This story is a continuation of the story of Kevin Foley, Rick Mashburn, and their "sons," Tim Murphy, Kyle Goodson, and Justin Davis that started in "Tim" and continued in "Justin."  It is about gay men and gay boys living and loving together as a family, and it contains descriptions of sex.  The sex is never intergenerational.  If you are offended by descriptions of gay sex, or if the law in your area forbids you to read them, please exit the story.  Otherwise, I hope you enjoy it.  I appreciate feedback, and you can send it to me at

--Brew Maxwell

Kyle, Part 1

Chapter 9

(Kyle's Perspective)

When Doc told me about Clay, I didn't believe him.  I knew he wouldn't lie to me, but I just couldn't believe my brother was sick.  He sat me down on their sofa and held me.

"I know this is hard, son, but it's true.  We need to get ready to go to Gainesville.  Your mom and dad and Clay need us there right now," he said.

He was so gentle.  I was upset, but I really hadn't figured out what it all meant.  Tim came over and sat next to me, and he put his head on my shoulder.

"I love you, Kyle."  That was all he said, and that's what made me break down.  I loved him more than anything.  More than Clay, more than my parents, even more than Kevin and Rick.  He cried with me, and that made me happy at the saddest part of my life.

I don't remember much at all about the trip to Gainesville.  I know Tim held me in his arms the whole time, and I remember nobody talked much.  Doc sat in the back seat of Rick's car with me and Tim.  I was in the middle, and it was like my lover and my second dad were trying to do everything to protect me. 

We went to the hospital, and my mom and I cried some more together.  Then it was time to go into the little room where Clay was to tell him goodbye.  I couldn't make myself say those words.  I hugged him and kissed him, but I couldn't just say, Goodbye, Clay.  I couldn't make myself think of it as goodbye. 

Jeff was there in that room with Clay.  I could tell Jeff really loved him, too.  I had only met Jeff a few times when he had come home with Clay, but I knew they intended to spend their lives together, just like me and Tim.  Who would have ever thought they would have had so little time?

That night in bed Tim snuggled me up real close.  Usually, I get hard just from seeing him naked in bed like that, and I always get hard as a railroad track when we snuggle in bed.  That night, though, nothing happened.  The next morning I knew I was all right, though.  I enjoyed making love to Tim that morning, but I felt a little guilty about it.  I thought about Clay and Jeff while Tim was fucking me.  I wondered if they had done that.  I wondered if Jeff would find another boy to love.  I didn't think I ever would find another one like Tim if that had happened to him, and I felt bad for Jeff.

A ton of people showed up for Clay's service.  It wasn't a funeral, exactly, because he was cremated.  I think they said they took him from Gainesville to Jacksonville to be cremated, but I wasn't sure of that.  I wasn't sure about a lot of stuff that went on those days.  I just know I never saw him again after we left that hospital room.

It was hard for my mom and dad, but especially my mom, for a few weeks after Clay died.  At first she got real protective of me.  She made me spend every night at home for a couple of weeks after he died.  It was okay for Tim to stay with me, but she wouldn't let me stay at Tim's house or Kevin and Rick's house.  One time she said she didn't like the idea of me driving.  What was I supposed to do?  Walk?

"Dad, what's up with Mom," I finally asked my father.

"It's hard for her right now, baby.  It's hard for all of us, I know, but your mother is just really having a bad time with Clay's death.  If you can be a man about this, Kyle, for just a little bit longer, she'll come around."

"Yes, sir, I will be.  I can be tough when I have to be, but, Dad, I..."

"I know son.  Your mom and I are so proud of you and Tim, just like we are of Clay and Jeff, we don't know what to do.  I know she thinks that if she loses you on top of losing Clay she'll die."

"Yes, sir," I said.

"Give it another week, okay, Bubba.  She's seen her counselor four times already, and I'm noticing some improvement.  If she's not better in a week, I'll step in, okay?  I know you're a young man and you need your freedom.  You've never disappointed us, and I know you won't start now."

"Okay, Dad," I said.

"Where's your boy," Dad asked me.

