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 Sixteen

Infested Waters


New Year's, Friday December 31st

Daniel searched out a corner where he could sit down for a while. It was only 11:37 and he knew he needed to pace himself if he was going to be on his feet at midnight. A year ago he had been with Greg, Arlo, Mandy and the rest to bring in the New Year. This year Mandy was two states away with her brother, Arlo was with a new circle of friends, and Greg and the rest were strangers. Simon, concerned about a party at Denver's, had opted to bring in the New Year with his brother. It was the way of the world and Daniel had resolved to enjoy himself anyway.

A slim eleventh grader tossed a cushion at Daniel and he jammed it behind his back as the boy sat down beside him. "How are you getting by?"

"It's cool; I just thought I should lay off for a while. I lost count a while ago."

"You're on your eighth drink."

"You've been keeping track?"

"Well, you always bring the empties back to the kitchen and you have been making a little line next to the blender." Blaine stretched his legs out and took a drink. "I wasn't thinking about that. I was talking about school. I remember two years ago I couldn't stand getting out of bed. My dad had to drag me out the door. I didn't really have senior that year."

"Was that better?"

"I don't know. This dividing everyone up wasn't on back them. We were all over the place and it was hard to hook up with friends."

"I like having the same group all the time. You lose track of old friends though."

"I guess. We got the same crap you get. I didn't have many friends. I don't suppose I got it any worse than anyone else. You ready for another?" Daniel shook his head. Someone commented that it was almost quarter to twelve. He realized he didn't have much left for a New Year's toast.

"Yes, I guess."

"Sit tight; I'll be right back." As he waited Daniel watched Amber and Amanda across the room with a group of older girls. He hadn't forgotten the summer. Did he want to sleep with Amber again? Part of him did, just like part of him wanted Denver. He had replayed the night with Amber endlessly since the summer. He would have liked to do it over. He had been too shy and clumsy. If she walked over right now and offered to go to bed with him he would do it with her, no doubt about it. But then he might be screwed. There were people here who knew Mandy. He could kiss Mandy goodbye if one of Mark's drama friends dropped the dime on him. Mandy would not blame him if he kissed the girls in thirteen minutes though.

"Wow, what's that?"

"Mark is handing out Champagne. It's what you are supposed to drink; you had it before?"

"Oh sure" Arlo's mom had let him have some at New Years almost a life time ago. Blaine had poured off a plastic glass full. He considered the friendly eleventh grader. " Blaine, you're gay right?"

"Kid, you don't ask a guy that."

"What, you're not? I saw you kiss a guy in August."

"You must be wrecked, talking like that. You do stuff at parties. You know, just kicks."

"Just a thrill?" Blaine looked Daniel over.

"Are you hitting on me kid?"

"Screw off; just forget it, I didn't mean it that way."

"Well I like girls." Blaine took a drink and glanced at some girls by the bar. "Did you want to do something?"

"No" Daniel laughed self consciously. "I have a girl friend."

"Oh don't be so serious" Blaine watched Denver and Mark leave the room. "It's New Years." The room was beginning to fill with people as the clock moved closer to the hour. "Do you have a ride home?"

"I'm going to crash here." Denver had asked him to stay the night. He had been watching Denver and Mark; Daniel didn't look forward to it. He could imagine lying on the couch all night hearing them in the bed room.

"Five minutes; actually I get off with guys sometimes."

"Everyone is always on about faggots and making out like they can't handle two guys going at it with each other."

"But the bitch's man"

"Girls are totally different; but the thing is, sometimes I think all those gay bashers are actually after my ass." Daniel wondered absently why he was trash talking with Blaine. He had no interest in the guy.

"They just want to freak you out. Don't let it get to you."

"I can handle it. It's no big deal. Like you say, it's not always freaky." Daniel maneuvered around Blaine and glanced toward Amber hoping to catch her eye.

"Just about time; who are you going to kiss first?"

"Maybe you"

"It's a date" Blaine laughed at Daniel. Daniel thought it was a joke, neither was serious. Daniel watched the crowd watching the television count-down. He felt sober as he watched the excitement. After his quiet Christmas he had looked forward to the party. Somehow during the evening it had turned sour. He listened silently as everyone began chanting the count-down.

Blaine actually reached over and kissed him on the lips when the countdown finished. Daniel returned the kiss and then turned hoping to find Denver. Instead it was Amanda and Amber who each hugged him close while offering deep kisses. They were affectionate kisses bearing the memory of the summer but they were all too brief. When they were done they swirled away into the crowd mingling and laughing.

Daniel watched them go. The flicker of warmth they had brought him rapidly faded, so he began to wander in the direction he had last seen Denver. The orgy of kissing continued and Daniel was distracted by offers as he bumped against people. The girl's kisses varied from quick pecks to passionate probes. Mark's friends occasionally stopped him too. He responded to their kisses, no longer concerned about the possibility of critical stares. He was not really conscious of the ease with which he responded to the boys.

"Happy New Year Daniel" He twirled around once searching for his friend. Denver had left the room. He stopped facing Raina.

"You too" Raina was a familiar companion at the house parties on this side of the river. The handful of ninth graders tried to blend into the older group. Daniel found most of them uninteresting. Raina was an exception. She stood expectantly and Daniel temporarily abandoned his search and kissed her.

Daniel had discovered he liked to dance with girls. He had spent much of the night dancing and Raina was a frequent partner. The brief kiss drew out as Raina drew him close for a hug. They momentarily ignored the shifting crowd. Daniel felt her breasts against his chest. When she ran a hand up his back he put his hands on her hips. "Wish Mandy a happy New Year for me" She gave him up with a lingering look that let him know she might have been available for more. It was something he found he did not know how to respond to. The world could be so distracting. Daniel continued his search for Denver. The dancing had begun again when he left the living room and wandered in the direction of Denver's bed room.

* ** *

Mark pressed against Denver, their lips still melded together. Denver knew he should break it off and return to the party. Mark had pulled him away just before midnight and their friends would be looking for them. Mark needed him.

"We should go back; everyone will be looking for us."

"It's a new year Denver, another month closer to graduation right?"

"We don't have to talk about that now. We have months before we have to even think about it."

"I think about it." Denver surrendered to the conversation and leaned back against his desk. "What are you going to do Denver ? It's the New Year and you have to make a decision."

"Not yet, I can keep my options open."

"God I feel like a bitch. Denver, I have to tell you, even if it makes it harder, I have to say this."

"Then say it Mark" Denver whispered hoarsely.

"Fuck" Mark stared at Denver. The noise of the party was a muffled distraction punctuated by the shrill laughter of their friends, "We should know how to talk to each other by now."

"Ten years from now it could still be just as hard."

"Ten years?" That Denver could even say that much heartened Mark a little. He caught his breath then breathed out the words "I love you Denver and I don't want to lose you." Not to Daniel, not to Beth, not to university, Mark stressed the endless ways he could lose Denver. Mark bit his lip and watched Denver closely. The older boy reached out a hand and stroked a cheek catching a sudden tear. The silence compelled Mark to continue. " New Haven is so fucking far Denver." Mark was miserable that he was caught a year behind Denver, that he would have to endure a mindless year of school without his lover. His lover, not simply a boyfriend he could not resist cheating on from time to time. In his misery Mark threw himself on Denver's mercy. "I swear Denver " his throat choked him "I swear if you can do this for me I'll never go to another party again. I ..." The words were stopped by the touch of two fingers across Mark's mouth. They stared at each other through tears and Mark longed to kiss the fingers pressed gently against his trembling lips.

