This story details explicit gay sex between men, teens and boys. If you find this kind of thing distasteful, or if you are underage wherever you live, then stop reading this now, and delete this file. The story is completely fictional; the author does not condone or encourage any of the acts contained herein.



Chapter 48

By: Tim Keppler

I'm graduating. Tomorrow afternoon, as a matter of fact. It's supposed to be warm tomorrow, in the `80s, and I've been toying with the idea of not wearing anything under my gown. Nothing. I think that'd be a cool story to tell people later. "Yeah, I graduated from UCLA, and was naked but for a piece of thin silk covering my body." It's sort of like what people always wonder about Scots. What do they wear under the kilt? What do graduating seniors wear under the silk gown? It's worth asking.

It'll be just me. Well, that's not true. My whole family is flying down in the morning. My father and his husbands are coming, along with my little brothers. And my landlady, Mme. Tourneau, as my father likes to call her, is coming too, from across town, from our house. But my partner -- my former partner -- isn't coming. He dropped out of school here. He flew back to Mexico and is living with an aunt. He...umm...left me. Several months ago. I guess he's finishing school down there. I miss him...I guess, although he decided to dump me, which was pretty painful. I guess he thought I was more trouble than I was worth. Tim, my father, doesn't know. He'll find out tomorrow. I begged my landlady, who's tight with Tim, not to tell him, and she agreed...as long as I agreed to tell her where I was going anytime I left the house. I really didn't want Tim involved because I wasn't sure what he'd do. I mean, he told us...me...that what he'd do if I wasn't supervised is fly down and take me home, take me back to San Jose, and while I really, really wanted to be in San Jose -- with him and Jason and Kenny -- I had a degree to finish. Would he pull me out of school before I could finish it? He might. When my father gets focused on something, he's pretty single-minded. I might have ended up back at San Jose State, and they don't have an LGBT Studies degree program. I'd have ended up with a generic sociology degree, which would ruin my chances of getting into the Stanford graduate program, which has been virtually pre-approved. Tomorrow Tim will find out that Alejandro and I are no longer together. I expect that he'll be very angry. I expect him to beat me within an inch of my life. And I expect -- hope -- that he'll take me home. I really...umm...don't want to be here anymore. I really want to go...home. I really want...umm...Jason to...hold me.

So, at 7:53 am, Vivienne and I meet everyone at the airport, and they all pile into her van. Graduation starts at 1:00pm. We have five hours to kill. Vivienne drives us back to the house, and everyone expects to find Alejandro there when we get there. But, of course, he's not there. And then the third-degree begins, and in the course of the next half hour, I confess: he's not here, and hasn't been here for months. He walked out on me. I'm sobbing as I relive the day that Alejandro announced that he was leaving, and the loneliness of the subsequent months without him. He told me he didn't love me, that he wasn't sure he ever had. It was pretty painful. Alejandro is the only guy I was ever with, the only guy I ever loved...well, besides my family, of course. Tim looks very grave throughout my confession, and I honestly can't tell what he's thinking. I expected ranting and raving. But he's not doing that. He sits through my whole tearful recounting of history. Then he does something I wasn't expecting. He comes to where I'm sitting on the bed, lifts me into his arms, carries me to the IKEA chair, and sits me on his lap. And then he hugs me. He just hugs me. I drape myself over his shoulder and cry, and he hugs me.

Finally, after maybe twenty minutes, he looks into my eyes. "I'm sorry, baby. I know how painful separation is. I had my doubts about Alejandro the last time I was down here, but I was hoping he just needed some...encouragement. I wish you'd told me sooner about his leaving, but let's not worry about that right now. Let's get you graduated today, and then let's get you home. I don't want you living here by yourself. I want you living with us. Are you packed?"

I nod. "Everything but the furniture."

"Fuck the furniture," he says. "Perhaps Vivienne will want to keep it."

At noon, Vivienne drives us to the University, and we arrive on time for me to receive my diploma and the accolades of the Chancellor. The good news is that I've received the award for Outstanding Graduating Senior in my department, and this fact is not lost on Tim. He beams. He is very, very happy, and hopefully this will help me to atone for not having told him about Alejandro sooner. It feels so...good to have accomplished this, to have gotten my degree. Kenny hugs and congratulates me, and then Jason, and then Vivienne, and Tim, of course. Kevin and Kai attach themselves to me, and because I can't move with these boys hanging off me, I hoist Kai onto my shoulders where he stays for the next half hour. The day is warm and sunny, and so am I. And...umm...I've got on jeans and a t-shirt under my silk gown.

Tim does confront Vivienne before we go. "I'm a little disappointed that you chose not to alert me to the Alejandro situation," he says.

"Yes," she says, braving the lion. "Well, you're a little unpredictable, aren't you, my sweet? We weren't sure how you'd react to Ian's lack of a `chaperone'. So, I made him a deal. I told him I wouldn't tell you about Alejandro's disappearance, so you wouldn't pull his ass out of school. In return, he had to tell me anywhere he was planning to go if he left the house. That was our agreement. I basically became his chaperone. And look!" she says, motioning to me, "His ass is still in one piece."

Tim smiles and kisses her on the cheek. "Yes it is," he concedes, pausing, "but it won't be when I get him home," he says, winking at me.

