By John Yager
This is the twelfth chapter of an ongoing series. I sincerely appreciate all the correspondence this story has prompted. Thank you for your encouragement, suggestions and criticism. This is the most serious piece I have attempted and many readers have told me it is the most serious and most issue-oriented piece they have encountered on NIFTY or any other similar site.
My objective in this series is to address the major issues which have impacted and influenced the lives of gay people in the period between the mid-1960s and the present time. This story is written in fictional form. The story is raising many more questions than it is supplying answers and I certainly make no claim to know the answers. It is my hope that by raising the questions I may prompt a more balanced dialog.
Andrew continues to provide much needed proofing and editorial help, for which I am sincerely grateful.
This is a work of fiction and in no way draws on the lives of any specific person or persons. Any similarity to actual persons or events is entirely coincidental. This is a work of gay erotic fiction. If you should not be reading such material or if such material is not to your liking, please exit now.
This work is copyrighted © by the author and may not be reproduced in any form without the specific written permission of the author. It is assigned to the Nifty Archives under the terms of their submission agreement but it may not be copied or archived on any other site without the written permission of the author.
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"So, I hear you've been talking to that guy at your church," Rick said as we stood in the showers after football practice on Thursday afternoon.
"News travels fast in Spring River," I said with a grin.
"So it's true, you have been talking with him?"
"Yeah, Rick, a couple of times." We both stood silently letting the hot water beat on our tired shoulders and back. He said nothing more so eventually I asked, "does that bother you, me talking to Ted?"
"I don't know. What have you been talking about?"
"You are bothered, aren't you?"
"Have you told him about us?"
"Yeah, Rick, I have, but I didn't mention any names."
"But he knows you've been doing it with another guy, right?"
"Yeah, that was more or less the point of the discussion."
Again we lapsed into silence. Rick and I had stayed on to talk to the coach and run through a couple of plays after the rest of the team had headed for the locker rooms. Now, forty-five minutes later, we had the showers to ourselves. Even the coach had gone home, leaving it for us to lock up when we finished.
"Well, like you said, Rob, news travels fast in Spring River."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means if you tell that guy, it could be all over town in a day or two. And there are a lot of people who know us and know we hang out together."
"He isn't going to say anything to anyone, Rick."
"You sure? Man, there's no way I'd ever talk to anyone at my church about that kind of thing."
"He's not going to talk, Rick."
"Well, I sure as hell hope you're right. I just don't see why you'd even want to talk with some preacher."
I waited, trying to think through the situation. I realized that in Rick's church there was virtually no chance of him finding anyone who would give him uncritical advice. I guess I was still a little shocked to realize how lucky I'd been to find someone like Ted at Trinity.
Berea Chapel, where Rick and Deb and their families went, had a reputation for strictness and for a very conservative understanding of the Bible. I knew from what Rick had told me that they were very condemning of homosexuality or any other practice which departed in even the slightest degree from what they took to be absolute law.
As I understood their beliefs, they condemned all forms of sex outside marriage and they only recognized marriage for a member of their church if it was to another member, or at least to someone who accepted their doctrines. They strongly disapproved of divorce, but if a couple in their church did divorce for any reason, they were not allowed to re-marry under any circumstances. If they did remarry, they were expelled.
It also went without saying that they disapproved of all use of alcohol. Their members were not allowed to go to movies or to dances or to play cards. Gambling in any form, even card games just played for fun, were outlawed.
Knowing what I did about Berea Chapel, I had been
amazed that Deb and Rick had attended the homecoming dance at our school.
Rick had told me that their parents had strongly objected but had finally
agreed when Deb was chosen to be one of the attendants. "We aren't supposed
to actually dance, of course," Rick had told me, "but that's okay, we don't
know how to anyway."
Having learned all that from my conversations with Rick, I realized that it would be hard for him to understand how I could feel comfortable going to Ted, or anyone associated with any church.
"Do you ever think you should talk to someone about what you are going through, Rick?" I asked as we continued to stand under the steaming showers.
"I talk with you and I guess that will have to do."
"Can I ask you something?"