"I don't exactly know.  I think he might be with Philip and Ryan," I said.

"Why don't you go find them," Dad said.

"Yes, sir," I said.


One night a couple of weeks after that Jerry dropped a bomb shell on us.  We had all gotten together at Kevin and Rick's house to watch football on TV.  It was a pretty big crowd.  Besides Kevin and Rick, and me and Tim, Jus and Jay were there, and Jerry, Mont, Sam and Fred, and Chad were there, too.  Jeff had been coming home to Kevin and Rick's house every weekend since Clay died, and he was there, also.  Doc had to work on Saturdays, so he wasn't there.  After the game, we all went to my house to swim and cook out. 

We swam for a while, and then we cooked chicken on the grill.  We were all sitting at the big picnic table on our patio, and Jerry said he wanted to say something.

"You guys have given me a home and taken me into your circle as a friend.    You guys have been open and honest and loving toward me, but I haven't been totally honest with you.  You all know I'm a Catholic priest.  Well, I'm one of the gay priests you've probably read about in the news lately.  I've never been comfortable being gay until I met this group of people, but I've always been gay.  Thank you for accepting me into your hearts as a 'straight' man, and now I hope you'll accept me as a gay man, a gay priest."

Nobody said anything when he said that.  Then Rick finally talked.

"Jerry, that took real courage.  This is a very homophobic group, as you know," he said.

Everybody laughed.

"Thanks, brother, for trusting us," Rick said.  "And, guys, this is just in the family, okay?  Don't say anything about it at school or anywhere else, okay?"

"Who would care," Justin asked.

"Well, a lot of people might, Jus, so please keep it to yourself, okay," Rick said.

"Do you want us to try to hook you up," I asked.  "I didn't know much about the Catholic religion."

"Kyle!" Kevin said.

"I wish somebody would hook me up," Chad said.

"We're working on that, Bubba," I said.  Everybody laughed.

"That's a fair question, Kevin," Jerry said.  "Don't you guys have a rule about no question being out of bounds?"

"Yeah, but..." Kevin started to say.

"The answer is, Kyle, I appreciate the offer, but I'm trying really hard to live the vow I took," Jerry said.

"Does that mean you've never had sex," Justin asked.

"No, I have, Jus.  But I promised God I wouldn't as long as I'm a priest.  I want to stick to that, if I can.  I've broken that vow a few times, and I can't swear that I won't again.  But you guys have been a huge support for me, and with your help, I think I can make it," Jerry said.

"How can we support you, man?  All of us are having sex," Jus said.

"Not all," Kevin said.

I looked at Jeff.  He had his head down, like he didn't really want to be talking about that.  Then I looked at Mont.  He and Terry hadn't been together for a couple of months.  Then I looked at Chad, and his eyes got big, like he was excited about what I had said a minute before.

"You guys around this table right now are about the closest thing to a real Christian community I have ever experienced.  You accept everyone, and you judge no one.  Kyle, when your brother died, many of you went to Gainesville to be with your parents and with Jeff.  The fact that Jeff is here right now means you love him and you accept him.  And he feels comfortable here, or he wouldn't keep coming back.  From what I've been told, Chad came into this group a misfit in every respect.  Look at him now.  He's thriving here.  Fred lost a life partner a little over a year ago, but he's found love and acceptance in this group.  Justin, where were you a year ago?  In shackles and naked, waiting for the next guy with twenty bucks to fuck you."

"Whoa!  It cost fifty bucks to fuck me, dude," Justin said.  He said that real cute, and everybody laughed.

"Oh, excuse me," Jerry said, as he laughed.  "My point is, guys, you love one another.  Some of it's sexual, of course, but you love one another way over and above sex.  You love one another as brothers, unconditionally and without asking questions or judging one another.  That's all Jesus ever asked us to do."

Jerry had a real knack that night for stopping conversation because, again, nobody said anything.  Kevin and Rick both had big tears in their eyes, and Sam, my assistant scoutmaster, was sobbing quietly.  Fred put his arm around Sam in a real cute way.

"Who wants dessert," I asked.