"Never do that to me Mark." Denver's words were soft and his voice shook. "You don't ever need to do that." Denver shook his head slightly as if to clear a troubled thought. "You know dad is putting a lot of pressure on me." Mark shook his head once to push Denver's next words away. "Yale, his big thing, I can swing next year Mark, I think I can." Tears flowed freely now and Mark nodded his head encouraging Denver to continue. "He could stand having me close for another year, heh?" Denver smiled at Mark.

"I could stand it too Denver."


"And I really promise"

"No promises okay? New Year's resolutions suck big time and this is not the time for it. You and I..." Denver finished his thought by grabbing Mark's head and pulling it close for a ferocious kiss that bruised both their lips until mouths opened and tongues twined. Denver pulled away first and stared intently at Mark. "I know things can pull us apart. We both have..." but Denver could not seem to finish that thought. "I'm with you kid, I'm with you."

He meant it too. They were two teenagers with too many decisions to make. He couldn't face promises between them yet. Denver kissed Mark again and then nuzzled his neck loving the heat of Mark's hard body against his. "Hey Mark?"

"Yes?" Mark's fingers found their way to Denver's hair.

"I love you too." Mark's head nodded silently against his cheek. Denver responded to Mark's light fingers by slipping his hand down Mark's pants. Mark began grinding his groin into Denver's erection. "Fuck me." Mark whispered hoarsely in his ear.

"Later, when things have died down a little"

"Don't you want me?"

"God yes" Denver responded. There was urgency to Mark's need that could not be bought off with words.

"Do it"

"What about the others?"

"It doesn't matter" Mark broke the embrace and turned toward the bed. Denver remained propped against the desk and watched as Mark sat and pulled his pants and shorts off. The city glow illuminated his body. Mark fell back and held out a hand inviting Denver to join him. When Denver didn't move he rolled over on the bed and turned his head away.

Denver stared at Mark's soft cheeks. Mark lay with his legs slightly parted in invitation. Denver knew he couldn't turn away. He let his pants drop and joined his lover on the bed. Mark stirred as Denver's hand slipped around his chest. "I love you Denver." Denver kissed his neck.

* ** *

Daniel was about to call out when he saw Mark and Denver on the bed. He froze in the doorway with the half empty glass of Champagne close to his lips. He knew he should back off. Denver moved against Mark and seemed to whisper in his ear. His back was turned away from the door. Denver's shirt was open and Daniel watched as he struggled a moment to shrug it off. Daniel admired Denver's strong back. He watched as his friend shifted onto Mark. Denver lay for a moment before he lifted his body and let his cock search between Mark's cheeks.

Daniel tensed as he watched Denver's slow penetration. His own cock responded to the coupling on the bed. His chest tightened as Denver's hips thrust into Mark. The movements were slow and relaxed. The two bodies worked together. Daniel had an impulse to join them. He thought of being Mark, being penetrated by Denver's cock. Sex with Arlo had not been like this. It had been quick and urgent. This was beautiful. Time stretched as small noises slipped between the laughter drifting down the hall. Daniel felt a wave of loneliness.

"Daniel?" He was startled out of his trance by Amber's voice. Daniel turned away. He pushed passed Amber and Blaine leaving them to discover Mark and Denver. "Woops! Sorry boys didn't mean to butt in, as you were. Come on Blaine, let's chase down Daniel."

* ** *

Daniel escaped through the crown deep into himself. He found his coat and walked out the door. He should have left the moment he saw them. He didn't think they knew he had been there. It wasn't that anyway. He had watched them make out before. Okay, the bed action was a little more than he had bargained for, but it still should not be a big deal. They were a couple and that is what you did in the quiet corners at a party. It was just, he had to leave.

It was a long walk home, six blocks to the bridge and five beyond that to his home. It was fine; he needed to clear his head anyway. Daniel drifted back to the love-making. He tried to think through his feelings. He had been searching for his friend so they could share a special moment together; but now, walking home alone on a night when everyone was together, he realized it was just a dream. Mark and Denver had something special. He did not want to get between that. The whole situation confused him. He was not sure where he was with Denver. In the months since the freshie dance Denver had somehow slipped farther away from him. Despite Denver's best intentions their lives had become disconnected. Daniel had tried to reconnect. The kiss outside his apartment before Christmas had rekindled some of the closeness he had felt through the summer and seeing Denver with Mark had snuffed it out again.

Daniel stepped back onto the curb as a car rushed past, its horn sounding an urgent warning. He glanced along the street suddenly conscious of the light New Year's traffic. The light changed and he continued on. For a moment he had wanted to be Mark there on the bed, or Denver feeling the heat of Mark's body as he pushed himself in. Arlo's body beneath him, anonymous classmates exciting him at school: he was not sure what he was anymore. Daniel continued toward the bridge in turmoil, chin buried in his coat against the cold. His phone rang but he ignored it.

Eventually he stopped and leaned against the bridge railing. There were still open channels in the river: black ribbons of swiftly moving water bordered by ice made luminescent by the chains of street lamps. Tangles of dormant trees and patches of evergreens lined the banks. Daniel studied the towers of the down town core still illuminating the sky. His home was there close at hand. Denver's home was lost behind the stately river front properties of the opposite shore.

He needed to deal with his feelings. The crap at school was easily passed off. You do what the seniors ask or get hurt. He was just putting up with it like everyone else, but there were times; times when he was not so sure of himself now. What was it Simon had asked him long ago in the summer heat? Which did you enjoy more? The answer had seemed obvious back then. His answer had been safe. Daniel leaned over the railing to catch a glimpse of the water breaking across the footings.

Daniel tried to imagine his year differently. Where would he be at this moment if there had been no freshie year? The seniors would ignore him. He would still be friends with Arlo. He would probably be hanging out with him right now at some ninth grade party instead of standing in the cold wondering if he was really gay. He would not have known Denver. Without the auction Denver would not have been his peer mentor. They would have passed as strangers in the hall. Without Denver he would still be a virgin. Daniel had learned a lot in seven months. He knew the touch of a girl and boy and knew he liked both. Would he even be with Mandy if Denver had not prodded him or if he had not seen Arlo beneath the gym bleachers? The ideas kept forcing their way through his mind pushing against his comfortable assumptions. He was not sure where the flow would take him.

* ** *

Caught up in the playful jokes they had to endure after Amber and Blaine interrupted them, it had taken Denver a few minutes to realize Daniel had left the house. "He saw you two at each other like bunnies." Denver had been concerned.

"Don't worry; he probably went to clear his head." Mark's tone indicated that he knew he was fighting a losing battle. "He'll be back." Denver and Mark faced off in the kitchen. Amanda and Amber listened as Denver wavered.

"I'm responsible for him. I can't just let him go off by himself."

"He knows what he's doing."

"No, Denver's right, we need to find him." Amanda interrupted "phone him" but there was no answer. Denver had thought about it for a while longer, and then left in search of Daniel. He's only fourteen, he thought, it is a lot to take in. Denver knew Daniel would only head in one direction and Denver sighed his frustration. Mark, father, Beth and Daniel all seemed to pull him in different directions.