"Sure, Rob. There isn't much we haven't already talked about."
"Well, what you and Deb are doing, the fact that you've been having sex with her for quite a while, that's against the teachings of your church, right?"
"Sure. It's against the rules of your church, too, isn't it?"
"Yeah, definitely, but I get the feeling that in my church there is a sort of understanding about things like that."
"What kind of understanding?"
"I don't know exactly. It isn't talked about but it's as if they teach a sort of ideal standard but realize that nobody meets the standard, at least not in all areas of their life, and certainly not all the time."
"So are you saying it's okay to break the rules, that your church teaches that?"
"No, I'm not saying that they teach it's okay to break the rules, but they recognize that all people are fallible. That's why we need grace, Rick, why we need God's forgiveness."
"So are you saying you can just keep sinning and God will always forgive you?
"I don't know, but I don't think so. I'm just saying that you and Deb are breaking one set of rules and your family more or less know it. They allow you that because they figure you and she will get married and then all the premarital stuff will go away."
"But that isn't the case with us, is it? I mean, there isn't any rule for two guys to love one another and ever put it right. It's not like they are ever going to be allowed to get married, at least not in the eyes of the church."
"Maybe I can make it right by marrying Deb and putting all the stuff we've been doing behind me."
"Do you believe that, Rick?"
"Oh, shit, Rob, I don't know."
"Well, wouldn't it be nice to be able to go talk to someone like Ted."
He just stood there looking at me. After several minutes he sort of smiled and said, "yeah, it would be nice to talk to someone."
"I'd like for us to go together to talk with him. Would that be okay with you?"
"Yeah, I'd sure not want to go alone."
"You know, if we go together, he will figure out you're the guy I've been doing it with."
"Yeah, I realize that. I guess I'd rather just tell him that up front and not play games."
"Good for you, Rick," I said, and pulled him into a warm, wet embrace. I really did think Rick had made a major step forward by agreeing to go with me to see Ted and by saying he'd want to come clean with Ted right from the start.
I didn't intend for our embrace to become sexual but it was dumb of me to think it wouldn't.
"I'm glad we're alone," Rick said as our cocks hardened between our wet bodies.
"You think everybody's gone?"
"Yeah, but I guess we'd better check."
"What do you have in mind?"
He just grinned at me and walked out of the shower into the dressing room, boldly naked. A few minutes later he was back, his rigid cock still leading the way.
"We've got the place to ourselves and the door is locked. I guess Coach locked it behind him when he left."
"So we have time for this?" I asked as he again embraced me.
"Yeah, all night. We have to study late and you are going to ask me to stay over with you."
"Won't your folks think that's odd?
"No, they'll be fine with it and Deb wasn't expecting me to drop by her place tonight. She really does have some project to finish."
His hands were snaking down my back, gripping my ass, pulling me even closer to him as our mouth's met.
"We going to do it right here in the shower?" I managed to say as I pulled back from him.
Rick released me, turned and walked out of the shower, grabbing his towel from the rack as he left. I had no idea where he was going, but took my towel and followed, his wet footprints leading the way. I tried to dry myself off a little as I hurried after him. He walked by our open lockers, where he stopped to grab something. He was far enough ahead of me and so quick about it, that he was moving again before I caught up with him.
Rick went to the end of the rows of lockers and turned right, out of the locker room and into a public passageway. There was nobody around, but it still felt very odd, but also very sexy, to be walking naked through areas where students and teachers had passed little more than an hour before. He got to the space everyone called the small gym and turned left, through the big double doors, into it.
The lights were all off but a soft glow came through the high windows from the street lights beyond. Across the wide expanse of polished oak floor was the gymnastic area with its leather covered vaulting horses and hanging rings and tumbling mats. When we reached them, he spread his damp towel on a gray canvas mat and stretched out on his back, waiting for me. As I approached, he spread his legs and held out his arms to me. He looked like some beseeching pagan god in the dim light.
I knelt between his legs and, supporting myself on my arms, leaned over to kiss him. I knew what he wanted, what he always wanted. As my lips pressed against his, his arms came around me, pulling me down until the weight of my body rested on his.