That kind of broke up the tension.  We all felt real good about what Jerry had said, and I knew it was true.  I didn't have his learning or background to say it that way, but we were brothers.  We did love one another, and we did accept everybody without making judgments. 

Rick had made a big-ass chocolate cake with orange juice in the middle, mixed with chocolate sauce.  I took that to the table with bowls and spoons for everybody to eat it.  I also got out two half gallons of vanilla ice cream to go with it.  Damn, that was a mighty good cake, and I decided to ask Rick to teach me how to make it.


We got our grades on the next Monday, and mine were off a little.  Tim had straight A's, like he always got, but I had two B's and a couple of C's.  We looked at each other's grades at lunch the day we got the report cards, and Jay and Chad had all A's, too.

"I'm the dumb one here," I said at our table in the restaurant we always went to.  "You guys probably don't want to hang with me."

"Jesus Christ, Kyle!  You're the fucking center of us, man," Jason said.  He had switched to our school from the one in town he had been going to.  I think we were his only friends there.

"He's right, Kyle," Chad said.  "You're the big brother of us all.  Even though Jus and Jay are older than you.  You're the one who keeps us together."

"I'm going to use the excuse of Clay dying, if my parents get on to me about my grades.  I'll do better next time.  I promise," I said.

We concentrated on eating for a few minutes.

"Kyle, the other night when you said you were working on somebody for me, did you mean that," Chad asked.

"Yeah, I did, actually," I said.  "There's a guy named Gage who's in my drama class.  He's a junior, and I think he's somebody you might like."

"Is Gage gay," Chad asked.

"That's the part I don't know," I said.  "No offense, okay, Bubba?  But he acts gay.  Before you start kicking my ass, admit you know what I'm talking about.  My best gaydar instincts tell me he is, Chad."

"Do you mean he's like me," Chad asked.

"Yeah, that's what I mean.  Do you hate me for saying that," I asked.

"Do I hate you for looking out for me?  For sitting with me here, right now, and being my friend?  For trying to hook me up?  Yeah, Kyle.  I hate you for all those reasons."  Pause.  "You dumb fuck."

Everybody laughed when we realized Chad was just being sarcastic.

"Well, look at two o'clock, Bubba," I said.  Gage was off to Chad's right.  Gage was sitting at a table with three girls, and he seemed to be entertaining them quite a bit.  He was what Jus would call a "drama queen," but he was also about the best looking guy in the school.

"How well do you know him," Chad asked, obviously interested.

"We've given each other a couple of blow jobs.  That's about it," I said.

Tim was sitting next to me, and his elbow hit my gut like a streak of lightening.  It hurt like hell, but that didn't stop me and him from laughing our asses off.

"How do we meet," Chad asked.

"Come to play practice this afternoon.  I drop him off at home almost every day we have practice.  You sit and watch the play practice, and I'll give you a ride home with us," I said.

"I see a plot developing," Chad said.

"By the way, how do you usually get home from school," I asked Chad.

"Cheese wagon," he said.

"Today you ride with us.  Starting today, I should say.  If you like Gage, you can ride home with us every day, but we only take him home when we have to stay late for play practice.  Anyway, we'll figure it out, okay?"

Chad was laughing with delight.  "Okay, big brother," he said.  I really liked it when he said that.  Chad was extremely funny and likeable, once you got past the makeup and fingernail polish he had worn when we first met him.  He was still pretty femme, but I didn't care.  Tim and I weren't really out at school, but we knew some people suspected we were gay and boyfriends.  Nobody messed with us, so we didn't care what the rumors might be.

That afternoon, Chad showed up at play practice, just like I had told him to.  He sat about halfway back in the auditorium.  He watched some of it, but he also did homework.  I couldn't blame him. Our Town was a damn good play, but when you see the same scene, the same lines, even, over and over again, it gets boring.

After practice, Tim, Gage, Chad, and I all went out to my car.

"Gage, this is our friend Chad," I said.

They shook hands.

"What grade, Chad," Gage asked.

"I'm a ninth grader," Chad said.