Denver saw Daniel leaning on the railing in a pool of light. He checked his mirror and turned the car around catching Daniel in his head lights. Daniel quickly turned around and then turned back to lean on the rail. He was carefully observing the city when Denver climbed out of the Echo. "Why did you leave?"

"I just needed to get out." Denver warmed his hands in the pocket of his worn football jacket while he watched Daniel's bent back. "I didn't mean to watch you." Daniel said to the night.

"It doesn't matter."

"There are so many lights."

"Yes" Denver moved up to the rail beside Daniel. "Are you okay?"

"Sure" Daniel's eyes glistened, but he seemed calm. "You should go back."

"You need to come back too." Daniel shook his head.

"I've had enough for tonight. Mark is waiting for you; you should go back to him."

"There is no hurry."

"No, you two are special. Go be with him." Denver watched Daniel as he started to walk away. Daniel twisted around and walked backward "Don't worry, I'm fine." Daniel turned back and continued on. Denver stood for a moment before returning to the car. He cruised up next to the boy and rolled his window down. An occasional car honked as he crept down the wrong side of the street. Daniel glanced at him.

"Get in Daniel, I'll take you home." Denver watched him hesitate, and then he came over to the car. They drove in silence. Daniel had felt a rush of relief when he recognized the Echo. Throughout the cold walk to the bridge trouble had escaped his mind. His first thought had simply been gratitude. Denver had come looking for him. He had not been forgotten and that was really all that mattered.

When Denver pulled the car to a stop the silence stretched painfully. "Are we okay Daniel?" Denver was consumed by the same uncertainty he had felt at the freshie party after he had sensed he had wronged the boy. In the months since he had come to rely on the fourteen-year old's unconditional friendship. Daniel went into motion suddenly. He leaned across the distance and kissed Denver on the lips.

"Happy New Year Denver" He got out of the Echo a bright youth suddenly full of energy and warmth. He turned once to wave goodbye before bouncing lightly through the doors. Denver watched him for a while before pulling away. Once again Denver felt the conflicting pull. It was a new year, but nothing had changed.


On the other hand, Saturday, January 1st

"Go to sleep Nick, give me a fucking break." The ten-year old was old enough to give him a hard time now. He was not old enough to figure out that if they had to share a room for the next three and a half years then they needed to give each other space.

"You're just pissed they wouldn't let you go out tonight." The fight, Laine had to admit, had been monumental. In the end Laine had been reduced to a door-slamming tantrum. He had stopped working his cock as soon as Nick had spoken. He put his hands behind his head and lifted a leg to hide his boner.

"Shut up"

"Were you going to get drunk? Make out with your girl friend? How are the girls? Give me a break Laine, what's the story?"

"It's none of your business. It was just going to be a few of the guys I know."

"What about your senior?"

"Duncan "

"Yeh, Duncan. I thought he was going to take you to a party."

"Mom said no. Nick, just shut up will you?" The conversation recalled Laine's misery. Duncan rarely took him to parties. A New Year's party with Duncan's football and hockey buddies would have been sweet. His parents had actually told Duncan he was too young.

"It's your own fault."

"Shut up"

"You shouldn't have been looking at naked pictures."

"Shut up"

"What were you doing?"

"I told you already; I have a report due after the break. It doesn't matter what you type in, that shit always pops up." The whole night blew. Grounded after pissing off his parents he had sulked in the study surfing the net on their crappy computer. One slip of the mouse and his dad got a screen-full of Serge playing hide the salami with Andrei. Laine avoided giving his dad a heart attack by lingering over his decoy picture of a woman taking it doggie-style.

"No, I mean what were you doing a minute ago?"

"Nothing, I'd be sleeping if you would stop talking." Nick let the silence drag out.

"Were you playing with your peter?"

"I was scratching my balls."

"Come on Laine, you were rubbing a stiffy. Your peter was hard like it is in the morning." Laine didn't know what to say. "Does it feel good?"


"What does it feel like?"

"I can't explain." It was huge. How do you explain a sunrise to a blind man? It was the final burst of adrenalin that pushed you into the lead and onto the tape. It was hitting a home run. It was the unbelievable sensations of having your whole body sing with pleasure.

"Come on, when did you start?" The pest sounded genuinely interested. Laine rolled onto his side. Over the years they would talk like this. Nick lay looking at him, his blankets close around to keep the chill of the old house away. Nick liked listening to him explain things about being older.

"I don't know. I suppose I was twelve."

"Twelve" Nick made it sound like a long time to wait. "Are you thinking about a girl?"

"Sure" Laine had been remembering Arlo. Laine's sack lay heavy against his thigh and his cock jumped at the memory. Despite his brother's watching eyes he played with the soft tip.

"Mom says sperm comes out when you have an orgasm."

"What do you mean, mom says ? What are you talking to her for?" Anxiety welled up and he could feel his balls shrink.

"Well you wake me up sometimes."

"Mother Mary and Joseph Nick, you told mom I whack off at night?" There was no damn privacy in this shitty little house.

"Wanck off?"


"She told me it was normal. She said you're a man now." Nick did not understand Laine's embarrassment. Laine had wondered if he was a sex pervert when he started. When he had shyly asked their dad about it his father had been unable to answer him. Laine had been told to go to confession. "How often do you wank off?"

"None of your business"

"Jed's brother Troy said he does it every day." Laine had not seen Troy much; he remembered how he looked in the shower in grade eight. It was too easy to put a boner on the tall boy. Laine pinched the tip of his cock. He felt he could do it four or five times a day. "Can I see it?"

"No man, that's gay. I'm not going to do that with my brother."

"Troy calls you a faggot anyway."

"That's because I can kick his butt at any game you can think of, he knows it and he's a baby about it." Laine knew the day was coming when he would have to tell his brother the truth. This was not it. "See you in the morning."

"You too"

Laine turned away from his brother. Somewhere, out there, other people were ringing in the New Year. Arlo was out there at one of his parties. He listened for a moment. The little pest was probably pretending to sleep so that he could listen to Laine. Laine quietly touched himself. In the beginning Arlo had liked to touch him gently. Laine moved his hand to his anus and played with it for a while. His cock grew as he imagined it was Arlo touching him. He stretched his legs out and arched his back capturing his finger between clenched cheeks. He offered his erect cock to Arlo's imaginary lips. God he missed Arlo. His cock collapsed suddenly as tears dripped across his face. He sobbed once then held his breath when he heard Nick stir.

It was New Years and a time for resolutions. Laine turned his face into the pillow and his tears soaked the fabric. He was lonely, he needed a real friend, but he would not be hurt like that again. His love would not be bought so cheaply the next time. Laine cried a long time, shamed by his tears and angry that Arlo had driven him to them. He cried for his lost lover, a ruined night, and the trap of being gay in a hostile world.


Hang over, Wednesday, January 5 th

Arlo leaned against his locker and listened to Donald while he watched Daniel talking to the big senior he seemed to consider a friend. Seniors were never friends; the asshole would just use Daniel. After he was hurt, like Arlo had been hurt, Arlo would be there for him. "So Keith really appreciated what you did for him at the party." Arlo could not remember much about New Year's Eve. Keith was twelve or something. Daniel was laughing. Arlo watched Simon nudge Daniel. It was a mystery why Daniel liked the cocky little homophobe. "So his posse is giving him a hard time now." I should just go over there, he thought. It is like Mandy said, we're all still friends. Arlo had been tempted to tell Mandy that Daniel had fooled around with him, that he really preferred boys. "They don't believe he lost his cherry." Arlo glanced at Donald for a minute. When he looked back Daniel's senior was leaving.


