Hi guy's!! Well here it is! The looooong awaited new chapter. Thanks for all the wonderful emails on the last chapter!!! And thanks for all those who wrote asking why the hell it was taking so long to get this one done!

Well, this one was difficult to get right, dealing with delicate subject matters. I have to give A TON of credit to my editor Jayne Finn, and The Pecman, cuz without their input and objective criticisms, I would have had a FAR LESS cohesive and satisfying chapter-- but at least I can blame them for part of the time it took to re-write scenes! LOL Thank you SO much guys!!!!

And, as you can see, this is in html. Another HUGE THANK YOU to Jayne for turning me on to this amazingly easy and free html program!!!!! It has its limitations-- worst thing is song lyrics and poems get line spaces between each line, but it gives me italics, and it couldn't be easier! For those interested, it's called "Rough Draft" 2.11, free, but donations are definitely appreciated. Go to Richard Salsbury's Home Page to download.

Also, this chapter contains scenes of drug use, so if that bothers you, skip this one-- actually, skip the whole story. I AM NOT advocating the use of drugs of any kind! I draw from my own experiences in high school to create the atmosphere and setting in this story, and in fact, went to high school just down the road from where this story takes place, and in the same years. This story is pure fiction and no, I was not like Danny at all. (Some of you have asked.) Anyway, I'm just reflecting a scene that was reality at the time for my peers and I.

Thanks for your patience! I sure hope it was worth the wait! ENJOY.....

See chapter's 1-4 for usage and distribution rights, and all that "If it's illegal to read this where you are blah blah blah..." stuff.



"Do you ever get the feeling that the story's too damn real and in the, present tense?

And that everybody else is on the stage and you're the only other, person, sitting in the audience?

Skating away, skating away, skating away on the thin ice of the new day..." Jethro Tull, "Skating Away"

"Uh, nothing, mom. I just wanna go to bed."

"What do you mean, nothing? Did you get in a fight? Are you ok? What happened?" She fired the questions like bullets, boring into my eyes.

And my eyes weren't ready for them.

"Mom. We'll talk about it later, ok? I just gotta go to sleep right now." I pushed gently past her and angled into my bedroom, shutting the door.

Naturally, she was concerned, and wasn't going to let it rest that easily. She opened the door and came on into my bedroom, where I stood lost in the middle of the vast floor. She touched my shirt as if to see if she could believe her eyes that it was ripped, and inspected my face, to see if I had bruises, I suppose. She pulled off the yellow gloves and sat the Comet and brush down on my desk.

Her tone softened to comforting concern, "Danny, what happened? Did you and your new friend get in a fight?"

I turned away from her and rolled my eyes. I new I had to give her something to go on now, or she wouldn't let it go. "Yeah. We had a fight, kinda. Don't worry, Mom, it wasn't a fist fight or nothin' like that."

"Then how did your shirt get ripped, and dirt get on the back?"

"Um, I was... Jerry... I don't remember how the shirt..." I trailed off, sinking fast. I thought, 'I just can't do this right now, at this moment.' My shoulders felt so heavy.

"Danny, I want to know what happened. The first time you spend the night-- two nights-- at a friend's house and you come home like this? What happened?" She moved around in front of me and felt my forehead, mainly to get me to look at her.

"It... I can't, Mom." I was on the verge of crying, fighting it with all my might. "I can't."

"Danny, you'll feel better if you talk about it to me. Remember how we used to talk? We can tell each other anything. Tell me what happened, please."

"I can't talk about it, Mom. I'm sorry. I just can't tell-- I just can't talk about it, ok? I'm sorry."

"About your friend? Danny, you need to talk about it. I'll understand. Please, Danny,"

She moved us toward my bed and sat us down, her arm around my shoulder, her hand on my knee.

"What did this boy do to upset you so badly?"

"NOTHING MOM!" I struggled free of her grasp, and laid half on the bed, face down. "Not now, please. I can't talk about it now, I just can't. I'm so tired."

She laid her hand on my arm, gently squeezing, "Ok, Danny, get some rest. We can talk about it later." She stood up, leaned down and kissed my cheek. I heard her retreat, and the door shutting quietly. I got my shoes off, but didn't even have the energy to get undressed; I was out like a light in seconds.

Something didn't feel right. I got up and went to the bathroom, in just my briefs, feeling awkward and numb. I peed and went to the sink to wash up. As I turned the water on, I glanced in the mirror and saw a large gaping hole in my chest.

"When did that happen?" I asked myself out loud. I looked again and saw that it was where my heart should be-- and that I had no pulse-- and I panicked. I turned my head to yell, keeping my eyes on the mirror and the hole in my chest,

"MOM! Have you seen my heart?"

No response. I stepped over and opened the door to yell again. It opened into the shower room of the gym at Jerry's house, and there he was, standing naked under one of the sprays, with his back to me, busy doing something. I walked toward him to see what he was doing. He glanced around at me and turned himself so he'd remain facing away,

"I'll be done in a minute, Danny. Go work out or something-- you're so weak."

"I don't have time, I'm looking for my heart. What're you doing?" I just knew I should see what it was he was doing.

"Oh, just washing this clean," he kept angling away from me.

"Washing what clean?"

"It's nothing, Danny. Would you tell my mom I'll be done in a minute?"

"What are you washing, Jerry?" I reached out and grabbed his arm, pulling myself around in front of him and saw my still beating heart in his hands. He was washing the blood off of it.

"It's nothing, Danny, just your heart." He sounded annoyed that I was bothering him.

"H-how did you get it?"

"You gave it to me, don't you remember?" he had sarcasm in his voice, and a smug look on his face as he looked at me out of the corner of his eye.

"But you didn't want it!" I said with tears running down my face.

"There you go again, Danny, always crying! You're such a fucking baby!" he said with contempt as he turned away from me again. I watched his back muscles ripple with his movements and wondered, 'What's going on here?'

I slid myself around on the tiles in front of him again and tried to grab my heart out of his hands,

"Give it back! I need it!"

He held it up out of reach, "Mom! Danny's trying to take his heart back!"

Mrs. Loring came in the shower room, dressed to impress, in stiletto heels and a knockout jacket and skirt combo in icy blue to match her eyes. She stopped just inside and stared me down with that arctic gaze that made my blood coagulate. I felt myself shrink to four feet tall.

"Danny! Why do you insist on making trouble? What's your DEEP SEATED PROBLEM?!" She asked, in an almost hysterical voice.

"I..." I mumbled and looked down at the tiles, watching the blood of my heart wash down the drain.

"Why don't you go lie on the workout bench, and we'll have a psychoanalysis session. Let's see if we can get to the root of your problem-- it'll only take a few minutes," she added calmly.

"But..." I mumbled and looked everywhere but at her. Jerry-- completely comfortable with his nakedness in front of her-- was still washing my heart off, and when I looked to my left, I saw theatre seats, with my mom and dad, my aunt and grandpa, sitting there watching us as if watching a play.

As I looked, I saw there were others in the seats around them: Ron and Rachel Green were giving me thumbs up's. Mr. Janke was sitting there in only his boxer shorts, playing with himself through the cloth, grinning at me. And there were other teachers I'd had a bond of some sort with over the years, and a couple of other people I didn't recognize. There was a girl and a longhaired blonde guy bouncing in their seats, waving their arms and smiling at me, along with some old friends from other places I'd lived.

Everyone in the seats began yelling warnings at me: "Don't do it!" "Don't let her get inside your head!" "You be careful around her, Danny!" "I wouldn't go in there if I were you!"

I looked down and I was naked-- and still four feet tall, with the big bloodless hole in my chest. I didn't know what else to do and didn't have time to be embarrassed, so I lunged for my heart and Jerry laughed as he tossed it to his mom. She caught it and held it out at arms length, examining it.

"Well, it's not much to look at, but if Jerry wants it..." She said with contempt, arching her perfect eyebrows.

"IT'S MINE!" I yelled, and the crowd went wild, everyone yelling, rooting for me.

I ran toward Mrs. Loring, my bare feet slipping and sliding on the tiles, trying to grab my heart. Just as I made it to her, she tossed it back to Jerry. He laughed and tossed it up in the air, acting like he wasn't going to catch it, then darting his hand out at the last second, snatching it before it fell. The crowd let out a collective "Ooohh."

"You're gonna drop it!" I yelled in a panic as I tried to run to catch it if he missed.

"Can I keep this awhile? I just wanna play with it," he grinned.

He tossed it up in the air again. All eyes were on my heart, miles above my raised hands, hovering in the air before it started its descent. Then he snatched it out of the air and tossed it over his shoulder. It bounced off the backboard of a basketball goal that had mysteriously replaced the shower nozzle, rolling around the rim several times, finally dropping through the net, where Jerry caught it and went for a rebound. An announcer could be heard over a distorted P.A. system calling the plays,

"And Jerry Loring goes for yet another rebound! Howard, I think he's just showing off now..."

"You are a raging imbecile, Brian, this wonderkind is just exercising his God-given natural talents!"

"Yeah, but that dwarf boy is at a distinct disadvantage-- and it is his heart in play..."

"Well, Brian, ya gotta pay to play."

"Go Jerry! Don't disappoint me!" Mrs. Loring cautioned Jerry as she cheered him on.

"NO! IT'S MINE! I WANT IT BACK!" I yelled as I tried to play defense with Jerry. My arms and hands were sluggish and uncoordinated. Everyone was on their feet yelling-- sounding like a crowd of twenty thousand at a major league basketball game.

Mrs. Loring was suddenly flanking me and darting around in her stiletto heels, getting good traction on the tiles-- while I slid around clumsily-- waving her hands around to distract me for Jerry, so he could keep rebounding with my heart.

"Give it up!" Mrs. Loring said to me, "You know he's the star of the team here-- you don't stand a chance! You're so inadequate. You know you aren't good enough for my Jerry."

I was grabbing at Jerry's arms, and he yelled, "FOUL!" He stopped and looked down at me, "Look, it never happened." as he hid my heart behind his back, smiling at me, the picture of innocence on his face.

Mrs. Loring was behind me and she leaned in close and whispered in my ear: "Just remember I love you, no matter what."

"NO!!!" I sat bolt upright in bed, heaving and gasping. I instinctively felt my chest.

It was dark in the room, but there was light coming from under the door. I looked around and saw that I was safe in my own bedroom, and calmed down a little. Then the door opened and my mom stepped hesitantly in.

"Did you have a bad dream?" her silhouette asked from the light of the door. "I heard you yell."

"Oh." I was still sitting up, trying to catch my breath. "Yeah, uh, bad dream."

"Are you ok? Are you ready for some dinner? We have pot roast and potatoes," she tried to make it sound enticing. "It's nine o'clock, and you haven't eaten since at least this morning, if you ate then."

She came over and turned on the small table lamp on my nightstand. I blinked and tried to hide my trembling hands between my knees.

"You need to eat something Danny. Come on out and have some dinner, ok?" She was showing her concern, but I just didn't feel like I could deal with her, let alone my dad, right then.

"I could... Maybe I could eat a little here at my desk." I offered weakly.

"Yeah, that'd be good. Be right back," and she almost ran out of the room. She returned in less than two minutes with a heaping plate of food, and sat it on the desk. I still hadn't moved.

"Here, Danny. Come on over here and eat however much you want. If you'll eat you'll feel better."

I stepped over to my desk and acted like I was going to eat, but just stared at my food. She stood still for a moment, then left without another word. I stared at the massive pile of roast and potatoes, with all the celery and onions, smothered in gravy. It smelled good. I played with it for a minute, then took a bite. It tasted like sand. I got undressed and got in bed. I laid there in the darkness forever.

The dream played itself over and over in my head, mixed with images of Jerry holding me down in the flowerbed, nostrils flaring, "NO! Not until I know..." "Just because I don't love you, doesn't mean..." "I don't love you." "I don't love you." "I don't love you." "Can I keep this awhile?" "You're so inadequate." "Well, it's not much..." "Can I keep this awhile?" "It never happened."

I tossed and turned, unable to sleep. I was facing the wall when mom came in to take the plate away. I could picture the worried look on her sweet round face, when she saw that I hadn't eaten anything. She didn't say a word, and closed the door behind her.

"Time to get ready for school!" Mom said through the door, much too cheerfully. I didn't respond.

There was no way in hell I was going to school. After ten minutes or so, she knocked on my door, just as I heard Dad asking her where his keys were.

"On the breakfast bar by your coffee, Ben. Danny? Time to get ready for school."

"I'm not going."

She opened the door and stepped partly in. "Are you still upset? You don't want to miss school, hon."

"I'm not going today." I said with finality, to the wall. There was a long silence.

"Well ok. There's cereal and fruit in there. Eat something, Danny, ok?" She closed the door, and I heard my dad's TV repair truck start up and head out.

About a half hour later, I heard Mom start up her Buick, heading to the mall to sell clothes.

I headed down into my own little hell.

Battling The Beast

Every tear I've ever cried is swirling in a cold red tide

that's sucking all the solid ground out from beneath my feet

Struggling just to hold my ground I glimpse the beast that pulls me down

and guess I always knew someday the beast and I would meet

My soul is just a pen to hold the greedy beast within

it holds me down and clips my wings when I presume that I can fly

Teasing me with happiness, and feeding on my emptiness

it laughs because I want to think that love is not a lie

Tearing at my seams, it's wreaking terror on my dreams

and digging holes to hell too wide and deep to ever fill with love

Perching me up on the brink it tells me just to jump, don't think

and when I hesitate it offers me a friendly shove

Looking back towards the light the beast convinces me it's right

since everything was wrong about me, this was meant to be

As I fall I hear the laughter, this is what the beast was after

and of course I've always known the beast within was me

I stand on the edge of the abyss and contemplate my life. The wind howls in my ears as the immeasurably distant sunset radiates deep shimmering coral warmth to my eyes, reminding me that I have no one to share beauty with, leaving me cold. I used to dream that there was a reason for living this life. I used to dream of happiness. I was consumed by the dreaming. No longer.

I have searched and even prayed, wandering the maze of my mind for hours on end, in a desperate attempt to find any justification for this existence.

I have found none.

Loneliness is of my pulse, ever present, even when I manage to forget it for a moment. Always there, like an involuntary reflex, it seems it is the default state of my existence. I have nothing to offer anybody, nothing to offer in love-- Jerry proved that. It was so easy to let me go.

In the last four years, every birthday was just me and my parents. If I saw my eighteenth birthday, it would be the same; out to dinner and a movie or something equally friendless.

