***Please Note:  This story contains scenes depicting sexual acts between men and boys.  It also contains scenes depicting incestual sex.   If you are under the age of 18, or if it is illegal for you to read such material in your state, please do not read further.  If you are offended by this type of material, again, please do not read further.

This story is completely a work of fiction.  The characters and situations in the story exist solely in the author's imagination.  If you have questions, comments or suggestions regarding this story, please email me.   Flames ignored.

For a list of my other stories, and info about me, go to my Website.

Christopher's Story

Copyright ©2002-03 Eric Draven®.

All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 28

  For the next few days, James and I were inseparable.  He came over every morning as soon as he got out of bed, and we did everything together.  Tommy and Sheldon came over almost as much as James did, but neither of them said anything about the amount of time that James was spending with me or the fact that he was usually always there when they got there in the morning.  I knew that Tommy had questions when he saw that almost every new painting that I painted was of James.  I didn't know if James wanted them to know about us or not, so I didn't volunteer any information.

    I did, however, want to tell Evan and my dad.  I wasn't sure about telling Kendal.  I didn't know how she would react.  Telling Dad and Evan would be hard enough for completely separate reasons.  I was sure that Dad was going to give me a long lecture on how to be careful and what not to do.  With Evan, it was a lot more complicated.  By telling him this, I was basically telling him that our sexual relationship, while currently on hold, was over.  I didn't know how he would react to that.

    I decided to start with Dad.  I went into his study one morning before James came over.  School had been out for a little over two weeks, and I often sat in his study, watching him work.   This time, I needed to talk, and I didn't know how to start the conversation.   I just sat there on his couch, watching him work.  I didn't say anything for a while, and eventually, he figured out that something was on my mind.  He kept glancing at me over his shoulder.  A few times, our eyes would lock, and he would smile at me.

    "Alright, Chris," he said, putting down his pencil and turning to me.  "What's on your mind?"

    "I have to tell you something, and I don't know how to do it," I said.  I'd worked it all out in my head, and I'd known what I was going to say before I'd walked into the room, but all of that was gone now.

    "Well, does it have something to do with James?" asked my father, smiling at me.

    "How did you know?" I asked, feeling my face heat up.

    "Well, I've been downstairs a few times," he said.  "He makes a very interesting subject for a painting."

    "Oh," I said, blushing even deeper.

    "So, I thought you wanted to talk about him," said Dad.  "To save you from saying the most embarrassing thing, does he feel the same way?"

    "Well, that's the tricky part," I admitted.  "James says that he's in love with me."

    "And you don't share his feeling?" asked Dad, arching an eyebrow.  "Do your paintings lie to me?"

    "Well, I do care about James a lot," I said.  "I just don't know that I love him."

    "Alright," he said.  "What's the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?"

    "James," I admitted, blushing again.

    "Ok," he said, smiling at me.  "And the last thing before you go to sleep?"

    "James," I replied again.

    "Ok, and how do you feel when you look at him?" he asked.  He was clearly enjoying this.

    "Well, I feel a lot of things when I look at him," I said slowly.  "I feel happy and scared at the same time. I also feel kind of warm. But there's also this funny feeling in the pit of my stomach. I only feel that when he looks me in the eye."

    "Ok, well, I'd say that you're in love, Christopher," said my father.

    "How do you know so much?" I asked him, smiling.

    "Well, I've been in love a few times in my life," he chuckled.  "So, I know the symptoms quite well."

    "Are you in love now?" I asked, thinking about him and Clint.

    "I see," he laughed.  "Turn about. Well, I'll answer your question since you are being honest with me about the way you feel for James. Yes, I believe I am in love."

    "Does he know?" I asked, shocking myself at my boldness.

    "We've discussed it, yes," said my father.  "I had planned to talk to the three of you together about this."

    "I'm sorry for prying," I said quickly.

    "No, don't be," he said, smiling at me.  "I'm always glad when you and I have our private chats. I would just appreciate it if you wouldn't share this knowledge with your brother and sister until I've had a chance to talk to all of you together."

    "I promise," I said as the doorbell rang.

    "I think that's your guy," said Dad, smiling at me.  "Tell him how you feel, Chris. Be honest with him."

    "Thanks, Dad," I replied, hugging him before I rushed off to answer the door.

    "Hey, sexy," said James when I opened the door.

    I smiled at him and pulled him inside.  Once the door was shut, I threw my arms around him and held him tight.  "Hi."

    "Now that was a greeting!" he chuckled as I let him go.

    "Well, its been a pretty good morning," I replied.


    "Yes," I said.  "I talked to my dad about us."

    "You what?" he asked, looking worried.

    "Relax, James," I said, hugging him again.  "He thinks its great. And he wasn't exactly shocked to hear about us."

    "Why not?" he asked.

    "You've been in the studio, and you've seen every painting I've ever painted," I said seriously.   "Now, care to tell me who the subject of the latest four are?"

    "Oh," he said, blushing.

    We went downstairs, holding hands the whole way.  I was so excited, and I felt like a silly girl.  I didn't care, though.  James and I were together, and that's all I cared about.   He was mine and I was his.

    "My dad helped me realize something else this morning," I said before kissing him.

    "What was that?" he asked, kissing me back.

    "That I'm in love with you," I said between kisses.

    As soon as I said it, his arms were around me, and he switched from the playful kisses that we'd been sharing for two weeks to a serious kiss.  He held me tight, and I felt his tongue running across my bottom lip.  I'd never expected James to even kiss me at all, but this was even more unexpected.  Still, I opened my mouth and accepted his tongue.

    "I love you so much, Chris," he panted when we broke the kiss.

    "I still haven't told Evan and Kendal," I replied.

    "Well that's an interesting response to I love you," he chuckled.

    "I love you, too," I said, kissing him again.

    He drew the kiss out again, and this time I ran my tongue across his closed lips only to be admitted into his soft, warm mouth.  I could have kissed him forever, but I knew that Tommy and Sheldon would be over any minute.  We were supposed to go to a ball game together.  I finally pulled myself away from his mouth.

    "Alright you knuckleheads," called my father from the top of the stairs.  "Get up here and eat."

    We both broke out laughing, but we disentangled from each other and walked upstairs.  Evan was already at work, but Kendal was sitting at the table.  She looked great, and I wondered what was up.  She smiled at me when I came upstairs, and she didn't look shocked to see James come up behind me.

    "Morning, Chris," she said as we sat down at the table.

    "Morning," I replied.

    "Good morning, James," she said, smiling.  "Brother I never knew I had."

    "Good morning, Kendal," he said, blushing.

    "What's that supposed to mean?" I asked.

    "Nothing," she said.  "He's just here all the time lately."

    "Well, there's something I need to tell you," I said, thinking now was as good a time as any to tell her about me and James.

    "Let me guess, you and James have decided to become a couple, and you love each other," she said, smiling.  "Save it little brother. I'm way ahead of you."

