The following story is for adults and contains descriptions of sexual contact between teenage males. If you are a minor it is illegal for you to read, or if you find the subject objectionable, read no further. All the characters, events and settings are the product of my over-active imagination. I hope you like it. Mail me or if literary analysis interests you visit Eliot's Space.



by eliot moore

Chapter Fourteen

Treading Water

Gang Violence
Riverside Journal, September 13 th

High spirits at the annual September match between long time rivals Central and Riverview High led to a brawl across from the Central High School football field and ended in gunfire with three students injured and many more fleeing for safety Monday afternoon.

A 16-year-old and a 17-year-old were shot in their right legs, and another 17-year-old was shot in his right arm. They were taken to the University Hospital and are in stable condition. Police are investigating whether the incident was gang related.

According the police, at approximately 3:30 p.m., a fight of more than 10 people erupted on the corner of Regent Street and Alder Avenue, near the Foxhole, a popular after-school gathering place for students. Eyewitnesses say shortly after the fight began, gun shots were heard. Three men in a Cadillac Escalade are believed to have pulled up and fired a gun at the crowd. The Escalade then fled the scene.

"I heard seven shots," said Foxhole worker Geemd Saleem, who didn't realize it was gunfire until he saw the melee that ensued. "When I see everybody running and the cops coming with guns, I realized it was a shooting." Police recovered a nine millimeter hand gun from the scene and also a hunting knife. No arrests have been made, nor were any descriptions of suspects released.

Central high School students believed the skirmish was between rival gangs, the Bloods and the Latin Kings. Many students offered different takes on the incident. One student who wished to remain anonymous said his cousin, who had problems with the Latin Kings, was the one who fired the gun from the Escalade. Others said the Latin Kings were feuding with the wrong people. "The people that they were supposed to fight got on the bus with us [after school]," said Shantel Hendley.

School officials would not comment on the shooting. Reporters on school grounds were told they were trespassing and asked to leave.

One student who did not give a name predicted the violence among the gangs to continue, saying tersely, "The beef never stops." All agreed that violence was a common occurrence at their high school, referred to as gang territory for the Bloods and Crips, by students.

"The fights are common, but the shooting is not," said Amber Hendley, a 10th grader at Riverview. Students say, despite the presence of security guards and police before and after school, fistfights are prevalent inside and outside the schools.

"We have cops up here and this still happens," said Neshelle Pickett, a 9th grader. "The cops are as scared as us."

Central Students say they are required to go through a metal detector and to show identification and a program sheet listing the classes they take, before entering the school. Yet many said that they easily go into the school without showing any proof and that outsiders could easily get in the building.

Most students came to school Tuesday morning with trepidation, fearing they were not safe from violence. "It makes you not want to come to school in the morning," said Lovasia Makenzie, a 10th grader at the school.

"You look the wrong way, that's how fights start up here," said 10th grader Joshua Moss, whose grandmother, worried over the shooting on Monday, wanted him to stay home Tuesday, but he came anyway to escort his friend Picket.

The latest violence around Central High School, which is on the Education Department's list of Schools in Need of Improvement, has some students considering the transfer option open to those at a failing school, which can be utilized starting in January. But few believe the other schools in the city will be any better. "I know there is going to be a lot of problems in other schools too," said Moss.

Undertow, Tuesday, September 14th

Daniel pulled his new oversized football jacket tighter around his chest and put his bare feet up against the railing. The night air had an edge that prophesied winter. The brighter stars cut through the lights of the city below and he was momentarily reminded of nights on the river. But instead of the dark forest and sound of water and wind he had the city. His friends found it strange and exciting when they joined him at night. The lights from the other buildings and the incessant noise of traffic were simply the background of his world. He could read the sirens like bird calls in the night. Mandy found the balcony at night more disturbing. She told him it reminded her of her mother out on the streets. Officer Cole was probably out there somewhere as he sat rocking slowly in the chair; she'd be out cruising the streets looking for an Escalade. His own mother was back in the apartment, a still comforting presence in his world.

"But you were awesome tonight. No really man. They pushed their running game so you never had a chance to shine." Daniel shifted the phone against his shoulder and slid his hand back into the jacket pocket. "You were on that guy's ass all night. They were probably afraid to try a pass."

"He made the plays when they did."

"And you nailed him every time, well most of the time anyway. Remember how you ran him off the field and into their coach? Man that was too funny."

"It wasn't my best game kid. I hope you see something better next week. If I play like that again Davies will probably bench me." The thought was beyond Daniel's comprehension and it left him speechless for a moment. "Did you get the math done?"

The question exasperated Daniel. He had been momentarily confused by the algebra text and Denver had stressed about it throughout their resource period. "Yes it's done."

Denver ignored the tone of his voice as he continued, "Do you understand it?"

"I told you it was just the terms. It was different last year. I finished that in English this afternoon." The tutorial was mostly a time to hang together during the day. Denver had quickly discovered that Daniel didn't need his help. Denver confined his role to editor and literary critic. Daniel had a Spartan style of writing that was at odds with his verbal vocabulary. Kemal, who sat before him in English, had latched on to Daniel and usually sat beside him during the resource period. Kemal's senior was not much help to the boy and Denver and Daniel found themselves tutoring the hapless pair. "So did you hear about the drive-by after the game?"

"It scared the shit out of me. I knew you were probably in the middle of it." Denver had not heard about it until the team was getting back on the bus.

"We were waiting for a bus down the street. Mark pushed me down when the shots were fired; like we were nowhere near the fight. They drove right by us though. Amber talked to a reporter: wild." Naturally his mother had gone ballistic when she heard about it. Daniel rubbed a numb foot for a moment and rocked precariously on the chair as he traded feet to warm the other.

"It's a fucked up city. You remember what I told you about that crowd."

"Don't sweat it; I've been keeping my distance since grade six." Gangs were just a fact of life in Daniel's world. He gave them all a wide birth and showed the different colors cautious respect when he bumped into them.