"I want you in me," he whispered.
He reached out with his left hand an found the object he'd taken from his locker and subsequently dropped onto the mat as he stretched out. As he passed it to me I saw it was a jar of petroleum jelly.
We kissed for a while, slowly, our tongues dancing, playing, then I rose up on my knees and smiled down at him. His beauty continued to amaze me. No matter how often I saw him like this I could not make the two images I held of him fit into one.
On the one hand Rick was so masculine, far more boldly masculine than any other boy in our class. He carried himself like an adult, a little aggressively, fearlessly, proudly. Yet when we were together like this he was completely yielding. As I had already begun to suspect, and as I proved over the next few months, he would let me do anything I wanted to him.
I smiled down at him as I spread the slick lubricant over my pulsing cock. Then, as he smiled back at me and uttered a long, low sigh, I worked one finger into his familiar ass. I had learned how to prepare him and how to give him the greatest enjoyment as I did so. With a considerable glob of the lubricant on my fingers, I twisted and simultaneously pushed. One finger slipped easily in and I rotated it, spreading the stuff over the interior walls of his ass. He quickly relaxed and I pulled out, only to slide two fingers into him.
Rick was moaning constantly now, as he always seemed to do when I fingered him or fucked him. It was as if his body cried out for my presence in him, as if he really only felt complete when I was in him.
"Now, Rob, please," Rick moaned.
"Yeah," I whispered as I lifted his legs still higher, pressing his knees back almost to his shoulders. We'd found that position was good for both of us. Rick liked for me to fuck him while he got down on all fours, coming into him from behind. I preferred to see his face as I entered him so I could see his pleasure and also judge more easily how close he was to climax. We seemed to have compromised on this position, his legs up, his crack spread wide and his ass exposed to my view, and then, to my approach as I entered him.
I brought the head of my cock to his ass and rubbed it back and forth a little, going up and down his crack, spreading my precum over him, feeling the heat of his body. I pressed the head of my cock against the yielding bud of his ass and felt it open for me. I pressed in again and heard him sigh. The muscles which formed the ring of his sphincter were pulsing as my cockhead made contact. There was a moment of resistance and then he opened to me.
Rick's head jerked back as I pressed on in, the full length of my cock sliding into him, opening him as it had now done so many times before. His legs locked behind my buttocks and his muscular arms came up to circle my torso and hold me to him.
Now the slow rhythm of our fucking began. We had mastered it, made it part of us. It was like a well practiced football play which we'd performed again and again until it had become instinctive. There was rarely any hesitation, our bodies both knew the movements and the rhythm was quickly established,
"Oh, yes, Rob," Rick was moaning, "this is so fucking good."
As my body came down and my cock penetrated his waiting ass, Rick's body lifted to meet mine, his arms and legs holding me tightly, but not too tight. He held me close but did not restrict my movements.
"Yes, yes," he moaned.
We felt our bodies responding, as if we now knew the most subtle signs of our approaching climax. By unspoken consent, we slowed and then stopped our parries and our thrusts, letting our passions cool a little before we began again.
Three times we felt our bodies build to climax and three times we slowed, and by delaying our climax, intensified it and prolonged our ecstasy. It was as the fourth cycle began that Rick nodded and I smiled my assent.
This time there would be no stopping, no delay. We felt our passions build. The rhythm quickened. The knot in my chest built until I thought that my body would burst. Rick's eyes were wide open now, his body covered with a sheen of sweat. He seemed to glow in the dim light.
I felt my climax building but Rick got there first. He moaned again, some words I couldn't catch and had no will to learn. His body clenched, his ass locking like a vice, and I was gone. I felt one powerful jolt and knew I was flooding his bowels with my boiling seed. The climax hit me again and I almost lost control, ramming into him so cruelly that I later saw his body was really battered by my attack.
But at that moment, we were both beyond caring. Rick's cock was blasting in such a quick succession of shots that I lost count. I slipped into a daze and collapsed on his chest, pressing his seed between us, feeling our bodies mesh and meld.