    "You told!" I accused my father as he came into the room.

    "No, I didn't," he said.  "Told who?"

    "Don't act innocent with me," I feigned anger.  "Kendal knew before I could even get the words out of my mouth."

    "Relax, killer," laughed Kendal.  "Dad didn't tell me. Evan did."

    "What?" I asked, turning to look at her.

    "Oh, yeah," she said quickly.  "He said not to tell you that he knew."

    "But how did he know?" I asked.

    "Well, he knew how I felt about you," said James.  "I talk to Evan a lot, Chris. I have since you lived in Chicago."

    "You told him?" I asked.

    "Not that we were together," he said.  "I think he figured that out on his own."

    "Hmm," I replied.

    "Well, he did see us in bed together the other morning," he said, blushing and looking sideways at Kendal.  She wasn't paying any attention.

    "Silly, he knows we sleep together when you stay overnight," I said.  "That wouldn't have meant anything."

    "I don't know how he knows then," said James.

    We ate breakfast and were just finishing up when Tommy and Sheldon came to the door.  My dad let them in and sent them to the kitchen.  Kendal was teasing us and having a wonderful time doing it.  Tommy and Sheldon came in and sat down at the table.  When they sat down, Kendal got real quiet for a minute, and then she burst out laughing.

    "What's so funny?" asked Sheldon.

    "Yeah, what's the joke?" said Tommy.  "I got egg on my shirt or something."

    "I have to run," said Kendal.  "I have to work this morning."

    "You got a job?" I asked.

    "Yeah, I decided that I didn't want to spend my entire summer loafing," she said.

    "So your dad made you, huh?" said Tommy.

    "You're are so perceptive," she laughed.  "Bye guys. Chris, congratulations. I think its wonderful."

    She whispered something in James's ear that made his face turn beat red, and then she started laughing again and walked out of the room.  I looked at James, and he shook his head, smiling.   I decided that I'd let it go for now, but I planned to make him talk later.   Right now, Tommy and Sheldon were looking at us like we were idiots.

    "What's she congratulating you on?" asked Tommy.  Sheldon looked at us, too.

    "Well, I guess I should just come right out and say this," I said, looking at James to see what his reaction to this was.

    "Chris and I are together now," said James, smiling at them.

    "Huh?" asked Sheldon.  There was a genuine look of confusion on his face.

    "Oh, right," said James.  "You're straight."

    "James!" I said.

    "Ok," he laughed.  "Chris is my boyfriend."

    "Oh," said Sheldon.  His face cleared.  "Finally?"

    "What do you mean, finally?" demanded James.

    "Oh, I don't know," said Tommy.  "Maybe he means that you've been pining for Chris forever, and Chris can't seem to keep his eyes off of you for too long. You two were pathetic for a while."

    We looked at each other and then started laughing.  I was so glad that Tommy was taking it well.   I had worried about Sheldon's reaction to the news for a different reason.  I didn't know what he would think about it.  I didn't really have much experience with open minded straight boys.  He seemed thrilled for us, though.

    "So you're ok with this, Tommy?" James inquired after we stopped laughing.

    "Absolutely," said Tommy.  "In fact it clears up a few things for me."

    "What do you mean?" I asked.

    "Well, I was starting to get concerned about the amount of time you were spending with James," he said.  "I mean, I'm supposed to be your best friend. Now, I understand perfectly. I'm still your best friend. James is your boyfriend."

    "Nicely put," said James.

    "You know what I mean," replied Tommy.

    After that was all cleared up, we left for the park.  We had a great day together, and I was sad to see Sheldon leave after the ball game, but his parents were still being hard on him about his report card.  Tommy was free, though, so we decided to go to the mall and just hang out.  When we got there, the first thing James wanted was a corn dog.

    I teased him about his eating, and then we headed for the food court.  He took my teasing seriously, though and pouted that I was accusing him of getting fat.  I laughed for a few minutes, but then I saw that he was serious, and I felt bad.

    "I was only teasing, James," I said.  "Besides, I'd love you no matter what you looked like."

    "Whatever," he said.  "I'm going to start working out."

    "Oh, don't be so touchy," I said.  "I really was only kidding."

    "Excuse me," said Tommy loudly.  "But could you gawk at someone else?"

    James and I turned around to see who Tommy was yelling at, and I got the shock of my life.  I couldn't believe who was standing there.  He looked embarrassed, and I slugged Tommy in the gut.

    "Oh my God!" I said.  "PUCK!"

    "Hey, Chris," said Puck, smiling finally.

    "What are you doing here?" I asked, hugging him.

    "We moved here," he said when I let him go.  "My mom and dad got divorced, and we moved down here."

    "When?" I asked.  "Your mom and dad got divorced?"

    "We've been here one whole day," he said, smiling.  "We got here last night."

    "Where do you live?" I asked.  "Why didn't you call me?"

    "Khayman never gave me your number," he said.

    "Why not?" I asked.

    "Well, things kind of got a little bad between us," he said.

    "What happened?" I asked, leading him and my two confused companions to a table to sit down.

    "Well, we were sort of going out," he said, stunning me.  "But I sort of cheated on him."

    "I didn't even know Khayman was gay!" I breathed, thinking that if I'd known he was before I left Chicago, things might have been a bit different.

    "Well, I thought you did," he said.  "He talked about you constantly. It used to piss me off."

    "I'm sorry, Puck," I said.

    "Don't worry about it," he said.  "We weren't really together, anyway. He kept telling me that."

    "Why would he say something like that?" I asked.

    "Well, Khayman isn't really gay," said Puck.  "He says he's bisexual, and he wasn't going to have a gay relationship."

    "That's stupid," I said, glancing at James to see that he was eyeing me strangely.

    "Yeah," said Puck.

    "Shit," I said.  "I forgot to introduce you. This is James."

    "Nice to meet you," said James, reaching to shake Puck's hand.

    "And this is Tommy," I said, nodding my head at Tommy.

    "I've heard about you, Tommy," Puck said, smiling at him.  "Chris talked about you a lot."

    "Guys, this is Puck," I said, smiling.  "He's a friend from Chicago. We lived in the same apartment building."

    "Yeah," he said.

    "So, now what happened with you and Khayman?" asked Tommy, and I could see that he liked Puck.   I smiled to myself.  Puck was an attractive boy.  He had his dark hair cut short and spiked on the top now.  His brown eyes were shining, and he still had a killer smile.

    "Well, he kept telling me that he wasn't into the gay stuff," replied Puck.  "He said he just liked to have sex with me. So I decided to test him."

    "How?" I asked.

    "Well, I had sex with Ted, and Khayman caught us," he said, looking at the table.

    "Oh," said Tommy.

    "He flipped out," said Puck.  "He started calling me all kinds of names and throwing things at me. Then he stopped talking to me. We haven't talked to each other since."

    "That's awful," I said.