"Right and you got the shit kicked out of you the first week of school."

"Well you should have spent less time teaching me the facts of life and more time pointing out the different territories." Daniel had made it a point to learn the geography after that. Daniel knew he was touching on something sensitive with this comment. There was a painful silence while he waited for Denver to respond.

"So how is your love life?"

"You should know."

Denver replied in a measured tone. "I'm sorry. I told you how it is Daniel. I didn't mean to start something with you." Daniel found he could not talk about it. It was just as well they were talking on the phone. Denver had already seen enough of his hunger over the past week. "It was special Daniel, I'll always remember it. It makes me feel really close to you, you know that. But it was just a night."

"It doesn't have to be. If it was special for you then why does it have to be just a night?"

"Daniel boy, you know why." Mark of course. Daniel should accept that, but he was not taking it well. In Daniel's mind it was not such a problem. Daniel did not see how enjoying each other once in a while could hurt Mark or how could it hurt Mandy for that matter? She was his girlfriend now, just saying it to himself felt really good, but they were not that serious yet. It was not like they were going steady or something. They had only kissed a few times. "It takes work boy."

Daniel was not sure what he meant by that. "What, being with someone or trying not to be with someone?" Denver laughed and told him both. This was painfully obvious, but Daniel still hungered for the seventeen-year-old. Just listening to his deep voice on the phone sent a hand deep into his crotch to fondle his cock and tense balls. The soft texture of the sweat pants felt good against his cock. Daniel played with himself as they talked. He was just talking now to hear Denver's voice.

"Are things okay around the school? You don't talk about it much."

Things were not okay. Everyone had promised that if he was a good sport and took the hazing then the abuse would slack off after the dance. It didn't seem to be happening. "It comes and goes; I don't know, a couple of the guys keep coming back at me, but mostly people leave me alone once they have hassled me once." It was very hard. Daniel was not used to being teased or bullied. He realized elementary school had spoiled him and he was a little embarrassed that he had never had to worry about it before. He took it pretty personally.

"What guys, is Troy on your case?"

"Not really, in fact he was almost nice today. Some of the seniors showed up at the end of gym. They told the swimming teacher they wanted to do an initiation with us and he left the pool. They made us do atomic sit-ups. Do you know what those are?"

"Yeh, I've heard of them."

"So we all had to do thirty sit-ups. I'm pretty fast, especially when I have someone's ass in my face. So this guy started harassing me, saying I wasn't getting my face in the other guy's ass enough. Troy told him to back off. We were almost late for the next class though. Some of those chubby boys took for ever to do the sit-ups. I wish they would let us wear swim suits." It would have been bad enough if everyone had had their butts covered. It hadn't really helped doing it together as a class. It had been terrible in the change room afterward. A few punches had been thrown. Daniel had discovered he preferred dealing with the seniors on his own: fewer people to know about what was happening.

The problem was mostly Jake. He had never cornered Daniel alone again. Daniel was making sure of that. Jake mocked him now. What was the phrase Daniel had heard? Jake undressed him with his eyes. Sitting in the cafeteria Daniel knew Jake was watching him, still imagining him hard and panting against the toilet wall, imagining his finger back inside the ninth grader; the finger that had made Daniel hard. Daniel did not like Jake's smug look or the lust he saw in his eyes. He did not want Jake, but he wished Denver would go back to looking at him that way. It would have been different if it had been Denver in the restroom. Why did it have to be Jake who still wanted to do him ?

"You're team plays on Thursday right?"

Daniel was filled with a mixture of fear and excitement at the prospect of playing his first high school game. "Right, are you going to be able to watch me?"

"I'll be there. I'll pull some of the gang together to cheer you on." The freshmen team didn't get much play around the school. Everyone went to the varsity games and the freshmen stands were usually full of parents watching their sons. Freshie year was not an inducement to ninth graders to gather in large numbers and the boys were disappointed to learn that the cheer leaders didn't come to their games. Daniel would have liked to have Mandy bouncing on the sidelines as he scored touch downs. If he was being realistic he would have to concede he was unlikely to score a touch down and she was never going to be a cheer leader anyway.

"That would be great." Denver would be watching him. Daniel glanced over his shoulder to where his mother sat absorbed in some work at the kitchen island. She had a glass of wine out. That was a signal that she was going to be busy for a long while. Daniel tugged his waistband down a bit more as he listened to Denver. He ran his thumb over the teardrops hanging from his cock.


Dangerous Shoals, Tuesday, September 21st

Mandy watched Daniel as he sat against the cafeteria wall eating alone. He wasn't always alone she knew. Sometimes Mark would sit with him and the other people he had met through them were good for a quick conversation. Mostly he ate alone. She knew he dreaded the next senior who might humiliate him in front of his friends. In the euphoria of their break through at the dance they had begun eating together in the cafeteria. After they had finished they would sit holding hands content to simply be together. That had ended abruptly a week later.

Mandy turned to listen to Isabeau and Conrad before glancing back at Daniel. They had been in their own world when three seniors had stopped and interrupted them. Daniel had quickly snatched his hand away, but the connection had been made and the girls had decided to amuse themselves at their expense.

"Well catch the young lovers Trina; aren't they so sweet?"

"What's your name honey?


"Do you French kiss Daniel? Do you stick your tongue way down her throat?" Daniel hadn't responded to the question. Mandy had been surprised when the girl had reached down and started kissing her. It was a familiar hazing for Mandy and she cooperated half-heartedly, conscious of Daniel watching her. The girl forced her tongue between her lips and then broke contact. "Hmmm, pizza buns, yummy, see how it's done Daniel? Show us what you can do."