"Oh, Rob," Rick whispered as we slipped into a happy daze, "I love you so."
"I love you, too," I said, realizing as the words
escaped me that we'd never uttered them before.
Well, that was interesting, I thought as I regained some degree of awareness. I wondered if Rick meant it, and if so, what he meant by it. I wondered if I meant it, too.
I cared deeply for Rick, but the thought that I might love him was new and rather startling to me. I suspected, as I thought about it, that to love another man was probably more astonishing to Rick than it was to me, yet he was the first one of us to say it.
All that took place on Thursday after football practice, and by the time the two of us got to my house, it was almost time for dinner.
"Well, I was wondering what had become of you," my mother said as I came into the kitchen. Then she saw Rick behind me and welcomed him.
"Rick and I got held up by the coach. Sorry, mom, I should have called."
"It's not a problem, honey, your dad called half an hour ago and he's running late, too. Rick, do you want to stay and eat with us? There's plenty of food if you want."
"Yeah, Mom," I jumped in, "I was going to ask if Rick could stay. If it's not a problem, he's going to call his mother and stay over with me tonight. We need to work on a project together."
"Well, it sure isn't a problem for us." Then to Rick she added, "Say hello from me to your mother, Rick," and with that she turned back into the kitchen.
Once Rick had made the call home and made sure there was no problem, we went up to my room, deposited our books and stretched out on my bed We were lying side by side with our hands locked behind our heads when my dad knocked and then entered a few minutes later.
"Hi, guys," he said in his usual hardy voice. "Well, you too look comfy. Sorry to disturb your rest, but dinner is ready."
"Thanks, Dad," I said, as I sat up and rolled off my side of the bed.
"Evening, Mr. Ballinger," Rick added as he also stood up.
"Evening, Rick, all ready for the game on Saturday?"
"I think so, sir. Coach kept us late this afternoon to run through a couple of new plays."
"Well, good, I hope you have some surprises for Greenwood."
"Yes, sir," Rick responded as the three of us started down to dinner, "I think we may."
That evening, after dinner, I called Ted and arranged for Rick and me to see him Friday afternoon about four o'clock.
That night Rick and I lay in bed in each other's arms, too tired for sex, but glad to be close. I wanted to ask him what he'd meant by saying he loved me, but figured I should wait. I still thought it had been a statement made in the throes of our passion and not one he'd feel comfortable repeating under less ardent circumstances.
I woke the next morning to the wonderful sensation of Rick's warm, wet mouth on my cock. I quickly turned so I could reciprocate and we began our day with a math lesson: finding the square of nine, minus twelve.
Because of the game on Saturday, we had no practice on Friday afternoon, only the usual short meeting with the coach. It was really little more then a pep talk and we all knew it by heart. He ended it, as usual, with his admonitions about getting to bed early that evening and not doing any thing to sap our energy. There was the usual wiseass analysis from the guys about precisely what he meant about sapping our energy, and then we were on our way.
Rick was clearly nervous as we walked from school to the church. Ted's office was in the back wing of the building, an area of Sunday School classrooms and the library, well removed from the other offices, and accessible through a rear door. We saw no one else as we entered and I doubt if anyone else saw us.
Ted seemed nervous, too, which surprised me, but the three of us settled down to talk, and soon we'd all relaxed.
I realized that Rick's nervousness was because of his fear of Ted knowing the truth about us, and assumed Ted was concerned about what I may have said to Rick about him. I had told Ted I would not say anything to anyone, and had kept that promise. Within moments of our arrival, Rick said, "I guess you've probably guessed that I'm the guy Rob's been talking with you about."
"I sort of assumed that," Ted had said.
"I don't know much about what this church teaches about our situation, but my own church would kick me out, no questions asked, if anyone there knew," Rick had said.
"I understand," Ted had responded. He was silent for a while, obviously thinking about how to continue and how much he wanted to say about himself. Eventually he broke the silence by asking, "am I right in assuming that there are reasons why you stay there, and would not want to be, as you say, kicked out?"