"Cool.  I'm a junior," Gage said.

We drove a couple of blocks.

"Do you guys want to get something to eat?  I'm fucking starving," I said.

"Yeah.  Absolutely," Tim said.  I swung into a fast food place, and we went in.

We ordered at the counter, and then we took our food to a table in the back of the restaurant.  There was a table of three girls from our drama club.  We told them hello as we passed, but that was the only contact we had with them.

"Where are you from, Chad," Gage asked.  "You don't sound like you're from around here."

"I'm from Mississippi.  I'm living here with my uncle right now," Chad said.

"Oh," Gage asked.

"Yeah.  It's not good at home right now," Chad said.

"What did you do?  Come out to them, or something," Gage asked.

Tim and I looked at each other, our eyes as big as the buns our hamburgers were on.

"Something like that," Chad said.

Oh, shit, I thought.  Those two really cut to the fucking chase.

"Mine were more accepting, but, of course, they pretty much always knew," Gage said.

"I thought mine did, too," Chad said.

"Do you guys have even so much as a clue about what we're talking about," Gage asked me and Tim.

I shrugged.

"We talking about the fact that we're both gay," Gage said.  "If you guys have a problem with that, we'll find another way home, okay?  That's who we are.  Take it or leave it."

Tim and I looked at one another and grinned.

"Go ahead and laugh," Gage said.  "It's not something we chose to be, you know?"

"Tell him, Chad.  What are you waiting for," Tim asked.

"Are you sure," Chad asked.

"Yeah.  Go ahead," Tim said.

"These guys are gay, too, Gage, and they've been a couple for almost a year," Chad said.

"No, way," Gage said.

"It's true, Gage.  Do you think we'd lie about that, man," I said.

"Oh, my God!  My world is collapsing," he said.  "How can you two be gay?"

"How can you, man?  How can anybody," I asked.

"I just...I'm like...I 'm weak," Gage said.

"You may be weak, but don't be weak because we're gay, because we are," I said.

"And do you, like...have sex, and all," Gage asked.

"Yeah, we do.  Just about every day, in fact," Tim said.

"Oh, my God!  I thought only guys on the Internet were gay and had sex."

"Gage, cut the shit, man.  We're gay, we have sex, we're in love.  Now deal with it," I said.

"Oh, my God!  I need a cigarette so bad right now," Gage said.

"Well, let's go.  I've got some in the car," I said.

"You smoke?  Oh, my God!"

I thought Gage was like this parody of a gay kid, something they would do on Saturday Night Live or something, to make fun of gay stereotypes.  But there he was, right in front of us.  Gage was funny, whether he meant to be or not.  I didn't laugh at him because I didn't want to hurt his feelings, but he was funny in the way he acted.

Gage, Chad, and I all lit up smokes in my car.  That was the first time I had seen Chad smoke in a long time, so I knew he wasn't an addict, like I was.  That was my first one in a couple of days, too, and it tasted real good to me.

That night in bed at his house, Tim and I talked about Gage and Chad.

"Do you think they'll get together," Tim asked, after we had made love.

"Jesus, they were made for each other, Babe.  We'll have to keep them under our wing, okay?"

"Yeah, but I don't want to do with Gage what we did with Chad on the camping trip," Tim said.

"I know.  But we won't have to.  Chad knows what to do, even if Gage don't," I said.

My baby kissed me good night, and we went to sleep.


That was the first time Tim and I had talked about what we had done with Chad on the camping trip, and I sort of got the impression he was sorry we had done it.  That wasn't the only time we had done something like that, though.

Kevin and Rick were very strict about sex being something you did in private.  They didn't want us making out heavy or groping each other in front of them.  I could understand that.  They didn't do stuff like that in front of us, even though I knew they had a lot of sex for guys their age.  They knew we couldn't help getting hard-ons for each other sometimes, but we just couldn't do anything with them unless we went to our room and closed and locked the door.

When they weren't around was another story, though.  One night they were out with some of their friends, and it was me and Tim, and Jus and Jay at their house.  Tim and I were sitting on the sofa like Rick and Kevin did, and Jus and Jay were in the same position on the floor.  None of us had shirts on.

