By John Yager
This is the fifteenth 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 series I have attempted and many readers have told me it is the most serious and most issue-oriented story 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 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 dialogue.
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.
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The next week following the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination was like no other time I had known. Spring River remained peaceful but unnaturally quiet.
Larger cities around us and across the United States were racked with violence as the black population demonstrated its anger and frustration and sorrow.
Our church, Trinity, quickly organized a memorial service which was held on Thursday evening. Several other congregations joined us, including two black congregations. There were three short addresses, none lasting more then ten minutes. The final one was given by one of the local black pastors who spent a lot of time thanking the white community in Spring River for our sympathy and prayers. It was a moving service. Rick and Deb were there, along with Joyce and me and our parents. We all sat together and afterward we all went on to the Lynn's house for coffee and more talk.
Rick and Deb were especially upset because their own church had done nothing to express concern over the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination. They said there hadn't even been any mention of it at their midweek service the night before. For Deb it was very odd and she wanted to talk with their pastor about it. For Rick it was an outrage.
A few days later Deb and Rick had an opportunity to talk to their pastor, who'd asked them to come by to talk with him. Rick suspected the appointment was made so they could talk about plans for their wedding, or at least about some pre-marital counseling. He was right of course, their pastor was expecting that Deb and Rick would be getting married soon after they graduated from high school and he wanted to start meeting with them on a weekly basis to prepare them for marriage and their life together as a young Christian couple.
Deb and Rick suffered through the conversation about Christian marriage and then used the opportunity to ask about their pastor's views of the King assassination. They came away even more frustrated and confused.
Their pastor had dismissed King's death and the entire racial struggle in America as "a Negro issue and nothing we should get involved with." When the asked him about the service at Trinity and why he had not taken part, the pastor said the whole thing was just a liberal plot to gain sympathy for the Negro cause. "There is no reason for those folks to be continually causing trouble," he went on. "They have it good now but they'll never be satisfied."
"Don't you think social change is inevitable?" Debbie had asked, "and don't you think the church should play a role in assisting good causes?"
"No, my dear," the pastor had immediately replied. "That's not what the church should be doing."
"What should it do?" Rick had asked.
"Well, son, the church, the true church, should be out seeking the lost, teaching them to believe correctly, to believe the way we believe. Then, if they accept the message, we should bring into our church, to discipline them and disciple them in our way of life, the one truly Christian way of life."
Needless to say, neither Deb or Rick found the meeting encouraging.
Over the next few weeks, in subtle ways at first, and then in an avalanche of new insights, Deb and Rick made some very significant decisions, decisions which would influence their relationships with their parents and families to a very great degree. They were facing issues which would change the course of their lives and I knew there was very little I could do to help them through the process. I cared deeply for Rick. Apart from Joyce, Deb was my closest female friend. The problem was that neither Joyce or I could really comprehend the depths of Rick and Deb's conflicted feelings toward their families and their church.
Both Joyce and I felt that dealing with the questions facing them was drawing Rick and Deb together in a deeper way and I must admit I was jealous. I longed to be with Rick, alone with him, to express my feelings for him in physical ways. I also knew I had to keep my distance.
During the third week of April both Rick and I got letters offering us athletic scholarships, he at Mississippi State and me at Ole Miss. I had already been offered an academic scholarship at Ole Miss, based on my grades and standard test scores, so my expenses at Oxford would be very minimal. So for Joyce and me, the college decisions were more or less made. I would be at Ole Miss in the fall and Joyce would be entering Trinity in Hartford, Connecticut, which had been her plan all along.
Being with Rick, even the little I saw of him in a couple of classes and in the gym, was increasingly difficult. I knew from the way he looked at me, saying nothing verbally, but saying volumes with his eyes, that he also longed to be alone with me. All I could do was wait.
It was clear that Rick and Deb were facing important decisions but neither Joyce nor I felt we should ask or say much. We could only make ourselves available to them and see how they worked things out. When Rick and I were together he was unusually quiet. He didn't seem especially unhappy, just quiet.
Finally, at the end of April, Rick suggested he and I spend the weekend at his uncle's cabin again. It promised to be warm, even though there was a good chance of rain. I happily agreed, feeling that each time he and I were alone together might well be the last. I wanted to spend as much time with him as possible.