She giggles. "That I figured."

We linger for probably another 20 minutes before Vivienne drives us back to the house to get my luggage. "The furniture is yours, Vivienne, a mark of my gratitude for taking care of my impossibly-stupid son," he says, and she smiles. "We'll keep in touch." And then we're gone -- in the car, at the gate, on the plane, and back home. It has been a whirlwind of a day, but I'm home, and that feels very, very good. After dinner, after we've cleared the table and done the dishes, I'm sitting at the kitchen table feeling a little...down. Decompressing from the day's excitement, maybe, and thinking about Alejandro. Jason slides a chair next to me, and hugs me, and I sort of collapse into his lap. He holds me. For maybe half an hour he holds me, stroking my hair and rubbing my back. It feels very, very good to be home.


"We're doing what?" I ask.

"We're having a private party at N'Touch. It's to celebrate Kenny and Jason's most recent song deal with Christina Aguilera. It's not so much that Christina Aguilera bought the song; it's that she came to them. They didn't write the song and then send it around to various singers. She came to them for a song. This is a turning point in their careers. It shows they're in demand." Wow! I knew they were writing songs, and I'd even talked to Kenny about how he does it, how he gets his ideas for lyrics, the creative process. I didn't really realize they'd gotten this far, though. Christina Aguilera? Wow!

"And, we're doing this when?" I ask.

"Friday night," Tim replies. "They know. This isn't a surprise party, although some of the party will be a surprise, maybe. We've invited about 120 people. There'll be friends of mine, friends of Jason, some of Kenny's friends, a hodge-podge of people. It should be fun."

"Umm...yeah." I've been to N'Touch a couple of times, I think. It's kind of a strange venue. It's long and narrow. You have to make it through a gauntlet to get to the dance floor. It is fiercely cruisy. I don't think I've ever been felt-up by so many sets of eyes in my life -- and not a few wandering hands. The last time I was there, I think, was for a party that Kenny threw for Tim, and it, too, was private, thankfully, because Kenny, Jason, Alejandro, Nathan and I ended up in go-go cages naked, dancing away for hours. Thinking of this, I smile at Tim. "Is there a dress code?" I ask with a wink.

He laughs. "No. Not this time. The crowd is too mixed. Come as you are...well, as long as you're dressed," he giggles.

He's having the party catered by a local San Francisco restaurant, The Slanted Door. It's sort of a Vietnamese fusion place. It has very good food, but is super pricey. Feeding 120 people on Slanted Door food had to set them back a bit. Still, this is the fourth or fifth song they've sold, so I don't think they're hurting for cash. "I don't have anyone to bring," I remark, sadly, pensively.

"It doesn't matter," Tim replies, hugging me. "There'll be plenty of single guys there. You won't have trouble finding dance partners," he says with a snort, a snort that has me laughing. Tim has been very `nurturing' since I got home. I mean, yes, he did spank me thoroughly for not telling him about Alejandro's departure until months after it happened. "You are not built to live alone," he'd lectured. "You need to talk to Jason about roles, about how he prefers to live in the world." I'd done that, and Jason confided that he'd felt "adrift" before he met Tim. His life had largely been controlled by his father, and he didn't really have much respect or affection for his father. He felt "enslaved". Tim had given him a way out of that relationship, but had demanded voluntary submission in return. It apparently took him a while to figure out what that meant and how to do it, but when he'd achieved it he'd felt very...liberated, very natural. "And Tim isn't always in control," he'd said with a laugh. "Sometimes he's totally out of control. Then it's my job to rein him in. When he gets too focused on life's problems, he gets depressed. I have to intervene before that happens and ever-so-gently reassure him." Interesting. Relationships are just really interesting.

Anyway, since that spanking, Tim has been very...what?...solicitous, I guess. He's been affectionate and supportive, and really pushed hard to get me started at Stanford, where I'm pursuing a masters in psychology. I want to be a clinical psychologist, to help people come to terms with their demons, much as Tim has, over the years, helped me come to terms with mine. But...he won't fuck me, and I...umm...really want him to. "You bring me great pleasure in many ways, Ian," he has said, "but I don't think of our relationship in sexual terms...anymore. Don't get me wrong. I adore you. But you're in the box with Kevin and Kai, rather than in the box with Jason and Kenny. That doesn't mean you're any less important to me. It just means that I...umm...don't want to fuck you." I'd looked sad, and he'd ruffled my hair, like he does to Kevin all the time, and I guess that's when I understood our relationship, and how it had changed since Alejandro left.

When Alejandro and I were together, Tim was more...sexually demonstrative with me. I'd been part of a couple, and that somehow made me "safe". He didn't worry much about how it looked or felt to be intimate with me. But, now that I'm unattached, I feel to him more like a son, someone to be taken care of, someone to be nurtured. That's sort of how he feels about Jason, too, and even Kenny (although I think he thinks of Kenny as more independent), so it's a little confusing. Relationships are just really interesting.