Daniel had turned out to be a surprisingly good kisser. They even French kissed in the privacy of her bedroom. He had leaned in and planted a quick kiss on her lips. "Oh that was pathetic children. Show me something more interesting." One of the girls had coaxed Daniel out of his seat and escorted him around the table. Daniel's face had been frozen into a mask and his cheeks were flushed. Mandy had never seen him that angry and she had worried about what he would do. She had taken the initiative and pulled his head close for a kiss. She remembered blocking everything else out except his lips and the feel of his hair between her fingers. He wouldn't help so she pushed her tongue through his lips and suddenly he was responding to her. Their eyes met quickly as they pulled away and she could see a spark in his eyes.

The girl had been satisfied. "Now that was more like it girl. You'll get him all hot and bothered with those moves." She seemed ready to move on but one of the others decided to push a little harder.

"Do it again but this time put your hand down his pants." Mandy had hesitated, but leaned forward again to kiss her reluctant boyfriend. She slipped her fingers down the back of his jeans letting them rest lightly on the warm flesh. "Now put your hand down the front."

"Oh give the girl a break Floe, she's done enough." Mandy started to move her hand around his waist band but Daniel pulled away and turned toward the girl.

"That's enough, back off" His face was red.

"Excuse me? I know I didn't just hear you telling me what to do." Floe turned to one of her friends in mock indignation. "Did this baby just tell his momma to back off?" She turned back to Daniel, "back off, back off? You giving me lip boy? Am I your bitch? I think you're the bitch here, bitch." Daniel had deflated a little at her rant.

"I just think we did enough for you." She cast her eye around the room until she spotted a friend and waved imperiously at him.

"Clarence, yo boy, over here" A tall senior unfolded himself from a nearby table and cruised over to the girls. "This boy thinks I'm his bitch."

"I didn't say that!"

"You shut your mouth." She snapped at Daniel. "What are you going to do about it Clarence?"

"Don't get your panties in a twist Floe." The senior had reached down and dragged Daniel off his feet by his shirt. He started marching him out of the cafeteria. Mandy had watched as Daniel stumbled along trying to keep his balance as the tall senior knocked him into passing students.

Floe had watched their progress for a while before announcing to her friends with a huff "I'm going to see this gets done right. Clarence!" The senior had swung around dragging Daniel with him. "I'm coming with you." She had stalked off after them giving Daniel a swat to the head before the two seniors dragged her boyfriend out of the cafeteria.

"Your boy just made trouble for himself girl, should have just kept his mouth shut. Sorry about that." The two girls had left her sadly collecting Daniel's book bag and football jacket. She had hugged it to her before slowly gathering her own things and heading out in the direction they had gone. She slipped her glasses back on and drooped a little into the baggy sweater. A table away a security guard perched chatting happily with some students.

No matter what she said, he wouldn't eat with her again. Mandy smiled across the space and she was rewarded with a little smile in return. He would be okay, but she hated the pretense. Conrad slipped his arm around her waist and leaned close to whisper something. She watched Daniel's smile dissolve and he seemed to study his sandwich. Conrad was just a good friend, someone with a car who could take her to movies and plays. It was nothing for Daniel to worry about. Conrad was funny too. She wasn't sure if he hated the boys around her or himself for staying away.

She probably thinks I'm scared to be with her. This was, in its way, true. Whatever else happened during the year, he wanted to keep her safe. Conrad knew he was watching. The dick kept making a play for Mandy. Daniel shredded the grilled cheese sandwich while he watched the table. It really wasn't Conrad he worried about. Carlos or Vincent worried him more. They were good looking, and he could tell Mandy was drawn them. Somehow she always managed to avoid mentioning either of them to him. They had been talking before class and Carlos had joined them. She turned to him and told him she would see him in class and turned her back on him. He had stood there hurt for a moment before leaving the couple to their conversation. That had been before they were serious, but it still left a sour taste in his mouth when he saw them together. What was it Denver had said? Have a little faith. Easy to say when your almost eighteen and built like Denver. When your fourteen and running scared it was different.

"So why don't you just go sit with her?"

"Leave it alone Simon. You know why." He slid over on the bench to give Simon some room. "How's it hanging?"

"Down to my knees like it always does. You know most days you sit here and nobody bothers you. Look at Dilbert over there. Probably the most inoffensive nerd in the school, but it is like he has a kick me sign on his ass. Every day he gets something done to him. You sit with that football jacket on and it is like a shield protecting you from the shit flying around." Daniel eyed the boy with coke spilled on him.

"Then why do I feel like my name is scratched into a bathroom wall? For a good time, call Daniel Murrell." Simon didn't answer. He had seen something like that on a bathroom wall before he scratched it out. Except it had been more like get Denver's freshie. Daniel worshipped Denver and he wouldn't want to hear that the hundred dollar boy was taking the heat because his senior had been a shit disturber. Simon's brother joked about it with his friends. Then again Vance was a bit of an asshole. Simon studied Daniel. He realized he should not have criticized Daniel. It had only been ten days since he had found his friend huddled in the bathroom. Since then Daniel had been pretending it had never happened. It was not something Simon would willingly bring up either.

"So big game Thursday?"

"Yes, I guess so." Daniel had gone back to studying Vincent because he had his hand on top of Mandy's. He didn't want to ask Simon if he was coming to the game.

"You better score some touch downs because I am writing my descriptive essay on you."

"You can't do that, I was going to write about the game too."

"So we both can. Ms. Cannon will be thrilled by the different perspectives. Let me see, I can taste the beer I will sneak into the stands, you can taste the blood and dirt in your mouth when they grind you into the turf. I can feel the girl's tight ass next to me on the bleacher and you can feel the bone break when the guy covering you lands on your leg."

"And I can see the stands from the end zone while I dance for the crowd and you can see the fat ass of the guy in front of you as the crowd is cheering my touchdown."

"Or you can smell the urine running down your leg when they are about to pile on you while I will smell pussy after the game." Simon had a way of bringing Daniel out of himself when he was depressed. "Don't forget to include some metaphors and similes in your description. Daniel's thigh bone cracked like a branch."