    "Well, I don't have to deal with him anymore," said Puck, smiling again.  "I don't live in Chicago anymore."

    "Well, I'm not trying to be evil or anything," I said.  "But Khayman is coming to visit me pretty soon."

    "Really?" he asked.  "When?"

    "I'm not sure," I admitted.  "My dad is supposed to work it out with his dad."

    "Well, I won't have to see him while he's here," he said.

    "True," I replied.

    "My mom asked me about you this morning," he said.

    "Really?" I asked.  I'd never met his mother, so I wasn't sure how to take the news that she'd asked about me.

    "Yeah, she asked if you lived in Springfield," he said.  "When I told her that you did, she said that I should try to find you."

    "Well, you found me," I said, smiling.

    "I wasn't really looking for you," he said laughing.  "I about shit when you guys came off the escalator."

    "I about shit when I turned around and saw you standing there!" I laughed.

    We quickly exchanged addresses and phone numbers after he announced that his mom would be there to pick him up in a few minutes.  I looked at his address and saw that it wasn't that far from the high school.  It was directly across the street from James's old house.  I handed the piece of paper to James.

    "We know where this is," he said, smiling at Puck.

    "Are you two . . ." he started to ask.

    "Yes," said James before I could answer.  "We're lovers."

    "That's awesome," said Puck, smiling.  "I'm glad you found someone, Chris."

    "Thank you, Puck," I said, smiling back.

    When he walked away from us, James kept looking at me.  He didn't even have to ask the question that was on his mind.  I already knew what it was.  I would have laughed if he wasn't so serious.  It was actually kind of sweet.  He wanted to know if he had any reason to be jealous.  He wanted to know if I'd ever had sex with Puck.

    "No, I didn't have sex with him," I said, looking him in the eye.

    "I didn't say anything," he said, smiling and looking down at the table.

    Tommy and I both laughed.  James went to get something to eat, leaving us alone to laugh together.   I thought it was so cute.  James was jealous of Puck.  In truth, though, James would never have anything to worry about where Puck was concerned.  Even if I wasn't with James, I don't think I would have ever touched Puck sexually.  He was my friend.  That was all.

    For the rest of the afternoon, we just hung out.  We went into different stores to look at things, but none of us were really interested in buying anything.  James wanted to look for music, and I wanted to look for art supplies.  Tommy just wanted to walk around.  We did all of that, but after two hours of walking through the mall, we were all tired.

    When James and I got back to my house, we decided to take advantage of the warm weather and swim.  Evan was home, and he said that he wanted to join us, so we all went upstairs to change together.  James was a little embarrassed to change in front of Evan, but Evan wasn't really paying any attention to either of us.

    We had a great time in the pool, splashing each other, and dunking each other.  Evan seemed fine with the fact that James and I were together, so I didn't say anything about it.  When it started to get dark, we got out of the pool.  James had to get back home, so Evan and I went into the house to watch television.

    Dad and Clint came in around nine, and I could tell that they were both very excited about something.   They kept whispering to each other and looking at me.  I was starting to get nervous about it, and I was going to say something when Dad finally broke.

    "We've been talking to Cory Winston all evening," said my father.  "He says that you can have your show next weekend."

    "Awesome!" I cried.  I'd been impatiently waiting to hear about the show for a while.

    "We told him that you had ten paintings," said Clint.  "He was thrilled."

    "Great," I said.  "I actually have a few more now."

    "How many?" asked my dad.

    "Well, I have like fifteen of them," I replied, smiling at them.

    "I'll call Cory," said Clint, walking over to the phone.  "He asked if you had any more that you wanted to put in the show."

    "We thought of the ones hanging around the house," said Dad.  "And the six you brought with you from Chicago, but I wanted to ask you about those first."

    I thought about it for a few minutes.  The paintings hanging around the house were private.  They were almost all of Evan, and I didn't feel right sharing them with anyone other than family.  The six from Chicago were alright.  We could use those.  I wasn't extremely proud of them, though.  They'd been painted out of frustration, and I didn't believe that they were as good as the rest of my work.

    One of them was a spiny, scaled dragon climbing a rocky mountain in the snow.  I'd painted it shortly after Jim had gotten me the canvases and paints.  He'd liked it a lot, but I wasn't really excited about it.  I was used to painting people, and though the dragon looked good enough, I wasn't so sure that it would go with anything else that I painted.

    I did two other dragon paintings, because Jim said he liked the first one so much.  For the second painting, I'd painted the entire canvas black.  I remembered that I had been angry with my mother when I'd done that, but after staring at the black canvas for so long, I decided to add something to it.  I painted a red dragon perched on a rock, and then added flames here and there.  I was surprised when it was finished, because the flames were what looked life like.  The third dragon was just various shades of blue, white and purple brought together to form a thin dragon in the air blowing smoke.

    The painting that my dad said that he liked the best was a pack of wolves in the forest.  I barely remembered painting that one.  I knew that I'd done it late at night, and what I did remember was being so tired.  The finished result was pretty good.  Jim loved it, and even my mother had said that it was good.

    The one I didn't like the most was just a bunch of colored balls in water.  It had been an assignment from the art teacher at school.  I had been instructed to use as many like colors as possible, and that's what I came up with.  I'd received an outstanding grade for it, and the instructor had begged to hang it on the classroom wall, but I wouldn't let him.

    The sixth painting was sort of special to me.  It was a person, but no one that I really knew.  I'd imagined a warrior coming to save me from anything that hurt me.  I know, it was childish, but the painting turned out to be pretty good.  Out of all of them, that was the one that I liked the most, although it wasn't the best.

    "I'll add the six from Chicago to the show," I said finally.  "But the paintings on the walls here in the house are private."

    "Good choice," said Dad.

    The next day, my dad and Clint took me over to meet Cory.  The gallery wasn't huge, but it was nice.   Everything about it was white.  There were paintings on the walls of different things, and I noticed price plates under them.  I walked over to look at one and was shocked to see that the price of the painting I was looking at was two thousand dollars.   The painting was of an angel with outstretched wings bathed in the rays of the sun.  It was beautiful.

    We were lead back to an office in the back of the building, and I finally saw a room with color.  It was a large space with a very large mahogany desk.  There were paintings on every wall, and a sculpture of David sat on the desk.  Cory Winston sat behind the desk.  He stood when we came into his office and shook hands with each of us.

    "Christopher," he said.  "I am very happy that you've decided to show your work here. I've seen some of what you've done, and it's wonderful."

    "Well, what I have with me today isn't the same as what you saw before," I said nervously.

    "How different?" he asked.  He was still smiling, and I couldn't see any change in his facial expression.

    My dad hefted the painting in his hands, and Clint uncovered it.  It was "Torture."  I stared at Cory as he looked at the painting.  I was sure that he wouldn't like it, and I was completely prepared to be disappointed.  He was quiet for so long that I almost wanted to scream at him to tell me what he thought of it.