I talked with Jason about this, and he told me about Tim's relationship with Robbie, a boy they'd all tutored for a while. Tim didn't want a sexual relationship with him either. "When Andrew was alive, we had a foursome, and Vijay sort of replaced Andrew in that foursome for a while, but not for long. I sensed that Tim was actively looking for some way to get back to just Kenny and me. I have to be honest, Kenny and I prefer having Tim all to ourselves. It's not that I'd feel threatened if he brought someone else into the relationship. I'm confident in his love. It's just that our relationship would inevitably change. It would change in ways I can't predict. I don't want it to change. I love it the way it is, love him and Kenny the way we are. Despite all the years we've been together, we're still crazy about each other. I don't want to mess with that."

I guess what it comes down to is that Tim has found a relationship that works for him, and he's not willing to alter the chemistry of that relationship, chemistry that clearly works. He loves these guys passionately, and they love him back. He wants that to stay just as it is. I guess I can understand that. But...umm...I'd still like him to fuck me.

When Friday rolls around, we drive up to the city at around 6:30pm, arriving at somewhere around 7:45pm. We're able to find parking right on Polk and hustle the kids out of the car and across the street. N'Touch is still officially closed. They've had some problems renewing their liquor license after they were found to be unwittingly serving minors, I hear. So, there's a big sign in the window that says "Closed for Renovation", and the windows are all papered over, but you can see light around the edges of the paper. When we get to the door, we knock. Nathan answers, and screams when he sees me. "You're back! You're back! I'm so glad you're back!" he says, hugging me. And then he looks into my eyes, still holding me. "But I'm so sorry to hear about Alejandro. That's so hard!" He hugs me again. "But we love you!" he screams, leading me by the hand into the restaurant.

Nathan is very demonstrative. He always has been. He's so sweet, and so sincere, and just so...gay. And, my god can he cook! But he hasn't been cooking today, although he's been here all afternoon, apparently, getting things set up and receiving deliveries. We have wine, beer, soft drinks, and milk for the little guys, and we have a range of Asian-influenced hors d'oeuvres, some of them really spicy. There are oysters and trays of prawns, spring rolls, various kinds of dumplings, papaya salad, jelly fish, and several kinds of noodles and other seafood being kept warm in chafing dishes. All of this is spread across the bar. The place is festive. Nathan has hung up white christmas lights, but he's done it so subtly, that you don't really know they're there. You just see a sparkle, but not the lights themselves. And, as was the case the last time we were here, the back room is set up as a sleeping area for any children that show up with their parents, complete with a "nanny" of sorts to keep an eye on them during the evening.

As we stand chatting with Nathan, the DJ arrives, the same one Kenny used for Tim's party, apparently a friend of Dinh's, Gary and Nathan's partner. He makes his way to the audio booth and starts the music, and as he does, the guests begin to appear. It isn't long before the room is filled with people, maybe half of them on the dance floor, and half lingering around the food. I decide to dance, and start out with Jason to a disco remix of "American Pie", but sung by Madonna. I really like this song, and a couple of Cher songs that follow it. And then Kenny comes over and takes over for Jason, to another disco remix, but this time it's a remix of their song, the song Jason and Kenny sold to Cheryl Crowe, the song Kenny tells me is the theme song for a number of his games. It's fantastic. I can see why they're in demand. Nathan and Gary are out on the dance floor, too, and I don't think they know what this is, because Gary leans into the audio booth and shouts something at the DJ, who then points to Kenny. Gary looks shocked, and then smiles. It really is very good.

Then there's a lull. The DJ is giving us all time to rest, time to get a drink and maybe sample the food. I move to the spring rolls, which are usually my favorite, and, unlike the dumplings, are less likely to be lethally spicy. Tim and Kenny, and even Jason, like their food really, really spicy. I have to be a little careful about what I sample because I don't have a taste for stuff that hot. Just as I've taken the last bite of my spring roll, and am considering whether to have another, a really attractive Asian guy walks by, heading for the restroom, I think. He's slim, but very muscular. You can tell. I think it's the way he carries himself. And he's tall, close to 6' I'd say. As he walks by, he catches sight of me, and stops and cruises me. Realizing what he's done, he turns and picks up a dumpling, pretending that the dumplings were what he was looking for. He smiles at me, and pops it in his mouth. Then he moves toward me, chewing as fast as he can. Swallowing finally, he wipes his hand on his jeans, and extends it to me. "Hi," he says, "I'm Leslie. I'm a friend of Jason's, Jason Leong."

"Hi. I'm Ian. I'm Tim's son. I guess that technically makes Jason my mother," I say, giggling, "but these relationship things are pretty complicated right now. Are you with the Symphony?"

"No. Actually, I'm a swimmer. Jason and I met when we were at Stanford. Well, I'm not a swimmer any more, I guess. Pulled muscles. Right now I'm writing a dissertation. I'm in grad school. Still at Stanford."

"Really? I've just started there. I'm working on a masters in psychology. I just recently graduated from UCLA."

"Also in psychology?"

"No," I say, deciding to use this to see whether this conversation has any potential at all. "No. My undergrad degree is in LGBT Studies."

"Wow! We've come a long way, haven't we? Our own degree program," he says, and gives me the most dazzling smile I've ever seen.