"Well I have to back my little brother up." Daniel was laughing at that dick Simon now. Daniel did not look happy most of the time. Arlo wished he could help him. Daniel did not see that he was the hottest guy in the ninth grade. Denver was doing nothing to help him. Donald could hook him up with someone who would protect him. "Hey, why don't you come over after school, or better yet, let's cruise over to his school and set them straight." Simon started hitting on some girl and Daniel went into the classroom. The hallway was emptying as the period approached.

"Why do you want to do that?"

"He just needs to prove it happened." Arlo did not want to admit he had no memory of this.

"Why does he want his friends to know I fucked him?" Donald laughed and slapped his butt. Arlo smiled when his friend pinched his ass. Arlo felt a thrill at being handled in public.

"You hot bitch, he did you. Don't you remember?" Donald grabbed Arlo's waist band and gave it an affectionate tug from behind. "Things got pretty wild. You're such a player you can't keep track. You have me all horny just thinking about it. Let's ditch the afternoon."

Arlo was tempted. Donald understood him better than anyone. "I have a quiz this period. So what are we going to do with your kid brother?" Simon kissed the girl. He was really still a cocky little prick.

"What do you say to giving the kid a thrill when a few of his friends are around? Just think of those little boners all wishing they could get off with you." Donald licked Arlo's ear and whispered softly, "You drive me crazy Arlo. I get so turned on seeing you play all those guys. They were begging for it, creaming their pants just to have a minute with you. It feels so good knowing they want a taste of what is mine." Arlo closed his eyes as Donald's warm breath caressed his neck. He did not want to think about the math quiz. Donald could always take him where he wanted to go. "Let's have some fun." Arlo eyed Simon again.

"Sure, but I want you to do something for me first."

"You can blow me in the stairwell at the break."

"No, it's not that. Okay, I'll meet you there, but I want you to set some friends of yours on that kid over there." Arlo pointed out Simon.

"No problem."


Pick a path, Tuesday, January 11 th

Daniel pushed the quarters into the slots and closed the locker. The air was acrid with the familiar smell of chlorine. The pool was crowded that day. He had been stopping by once a week for the last month. It was hard to do it this way, but he did not have much of a choice. Daniel walked around the pool toward the side where people were swimming laps. It was not bad tonight. He dropped his towel by the wall and stepped over the edge into the water. He started down the length of the pool with an easy stroke.

It was actually a familiar routine he had followed ever since he and Arlo had become friends. Daniel had counted on swimming at Riverview this year, the bus ride was direct and the swim teams had their own practice times. After football season he had concluded it was a stupid idea.

Daniel missed Arlo's company. Inevitably the pool was full of parents with their families. He paused after a lap to look the pool over. Close to him a man bobbed in the water hands stretched out toward a tiny girl frozen at the edge of the pool. After a moment's encouragement the girl launched herself over the edge into the man's waiting arms. Daniel watched her slip under the water only to reappear a heart beat later safe in her water wings. She paddled off on the choppy water closely followed by the watchful man.

"Screw off Dean, I had it first." Daniel's attention was caught by an unequal struggle for a noodle that ended when an older boy dunked a small boy and floated away with the yellow prize. The boy cleared his face, "Give it back before I tell mom." The boy dove after his lost prize and his older brother back peddled in the water. Daniel saw that he would let his pursuer close within reach before kicking away with an evil grin on his face. Daniel watched the game a moment and then threw himself into his laps in earnest.

Daniel was working on his eighth lap when he crashed into a thrashing body. Someone had violated the lanes. He took in a young boy and a red ball bobbing near his right hand. The kid simply called out, "Toss it here. Give it to me" Daniel glanced down pool to see if anyone was coming and then picked up the red ball.

"Over here dude, give it to us." The boy's opponent seemed to be an older teenager. Daniel decided to hand the ball over to the younger boy.

"Yes" the boy crowed and tossed it down the pool toward a girl about Daniel's age. She caught his attention immediately. She had short red hair and an exciting body well displayed in a clinging green one-piece. "Play on our side, we're getting creamed here." Daniel was drawn to the girl and ducked under the line and watched the girl as she held the ball and retreated from another older boy. She tossed the ball off to another young boy who was abruptly swamped by a third person. The ball bobbed free and the older boy retrieved it. The game continued and it was clear that the older boys outclassed the girl's team. He hesitated by the rope. The girl made up his mind for him when she finally got a break and snagged the ball from the boy who had been shadowing her. She tossed it off to the boy who had bumped into him and when he was pressured he tossed it to Daniel before sinking beneath the weight of a heavy teenager. Daniel tossed it to the girl and he was part of the game.

The boys were satisfied to refer to him as "hey you", even after the girl drifted close, asked him his name and started using it with a voice that made Daniel's cock pay attention. She was Daphne and the boys were Nick and Liam. Liam looked like he might be her brother. The older boys good naturedly included him in their play until finally they tired of chasing the ball. They drifted off down the pool and Daniel shared a few words with the girl.

"What school do you go to?" Daphne had pulled herself up onto the edge of the pool and sat swishing her long legs in the water as she looked at him. Daniel would not have dared joining her for fear that she would see the tent in his trunks.

"I'm at Riverview" He saw the flash of doubt in her eyes. He was used to it. "Where do you go?"

"Dorothy Wade" She was younger than he thought. "How old are you?" Daniel flushed at the familiar thought being put into words.

"Fourteen and a half" Daniel padded the answer by a few weeks.

"I'm fourteen too. I'll be going to Riverside next year; or maybe I'll go to Edmond Campion. Where did you go to school? I mean last year." Daniel tried to maintain eye contact, but she made him shy so he kept looking down. That was worse because then he was staring at the swell of her breasts. If he dropped his gaze further he found himself fixating on the soft mound of her sex.

"7th Avenue"

"You live downtown?"

"Yes" Daniel cleared his throat striving to keep his tone level. He cast about for a topic that would keep her talking to him.

"I saw you doing laps there. Do you swim much?" Daniel blessed her for noticing.

"I like to swim. I try to swim at least once a week. It's hard to find the time though. You know, school. It takes a while to get here. You look like a good swimmer." Shit, that had been stupid. Now she would think he had been checking her out. "I mean, you did pretty well against those guys." Daphne rewarded him by pulling a leg out of the water and running a hand along the creamy smooth calf. Daniel stole a look at her crotch and caught a hint of the cleft. His cock was hard so he leaned in closer to the side and rested his hands on the side of the pool.

"You're fast. I was watching you do laps for a while. Do you compete?"

"Well my gym teacher told me I should try out; but you know how it is, I don't have enough time this year. I thought maybe next year though." No percentage in telling her he was on the run half the time. "Are you in a swim club?"

"I dive mostly" She shifted topics on him and he almost missed it while he fantasized about her diving. "I wish I was in high school. Grade eight is so boring. People are so immature." Daniel nodded his head sympathetically. "Mom and dad think Riverview is too rough. That's why they want me to go to Edmond Campion." She swung her foot down and gracefully leaned over until she was propped on an elbow. "What else do you like to do?" Daniel was flattered by her attention.

"Oh I don't know, I guess I do lots of stuff. I played football this year."

"We went to watch a couple of games. You guys were really good. You won the city didn't you?" Daniel only wished. He had to confess she had been watching the varsity team. The freshman had not done well.

