By John Yager
Copyright © 2004

Usual stipulations apply. All my stories can be found in the NIFTY Prolific Net Authors section. I also maintain a notification list. If you'd like to be added to it, let me know at the e-mail address below.

As always, many thanks to Andrew for proofing.

Part Four

Over the next couple of weeks they spent each noon swimming in the creek and then loving each other on the rocks beside the stream.

On Friday of the second week, as they were eating breakfast, Seymour Hall came by their table to ask how the work was doing. He'd spoken to them several times before, since assigning them to the new trail, and had seemed satisfied by their reports of their progress. This time, however, he said he'd drop by toward the end of the day to see for himself how things were going.

"I'll bring the station wagon so you two can ride back with me."

"Great," both boys said, looking forward to a smoother ride than the ones they were used to in the back of the truck.

They didn't make love that day after lunch, assuming Seymour really wouldn't show up until late afternoon, but not wanting to take any chances of being seen naked and having sex.

Nothing had ever been said about sexual activities between the CCC guys and homosexuality was not mentioned at all in the camp rules but, in those days especially, Marvin and Sam assumed it was absolutely forbidden and would not be condoned. They had, however, talked between themselves about other guys in the group who seemed to be especially close, wondering if maybe they were really the only couple who'd discovered love.

It was late afternoon when Seymour showed up and he was very pleased and very complimentary about the amount and quality of work they'd gotten done.

"Let me get a photo," Seymour said, pulling a folding camera out of his pack, and taking a few snapshots as Marvin and Sam posed on the trail. "I think you'll finish in another week," he told them as he helped them carry their tools and lunch boxes back to the road where the old station wagon was parked.

The boys didn't have a chance to talk alone until later that evening, but when they did the same fear was immediately expressed by both of them.

In their joy over discovering they were in love, they'd given no thought at all to what would happen when the trail project was finished. Working as a team in a remote section of the park had given them the opportunity to be alone each day and to make love in the solitude of the forest. Would that all end when the trail project was finished? If they were assigned to a larger work detail and not given so much opportunity to be alone, it would be a serious blow.

Seymour said nothing more for several days and eventually the strain got too much. One night after dinner as they were leaving the dining hall, Sam walked up beside Seymour and struck up a conversation. The relationships between the boys and the adult staff was friendly and informal and it was not unusual for one of the guys to prompt a discussion between them. Despite that, Sam was very nervous and only hoped it didn't show.

"Well, Seymour," Sam said, "you were about right about our section of the trail. I think Marvin and I will finish it by Friday, Saturday morning at the latest." They worked a five and a half day work week and had Saturday afternoon and Sunday free.

"Great, Sam," Seymour said. "I'll come take a look Friday afternoon and if everything is in as good shape as the section I saw last week, we can invite Mr. Collins to come have a look on Saturday morning."

"Okay, great," Sam said, and then reached the topic which had bothered him and Marvin all week. "What do you have for us next?"

"Oh, I was thinking of assigning you two to another trail project over in Section Six. How does that sound?"

"Just fine," Sam said with a grin. Section Six was the most distant and most remote part of the camp.

- 0 -

A few weeks later, in early August, Marvin and Sam were again taking a noon break, wading naked in another little stream, cooling off after they'd eaten, and before getting back to work.

Over the last month, as the summer went on, their love had deepened and they had become gradually more adept at their expression of it. Sam called Marvin over to look at a brightly colored rock he'd found in the creek bed and then to draw him into a warm embrace. They stood there, naked, hugging, and then moving into a long, deep kiss.

Suddenly Sam stiffened and pulled back.

"Oh, hell," he whispered.

"What, Sam?" Marvin said, thinking that somehow Sam had been hurt.

"There's someone up on the bank looking at us. I think it's Clyde."

Clyde Owens was Seymour Hall's counterpart, and while he didn't have any direct authority over the team Marvin and Sam were in, he was a member of the staff.
Before the boys could be really sure who or what they'd seen, the figure moved back and was lost in the underbrush. Needless to say, they were shaken.

The next few days were miserable. Sam and Marvin both expected the worst and had no idea what their fate might be. Would they be dismissed from the CCC and sent home? Would they be made public examples?

The next two nights were sleepless for both boys and by Friday morning it had begun to show. They looked haggard and near panic.

At breakfast the ax fell.

Seymour came by their table and said they didn't look so good. "I want you to both stay in today. Don't go out to your work site when the other guys leave. Just hang around your cabin and I'll be by later."

After breakfast, which neither of them had really been able to eat, Marvin and Sam sat on their bunks, staring at each other, not able to say more then a few words at a time. Marvin was on the verge of tears and felt as if a lump was forming in his chest which would soon choke him to death. If it did, he reasoned, he didn't care.

At ten, Seymour came into the cabin, stood for a moment or two, looking very nervous and also very sad.

"Sam," he finally said, "you need to come with me."

"Can't I came, too," Marvin immediately said, jumping up as Sam stood to follow Seymour.

"No, Marvin," Seymour said. His voice was low and he seemed to be as torn as Marvin felt. "But stay here."

The next hour was hell. Marvin paced and cried, tried to lie on his bunk, got up and paced some more. The time drug on interminably, but finally he heard Seymour's voice as he walked toward their room.

Marvin was standing up when Seymour and Sam entered the room.

"I'll leave you boys alone, but I'll be right out side," Seymour said as he went out into the hall and closed the door.

As soon as they were alone, Sam began to cry. He stood there in the center of the room, his tears flowing as his whole body began to shake. In a split second Marvin had covered the six or eight feet between them and pulled Sam into a close embrace.