I said this guy was "really attractive." I lied. This guy is gorgeous. This guy may be the best-looking guy I've ever seen. Really, really handsome. At 6', Tim would find this guy too tall. Tim is attracted to guys who are shorter than him, I think. But, that's the only criterion I've ever been able to pinpoint. He's married to a couple of Asian guys, but when he ogles other guys, race and color never seems to be a factor. You watch his head turn as you walk through a mall, and you find him gazing at Black guys, Caucasians, Asians, Hispanics. He seems to like them all. But he never seems to look at anyone taller than him. I'm the opposite, thankfully. I like them taller than me, which, at 5'6" is a good thing. And where Tim likes them a little...beefy, built like Kenny, I like them lithe. And this guy is certainly lithe. He is breath-taking!

"Would you like to dance?" he asks.

"Yeah, but...umm...there's no music right now."

"I know," he says, "but I'm assuming that your dance card is pretty full. I'm assuming. I just want to get on it...if I still can."

I giggle. This is one of the smoothest pickup lines I've ever heard. Worth a reward. "I'd love to dance with you, but I'm not sure one dance will be enough."

He smiles. "Listen, I was going to pee when I caught sight of you and sort of got...distracted. I really have to pee. Will you wait for me?"

I nod, and he runs off lickety-split, giving me the impression that he's nervous that someone else might claim me. How cute.

In five minutes he's back, and we talk for another 15 minutes before the music starts again, an ABBA song, "Mama Mia". I've just seen the movie, but this is the original version, and way better. It's followed by something I've never heard, but you can tell Tim has from his expression, "Sugar, Sugar" by the Archies, he tells me later, written probably ten years before he was even born. That's followed by Blondie's "One Way or Another," and then we have something else I've never heard before, a song sung, I think, by Celine Dion, and when it start, Tim shrieks, and just attaches himself to Jason and Kenny in one long group hug. It turns out, this is another of their songs, and it is sensational. Jason tells me later that Celine recorded it with his Orchestra, and that he was conducting. How cool! And, how danceable.

You can tell this is going to be a long night because, by now, nearly everyone is dancing. Those who can't get to the dance floor are dancing in front of the bar, and some behind it. Dancing is fun, but...umm...Leslie and I want to talk some more, and we sure can't do that here. We decide to move to the donut shop around the corner. I shout in Tim's ear so he knows where I'm going, and we move out of N'Touch and take the short walk to Digby's Dunkables, where we spend the next two hours talking about everything, about Leslie's career as an Olympic swimmer for Singapore before he pulled several muscles, about his dissertation on Faulkner, about my LGBT Studies program and my desire to be a psychologist, and about my failed relationship with Alejandro. "Yeah, that's rough," he says. "I was in a three-year relationship with a guy while I was still in high school. But, ultimately, he found someone new, someone who excited more than I did, and he was gone. And it threw me into a depression that was very hard for me to shake. Ultimately, it was a good thing, because it forced me to come out to my parents, which I hadn't yet had the courage to do. They weren't happy, but later it made our bond stronger. And they needed to know. They needed to either accept or reject me based on who I really was rather than who they thought I was. Lying to them was part of my depression. You have to give people the opportunity to hate you if that's what they want to do -- even your parents."

From here we move on to talk about favorite pastimes, about film, and ultimate about music. "So you and Jason met when he was at Stanford?"

"Yeah. I attended a concert of his. But...he was an oboist then," he says, confused.

"Actually, Jason plays the violin, the oboe and the piano. Near as I can tell, he's at concert level on all of them. He's really amazing, and so...compassionate. How well did you know him personally?"

"Pretty well," Leslie responds. "Actually, in some ways, very well."

I give him a quizzical look.

He smiles. "From what he told me, his relationship with Tim is similar to a relationship I had with a Caucasian boyfriend, someone I lived with a couple years ago."

I'm stunned, and look at him for several seconds. How should I respond? "You mean, you were part of a three-person relationship?"

"No," he says with a smile. "I mean we had specific roles within the relationship. There was dominance and there was submission."

Again, I'm stunned, and my eyes must be as round as saucers. "You mean he spanked you?"

"No," he says. "I spanked him." He laughs, finally. "Are you surprised?"


"By what?"

I give him a long look, and then begin to stare at my coffee cup. What I'm surprised about doesn't make me feel very good about myself. I grew up in the bay area, one of the most diversely-populated areas of the country. We have more ethnicities living here than nearly anyplace in the world, and yet I still think so "white". I walk around with so many stereotypes, so many gaps in my cultural education. Even four years at UCLA didn't help. Even being gay didn't help. I'm still an idiot. We stereotype Asians as the "model minority". They're "hard working", "believe in the value of education", and "contribute mightily to the economy". Well, maybe. But does that make them better than Hispanics, who may not "achieve" in the same way as Asians do because their cultural values are different? And doesn't that Asian stereotype reduce their intrinsic worth anyway? They become Uncle Toms. The stereotype I've fallen into, though, is one that Tim rails about. And having stepped into this trap, I don't see any way out of it because I'm almost sure Leslie already knows what I'm thinking.

"I'm sorry," I say. "I never really thought..."

"...You never really thought that an Asian guy would be the dominant partner in a gay relationship. Right?"

My face feels really hot, and I'm really close to tears. I'm looking him in the eyes when he says this, and then I drop my eyes to stare at my coffee cup again. "No," I say softly.