    "This is wonderful," he said finally.  "Your dad said that you had twenty-one paintings to show. Do they all look like this?"

    "Ten of them do," I replied.  "The others are different."

    "Ten," he said.  "A theme?"

    "Not really," I replied.  "I was told to pain what I was feeling, and this one was the first. Nine more followed."

    "Really?" he gasped.  "I can't wait to see the rest of them."

    After that, my dad talked to him for a while.  Clint took me on a tour through the gallery, and he told me that the paintings on the walls were his.  I was amazed at his talent as we walked from painting to painting.  All of them were angels in various poses and styles, and they were all beautiful.

    "I've been showing here for two years," he said.  "Cory doesn't really like my kind of paintings, but they are making money, so . . ."

    "Funny," I said, glancing back to the office.  "He seemed to like my painting. Who would have thought that he would like paintings full of misery."

    "Maybe that's not what he sees in them, Chris," said Clint.  "Everyone who looks at your work will take away from it something different. Remember that."

    "I hadn't thought about that," I replied.

    When we got home, my dad helped me put all of the paintings in the cases that Cory had given us.  He said that he was going to run them over to the gallery, and he kept smiling at me.  I wondered what he was smiling about, but I wasn't so sure that I really wanted to hear about it.  I didn't say anything.  Instead, he did.

    "I'm proud of you, Chris," he said.

    "Thank you," I replied.  "I'm still a little shocked that all of this is happening."

    "I know," he said.  "Want another shock?"

    "What?" I asked nervously.

    "Cory is giving you a check for forty-two thousand dollars," said my father.  "We hold the check until all of the paintings are sold or returned to us."

    "Forty-two thousand dollars?" I gasped.

    "We can't cash the check, Chris," said my dad.  "Its insurance. Clint says that its standard with Cory. Your work is in his gallery, and he's going to price the paintings at two thousand each, so he's handing you an insurance check."

    "But don't I have to pay him a commission or something?" I asked, marveling over the fact that he thought someone would pay two thousand dollars for one of my paintings.

    "Yes," replied my father.  "He takes five hundred dollars from every painting sold."

    "That's all?" I asked shocked.

    "That's all," he chuckled.  "Come on, lets get these over to the gallery."

    Cory loved all of the paintings.  He said that he knew people who would want each one of them.  I was shocked.  I was still having trouble thinking about someone wanting to buy one of my paintings.  By the time we left the gallery, I was so stunned, I could barely speak.  My dad just kept smiling at me.

    "I don't know what to say," I finally said after being quiet for so long.

    "I'm so proud of you, Chris," he said.  "Where would you like to go to celebrate?"

    "Celebrate?" I asked.   

    "Yeah," he laughed.  "You did a great thing, and I want to celebrate. Clint wants to celebrate, and I'm certain that Evan and Kendal want to celebrate."

    "I don't know where I want to go," I replied.  "Can I invite James?"

    "Well, I figured you would invite him," said Dad, smiling.

    We went to dinner at Red Lobster the next evening.  James and Tommy came.  My dad was so excited, and everyone kept congratulating me.  Kendal kept telling me how proud of me she was, and Evan just smiled at me every time I looked at him.  I was having the time of my life.  I still couldn't believe it was really happening, though.

    "So what do you plan to do with the money you'll make?" asked Evan from across the table.

    "I don't know," I said.  "Put it in the bank, I guess."

    Everyone laughed at that, but I really wasn't too excited about the money.  It was nice to know that people would be buying my work, but we had always had money.  We weren't rich, but we were comfortable, so I didn't know what it was like to not have money.  It had always just been something that was there for me when I needed it.

    "Oh, you'll spend some of it," said my dad.  "I'll make you, if I have to."

    "Well," I said, thinking.  "There are a few things I'd like to buy for myself."

    James was spending the night that night, and I was really happy about that.  He always complained that there wasn't much room for two in my single bed, but I knew that he liked being close to me just as much as I liked being close to him.  We'd been together for a little over two weeks, and we hadn't had sex.  It wasn't for lack of interest or privacy.  I think I was just waiting to make sure that James was really comfortable with me.

    We were sitting together on my bed, listening to music and talking.  He was telling me how great he thought it was that I was going to be selling my paintings.  I was getting tired, and his stroking my back was almost enough to put me to sleep.  He kept talking, though, and that was what kept me from falling off to sleep.

    "I think we should get ready for bed, James," I said, standing up and stretching.

    "You look beat," he said, standing and putting his arms around me.

    "Its been a really long day," I replied, turning to embrace him, too.

    We both stripped down to our boxers and climbed into the bed.  It was just big enough for both of us to lay flat on our backs side by side.  But that meant that my shoulder was crunched against the wall, and James and I were touching from shoulder to foot.  I didn't care, though.  I liked having him close to me.  But when he started to rub my dick through my boxers, I was wide awake again.

    "I want you," he whispered as he turned onto his side.  He brought his face forward until his lips were on mine.

    "I want you, too," I replied when he pulled his face away from mine.

    He slid down in the bed until his face was even with my crotch.  He started to tug on my boxers, and I lifted my hips so he could get them off of me.  Then, without any warning at all, his mouth was around my dick.  I thought I would cum just from the shock of it.  He sank down on me until his nose was in my pubic hair.  I could feel his throat around my dick, and he was swallowing to make the muscles work.  He backed off only to plunge back down again.

    When I started to get close, I pulled him back up off of my dick and up beside me.  I turned onto my side and started kissing his neck and chest.  I attacked his nipples with a vengeance, and I was rewarded by moans.  I let my hands rub all over his stomach, and he kept right on moaning for me.

    I started using my fingers to tweak his nipples as my mouth traveled down his body.  When I got to his boxers, I tugged and he lifted his legs.  Once they were off of him, I started licking and sucking on his nuts.  He started moaning again, and his hips started to move slowly back and forth.  I just kept moving from one nut to the other and back again.  I knew that it was driving him crazy, and I wanted him that way for a while.

    When I finally ran my tongue up the underside of his dick, James gasped.  I'd completely ignored his dick while I assaulted his nuts, and when I got to the head of his dick, I discovered a little pool of precum on his stomach.  I lapped that up before running my tongue back down his dick.  I did this three or four more times before I actually trapped the head of his dick between my lips.  After that, I started running my tongue over his piss slit real slow.

    James was whimpering now, and I loved the sound of it.  I loved hearing how much I made him feel good.   I finally let him off the hook, though, and slowly plunged down onto his dick.   I didn't stop until my nose was buried in his pubic hair, and once his dick head was trapped in my throat, I gave him the same treatment that he'd given me.  I bobbed my head up and down on his dick for a few minutes while playing with his nuts with my other hand.

    Then he turn around in the bed, pulling me up to the head again, and we were sucking each other's dicks.   It wasn't long after he'd moved us into that position that he started to cum.   I swallowed all of what he had to offer, and then I was filling his mouth with cum, too.  After we both calmed down again, he crawled back up to the head of the bed and laid his head on my chest.  We forgot about our boxers as we fell asleep in each other's arms.