"A lightening bolt scorched the field leaving the ball sizzling in the end zone. Anyway, I will probably ride the bench all night."

"Such false modesty, you know you're on the starting line-up. Besides I can write about you sitting on the bench: Lost in his oversized pads the little boy scratched his tiny balls in boredom." Daniel laughed out loud. Damn, Vincent was playing with her hand now.

Mandy was glad to see Simon. She didn't trust him, but Daniel seemed to like him. Funny, they had never gotten along in elementary school. She was disturbed to see Daniel's fascination with Vincent. It was hard to keep them all apart. She was probably being foolish. Simon was as straight as they came, but she worried about what would happen if Daniel liked the boys as well as she did. Vincent and Carlos were major players. Conrad had confided that they had hit on him at a few cast parties. Every time Daniel asked about them she steered the conversation away as quickly as she could. "Isn't that your new boyfriend over there with David Spade?"

She glanced at Conrad's frown, "Yes, that's Daniel."

"He is to die for." contributed Carlos eying Daniel. "He's like a little Orlando Bloom. You know Vincent, when he played the blond elf." Mandy thought that was a bit of a stretch. "He has a beautiful pout and the way he draws his eyebrows together."

"Maybe Keith Ledger?" more sacrilege, Vincent glanced over at Daniel and turned back laughing. Mandy cast about for a distraction.

"So Vincent, explain again what makes this Grandma Gurton's Needle so good?" She pretended interest until Daniel was forgotten. Out of the corner of her eye she watched him drop a mangled sandwich on his tray and leave with Simon.

Vincent walked Mandy to English. She appreciated the consideration. He paused at the door to remind her of their practice after school. She checked to see that Daniel had made it to class and smiled at him. He responded with a sad smile and busied himself with his binder. She worried that he had been harassed on his way to class. They were both early. Ms. Cannon's room had become a safe haven and it was not unusual to find most of the class chatting at their desks while she prowled the hallway outside her room. Mandy wandered back and sat in Kemal's seat so that she could check on him.

"Things okay today?"


"You look sad"

"No, I'm okay." Daniel struggled a moment and added "What's with Victor and you?" He cursed himself for sounding possessive. It was something he had privately criticized Greg about. He wouldn't keep her that way.

He thinks I'm interested in Victor she thought. It was something she hadn't considered. She smiled to herself and then realized that was the wrong thing to do. "He's just a friend. We share the same interests." That didn't sound right either. She searched for some way to extricate herself. He just looked at her with suspicion, time for a subject change. "Are you going to Mark's birthday party?" She had heard about it from Carlos. The openly gay drama community was small. The distraction seemed to work.

"I don't know. Denver didn't actually invite me." He had mixed feelings about going. This would be Mark's night and Daniel didn't want to think about what would happen after the party. "I'll probably go."

"Why don't we get a movie instead? My mom is working the night shift next week." She dangled the bait under his nose. Carlos and Victor were planning to go to Mark's party and she didn't want Daniel there. Snap, he grabbed the hook. She could see him visibly brighten. Kemal came back to his desk and she let him have his seat.

"Yeh, let's do that." Later when he had a moment to think he realized she had distracted him from his question about Victor. Well, it wasn't going to be Conrad, Victor or Carlos at Mandy's, which was one consolation.


Flying Fish, Thursday, September 23rd

"Tell me again why we're here?" Hank peered at Peter.

"Arlo wanted to see the football game."

"So why is what's his name here?"

"Laine, my name is Laine." Hank seemed a little dense. Laine shifted slightly closer to Arlo so their hips would touch and returned to studying the Riverview Wolverines milling around the bench. It was not a bad looking crew.

"Laine is here because Arlo is here" and Laine likes football and muscular boys in spandex Laine added silently. Tackle me guys. They were not that much bigger than him. It occurred to Laine that he might have tried out for the team. If he had made it his mom and dad might have found the money for the fees.

"So why is Evan here?"

"Evan is here because you're here man."

"Why am I here then?"

"You're here because we needed Evan's dad to drive us and Evan said he wasn't going unless you went."

"Oh" Hank lapsed into silence. Laine had not decided what he thought of the three boys yet. So far he liked Peter the best. The Wolverines play looked a little ragged to him. He studied a wide receiver dancing nervously on the line. He had a good view of the boy's butt. "So why are you here?" Hank asked Peter.

"I am beginning to wonder why." Peter replied "You know if you forget for a moment these guys are dumb jocks destined to die from concussions induced by slamming beer cans into their foreheads, I have to admit there are some hotties out there."

"Intelligence is over-rated" contributed Evan and the boys all glanced at Hank. He was studying his zipper. He looked up at them and smiled brightly.

"So why is Arlo here again?"

"Arlo wanted to watch his best friend play football." The words sent a gloomy shadow across Laine's face. He was still trying to get to know Arlo and he had come to the game reluctantly after Arlo explained his reason for going was another boy. He was finally starting to make some progress. Arlo had connected him with the other three boys and he had a sense Arlo was not going to walk away from him when someone pointed out his gayness. It felt good talking to people. He liked Arlo. He looked forward to their class together each day and talking with him on the telephone each night. Arlo had kissed him. The boys next to him fell into bantering about the good looking boys on the field and Laine tried to relax.

It was a nice afternoon, Arlo's hip was tight against his and as Peter had pointed out there certainly were some fine looking boys on the field. Laine certainly did not mind that they were jocks either. The Wolverines needed a little help though. Laine spent much of his time watching a few of the boys. Greg was playing defense. Laine recognized him because he always seemed to take his helmet off when he was on the side lines. He had a bandana wrapped around his head and a talent for clearing his nostrils without a Kleenex. Laine watched with interest as Greg tilted his head and placing a finger on the side of his nose ejected a tight wad of snot. Greg poked a black boy next to him before demonstrating he could clear the other nostril. Later, when Greg returned to the field, Laine took secret pleasure in watching a larger Central High Condor brutalize the boy who had walked away from him in the mall. Laine had to credit Greg with staying power. The Wolverine defense seemed to spend most of the game on the field.