Leslie puts his hand on mine and gives it a squeeze. "It's okay, Ian. It's a common stereotype. Asian men are supposed to be passive. That's why Caucasians typically like us. We're not a threat to them...to you. You haven't had any role models to debunk that image. Both of Tim's partners are submissive. And, there are a lot of submissive Asian guys out there. And that's fine. But, there are also a lot of submissive Caucasian guys. You just don't know any. I don't take offense at this. I like to be able to change the perception. I've always been dominant in my relationships. It's just how I was raised. From what Jason told me, I imagine I'm sort of like Tim. I like to control my destiny, and I protect and defend those I love. And, I've been looking for someone to share my life with on those terms for a long time. It's hard to find love."

"What happened to that boyfriend? The one...umm...you spanked."

"He killed himself," he says, looking sadly into my eyes. "He was very afraid of the world, and of himself. He wasn't happy being who he was, and I couldn't cure that. That caused me a fair amount of anguish, but I had to overcome it. I loved him, and I think he loved me, but he hated himself; he'd been taught to hate himself."

I nod, and turn my hand over so that we're palm to palm, our fingers interlaced. "We should get back to the party," I say. "Umm...could I...see you again?"

"I'd like that," he replies. And, just as we get back to N'Touch, just before we swing the door open, he stops me. "Could I have a hug?" he asks. I smile, and we hug. He feels warm and comfortable, comforting. I really like him. And then we go back in and dance.


"I met one of your friends from college at the party last night," I say as casually as I can to Jason when I find him in the kitchen the next day. "Leslie Fung. Seems very nice." I picked this technique up from Kenny. I've actually watched him do it. You act like you absolutely don't care, like this is a conversation starter. Like "Gee, it's a nice day out today." Who cares? The trouble is, I think he learned it from Tim. It works really well on "foreigners", but not really well on "family".

Jason gives me a long look and a half smile. "He is very nice," he says, carefully maintaining that half smile. "Did you guys have a good chat? Tim said you left the party at around 11pm, and I saw you come back in at around 1:15am. Did you go walkabout?" he scoffs.

Okay, I'm caught. Fess up. "Umm...yeah. He seems really cool," I say, a little flushed. "We went to the donut shop around the corner. I...umm...really like him. Should I?"

"Yes," he says, without hesitation. "He's had some challenges in his life, but he's a big boy, and has dealt with them...well. And, he's come out of them a better person, I think. Or, at least, a really good person."

I nod. "He's someone I think I'd like to get to know."

"You should," he says. "Nice guy, and...umm..."

"Yeah, I know," I say, beating him to it. "He's gorgeous, isn't he?"

Jason smiles and nods.

Next I chat with Tim after dinner. "I met a guy at the party last night. I really like him. We want to go out."

"Really? Who?" he asks.

"He's a friend of Jason's. His name is Leslie Fung."

"Leslie Fung...," he muses. "Leslie...Fung. Leslie...who?"

"Fung, Leslie Fung," I repeat, and as I do, I look up and see the smile on Tim's face.

"Gee, yes, I do think I remember a Leslie Fung...vaguely. Dark hair? Brown eyes? Nice smile. But, he's tallish, isn't he? Not really my type. But he is...umm...DROP-FUCKING-DEAD GORGEOUS," he screams. "He does have that advantage, I suppose" he says, quietly, "for those of us...impressed by that sort of thing." He is trying so hard to repress his laughter, and isn't doing very well. "So go," he says, with a faux-Yiddish-Yenta accent. "So go, doll," he says, suddenly channeling Fran Drescher. "Be that way. I bring you home to the bosom of your family, and all you want to do is go off with some schlemiel, some goyim." I have no idea what he's talking about, but then he looks up at me and smiles, patting his lap, and I go sit on it. He hugs me. "Good for you, babe," he says. "I'm happy you're getting out. Just let one of us know where you're going, okay? `Cuz you know, I worry."

I nod, and kiss him. "Okay, Mom." He cuffs me, and pushes me off his lap. "Goddamn children!" he mumbles, giggling. "Ungrateful fucking pains in the ass."


And we do go out. We go out often. We eat lunch together at the Stanford coffee house or cafeteria most days, and head out to dinner probably three nights a week. Sometimes more often. He likes noodles, like Jason and Kenny, but the noodles he likes are different. He likes them dry, Singaporean or Hong Kong style, he says. They're egg noodles, and basically cook in the sauce that's poured on top of them. It's almost like the crispy noodles provide a "nest" for the veggies and sea food you drop on top, and the sauce softens them up. They're good, but I'd never had them before. We become pretty regular at Luu Noodle in Mountain View, a cheap alternative to more expensive noodle shops, and their version of this dish is delicious with lots of shrimp and broccoli. And, after dinner, we'll either go for a walk, or to a movie, or we'll just sit at his apartment and talk. He's a really interesting guy. He grew up in Singapore, where the population is made up of Malaysians, Indians, and Chinese. The only common language is English, which is why he speaks so fluently, given that his first language was Mandarin. He's been in the US since he was 19. His parents are still in Singapore. He'd like to teach English at the college-level, and is interested in Faulkner, Conrad, and a bunch of other writers I don't recognize. He likes bicycling, hiking, and, of course, swimming. And...umm...I sort of...think he likes...me.

