Absolute Convergence
Chapter Thirty-three
By John Yager

This is the thirty-third chapter of an ongoing series. The tale goes on! Thanks again for all your comments on this series.

I'm continually surprised and pleased by your reactions to this story. I read all of them and I try to respond promptly to each message. If there is a delay in my response it's usually because I'm traveling or just overwhelmed with work.

Absolute Convergence has raised a lot more questions than it's answering and I certainly don't claim to know the answers. It's my hope that by raising questions I may prompt more consideration of issues facing gay people in the USA and throughout the world.

Andrew has continued to give much needed proofing and editorial help, for which I am sincerely grateful. I could not post chapters as quickly as I've been doing without his invaluable assistance.

This is a work of fiction and in no way draws on the lives of any specific person or persons. Except for the references to actual historical events, any similarity to actual persons or occurrences is entirely coincidental. This is obviously a work of gay erotic fiction. If you shouldn't be reading such material, or if such material isn't 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.

All the stories I've posted on NIFTY can be found by looking under my name in the NIFTY Prolific Authors lists. If you'd like to receive e-mail notification of subsequent postings, please let me know by sending your request to the e-mail address below.


"How in hell can you say that?" my brother blustered in response to a comment I'd made about the plight of black students at Ole Miss.

We'd had dinner together and were back at his apartment, continuing our conversation.

Wednesday evenings with Ted had become a pattern which I both enjoyed and dreaded. My brother could be real pain in the ass.

"You say they have an agenda, Ted. Don't you think white conservatives have an agenda as well?"

"All white conservatives want to do is preserve social norms that have worked very well for the last hundred years."

"Man, listen to yourself," I said. It was often hard not to get really angry with Ted, "that is your agenda. Can't you understand? The conservative agenda is to preserve the status quo. And how can you say your so-called `social norms' have worked well? They may work well for the white community but that sure doesn't mean they work well for everyone."

"But you know, Rob, that if they get more complete integration of university programs, especially university housing, that they'll be back pushing for something else next year."

"Sure, Ted, I know that. But they've been forced into submission to injustice for so long that it's only natural that they'd have an entire list of grievances. They are smart enough to know they won't get everything they want all at once so why not push for one thing at a time?"

Ted and I often had heated discussions about racial issues. I felt strongly about the questions which were being worked through at Ole Miss in the late 1960s . I also knew that in the back of my mind there was another entire category of issues which I dared not raise with Ted.

I could not let our conversations drift into the area of sexual divergence without opening a door I dreaded to open. In my mind racial issues and the issue of social and legal acceptance of sexual orientation were inevitably linked. I optimistically felt that once racial equality was achieved, our society would move on to deal with sexual equality.

We'd already seen the beginning of a vocal feminist movement and the rights of others would surely be addressed as our whole society became more open. I realize, looking back, that I was the victim of my own youthful optimism and idealism. No social issue, racial or sexual, was ever addressed by society as a whole until the issue was pressed forward by a small, vocal minority.

Despite my desire to talk about these issues with Ted, I also feared doing so. I knew he would be as biased about sexual issues as he was about racial issues and I just didn't want to deal with his narrow- mindedness.

On racial issues Ted and I could agree to disagree. I knew that progress would be made, even if it was a slow process. I also felt that sexual issues would someday be openly discussed, but the time wasn't right. Those issues struck too close to home. So far as I could tell, Ted had no suspicion about my own sexuality and I was a long way from being ready to open that door.

"So when are you leaving for spring break?" Ted said. Changing the subject was his way of declaring a truce.

"My last class is on Thursday afternoon so I'm going to try to get home as soon as I can after that." Spring break was just over a week away.

"Hey, why don't you ride home with me? I'm leaving for home late Thursday."

"Really, what about Betty?" I knew Ted's small sports car could only hold two people and it never occurred to me to ask him for a ride.

"She can't get away before Friday, maybe not until Saturday morning, so she's going to ride down with a sorority sister who lives in Jackson."

"Man, that would be great," I said, thinking ahead to my week in Gulfport.
"Aren't you going south with a bunch of guys?"

"Yeah, but we aren't leaving until Saturday afternoon."

As things had worked out, Steve was staying on in Oxford until Friday and then going home to Jackson with some other friends. Daniel had arranged to have use of one of his parents' cars. He was going to Memphis the following Thursday, then driving down to pick me up in Spring River on Saturday. Daniel and I would then go on to Jackson, pick up Steve and the three of us head for Gulfport together. Sammy was coming on his own and expected to get to Gulfport by late afternoon on Saturday as well. The four of us had rented a two bedroom cottage for the week. It was on the east side of town, near, but not right on the beach.