"We pretty much sucked." Daniel blushed. "Maybe next year" he hoped. He thought for a moment and asked her what she liked to do. He kept her talking for a while by either agreeing with her, or asking for explanations. Daniel had been prepared to listen to a string of girl stuff: chick flicks, boy bands and the like. He found it easy to talk to her and as they shared information his erection faded and his interest grew. She was really cool. He would have liked to have her email address. It was all spoiled when her brother and his friend joined them. Liam and Nick deflected Daphne's attention and Daniel was sidelined. He listened to her talk with her brother. She kept trying to swing the conversation back to him only to have one or the other boys demand her attention again. Finally Daniel noticed the friend, Nick eyeing him. He met the boy's stare with a friendly smile.

"Are you a freshie like my brother?"

"Why do you ask?"

"Those guys over there said they knew you." Daniel turned around and looked in the direction Nick had pointed. He didn't recognize the one boy, but the other was Jake. His heart sank. He was safe enough for now, but things might be bad later. He turned back to Daphne with what he hoped was an unconcerned attitude. "They're waving at you." Daniel weighed the odds. They were stacked against him, everything was in the change room and the seniors must know it.

"I'll be back in a minute" He pushed off and with a series of powerful strokes glided across the pool to the waiting twelfth graders. He decided to stay out of arm's reach and treaded water in the deeper end of the pool. "Hey guys"

"You're swimming in our pool kid. I think you owe us something."

"He's Denver Hawk's freshie" Jake added for the benefit of other senior.

"What do you want?"

"See you have a little pussy action going there. Working on a little bit of tail?" Daniel didn't reply to that. "Well we can respect that; nothing wrong with polishing the old torpedo when you get a chance."

"We'll give you some space, but you have to connect with us at 8:00 in the locker room. Is it a deal?" Daniel glanced at the clock. It was a crowded pool and the change room was fairly open. Daniel eyed Jake before replying.


"Give us your locker key so we know you won't duck out." Daniel reluctantly passed over his key to the unfamiliar senior trying to keep out of Jake's reach before he swam slowly back to Daphne and the boys. They talked for a while longer, but Daniel's heart was not in it. At 8:00 he reluctantly made an excuse and headed to his locker. He had thought about other girls from time to time. It was impossible not to notice the pretty ones. Some would flirt with him and he liked the casual way people kissed each other at Denver's gatherings. He realized he had been seriously attracted to Daphne. When he looked back she was back in the water splashing with her brother and his friend. She saw him looking and gave him a wave. He lifted his hand in reply.

It was the first time he had realized that being with Mandy took this kind of effort. He had wanted to ask Daphne out. He really wanted to get to know her better. It hit him suddenly that he had choices. There were other girls beside Mandy. Simon told him that girls were like busses, there was always another one down the street. Daniel realized Simon was right. He spent so much time worrying that he would lose Mandy to some tenth grader that it never occurred to him that he might find someone just as nice; someone who would care for him just as much as he cared for her.

Daniel paused at the men's change room and thought about going back. He could at least give Daphne his email address. They could stay in touch, maybe get together. If they liked each other it might get interesting. He was tempted. Sometimes you reach a fork in the river and you get a chance to decide which way you are going to go. That had happened to him one summer. They were ahead of the rest and they didn't know which way they were supposed to go. After some discussion they went right and found themselves in heavy rapids. They rested after the white water to wait for the other canoes. Eventually the four canoes had come together and Daniel and his partners had learned the rest had followed a safer route. But it had also been longer. Sometimes you accidentally make the right choice. But what if the other way had been just the same, or even better? Daniel realized you can not always know. He had turned his canoe. Daniel regretfully let her go.

He walked into the humid change room uncertain about the next few minutes. There were plenty of people in the change room. Dads helping their little boys change, boys laughing and joking together. There was nobody at his locker and he felt a flash of panic; what if they had taken his coat and clothes? He checked the locker. It was still locked. Daniel leaned against the metal and considered his options. He felt stupid standing there while people walked by. It was embarrassing standing there while people walked by naked. They probably thought he was checking them out. He sat down on the bench and stared at the locker. At some point in time he would have to tell someone he had lost his key.

He was startled when a hand slapped his shoulder. The two seniors stared down at him and he tried to judge their intentions. They finally hemmed him in and Jake sat down close to him. Daniel sighed, "Its January aren't you tired of this? I am." Jake put a hand on his thigh. "What do you want?"

"You're hot" Daniel had been afraid of that. The twelfth grader let his calloused hand slide up toward Daniel's crotch. Daniel put his hand on his leg to stop the advance.

"I'm fourteen"

"Sweet meat"

"We're in a locker room, give me a break. Have a heart Jake. People are watching."

"Give me a kiss and I'll go away."

"Why don't you just beat me up? Okay?"

"What fun would that be? How about taking a shower with us?"

"No way"

"It's a long way home Danny."


"It's a long way home Daniel and it's a long time till June." He put his hand on Daniel's hand and squeezed it gently. "You're the freshie and I'm the senior. You know the rules. You're dirt and we're your gods. You need to worship me Daniel."

The other senior decided to contribute to the conversation. "Well, maybe we just take his shorts and throw him into the pool." Daniel blanched; they would do it too. He could imagine Daphne watching as they manhandled him. He had grown since June, but he figured the two seniors would easily win the contest.

"Blow me" Jake laughed suddenly. He reached over and kissed Daniel on the cheek. Daniel flinched away before scanning the room for an audience.

"Let's move to somewhere private." He grabbed Daniel's bicep and pulled him up. It wasn't rough, but Daniel found them propelling him toward the toilet stalls. Jake's companion shadowed them on the other side.

"Is this a good idea Jake? Can't you keep it in your pants until later? What are you going to tell Shannon ?" Jake pushed Daniel against the metal partition and turned to his friend.

"What, are you planning to tell her Nehru? Should I tell Rajani about the little bitch you nailed New Year's Eve?"

"Bhonsri-waalaa; No dude, I'm just saying... he's a little dude..." Jake shoved Daniel through the door and into the stall. He came up against the partition and turned around. He needed a way out of this that wasn't going to involve taking a beating. "Aw man now what am I supposed to do?"

"Just watch the door for a while."

"Ing ge pan di kut the" Jake stepped in and Daniel watched while the door was ominously locked. He shifted along the wall as Jake moved toward him and sat on the toilet. Daniel ended facing him with his back against the door. He watched the older boy unconscious of the way he pressed his back and hands against the metal. It helped to control his trembling. Jake sat hunched forward considering him. Daniel realized his chest hurt a little. It never occurred to him to call for help. The protracted silence finally got to him and he drew a ragged breath.

"You can take me to freshie court or whatever, but I'm not going to do anything for you." Jake looked into his eyes and Daniel had to shift his gaze to the worn cinderblock wall behind Jake's head. The senior slowly reached out and grabbed the front of Daniel's trunks. He pulled Daniel gently toward him, placing his hands on baggy material covering his thighs. The ninth grader froze. He submitted to Jake's touch as the senior slipped a hand under his trunks and followed his thigh up to his ass.

"The thing is Daniel, you are hot. Do you even know how hot you are? That red head wasn't the only girl checking you out. You don't get it do you? I remember the party in June. I watched you give that prick a blow job when he wouldn't go down on you. You know what I thought?"