"Yes, sir, there sure are. That's where my whole family goes, but also, I'm engaged to a girl who goes there, her and her whole family. My life would more or less fall apart if anyone there knew."
Again, Ted waited a moment to respond. When he did, he turned to me. "Rob, I gather you haven't said anything to Rick about my personal issues concerning all of this."
"No, Ted, I haven't said anything to anyone. We agreed anything we talked about was completely confidential and I assured you I'd not talk about it to anyone."
"Okay then. First of all, Rick, the `sir' has to go. Rob and I figured out the other day that I'm just a four or five years older than the two of you, so just think of me as a slightly older friend, okay?"
"Sure, Ted, if that's the way you want it," Rick said. I could tell he was beginning to relax a little and from that point on I just sat back and let Ted and Rick talk. I wanted Rick to sort of catch up to where Ted and I had gotten in our earlier conversations and there was no need for me to say much.
"The next point is the one I was just talking with Rob about. I want you to understand that anything you tell me is completely confidential. I won't share it with anyone, okay?" Ted continued.
"Yeah, great. Rob said you could be trusted."
"Well, it goes both ways. For us to talk as openly as we need to, I want to be completely open with you as well and in order for me to feel okay with that, I need your assurance that anything I say will be held in confidence as well."
"Sure, I understand," Rick said.
"Okay," Ted went on, "now that we are clear on that, I think it would help open up our discussion if you understand that I'm in more or less the same boat as you guys."
"You mean you're gay?" Rick asked, a note of disbelief in his voice.
"Would you say that you're gay, Rick?" Ted asked, turning the question back on him.
"I don't know. I sure like what Rob and I have been doing together, but I still love Deb and expect to marry her."
"So you are sort of unclear about your sexual orientation."
"Well, I guess that's how I'd describe myself, too."
"Do you have a girl friend?"
"Not at the moment," Ted said with a slight grin.
"Do you have a boyfriend?"
"Same answer, Rick. Not at the moment, but I have had both and I sort of think I dropped the ball with the guy. In fact, after our last conversation, Rob, I wrote Trent a long letter and hope he'll agree to meet me in a couple of weeks."
"Wow," Rick said.
"So," Ted continued, "I don't claim to know the answers, but I sure know the questions."
"Well, that's different from the folks at my church." Rick said with a grim smile, "They claim to know all the answers and they don't even want to hear the questions."
"I know. But you have to understand where they are coming from, Rick."
"Are you defending that attitude?"
"I don't know but there is as certain comfort which it provides."
"Sure, if you can buy into it."
"You have to realize a lot of people do, even in this church."
"Do you think that's because they just never had to deal with the issues?"
"Maybe, but if they don't deal with these questions, they are probably dealing with some others which for them are equally troubling."
"So you're saying everybody has situations where reality doesn't agree with the moral standards they've been taught."
"Yes, that's more or less what I am beginning to think, Rick, but I'd take it further. First of all, what we are taught as a moral standard can just sit there and never be challenged, so long as we never have to deal with that specific issue."
"Can you give me an example?"
"Sure. What have you been taught about stealing?"
"`Thou shalt not steal,' as simple as that."
"Have you ever been tempted to steal?"
"No, not really. Well, maybe a candy bar from a shop when I was a kid."
"And you'd say that even for a kid to steal a candy bar would be wrong?"
"Yeah, definitely. Besides, if a kid got away with it, he might try it again and if he kept getting away with it, he could get sort of bent in that direction."
"So you're saying that doing something you've been taught is wrong can lead to doing even greater wrongs if you get by with the small offences."
"Yeah, I guess."
"But let me suggest a different situation. Let's say you are a person who has never stolen anything and agrees completely with the standard you've been taught, the `Thou shalt not steal' standard."
"Then let's say that one day you are faced with a situation where the only way you could save a life, the life of another person, say a starving child, would be to steal food to feed him. You'd be placed in a situation where you were faced with violating an accepted standard in order to accomplish a greater good."
"But how does that relate to the situation Rob and I are in? I mean, does sucking ..."
Rick stopped mid-sentence, looking rather embarrassed.