Just to have someone to talk to, just to have the ability to be able to make close friends, are things I've never known. How many times did I start to initiate a conversation with someone, and nothing would come out? I can't blame others for that. It's me, I'm the problem. I've so wanted to know what it would be like if one time, just one time, I walked into a room and even one of my peers noticed me, if just one person said "Hi Danny!" Showing they actually knew my name.

I see all the couples, holding hands and kissing, sanctioned by a world that tells me I am an affront to their eyes and a threat to their way of life, for wanting to love and be loved in my own way.

What's the use in keeping it going?

I stare into the abyss and the memories of all the pain and all the joy drift up to sidle past my mind's eye. The abacus adds them up and calculates the value, finding pain to be the clear and present winner. The qualities of joy are intense, but fleeting. Pain has a lasting quality. You can count on it. It doesn't leave. Joy will mask the pain, momentarily, but pain's tenacious nature assures me that it will always move to the front of the moment soon enough to remind me that joy is tenuous, delicate-- not really worth the effort it takes to create, or to experience it.

What of my love for Jerry? What is my love? People say that youth cannot experience true love. Most people consider first love a harmless delusion we blind ourselves with for all the wrong reasons, mostly libido. OK. Then why does it physically hurt to have my heart broken? Why does it render me nonfunctional? Why does it make me feel like I'd rather die than feel this way? How can anybody say this isn't real? How can anybody say this isn't important, or that it has less value than it would if I were older?

I feel this in every cell of my body, in every niche of my mind and every aspect of my soul.

And it's NOT just sex. Yes my physical need is ever present in my thoughts-- I acknowledge that I am a horny teenager-- but it goes much deeper than that. Much, much deeper. Jerry and I have-- had-- a deep connection. I know that connection was love, because it was so overwhelming, so intense; more profound than I would ever have dreamed it could be. Love and happiness came so fast, and were gone even faster-- well the happiness is gone, but the love remains within me, one-sided. Does my youth, or the rapid-fire nature of this milestone in my life make it less real or worthy?

"Time to get ready for school, Danny." Mom said through the door Tuesday morning.

"Ok." I moaned.

"You feelin' better today?" Dad stuck his head in the door as I was standing up, forcing me to quickly attempt to cover up my morning wood.


He hesitated, "Well, when ya get goin', you'll get with it," he smiled.

I didn't respond. He closed the door and finished getting ready for work.

I knew I couldn't get away with trying to say I was sick again, so I went ahead and got ready for school. I knew the timing of both parents, so I waited 'til Dad was gone, and went to the bus stop. I hid in a long row of Oleanders as the bus came and went. Within fifteen minutes I saw Mom's car turn the corner in the other direction. I went back home.

Back to my self-pity.

I told Jerry that day that the world doesn't want people like me to be happy. Did I choose to love a man? No. How could anybody think that I would 'choose' to live like this? How could anybody think I would choose to be rejected by the entire world?

I remember so vividly, running terrified as fast as I could, the larger boys in groups of three to five catching me, then the blows to my stomach, my face, my head. When I collapsed, kicks to my ribs, back and groin. I remember shrinking from their taunts, telling me how sick I was, what a disgusting faggot I was-- things that hurt far worse than the physical blows. I remember the abject fear in my mind, of the brutality that I couldn't understand-- because I didn't even know that I WAS this sick, less than human 'thing' they were calling me. I remember being oh so careful not to let my parents see the bruises all over my body, and trying to trivialize the black eyes and facial bruises as just "routine" teenage fights.

I remember the years after that, when I was thirteen and it began to dawn on me that I WAS INDEED the horribly sick and twisted thing they'd called me. I remember getting nauseous the night it really hit me, and crying and cursing God for making me this way.

I tried to make it not so! Oh God how I tried! I tried to deny it. I tried to think heterosexual. I tried to think of girls. I tried not to think of boys. I tried many diversions. I tried to be A-sexual, and just not think about sex at all. I tried to bury myself in academics, in non-sexual fantasy, in books, in activities, music-- but no matter what I tried, the sight of a good-looking guy taking his shirt off in the afternoon sun while mowing the grass would make me tingle, make my cock twitch and my mouth water.

I didn't choose this. I didn't choose this life. I didn't choose any of it-- and I don't have to stay for it.

Tuesday evening, as I left my room to go to the bathroom, I overheard a fragment of my parents conversation:

"Well, if that's the case, I don't know what to do..." my dad was saying.

"I don't either, but we've got to try and be ready for it if it turns out I'm right. It may be what his problem is. This whole thing is..."

I pushed on the bathroom door and they heard it squeak and stopped talking. I knew at the time that they were talking about me, and would normally have been on 'high alert' and listened through the door for the rest of their conversation; but I could have cared less at that moment. My focus was so completely trained on Jerry and my misery, that I could have overheard them discussing smothering me in my sleep and it wouldn't have made me change focus. Smothering me, in fact, would have been welcomed.

Wednesday morning I repeated the maneuver from Tuesday, and stayed home again. I couldn't possibly go to school in this state of mind, but trying to stay home 'legally' would involve way too much dealing with my parents. I had no idea if I would get caught or not, but I would handle that when and if it happened.

Well, it's down to the wire. All my little left-brain reasoning has brought me to this: Do I want to continue living this lonely, painful existence or just go ahead and check out?

All I need to think of is Jerry's face when he said "I don't love you." It was too easy for him. Is that how it goes? Is it just that easy for one person to crush another? Why should I stick around for more of that? Along with everything else about me, I think it's time to check out."

You can check out anytime you like...

There's a razor blade in the bathroom. That just seems so-- painful. I'm a wuss. I know that. I just want to die painlessly. I don't have a car to end in a spectacular drive off the Kemah drawbridge, and we don't own any guns. There are no sleeping pills in the house, just Mom's thyroid medicine and aspirin. I've heard you CAN overdose on aspirin, but it doesn't sound like a sure thing. What other options are there?

The gas! Turn the gas on and just relax. That's the way. Leave a note for Mom and Dad-- I don't want them to blow themselves up when they come home. Put the note on the front door, warning them of the gas. Tell them why I did it.

God, I know it will just devastate Mom and Dad. Even if I made it very clear that it wasn't their fault in any way, I am their only child. I hate the thought, that to end my misery, I have to cause them misery.

But this isn't about them. It's about me. I can't stand this life. I'm not going to stick around just for the sake of not hurting them. They'll get over it eventually.

What do I want to do with my last hours on earth? Nothing. I want ice cream. I'll write the note and then have some ice cream. The dreaming is over.

Dear Mom and Dad,

First of all, I want to say that I love you with all my heart. I want you to know that I know how very much you love me too. So I want to make sure you know that I have decided to take my own life for many reasons, but not one of those reasons is because of you two, or anything either of you ever did.

I'm doing this because life is just a daily torture for me. Mainly because I have known for years that I was gay. I tried so hard to deny it to myself, but I couldn't. I have felt so completely alone in this world, and so dishonest with myself and everyone else, because I couldn't tell anyone the truth about me, including you.

Last week, I fell in love with a guy-- yes the one I stayed with. They were the happiest, most wonderful two days of my entire life. I loved him and he loved me. Sunday morning, his mom came home and found us asleep together. She had a talk with him, and he came and told me it was over, to get out of his life. I can't handle that.

Between that, and the daily hell of loneliness I've lived for most of my years, I just can't go on any longer. But the main purpose of this note is to make you understand that THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT! I love you, and the only regret I feel right now is that I know how much this will hurt you both-- please forgive me. Danny

Tears slid down my cheeks as I wrote the letter-- only because I kept thinking how much it would hurt them. I folded it over and wrote in large letters on the back: HOUSE IS FILLED WITH GAS-- DON'T GO IN! READ THIS NOW. DANNY

I walked to the kitchen and found there was no ice cream. Shit.

I decided that a walk to the store would be satisfying in some strange way-- a last look at this world. I felt very pragmatic and fairly unemotional about it all. I wasn't crying anymore, I was just ready to get it over with.

I got dressed and walked out the door. It was cloudy and gloomy outside. Fitting. I walked along thinking how I was seeing it all for the last time. I saw no beauty in anything, and was thinking how I wouldn't miss it at all-- if there were any existence beyond this one to be still aware of this one in. If there was a heaven, as in the Bible, then there was a hell, and that's where you go if you commit suicide. Fine. I didn't want to be with a God who made me love men and then told me I was evil because of that, anyway.

About three doors away from Ron and Rachel's house, I started remembering Sunday morning. About that time, I saw a tan Malibu coming down the road. By the time I got to their house, I saw it was Rachel. She pulled in the driveway waving at me. I paused behind her car.

She got out and smiled cheerfully, "Danny! I'm so glad to see you! How're you doing?"

"Hi, Rachel." I managed a half-hearted smile. "Um, I..." I trailed off.

"Why don't you come inside and visit with me for a bit?" She seemed to sense something.

"Uh, I'm on my way to get some, ice cream." I mumbled and started walking away.

"Well, I have some inside, if you like cookie dough or strawberry. Why don't you come in?" She was being as persuasive as she could without being demanding. I paused, because she was so nice and I didn't want to be cold toward her,

"I uh, don't think I can be around... I'm not..." I didn't need this complication. I had a mission. I thought about how nice she had been to me and felt sad. "It was nice to have met you, Rachel. 'Bye." I turned and started walking quickly away. She trotted after me, grabbing my shirtsleeve when she caught up with me.

"Whoa, Danny." She stepped in front of me and looked at my face. I wouldn't look her in the eyes. "What's going on? What are you doing? I've seen that look before, Danny, and it scares the hell out of me. Please. Please come inside and talk to me."

"No. I can't. I have things to do. I don't feel like talking. It wouldn't do-- I have to go."

She stepped in front of me as I started around her, "Danny! You've got to talk to me! Five minutes! That's all I ask. Please, come inside." She turned me around and started us toward the house.

"Rachel, you're very nice, but there's nothing you can do for me. I need to go." I protested as she pulled me through the front door.

She pushed me down into a sofa and sat next to me. "Danny, what are you thinking? What have you been thinking about?" She had an urgency in her voice, though she was trying to sound calm.


"Danny, like I said, I've seen that look before-- on my brother Robert. I need to know what's going through your head right now."

"Rachel, I know you're trying to help, but... But you can't."

I was amazed that I was staying dry eyed. Running into her was bringing all kinds of emotions up inside me.

"Maybe I can, Danny. I helped Robert bring himself back from... Maybe I can help you too. Robert's happy now. He's in a wonderful relationship with a good man, and very glad to be alive. Danny, just talk it out with me, please," she pleaded.

She must have found some nerve in me that was still alive, getting past the flat, dark state of mind I was operating in. I didn't even remember drinking any water in the last couple of days, but I sure had a ready supply of tears, and I unloaded.

"I just can't do this anymore!" I sobbed as she wrapped her arms around me and let me cry into her bosom again.

"Oh Danny, I know it seems like it's not gonna let up, but the pain will go away after awhile. No one is worth killing yourself over, baby, no one."

"It's not just him. It's all of it. It's being so alone. It's being gay, knowing I'm hated by everyone; and then when I thought I'd found someone who loved me, he just threw me away like I didn't mean a thing to him!"

I told her about Huntsville and the taunting and beatings. I told her about the isolation. I told her about the fear of coming out to my parents or anybody. I told her about everything.

We talked for a good three hours, well into the afternoon. She told me about the gay community in Houston, and all the strides they were making in politics and how there were groups and organizations that could help, that could teach me to accept myself, and show me that I wasn't alone, that I could meet others just like me.

She told me there were newspapers and magazines for us and she would get Robert to bring some with him at the end of the month; when he and Bill were going to come for Ron's birthday party-- she insisted I come-- and I agreed to join them then. She wanted me to see a happy gay couple, who've been together for four years-- to know it was possible.

She helped me realize there were people on my side. She said she'd heard about groups forming in different cities that brought parents and friends of lesbians and gays together to help each other understand all of this. She helped me see that once I was out of high school, and no longer trapped in the same place everyday with no choices, life changes drastically. And I could go to the city and live openly if I wanted to-- the end of high school wasn't too far away, and college would be a big change too.

I left around three in the afternoon. I felt much better. I felt like I was just underneath the surface, seeing light-- where I had been down in the cold blackness when she caught me. I felt I could probably deal with all of it, over time. She made me promise to call her if I started slipping again, stuffing her phone number into my pocket. I thanked her for being such a beautiful a person, and we hugged tightly. I told her she and Ron were in my dream the other night.

That night, I didn't even cry when I thought of Jerry. I ached in my heart, but I didn't cry.

Thursday morning I faked sick again and barely got by with it, only because Dad had to leave early and Mom was running late. I just needed this one more day to get my head together.

Everything Rachel had said made a lot of sense, and gave me some hope. I was very grateful for her lifesaving intervention. Now I had to look beyond Jerry, beyond my heartbreak. I wasn't at all sure how I would get beyond that, but I knew I had to or I wouldn't make it.

First of all, I had to totally accept that I was gay. I knew I definitely couldn't function If I didn't acknowledge that to myself. I stripped out of my underwear and stood in front of the long thin mirror mounted on my closet door. I looked myself over and pointed at my face, speaking out loud,

"You are a homosexual! You are queer! You are GAY! You always have been. You've known it, and after this last weekend, there's no use trying to deny it, so just get over yourself! Things'll get better. Life can't be all that bad."

I turned my body to look at my backside. Craning my neck, I looked at my butt and thought of Friday and Saturday with Jerry. A rush went all over my body as I remembered the first time he penetrated me. I remembered the pain and I remembered the incredible pleasure-- and how I couldn't get enough,

"Made for fucking." I snickered as I flexed my cheeks, watching my bubble butt ripple and clench in the mirror. I looked up at my face,

"Ok, so Jerry doesn't want you any more, but that doesn't mean you'll never find anyone else." I used my most logical tone of voice as I turned around to see my front side again. "I know I'm nothing special, but hey, I'm not that bad either!" I almost thought I could convince myself of this if I said it with enough emphasis out loud. "I mean, if Jerry was so into me before SHE showed up, I must not be totally undesirable. Maybe I should start working out. Yeah, check into that. Gain some weight, bulk-up. Skinny-assed faggot." I sneered at myself. I twisted my hips to view my butt again, "Well, your ass is actually pretty nice. Round and firm. But the rest of you needs a lot of work."