"Deb and I have an appointment with Ted at your church on Friday after school. As soon as I take her home, I'll come to get you. We can be out at the cabin before dark."
"You have an appointment with Ted?" I asked. "You and Deb have an appointment?"
"Yeah, I'll tell you about it Friday."
I was bursting with curiosity but decided to wait. I somehow felt as if Rick was already under as much pressure as he needed right then.
Friday after school I went for a long run alone, killing time and trying to burn off excess energy before six-thirty, when Rick had said he'd pick me up. In the locker room, after running five slow, easy miles, I stripped and stood under the warm shower for at least half an hour. Coach Roberts came by and looked in.
"On your own this afternoon, Rob?"
"Yeah, Coach, just me."
"So where's your sidekick?"
"Rick Carlson? He and Debbie Peters had an appointment over at Trinity?"
"Hum, that sounds serious. They getting married soon?"
"I don't know. I guess they're both planning on being up at MSU in the fall."
"I knew Rick got a football scholarship. There are a lot of kids who get married before heading off to college."
"Yeah, I guess so."
"Well, it sure solves the problem of finding a roommate."
"Yeah, Coach," I said as he turned to go, "very true."
I heard the locker room door bank shut and returned to my shower. I hadn't had any sex for two weeks and I was horny as a year old pup. Remembering that I'd be spending the next two nights with Rick, I got control of myself, rinsed off and went home. It was still not five o'clock and I had literally nothing to do.
I'd packed a few things in a duffle bag that morning and I had no homework. Assignments had fallen off to practically zero. Honors seniors were required to do a long essay but I'd finished mine the week before and turned it in: "Exploration and Colonization and the Love of the Exotic in Nineteenth Century British Poetry." I groaned when Mr. Webb gave me the topic but it actually turned out to be quite interesting and I had to admit I learned a lot.
I pulled a book off my shelf without even looking at the title and stretched out on the bed to read until Rick came. The book I'd chosen with so little attention was The Good Companions by J.B. Priestly. I couldn't even remember having seen it before. It must have been one of the old books I'd found in a box in the attic and asked my folks if I could take. My mother thought they'd been from her father's house, among the things she'd kept when she cleaned out the old place after his death.
I was immediately caught up in the story of Jess Oakroyd and his odd circle of friends. When I heard Rick knocking on the door I was surprised the time had gone by so quickly. It was nearly seven, an hour later than Rick had thought he'd be by for me. I put the book on my bedside table, looking forward to reading more of the odd story after my weekend with Rick.
Rick and I stopped on our way out of town to pick up groceries for the next two days and, once armed with cokes and chips, hit the road for the short drive out to his uncle's cabin. It was warm for late April but the sky was ominous. To the west across the river there were dark clouds and frequent streaks of lightning.
"I think we are going to be inside this trip," I ventured, not knowing how to break Rick's silence.
"That's fine with me," he said but failed to say more. I waited, figuring he would tell me what was going on when he was ready.
We reached the cabin and got our stuff inside just as big drops of rain began to fall. Before we'd gotten the door and windows open to the screened in porch it was pouring. We left the kitchen door open anyway. The rain was coming from the west, slanting in huge sheets off the river. The kitchen door was on the east side of the cabin and protected by a small extension of the steeply sloping roof. The little rain that blew in only dampened the linoleum floor and would be easy to mop up later. The wind tore through the cabin, airing it out in a few minutes. Lightning struck an already dead tree below us on the water's edge. The thunder was instantaneous. The cabin was suddenly alive with the smell of electricity and charred wood. We stood in the door to the porch, our arms around each other, watching as the storm moved toward us and then passed off to the east, moving toward Indianola. The temperature had dropped about twenty degrees and the air was suddenly cool.
"I guess we'll cook those steaks inside tonight," I said.
"To hell with the steaks. Let's just get in bed."
"Okay," I responded, pulling Rick a little closer. His right side was pressed against my left and I could feel his warmth. He turned away from me and began to undress.
"Do you want to pull out the sofa bed?" I asked.
"Yeah, it may get cool enough we want to light a fire. It would be nice to lie here together and watch it."