After a few minutes, as Sam regained some degree of control, he muttered, "they're transferring me to the camp at Carr."

"Oh, God, Sam," Marvin stammered as the reality of it all hit him.

It took several more minutes for Sam to say more, but finally, sitting on the his bunk as Marvin held him, he explained what had happened.

"Not a word was said about you and me, Marvin. It was as if they didn't want to deal with it."

"Maybe they really don't know," Marvin said, not believing it, but hoping.

"They know," Sam said flatly. "Clyde was outside Mr. Collins' office when Seymour and I got there and he was still there when we left. He looked nervous as hell, but he didn't even speak to me.

"So it was Mr. Collins who told you they were sending you to Carr?"

"Yes, him and Seymour. They just said that from time to time, for various reasons, transfers were necessary, for the good of the CCC, that sort of thing, but it was clear the real reason was to separate us."

"I don't think I can do it, Sam," Marvin whispered. "I can't stay here without you."

"I know," Sam said. "It's hell."

"What if we both just resigned and went off together?"

"What would we do, Marvin? I don't have anything to go back to."

"I know," Marvin grudgingly agreed. "My folks are just making it and there's not much else I could do but go home."

"We have to accept it, Marvin. It's over for us, at least for now."

"It's so unfair, Sam, so damned unfair."

"It's the way the world is. We knew that, nobody's willing to accept what we've got."

"How soon do you go?"

"Right now," Sam said, his voice little more than a whisper. "Seymour's driving me to Carr."

"Oh, Sam," Marvin groaned, suddenly struck by the suddenness of it all.

"I think they want me gone before the other guys get back from their work details this afternoon."

Packing was hardly a task. Sam didn't have much and what he had fit into one big duffle bag. When he was finished, he stood and looked longingly at Marvin.

They embraced and then kissed softly.

"I'll always love you, Sam," Marvin whispered as their lips parted for the last time.

"I'll always love you," Sam whispered back.

When they opened the door, Seymour was hunkered down against the wall of the passageway, looking as distraught as the boys.

"Ready?" he said, standing up.

Sam said nothing, but just turned and went on down the hall.

"Marvin, you need to go find Pete. You're going to be helping him and Stan in the kitchen for a while."

That was it. Sam and Seymour disappeared around the corner at the end of the hall and if Sam looked back to give Marvin one parting smile, Marvin didn't see it because Seymour was behind him and it blocked Marvin's view.

-0 -

The next few weeks were hell. Marvin really didn't mind working in the kitchen; in some ways he was happier there than he'd have been working with the other boys. It would have been hard to be on the trail building projects without Sam.

The other guys, especially his roommates, inevitably asked about Sam, but all Marvin could say was that he'd been transferred to Carr. He didn't know anything more and probably wouldn't have wanted to say more, even if he had known.

A few of the guys speculated as to why Sam had been transferred, and there were at least three theories, none of which came close to the truth. Marvin offered no opinion.

After a couple of weeks the whole thing was more or less forgotten, or at least it ceased to be of interest. Other events became the new topics of discussion. Once in a while one of the guys would ask Marvin if he'd heard from Sam, but that was the extent of it.

Marvin had, in fact, heard from Sam. He'd written his first letter to Sam later the evening after Sam had gone, and got off two more letters before one from Sam arrived.

Marvin was a little surprised by Sam's letter. Like his own, it was guarded. They both seemed to have assumed that their letters might be read by others, or even just accidentally fall into someone else's hands. They never spoke of their feelings for each other and always signed their letters in some neutral way, usually just as, "Your friend, Marvin," or "All the best, Sam."

None of that surprised Marvin, but what did was Sam's penmanship, which was more like that of a primary school student than a nineteen year old high school graduate. Marvin had not seen Sam's writing before he received his first letter, and was surprised by it, as well as by his friend's poor command of language, especially of spelling.

None the less, Marvin relished each letter he received from Sam, as trivial as their content was. There really wasn't much either of them could say, other than to relate the rather routine events of life in the two CCC camps: Marvin's at Thorn, and Sam's at Carr. They made general comments about trying to visit over the end of year break, and of being able to get together again at some vague point in the future. But despite all that, Marvin cherished each letter, reading it over and over again and carefully saving each one.

Pete and Stan turned out to actually be fun to work with and Marvin soon fitted in as a regular member of the kitchen staff. Pete, the older of the two adult staff, was clearly in charge, but it was also clear that Stan took very little guff from his ostensible boss. Pete planned the meals and did the purchasing, but beyond that point, the three of them soon carved out their own areas of responsibility and they worked together with a common sense of purposes.

Marvin had assumed that he'd be little more than a dishwasher and the general clean-up guy, but to his surprise those chores were more or less equally shared and Marvin was given responsibilities as well. He was soon preparing all the salads and even some of the desserts.

Life went for Marvin and as the cooler autumn weather began and life in the kitchen became more tolerable, there was a sense of tranquility in his life, if not the ecstatic joys he'd known with Sam.

Those weeks also gave Marvin a chance to think about his relationship with Sam. He was sure what he felt was love and he knew he would always love Sam, no matter what distance or time came between them.

Marvin also quickly realized that the sexual experiences they'd shared were far less important than the love, no matter how wonderful the sex had been.

As he tried to think about the entire situation in relation to his dreams and hopes, he realized that at some point in his life he wanted a wife and family. He wanted the stable life he parents knew, but he also knew that there would always be a very special place in his heart reserved for Sam.

To be continued