"Relax, Rick," Ted said with a chuckle. "We're friends, right? I've heard all the words you're likely to use and probably a few more. That is one advantage of a university education."
"Okay," Rick said, and I realized he was blushing. "So how does that relate to Rob and me sucking dick?"
"Well, would you think the person who stole food to save a starving child had done something wrong?"
"No, I wouldn't."
"So you would agree that the standards we are taught can be bent under certain circumstances?"
"I know where you're headed, Ted, and my church has an answer for it."
"Situational Ethics, right?"
"Yeah. They are always warning us about liberal churches which teach that way."
"I know, it's one of the bugaboos of the fundamentalists. But you have to realize that the Bible condones that concept, in both the Old and New Testament."
"Now let me warn you, Ted, my church may be a little out of the mainstream, but one thing they do is teach us scripture. I've had to memorize verses since I was able to talk. I've been taught that when someone makes a claim like that, like your claim about scripture supporting vague morality, I should just say, `show me.'"
"Okay, do you remember the injunctions against a Jewish man marrying a non-Jewish woman?"
"Yes, I do remember that. I couldn't tell you where it says it, but I've sure heard sermons preached on that passage. The sermons were usually defending my church's stand against our members marrying someone who isn't a member and doesn't believe as we do."
"It's more or less spelled out in Numbers 25, but the same admonition is also repeated or referred to in several other passages. The injunction was against marriage of a Jew to any non-Jew, but it especially forbids marriage of a Jew man to a Moabite woman. The penalty for violating that law was death by stoning." Ted said.
"They didn't mess around in Old Testament days, did they?"
"Well, no, but do you remember the story of Ruth?"
"Sure, we were given a lot of memory verses from that book."
"Do you remember who she married?"
"Yes, she married Boaz."
"Boaz was her second husband. She first married Kilion but he died and she later married Boaz."
"Yes, I remember."
"Okay, for the ten point bonus, what nationality was Ruth?"
"Was she a Jew and she married a couple of non-Jewish men?"
"No, the other way around. Ruth was a Moabite woman but both of the men she married were Jews. They broke the law by marrying her and yet she is listed as one of the ancestors of Jesus."
"No kidding? And they didn't stone her or Kilion or Boaz?"
"No, in fact the Book of Ruth is usually understood to be one of the great love stories of the Old Testament."
"So are you saying this is an example of the Bible teaching what you called Situational Ethics?"
"I don't know but it might be seen that way. What do you think?"
"I guess it could be understood like that. Did you say there are also examples in the New Testament?"
"Yes, several and again, one of the most famous is the story of the woman being taken in adultery and brought to Jesus for his judgment."
"I remember, he said `let him who is sinless cast the first stone.'"
"That's exactly right, Rick. And the Old Testament penalty for adultery was also death by stoning."
"Isn't that passage usually seen as an example of Jesus practicing his New Commandment?"
"Well, I guess you could say that. He seemed to be saying that love was more important than the law."
"You better not tell the pastors at my church that."
"Or they might stone me?" Ted laughed.
"Well, they sure wouldn't want you marrying any of our women."
"Thanks, Rick," Ted grinned, "I will consider myself warned." He paused and looked at Rick, then turned to include me in his glance. "You need to remember that after the woman's accusers left, Jesus told her to `go and sin no more.'"
"So are you saying that he did consider her guilty of a sin?"
"That's how the passage is usually interpreted. But she didn't even ask to be forgiven and yet Jesus offered forgiveness. He seems to be saying that the Law of Love is greater and more important than the old Levitical law."
At that point I got back into the conversation because I realized how late it was getting. "You guys realize this conversation could go on all night."
"Yeah, and I guess I have enough to think about already," Rick said.
"Well, I hope we can continue it."
"I hope so, too," Rick said as he stood up and pulled on his football letter jacket."
"You guys be careful." Ted said as I followed Rick's example. "I'm here whenever you want to talk." Then with no awkwardness or embarrassment, Ted gave Rick a warm hug and added, "I hope I was a help."
To my amazement, Rick hugged him back.
To be continued.