    Bright and early the next morning, James was up and on the other side of the basement looking at the weight bench.  He was being true to his word, and I felt guilty for my comments about his eating the other day.  I got out of bed and padded over to him.  I helped him set the bench up with just enough weight.  Then he lay down on the bench and started to lift the weight.

    We took turns every now and then, and we worked out for a little more than two hours.  When my dad hollered down the stairs that breakfast was almost ready, we walked over to the shower and stripped.  I hadn't showered in the basement since I was a little kid, and for a few minutes, I wasn't even sure that it still worked.  James turned it on, I was pleasantly surprised to be splashed with hot water.

    We showered together, washing each other's backs, and James kept kissing me and telling me how sexy I was.  We had to keep pushing each other away every couple of minutes, because we were both getting a little too excited.  When we dried off and got dressed, James kissed me again just before we raced up the stairs to the kitchen.

    "Did I hear the downstairs shower?" asked my father when we sat down at the table.

    "Yeah, well, we were working out when you called us," I said, explaining.  "So I thought we needed a shower before breakfast."

    "I'm just surprised that it works," said my father.  He was quiet for a few minutes, and he had that look on his face that told me he was thinking about something.

    "I want you both to be very careful with those weights," he said finally, looking at both of us.   "Never use them alone. Understand?"

    "Yes, Dad," I replied, smiling.

    "Good," he said.  "Now what do you two have planned today?"

    "There's a ball game at two this after noon," I replied, munching on bacon.  "Tommy's supposed to be here pretty soon. We're going to to go watch."

    "You need money?" asked Dad, but he wasn't really paying any attention to me anymore.  He was reading the paper.

    "A little would be nice," I replied.

    "I'll give you twenty before you go," he said, putting the paper down.  "And tomorrow, no friends or boyfriends for the better part of the morning. We're going to get you a cell phone. I don't like not being able to get a hold of you when your out."

    "Yes, sir," I replied.  Actually, a cell phone was a very good idea.  I'd had to walk home from the mall a few days before, because I had no change for the pay phone, so I couldn't call for a ride.

    Tommy showed up while me and James were loading the dishwasher.  He talked about going to see a movie after the ball game, but James and I really didn't want to do that.  I suggested that we rent a movie and come back to the house to watch it.  They both agreed to that, and I was about to ask them what they wanted to see when the phone started to ring.

    "Hello?" I said, answering it.

    "Chris?" said Puck from the other end.

    "Hey," I said, smiling.  "What's up?"

    "Boredom," he replied.  "My mom's going to be gone all day, and I don't have anything to do. You want to hang out?"

    "Sure," I replied.  "Me and the guys are going to a ball game in Washington Park at two."

    "Sounds cool, but can I come over now?" he asked.

    "Sure," I replied, laughing.  "We're not going anywhere for a while. We're getting ready to argue over a movie to rent after the game."

    "Ok, well, if I can stay for that, too, then I vote for 'The Matrix' it's awesome," he said quickly.

    "Of course you can stay for the movie," I said.  "And I'll tell them. See you soon."

    "Bye," he said before hanging up.

    "And who was that?" asked James dramatically.

    "Puck," I replied.  "He's on his way over. He said his mom's dropping him off."

    "Cool," said Tommy, making both me and James turn to look at him.  "What?"

    "Awe, honey, little Tommy's got a crush on your friend," said James, laughing.

    "Ha ha, very funny," said Tommy.  "I don't even know him."

    "Well, we'll change that soon enough," I said, eyeing him.  "He said his vote for the movie is 'The Matrix'. Says its awesome."

    "I haven't seen that one yet," said Tommy.

    "Me either," I replied.

    "Alright, then we'll get two movies," said James, making me laugh.

    "You don't want to watch that one?" I asked.

    "I've seen it," he replied.  "I went to the theater with Cole."

    "Ah," I replied, knowing not to ask anything else.  "What else would you like to rent?"

    "What about 'XMen'?" asked Tommy.

    "Sounds good," said James, turning to look at me.  "What do you think?"

    "I'd like to see it," I said.

    So when Puck showed up, we all trekked down to the video store.  None of us really wanted to browse, so we got the movies and got out of there.  Puck wanted to go to the gas station and get sodas, but I told him that we had that covered at my house.  Tommy and James laughed when I explained that my house was "the hangout" and my dad always kept the fridge stocked with soda.

    "There's always chips and stuff at Chris's house," explained James.

    While we walked back to my house, Puck talked about Khayman, and I felt bad, because he would be coming for a week at the end of the summer, and that meant that Puck probably wouldn't be hanging out with us so much.  I was really glad that Puck was in Springfield, and the more I talked to him, the more I liked him.  I was a little upset with Khayman for treating him the way he had, and I decided to talk to him about it when he got here.

    Sheldon was at the ball game, and he decided to come back to my house with us to watch the movies.  I wondered just how he felt about being the only straight boy in a group of gay ones.   He seemed comfortable, though, so I didn't bring it up.  James talked to him most of the way back to my house.

    "A few ground rules," said my father once we were all settled in the living room to watch the movies.  "First, keep the volume at a normal level. And please clean up after yourselves."

    "We will, Dad," I replied.  He looked at me for a minute and then smiled.

    "Enjoy the movies, guys," he said before going back to his study.

    As we watched the movies, we all sort of relaxed a bit.  I had already put chips and sodas on the coffee table, so that was taken care of.  James and I cuddled up together at one end of the couch, and I noticed that Puck and Tommy kept scooting closer to each other at the other end.  Sheldon was sitting in the chair by me and James, but he wasn't paying any attention to what any of were doing.  He was engrossed in the movie.

    Half way through the second movie, I noticed that James was asleep.  I just kept holding him and rubbing his back lightly.  I saw Sheldon watching us out of the corner of my eye, but I didn't let him know that I knew he was watching.  He didn't look disgusted or anything, so I just let him watch us.

    Tommy and Puck were sitting so close together that they might as well have been joined at the hip.  They were sharing a bowl of chips, and it was in Tommy's lap.  I smiled as I looked at them.  It was nice that Tommy liked Puck, but Puck and I were going to have to have a serious talk soon.  I still hadn't forgotten about the scene he had been involved in at Lane's party in Chicago.  It had been said that Puck liked what he was doing and did it often.  I just wanted to make sure that if he and Tommy were going to be together that Puck could handle just one guy.

    I thought about the way things were going for me since I'd come back to Springfield.  Things were really different now, and I liked the way things were.  James had completely changed into a guy that I was in love with.  That was probably the most surprising thing of all.   Tommy seemed to have calmed down about sex, and Evan seemed more relaxed around Tommy.