I shot a quick glance back over my shoulder as I moved away from the mirror. I went and sat down at my desk. My somewhat lighthearted mood evaporated when I pulled the suicide note out of my poetry folder in the lower drawer and re-read it, a couple of tears making their way down my cheeks. It all just seemed so insurmountable. I wondered if I could will myself to find the desire to stay with it, to "Keep on truckin'" as they say. My whole life from about eight years old on had been so overwhelmingly lonely, and I honestly couldn't picture it getting any better,

"Because of this factor." I said aloud as I dug the porno pictures I'd found at Kmart out from their hiding place up inside the desk frame. I looked at the ragged pages, stained and faded from many a session with the sweat of my clutching fingers and palms, wrinkled from handling so much you could hardly make out some of the scenes. To think that these porn pictures had been my only hope, the sole outward expression of my identity. That thought hit me as sad. But they had been left there for me, a gesture, to say "You're not the only one." For the first time, I looked at them and didn't get an erection.

As I looked, all of the scenes became Jerry and I, reminding me-- as if I could forget for more than a minute-- that I had had real, incredible sex with a guy so beautiful and physically perfect I would never have thought I could possibly find myself with him, making love to me and saying he loved me. I wished it had never happened.

If it hadn't, I might have eventually found some equally plain and average guy and never have missed what I had been so sure I could never aquire in the first place. Now how would I ever find someone as plain and nondescript as me satisfying? Oh I know that's so superficial and shallow. I know it's what's inside that counts, and apparently, Jerry didn't have "what's inside that counts." So now I have to just accept that and forget him.

"Ok, so how do I get him out of my head? How do I move on? What the hell do I do?"

As I spoke, I thought about how it was supposed to be a sign of mental illness if you asked and answered your own questions out loud to yourself. So I didn't answer myself-- which was easy, 'cause I didn't have a clue as to how to get Jerry out of my head.

Thursday evening, when they got home, Mom and Dad ganged up on me. They caught me sitting on the edge of the bed, and sat on either side of me. I stared at the floor while dad fidgeted and started in,

"Danny, we've been trying to be patient and understanding, but this has got to stop," Dad said grimly. "You've never had any problems before, except, well, I guess back in Huntsville, when you went through that period where you wouldn't go to school, and were getting in fights."

`No,' I thought, 'I didn't "get into" fights-- I tried to get away, but couldn't out run them. And I never told you why it happened.' He put his hand on my knee, as he sat too close to me. I wouldn't look either of them in the eyes. Dad was looking around the room, eyeing my Led Zeppelin and Star Wars posters.

"Danny, you've got to... " Mom started.

"You've got to get a hold of yourself, Danny," Dad finished for her. "You're almost through with high school. You can't let everything go now. You have your pick of lot's of great colleges, and two scholarships offered. Look, whatever it is that's got you so down, you need to let it go, and get on with your life." I could see his discomfort with this discussion-- well, lecture, since I wasn't saying anything.

I left the room, mentally. I was doing much better. I hadn't cried all day today. I was trying desperately to eliminate crying from my life. I slugged myself in the stomach when I started crying a couple of times, conditioning myself to stop that shit. I would slug myself as hard as I could every time I started, from now on. 'I will no longer be a fucking baby! I'll be eighteen in two and a half weeks-- I am a MAN! Yeah right. And FUCK HIM! Jerry is out of my life!'

"So you're going back to school tomorrow, right?" Dad was saying as I snapped back to the room. He wanted an answer.

"Yeah." I said with no real conviction.

"Good. And remember, Danny, we're here for you. If you have questions about anything, about school, about drugs, about g--" he stopped himself and looked away, finishing, "-- anything, we're here for you, 'k Bud?"

I saw him start to give me a hug, and decide I wasn't receptive to it at that moment, so he stood up, squeezed my shoulder, and basically handed the floor to mom. She started in, maternally, as Dad left the room.

I watched him go, and felt guilty for shutting both of them out like this. It was so sad that I couldn't open up to them. Though I knew they were nothing like Mrs. Loring, I just couldn't risk the possible rejection of coming out to them.

I would definitely have nothing left in the world to live for if they rejected me.

I knew I wasn't strong enough to handle that. Someday maybe, but not right now. The note was still in my poetry notebook.

Mom was trying again to get me to open up to her. I heard the front door close and Dad's truck drive away. She was talking on and on, but my mind was just a blank. After a bit, I made myself focus on her,

"... but that's the way life is, Danny, things happen that we don't like, that sometimes hurt us deeply, but we have to move past them," she was saying, as I drifted back to real time. "Like your dad said, you're almost through with high school, and a whole new world will open up for you in college." She waved her hand in front of my face, "Are you in there? Have you heard anything I've said?"

"Uh yeah. You were talking about high school being almost over, and how college would be new."

She looked askance at me, but went on, "Have you decided which scholarship to accept?"

"Uh, no, not yet."

"Well, you have a little more time, but not too long, to decide. I want to tell you again how proud we are of you, Danny. You can do anything you set your mind to."

I looked at her and smiled. "Thanks Mom."

About that time, I heard two cars drive up. Within a minute, I heard my dad come through the front door, talking to someone. They came directly to my room, and Dad peeked around the doorjamb at me.

"Bud, would you please come with me?"

I looked up at him like 'What the hell?' He didn't move, so I got up and shuffled out with him and Dwayne, the guy that works for him at his TV repair shop. Dad led me outside by my shoulders, keeping Dwayne close in front of me so I couldn't see, and I kept barely missing stepping on his heels. When we got to the edge of the driveway, Dad jangled a set of keys in front of my face.

I didn't comprehend. Then big-assed Dwayne stepped out of the way, and there in the driveway, was a '76 Camaro, metal flake blue, with a white, double wide racing stripe through the middle from bumper to bumper. My mouth hung open. I couldn't believe my eyes. Dad started in talking fast,

"It's for your eighteenth birthday and graduation both. It's not brand new-- I just can't afford a brand new one, but it's absolutely like brand new-- in mint condition. I saw you looking at one like this in that magazine at the shop. I hope you like it. It was supposed to stay at Dwayne's until your birthday, but I thought you could really use it right now. I hope you like it Danny. Now all that money you saved over the last year or so, can go towards things you want for college, 'cause you won't have to buy a car. I wanted to make sure you had a sexy car, not no Gramada."

I chuckled as dad used the term he and I had for 'granny cars' like Granada's. We called them all "Gramada's".

"It DEFINITELY ain't no Gramada!" I exclaimed.

Dad was as excited as I was, maybe more so. I was still awestruck. I just couldn't believe how beautiful it was. I walked around the nose, caressing the warm hood, then turned and ran back to Dad and threw myself at him, hugging him tightly.

"Oh God IT'S BEAUTIFUL DAD!" I yelled in his ear. Mom was standing just behind him, beaming.

"Well let's go for a spin!" He said excitedly as he released his hug.

I ran around and jumped in the driver's seat, settling into the white vinyl that still smelled pretty new to me. He opened his door and helped Dwayne squeeze into the back seat, which wasn't easy for roly-poly Dwayne. Then Dad sat in the passenger seat-- and he had to pull the seatbelt a little further around his own gut than he used to as well.

"It was a repo, so it's only got 1,100 miles on it. It's a four on the floor, 350 small block, got am/fm and a cassette deck and a/c, and look, a sunroof! Crank it up!" He said, indicating the ignition. I checked to make sure everything was in the right place and turned the key. It roared to life and sent chills down my spine. The radio was already loud, and set on KLOL, the best rock station in Houston, since Dwayne drove it over.

I'd had my license since I was sixteen, and had driven Dad's truck many times, even into Houston with him, so I was comfortable with a stick. We drove Dwayne the short drive to his parent's house and let him out. Then we just cruised the neighborhood. The night was only slightly chilly. We went to a new road, that had nothing but sidewalks and a few cement foundations lining it, and Dad told me to come to a stop.

"See what this baby can do, Bud! You know how to pop the clutch?"

"Yeah, never done it, but I've watched other guys do it."

"Go for it!"

I did it pretty damn good, laying rubber for a good ten or twelve feet. Dad was impressed.

"HELL YEAH!!" He yelled. "God, I miss having a muscle car! I know you've heard me talk about my old '58 Impala with the continental kit, enough times. I had that thing bossed-up so hot! It's how I got yer mom to go out with me, ya know."

"Yeah, Dad, you've told me," a million times.

"I know. I just hope you love this car as much as I loved buying it for you. You know, we've never had much money, and I've never been able to give you nice things. But we're doing better now than ever before, and since I wasn't able to give you all the things I wanted to all these years, I hope this will kind of make up for that. You've just been such a joy to us, son, and you're about to go off to college and find your way in the world..." He was almost choked up.

"I know I've not told you often enough how proud we are of you, and how much we love you. And here we're about to lose you..." I cringed. "You're becoming a man." He put his hand on my shoulder.

"Thanks Dad. I know y'all love me, and I love you too. And you couldn't have gotten a more fantastic birthday present for me. Thank you!"

I looked at him and smiled, thinking how I almost tore his heart out in the cruelest way just yesterday morning. I pictured him and mom finding my lifeless body and the look of utter devastation on their faces. A shiver went down my spine and I thanked Rachel again.

We drove around aimlessly for a while. Somehow, inadvertently, by coincidence, purely by chance, we ended up driving by Jerry's house. His car was in the triple wide driveway, beside a big black Mercedes. I slowed to a crawl as we got directly in front, looking to see if his bedroom light was on. It was.

"Nice house." Dad commented when he saw where I was looking, "Friend of yours live there?"

I didn't answer `til we were past it. "Someone I used to know," I sighed.

We drove a little more, and I headed for our house, listening to the radio. I would have to go buy some cassettes, 'cause all I had were 8-tracks for my stereo in my room. After a bit, Dad spoke up,

"Is that where you were last weekend?"

I glanced over at him. I didn't want to answer, but of course I had to.


"Are you gonna keep tutoring him?"

"Uh, no, I don't think so. No."

"Oh." He had caught the drop in my voice and spirit. "Danny, something really, um, traumatic must have happened there. Why don't you tell me what it was?"

Because I don't want to cry anymore. Because I need to think about something else, anything else, for a minute, for ten seconds... Like my car.

"I just can't talk about it yet, Dad. I'm sorry, I just can't." I mumbled. He had to lean toward me a little to hear me over the radio. He turned it down.

"Son, there's nothing that can happen, that's so bad you can't tell me or your mother. We're so worried about you right now-- it's tearing your mother apart." His voice was consoling.

I could only think: 'Well if you knew your son wants to suck dick and have dick shoved up his ass by that 'friend', you'd both be a whole lot more torn up-- not to mention shocked and disgusted. Hell, you'd probably have a heart attack. I've heard enough of your jokes and off-hand comments about queers over the years to know I can't tell you. I couldn't live with your shame.

God, I wish I had the nerve to tell you, Dad. I wish I had the nerve to tell you how much I'm hurting. I wish you could take this pain away, like you used to be able to do.'

"Dad," I tried to sound firm, "it's not that big a deal. I'll get over it. I'm going back to school tomorrow-- in my new Camaro!" I tried to finish the sentence sounding upbeat.

He let it drop.

"Time to get ready for school!" Mom used her singsong voice.

"Ok. Be out in a minute."

My hands trembled as I combed my hair in the mirror on my closet door. I had dark circles and bags under my eyes. 'Man, I do look like shit,' I thought to myself. 'And I still don't need a shave.'

It was so strange; there was the euphoria of driving to school in my beautiful, 'sexy' new car, that would "Leave the others chasing shadows!" as they said in their ads, tempered, no, crushed, by the fear of seeing Jerry. What would happen if I saw him? What would I do? How would HE act? Would he act like he didn't know me?

Fortunately, we didn't share any classes, and I knew there'd been many days over the course of the year, when I didn't see him all day at school-- with 3,500 students, the school was big enough that it was easily possible. Maybe I could get through the day without seeing him.

Maybe I could get through the day.

A couple of people looked at me, in my sparkling new car, when I cruised into the parking lot, but none of them knew me. Nobody knew me. I don't know what possessed me, what I thought might happen, but I parked right next to Jerry's car.

I had a flash picture in my mind, of arriving at our cars at the same time to leave, and me throwing a smug smile at him, like, 'I got something to take my mind off of you. Here you are, all rich and everything, but I got the same fucking car, so there!' I could be so childish-- but I knew also, that I wouldn't be able to pull off that immature little game if that encounter actually happened.

I knew he'd already been there for an hour or so, for swim practice. I forced the vision of Jerry, in his shiny gold Speedo with black trim out of my mind, and braced myself to go in through building D.

Mr. Janke was my homeroom teacher. I was pretty early, as I still had the bus schedule for a habit. He looked surprised to see me.

"Well, if it isn't Mr. Dresden! I'm glad you deigned to grace us with your presence! I was surprised to hear you were sick. You never miss school!" He was his usual jovial self, even early in the morning.

I blushed a little and smiled, "Um, I was..."

I hadn't expected anyone to notice I was missing, and didn't actually know if my mom had told the office I had a cold or what. As I approached his desk, he looked at me and his smile faded.

"Jeez, you look like you should still be at home, Danny."

"I'm fine, Mr. Janke."

"Good. It's good to have you back!" His smile returned with a vengeance. He made me feel better. I thought about how I used to fantasize about him, so tall, thin and sexy, with those green eyes and jet-black hair, his gaunt, angular features overflowing with warmth and humor. He was somewhere in his late twenties. I didn't know if he was aware of it, but he just exuded sensuality, like he'd be a romantic and tender lover. I could dream!

He showed me what I had missed in the last four days in his English Lit. class, my second period, then I started toward my usual desk. I had always sat at the front of the room in his class, so I could watch him, and watch for glimpses of the outline of his dick showing through the cloth of his slacks when he walked or turned-- as he wore boxers, and it hung down-- and I had been rewarded with a few good shots of what looked like a very nice dick.

"Oh, Danny! What happened with Jerry Loring? Why did he ask me to change tutors? Did you two not get along? It seemed to me like you hit it off really well, last week."

I deflated in front of his eyes. At least there was no one else in the room yet. Why did he have to bring that up? So Jerry had already asked for someone else. Was he going to fuck him, tell him he loves him, then destroy him too? I told myself, 'No, stop it. I'm over that. I don't care what he does, or who he does.'

Mr. Janke watched my face and could tell there was something heavy going on.

"Um, what happened, Danny?" He asked cautiously.

"Nothing. I guess he just doesn't want me anymore." I turned away from him.