Rick was already stripped to his jockey shorts. I was still fully dressed, transfixed, watching his magnificent body move and bend as we went about the business of unfolding the bed. It was already made up with fresh sheets and a light blanket. If we needed more covers we knew they were in the wall cabinet.
When the bed was ready, Rick pulled off his shorts and slid gracefully under the covers, lying back with his muscular chest and shoulders bare, the rest of his body covered.
"I'd figured on a swim."
"Maybe tomorrow," I said as I pulled my polo shirt off over my head.
"Yeah, but you smell like you just stepped out of the shower. I stink like a sow in heat."
"I went for a run after school and showered there before going on home."
"Well, sorry I'm not properly sanitized."
"I don't mind, Rick," I said, pulling off the last of my clothes and joining him naked under the sheet. "In fact, you smell sort of hot." He was lying on his back with his hands locked behind his head. "Sexual."
"Yeah." I leaned over and nuzzled his chest with my lips, letting my wet tongue dally over his dark, hard nipples.
He moaned. "If you keep that up long I won't be able to stop till I've come."
"That's the idea."
"No, Rob, wait. Can you just hold me a few minutes. Before we do anything I need to talk."
"Okay," I said, backing off. "This sounds serious." I slid my right arm under his torso and moved over to press my body against his.
"I figured you'd guessed."
"I'd guess you and Deb were getting married. I didn't understand why you were taking her to meet Ted."
"We're getting married on June 8th, but at your church, not ours."
I backed off a little to look at him. He was still staring up into the open rafters and his expression gave nothing away.
"I guess I always figured you guys would do it, but why at Trinity?"
"We're leaving our church, Rob. We've not told our folks yet but we intend to tell them a week from Sunday. We are going to start going to Trinity then and Dr. Walker has agreed to perform the service for us."
I lay back and let my gaze follow his, up into the gray reaches of the sloping underside of the high roof.
"There's more, Rob."
"Maybe you'd better give me a few minutes to digest what you've told me so far."
"Okay," he said. Tell me when you're ready." He rolled onto his side and put his arm over my chest.
We lay in silence for a few minutes as I ran my fingers through Rick's soft hair. Finally I broke the silence with the question I was least curious about. "Walker?"
"Yeah. We wanted Ted to do it but he said he can't. He's not official yet."
"He took us in to see Dr. Walker and explained what was going on. That's why it took longer than I expected."
"So Walker will marry you, just like that."
"Well, no, not just like that. We have to go through some classes and have several appointments with the two of them."
Rick rolled over a little more so his right cheek was pressed against my right nipple. I continued to stroke his hair.
"He actually put Ted in charge. He'll be meeting with us once a week and I guess he'll have a big part in the service, even thought he can't execute the actual marriage vows." He kissed my chest. "Execute - is that the right word?"
"I guess so. I don't know. When did you decide?"
"About two weeks ago."
"You couldn't tell me till now?"
"We knew we were going to go ahead and get married. We were still working through the church thing."
"King, right. It was over the King assassination and what your pastor said."
"Yeah. Well, sort of. I mean that was just the final straw. I think Deb and I both knew we had to make a break. We just didn't know when and how."
"I told Deb about us."
I sat up in bed so suddenly Rick sort of catapulted off my chest.
"I told Deb, Rob. I figured if she was going to marry me she had to know."
I looked down at him in disbelief. "Didn't I get any say in this?"
"I know I should have asked you first but it all went too fast. I didn't mean to tell her it was you. I just started out to tell her that I was in love with somebody else but still wanted to marry her."
"I bet that went over like a lead balloon."
He actually smiled. "Once I said it was a guy, not another girl, she was actually okay with it. Well, not okay, but better. She guessed it was you."
"Of course she guessed it was me, you dope. Who'd you think she'd suspect, Ricky Nelson or Michael Landon?"
"Cute guys, but too old for me."
"Yeah, right! I've seen you glued to the TV watching Bonanza."
"Well, it is a great show."
"Yeah, and you're just trying to get me off the real issue here."
"Well, anyway, Rob, I didn't exactly tell her it was you."
"Yeah, but you get my point. Who else could she have thought you were talking about."
"So, don't you see, Rob, she already knew. I mean at some level she'd figured us out."