    Now, I was getting ready for my first show.  I still couldn't believe that anyone would want to buy any of my paintings.  It was kind of embarrassing for me to know that they were all hanging in Cory's gallery at that very moment.  It was like I'd put a part of me on his walls for the world to see.  It was a very private part of me that, up until recently, I had never dreamed of sharing with the world.

    My mother and father's divorce was final, and my mother didn't get anything that she wanted out of it.   She'd dropped the custody suit against my father, and the court had ordered her to stay away from me.  Zack was getting what was coming to him, and I was safe and sound in Springfield away from both of them.

    My dad was happy, and I really liked Clint.  He always seemed to be interested in what I had to say, and when we talked about art, he could keep my attention for hours.  My dad had said that Clint was a sculptor, but his paintings were wonderful.  I had yet to see his sculptures.  I believed that they would be just a great as the paintings that I'd seen.

    It was great that Kendal was home for the summer.  We'd had many talks about what happened in Springfield, and she let me know that I should never be afraid to come to her about anything.  She'd taken the news about my sexuality perfectly, and she even liked James.  That was hard to believe at first, because before we'd moved to Chicago, Kendal had hated James just as much as Evan had.

    Tommy had been the one to voice concern over my feelings for James.  He'd said that he was worried that James would hurt me eventually, and I assured him that he wouldn't hurt me.  I didn't know why, but I was absolutely sure that James would never hurt me, at least, not intentionally.  He'd shown me a side of him that I never knew existed, and I loved him very much.

    Looking down at his sleeping face, I couldn't imagine life without him.  It had only been a few weeks since our relationship had began, but I really did love him.  I was happy to just sit and talk with him, but holding him this way was like Heaven for me.  I loved to watch him sleep.  He looked so peaceful when he was sleeping.

    After the second movie, I woke James up.  He stretched and smiled at me, and I leaned down and kissed him.  I noticed that Sheldon was watching us closely, but I didn't let on that I knew.  Tommy and Puck started to clean up the chips and soda cans, and James and I started getting the living room back in order.

    "I have to get home," said Sheldon.  "My mom's going to flip out as it is. I was only supposed to go the game."

    "Shel," said James.  "You have to stop doing shit like that. Your mom will stop letting you hang out with us if you keep staying out too late."

    "I know," he said.  "But I didn't want to spend the night in my room alone again. I don't see why they're so upset over a stupid 'C' on my report card."

    "That's what got you in trouble?" I asked shocked.

    "Sheldon usually makes the honor roll," said James.  "His dad gets nervous whenever he has more 'B' grades than 'A' grades."

    "I work hard," said Sheldon.  "But Chemistry is hard."

    "Tell me about it," I replied, smiling.  "I didn't think I was going to pass at all."

    "What did you finally get for that class?" asked Sheldon.

    "Well, I got a 'C'," I said.  "Mr. Barns said that I did very well considering that I came into the class late."

    "Yeah, if I had started where you started, I'd have failed," said Sheldon.  "Then my folks would have killed me for sure."

    "I should get going, too," said James.  "Alice told me this morning that I needed to spend some time at home."

    Alice and Frank Dobbs were James's foster parents.  I'd met them a few times, and they were really nice people.  But James had been spending almost all of his time at my house, so I could understand why they would want him to spend some time at home for a change.   After all, they had to report to the state.

    "I have to go, too," said Tommy.  "I'm supposed to clean my room tonight."

    "Well, don't forget about Sunday," I told them all.  Sunday was the day of my show, and I'd made them promise to be there.

    "What's Sunday?" asked Puck, and I remembered that I hadn't had a chance to tell him about it.

    "That's when the gallery is holding Chris's show," said James.  "Almost all of his paintings are hanging over on 4th street."

    "Cool!" said Puck.  "I'll make my mom bring me. Do we need an invitation?"

    "No," I replied.  "Cory says that its informal."

    "We all have to dress nice, though," said Tommy.  "My mom's trying to make me wear a suit."

    "I'm wearing a suit," said James.  "I want to look nice."

    They argued over what they were going to wear for a while, but finally, everyone left and only Puck was left.  I was happy about that, because I thought we really needed to talk.  It was only a little after eight, and he'd told me that his mom would be picking him up at ten.  So, we went down to the studio.  We were sitting on my bed, and Puck was flipping through one of my art magazines.

    "Tommy's nice," he said after a few minutes of us both being quiet.  I was still trying to think of a way to open the subject that I wanted to discuss.

    "Yeah, he is," I replied.

    "He gave me his phone number," said Puck, looking at me.

    "Puck, I'm really glad that you are in Springfield," I said.  "I missed you, and I think that we are becoming great friends."

    "But," he said, holding my gaze.

    "I don't want you to get upset, and I don't want you to think that I think bad about you," I said.   "I want to ask you a few things, though."

    "I was wondering when we were going to have this conversation," said Puck.  "I knew you'd ask sooner or later."

    "I just want to know . . ."

    "If I still like to have sex with more than one guy at once," he finished for me.  That wasn't exactly what I'd intended to say, but it was close enough.

    "Puck, I don't think bad about you," I said.

    "Its alright, Chris," he said.  "I knew that you were weirded out that night."

    "I had never seen anything like that before," I replied, remembering.

    "Well, it all started with Lane," he said.  He told me about the first time he'd ever gone to Lane's.  He said that he was a virgin then.  He'd never had sex with anyone.   Lane had loved that.  Lane took him into his bedroom and sucked his dick right then and there.  Puck was scared at first, but he'd loved it.

    Then Lane started to invite him to more of his parties.  He'd introduce Puck to a few guys, and Puck would get nervous.  He said he never did anything with anyone for a long time.  He was only thirteen when he started going to Lane's.  Then Lane invited Puck over on a night when no one was there.  He'd told Puck that he wanted to get to know him a little better and help him work through some of his nervousness.

    "What you need to understand," he told me, pausing in his story, "is that my dad hated me. I know you think that I'm probably just being dramatic, but its the truth. He always told me that having me had ruined his life. He was going to be a great football player. My mom even said he was great. I'd seen all of the clippings from the local papers that they'd saved from when they were in school, and my dad was the star quarterback. He said that when my mom got pregnant, he'd had to marry her, and that put his life on hold. Then he never got to go back, and it was all my fault."

    So, Lane wanting to spend time with him was something that made Puck very happy.  That night, Lane had sucked Puck's dick again.  Added with the fact that Lane was an adult who wanted to spend time with him, Puck was very happy.  Puck started to hang out at Lane's on a regular basis, and Lane continued to service him orally.  Then, Lane decided to take Puck a bit further.

    Puck said that over the course of a few weeks, Lane taught him to suck a dick.  He said that he didn't like it at first, but after doing it for a while, he started to like it a lot.  When Lane started to finger Puck's asshole, Puck was scared, but Lane had always been really good to him, so he didn't stop him.  That night, Lane fucked Puck for the first time.   When Puck complained that it hurt, Lane had told him that the only way to get it to stop hurting was to do it more often.  So, Puck started going to Lane's every day after school, and Lane would fuck him.