I was holding Tim, and I started rubbing his chest.  He didn't make me stop, even though I knew it was making him hard.  In a few minutes, he sat up and moved me around so we were side by side.  He kissed me, and I kissed him back.  At first it was just playing around, but pretty soon we were making out pretty heavy.  Justin and Jason saw what we were doing, and they started it, too.  Tim and I would kiss for a while, and then we'd stop and watch the two of them.  Then they'd stop and watch us.  I think we were sort of turning each other on, without even touching.

Tim kept pulling at his dick because he was trying to get it more comfortable in his shorts.  

"Let me help you with that," I said.  I unzipped his fly and dug around in it trying to get his dick out through the piss hole in his underwear.

"What are you doing," he asked.

"I'm looking for the damn piss hole in your underwear," I said.

"What you're doing feels great, but it doesn't have a hole.  I have to pull them down to pee," he said.

I opened the button on his shorts and pulled them down a little.  His dick made a huge tent in his underwear, nice and rounded where the head of it was.  I leaned down and started mouthing his dick through his briefs.  He moaned.

Jus and Jay got real curious to watch what I was doing.  They got on their knees right in front of us.  I could see both their hard-ons pushing against their shorts.

I worked on Tim for a few minutes through his underwear.  Then I pulled them down so that his dick was free.  I took it into my mouth.  Jus tugged Jay away, and they got on the floor.  They both took their clothes off, and they went at each other's dicks with their mouths at the same time.  Tim liked what he saw, so he made me take off my shorts, too, and we did what the other two guys were doing.  We did it for just a few minutes before we had to shoot.

After that, we didn't get dressed.  Tim and I sat on the floor with Jus and Jay, and we all got real hard again in just a little while.  We played with each other's dicks off and on for a couple of hours.  Eventually, though, we couldn't stand it any more, and each guy sucked off his boyfriend a second time.

After that, we did that pretty much whenever it was just the four of us home alone.  We only ever made our own boyfriends come, but we did a little rubbing of everybody.  Jus and Jay both had good bodies, just like me and Tim, and I think we all just had fun playing sex.  Jus, Jay, and I all wanted the couples to fuck in front of each other, but Tim said "no," so we didn't.  I had promised him and Kevin and Rick I would never do anything sexual that he didn't want to do, and I kept that promise.

Another thing we did with those boys that we never did when Kevin and Rick were around is hang out naked.  They always made us put on underwear, except for swimming and on the island, but at my house or Tim's or theirs when no grownups were around, we got naked to just hang out.  Most of the time we'd get hard.  A few times me and Tim, and Jus and Jay, jerked each other off, but most of the times when that happened, we just enjoyed being hard together. 

I never knew if the big brothers suspected anything.  If they did, they never mentioned it.


Chad and Gage started dating.  I had figured they would, and they seemed like they had a lot of fun together.  Gage had a car, so he and Chad started hanging out with us.  One night the three couples all went to the mall together, and that was the night I almost had to beat the crap out of Gage.

We were going to a movie that started at ten o'clock, but we went to the mall around seven to eat and to look around.  After we ate, Justin and Jason went to some boat store that was in the mall, and me and Tim looked at clothes, music, some software, and then spent a little while in the book store.  We were supposed to meet up with everybody in front of the theaters at 9:45.  Chad and Gage were already there when we got there, and they were holding hands!  I liked holding Tim's hand as much as anything, and we always did it when we were watching TV or just talking.  But we only ever did it in private.  There those two were, holding hands for anybody to see.  Jeez!

"Cut it out, man," I whispered to them.

"Cut what out," Gage asked.

"Holding hands.  Don't do that here.  People will see you and think you're queer," I said, still in a whisper.

"We are queer," Gage said in a regular voice.

"Shut the fuck up and stop it, man," I said, a little louder than a whisper, but still not in an ordinary voice.  There weren't very many people around inside the mall, but the theaters were right next to an outside door, and the whole wall was glass.  There were probably a dozen kids out there smoking before the movie, and I could see a couple of girls staring at Chad and Gage.