"That sounds like fun," Ted said, looking a little wistful. "I always wished I could go off with some of my frat brothers over spring break but Betty always nixed it. The old `Beaches, Babes and Beer' thing isn't exactly her idea of how her future husband should behave."

"Well," I laughed, my thoughts going back to the sexual issues which had been going through my brain, "we're a bunch of jocks, remember. All of us are in training." That wasn't quite true, but it left the right impression with my very straight brother.

"Yeah, I guess you can't really do the beer part." He grinned knowingly. "You never did tell me who you were fucking, little brother."

"No, and I'm not going to." It had become a private joke between us since the conversations we'd had over the Christmas holidays.

"Well, you can probably have any babe you want," he grinned again. Then as he looked down at his own flabby body, the grin disappeared.

I left soon, pleased that my trip home was arranged and even looking forward to spending time with Ted on the drive from Oxford to Spring River. He could be a real pain in the ass but he was my brother.

"The weather couldn't be better," I said, looking over at Daniel.

"Yeah, I think we lucked out," he replied, giving me a quick sideways glance and one of his infectious grins. Not only was it a beautiful day, but the entire next week or ten days were predicted to be great: warm and sunny. We couldn't have asked for better weather for spring break. Gulfport would be busting with college kids.

It was about ten o'clock on Saturday morning and we were driving south on Highway 61, heading for Jackson, where we'd pick up Steve.

Daniel drove the big Lincoln in silence for a while and I gazed out to the west over field after field of newly planted cotton. The first pale green burst of color hovered over the dark delta soil like a fleeting mist.
"I've really been looking forward to this," Daniel eventually said, breaking the silence.

"Spring break, Gulfport?" I asked, assuming that was what he meant.

"Yeah, but mostly just being with you guys."

"Yeah, me too." I didn't know exactly where he was heading but figured I'd let him steer the conversation in whatever direction he wanted it to go. Somehow I felt the comments he'd made were just the beginning.

We were both silent again and another four or five miles slipped by. A flock of ducks took off from some marshland as we went by, circled and headed south. I wondered where they'd spent the winter.

"You and Steve consider yourselves a couple, I guess," Daniel said.

"Yes, I guess. I mean he'd been my boyfriend for about six months now."

"But you're both okay with letting other people into your relationship." He paused but when I didn't respond he went on. "I mean you were both okay with me getting it on with you in Memphis."

"That was the first and only time that had happened, Daniel."

"You never had a threesome with anybody else?" he asked, giving me another sideways glance.

This time instead of a grin, his face showed an inquisitive look.

"Just you, just that one time."


We were both silent again but this time it was me who broke the silence. "We'd talked about it several times." I waited, thinking over the accuracy of that statement and then said, "actually, Steve's talked about it quite a few times."

"It was Steve who brought up the idea?"

"Yeah, I guess." I waited, considering what I was about to say, and then just charged on. "Can I tell you something in confidence, Daniel?"

"Sure, Rob. I never gossip and I never share secrets."

I felt like he was speaking the truth. He and the others in Bardwell's seminar had never, so far as I knew, shared any of the personal things we'd discussed in our meetings with anyone beyond the group. I felt as if I could trust him.

"You told us you'd been with some other guys, right?"

"Yeah, several," Daniel answered with no hesitation. "But nothing too serious. I've never had an exclusive relationship with a boyfriend or a girlfriend. Most of them were just friends, guys and a few girls I knew in high school."

"But you'd had sex with a few guys as well as a few girls."


"I want to tell you a little about myself, okay?"

"Sure, Rob. Tell me anything you want and it will just be between us, just between you and me."

"Okay." I paused again, trying to figure out how to start. "Last year, my senior year at Spring River High, I had a girl friend. We were real close but we never had sex, at least not until this last Christmas."

"Is she still in Spring River?"

"No, she's a freshman at Trinity in Hartford, Connecticut." I waited again, trying to get comfortable with the idea of sharing so much personal stuff with Daniel. "I also had a boy friend."

"Both at the same time?"

"Yeah. It sounds really weird saying it. Joyce and I, she was my girlfriend, were close friends with Rick and his girlfriend, Deb."

"This is sounding a little complicated."