How melodramatic was that? But I had to get away from him. It seemed to me like, if I kept looking, he would be able to tell the whole sordid story by looking in my eyes. I went and sat at a desk in the back of the room, opened a book and stared blankly at it.

I saw him staring at me, in my peripheral vision, but I wouldn't look up. About that time, three kids came into the room and started talking to him, then more filed in. I was relieved.

When I went to Mr. Janke's second period, I sat in the back again. He'd be writing something out on the blackboard, and every time he turned to face the class, he'd look directly at me. I would promptly look away, or down. As I was leaving, he asked to see me after my last class, which was a free period for him. I said ok.

After I ate three bites of a slimy cafeteria salisbury steak for lunch, I walked out to the commons to see if I could find Barry, and show him my new car. I wanted to show it off to somebody!

As I turned the corner of J building, I froze. Twenty feet in front of me, Jerry and Brenda were standing there, arguing. Brenda's back was to me, and Jerry was sideways at an angle, almost facing my way. If I kept going, there was no way he wouldn't see me. Maybe I could turn around and sneak back around the corner and he wouldn't notice me.

But I couldn't move. I looked at his face and my heart raced. He was angry-- like the last time I saw him. I couldn't take in the words at first, even though they were loud enough to be heard for a long way. I felt like a deer in the headlights, just as the first words registered in my ears.

"... don't seem to want to be with me lately! You've always got an excuse! Jerry, if you don't want to be with me anymore, just fucking say so!" She was most unhappy. She wasn't saying it, but anyone could tell what she was really thinking: 'There's someone else, isn't there?'

Other students walking by would look at them, then look away and try to act like they couldn't hear what was going on.

Jerry was avoiding her eyes, listening impatiently. He was shuffling back and forth, from foot to foot, looking around. Then he saw me, and our eyes locked. His movements ceased. The rapid succession of expressions that fought for a place in his eyes was something to see. He was one of those people who showed everything in their eyes-- if you could decipher it all.

His reaction caused Brenda to turn around to see what he was looking at. She looked at my face, looked to his, and backed up two feet, looking back and forth between us.

"We'll talk about this later. I gotta go." He said curtly. He walked briskly past me, glancing at me with daggers in his angry eyes. I heard his footsteps round the corner behind me.

She and I just stood there, looking at each other. She gave me a curious look, then turned and walked the other way.

I stood there for a minute longer, invisible, as my anonymous peers walked by within inches of me in all directions, none noticing I was there.

Then I wandered over to a tree and sat under it for a bit, trying to figure out how I was going to handle it if we had another face to face like that.

Because every single drop of love, pain and anger had come back and washed over me like a tidal wave in the first second his eyes met mine. Was there no escaping this? What the hell was I going to do? I couldn't imagine a day when seeing him wouldn't impact me this way. I started sinking again-- but at least I didn't cry that time.

After my last class, I-- for the first time-- dreaded going to see Mr. Janke.

"Hi, Danny, pull up a chair." He said somewhat cheerfully, then paused as if he didn't know where to go from there. "Um... Danny, I... I'm curious, and don't want to get, personal, but..." He paused, and decided to forge ahead, "Jerry seemed very agitated when he asked to be assigned a different tutor. I just don't understand what could have happened, after the way things started with you guys. Friday, he told me how much he was enjoying working with you, then he didn't come to school Monday; and, like you, he never misses school."

I glanced up at this information, trying to picture Jerry home alone and what he was doing. Was he upset? Miserable? Was he missing me? Fat chance.

"But on Tuesday, he came to me and seemed so, upset, so, well, disoriented. I asked him what the problem was, but he wouldn't talk at all." He paused and I glanced into his eyes, then up at the Romeo And Juliet quotes on the blackboard.

Those fucking Capulets and Montagues.

"So, can you tell me what happened? I know you liked him a lot... A whole lot."

My eyes darted to his and my mouth hung open. Was he insinuating what I thought he was insinuating? I couldn't speak. I'm sure the look on my face was idiotic, mixed with pain.

"And I know he liked you a lot." He looked into my eyes and I was just frozen. "I, want you to know..." He was trying to be delicate, "Um, Danny, I think I understand how you felt about Jerry, and want you to know that I think he felt the same about you, from everything he said to me on Friday." He held my gaze and seemed to be trying to say much more with his eyes than he could say with his mouth.

I blushed crimson and just about fell out of my chair. I held the edge of the desk for support. I couldn't believe my favorite teacher in the world was telling me he was aware of what Jerry and I were beginning to feel for each other last week-- and in a very positive tone of voice!

"But, obviously something happened over the weekend, and he misses one day and you miss four; not to mention you looking like death-warmed-over when you come back."

I just hung my head down as far as I could let it fall. Tears were starting to build and I focused all my mental abilities on not crying-- I couldn't very well slug myself in the stomach in front of Mr. Janke.

"I just... Danny, I want you to know that I care about you. You're one of my very favorite students, and you can talk to me. I, think I understand what you're feeling."

My head shot up and my eyes were laced with tears. I was dumbfounded and totally in a state of shock. He kept his eyes trained on mine. I got such a sense of caring and empathy from him, but was so blown away by this conversation that I couldn't process it all. I really don't know what my facial expression was at the time.

"I'm, skating on very thin ice here, Danny, but I see a lot of confusion and pain in you right now, and I suspect you have no one to talk to about everything." He looked deep in thought for a minute, then wrote on a notepaper. "Look, here's my phone number. You do understand that I'm not... That I only want to be a friendly listening ear for you. I just want to be very clear that I'm not... in the same situation as you are." He spoke in hushed tones. "But I understand how isolated you must feel, especially out here in the suburbs. So if you want someone to talk to, give me a call, anytime, Danny."

I just stared into his eyes with my mouth open and tears wandering down my cheeks. It looked like my silence was making him reconsider having just told me all this-- his gaze was faltering. I was aware of what a risk he'd just taken, getting personally involved with a student, and in such a potentially explosive matter. To help me. I had to say something to let him know that he hadn't made the wrong move,

"Thank you so much, Mr. Janke. Thank you so much. I... I want you to know how good it makes me feel to know you care and understand. And I want you to know I would never betray your trust."

I saw the relief flow over him and felt good about that.

"I really appreciate this, but I'm a little too... I'm just too messed up about this to be able to talk about it right now. Maybe later?"

"Sure, Danny, anytime at all, ok?" He was so nice.

I smiled at him with real gratitude, and a warm feeling in my gut. "Thank you." I stood up and leaned toward him and hugged his shoulders, which kind of surprised him, but he genuinely returned the purely platonic hug. "See ya later. Thanks." And I left.

I was freaking out on how he was so easily able to spot my love and lust for Jerry, how he thought he saw it in Jerry as well, and how he was apparently totally cool with it all.

I was reeling from the impact of how, in a matter of days, three adults-- all heterosexuals-- liked me, fully accepted me and wanted to help me, when I needed it most. Maybe the straight world wasn't so completely full of hate and fear as I thought it was. I had a lot to think about.

The weekend was very rough for me, and the next school week wasn't much better. I only saw Jerry a few times, and on most of those occasions, he either didn't see me, or acted like he didn't. Twice we came face to face, within feet of each other. Not a word was said, and the first time he was expressionless, but the second time, he actually tossed me a little, civil smile. I don't think I managed to smile back, but I didn't cry or anything dramatic; which I felt was progress. On Wednesday, we were all forced to go to a pep rally and watch the basketball team show off.

I sat up in the very back row of the gym bleachers, where all the stoners and freaks sat, and prayed Jerry would never look my way. He did, once. He was standing in line with the team, facing me. He looked right at me and I looked at him. Then he had to move with the team and never looked my way again.

That first week back, I was trying hard to think of things like schoolwork, and even college. I kept trying to keep Rachel's words in mind and picture life out in the real world. I began to think maybe I'd like to take a year off from academics and try working and maybe see if I could move into Houston. President Carter was talking about "Austerity Measures" and the sagging economy in his "fireside chats", but Houston was booming, and jobs were everywhere.

There were a thousand people a week moving into the smoggy, oily boomtown. It seemed like utopia to me, the lure of anonymity, and the lure of all the possibilities, of finding others "like me." I'd heard the Montrose area of Houston referred to as the queer section many times. After talking to Rachel, it seemed like a magnet, drawing me, calling me to salvation.

At night, just before I fell asleep, it was still the same thing every time: Jerry dominated all my thoughts. Yeah, I cried some, but not every time. I wasn't particularly horny most nights, but I felt like I should be, like maybe it would be a sign that I was coming out of this if I was, so I would try to fantasize and jack off. I found I couldn't fantasize about anyone else, but I couldn't develop a good fantasy about Jerry either. No matter what I got started, it would always degenerate to "I don't love you." "It never happened." and all I could see were his eyes, with that chilling stare of anger.

I did manage to ejaculate a time or two, but it was work.

I noticed I was getting a bad attitude about school. Barry was wrapped up in his own little world and I saw very little of him. I wasn't good company when I did see him. I finally just decided his wasn't a friendship worth pursuing. I didn't want to be at school, and didn't really care about my studies. I didn't really care about much of anything. I had no desire to go anywhere in particular, so I often just drove around aimlessly in the evenings, to Seabrook and Kemah, or up the bay to La Porte. Mom and Dad were vigilant, trying to get me interested in things they came up with, trying to get me to talk, but their efforts actually drove me deeper into my shell.

I even overheard them talking about shrinks, wondering if they could afford one. I just didn't care enough to pay attention.

A week later on Friday, after eating a little bit of my lunch, I had an urge to get away from school for a little while, so I headed to my car. As I approached it, I saw a longhaired stoner leaning against the driver side fender, smoking a cigarette. The school had started the year before, allowing smoking on campus-- in designated areas-- to stop the destruction of the school restrooms; so it wasn't like he was sneaking around.

I got a strange feeling about him-- looking at him before he noticed me-- as I got closer. I couldn't tell what the feeling was-- familiarity? I must have seen him around school before. But the feeling seemed stronger than that. I figured it was just because he was leaning against my new car.

He was so sexy, he just looked like he belonged with the Camaro, like Chevrolet had included him as an option: "Bucket seats and a gorgeous blonde, with zero percent interest for six months OAC!"

He had long wavy blonde hair, well down onto his back, and deep-set sky blue eyes. I was sure I would have remembered him if I'd met him or seen him before. He was, I guessed, six feet tall, tightly muscled and lean, but not skinny like me. The crisp breeze plastered his baggy black pullover to his flat stomach and naturally perfect pecs, and his hair danced in the sunlight behind him. He wore tight, low waisted big bell Levi's, nicely faded and worn in the right places. He showed an impressive bulge, his soft dick going about three or four fat inches down his left thigh, prominently displayed as he leaned back on my car.

About ten feet away, I slowed to a stop. I tried to think of how to tell him to get off my car without causing a confrontation. He looked at me, wondering what I was doing. I pulled the keys out of my pocket, and started again toward the car. He snapped then, that it was my car he was leaning on.

"This your car?" He smiled and stood.

"Uh, yeah." I was my usual awkward self, and wouldn't look him in the eye.

I had to kind of squeeze between him and Jerry's car, brushing knees with him.

"Fuckin' A cool, dude! I was just lookin' it over. Fuckin' sweet ride! And two, side by side!" he gestured at Jerry's Camaro, then mine. "But I like this metal flake paintjob on yours better." he enthused.

I paused, with my hand on the handle, "Yeah, I just got it a couple of weeks ago." I looked directly into his startling blue eyes.

"No shit?! Man, I wouldn't be hangin' around here if I just got a sweet ride like this! I'd be on my fuckin' way to Galveston or somewhere cool, sunroof open, smokin' a doobie, crankin' up that Pioneer system ya got in there. Life would be so fuckin' sweeeet!" he smiled and patted the hood fondly.

"Galveston, huh?" I suddenly found the idea intriguing.

"Fuckin' A, man, cruisin' the Seawall, pickin' up some strange, gettin' waaas-ted!" He turned wasted into a whole new, and desirable, word.

"I just might do that." I stated matter-of-factly, and grinned back at him.

He looked me over, trying to judge just how much he could influence me to let him party on my largess-- at least that's how I figured it at the time.

"Well, you got the wheels, and I got the weed. Sounds like a recipe for a wave party, dude!" He struck a surfing pose, trying to sweep me up in his idea of a good time. I guess he just assumed that if I drove a car like this, I must get high.

Other students were going to their cars and leaving for the second lunch, which overlapped the first and third lunch periods. He was giving me that 'Well, how about it?' look, and I thought: 'What the hell? I should live a little. I've never been to Galveston without my parents. I turn eighteen on Monday, for Christ's sake! I need a change of scenery. I've been wanting to do something different, something to make me feel alive. He seems nice, not too rowdy, and he's really hot looking-- uh-uh, thinking with my dick again! Just try to make a friend.'

"Fuck it! Why not? I got a full tank of gas, let's go!" My adrenaline was flowing, and I felt so daring.

"Fuckin' A, dude!" he yelled as he ran around to the passenger side. I got in and unlocked his door. He hopped in and extended his hand, "Hi, I'm Studly Fucker, but you can call me Ty. Tyson Harmon."

I cracked up, and met his handshake for the current version, which I awkwardly pulled off.

"I'm Danny Dresden, and you can call me 'His Holiness With Camaro.'" He laughed and bowed his head, letting his golden blonde hair fall across his face, genuflecting to me appropriately. I cranked up the engine and opened the windows & sunroof. It was a beautiful day, warm, but not hot. I turned up the stereo even louder than it already was. He yelled over the peak of "Layla",

"You got any cassettes, Your Holiness?"

"Nah, I only have 8-tracks at home."

"Oh drag, dude, nobody does 8-tracks anymore! Here, pull around to A building, and I'll get my backpack out of my locker." I turned the music down to hear him, "I got Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Robin Trower, and Black Sabbath-- oh, and I think I got Hotel California in there too!"

"Cool!" I backed out, then burned a little rubber taking off.

He slapped his thighs and whooped a rebel yell. I glowed with being able to show off, grin splitting my ears. This was going to be fun! Every time I'd been to Galveston, I'd been envious of the guys my age cruising the Seawall in their cars, loaded with friends, blasting their stereos, whooping and carrying on as if having fun was their natural God-given right. Isn't it in the Constitution? Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fun?