When you first start dating someone new, you really need someone to help you through it, someone to guide you. There's this tendency to misread signals. It's like e-mail -- you can't actually hear the writer, can't gauge their tone or intent. You're completely dependent on writing style, and that's often hard to figure out. The same is true of dating. You don't know each other well enough to judge what their actions mean. If he doesn't call me for three days, does that mean he's not into me, or does it mean he had a last minute paper he had to crank out? Will I ever hear from him again? Jason isn't real good at this kind of "counseling" because Tim is the only guy he's ever been with. But Tim is a master at it, and is real good at helping me through all the insecurities I feel in the early days of our dating.

"I don't know, Tim. I'm not sure if he's really that interested in me."

"How many dates have you been on?"

"I dunno. Maybe six."

"And, does that include the lunches?"


"And, who initiates the dates?"

"Well, I guess he does, mostly."

Tim is now staring at me over the top of his reading glasses, giving me his best are-you-out-of-your-mind look. "I have a `Rule of 3', Ian. Are you ready for my lecture on the Rule of 3? Are you taking notes?" I giggle. "On the first date, you figure out whether there's any chemistry between you. If there is, you move on to the next date where you figure out whether you have anything in common, and that may mean interests, activities, life experiences, political views. If there's enough commonality, you move onto date number three, and that's when you fall in love -- or not. If there's a date number four, you're both smitten. Not sure he's really interested in you? Give me a break. If he wasn't really interested in you, he wouldn't be wasting his time. When's he coming for dinner, by the way?"

"Well, I've...umm...sorta been waiting. I've been trying to see if there's any real...relationship forming."

Tim is still staring at me skeptically over the top of his reading glasses. "The `Rule of 3', Ian. Now that we're sure that there is a `real relationship forming', when's he coming to dinner...so I can meet him properly? I think I've waited long enough for a proper introduction to this guy. At least I didn't insist on meeting him before the first date."

"Next Monday?"

"Works for me. Let Jason know. It needs to be Asian cuisine, and Jason is the guy for the job. Tell him to make me a shopping list."

What Jason decides to make for the occasion is Spicy Beef Noodle, and I'm mystified. This is sort of a special occasion, right? Shouldn't we have some kind of...banquet? Beef Noodle is country cooking, and it's so easy. Shouldn't we show him some effort?

"Trust me," he says.

On Monday at 5:30pm, Leslie and I get to the house, and as I open the door, the aroma of the Beef Noodle hits us -- wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil in approximately equal proportions, with a healthy quantity of onion and star anise. Leslie's eyes light up. "Oh...my...god..." he says. "Someone's making Beef Noodle. That just makes my mouth water. I haven't smelled that smell in years. My Mom used to make Beef Noodle when I was a kid. It was the ultimate comfort food. But, now when I go back to Singapore, she insists on fancy menus. She doesn't see me all that often, and insists on `treating' me, when all I really want is Beef Noodle." He's actually glassy-eyed when he says this. Jason has connected with some kind of primal yearning, and I have to smile, because he knew he was doing it. I take Leslie to the kitchen where he and Jason hug. "Can I taste the broth?" Leslie asks, and Jason hands him one of those ceramic Asian soup spoons.

"Yes," Leslie says, smiling oh so brightly. "That's the flavor. Tendon?" he asks.

Jason nods, smiling.

"Maybe just a little more chili sauce."

Again, Jason nods, adding another teaspoon of red sauce from a jar.

"Oh my god this is going to be a treat!"

"Yummy," says Kevin, floating into the room, drawn in by the smell. "Beef Noodwe?" he asks. Jason nods. "Yummy."

"And who're you?" Leslie asks, kneeling down at Kevin's level."

"I'm Kevin," he replies, walking over to Leslie and stretching out his hand to shake. "Good to meet you." My god, he's become so confident since the first time I met him. "Who're you?" he asks.

"I'm Leslie. I'm a friend of Ian's."

"Cool," Kevin replies, and then goes over and attaches himself to Jason leg as Jason continues to cook.

"It's not really safe over here, Kev. You could get burned. Why don't you go talk to Leslie and Ian?"

And with that, Leslie goes over and lifts Kevin up, carrying him away. "What do you like to do?" he asks, setting Kevin on his lap as he sits down at the kitchen table.

"I...umm...like to dance," Kevin says, a little more shyly.

"To dance? What kind of dance?" Leslie asks.

"Ballet," he says, enthusiastically.

"Really?" And that's how their conversation begins, and it continues, off and on, for at least a couple of hours. It turns out that Leslie knows something about ballet, that he took ballet when he was a child. He uses this to `connect' with Kevin, and the connection doesn't seem at all to be one-sided. I have the sense, talking to him later, that Leslie got a lot out of their conversation. "I mean, yes, Kevin is a very cute kid," he says later, "but he seems really smart, too. He's what...seven? He talks about dance like an adult. He's confident. And...he's not ashamed. You have no idea how faggie ballet was considered for a boy in Singapore. This can't be easy for him. That's why I'm impressed," he says, "impressed by his enthusiasm, and his apparent dedication to it. And I'm impressed by his courage."