"Sure, Rick, she knew we were best friends, but that doesn't mean she'd figured we were fucking."
"I'm not sure she's figured that out yet."
"You've got to be kidding."
"No, I didn't say and she didn't ask what we did together. I just admitted that I love you."
"Rick, get with it! She's bound to know what guys do together."
"Maybe she thinks we kiss a lot."
"You really do have to be kidding."
"Not really, Rob. Remember how we've been raised. I doubt if she's ever imagined two guys doing what we do. She probably thinks we're sort of like David and Jonathan. You know, our souls are bound together as one."
"Our souls are bound together as one, Rick." The conversation had taken on a different tone and I couldn't help myself. I leaned over and kissed him gently on the lips.
When we broke apart he looked away. "I don't want this to end."
"I guess we'll be going off in different directions in a couple of months anyway."
"But don't you think we'd better stop this now? Now that you are really going to marry Deb?"
"I keep thinking on one level that we should stop, that we have to stop. But I don't want to ever be without you."
"I know, Rick. I feel the same way, but face facts. In less than two months you'll be a married man."
"And still in love with you." He rolled over and lifted himself from the now crumpled bed. "We'll have to settle that question later. At least we have this weekend together."
"So what now?"
"Well, first I want to ask you if you'll be my best man?"
"Of course. I am your best man."
"Then let's fuck."
I took his hand and drew him down to me. He stretched out beside me and our bodies meshed, curling together with the ease of much practice. We knew from experience how everything fit. We rolled together as we kissed. Our tongues danced and our mouths joined in one constant moan.
Conflicted? Yes, very. I felt such love for him and can't deny there was also as full quota of lust. We were both starved and ready. It had been too long. I shoved images of Debbie to the back of my brain and concentrated on Rick. He was real, there with me, warm and inviting and needing me as much as I needed him. No absent girl could compete with that. Debbie, even Joyce, faded into wisps and vanished. The guilt I somehow felt I should feel fled and I was engulfed in the love I held.
We rolled again, this time with Rick on me. The last time we'd been together like this he'd fucked me. It had been the first time we'd done that. Rick had always wanted me to lead, to be the captain of our little team, the leader in the assault. But last time he'd taken the lead, let me feel his manhood entering me, let me feel what he'd felt all along. I wondered if he'd liked being the invader, if he again wanted to fuck, rather than be fucked.
If Rick wanted to impale me with his beautiful cock I would spread my legs and lift my ass and open my body to him. But as we kissed, his mouth agape, expelling his sweet breath into my lungs, I realized he had other plans. He pressed my legs together with his and startled me with his urgency. He reached behind himself with one hand and grasped my cock. He rose up a little and then settled down slowly as he held me and aimed my hard, pulsing spear at his target.
I felt the head of my cock touch the rosebud of his ass. We moaned in unison and he abandoned my mouth to rise up into a vertical position, kneeling with his muscular legs on either side of my chest. He wiggled back a little and then began to lower himself again. This time when contact was made the angle of approach was right.
"Yes," he moaned as my cock slipped knowingly into his pulsing ass. "Yes."
I was already wet and his ass was so willing that no lubricants other than our own were necessary. I slipped easily into him. His body was always so hot. "Yes," he moaned again, "fucking yes."
Over the months we'd been making love I'd learned many things about Rick and even more about myself. I'd also learned some important things about the entire amazing realm of sex. Many of those lessons had only begun to reach my conscious mind. That night, for example, I realized for the first time the joys of a sustained relationship with one person.
When Rick and I had first made love it was amazing and exciting. Every time we were together it was a new adventure. But now, after being together many times and learning the intimate facts of each other, the little likes and dislikes, the nuances of position and rhythm, the way his body responded to the slightest change in the angle of our approach, I began to see how amazing, how wonderful it was to know another person in that way. I had learned Rick and Rick had learned me. We were known territory to each other. It was as if our love making had become a well worn path through an enchanted forest. We knew every turn, every hill and valley.
We knew when we crested a particular ridge the glory of some amazing view would confront us. I reveled in Rick's body. It was a marvel to me. He had taken eighteen years to become the person he was and I had known him all those years. I had seen him emerge like a butterfly, becoming the graceful man whom I'd known when still an awkward child.