He ran in and ran back out with his backpack, jumping into the already rolling car. In minutes, we were on I-45 southbound to Galveston. As soon as we got going, Ty sparked up a fat doobie he pulled out of a baggie he had in his sock. He popped in Black Sabbath's "Master Of Reality" and we rocked out to 'Sweet Leaf', their paean to marijuana, coughing theatrically along with them at the beginning of the song, finishing the joint, nodding our heads vigorously to the beat. I felt more alive than I had since, forever.

By the time we got to the beach, he had put in Deep Purple, and we were jerking our heads, rockin' to `Highway Star'. We cruised up and down the Seawall, starting at West Beach, driving up to the Bolivar Ferry, then driving tilted along the middle of the steep, forty-foot high cement embankment-- something I'd always wanted to do-- back to Stewart Beach, where we pulled into the parking area.

We got out and walked along the lightly populated beach, Ty commenting that there were no foxy women to be found, me agreeing. It was mostly frumpy housewives with their screaming lawn-monkey's playing in the surf, the occasional husband trying to figure out if he was supposed to be having a good time, trying to find sports stations on their radios.

As we walked, Ty made several comments about women. It was odd, the way he said them, because it didn't seem like he was really trying to get me to agree when he'd point out a decent looking one; though that's what I would think two straight guys would be doing: sizing the women up, and scoring them one to ten, or something like that.

I found it uncomfortable, trying to act like I was into it-- cuz I just wasn't-- and I wasn't good at pretending to be. I hadn't had any practice.

"Man, it just feels so good to be out in the breeze, on the beach, and not in school." I said.

"Yeah it does. Ever been to Hippy Hollow, the nude beach on Lake Travis, up by Austin? I love walkin' around 'nekkid', dick and balls floppin' around in the breeze. I wanna go back there."

"Nah, I don't know if I could do that."


I blushed, "Well, I'm afraid I'd get a hard on, for one thing."

"So? Most guys do, at least at first-- I always do. It's ok, cuz everyone kind of expects that."

"Really?" I pictured him, and a bunch of other guys, walking along naked with erections, and started filling out my Levi's. "And it's not embarrassing to you?"

"No. Hard-ons are natural and beautiful. It's good to be a guy!" We both laughed and I agreed.

Ty slowed down and started taking off his pullover as he walked, revealing his beautifully bronzed mid-section. I was strangely unconcerned whether anybody noticed me staring at him as he did a sexy, slow walking striptease of taking off his shirt in the afternoon ocean breeze, nipples all hard...

"You gonna get naked right here and now?" I asked, almost hopefully.

"What, and give all these people a thrill?" He laughed.

"Why not?" I giggled.

"Get me fucked up enough and I would!" He twirled his shirt in the air over his head, and reached down and undid his jean button.

"You're not gonna do it. I dare ya!" I teased, encouraging him all I could; plus, it gave me an excuse to look directly at his crotch as we walked.

He pulled his zipper down, revealing he wore no underwear. The sight of his pubic hair and flat abdomen made me have to put my hands in my pockets to hide my arousal. It was a thrill in itself, to me, to walk along this straight public beach and be so daring-- even though Ty was the one being daring.

"I'll do it if you will!" He challenged me. I laughed and blushed.

"I would, except I KNOW I'd get a hard on! Not to mention arrested."

"Yeah, these straight people are so uptight."

I had to think about that, with all kinds of images of him naked on the beach flashing around in my head. I was sure he meant 'straight' as in 'don't get high', not as in 'heterosexual'. But it still gave me something to fantasize about.

We climbed the steps to Christy's Beachcomber. I gave him the money to buy us a way overpriced burger and greasy fries and a couple of bourbon and cokes, which he presented his ID for, since he was already eighteen. But there was no band at this time of year on a weekday. We sat on the nearly deserted deck for awhile, finishing our drinks.

"Hey, Danny, I know these really cool people, that only live a few blocks from the Moody Hotel down there. He deals and he's always got a party goin' on! They're the most awesome people I've ever met! I lived with 'em for a while last year. Wanna check it out?"

"Sure, why not?" I was getting a little bored.

He put his shirt back on and we drove to the street he indicated. About six blocks inland, he leaned out the window, gesturing,

"There it is! With that silver van in the driveway!" He pointed excitedly at a dilapidated, large Victorian house on the corner, painted a hideous yellow with brown trim. You could tell it had once been a beautiful home.

Besides the van, there were at least five other cars parked around the place, in the yard, everywhere. We parked across the street. Walking through the trashed out yard, skipping the broken out second step, we heard the music through the walls. It wasn't like anything I'd heard before.

Ty knocked on the door. No answer. He knocked louder and we waited. Finally someone opened the door about an inch.

"Who are y'all?"

"I'm Ty, and this is Danny. Are Jet and Celia here?"

"Yeah, c'mon in," he opened the door wide.

The music flooded out, enveloping us. We followed the large, dread locked white guy, who we later learned was named Mickey-- which just didn't seem to fit him-- through the once grand foyer, and into a dark room, illuminated with black lights, and a strobe light set on relatively slow blink.

Eight or nine people were lounging around on large crash pads and several beanbag chairs, arranged in a circle around a glowing purple, open floor in the middle. They were passing a joint around, and a guy and a girl were doing a very erotic dance in the middle of the circle.

Four huge speakers were suspended from the ceiling in each corner, aiming down on the large room, with an elaborate, quadraphonic stereo system near the closet. Mickey instructed us to take our shoes off, so we did-- everybody was barefoot.

I felt like I'd been transported back to 1968, in Haight-Ashbury or something. The walls were painted in all kinds of day glow psychedelic designs and slogans, and everyone seemed pleasantly mystified. I kinda liked the 'vibe'. Ty spoke in my ear,

"This room wasn't done up like this last time I was here. This is so cool!"

He stepped over a beanbag denizen or two, to a guy who looked like Jesus-- even wearing a white gauze robe or caftan-- laid out on his back on a plush crash pad. I was going around behind them, so I could stay close to Ty without having to step over people. I was definitely not in my element here, and needed the security of being near him, even if I didn't know him well. That old Three Dog Night song, "Mama Told Me Not To Come" crossed my mind. Was this a hippie commune?

Ty squatted down next to Jesus and said something to him that I couldn't hear. The guy raised his head and looked at Ty strangely, then, gradually, a smile spread across his face,

"Oh, dude! Ty! Where you been? Beautiful, man, have a seat, have a microdot, enjoy," he motioned serenely around the room.

"Good to see you again, Jet! Like what you've done with the room! You got any more microdots?"

"Fuckin' endless supply man, here." Jet fished a cigarette pack cellophane out from somewhere in his robe and gave it to Ty, laying back, not even watching to see what he did with it. Ty opened it and very carefully, let two of the tiny pellets roll into his palm. He stretched toward me and asked,

"You got four bucks?"

"Um, yeah, I guess. What's that?" I was wary, assuming it was some kind of drug, but got four dollars out of my wallet anyway.

"Acid, man."

"I've never done acid before. I don't really think I wanna try it right now. For one thing, I gotta drive."

"Hey, that's cool. But can ya spot me the four bucks, and I'll pay ya back later?"

Just then, a pretty, dark haired girl in her twenties, who looked and dressed a lot like the Fleetwood Mac singer, Stevie Nicks-- all hippy-earth-mother looking-- tapped him on the shoulder from behind.

"Tyson! I haven't seen you in so long, baby!" She spread her arms wide.

He twisted around and jumped up and hugged her.

"Celia! Oh, man, it's been like, too long!" They exchanged a friendly kiss on the lips, "What's been burnin' with you?"

"Trippin' out, man! Now that Jet's makin' acid, this place is rockin' mellow all the time. Who's your friend?"

"Oh, this is Danny, he's cool. Danny, this is Celia."

"Hi." I said, smiling at the flower child of the late seventies.

She climbed over Ty's back and gave me a big hug, pulling me against her rather large breasts. Then she held me at arms length and looked at my face in the black light. She furrowed her brow.

"Oh what a drag, you poor soul. You've had your heart broken and slipped over the edge. Come into the circle with me."

She took me by the hand and pulled me over Ty and the beanbag, into the middle of the room, before I could react in shock to what she said. The couple that had been dancing had sat down and were smooching. She wrapped her arms around me and started us moving in a slow dance of sorts. She saw my shock and smiled a smile that would melt ice cream in Alaska.

"Let me take that hurt out of you for a little while. Just flow with me."

About then, as if on cue, the music segued smoothly into an extended remix of Lou Reed's "Satellite Of Love" and we danced ever freer to the uplifting chorus, for a good ten minutes. I got carried away with a feeling I'd never experienced before.

"Satellite's gone, up to the sky. Things like that drive, me out of my mind..."

I was thinking: 'Is she a witch? Like, a really good one? Is she clairvoyant? How can she tell my heart is broken? But hey! I'm thinking about it right now, about him, and I'm not sad. Awesome!'

Ty joined us in the center of the room, about halfway through the mix. He moved in beside us and joined in the hug, his left arm around my shoulder, right arm around Celia, dancing with us, he was singing, "...bom, bom, bom, satellite of love, bom, bom, bom, satellite of love..." as we turned. So Celia and I sang the "ahh-ooh's" as we all danced in the circle hug, with the slow strobe keeping time in the haze of pot smoke.

I got a heightened sense of warmth, or heat, from Ty's arm and hip pressing against mine. I got a different energy altogether from Celia, a very-- I guess the only accurate word would be-- 'loving' energy. I know that sounds corny, but there was just something different about her.

Ty dug the second tiny pellet out of his shirt pocket with his right hand, and held it on the side of his index fingertip in front of my mouth, smiling, as the reel-to-reel tape evolved back into the melodic synthesizer music. I looked down at it and thought, 'So tiny! How could that miniscule, pinhead size thing that looks like candy, make you "See God" as they say?' Celia looked at me and said,

"Ooh, that's Micro-Jet. This batch is a really mellow trip. Jet makes this himself, and he's college trained. He knows exactly what he's doing. Real nice trip, Danny."

The three of us slowed to a stop, still hugging, Ty's finger still hovering near my mouth.

"I've never done acid before. I'm not sure I wanna try it."

"Oh, that's cool. You definitely should NOT try acid, unless you're really wanting to experience it. That's totally cool!" Celia beamed.

Ty drew my gaze, adding, "The thing is, if you ever wanted to try it, this is like, a good place to do it, and a good time, with awesome, for real people like Celia and Jet. She's Jet's old lady, and Danny, this woman is fuckin' special."

"Ty, you're making me blush. I'm right here, ya know." We all smiled.

"Hey, why Not now?" I asked rhetorically.

Ty said, "Oh dude, fuckin' A! I knew you wanted to! This is gonna be so cool! Open up and say ahhh."

I opened my mouth and held out my tongue. I looked Ty in the eyes as he brought his index finger over, brushing my upper lip, sending chills down my spine. He went very slowly about laying it on my tongue, pressing softly down, glancing from my eyes to my tongue and back to my eyes. His eyes shone in the light, flashing with the strobe behind me, as he rolled his thick finger over in slow motion, pressing deeper into the middle of my tongue.

Our eyes locked in a feeling that shook me up, on some level. Just as my lips were closing around his finger, I caught them doing it and opened them back up to an 'ahhh' as he slowly retrieved his finger, sliding it off my lip. I don't know if they could see my blush in the black light or the strobe, as I looked down into the dark area between the three of us.

I was trying to figure out what just happened with Ty, and momentarily forgot that I had just taken a hit of acid. 'What DID just happen with Ty? I could swear he was coming on to me, flirting or something. It sure seemed like it to me. Nah, he's not gay-- but the way he did that was sooo sensual-- stop reading shit into everything.

But am I ready for acid?? I just took ACID!!! OH MY GOD! You hear all kinds of stories-- but most of them I've heard were good stories. I guess it's too late to back out now. Might as well go with it, and hope it's enjoyable, right?'

Ty smiled like the Cheshire cat, and rolled his head around like Stevie Wonder. Celia started laughing so hard she began sagging to her knees-- I gathered she had been on her trip for awhile. Her laughing set us off and we all ended up sitting on the floor, laughing our heads off. 'That's the thing I've always heard about acid: that you laugh a lot. Wait, it just got on my tongue maybe two minutes ago. I know it takes longer than that to kick in!'

When the laughter finally subsided, I just listened to the music while they caught up on what had been happening in their lives. I didn't listen to their conversation, 'cause I didn't want to intrude. At some point, I asked Celia,

"Who is this? What's the name of this album?"

"That's Kraftwerk. The album is Autobahn. It's on the reel-to-reel, so it's both sides, uninterrupted. They're a German acid/synth band. Dreamy, isn't it? "Fun fun fun on ze autobahn..." Celia sang, trying to mimic the harsh German monotone in her silky voice. "This music is made for acid." She declared.

"I really like it. No, I fuckin' LOVE it!" I realized I was talking loudly, and covered my mouth in embarrassment. They both laughed, and I started feeling butterflies in my stomach, but laughed too. It was like the three of us were in our own little world, and none of the other people in the room were even aware of us. We just sat and listened to the hypnotic industrial music for awhile.

I began to wave with the music, my body shimmering slowly, rhythmically. Ty spoke up,

"Oh baby it's kickin' in! Oh yeahhhhh."

I mimicked him, "Oh yeahhhhh."

"Oh--" was all Celia managed to get out as we all melted into fits of uncontrollable laughter, rolling around on the floor, all holding our stomachs, cuz laughing that hard hurts after a bit. Each of us sporadically, would try sitting up, and invariably fall onto the next one as they attempted it, knocking both over, and rolling body over body for fun, delighting in the feel of the movement, felt from somewhere different than ever before.

While I enjoyed rolling around, under and over Celia's body, I really, really enjoyed it with Ty. His hands would glide over me as he lingered, and I thrilled to the feel of his lithe, hard-body on mine. He seemed to work it so he and I rolled together more. Or was that just in my head?

We tripped for an indeterminate amount of time in the perpetually strobing black light reality. Four or five of the people left, but this really cool black couple had shown up and we had an animated conversation for a while. I hadn't been around black people much at all, (except in Huntsville, where I didn't know anyone-- but every one of my tormentors had been white) and to be around these two, John and Kiesha, both gorgeous, friendly people, and feeling the limitless love I was feeling, was so cool. I was feeling like the world was a good and harmonious place.

I probably waited too long into the trip, but there came a point when I realized I needed to call home. I couldn't read my watch, but knew I should be calling. Ty and I were lying shoulder-to-shoulder, heads propped against a beanbag, pointing out the movements of the designs on the wall to each other. Celia had worked her way onto the crash pad with Jet.