"Let's go, Tim," I said.  I went to the ticket booth and bought our tickets, and me and him went inside the theater.  I bought us each a large popcorn, a chocolate candy bar, and a large coke.  That stuff cost more than the movie tickets, but that was okay.  We went into the movie and got seats.  Jus and Jay came in right behind us, and they sat with us.  We were sort of near the back of the theater, and Chad and Gage came in and sat about four rows in front of us.  A few people sat in the rows between them and us.

Justin was sitting on my right, Tim on my left.

"Why are you so pissed off," Jus asked.  "Did I do something?"

"No, you didn't, Bubba," I whispered, "but those two fruits down there did."

"Jesus Christ, Lil Rick," he said.  He said that to be funny and to make me not so mad, but it didn't work that time.  "What did they do?"

"I'll tell you later.  Just forget about it for right now.  The movie's starting."

I tried to concentrate on the movie.  It was a comedy, but I didn't laugh all that much when the others did.  I didn't want to look at Chad and Gage for fear of what I might see, but I couldn't keep from doing it.  Chad leaned his head onto Gage's shoulder.  

"Aw, fuck," I whispered when I saw that.

"I think I see the source of the problem," Jus said.

"Yeah.  Exactly.  Goddamn it!  That fucking pisses me off.  I'm going to have to beat the shit out of both of 'em.  If they want to do that shit, they can do it at home or someplace private.  Or at least somewhere where I'm not."

"They ain't really doing nothing," Jus said.

"The hell they aren't.  They probably have their dicks out, jerking each other off," I said.

Then Gage kissed Chad.  It wasn't a mouth-to-mouth kiss, but anybody who noticed knew it was a kiss.

"That's it.  They're dead," I said.

"Babe, you want me to go talk to them," Tim asked.

"And tell 'em what, Tim?  You heard what he said out there."  I was really mad, and everybody could tell.

Tim put his hand in my lap and started rubbing my crotch.  He had never done anything like that before in public, and I knew he was only doing it then to calm me down.

"Please don't do that now, Babe," I said.

"You can do it to me, Timmy," Jus said.  He said it real cute, and it made me laugh a little.  Tim stopped when I asked him to.

Somehow I got through the rest of the movie, but I was so pissed off I don't even remember what it was about.  When it was over, Chad and Gage walked out hand in hand.  We got up and walked out behind them, making sure there were several people between them and us.

When they got outside, several people made comments, like "ain't that sweet" and "look at the little fags."  Those were some tough-looking guys, too, saying that.  Jason knew a couple of them from his old school, but they just nodded to him and him to them as we walked passed them.

Everybody piled in my car, but nobody said anything.  I flipped my cell phone over the back seat to Chad and Gage.

"Call your parents and tell 'em y'all are spending the night at Kevin and Rick's house," I said.  It wasn't an invitation; it was an order.

"Kyle, why are you so pissed off," Chad asked.  He said it like he really didn't know.

"We'll talk about it when we get home, okay," I said.

I drove way too fast through town and across the bridge.  We lived pretty far from the mall, and that trip usually took thirty minutes, if the traffic wasn't bad.  That night it took fifteen.

"Hey, guys," Kevin said when we went inside.  He and Rick were sitting in their usual position on the sofa with all their clothes on.  "Y'all are home earlier than I expected."

"Lil Rick is pissed off, and he's got a right to be.  Y'all better get into big brother mode," Jus said.  The way Justin talked made some people think he was a dumb redneck, but that boy was anything but dumb.

"What's the matter, Kyle," Rick asked.

"Phew."  I let out a deep breath.  The six kids got on the floor facing the guys, who both sat up straight on the sofa as they got into big brother mode.

"Can I have a cigarette," I asked.

"Kyle, you haven't asked for permission to smoke in this house in six months, bro," Rick said.  "What's wrong?"

I lit up a smoke.

"We need to talk with Chad and Gage about what it's okay to do in public," I said.  I was working real hard not to get mad.

"What happened, Chad," Kevin asked.