I knew the discipline every toned muscle had taken. I knew the little cords of muscle which extended up from Rick's wrist to his elbows were the result of a particular passing technique he'd mastered. His aim had been to propel a football just that little bit further down the field, but I had seen those muscles form. I had watched them grow and harden over weeks of training. Now, for me, they were features on the map of our love.
Could it be that after learning Rick so well I was going to lose him?
"Yes, Rob, yes," Rick crooned and I knew we were both nearing the end.
"I know, buddy," I whispered. It took all the energy I had to continue driving my body up into his. I had none to spare for speech.
He erupted, his white lava jolting forth onto my chest. Like his body, it was hot. I reveled in it, knowing it was a part of him.
My body tensed and I felt the first wave of my seed blast deep into him.
We poured out or joy, our bodies joined and fused.
He collapsed onto me, his sculpted torso fastened to mine with the amazing strength of his seed. We lay together, our bodies rising and falling as that strange stuff which formed us all dried into an almost unbreakable bond, fusing his chest to mine.
Much later that night we returned to bed. We had finally gotten up and ventured into the cold river between frequent storms, washing ourselves, not brave enough to swim. The fronts moved through, punctuating the night with their own rhythm. Oddly, the repeated spring storms seemed to somehow reflect our own moods as we finally cooked our steaks and potatoes on the little gas range and ate by the fireplace in the glow of the well banked coals.
Through all that evening we'd talked in fits and starts. There were no new issues. We'd exhausted them all yet we couldn't leave them alone. Rick's marriage and his future with Deb, our sexuality and what lay in store for both of us, all that was gone over again and again.
"I know we'll be going different ways, Rob," Rick had said more than once. "The truth is, buddy, we really don't have much chance of making it together beyond what we've already had."
"Because you're way too smart for me. You are going to go places, Rob. No matter what I do I'll end up back here or in someplace a lot like here." He paused, looking out across the river at yet another approaching bank of gray clouds. "The other thing, I guess I might just as well admit, is that I really do want to marry Deb."
"That's the only good reason you've given me. If you want that, I can't stand in your way."
"I do love her, Rob."
"And I want a family. Maybe not as fast as our folks want it, but in five or six years when we're both through school and I have some sort of a decent job."
"Shouldn't you consider waiting four or five years to get married then?"
"Maybe, but I'll be going off to MSU and if I don't marry Deb and take her along I'm going be entirely on my own, Rob. I don't know if I could handle it, being alone, I mean."
I gave him a loving pat and said, "I know what you mean, you oaf, but don't you realize I'll be alone, too?"
We finished our meal and stacked the dishes in the sink. The bed was beyond repair but we straightened the sheets as well as possible and covered then with two blankets. The night promised to be cool.
Naked, curled together like warm pups, we nuzzled and kissed, stroking each other, seeking comfort more than any sexual end.
I don't know when we fell asleep but I woke to the soft rhythm of Rick's breath and the amazing warmth of his body against mine. The morning light was slanting in through the kitchen window, a single beam which illuminated and warmed the bed, falling across our bodies. The top sheet and the blankets had been kicked off the foot of the bed and we were both fully exposed to the rafters and the peering sun.
I left the bed long enough to use the toilet and returned to find Rick splayed out like Leonardo's drawing of a man in a circle. I stood for a moment just marveling at his beauty. Then, very slowly, very quietly, I arranged myself in the bed so I could kiss and caress his quickening cock.
Very soon he was responding with moans and sighs as I sucked more and more of his hard length into my throat. He rose up on his elbows and looked groggily down at me. I'd intentionally stretched out head to foot so my own body was equally accessible to him. He rolled slightly onto his side and began to draw my shaft into his own hot mouth. We groaned and practiced our French as we slowly, lovingly brought each other to a joyous climax.
Rick's blasted down my throat only seconds before my own cock erupted in his. We groaned. We swallowed and licked. We slowly abandoned cocks for lips and continued to kiss until the last atom of our shared seed had disappeared.
Drawing back, Rick smiled and said, "Good morning. I'm going to miss that."
"Yes," I said, wishing he hadn't reminded me.
To be continued