"Oh, man, I need to call home. Like, new car, folk's worry, you know. Where's the phone?"

Ty jumped up in slow motion, "Oh yeah, man, I bet I know where it used to be! I bet it's still there," he pointed as if it were far away in the distance.

He extended his hand to help me up. The position and way he pulled me up, brought our bodies in full contact, crotch to crotch, chest to chest, noses almost touching, like a Tango position. We just stayed like that for a moment, feeling each other's heat. I was getting very confused. I tried to look in his eyes, but his whole face became distorted and wavy, in an unsettling way. Skin isn't pretty under a black light-- especially on acid.

I stepped back, turned, and started to step over an empty beanbag. When Ty laughed and tried to follow, he tripped on me and we both went down on the beanbag, him mostly on top of me. We both laughed for awhile, without moving. I felt his dick through our clothes, on the back of my thigh just under my butt cheek. It wasn't aroused or anything, so I didn't think he was trying to do anything, or signal anything; he was just being playful. But it felt good, electric.

"I really gotta go call home." I finally said.

"Oh yeah, I forgot. It's back here." He got up and stepped over me to lead the way.

When we stepped into the hallway, I really felt the acid's effects on my body. My muscles were all tensed, straining isometrically into themselves, and my jaw felt tight, but it all felt good, in a strange, hyper-active way. The only thing that was mildly unpleasant, was a metallic, almost lead-like taste at the back of my tongue.

Out in regular light, the visuals were more pronounced and active. There was the warping and waving of the walls and floors, like I'd heard described by people. Color tracers were everywhere, and every little thing was either interesting, or fascinating. If I focused on any one thing, it would do something for my enjoyment.

It took a while to get the fifteen or so feet down the hall, with its myriad of wonders, but we finally made it to the kitchen counter and Ty scooted the phone toward me. I jumped back, thinking it was a cat running at me. We both went into a laughing fit, with me ending up hanging onto the edge of the counter, dragging my ass on the floor lightly. Ty ended up laid out on his back in the middle of the floor, laughing uncontrollably, with his knees up, holding his stomach.

After some time, I regained just enough control to stand and pick up the receiver. I looked down and the keypad looked like it was both in Greek and melting.

"Oh, shiiiiit, how do I use this thing?" I asked Ty, who had peeked his head over the counter edge, dilated eyes wide, mouth in an 'O', with a look like, 'You're asking me??' I tilted my head down to the other side of the island counter, and looked at him sideways. "I don't know how to use the, phoooone. El telephono." Ty's head was suddenly in the middle of the counter, nuzzling up to the phone.

"Keep trying, it'll come to ya. Phone gooood." he purred, then laughed loudly. His head backed off the counter and was still attached to his body, then disappeared under the counter edge.

Finally, I looked back at the phone, and the keypad was mostly legible. I hurriedly dialed home while I could do so. Ty was on his hands and knees, looking under the refrigerator-- icebox in Texas-- and I got a recording: "This is a long distance call, you fucking moron, please hang up and dial 1, then the area code."

I couldn't believe what I heard! I couldn't, because I wasn't sure I heard it-- and figured I probably didn't. I hung up and stared at the phone for a minute, watching it change colors and move back and forth real sneaky like, wagging its cord-like tail and trying to hide from me in the middle of the counter.

"Did you see that? Did you hear what that phone said to me? I am NOT a fucking moron!"

Ty was still on his hands and knees, face upside down, looking at me from under his arm,

"They can be soooo rude," he giggled.

"No shit. I have half a mind-- oh shit! Where's the other half?" I reached up and felt my head, "Oh, it's still there, for now, but I think it's stopped working." I tapped at it a couple of times.

"There's little people hiding under here. They must get hot-- it's hot under this icebox. I wonder if they go up inside where it's cold?" Ty queried.

I managed to call home. I was evasive, but happy sounding. I convinced my mom that getting a car had changed my life, made me new friends, and I was gonna stay over at one of those friend's house, since it was Friday night; in so many words. More was said in the cheerfulness of my voice. Mom seemed relieved. I was glad I was able to maintain-- throwing pointed fingers at Ty, warning him not to make me laugh.

I won't bore you with more descriptions of the trip, cuz people's acid trips are boring at best, and annoying at worst, to everybody but that person. No, I'm absolutely not recommending psychedelic, or any other kind of drugs. But this trip was amazing, and I'll never forget it-- because of the scene, the mood, and the people-- but mostly because of Ty. I felt like we made such a connection with each other.

The peak of it was wonderfully surreal, with Jet, Celia, Ty, and I-- along with several fellow sojourners-- all dancing in the purple circle to the coolest music I'd ever heard. As the evening progressed, they had replaced the techno music with hard acid rock, like Uriah Heep, Spirit, and Captain Beyond. With everyone's bodies rubbing up against each other's, it was extremely sensual, but not overtly sexual.

Someone brought a huge bag of Jack In The Box tacos over and we all munched out. I don't even know how to describe eating on acid. It wasn't easy, and the main trick was not to look at what I was eating, or it would do something. It was like chewing greasy, crunchy dirt-- but hey, Jack In The Box tacos are pretty much always like that.

During that time, with seven or eight people gathered around the kitchen counter, I watched Jet and Celia, and Ty, and just loved them all. It may have been the acid, I don't know, but they were just awesome people. Everyone seemed to love Jet and Celia, lots of hugging going on, love in the air. I wondered if that was what that whole San Francisco, Haight-Ashbury scene was really like in the sixties.

After we ate, Kiesha and Celia sat in the front room and talked. Ty said Celia was "Doing her thing" and giving Kiesha advice. Seeing all this, seeing everyone being so happy, warm and loving to each other just made my heart glow. Several people sought me out to get to know me or just talk, over the course of the evening. I'd never been around people like that. It was wonderful.

By midnight or so, I could tell I was starting to come down. It showed on Ty's face that he was feeling the same thing.

"You wanna take another one?" He casually asked. "They're free. Jet won't take my money-- your money," he smiled sheepishly and started to dig the four dollars out of his pocket to give it back. I waved my hand like, 'Don't worry about it.'

"Nah, it's too intense to keep this up for very much longer. It's been fuckin' awesome, though. Thanks Ty," I smiled at him. "So, is coming down from this much different than coming down from pot?"

"Oh definitely." he chuckled. "Man, it used to be such a fucking drag for me, ya know? All I could think of was: 'I'm not gonna be feeling this, this, amazing feeling very much longer. I'm losing the beauty, minute by minute.' It was always depressing. But that all changed when I met Jet and Celia. They made it where I almost look forward to coming down-- I know that sounds crazy-- but when we're all coming down together, we dance, and we talk, and we..." He went into his memories.

After a little while, he said, "Check this out. Celia told me nobody's been using my old room." He stood up and I followed suit.

He led me upstairs to a little room at the end of the hallway and around the corner. He ushered me inside and joined me, locking the door. A queen size bed took up almost the entire room, with two nightstands pushed together on one side, taking up all but the two by three foot floor space we were clumsily sharing. The walls were painted several soothing pastel colors, and fishnet was draped under a sheet across the ceiling, making the light soft and diffused. A framed print of a brilliant sunset over a beach hung on the wall above the head of the bed.

Ty jumped onto the bed, leaving vapor trails in his path. I jumped on behind him, and we both scooted to the head of the bed and leaned back against pillows lining the wall. He stretched up and flipped a switch hanging down from a bare wire, and the music from downstairs filled the room, but softly. There was a streetlamp glowing in through the sheer red curtains, from somewhere outside the tall, thin window at the side of the bed.

"This is the Dreaming Room. At least that's what I call it. If I'm not with Jet & Celia, I come here to come down. It was my room while I lived here. It's so peaceful and positive in here, all soft and comforting. Does it feel that way to you?" He didn't wait for an answer, "Ooh, that's Tangerine Dream playing now-- they're perfect for coming down, all mellow and, what's that word? Ethereal? Yeah, ethereal. This room is ethereal," he nodded contentedly.

"Yeah, it is." I sighed.

We talked for hours. By 3am, we were both laying on our sides, propped up on elbows, facing each other.

"So what did you think of your first acid trip?"

"Well, I think I'm still on it a little. I mean, I still feel some of the sensations I felt earlier, but not nearly as intense-- and you don't distort anymore. I feel my cheek, and it feels like rubber, like I could stretch it out to here," I held my hand a foot from my face, laughing. "Anyway, it's been pretty amazing. It was a lot of fun. The intensity was a little scary at times, but with you here with me, it wasn't so scary. Did I say thank you?"

"I think you did. Hey, I just saw someone who was ready to come out of his shell and live a little, since Celia said you had your heart broken an' all."

"What's the deal with that? How could she know something like that? Just by touching me?"

"Oh dude, Celia's one amazing woman. She 'gets' things. She gets feelings, and she knows things. I know, that sounds like far out California shit, but she-- just knows things."

He looked up at the wall above me and I studied his gorgeous face, the maleness of his dark blonde eyebrows, his neck, with its very prominent Adams apple, the barely perceptible bit of stubble scattered about his cheeks and chin. I wanted to reach over and caress his collarbone, his chest, his jaw. He continued,

"Like, the first time I met her, my folks had just kicked me out of the house, for the second time. I hitched down here to Galveston, thinking I could just live on the beach-- like an idiot. One night, I was wasted on like, three Quaalude's, and had just gotten mugged down underneath The Balinese Room, down on the beach.

Celia and Jet were coming out of the Balinese, as I was crawling up the stairs from the beach to the Seawall with a bloody nose. She ran over and hugged me, and they brought me home, like some wounded stray animal. She knew my parents had kicked me out and I had no place to go before I even said anything. They brought me here and let me stay for a couple of months, then I went back home."

"Why did your folks kick you out?"

"Well, lot's of reasons, but it comes down to me being uncontrollable. Like Celia said, I'm a free spirit, and can't be tied down and molded into what the world wants me to be. Jet says I'm an old soul, who's preparing to spread my wings for some important thing I'm supposed to do, like to help people." He chuckled, "So now I have to figure out what that is."

"Well you did something important and helped me today-- you got me away from it all and took my mind off all my bullshit-- and believe me, that's a worthy thing," I smiled. "And it sure seems to me like you're a free spirit, like you just grab life by the balls and go for it!"

He laughed and his voice was musical. "Well, I guess I do that, but I don't feel like I've really found a purpose in life yet."

"Hell, you're just eighteen! Whatta you expect? I have no idea what I wanna do with my life yet. I don't know if I even want a life anymore."

"Whatta ya mean by that?" He asked. I froze.

Why did that slip out? My uncertainty and struggle was still boiling just under the surface all the time, but I had managed to bury it today, after I met Ty. And then I found myself very attracted to him-- but chastising myself for wanting a straight guy. I told myself to not create a sexual situation here in my head, with a guy who was just being a friend. I told myself not to let this become frustrating-- just be friends-- but damn, he was just so sexy, beautiful and free...

"Umm, I... Well..." I looked in his eyes and they were inviting me in. For what, I don't know. He waited for me to continue. I looked at his wavy blonde hair, falling over his chest. The first couple of strands on either side of his face were naturally curled in sexy ringlets.

"I just, think lately... I wonder if it's worth doing." I mumbled, looking at the bed between us.

"What, life?"

I glanced at his suddenly piercing blue eyes, then fixed my gaze on a small, thin shelf on the wall by the window, adorned with various colored candle wax drippings from the room's past. Had Ty burned those-- and was he alone when he watched the flames?

"Yeah. It's like, I don't fit; with life. I don't fit anything, ya know? I don't have a life, or friends anyway. Today was so out of character for me. Taking acid? Ditching school for a joyride to Galveston?" I chuckled. "It feels kinda like, I dunno, a last fling. Do you ever feel like it's just not worth it all? Like you just want to get it all over with?" I put the questions out there, but answered for him, "Nah, you wouldn't. You got it all together."

I searched his eyes. His facial expression was somber, but there was something going on in there; something that drew me in. He stared back for a bit before he answered,

"Yeah Danny, I feel that way sometimes. Actually, I used to most the time. Ya know, we all get days like today, once in awhile, that make ya feel so fuckin' good about life, and then the next day just slams you in the gut, and tells you one more time how fucking insignificant you are," he waved his hand in the air dismissively, then added solemnly, "I tried to do it before."

"What, kill yourself?" I asked incredulously.

"Yeah," he held both his wrists out for me to see the scars. "It wasn't `til they put me in suicide watch in the Psych. Ward at John Sealy Hospital here, that I found out from the other nutcases that I did it wrong. To do it right, you slit up this way, not across." He mimed using a razor blade with precision up his arm, and a chill went down my spine.

"Oh my God. It looks like it must have been painful."

"Yeah, it was. This one's real rough cuz I did the other one first, an' I couldn't hardly hold the blade to cut it." More chills went down my spine as I pictured him trying to do that, knowing a lot of what was going through his mind when he was trying. I started to get tears in my eyes thinking about it.

"What made you try it?" I was mesmerized by the rough, bumpy scars. I could even see the little dots from the stitches.

He chuckled again, "Oh, life." Then his tone was matter of fact, "The same thing you just said, about not feeling like you fit in. Feeling like there's no one in the world who understands you, or accepts you the way you are." he looked at me and added, "Probably the very same reasons you feel like it."

"Yeah? Really? That is what I feel like. It's fuckin' depressing, ain't it?" And I added, "It seems kinda hopeless for me, for my situation."

"It definitely gets depressing, but it's really not hopeless, Danny, really. I was so lucky to meet Jet and Celia, oh, I guess it was two or three months after I tried it. The stitches were all healed, but Celia did some kind of 'thing' over them, and I felt better all over, inside." He put his hand on his chest.

"It's kinda hard to describe what they did for me, but I guess the most important thing, is they taught me that I have to love myself-- cuz there's not always someone else there to do it for me," he paused and studied my face for a moment, and added,

"I still have a hard time 'loving' myself sometimes. Ya know, sometimes I still feel like it's all kinda pointless." He tossed his hair back over his shoulder with the back of his hand. I could see the scar across his wrist. I couldn't help but stare.

"So, who broke your heart?" He asked, yanking my eyes from his wrist. "I mean, that's gotta be, like, the catalyst for a lot of why you're feeling like that, I'm sure."

'Oh shit,' I thought. 'Do I tell him? No, it would probably destroy the rapport we have going. I am really getting into this conversation, needing it. I've never had this kind of conversation with anyone before. I don't want to do anything to stop this sharing, this baring of souls-- and potentially cause an upsetting, or even nasty scene.'