"It's Tim," I say. "Tim is just relentless in his expectations, but also relentless in how he supports his family. He finds out what you like, finds out what you're good at, and he...just...drives you. I'd planned to wait a quarter before going to grad school, to take some time off, but it would have been time basically wasted. That was not an option. Once I got back from UCLA, he was so focused on me, you cannot imagine. He really is relentless."

"And relentless with Kevin?"

"Oh, yes! From what I hear, he talks to Kevin every day, encouraging him, chiding him, driving him along. And it's not like Kevin is suffering from this. It's not like Tim is grooming the next JonBenet Ramsay. I think if Tim ever had a sense that Kevin didn't want to do this, he'd back off. But, knowing that Kevin likes ballet and is good at it, he encourages...relentlessly. It's faggie here, too, and I think that's what Tim is trying to combat -- the perception in Kevin's mind that will form, eventually. I think he's trying to preempt that."

"Is that what you need?"



I know this isn't a simple "curiosity" question. "Umm...yeah. I need it, too."

Having asked the question, Leslie drops it, and we move on to other topics, but he's a little quiet, I notice, pensive. And then, after dinner, while we're clearing away the dishes, Leslie disappears. I find out later that Tim had drawn him off into his office for a "chat". And what did they chat about for those 40 minutes? Both Tim and Leslie are pretty elliptical about that. It's only several months later that I find out that this was the what-are-your-intensions-with-regard-to-my-virgin-daughter discussion. And Leslie told him. He told him that he thought he wanted to marry me -- well, as married as us fags can get these days. He told him that he was in love with me, but he didn't know how I felt. "And then," he said, those many months later, "Tim gave me this long stare over the top of his reading glasses. `Are you out of your fucking mind?' he asked. And we both started to laugh, because I knew you loved me, and Tim knew that I knew you loved me. And then we talked about other things."

"What," I'd asked.

"Well...umm...he told me about east L.A."

"Oh, Christ," I exclaim, "he is never going to forgive me for that."

"No. It's not that he's not going to forgive you. I think he did that a long time ago. But it convinced him that you're not meant to be...alone. He talked about Jason, and his concert career, and Cleveland. It wasn't real clear, but he was likening you to Jason, and suggesting that you both need...guidance. You've sort of said that to me before, haven't you?"

I nod.

"I think Tim knows you pretty well. He was just concerned. He wanted to know what I'd be bringing to your life. He wanted to know if I was going to stick around. He wanted to know if...umm...I could provide guidance.

"And what did you tell him?" I ask.

"I told him ...umm... that I didn't know."

I look at him in shock. "What? Why? Why would you say that?"

"Umm...because I don't know whether you can accept guidance from me."

This discussion all happens several months after that first dinner, several months after Leslie's discussion with Tim. We're sitting in his apartment after a movie. We've continued to date regularly, continued to talk, continued to get to know each other. I find him fascinating, and the tiniest bit...unknowable. Or, at least, I can't quite put all the pieces together. We've talked about that, too, and it seems to stem from his boyfriend's suicide, and his feelings of responsibility for not having "cured" him. I have a sense that he's afraid to get into another relationship where he's responsible for someone else, where he's dominant. I think this is what's holding us back, what's keeping him from taking "us" to the next level. And as I'm thinking about this tonight, I remember something Jason said a while back about Tim, about how when he gets too focused on problems, that Jason needs to intervene and reassure him, but he needs to do it in a way that doesn't mess up their roles.

"So...umm...do you know that now?"

Leslie looks at me, and pauses, thinking about what he wants to say. Finally he simply shakes his head.

"We haven't made love yet," I say, after a pause. "I've really longed to, but I haven't wanted to ask because sex should come with commitment. I'm committed to you, but I'm not sure you feel the same. I'd like to do that tonight, to make love, I mean, but..."

He gives me a quizzical look.

"...but only after you spank me. I want you to be sure that I'm willing to submit to you. I want us to be sure of that."

He looks surprised, and then looks down at his tea cup, sitting on the coffee table in front of him. Then he looks back up again and stares into my eyes, with a...pleading look.

"We're not going to be happy any other way, are we? We're never going to get beyond this point until you can take responsibility for me. And, frankly, Tim is never going to let me go until he's sure that I have someone looking after me. If we want this relationship to go on, we have to do this. Otherwise, we should end it and go our separate ways."

Again, he looks up and stares into my eyes, and I see longing and fear.

"Do you love me?" I ask.

"Yes!" he says, unreservedly.

"Do you want me in your life?"

"So, so much!" he replies, tearing up.

"Then do this for me...for us."

He looks back to his tea cup, and then nods.

He leads me to the bedroom and motions me to lie on the bed, but before I lie down, I take off my clothes, slowly. He's never seen me naked, and his eyes widen as I get naked...for him. Once I've kicked off my briefs, I stand for a moment so he can see me. I know I'm flushed, but he needs to see me. Finally, I lie down on my belly, and wait. There's some rustling as he goes to his closet, and he comes back with something that looks a lot like Tim's razor strop, except it doesn't have a handle. This looks like something he's made himself. It's a piece of leather that looks to be something like a quarter of an inch thick, about four inches wide and maybe a foot and a half long. He pauses at my side for a couple of seconds. "You sure?" he asks.