"I know, it sounds complicated but it really wasn't. Joyce had figured out that I was gay about as soon as I figured it out for myself. I asked her if she wanted to break up with me but she said no. She wanted us to continue dating, at least through the end of our senior year.

"I had no idea that Rick was interested in me. I mean we were friends but I figured he was completely straight and would have never done anything if he hadn't more or less started it."

"He stared it?"

"Yeah, he really did, Daniel. I would have never come on to him."

"So you were both dating these girls, Joyce and Deb, and he came on to you. That must have been a little weird."

"Well, yeah, at first, anyway. He was the first person I'd ever had sex with."
"So where is this guy? Where is Rick now?"

"Well, last spring, just before we graduated he told me he was going to marry Deb. They are both freshmen at Mississippi State."

"I guess that fried your friendship with Rick!"

"No, actually, it didn't. I was his best man at their wedding."

"You've got to be kidding me."

"No, Daniel, I know it probably sounds strange. It sounds strange to me just telling you, but Rick and I are still good friends."
We were again silent but after only a minute or so Daniel spoke.
"So you'd broken up with Rick before you started at Ole Miss last fall. Before you met Steve."

"Yeah, the first time I ever saw Steve was that first day when he wandered into Bardwell's seminar and then ended up leaving the class."

"Yeah, I remember. He'd not read any of the books Bardwell had assigned for us to read over the summer."


"So then you and he got to know each other and ended up being boyfriends."

"Yeah, more or less. I still have trouble with the term `boyfriend,' but I guess that's what we are."

"So is that where the story ends?"

"Well, not quite."

"I guess the obvious question is how does Sammy Hill figure into all of this?"

"Yeah, that's the obvious question."


"This is really embarrassing, Daniel."

"Well, just spill it, fellow. What you've told me so far sounds like a plot for a soap opera."

"Hey, thanks a lot, man."

"By comparison my own life sounds downright boring."

"You're not making this any easier, Mr. Lipscomb."

"Okay," he chuckles, giving me another sideways grin, "I'll be quiet. Just give me the facts."

I socked him hard on his right thigh, causing him to momentarily press the accelerator in a little so the big car bolted forward a few hundred yards and then slowed to its previous sedate speed.

"Okay, here goes," I said as he stopped chuckling.

"Last fall I went with the football team over to Athens for our game there."

"I remember."


"Sure, man, I've been keeping tabs on you."

I looked over at him but he didn't take his eyes off the road. I wondered what that meant but left it for then and went on with my story.

"Steve and I had been working out together, getting to know one another and even getting a little affectionate with each other."

"Just affectionate?"

"Yeah, you know, touches, hugs, that kind of thing. I think we both knew our friendship was getting serous but we'd not had sex."

"So you went to Athens together."

"No, that's just it. Steve didn't go. I was meeting Joyce there. She came down from Hartford for the weekend."

"Gees, Rob, the girl must love you. That's one hell of a long trip just for a weekend."

"I know."
"But you and she didn't get it on then. You said you and she didn't do the dirty `till Christmas."

"Hey, you've been listening."


"Well, I needed a roommate and since Steve wasn't going, I asked Sammy to room with me. I just knew him from football but he seemed like a nice guy and, frankly, not many of my jock buddies are the kind of guys I'd want to share a room with, even for just a couple of nights."

"Ah, now the plot thickens."

"Yeah, I guess you can figure out the rest."

"Probably, but tell me."

"Well, I spent a lot of time with Joyce. I went to her motel room and we did a lot of heavy petting. In fact, it went so far I really figured she wanted to have sex with me, even though we'd talked about it and agreed we'd not take that route. She knew I was gay, of course, but as you pointed out, she had come all that way."

"So she got your hot and then stopped short. She didn't want to go all the way."

"She stopped short and sent me back to my own room. And guess who was there waiting for me?"

"Cute little Sammy Hill. I bet he had his ass in the air just waiting for you to plug his hole."

"You are so crude, Daniel. Did anyone ever tell you that?"

"Yeah, Star tells me all the time."

"Well, she's right."

"And I'm right, too."

"Yeah, more or less."

"Well, one way or another, you and Sammy got it on."


"And I bet I can guess the next round."

"Okay, what's your theory?"

"Well, you came back to Oxford and being the honest, All American boy next door type, spilled your guts. You told Steve just what had happened and he went into orbit."


"Don't tell me I don't know plot development!"

I felt like hitting him again but figured I might really cause a wreck.