"When do we leave?"

"It's only the first quarter."

"How many quarters are there?" Nobody felt inclined to answer Hank. Laine shifted his attention to the field and Riverview's offense. He flicked an eye to the side lines; second down and long yardage. It was a run right up the middle. The running back hit a wall of Condors at the line of scrimmage. After eight minutes of play it was clear to Laine that Riverview was going to stick with its running game. The coach seemed reluctant to let his quarterback throw the ball. Laine watched the game unfold predictably. Finally, the pace changed. After a spectacularly unsuccessful play up the middle the two teams sorted themselves out along the line of scrimmage. Just to keep the Condor safety awake the Wolverines dropped the ball across the line of scrimmage to a wide receiver who had hooked in unexpectedly.

"Way to go!" Arlo exclaimed beside Laine. It was fourth and short yardage. Laine expected a punt but the Wolverine's pushed it a head along the line and their drive stayed alive. Laine watched the Wolverine huddle. The quarterback pointed at 83 and the wide receiver nodded his head vigorously. The boy left the huddle with an extra bounce in his step.

"Man they are telegraphing the play." Laine commented to Arlo.

"What do you mean?"

"It's another pass to 83. Look, see the safety?"

"Which one?"

"93, he's got his eye on 83."

"You think?"

"Just watch" It was a repeat of their earlier play but this time the ball popped loose when the inexperienced receiver was slammed to the ground. It was ruled incomplete. "Ouch" It had been a hard hit. The boy lay on the turf for a moment. The Condor reached down and the receiver accepted the offered hand. He came up with a bounce and the two boys exchanged words before 83 headed back to the huddle. The Wolverines reverted to their running game but Laine found himself following the receiver around the field. The Riverview drive ground to a halt a few plays later. 83 trotted to the bench just below where Laine and the four other boys sat sorting the team into categories. The guy had a nice package tucked in between his thigh pads, mused Laine. Laine was about to share the thought with Arlo when the receiver collided with Greg's shoulder pad. The two boys exchanged words and 83 held his ground when Greg shoved his shoulder. Well that was another point in the boy's favor as if he needed one. Laine's eyes followed the boy to the bench where he stopped to talk to Duncan.

Arlo nudged Laine, "Hey that's Daniel." Laine was preoccupied by the amazing way 83's butt filled the spandex pants. The tight fabric showed every sculpted curve from the loose folds of his jersey down to his cleats.


Arlo turned the other way to Peter and pushed him slightly. "See the guy there? That's who I was talking about." Peter mumbled a response. He seemed to be following his own interests. "Number 83 there," It was just a casual comment, no particular excitement in his voice. Peter mumbled a disinterested response and turned back to Evan. The boy Daniel seemed to be listening to something Laine's senior was saying. Daniel was nodding his head. Arlo leaned close to Laine's ear and Laine cocked his head to show he was listening, "You want to know something?" Laine grunted. "He was my first."

Why did Arlo have to tell him that? Laine had realized that about his new friends. It had been the same with the drama queens he had sat with too. Laine sighed to himself. Even the straight boys in the locker room seemed to do it all the time. Everyone always needed to brag about their experience or out someone. Laine slid his eyes cautiously over to Arlo's face. It was still close to his, but Arlo's eyes were riveted on the boy on the field. Laine turned his attention back to the boy next to his senior. Laine felt put out, why was it so hard to break into these groups anyway? Laine felt inexperienced. He had not forgotten seeing Peter and Arlo under the bleachers at the dance. Now there was this cute boy to worry about. Laine lapsed into silence. Arlo's warmth beside him momentarily held less promise. When number 83 took the field again Laine was more critical. When the wide receiver dropped an easy pass and the Wolverines turned over the ball Laine felt a stir of satisfaction. It cost the Wolverine's the drive and they punted the ball. Arlo did not bother to comment on his friend's mistake. Laine chatted with Arlo until Daniel returned to the field and he continued his critique of the boy. He was... enthusiastic. The Wolverines were back to their running game and it seemed that Daniel was simply out there distracting the Condor defense. Perhaps if he could actually outdistance the pass protection they might throw the ball his way Laine reflected cynically. Laine watched him trot on and off the field in this way well into the second quarter. Greg was looking ground down by his time on the line. Daniel had gotten off lightly. Laine idly wished someone would toss the ball Daniel's way so he could take a few hits. Then again Arlo would probably just feel sorry for his friend.

Laine's wish came soon after when the receiver caught a pass and slipped past the Condor who had been dogging him throughout the half. He managed ten yards before he was knocked over. Arlo was impressed. Laine sighed two plays later when he managed to hold on to another quick pass. When Daniel bounced out of the huddle on the next play Laine knew the boy was in trouble. "Look at him Arlo, your friend is giving the play away again." It was so obvious and Laine waited smugly for the inevitable hit from the Condor safety edging his way over toward the side of the field. Just as Laine predicted Daniel curled in and when he tried to draw the ball in he was hit from both sides. Laine grunted his satisfaction as the ball popped free again and Daniel crumpled to the ground. Well done Condors, he smiled slightly to himself. Daniel stayed down and curled over his groin. That had to hurt.

"Oh my God!" Peter joked "now that is what I call getting sacked." The other boys watched as Daniel rolled on his back and held his helmet with his hands. "Man, you're holding the wrong part." That got Peter a few chuckles from Evan and Hank. A few more words were exchanged about the stupidities of playing football. Laine offered a slight snort in agreement and watched as the Riverview coach trotted out on the field. The two Condors responsible for the damage talked together nearby watching their victim suffer.