    He said that after a while, he really liked it.  Then, Lane started inviting other boys over at the same time that Puck was going to be there.  Puck said that for a long time, he never did anything with the other boys.  Then Lane started getting him drunk, and Puck said that after a while, he started to think that there was something in the drinks that he was giving him.

    One night, after a few drinks, Lane suggested that they all get naked and just play with each other for a while.  Puck was relaxed from the drinks, so he didn't protest, and he liked the attention that everybody was giving him.  He said that there were five other boys there, and each one of them took turns sucking Puck's dick.  He was in Heaven, and he didn't want it to stop.  So, he started to reciprocate, and things progressed from there.

    Lane decided to fuck him right there in front of the other boys, but Puck didn't say anything, because the other boys were still taking turns either playing with his dick or sucking it while Lane fucked him.  Then, one of the other boys fucked him, and another boy put his dick in Puck's mouth, and before he knew what was happening, he'd been fucked by all of them, and he'd sucked each of them off.

    "That's how it started," he said.  "When I got home that night, I felt so dirty that I never wanted to go back to Lane's again. I did, though. I went to every party that he threw, and those same boys always seemed to be there."

    "Puck, I'm so sorry," I said, thinking about all he'd told me.

    "Well, you haven't heard the rest of it," he said.  "My dad came to Lane's one night to get me. No one knew who he was, so they just let him in."

    "Oh, God," I breathed, knowing where this was going.

    "My dad saw me," said Puck.  Tears were flowing down his cheeks, and I wanted to hug him, but I just sat there and listened.  "He grabbed me and the other boys just walked out of the room. My dad hit me a few times and told me to get dressed.

    "After that, my dad started to hit me all the time," he said.  "I wasn't allowed to leave the apartment, and I couldn't have any friends over."

    "What did your mom have to say about all of this?" I asked.

    "Well, my father never told her what he'd seen," he said.  "He told me it would kill her to know that her son was a fag. Then he came home drunk one night, and when he came into my room and closed the door, I was so scared.

    "He told me he was going to give me what I needed," he said, looking away from me.  "He stripped and climbed on top of me, trying to force his dick into my mouth. My mom came in and caught him. She called the police, and my dad went to jail."

    "Oh, Puck," I said, pulling him into a hug.  He hugged me back, and we were quiet for a while.

    "He never told anyone about what he saw at Lane's that night, Chris," he said finally, pulling away from me.  "My mom divorced him, and we stayed in the apartment. Khayman and I started to hang out, and then we both started to hang out with you."

    "I had no idea," I said.  "Puck, I don't know what to say."

    "You don't have to say anything," he said.  "My mom got a job here as a teacher. She's going to start teaching summer school at Westhaven. Do you know that school?"

    "Yeah," I said.  "Its a private school on the other side of town."

    "Right," he said.  "My mom is their new Science Teacher, so I get to go there for free."

    "You have to wear that uniform," I said, smiling.  I was trying to lighten the moment a little.

    "Yeah," he said, smiling back at me.  "So, now that you know all of this, do you still want to be my friend?"

    "Puck!" I gasped.  "Why wouldn't I want to be your friend? What happened in Chicago wasn't your fault."

    He just hugged me again, and I felt his body relax.  We talked about anything we could think of that didn't have to do with the things that he'd told me until his mom came to get him.  I did have to ask him if Ted was one of those boys he'd talked about, though.  He told me that the only time he and Ted had ever had sex was the time when Khayman had caught them.  I was relieved to hear that.  I didn't want to think that Ted was like those boys.

    I thought about what he had told me for the rest of the night.  I felt so sorry for him, and I hoped that he knew that I would be his friend no matter what.  I wondered if Khayman knew about all of this.  I was sure that Puck had never taken him to Lane's.  At least, I hoped he hadn't.  But I still intended to talk to Khayman about the way he'd treated Puck.  I didn't think it was fair.  Khayman needed to decide if he wanted to be with guys or girls, and then he needed to work out his feelings instead of taking them out on other people.

    The next day, after my dad got me the cell phone, I spent a good part of the day with Puck.  We went to the mall and bought outfits to wear to the show.  Puck said his mom was excited about it and wanted to come, too.  I told him to tell her that she was more than welcome to come.  We talked about James, and I told Puck everything about James.  I left out what had happened to him and his brother, but I told him about the way James had been before I'd moved, and how much he'd changed.

    Puck asked a million questions about Tommy, and I answered them all.  He really seemed to like Tommy, and now I had no doubts as to how he would treat him.  I was more concerned with how Tommy would treat Puck.  I wanted to talk to Tommy about Puck, but I didn't want Puck to know about it.

    When I got home, I called Jim and told him about the show and asked him to come.  He said he wouldn't miss it for the world, and I was happy that he'd be there.  He asked if I wanted Ted to know about it, and I told him that he could tell him and give him my cell number.   About twenty minutes after I got off the phone with Jim, Ted called my cell phone.

    We talked for quite a while, and he told me that he was coming down with Jim on Sunday.  He asked about Puck, and I told him that he was fine.  Then he told me that he and Khayman had been spending a lot of time together.  I wasn't sure what to say to that, because I was still upset with Khayman over Puck, but I didn't say anything to Ted about that.   After all, he didn't mention what had happened, so I wasn't sure that he knew what Khayman had done.

    When Sunday finally arrived, I was a nervous wreck.  Tommy, James and Sheldon were at my house for most of the day, but I wasn't very good company for them.  I couldn't concentrate on anything, and the more I tried, the more nervous I became.  James kissed me and told me to calm down.

    "Everything will be great, Chris," he said, putting his forehead against mine.  "You'll see."

    "I love you," I whispered.

    "I love you, too," he replied and kissed me again.

    Jim and Ted arrived at two, and I was shocked, and a little upset, to see that Khayman was with them.  He hugged me and told me how excited he was for me.  I talked to him for a little while, and then I made excuses to get away from everyone.  I went down to my studio and called Puck.

    "Nervous?" he asked when his mom put him on the phone.

    "A wreck," I replied.  "But there's something you should know."

    "What?" he asked.

    "Khayman is here," I blurted.  "He came down with Jim and Ted."

    "Oh," he replied.

    "Puck, please don't let this keep you from coming to the show," I said.  "I promise that I won't let Khayman do or say anything to you."

    "Don't worry," he said.  "I'm still coming to the show, and I'll be at your house when its over."

    "Good," I replied.  "I don't know how long Jim is planning to stay."

    "It doesn't matter, Chris," said Puck.  "You are my friend, and I'm going to be there no matter who is there."

    "Good," I said.  "So, I'll see you at the gallery?"

    "Sure thing," he said.  "Bye."