"I'm sure," I reply.

"How many do you want?" he asks.

"I don't think that's for me to say. I think you should decide."

He nods slowly, and gives me the first and then the second stroke, but so lightly, so timidly, that they have little impact. "Umm...Leslie. I've been spanked before. I expect something better than that."

"Sorry," he says. "I...umm...didn't want to hurt you."

"You're supposed to be hurting me," I say with a giggle, and then stop giggling with the third stroke, which comes down hard, and draws a gasp. By five I'm groaning; by ten I'm crying; and by fifteen I'm sobbing. My ass is on fire, and at seventeen, the last two drawing screams, Leslie stops, drops the strop, picks me up, places me on his lap, and hugs me. He hugs me so tight as I sob on his shoulder, and I realize later that I'm not crying about the pain, though it was intense, but because he was able to do this. I am so much in love. I just wrap my arms around him and squeeze him back while I continue to cry. I couldn't let go of him if my life depended on it. I squeeze him for maybe twenty minutes, and then I finally release him, and look into his eyes. "That was intense," I say, and he immediately looks worried.

"Too much?" he asks, now really concerned.

"No," I say, kissing his face. "Just right. Now, umm, could you...fuck me?"

He smiles and nods, lifting me off his lap and setting me on the bed. He begins to take off his clothes, and I just have to gasp. He is breathtaking. He is just so...beautiful. And I suddenly feel...intimidated, and a little embarrassed. I'm not sure how to describe this. When I was very young, my mom used to keep chickens, and it was interesting to watch the "pecking order" develop, to see who became the dominant chicken. There always was one. One chicken always got first dibs on the scratch. High school was the same way, but there it was always the best looking guys who were dominant, and they didn't associate with guys like me. And that's sort of how I'm feeling now. It's sort of like when the best looking and most popular guy in your high school comes up to you and says "Hi." You get paranoid. You want to look behind you to see what his friends are about to do to you while he charms you. Why would a guy like Leslie be interested in me? I'm a shrimpy 5'6" tall, and he's 6'. I'm pale and blond, and he's bronze. I'm slender, and he's built. What on earth does he see in me?

But, there must be something, because once he's naked, he pushes me back on the bed, and rolls in along side of me, sealing his lips to mine in an almost breathless kiss. His mouth tastes of...mint...and I remember that he told me once that he chews mint leaves. Hugging him, rubbing my skin against his, is almost too erotic. He is so soft and so hard at the same time. So smooth, and so muscular. And his lips, his lips are the softest lips I can imagine, and I really, really don't want this kiss to end. Do you remember the best looking boy on campus? Do you remember lusting after him? Do you remember those fantasies? Triple that, and you'll know what I'm feeling now.

We kiss for maybe twenty minutes, dry humping, and he finally pulls a condom and a tube of lotion from the drawer of the bedside table. He's been hard since we started that kiss, since he got his clothes off, and he rolls that condom onto his erection and adds lotion. Then he pushes himself between my legs, resting them on his shoulders. I've never actually done it this way before, and so I just let him position me. And then he lines up his dick with my asshole, and starts to...undulate. In and out, slowly entering me a little more with each thrust. He's had his body arched over mine as he's entered me, but once inside, he drops down and we begin to kiss again as he pulls out of me and then thrusts back in. Alejandro liked me on my belly, maybe because that gave him maximum penetration, but this is just so luxurious, kissing and getting fucked at the same time. I think I'm in heaven. But, then it gets even better because Leslie reaches between our bodies with his hand and starts stroking me. Oh my god. I've never felt like this before. And I don't feel like this for very long. Suddenly, I erupt all over myself and Leslie is right behind me, our lips still sealed, gasping and moaning into each other's mouth as we cum, except now I'm sobbing. I dunno. With Alejandro, I used to think that each new orgasm was the best I'd ever felt, but this is stratospheric. I think I've left the earth. And, when we're done, we just keep kissing. At some point I took my legs off his shoulders and wrapped them around his middle so he can't pull out of me. I really, really don't want him to pull out of me. I want to feel him inside me when I wake up in the morning. But, inevitably he deflates, and it slides out on its own. Pity! He felt so good.

We fall asleep in each other's arms, waking up every couple of hours to go at it again. By morning, we're exhausted, and so...so happy. I am so much in love!

At 10am, Leslie gets up and goes off to pee. He tells me to stay in bed, and comes back in half an hour with a tray that has a plate of fruit -- pineapple, sliced banana, orange wedges, strawberries, and chunks of papaya and mango. It's got a cup of coffee, a glass of mimosa, and...a small gift-wrapped package, a two-inch cube. I stare at the package while I sip the mimosa, and then I look at him. He's glassy-eyed.

"Open it," he says.

I pick up the package and tear off the wrapping paper, and then open the box, a ring box. And in it is the most beautiful gold band studded with small diamonds. I stare at it for several seconds, and then look up into his face. He's smiling, and crying at the same time. "Will you marry me?" he asks. And then I lose it, and start to sob.

"Yes," I choke. And he swoops down and hugs me, and we suddenly find ourselves awash in mimosa.

Published first at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Nemo-stories/