Laine watched Daniel trying to recover. He suddenly felt ashamed of himself. He had been hit like that and he knew how it felt. He could imagine what it was like. Daniel's eyes would be blacking out. He would be nauseated and it would be hard to think. There was no way to ease the pain. Laine dropped his head and studied his shoes. What had he been thinking about? The boy had been doing his best. He did not even know Laine existed. He looked back out onto the field where Daniel rested with his knees up. The coach leaned over him and they exchanged a few words. "Shake it off" Laine whispered to himself, "come on, take a breath and shake it off boy. Don't you stay down now, get up." Laine wanted the boy back on his feet. Daniel finally sat up and the coach offered a hand. When Daniel was up Laine breathed a sigh of relief. He had wished pain on the other boy and he found he did not want that now. Laine needed him to be okay. Daniel bent over once and then straightened up with a nod to his coach. As he started to limp off the field there was a scattering of applause.

"Guess he's out of the game," commented Evan.

"Nope" Laine shook his head as he watched Daniel limp slowly off "he'll be back." Laine would have been.

"Think so?"

"Sure" Laine smiled "count on it."

* ** *

It was a perfect afternoon for a game. Karen surveyed the stands and felt oddly disappointed to see so few students. Down on the center line behind the Wolverine bench a loyal group of parents were making noise and calling out useless advice to the boys on the field. She didn't know many of the parents. Few had come to the September orientation and most would avoid the parent-teacher interview next month as if they had been sent to the vice principal's office. She did recognize Daniel's mother. She might have guessed who she was even if she wasn't sitting next to Mandy Cole and screaming his name every once and a while. Daniel looked a lot like his mother. Karen guessed the formidable woman sitting beside her in a city police uniform must be Mandy's mother. Mrs. Murrell had come in to see her after the orientation. They had talked briefly before she had to pay attention to the next pair of parents. There hadn't been much to say. Daniel was an exceptional student, if not very interested in English composition or literature. Karen had jokingly shared this with her and she had been flattered when Mrs. Murrell had replied "Daniel respects you very much." Karen would have liked to share her fears about freshie year, but there hadn't been time.

"How come they can throw the ball forward sometimes, but they get punished if they do it other times?"

"Penalized ; one is a forward pass, but that was a forward lateral." John replied patiently.

"So what's the difference?"

"A pass is overhand and a lateral is underhand."

"So why don't they just run down the field passing it to each other?"

"Only one player can throw the ball."

"Look, if 83 would start running sooner he would have been ready to catch the ball."

"He can't leave until the ball is snapped." John was getting exasperated at her comments.

"So they only get four tries?"

"My God woman, how can you live here and not know how football is played?"

"I like to watch the boys. They are so cute in their tights." This was too much for John and he lapsed into inarticulate silence. Karen smiled and went back to watching the game. From the age of eight on her father had taken her to every home game the university ever played. Her first boyfriend had lived the game. She guessed that was why she identified with Mandy so much.

The Wolverines were losing badly at the moment. Some of the boys were not taking it well. After Daniel dropped an easy pass that would have opened the door to a quick touchdown he sat down on the bench and buried his head in his arms. A burly senior in a varsity jacket patted him on the shoulder pads in sympathy. Not all the seniors were problems. Daniel made up for it a few plays later by snagging the ball and breaking a tackle before getting brutally crushed by two defensive ends. "He should have broken to the left and stepped out of bounds. He covered about fifteen yards running across the field and only made four." Karen silently agreed with John. Daniel was helped to his feet and limped off the field. Karen noticed Daniel had a small cheering squad behind her. When she turned around she recognized Simon and Daniel's senior among the group.

"Thanks for coming with me John."

"No, this is fun. I try to go to the senior games and I forget about the little guys. They are getting creamed out there." They watched in silence as the Central High Condors buried the Wolverines six points deeper. Karen was close enough to see the tears of frustration in Azizi's eyes as he threw his helmet down. His family had not been in the country more than nine months and he was dealing with the loss as if the game was his whole life.

Karen was distracted by the blue movement of Mandy's mother as she spoke into her radio and rose to leave the stands. It reminded her of the horrendous shooting at the last game. "God I hope there is no trouble after the game."

"It should be fine." Both teachers felt oppressed by the gang violence that came into the school. "Riverview High used to be pretty suburban; the demographics are changing along with the neighborhoods. We have such a mixed bag these days. That's why the learning communities are so important. They help break down the ethnic barriers and the economic differences."

Some Wolverines fought stubbornly through to the last minute. Azizi made the Condors fight for every yard and Daniel had a final moment of glory when he carried a Condor on his back into the end zone. Most of the Wolverines stood aimlessly on the field after the gun went off before they trooped back to their locker room. Karen watched Daniel cross the field to shake the hand of the boy he had battled most of the night. A handful of boys had joined him and when they were done they crossed back to their bench with Harvey Larson and his assistant coaches. Harvey slapped Daniel on the side of his helmet affectionately. "Well they will be more miserable than usual tomorrow." She commented to John as they made their way down from the stands.

"Harvey is going to make them sweat now." John replied. "Give them time; they could pull something together before the season ends."


Sun going down, Friday, October 2 nd

By 1:00 a.m. the party had found its way into the pool and hot tub. A low mist drifted over the pool concealing the rafts of people splashing each other in the water. Denver sat with Amanda and Amber in the hot tub watching Mark. The seventeen-year old had abandoned himself to the crowd. Denver nursed a mug of coffee and let the girls' conversation wash over him. He stretched his legs and felt contented with the evening. The house was overrun with people and he knew he would have a mess to clean up. Most people were in the water now. The night was far too cold for comfort.

"You hate this don't you?"


"You're not even listening to us anymore. Where are you, back at the restaurant cooking?" Amanda laughed at him gently and pushed the hair off his face.

He shook his head bemused, "No really, this is cool. Everyone seems to be having a blast." He watched Mark as he lost his balance under the weight of the boy on his shoulders. A moment later he heaved the boy back out of the water and the chicken fight continued.