"No" Daniel's voice was almost inaudible. Jake swiftly checked his face and flashed a smile. Daniel did not feel hot. He felt small and vulnerable.

"I thought the kid was stupid not to take his chance." Jake tugged at Daniel's swim trunks and suddenly Daniel was exposed to the senior. Jake grabbed his ass with both hands and pulled him closer. "I remember your sweet dick. Shit, its beautiful Daniel." Daniel looked down at himself. His cock seemed to reach straight out toward Jake's lips. His balls jumped a little when Jake sucked his cock deep into his mouth. The senior nibbled and tongued his cock a moment before letting it slip between his lips. "Sweet" Jake nuzzled under his growing erection and kissed his balls. Daniel reflexively thrust his groin forward. The moist lips and darting tongue excited him. Jake nipped his shrunken sack and Daniel murmured an exclamation and put his hands on the Jake's shoulder to steady himself. His cock was hard now and it rubbed against Jake's nose.

For the next five minutes Jake alternately played with Daniel's throbbing cock and tight sack. Daniel tried to stifle his involuntary gasps. Finally, as Daniel's chest heaved and his legs trembled, the senior settled on his cock drawing it deep into his throat. Daniel had had enough. With a low moan he began pumping his semen into the waiting mouth. It felt good. He did not mind when Jake held his cock between his lips and seemed to suck the final drops of semen from him.

Jake finally let him go and pushed him away. Daniel wasn't sure what was going to happen next. He knew Jake might expect him to return the favor and he did not look forward to it. Instead, Jake fondled his crotch once before pushing past him to the door. As Daniel scrambled to pull his trunks up Jake opened the door, he turned and handed Daniel his locker key and commented "see you next week maybe" and left him. Daniel straightened his trunks and found himself facing Arlo.

Daniel stood looking at him with a surprised expression. His hands were holding his swimming trunks. Arlo had heard the sounds from inside the stall as had a number of other people in the change room. The senior at the door had frightened Arlo away, but he had stayed close, driven by a curiosity about who the seniors had trapped. In point of fact, he had thought it was Laine. Laine's brother Nick was about and Arlo knew the brothers were close and he had accompanied them to the pool before. Daniel stepped out and seemed to shrink a little when he noticed the stare of a man helping his son to change. The man looked at Daniel pointedly and then shifted between the ninth grader and the small boy. Daniel turned away toward a section of lockers. Arlo followed after. Daniel had not said anything. He had not even really acknowledged Arlo's presence. Arlo watched him open his locker and then sit on the bench as if in thought. Arlo understood. He sympathized with Daniel's embarrassment. Daniel was shy about his homosexuality. His friend never referred to their love making. Arlo leaned against the open locker and watched his best friend. Arlo's cock pushed against the thin fabric of his Speedo. Daniel noticed the length of him and buried his head in his hands. Arlo shared the sexual tension Daniel felt and thought he should say something.

"It's okay. Sometimes you just have to go for it. I know." Daniel glanced at him with an expression Arlo could not read. "I understand man."

"Don't talk about it." Daniel reached for a towel and glanced at the shower room.

"You should have phoned me, I would have come earlier."

"I was just swimming laps."

"Well, I would have hung out with you."

"You hate swimming laps." Daniel seemed distracted. He found his cell phone and called his senior. Arlo frowned when Daniel ignored him. Daniel leaned against the wall with his back to Arlo and spoke in a low voice. His smooth back was a graceful curve mounted on a hard butt. Arlo wanted to run his hands across Daniel's broad shoulders. When Daniel was done he took a t-shirt and slipped it on. Arlo did not understand Daniel's distance. Maybe he was still embarrassed about being caught making out with someone else.

He studied Daniel while his friend turned his back slightly and pulled his trunks off. Daniel's ass caught his attention and he was disappointed when Daniel finally covered it. Daniel turned back as he zipped his fly. His eyes settled on Arlo for a moment before he sat to dry his feet and pull his socks and runners on. "Look Arlo, I'm sorry I didn't call you. I just wanted to get back into the pool again. This is the first time I've been jumped since New Years. I guess I've just been lucky so far."

"You've been coming for a while?"


"What's with you Daniel, we used to hang out all the time."

"It's not like that man, I keep to myself."

"You hang with Simon."

"Not much; we have a class together. I have a class with you too. Look, it's just easier to deal with everything if I don't have my friends around." Daniel did not have to explain. Arlo had seen his embarrassment when he came out of the stall. Daniel frustrated him all the time now. They were best buds; Daniel should know Arlo would understand. They had history between them. "I've got to go now, someone's picking me up." Arlo watched as Daniel stuffed things in a small bag and grabbed his coat.

"Will you call me?" Arlo remembered when they would talk on the phone or computer every night.

"Sure, but you are hard to get a hold of yourself sometimes." Daniel sounded defensive again. Arlo was in his own orbit now. Donald's orbit he guessed. Arlo stopped Daniel with a hand.

"Is he good to you? Are you happy with him?"

"What are you talking about?"

"Your senior, Denver "

"It's not like that man, what made you say that?" Daniel backed away from his hand and looked around. "Look, I have to wait for him outside. He's probably here now. I'll see you in class tomorrow." He turned away. Arlo let him go. He sat on the bench overwhelmed by Daniel's absence. It was another moment lost. He should have reminded Daniel of their night together. That summer morning Daniel had let his mask slip and Arlo had seen the real Daniel.

The chatter of boys distracted Arlo. It was Nick and a red headed boy. Nick had not noticed him and he was not certain that the ten-year old remembered him. It might have been Daniel and him in grade six, hanging out at the pool on a winter evening. He watched them as they left the shower and moved over to the far lockers. The two boys pulled loose t-shirts over their bodies before self consciously stripping their bathing suites off. Their shirts hung low and the boys revealed as little as they could. Arlo's locker was nearby so he rolled his Speedo off and walked over to the boys. Their chatter died to a whisper when he approached them and he smiled to himself. The boys took sidelong glances at his naked torso. The red head seemed about Keith's age, maybe I'll be your senior in a few years. Arlo took his time changing.


Higher education, Wednesday, January 26 th

Daniel was not certain this was the right thing to do. He didn't feel comfortable. He hugged himself as he stood at the end of the pool. The university pool was not that busy, mostly men and women working out. He was the only high school student there and he felt like everyone was staring at him. He dived into the cool water and started down the length of the pool. It had been his mother's idea. She had not questioned his reluctance to return to the YMCA.

Daniel found a quiet corner and self consciously began some upper leg stretches. He had been trying to improve his flip turns and kick recovery. He laced one leg back and then slowly bent forward. He could feel stretching force concentrate on the forward leg. The weight of his body stretched the leg. There was still some pain in his ribs where a senior had punched him the week before. It was sharp and for a moment he forgot to keep breathing. He ended his stretch with his hands on the ground. After a few minutes he switched to the other leg.

The stark pool with its cavernous ceiling and harsh lights depressed Daniel. The echoes of voices mingled with the roiling water; he could almost hear his grandfather's voice and as he lifted his head free he half expected to see his face, side stroking beside him. But he wasn't there and the voices in the water were indifferent to his effort. Daniel completed his lap and slapped the water as he pulled into his curl, slipped under the water and pushed himself away from the wall with a strong thrust. He liked the turns. It had been a good turn, but after two powerful strokes he rolled on his back and drifted.