"Gage and I were holding hands in the mall outside the theaters," Chad said.

"And what else," I asked in a hard voice.

"I'm not sure I know what you mean, Kyle," Chad said.  Chad was really nervous, and I hated that, but what he and Gage had done wasn't ever going to happen again.

"You rested your head on his shoulder during the movie, and he kissed you a couple of times," I said.

"Oh.  That," Chad said.

"Why did that make you so angry, Kyle," Gage asked.  He wasn't being sarcastic or anything.  It was like he really didn't get it.

"Gage, I suspect Kyle was angry because you did something that had the potential of getting you and Chad in big trouble," Kevin said.

"What do you mean," Gage asked.  He really didn't get it.

"You heard what those guys said to you guys when we were leaving the mall," Tim said. 

"Guys like that have said stuff like that to me all my life, Tim.  I'm used to it," Gage said.

"Yeah, but, man, it wasn't just you tonight, you know," I said.

"What do you mean," Gage asked.

"It was the six of us.  We were on a fucking triple date, man.  We were with you guys," I said.

"Gage, I think what Kyle is trying to say is that what you and Chad did was potentially dangerous for all six of you," Rick said.

"Are you ever going to stop hiding, Rick," Gage asked.

That made Rick so mad he was probably seeing stars.  He didn't explode, though.  Instead, he took a deep breath and said, in a very calm voice,

"Gage, Kevin and I have been fully out to everyone we know for four years.  These rings we wear are a sign of our public commitment to one another.  We have never, ever denied our love for one another, and we have never lied and said we weren't gay if someone asked.  But we don't wear rainbow suspenders or hold hands in public or put signs on our cars that say, 'Vandalize me.  I belong to a queer.'  There are too many people out there who are filled with hate for homosexuals, man.  We have a ton of gay friends and a ton of straight friends, and sometimes our gay friends and our straight friends get together over here for parties.  But you absolutely have to be careful, man."

"You're making me feel like it's wrong for me to like Chad," Gage said.

''Gage, Tim and Kyle got you and Chad together, remember?  They set it up for you.  They like you.  So do Jay and Jus.  They're your friends.  They want to be your friends.  We all know it's not wrong for you to like Chad or for him to like you.  We rejoice in that.  We celebrate that.  But they don't want you boys to get hurt.  Or themselves, either, because they're out with you," Kevin said.

There was a long pause when nobody said anything.

"So," Gage said.  Pause.  "This really isn't Queer as Folk, after all."

That broke the tension, and everybody laughed hard.

"That's an ice cream line, if I ever heard one," Rick said.  "Let's hit it, Eagles."

That meant Rick wanted me and Tim to help him make ice cream for everybody.  We always did that when a crisis was over.  We went into the kitchen, got out the ice cream and all the other stuff we put on it, and made eight gigantic banana splits for us.  When we took 'em in the den, everybody was amazed at how much stuff we had been able to get into those soup bowls.

"Kyle, you were right and I was wrong," Gage said.  "I never looked at what we did tonight from the way you said it.  It won't ever happen again, if you're still willing to be our friend."

"I was never not willing to be your friend, Gage," I said.  "That's why we had to talk, man, 'cause I want to be your friend.  I want to hang out with you guys, go out, just be like brothers, you know?"

"Tim, where'd you get this guy," Gage asked.

"What do you mean," Tim asked.

"He's actually all right, isn't he," Gage asked.

"All right?!!  He's the best," my Timmy said.  He leaned over and kissed me on the cheek.

"Ain't that sweet," Jus said sarcastically.

"Look at the little fags," Jay said, laughing.

"Shut the fuck up and eat your ice cream," I said.

After that night, me and Tim, and sometimes Jus and Jay, too, went out with Chad and Gage pretty regularly.  Sometimes Philip and Ryan would go out with us, too.  In all those times, I never saw Chad and Gage even touch one another on the arm while we were in public.  I hated it that they couldn't hold hands waiting for a movie or kiss one another in public.  I wanted to do that with Tim, too, but we just knew we couldn't do that.  We lived with it and learned to love one another around it.