    I was hanging up the phone when James walked into the room.  He smiled wide and walked over and hugged me.   I hugged him back, thinking that I had to talk to Tommy.  I wanted him to stick to Puck like glue and make sure that Khayman didn't have a chance to say or do anything to him.

    "There you are," said James, letting go of me.  "Everyone wondered where you ran off to."

    "Well, I called Puck to let him know that Khayman was here," I replied.

    "Good thinking," he said.  "Khayman asked about Puck a few minutes ago, but Tommy refused to tell him anything."

    "Good," I said.  "Tommy needs to stick close to Puck tonight."

    "We already talked about that," said James.  "He's not letting Puck out of his sight tonight."

    "I love you," I said, kissing him.

    "And I love you," he said.  "Now get your sexy butt upstairs."

    We walked up the stairs together, and Sheldon and Tommy smiled at us when we walked into the living room.   We hadn't been doing anything, but I blushed anyway.  It felt like everyone was looking at us, but I knew that I was being stupid.

    "Chris," said Khayman, walking over to us.  "I was asking your friends, but they wouldn't tell me. How is Puck?"

    "He's fine," I replied.

    "Will he be at the gallery?" he asked, and I saw Tommy shooting daggers at him with his eyes.

    "Yes," I said.  "But you are to have nothing to do with him tonight."

    "What?" he asked, and I swear he looked shocked.  "Why?"

    "Because Puck is going to have a good time tonight," said Tommy, making me flinch.

    "What's that supposed to mean?" asked Khayman, looking back and forth between me and Tommy.

    "Khayman, Puck doesn't want to talk to you," I said, grabbing his arm and pulling him away from Tommy and James.

    "Look, I know I was an ass to him," he said once we were in the kitchen.  "All I want to do is apologize."

    "Well, tonight isn't going to be the night for that," I replied.  "I'm not so sure that Tommy would let you near Puck tonight, anyway."

    "What does Tommy care?" he asked, looking angry.

    "He's Puck's friend, Khayman," I said.  "And he knows that Puck doesn't want to talk to you, so he's just looking out for him."

    "What exactly did Puck tell you guys?" he asked.

    "He told us that you got upset when you caught him with Ted," I said, omitting the rest of what he'd said.

    "Well, we were supposed to be together, Chris," said Khayman.

    "Well, I got the impression from Puck that you didn't want a gay relationship," I said, trying very hard to keep my tone civil.

    "That didn't mean that he had to jump into bed with Ted," he said.

    "Khayman, this isn't the time for this discussion," said Ted, appearing in the door way.   "Leave Chris alone, and you promised not to even talk to Puck, remember?"

    Khayman just walked out of the kitchen.  I looked at Ted, and he shook his head before following him.   Great, I thought.  This was supposed to be a wonderful night, and now it looked like one of my friends was going to ruin it.  At least I wasn't nervous anymore.  I hadn't realized it until then, but I was completely calm.

    I didn't have time to worry about it, though.  My dad came over to me and told me that it was time to leave.  We all headed out the door and divided up so that everyone had a ride.   Tommy and Sheldon rode with Evan and Kendal, and James rode with me, Dad and Clint.   Once again, I was a nervous wreck.

    "Be calm, Chris," said Clint from the front seat.  "You are going to do just fine."

    "Thanks," I said, smiling at him.  "I can't help being nervous."

    "I know," he said.  "I was a wreck for days before my first show, but everything turned out just fine."

    "Yeah, but you weren't fourteen," I reminded him.

    "That is going to make things a bit interesting," he admitted.  "I'm sure that most of the people that are going to be there tonight will be shocked to learn that the artist is a teenager."

    "We won't let you get swallowed, Chris," said my dad.

    When we got to the gallery, it was already packed.  Cory came right over to us and told us that he hadn't started yet, but people always showed up early.  I spotted Puck and his mom standing over by one wall, and I walked over to them.  I could see any of my paintings, because Cory had all of the displays covered with white tarps.

    "I'm glad you came," I said when I got to Puck and his mom.

    "Chris, this is my mom," he said, nodding at his other.

    "Hello," I said, shaking her hand.

    "Barbara," she said.  "I'm very happy for you, Chris. Puck has told me so much about you. He thinks of you as his best friend."

    "He's a great friend, Barbara," I said.  "Thank you both for coming. I have to get back over there."

    "See you in a little while," said Puck as Tommy came in the front door.

    At precisely eight o'clock, Cory introduced me to the crowd of people.  Most of them were business men and women that I didn't know.  They all seemed confused when Cory introduced me as the night's featured artist, but they didn't whisper like I'd thought they would.  I was lead around and introduced to several people privately as some of Cory's staff started taking the tarps off of the displays.

    Suddenly, everyone was talking about the paintings.  I heard bits and pieces of individual conversations as people walked around the gallery, looking at my work.  I tried hard not to think as I followed Cory and my dad around the gallery.  Puck's mom kept staring at my self portrait, and I saw that she and Puck were talking.  I wondered what they were saying.

    Twice I saw Khayman heading for Puck only to be intercepted by Ted.  I was happy about that.  I didn't want anything to go wrong tonight.  Tommy was always close to Puck, too.   I guessed that James had talked to him about staying around him.  After that, I don't remember much of what happened.  Paintings started to sell, and I even heard people arguing over certain ones, and the price kept getting higher and higher.  The last thing I really remember before Cory declared the show closed was that my self portrait was sold for four thousand dollars.  I was shocked when Jim handed a check to Cory.

    As everyone was heading out of the gallery, my dad talked to Cory for a while.  I stayed with James and Sheldon by the refreshment table.  We were all tired, but I was so excited.   It seemed that every painting had sold, and most of them had brought in more than their original prices.  I couldn't believe it.  When we were finally the only ones left, Cory and Dad came over to me.  They both had big smiles on their faces.

    "Well, first of all, I'd like to congratulate you on a great show," said Cory.  "All of your paintings have sold, and they'll be picked up by their owners in the morning."

    "All of them?" I asked shocked.

    "Yes, all of them," said my father, smiling at me.

    "Your father and I have discussed my commission," said Cory.  "You may cash the check I gave you in two business days. That's Tuesday after two in the afternoon. You'll receive another check from me for eleven thousand, five hundred, fifty dollars as soon as all of the checks from the buyers have cleared."

    "That's fifty-three thousand, five hundred, fifty dollars," I gasped.

    "You're quick," said Cory, smiling.  "And successful. I'd like to talk to you about doing another show soon. I'll be in touch."

My other stories on Nifty:

Detahz can be found in the Adult/Youth section.
Nicholas And Mark can be found in the Incest section.
Boys Of Summer can be found in the Adult/Youth section.
Midnight Encounter can be found in the Adult/Youth section.
Christopher's Story can be found in the Incest section.
***Celebrity*** can be found in the Celebrity/Boy Bands section.

I have other stories on my site, and you can check out my eGroup to see who the characters are inspired by as well as send emails to other fans of my work.