Daniel couldn't remember the first time he had come to the pool. Until he was eight it had been a weekly ritual. Water licked at his face and muffled voices whispered in his ears. They spoke to his loneliness. He was suddenly swamped by a passing swimmer. It was his life: adrift on a turbulent sea, working to stay afloat until despite his efforts he might be pulled under without warning. He glanced around to see who had hit him and realized he needed to keep moving. What was Daphne doing right now? He sighed mentally and tried to clear his mind; three laps before you slack off kid.

He would not see Daphne again unless he saw her next year. She would be the freshie then. They might hang out. He could not go back to the YMCA though. Daniel thought he would never forget the look in that father's eyes or the way he had shielded his son from Daniel. When people knew you did gay stuff they hated you. Jake would be there and Daphne's brother would be the one to notice next time, or the East Indian dude would carry out his plan to drop Daniel naked in the pool. Then too he did not want to hang out with Arlo. Daniel did not notice when he started his fourth lap.

He finally paused and pulled himself out of the pool. There was nowhere to sit so he dropped beside the wall and propped his chin on his knees. The air was thick but somehow the winter cold managed to touch him and he shivered. His attention was caught by the loud laughter of four men at the end of the pool. Daniel judged them to be swimmers by their light sculpted builds. One of them did not seem much older than Denver. Daniel slid his palm along the fine hair dusting his calf and pressed his knees together. One of the men was dark with a pelt that covered his chest and legs. His beard was tight and clean. The man touched one of his companions on the back. It seemed to linger there a while. The other caught the hand briefly as it fell in an almost unconscious acknowledgement. They're gay, though Daniel. It was possible; he considered that they were just fooling around like he did. Being gay was a completely different matter. Being gay meant you were going to be with guys for the rest of your life. The two men moved closer together as they chatted with the others. They were probably gay, Daniel concluded. When you get that old you get serious about sex. Not for the first time he wondered what it would be like being gay. Daniel was slightly impressed by the two men. They didn't seem concerned about who might be watching. Daniel wondered if the other two were gay as well. He shifted his attention to the youngest one and blushed when their eyes connected. How long had he been staring at the men?

He grabbed his feet with both hands and pulled them toward his groin. Conscious of the four men, he kept his head lowered as he pressed for about 30 seconds before relaxing. He repeated it for a while as he listened to the men banter back and forth. The four of them were not exactly having a gay conversation. Finally Daniel stood and pulled a foot closer to his buttocks.

Daniel went back to the edge of the pool. He was conscious of his thin, smooth body. He felt very awkward as he stretched on the edge of the pool and then bent over. He stood up again quickly when he realized the four men had joined him at the edge of the pool. He had always felt at home in the university pool when he came with his grandfather. Now he felt out of place. The men were still joking about a class one of them was taking. The bearded man's boyfriend, as Daniel identified him, hated his teacher and didn't like the class. The exchange might have been made in the Riverview cafeteria. They might have been ten years older, but they suddenly seemed familiar to him. Daniel tried to ignore the distraction and concentrated on his stance again. He closed his eyes for a moment and felt a sense of defeat. He would not be ready for next year. Everyone else was getting coaching and he was just doing the same thing he had done for the last two years. The men let him go first, but his pace was immediately thrown off by their entries and the sudden surge of water that assaulted him as they pulled past him. He tried to dismiss them from his mind and relax into his own rhythm; instead he found himself in a futile race with the four men. Eventually they lapped him, but he doggedly continued swimming. He swam well past the time when he had intended to stop. He willed his body to be stronger, more controlled as it knifed through the water. As his muscles tired he realized that one of the men had slowed his pace and begun to swim beside him. They took the flip-turns at the end of each end of the pool in a synchronized movement and Daniel found he enjoyed the company. His companion stayed with him for two laps until; finally, at the end of the pool, Daniel took the turn and came up conscious that his accidental partner had not continued. He ended his glide by rolling on his back and let himself drift. He was suddenly very tired. He hadn't worked out that hard for a long time and his body felt it. After he lost his momentum he ducked his head back into the water and swept the loose strands of hair clear. The university student who had paced him was leaning on the edge as the bearded one's friend bent to talk. Daniel glanced at the clock. His mom would not be outside the building for another half hour. He felt worn out and a little let down. It was lonely without someone to talk to. Well, he was supposed to be there for the training. Bringing a friend would pretty much screw that up. Swimming with the men had been what he needed. He needed a prod. He would have swum longer if the man had wanted to. The other three men did not seem to be serious about swimming. There seemed to be a discussion and then the young man let one of others lift him out of the water. Daniel admired his body as it broke free. He was more compact than Denver. Girls would like him; unless he was gay. If he was gay then boys would like him. He was handsome Daniel admitted to himself. The young man tugged once at the front of his suit to free the clinging fabric.

Daniel swam to the side, occasionally side stepping a swimmer. After he left the pool he pulled the clinging fabric away from his crotch. The gesture reminded him of the young man and he chanced a glance. The man was watching him again. He turned away and headed for the change room. He wanted to pick the suit away from his butt, but he still felt the man's eyes on him. They had made a connection.

Daniel scouted out the shower rooms. There were three. Two old men covered in soap stood naked in one. Three students occupied another. Daniel avoided them and chose the empty third. Older males made him nervous and the trio looked enough like high school seniors to make him wary. He could hear their chatter from around the wall; meaty jocks bragging about their lifts. They sounded like Chris's senior.

Daniel left his towel on the bar and slipped the bar of soap out of the Zip Lock bag. Washing the chlorine off was a habit he had discarded in September. Change rooms scared him now. He would not have been able to step into the room with the three men whose laughs bounced around the old room. Reassured by the solitude of the third shower he decided he could chance a quick shower. The water pressure was stronger than the school's and it was hot. It felt good after the hard swim. He used the bar to soap his hair and let the water beat on his shoulders.

He should still feel sad. The shower room was as full of the past as the pool had been. His grandfather had insisted they wash after swimming. Daniel would chatter away as his mind shifted from one thought to another. The old man had always listened. The whole building was pungent with memories and the random sounds of water hitting the old tiles whispered, he is gone, you are alone. Instead, Daniel felt contented. The hot water seemed to wash his cares away. His school work was up to date. It was Thursday and Mandy had talked him into coming over to her place for a gathering on Friday. If he made it through the next day he could say it had been a good week. Well, Tuesday he had his juice box squirted on his shirt; but Nolan had given up trying to lock him in his locker. He was too big now. He sighed unconsciously as he turned and let the needles sting his chest. He was still alone so after a glance toward the quiet rows of lockers he slipped his suit off and wrung it out. After he had hung it on the knob he stepped back from the stream and began soaping himself in a lazy pattern covering the contours of his body. Daniel liked the feel of the water pounding on his belly and groin. It wasn't a place to play, but out of habit he turned away from the heavy flow while he soaped his groin.

Daniel heard the men before he saw them. He clutched the bar of soap. He was covered in lather so it would not be a simple matter to escape before they invaded his privacy. His hopes that they would join the other three men were dashed as they invaded his solitude. There were plenty of shower heads in the room. They should keep their distance he thought. Guys do not stand next to each other unless there is no other room. He kept his eyes on the tile wall as they seemed to flank him on either side. I'm not a freshie, he thought; still, it was hard to shake the feeling that they would bully him. He wanted to get away, but instead he played with the soap and stepped back under the water.