Amanda let it drop. She saw Ho Fai at the kitchen door and climbed out of the water. She paused at the edge of the tub and kissed Denver on the forehead as he leaned back. "I'm going to talk to Harry for a while, maybe get him to take me home."

"Good for you." They shared a smile and he watched her as she walked away. It was a start. He turned back to the pool party. The fight was still on but Mark had left it for a moment. Denver spotted him at the edge of the pool exchanging a birthday kiss with two tenth graders he didn't recognize. Mark put the boys off and they turned to kissing each other. Mark pulled himself out of the pool and came over to Denver. The steam rose from his body and Denver was cold just watching him. "They looked anxious to get to know you there." He nodded in the direction of he boys.

"I'm sure they have forgotten me already. Hey, I want you. Take me somewhere and warm me up." Denver looked around and decided things were under control.

They made love to the sounds of the party. Mark was urgent in his need and for a while their passion recalled their first night together. Later Denver lay beside the sleeping Mark and stroked his back. "Sleep well birthday boy." Mark stirred slightly at his words and settled deeper into the pillow. The slender young man still had him in his power and he leaned over and kissed his hard cheek.


Arlo's need, Saturday October 3rd

Arlo phoned him on Saturday. Daniel took his phone out on the veranda and sat with his feet up on the curving wall. "I haven't seen you for a while. What have you been up to?" Arlo was right. His relationship with Arlo was a little confused at the moment. Screwing around together had shaken him up. Seeing him at the freshie dance under the bleachers had left him with mixed feelings.

"Oh, you know school, football. Things have been busy I guess." It sounded dishonest. "I guess I'm a little confused about us." He might as well tell Arlo the truth. As long as Arlo didn't start hating him like Chris things couldn't get much worse.

"Are we still friends?" there was stress in his voice. Daniel felt a little trapped by the question.

"Sure Arlo. It was just a little weird if you know what I mean."

"Do you feel like coming over for the night?" Daniel knew he should stop avoiding Arlo. He was supposed to be his best friend. Arlo shouldn't be that hard. Bad choice of words Daniel decided.

"Sure, sounds good." Daniel wasn't going to walk so Arlo came over with his mom to pick him up. While he was waiting he had a call from Mandy wondering if he wanted to have some company. He cursed to himself and told her he was waiting to be picked up.

* ** *

"So have you seen Quinton this month?" it was late and the house was silent. They had run through every distraction in the house and conversation was all they had left.

"Yes, a few times." Arlo spoke quietly. Arlo said very little about his senior. Mostly he seemed to be with the other boy, Donald. They were sitting at opposite ends of the bed. For years they had slept side by side without a second thought. "I've been to parties with Donald and his friends." Daniel was afraid to ask him about them and he was regretting staying the night. Arlo looked him in the eyes and Daniel tried to hold his gaze. "It's been okay, you know? I've been hanging out with a few other guys lately, that's where I was last night you know? When you phoned over? I should take you over to Peter's sometime." Daniel didn't answer right away. The silence gave Arlo a chance to regret mentioning Peter and the others.

"So he's still being nicer to you?"

"Well, it's like you said, if you play along with them then things are better. It's sure different than grade eight isn't it? My sister's parties are lame compared with the parties Quinton takes me to. We get drunk and smoke some shit. Do you toke it up with your senior?" Daniel shook his head. He suspected that Denver and Eddie slipped out for smoke breaks, but Denver never offered him anything. Denver didn't even seem to drink very often. Daniel was still trying to follow his lead. "I smoke at the parties; just a cigarette now and then. You know what it's like, after you do a blow job a cold brew and a smooth smoke chills you out." Daniel looked at his friend and didn't know what to say to that. Being with Denver had been so different. The night had been special and Daniel's cock grew hard just thinking about the older boy now. "So you and Mandy hooked up finally. That's cool."

"Yes it's great." Arlo was down to his boxers. They both were. They had always slept that way and Daniel could not think of a diplomatic way to change that. Arlo crossed his legs and Daniel had to think about the tightness across Arlo's groin. "So... is there anyone Arlo?" It had not been said between them yet. Daniel had not admitted he did things with other boys for fun; that he was starting to think he was bisexual like Denver. It was still something awkward between them. Daniel had a sudden impulse, "Best friend Arlo?" Arlo smiled and nodded his head. "It's okay, doing it with guys? I can get off on it you know?" Daniel was rewarded with another smile and Arlo nodded his head again. It would be safe to talk a bit more. "Of course girls do it for me more. I think that is why I get off more on boys who are smaller. You teased me about looking for guys who were like girls. Maybe that's true." It was not true at all of course but Daniel did not mind lying to Arlo. When strong older guys like Jake or Denver put their hands on him he got horny. Guys his own age excited him too. Arlo was all wrong for him, but he was drawn to his body. "I'm definitely into girls more than boys."

"Sure, I understand," Arlo agreed helpfully. "Only, the girls don't put out right?"

"Well, not much that's for sure." Daniel was not comfortable so he stretched out on the bed and let his toes wander closer to Arlo's hip. It was easier on his cock too. It had some place to go. "Mandy and I are going slow. That's okay right?" Arlo let him talk. "I get pretty horned after being with her though."

"I could see that. Are you okay with me being mostly with guys right now?"

"Sure Arlo, you're my friend."

"So I met this guy."


"He's like really shy. Do you mind, do you and Mandy do stuff?"

"Oh a little" Daniel cautioned himself to say as little as he could. Mandy and Arlo were friends too. They talked.

"This guy doesn't do much. He's hot, but he leaves me so fucking horny. I mean I have not even blown him yet." It sounded romantic to Daniel. He tried to picture the shy boy.

"It's a big step Arlo."