"Um... I can't really talk about it, Ty." I tried to think of a way to back out of talking about it without turning him off, "You don't wanna hear about my bullshit anyway," I tried to sound upbeat.

"Yes I do. I wanna hear all about you."

My eyes darted to his, wondering what exactly he meant by that.

"Huh?" I stalled.

"I said I want to hear all about you. I gotta know how anyone could break your heart, how they could be so fucked up, to do that to someone as nice as you."

I blushed, "Well, apparently, it was pretty easy for..." I looked down at the sheet. "It wasn't hard to do."

"I can't imagine it being easy to do. You're the kindest, most genuine person I've met in a long time. You definitely don't deserve to be hurt. So what happened?"

I looked at him, realizing we were laying on a bed together in a small, intimate room, after just having shared a wonderful day, a wonderful trip together, and I was about to tell him the truth-- my deep dark secret-- that thing 'that dare not speak its name' and all that shit. I got dry mouthed, and wasn't sure I could speak. My heart was racing, and I was sure he could hear it.

"Ty, it's not, it's like..." I stumbled, and couldn't look him in the eyes, "I can't tell you, without telling you things about me, and I don't know if I can do that right now."

"Tell me about you, Danny," he brought his fingertip to my chin to get me to look at him.

I was breathing hard and going flush. His eyes and touch set off a whole 'nother set of feelings and sensations, on top of what I was already rushing with. My mind was swirling with all these conflicts, and confusion, and euphoria, and depression, and I just blurted it out:

"Ty, I'm gay." I closed my eyes-- every muscle in my body straining-- waiting for his reaction. I thought: 'I have my car here. I'm down enough from the acid; I could drive right now if I have to leave.'

He said nothing. I couldn't open my eyes, anticipating his reaction one way or the other. I felt movement in front of me,

I felt warm lips barely tickle mine like the breeze from a sideways glance. My eyes sprang open to his eyes, filling my vision, smiling at me warmly. I inhaled his breath deeply, as I'd been holding mine out.

"Welcome to my world, Danny." His smile radiated over and through my entire being.

"You?!" was all I could get out, of the million thoughts racing through my mind at that second.

"And you," he smiled. "And it could be 'us', if you feel about me like I feel about you. I mean, I know we just met an' all, but I already feel like I've known you for a long time. I know enough about you to know I sure would like to try." He smiled again and backed away a little, "But I know you still got a lot to deal with, about whoever broke your heart, so, you know, it's up to you," he said with hope in his voice.

"Oh my God." I collapsed onto my back, chest heaving, stunned with relief, with the revelation that Ty was gay too, that we had hooked up today by sheer chance. What were the odds of that-- was it just because of my new car?

He'd just told me he wanted me, and I knew I wanted him-- but was conflicted about Jerry. But Jerry was over with; his distance over the last couple of weeks had given a finality to that, so I shouldn't have any guilt's about wanting to move on. I thought: 'Somebody wants me. Somebody beautiful, somebody real, somebody apparently no longer conflicted about himself and his sexuality. He wants me. He just told me so. Maybe I'm not so undesirable after all.' But I questioned his judgement.

The music was meandering around the room like a dream, and I was trying to gather my thoughts and put them in perspective. After a long minute, Ty spoke,

"There's no pressure on my part, Danny. I don't even know if you're interested in me that way."

My head shot up, twisting to look at him, "YES!" I instantly blushed and caught myself, "I mean-- yes! I'm very interested in you. I've been turned on to you since I saw you leaning on my car." I rolled back onto my side facing him. "I feel like I know you so well already too. And you're so good-looking and nice. I feel like you wouldn't hurt me the way..." I involuntarily started retreating.

Ty leaned toward me and our eyes closed as he kissed me tenderly on the lips. The connection felt so electric, coursing through my body in waves.

"I could never hurt you in any way," he murmured into my lips.

His hand came to my neck and pulled me slightly more into the kiss. I put my hand on his, pulling it firmly against my neck to show how much I needed his caress, how much I needed him, and how much I wanted him to want me.

His kiss was tender and loving, his tongue gently probing, my tongue asking for more. But he pulled away just as I was starting to move my body closer to his. I looked at him with questioning in my eyes, and a raging erection in my Levi's.

"I think we need to go real slow, Danny. Why don't we get comfortable and just snuggle for a bit?"

I nodded, confused, wondering if I had done something to turn him off.

He went up on his knees to reach the light switch. I saw his very thick member pulsing down his thigh, straining to work its way up. He looked down at me with such a tender expression, I realized he wasn't turned off at all; he was just wanting to take things slow; for my sake, I guess. I sat up and stretched around him to stop his reach, placing my hand on his arm, feeling the silky down of blonde hair on the top side of his scarred wrist.

"Please. Leave it on for a bit?"

He looked down at me and grinned. I blushed and looked slowly down his body and settled on his bulge for a moment, then traveled back up into his eyes as I lay back, stretching my legs out on either side of him. He stood up on the bed. I didn't need `slow'.

He was grinning from ear to ear, as he pulled his shirt up slowly and sensually in a tease, revealing his tan, flat stomach. His bronzed skin made his blonde treasure trail look like artwork around his navel. Then his naturally sculpted, hairless chest came into view. Good for the eyes, it was. He pulled the shirt off, and his hair flew out of it in all directions in slow motion, billowing down like golden feathers over his tanned shoulders and chest, accentuating his handsome face, with those bluer than the sky eyes. I almost erupted in my underwear.

He saw the rapturous look in my eyes and it spurred him on. I saw him try, unsuccessfully, to wipe the silly grin off his face, trying to look smoldering-- but I didn't want him to; I loved it. I loved the way his sensuous lips curled and his eyes sparkled when he grinned like that.

I loved how he rubbed his hands sensuously down his chest and stomach `til he reached his jeans, hesitating, then going on down to his groin, rubbing around his balls and cock through the denim, pressing the fabric on either side of his thick tool, outlining it for me, with a lustful look in his sparkling eyes.

"Oh, God..." I moaned, and spread my knees, rubbing my chest and stomach through my tee shirt. I didn't dare touch my cock.

He curled his index finger at me. "Come here," he softly commanded.

I stood up, wobbling on the bed. He grasped my tee shirt at the waist and pulled it slowly up and over my head and held it there, with my arms pulled up, neckline hung on my chin. He leaned down and kissed the base of my neck, making me shudder. With no visual, save for the vibrant colors pulsing behind my eyes, I was overcome with the hot wet feel and texture of his lips and tongue melting my neck, his breath making me tingle; I could hardly remain standing.

He slowly inched the shirt up and off, following its departure with his tongue, stopping to play in my ear and making me shiver even more. I put my hands on his chest, feeling his pounding heart in my palms, racing as fast as mine, and nuzzled my face into his neck, while he caressed my back.

"Oh, Danny, you feel so wonderful to me," he whispered as he hugged me into him, still sucking on my earlobe around his words. I could only moan in response, as I wrapped my arms around his waist and squeezed, feeling his hard meat against my tense belly through the jeans.

I guess the residual of the acid made everything so much more intense and focused. His skin felt electric tingly, but velvety smooth and delicious to my hands. The sensation of him sucking on my ear, and breathing and speaking into it, was making my heart race and my cock drool. The heat radiated out from both of us; though at that point, we weren't sweating.

"I don't have the words to tell you how wonderful you are," I whispered.

He searched for my mouth with his lips, and when he found it, he made me shiver with rushes as he swept me away with a kiss that told me all I needed to know about him. I wanted to give myself to him.

I kissed his shoulder and started working my way down his chest. He let me sink slowly, licking and kissing my way down his silky smooth skin, teasing his nipples, down to his navel, then rubbing my face into his treasure trail. When I got to his jeans, I sat back on my haunches and took in the sight of him.

That moment crystallized in my mind, once and for all, without a doubt, that I wanted men. I didn't need or want to deny or suppress it anymore.

The realization was that: looking at his superbly male body, in those incredibly sexy Levi's, his bare feet and thick toes sticking out, with my mouth watering at the vision of his member protruding in the denim, and his blonde treasure trail cascading down from his sexy navel to curl lazily over the hem of the low cut jeans; then looking up from his mounding chest, to his dreamy face, all just sent me into uncontrollable lust and desire.

And in that beautiful body, HIM, Tyson. What an amazing guy! What a beautiful person!

"You're making me feel sexy, looking at me like that." He narrowed his eyes seductively.

"You ARE sexy. VERY sexy. VERY VERY sexy! You make me want to lick you all over." I said, touching my tongue to my upper lip, bringing my hand to the inside of his thigh and brushing lightly up to feel his balls through the cloth. I thought I sounded so mature.

"Damn you're amazing!" He blurted.


"Well, I just got this feeling you were gay too, when I met you. But when we were on the beach and all, I wasn't sure, but I still thought so, hoped so," he chuckled. "I was so turned on by you, but I thought, man, he's so in the closet, it'll be a really tricky process to get him to open up, ya know? But then, when it came down to it just now, you just said it out right! That took balls. But what's amazing to me, is that I thought I was gonna have t' like, go real slow and, you know, like, draw you out-- but you're ready to go for it! And that's so awesome!" He laughed. I blushed and laughed too.

When we stopped laughing, his cock had retreated some. He thrust his hips forward suggestively, "Now, where were we?"

I looked up into his eyes and told him how grateful I was with mine. I hooked my index fingers in the belt loops on his hips and pulled my face to his crotch. I gently nuzzled into his spongy, somewhat softened cock, feeling the heat through the denim. There was a little wet spot his shaft left behind when it was fully hard, that it rapidly reached again as I mouthed it through the faded cloth.

"Ohhhh, man, you're getting me so fucking hot, Danny." He growled.

It seemed like it would be a real turn-on, so I found his pants button, clenched the cloth around it with my teeth and pulled it open, then maneuvered the zipper tab up with my tongue, secured it between my teeth and pulled it down. I think it turned me on as much as it did Ty. He groaned his enthusiastic approval as he watched intently.

I nuzzled my face in between the zipper flaps, into his pubic hair, just touching the base of his shaft with my lips. Breathing in his scent got me high all over again. He pulled my face into his crotch and moaned.

I pulled his jeans down around his ankles by the loops, and his manhood sprang up, slapping the side of my face. I rubbed my cheek against it, smearing precum from the corner of my eye to my ear, then angled away to watch it bounce around enticingly. He was uncircumcised.

"Man, you have a beautiful dick. It's so Thick!" I came at it from the side and pushed it up against his hard belly with my lips.

"Yeah? So you like it?" He ran his fingers through my hair, lightly pulling my face into him.

"Oh yeahhhhh." I said the same way we had said it earlier. He grinned.

I guess it was inevitable that I'd make comparisons: Ty's cock was almost as thick as Jerry's, but not nearly as long. It was seven or maybe even eight inches, where Jerry's was close to ten, and felt like twelve. And Ty's cock tapered as it got to the tip, where Jerry's was pretty straight for the last half, with a flaring bell. Ty's was also wide across, where Jerry's was more thickly rounded, but pretty flat across the topside. They both had these wonderful veins traversing their length. And where the outermost flesh of Jerry's cock stayed spongy-- even at his most rigid-- on Ty, even his veins felt firm when he was rigid.

I breathed an inward sigh of relief, when I found that Ty's cock turned me on just as much as Jerry's. It had crossed my mind that I might never be satisfied with anything less than Jerry's massive endowment.

I licked my way up the underside, sliding off just before the head, into his neatly trimmed, dark blonde pubic hair, rubbing my face around in the wiry curls. I backed away to find the tip of his shaft with my tongue, encountering foreskin for the first time.

I touched my tongue to his piss slit, peeking through, as the skin couldn't quite wrap that last dime sized tip of his rigid shaft. I tasted his delicious, salty precum. I was fascinated by the rubbery skin, and pushed it back with my lips, revealing the hidden treasure, his slick ultra-smooth bell that didn't flare away much from the shaft. I slathered it with my tongue, eliciting deep moans from him.

My entire body hummed with the thrill of my lips parting wider and wider as I consumed his shaft centimeter by centimeter, my tongue delighting to the under ridge, coated with precum. I was furiously trying to free my own steel from its bondage with my left hand, while gently tugging on his wonderfully hefty nuts to pull him deeper into my mouth with my right.

Ty braced himself on the wall and alternated throwing his head back ecstatically, and looking down intently into my eyes-- as I kept them on his face and throat most of the time. I worked my tongue in under the foreskin, swirling it around on the head, as he moaned little encouragements to me.

I knew what an addict felt like when he received his fix-- when the actual pleasure is far greater than the anticipation of it was. Ty was such a beautiful person. He made me feel good about being myself, and I could tell from everything he'd said and done, that he really liked me, so I guess you could say I was good for him.

It was just hard for my mind to believe that I could actually be any good for anyone. I mean I don't want to sound pitiful, but that really is the way I felt.

Amazing how much shit can go through your mind while simultaneously being totally thrilled and absorbed in one of the most intense pleasures known.

I couldn't swallow all of his thick shaft in that position, but I savored every bit I could cram into my hungry mouth and throat. I crammed it in as far as I could get it to go and just held it there, working my tongue, what little I could, on the underside. I just reveled in the feel of his rigid member prying my jaw wide, stuffing my mouth and throat.

I knew I needed to work it, to give him pleasure, but I just didn't want to withdraw, even for a moment. I argued with myself: 'You've got to move back and forth, or he won't enjoy it. But I just can't let it go yet-- just one more minute like this. You're gonna bore him. I'll make up for it, in a minute.'

"Oh, Danny, that is sooo fucking hot, the way you're just holding it in there. I feel the texture of your tongue on it. I feel your throat muscles working on the head. Oh man, it's so intense. Ohhhh God!" He ran his fingers through my hair and rolled his hips into my face, working his shaft a little further down my throat.

"You're gonna make me cum!" He withdrew quickly. Taking my head in his hands, he knelt down, angling his face to kiss me passionately. Still holding my head, he backed away and looked into my eyes, "Damn, you are so wonderful." He spoke slowly, pulling me back to his lips to kiss some more then holding my head away again.

"Man, I was hopin' an' prayin' all day that tonight would end up like this," he stared into my eyes. "You are so beautiful, to me." He chuckled, "I won't kill your ears by singing that song right now, but man, that's what I feel like doing." He smiled, and his eyes laughed,

"You're just so fucking beautiful..." He caressed down the side of my head and onto my cheek with his right hand, pulling his palm away to let his fingers thrill my skin, wandering down across my lips, "Inside and out. Beautiful."