"Come back to our place Cam. It's early." Daniel's eyes flicked over to the bearded man. He had a flash of his impressive cock.

"I'm heading over to the library man." Cam was his swimming partner. He was across the shower room. Daniel could not resist turning slightly so that he could see him. Like the others, he had taken his suit off. Daniel captured a memory of the young man stretched back under the flow of water with his eyes closed. When the man brought his head forward Daniel quickly turned back to the wall. "I'm beat anyway. I need to find some coffee and put in a few hours before I crash." Daniel slipped the slick bar of soap back into the Zip Lock bag and prayed it would not fall off the knob when he balanced it carefully on his suit. He was a Daniel-fly on the wet wall hoping the four men would ignore him.

"You can study on the weekend." Daniel realized he would have to turn around while he cleaned his back. He couldn't resist looking at Cam as he turned. Their eyes met again and a flustered Daniel tried to focus on the far wall. It was really dumb. They were just showering and the men had no interest in him. He leaned his head back and focused on the rush of hot water. He should not let this freshie shit beat him down. "What about you Jason? We can grab some pizza and play a few hands."

"I'm broke Allen." Daniel turned back to the wall after a last look at Cam.

"I guess it's just you and me Mark." The familiar name caught Daniel's attention and he turned toward the man beside him. The boyfriend had joined Allen under the shower and Daniel caught them as they kissed. It was like watching Mark and Denver, only somehow it felt different. They were men. It was not boys trying things out, it was for real. He turned away embarrassed by their open display.

"Save it for later guys." Cam's voice was quiet. The younger man, Mark, broke the kiss and snorted at his friend.

"What's the problem?" There was a silence in the shower room for a moment and Daniel buried his face in the hot stream. Mark moved away from Allen and stepped back under his own shower. "Lighten up Evans." The moment left a heavy silence. Daniel felt like an intruder. He hurried through the rest of his shower and left without another look at the four men.

Daniel retreated back to the shabby green locker where he had stored his things. It was then he remembered his suit and soap. He sat on the bench and dabbed at his damp body. He cast his mind back and could not think of a time he had ever been that close to a real gay couple. He supposed they were out there and he had always joked about it with his friends. This Mark and Allen were a different order of things.

Daniel realized he never thought much about life after high school. He supposed he would go to university. His grandfather would want him to. After that, who knew? He was just trying to get to tenth grade at the moment. You studied, you got a job, and you dated until you married. It was just normal stuff. It all ended with a girl like his mom. Till then you had some fun. Sex was great no matter how you get it. As long as nobody found out, it was okay. You did not want strangers knowing you did stuff like that. You did not want your girl friend or, God help you, your mom, finding out you did stuff like that. Denver would probably leave Mark and go back to Beth. Denver would get married some day. Daniel would stop all this stuff in June when the seniors finally got off his back. Once he had sex with Mandy he would not think he needed guys. That made him pretty normal he thought. Only maybe sometimes it did not end up that way.

Mark said he was gay. That basically meant Mark thought he was going to be turned on by guys for the rest of his life. He would be that other Mark kissing guys in a shower and doing other things. Men kissing in the shower stepped over the line. Daniel's cock twitched at the memory and he realized he needed to put his clothes on. Daniel said these things to himself but his body kept making him step over this line everyone told him he should respect. The argument was consuming much of Daniel's free time these days.

"Hey, I think you left these in there." Daniel finished zipping his pants up and looked at the soap and suit in the man's hand. He was not sure what to say so he met the man's eyes briefly before gingerly accepting his things. He ended up dropping them next to his sweat shirt. He chanced another look as he sat to retrieve his socks and shoes. The young man had turned to lean his back against the locker. He had wrapped a towel around his slim waist. Daniel had no difficulty imagining the rest. Daniel busied himself drying his feet. "Do you swim with a club?"

Daniel cleared his throat "No."

"Well it just looked like you knew what you were doing." Daniel was not sure why it was hard to talk with the man. He simply shrugged his shoulders torn between his privacy and his curiosity about Cam. "You should try out for your school team."

"Yeh, well, thanks. I was in Track, but it didn't work out." He stopped fiddling with his feet. "I thought if I could get back in shape I could try out next year. I didn't feel like it this year." After that it was easier to talk to Cam. "Are you on a swim team?"

"No, I was last year. I'm not sure I could make it here."

"You're pretty good. I wish I was that fast."

"You have a good turn. Your start could be stronger."

"What do you mean?" Daniel picked up his sweatshirt, but in the humid change room he did not feel like putting it on.

" You want to get off the blocks as powerfully as possible. I use my arms to help pull my body off the blocks. " Cam waved his hands around for emphasis. Daniel did not think the man worked out. Daniel envied his muscled body and trail of hair leading up to his chest. He noticed stubble on the man's face. " You let your legs push at the same time that your arms are pulling backwards on the block. " Cam stopped his explanation suddenly, tucked his hands behind his back and stared at Daniel for a moment. " Your body just sort of rockets forward, I'm sorry they freaked you out. " Cam's voice dropped a little as he said this.


"Back there in the shower. They just got together; all over each other, all the time. They didn't even notice you."

"It's nothing. I've got friends at school. They are like that." Daniel smiled a little and the young man smiled back. "I'm Daniel."

"Cam Evans" Cam held out his hand as he said it and Daniel reached over to grasp the strong fingers. The interest that had started by the pool and grown in the shower flared as they held the connection. The man was the first to pull away.

"I should work out, get into a weight room and build some muscle."

"No you're in great shape." Daniel blushed "You're what, fifteen?"

Daniel almost lied to him, "fourteen" He became conscious of his thin torso and pulled the sweatshirt over his head.

"Really? Well, you shouldn't worry. At your age you should just strengthen by using your own body weight. Just do calisthenics. Don't push yourself too hard; try light weights. Don't try to buff up your arms and chest. So you mean some of your friends are gay? "

"I guess. Some kind of go both ways if you know what I mean. I have some free weights in my room. It's hard to get into the school weight room. Some of the guys at school give me a hard time."

"Hey, Evans, we're out of here." Daniel took in the three men waiting for their friend.

"I'll catch you later." Cam turned back to their conversation. "You don't need that stuff now. Don't push it, you're still growing."

"Do you swim much?" Daniel wondered if there was a chance he could swim with him another time.

"What, do you mean here at the pool?"

"Do you do it regularly?" He felt awkward now. His interest was too obvious. The exchanges in the pool and shower couldn't be ignored now. Daniel hid his confusion behind fussing with his coat and the bag for his things. His damn body was skipping past that line again.

"Well I have not been. It's hard with classes and studying. Do you come here regularly?" God damn it, Daniel cursed, he was using an old Yoshi bag.

"I can get a ride Wednesdays. I was going somewhere else, but I thought I'd start coming here." He pushed the bag behind him where he hoped Cam would not notice.

Cam shifted to leave, "Maybe I'll see you again. We could practice your starts."

Daniel flashed him a smile. "That would be cool." They stood for a few heart beats looking at each other. Cam finally turned away and Daniel watched his confident stride. Maybe coming to the university had been a good idea after all. Daniel walked toward the south entrance. He had about ten minutes to wait. Cam was a little like Denver. They both left him feeling comfortable about himself. Cam had not seemed to be with the other man. Daniel watched the snow drifting past the lamp by the street. He wondered if Cam was gay.


(to be continued)


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