jake said over the phone that night. “I’ll pick you up tomorrow evening at seven. Eat lots of Christmas dinner and get a good nap. You’re going to help me drive. If we can do it, I want to drive straight through. I told this Knox guy that I’d help set everything up. Besides, if we get there soon enough, my grandma may still have Christmas tamales left.”

“Yeah,” Brandon answered. “Maybe I better nap tomorrow. It’s going to be hard as hell to sleep in that old Mustang of yours.”

“Vintage Mustang,” Jake corrected. “And it’s a great car. The leaky exhaust fumes will help you sleep just great, Baby. You can start out sleeping in back. I’ll keep Tyler and Blair up front in my lap.”

“Yeah, right. We’ll never make it out of LA. You better let me take Tyler in the back.”

“Tyler, huh? Well you can start out that way,” Jake said. “But you better save something for when I crawl back there with you, Foxy. Hmmm,” he said, thoughtfully. “Wonder how Blair is at giving head. He can help me stay awake while I drive.”

“Like I said,” laughed Brandon, “We’ll never make it out of LA.”

“Oh, Foxy, that reminds me…”


“You’re twenty-one years old.”


“I told Tyler’s mom and dad that you’re twenty-one. His mom wants to give you a parental release and one for my grandma.”

“Geez, Jake. They won’t believe I’m twenty-one when they see me.”

“It’s cool, Foxy. Remember, I told you Blair’s family’s gonna be in New York? Well, we’re going to pick the two of them up at Blair’s house. No one’s going to see you.”

“Well if anyone asks, I don’t know anything about it!”

When he hung up, Brandon sat back and wondered for the hundredth time whether he should call Michael to warn him that he would be coming to San Antonio. And for the hundredth time, he assured himself that he didn’t need to. Michael had surprised him by showing up at Bodz last summer. He could surprise Michael too. Besides, if he didn’t warn him, it’d give Davey less of a chance to steal Michael away. No. This might be his best shot in a long time to have Michael one last time, especially if there was anything to drink or smoke at the party; it might loosen Michael up. Knowing Jake, he could sneak something in.

Brandon returned to the living room where his family and a few friends were gathered. Grabbing a cup of eggnog, Brandon settled into a corner. Predictably, his dad ignored him. His brother frowned at him occasionally, just to keep him posted on how he felt about his fag brother. His sister played with friends, and his mom was busy talking to a guy from down the block. Sometimes, his mom seemed way too friendly with that guy.

Brandon thought of Jake and wished he were with him. The idea of getting out of the house and away from his family, even if it was only for a couple of weeks, was a very good thought. Brandon settled into his chair and began the trip in his imagination.

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