"No it isn't, it's just getting your rocks off." Arlo emphasized that by grabbing his crotch and shaking it. Daniel was a little taken aback. It was an aggressive side to Arlo he rarely saw. Arlo noted his expression and laughed a little. He pulled himself together and gave Daniel the eye. "Have you done anything since we did that stuff during the summer?" Daniel was not ready to talk specifics with Arlo.

"Some stuff, necking, kissing."

"Blow jobs?"

"Once" he admitted reluctantly, Jake, Frank and Denver fresh in his mind.


"Oh no man, nothing like that!" That had not been fucking had it? Lying with Denver, letting their cocks rub together, letting Denver touch him like that? He knew he was getting hard. Normally that would not have been a big deal with Arlo. For most of the time since grade seven they had done this. There had been many nights sharing their feelings and when they found it, pornography on the internet. Arlo was doing it though. "What about you? I mean since this guy Donald...?"

"Sure" Daniel had no idea how many times.

"Wow" Daniel tried not to let his surprise slip through. "So this guy, he's not your first boyfriend? Hey Arlo, that's rude. We always told each other stuff like this," Daniel ignored the fact that he had not told Arlo about Denver, "You had a guy and you did not tell me about it?"

"I told you a while ago, Donald." Oh yes, Donald; Arlo's Jake. Somehow Daniel had a hard time seeing the two of them as a couple. It felt really wrong. "Some other guys too. Some of those guys think I'm really hot. Kind'a sick isn't it?" Arlo laughed at himself and Daniel stirred uncomfortably on the bed. "I guess I must be a bit of a man-whore." Arlo made the first move. He pulled off his t-shirt and slipped into bed. "I guess I'm tired, let's hit the sack." He turned off the light.

Daniel slipped under the covers next to his friend. The bed didn't seem as big as it once had. Their shoulders touched. They lay on their backs wide awake; the evening's conversation and the afternoon in Daniel's apartment between them. Daniel heard Arlo sigh and felt him turn on his side. He thought he had turned to the wall. "Did you want to fool around?" he glanced at Arlo's back and found himself looking into his eyes. Daniel looked back silently struggling with his feelings. The memories of Amber blended with his desire for Mandy and the fire that had ignited between Denver and him. He wasn't drawn to Arlo at all, but he needed something.

"Do you?" He answered back with a shake in his voice he couldn't control.

"Yes" his friend whispered. "Fuck me Daniel."

"I've never done that before."

"It's not complicated Daniel." They reached out for each other. Arlo groped until he made contact with Daniel's underwear, and then slipped his fingers beneath the fabric to touch his penis. Daniel let his fingers travel up and down the other boy's hard chest and down to his underwear. When he brushed Arlo's groin he felt Arlo's erection. Arlo's hand traveled back up and cupped his chin for a moment. People touching his face, Daniel was reminded of Jake and Denver for a moment.

The boys tried an embrace and a kiss. The touch and heat of their bodies began to stimulate them both and Daniel became bolder with his kisses. They opened their mouths and probed with their tongues. Daniel began to dominate Arlo. He rolled on top of his friend and let his weight press him down. Their groins ground together and each boy's erection strained against the light fabric. Arlo's hands traveled across Daniel's back and down into his underpants to grip his ass. Daniel reached down to pull Arlo's boxers down. When the boy's cock sprang free Daniel felt the sudden spurt of cum that covered their bellies. "Fuck me Daniel" Arlo groaned "I need you inside me" Arlo pulled Daniel's pants down and they both struggled to untangle themselves from the underpants and bedding.

Arlo turned over on his front and lifted a leg up to his chest. Daniel's cock was rock hard when it met the slick anus of his friend. He had never tried to enter a boy before and he wasn't sure how it was done. Arlo had put something slippery on and as his cock slid in far more easily than he had imagined. He had thought Arlo would be tighter than Amber, harder to enter. Daniel's mind mixed with the usual thoughts of Mandy and Amber, the only girl he'd actually known. He spent little time comparing the experiences. He focused on the urgency of his need. The love making ended when Daniel arched his back and grabbed Arlo by his shoulders. His mind drifted to the brief moment Simon and he had seen Arlo under the bleachers. Daniel felt a wave of nausea. It had felt nothing like his night with Denver. He suddenly needed to feel clean.

Arlo was still lying face down naked on the bed when Daniel came back from washing himself off. He thought Arlo was asleep but he stirred when Daniel sat beside him and pulled his underpants on. He seemed vulnerable to Daniel, so Daniel kissed him once and asked if he was okay. Arlo smiled a little and nodded, and then he rolled over. "I wish you could do it again." Daniel grunted, lay down and drifted off to sleep.

He was back in the tent listening to the rush of water falling through the bolder strewn crevice. The light filtered through the deep blue tent as he kicked his sleeping bag off his naked body. The tent was tight and Denver's body was close against his as he played with Daniel's crotch. Daniel could feel Denver's penis sliding along his thigh as he tickled Daniel's ridged penis. "Time out" Daniel called quite clearly and Denver told him to be quiet. He didn't want to attract Mark and Mandy who were nearby deep in conversation about a play. Mandy glanced over at him from time to time and Daniel worried that she would get the wrong idea. Denver was taking the game too far; "Time out, truce!" he repeated. Denver paused and Daniel turned to Mark. He wanted to reassure him that Denver wasn't serious. Denver pulled him gently back and resumed game. Daniel lay still and rested his head on the pillow. The water sounded so peaceful.

He woke in early sunlight from an erotic dream that had ended in an orgasm. He opened his eyes trying to remember the details and then he realized that Arlo, and not Denver, had been sucking on him. Daniel lay still while Arlo rested his head on Daniel's belly. Daniel felt Arlo's hand fondling his sack. He felt the air cool the saliva on his cock. Daniel decided to pretend he was still asleep. After a little while Arlo rolled back and went back to sleep. Daniel stared at the ceiling for a long time.


(to be continued)


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