He was watching my lips tremble with the touch of his fingers. I was dizzy with a full-on overload-- rapidly approaching meltdown-- coming on. God, he was so beautiful to me! I more or less fell into him and he held me up against his bare chest and kissed my cheek and temple while I lay my head on his right shoulder,

"You can sing if you want to, I love your voice," I managed to say as I recovered. "You're the one that's beautiful. I mean, you're the one that's-- well, beautiful. I sound like an idiot." I giggled into his neck.

I was trying to form words to express how overcome I was with him, as he pushed me gently back onto the bed and laid on top of me, smothering me with kisses while I clutched at his back, pulling him down on me to feel his weight, his heat and electricity.

He kissed and licked his way down my chest and stomach and finished undoing my jeans, sliding them off, getting his own off his ankles as well. He sat back on his haunches and looked my body over as I'd done with his-- only he had a body worth looking at. I felt so inadequate. But his eyes sparkled and he said,

"Oh yeahhhhh," he shook his head like he couldn't believe his good fortune. I didn't get it. I figured I was the one who should be having that reaction, not him.

"I could just stare at you all day," he smiled. "But I think I'd rather eat you right now."

He bent down between my legs and devoured my drooling cock in one gulp, his hair playing around my groin and thighs. He was very good at it and sucked it until I let him know I was too close, then he worked his way down to my balls, giving them tender loving attention for a while.

I had spread my legs, and he hooked under my knees and pushed them toward my chest. He licked and slobbered his way down my perineum to my hairless asshole and went at it tenderly and slowly at first, working his long tongue in gently, driving me insane. I grabbed my knees from him and pulled them all the way to my shoulders, pushing my ass up into his face, wordlessly begging for more.

His licking and sucking intensified in stages and he added a finger to his repertoire of delights, then another and then a third, as he fondled my balls with his other hand.

"Oh Ty! God, you're driving me crazy! Please, please fuck me!" I writhed around in heat, "I need you in me so bad!"

He came up on top of me, letting his fingers slip slowly out of my hole, leaving it spasming in anticipation of his fat cock. He leaned over and dug a tube of KY out of the nightstand and came back to my face and started kissing me as he spread the lube on his shaft, then mine.

I still held my legs up, and spread them as wide as I could, feeling his cock come in contact with my twitching sphincter muscle. The pressure and heat sent me into overdrive, as I felt it push against me. He dipped his tongue into my mouth and whispered,

"God I can't wait to be inside you."

Which came out at the same moment his head slipped in past my ring and into my tunnel, where he started a slow and steady push into my depths.

"Ahhh, ahhh, oh God, oh yes, yes, yes..." I babbled and dug my head back into the bed, then back up into his neck, pushing my ass up into him. When he reached bottom, I sighed a long sigh of relief-- to be filled again-- only with Ty this time.

He ground himself into my ass and backed out about halfway, going slowly back in. I moaned, "Oh God, you feel so fucking GOOD inside me."

He started rhythmically rolling his hips against me, stretching me wide, sending me into ecstasy as he longdicked me and kissed me at the same time. I began rolling with him, synchronizing and trancing with him, our eyes about four inches apart, filling our horizons, making light for each other.

I glowed at him, "OHHHhhhhh YES! Ty!" I said too loudly.

He kept up the steady rhythm, driving into me and driving me out of my mind. Soon, he drove me over the edge, and I just lost control. I grabbed his shoulders and his tailbone and rammed myself up into him and held there while I detonated without touching myself, making all kinds of strange, guttural sounds. He felt my pulsating contractions and wrenched free of my grasp and started driving his rigid tool into me urgently, grunting and moaning down at me,

"YES DANNY! OH yes! OH-- OH-- OH--" He erupted into me just as I spasmed for the third time, and the sudden expansion of his cock at the same moment made me nearly scream my ecstasy as he shot his first jet into my bowels.

His body stretched and convulsed five or six times, shuddering violently, then several more short ripples and he collapsed on top of me. It sounded like he was crying, as he gasped for breath.

"I love you Danny," he panted.

"I love you too, Tyson," I croaked.

I don't know how I even got that simple phrase out. I was still rushing and jerking around, mostly from the thrill of being his climax-- being IN it-- feeling like I was in his body, feeling every intense sensation as he felt it. It was incredible. Our climaxes became one and so did we. I was shaking and clutching at him and gasping and laughing and crying, my body getting confused as to what I was doing from one second to the next. Even my laughter didn't make it out as sound most of the time.

Ahhhhh, I remember him settling in, leaving his shaft embedded as he sank down onto me, relaxing as his twitches subsided. My muscles relaxed gradually as well, and I kissed his shoulder, and licked the cool sweat off his hot skin, running my hands up and down his back, still getting my breath.

I could have stayed under him, with my legs wrapped around his hips all night, basking in the glow. He stayed very hard for a very long time-- and nothing could have kept me any happier than to feel him just being inside me.

After awhile, he rolled us completely over, stationing me on top of him, still completely hard and lodged inside me. I laid over on him with my knees against his sides. I rolled my face around his chest and neck, working myself up his body `til he was almost out of me, then sliding back down on our sweat and lube and my cum, `til I was fully impaled again.

He reached around and pulled on his balls, which I figured out was pulling his foreskin back, and with my slow back and forth movement, I was amazed that I was able to feel the skin retreat and then re-cover his shaft. It was a wonderful subtle sensation. I was able to kiss him at will in this position, so I did, a lot, mouthing between kisses,

"MMMmmmm, that was so amazing. Mmmmyramzng..." I mumbled, while nuzzling my face into his neck. I raised my head when he spoke,

"You are too. Amazingly beautiful. Amazingly sexy-- and you give good head-- not to mention my dick is in absolute fucking heaven right now." He flashed a grin, then a look of ecstasy as he held my hips and helped me slide back and forth on his pole.

"Did you really mean what you said? Do you really love me too?" He asked in a serious tone.

I stopped my movements and looked him in the eye. "Yeah, I did," I paused, "But Ty, I gotta tell ya up front: I'm not sure about love. I mean, I'm confused about a lot of things right now. It's like, I know I meant it when I said it, cuz I felt an amazing feeling I think was love, but I'm just wondering if I really know what love is, ya know? I am certain that I fell in love with Jerry, but now that that's over, I don't know if I'm still in love with him or what. Until today, well, until I met you, I know I was still in love with him."

"Jerry, huh?" He said the name with a hint of jealousy in his voice.

"Yeah, Jerry Loring, the jock." I figured he would know who Jerry was, since Jerry was a star on two teams-- but Ty could care less about school sports teams, and wasn't into school spirit and all that crap.

"Don't know 'im. A fuckin' jock, huh?" He asked with the usual derision stoners and jocks viewed each other with. "So, you aren't over him enough to know if you love me?" He was almost defensive sounding,

He looked into my eyes and then held his hand up and said: "Wait. Don't answer that question. Man, that is so fucked up of me to push you like that. I'm sorry, Danny. I'm just so into you, I wanna move faster than you're ready to." He reached up and stroked my hair, "I can be patient. Let's just take it one day at a time and see what happens?"

I sighed, "That's probably the smart thing to do, but I really did mean it when I said it. I really felt love for you-- and still do. You make me feel so fantastic, and not just when we're in bed." I smiled, pulsing his thick tool with my ass muscles. "But I'm still fucked up in the head about Jerry. I really was about to kill myself a couple of weeks ago. But a woman who-- well it's a long story, but she stopped me."

His eyes grew wide, "Just a couple of weeks ago? Wow. When did y'all break up?"

"That's the thing; this all happened less than a month ago. I mean, we met at school, I was his tutor. I spent the weekend with him and his mom caught us in bed, and she made him tell me it's over, and that was that. But I fell so in love, so fast and so deeply..." I trailed off.

"His mom caught you in bed? No shit? Oh fuck! You gotta tell me that story some time! But you must have fallen hard for him, for you to want to kill yourself over him."

"Well she found us asleep, but in a "compromising" position. But, like I told Rachel, the friend who stopped me from doing it, it wasn't just about him. It was about all those things we talked about awhile ago, like the loneliness and the whole 'gay' thing, and the thing with Jerry just put me over the edge. I really was going to do it, but, it's like fate intervened or something, I dunno..."

"Oh man, I'm so fuckin' glad you didn't," he pulled my face down to meet his and kissed me.

When we parted lips, I said, "Yeah, I'm glad I didn't too. Was that why you tried? Being gay?"

"Yeah, that and like we said about the world and all that. My family's pretty fucked up, too," he sighed. "Wow, just a couple a weeks ago, huh? Damn, I wish I'd been there for you then."

I could see he really meant it and it made my heart swell.

His cock had shrunk and eased out of my ass as we talked, and I sat upright on his mid-section, running my hands up and down his chest and stomach. He reached behind one of the pillows and produced a towel, and started wiping the cum off me, then himself. I spoke as he cleaned us up,

"If I'd of known you then, I'm sure I wouldn't have wanted to do it. I really did mean it when I said I loved you-- I just can't trust my, 'concept' of love yet." I climbed off him and let him wipe his groin clean. Then I leaned down and kissed him and said,

"But like you said a while ago, I sure would like to try with you." I looked at him and he smiled widely.

He pulled me back on top of his prone body and started kissing me tenderly. I thought about how wonderful and loving he was and felt like I could see myself in love with him in the long run, and thought, with Ty, I would eventually get completely over Jerry.

I sat up again and sought out his hands, pulling them up to my face. I turned them palm up and kissed the scars on both of his wrists tenderly and reverently.

"I think we're like, kindred souls in the rain." I said, laying each hand back down and kissing his lips. The tenderness of our kiss seemed to sooth the emotional scars we each harbored. At that moment, I was not confused. At that moment, I felt love. For that moment at least, Jerry seemed a distant memory...

Our cocks hardened as they rubbed each other between our bodies. He had wiped my chest, stomach and groin, but had missed drying my ass with the towel, so when I moved up and back, I felt the head of his rigid shaft against my still lubed crack, and he arched his pelvis up to aim it at the entrance. I impaled myself slowly on it with a shudder and breathed deeply.

"Oh, Tyson, I think I can't get enough of you," I said as I sat up and slid back and forth on his pivot.

"Me neither-- so how 'bout we see if it's possible to get enough? Like just keep trying and trying, `til we've proved to ourselves we can't get enough?" He asked with a laugh in his voice.

I kissed him and whispered, "Oooh, that sounds really, really good-- but how will we know when we've proved it?" I asked as I wiggled my ass around on his hardness.

"When we've spent every last ounce of our energy-- and our dicks fall off."

We laughed-- then went for it. It's good to have a goal.

He sat us up and kneaded my back as he kissed my chest and neck with his whole face. I wrapped my arms around his neck and ground my ass down into him. After a couple of minutes, he raised me off his cock and had me stand in front of his face, while he sucked my balls and perineum from underneath for a bit. Then he scooted himself out from between my legs, and pulled me down on my hands and knees and took me from behind.

The animal in him bared its teeth as he pounded my ass furiously, making me virtually howl at the moon. He pushed my head and shoulders down into the bed and my ass in the air as he stood up crouching, and bored down into me, using his grip on my hips to steady himself.

I was grunting and moaning and babbling incoherently into the mattress, with my arms stretched out beyond my head, hands braced against the wall to keep myself in place for him. The pleasure was almost too much to bear at times. I couldn't believe how awesome it felt to have Ty plowing my ass and grunting his pleasure over and over again.

'Til our dicks fall off. Yeah, just keep going `til they fall off.

We kept on trying to get them to, but they just wouldn't. How many times did we cum? Don't remember. At some point I fucked Ty-- my first time-- and it was incredible! I thought: 'Now I have a good idea of what he feels inside me. No wonder he can't get enough!' It really was awesome, but I knew if I had to choose, I'd rather get it than give it-- any day of the week. I just loved dick inside me! I was adDICKted.

Along about sunrise, we lay exhausted, and our dicks still hadn't fallen off. But we were sooooo sated, satisfied and sleepy. We fell asleep in each other's arms, all cum drenched, sticky and sweaty, breathing in each other's breath, deliriously happy.

After that conversation, Jerry hadn't crossed my mind more than once or twice. Ty filled that thought-space. He said he loved me, many times. I was feeling what felt like love, in some lesser degree than I had felt with Jerry. I found it was hard for me to accept the thought of falling in love again-- especially so soon, and so fast. I asked myself: 'Am I just some silly schoolboy, who goes around falling in love with any guy who shows me some attention, some affection and fucks me? Get a grip! Am I just so desperate to get over Jerry that I'm trying to jump into this, trying to make myself fall in love for the wrong reasons?

Ok, I need to take my time. Don't rush into anything. I've got to be clear about what I still feel for Jerry at least. But how do I do that? And like I said to Ty: I'm confused about the whole concept of love. So how do I `define' love for myself? I don't know. I can't seem to figure that one out.'

But isn't it love when being with someone makes you feel like you're glowing? Isn't it love when you see his profile as he's doing some little something, and your heart rate speeds up and you tingle? Isn't it love when you miss him like hell when he's just gone to take a leak? Isn't it love when your heart sinks 'cause you remember you have to go home-- and be apart-- sometime today-- and you miss him before he's even gone?

Then again, maybe I'm just deluding myself, just consumed by the dreaming...

I dreamed I was someone good

I dreamed you saved me

I dreamed you knew my secrets

I dreamed you erased all my pain

I dreamed I could love and be loved

I dreamed happiness was something I could know

I dreamed it was ok to dream again...

>>>>>>>>>>>>>MORE TO COME<<<<<<<<<<<<

Write and tell me what you think about it!

Note: PFLAG, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays didn't exist yet in 1977. If you are struggling with being gay, and/or with coming out to your family and friends, you owe it to yourself to contact PFLAG! They are a WONDERFUL organization, completely made up of people who have been through exactly what you're going through, and believe me, they can help!!! As I said, they weren't started when I came out to my family, but I know about the Psych. ward at John Sealy Hospital in Galveston (mentioned in this chapter) because that's where my Mom checked in for several weeks when I came out to her. PFLAG would surely have been a big help if they had been around. Just type in <pflag.org> on your search engine.

Thank you for all the wonderful emails, and keep em coming! Love y'all!!!! Mac

Skating Away written by Ian Anderson, copyright Chrysalis Music

Satellite Of Love written by Lou Reed, copyright 1972 RCA

Battling The Beast written by Desertmac, copyright 2002