"Steve's more or less held Sammy over my head ever since. He kept suggesting we invite him over to join us."

"Steve wanted the three of you to get it on?"

"Yeah. I accused him of only being interested in Sammy because I'd made it with him."

"Shit!" Daniel exclaimed. "Then I go sticking my head into it. Me coming into your room that night in Memphis was like playing with a loaded gun."

"Yeah, I guess it was."
"Well, all I can say is that this is certainly going to be an interesting week!"

Just outside Vicksburg we came to old Highway 80, where we turned east toward Jackson. We'd ridden in silence for the last few miles but at that point Daniel said he wanted to take a break.

"I need to make a pit stop and I could use a coke."

"Sounds good," I agreed as he pulled off the road into a filling station parking lot. The place looked like a dump but it turned out to have reasonably clean restrooms and the coldest cokes I'd had in months.

Back on the road, heading east with less than hour to go before we picked up Steve, Daniel more or less forced the issue.

"I want to ask you something, Rob."

"Sure, Daniel, anything."

"Well, you may not be so ready to answer this one once I ask it."

"So what's the question?"

"If you don't want to answer this, I'll understand."

"Ask, damn it."

"Well, for starters, would you say you loved Rick?"

"I know I did," I said without hesitation.

"Did or do?"

"Shit, Daniel, the guy's married. I can't go on thinking about what might have been."

"Okay, I guess I can accept that." He waited a moment and then said, "I guess the only other question is, do you love Steve."

I was a little slower answering that one. "Yeah, Daniel, I love him," I said, but only after an awkward pause.

"Do you love Steve the way you loved Rick?"

"No, I guess not. But Rick was the first person I'd ever felt that way about. Don't you think your first love is always especially powerful?"

"I guess. I don't know."

We drove in silence, getting to the outskirts of Jackson and following Steve's directions to his home. We drove along a major suburban street with the usual mix of commercial establishments on either side. We came to a divided avenue and turned south following a creek and then through rather impressive gates into an affluent neighborhood of new ranch houses. The streets were curving and the houses were big. The further back we went from the main road the larger the houses became. Daniel glanced at the directions and turned right into a deep cul-de-sac. At the end of it was a long, rambling ranch house with wide overhanging eves and a shake shingle roof.

"This must be the place," Daniel said as we pulled into the circle drive. I knew Steve's folks were well off but the house caught me off guard. It didn't say "old money" the way Daniel's family home in Germantown did but it certainly spoke of wealth. It made our two-storey bungalow in Spring River look a little tawdry by comparison.

Steve was out of the front door before Daniel and I were out of the car. He came quickly to me and gave me a big hug.

"I've missed you," he whispered seductively in my ear.

"It's only been two days," I said, a little embarrassed by his overt affection. Daniel paid no attention but I saw a man and woman watching us from the front door. I assumed they were Steve's parents.

"Come on in," Steve said. "Mom's made sandwiches and has a bunch of cold drinks." He gave Daniel a hearty slap on the back as the three of us walked toward the house, Steve in the middle with his right arm around my shoulder.

Introductions were made as we walked through the house and out onto the back terrace. There was a pool, still a rare luxury in those days, and a glass-top picnic table surrounded by wrought iron chairs. On it was a platter of sandwiches and a bowl of chips, all covered with a wire and gauze contraption which looked like a perforated umbrella, clearly designed to keep any insects away.  I'd never seen any thing like it before.

"I know you boys are in a hurry to get back on the road," Mrs. Chapman was saying, "but you surely have time to eat something."

She was dressed in a tan cotton shirt and a long sleeved paisley shirt. Steve's father hovered, dressed in fashionable golf attire. I figured he was heading for a country club as soon as we were on our way.

We ate standing, politely refusing the invitations to sit. "We'll take time for a sandwich, Mom," Steve said. "If the guys are still hungry we can take a few more with us for the road."

As Daniel and Steve fell into a conversation with Mrs. Chapman, I felt a firm grip on my left arm and turned to face Mr. Chapman, who then drew me a little away from the others.

"I'm glad to finally meet you, Rob," he said. "I'm sorry we won't have time to get acquainted but I hope you'll come back soon and spend a few days with us."

"Thank you, Mr. Chapman," I said, not knowing where the conversation was going.

"Well, Steve's mother and I are pleased you and he have become such good friends. From all he's said about you we feel as if you are already a part of the family."

"Thank you, sir," I said as we rejoined the others. What the hell was that all about? I asked myself.

We pulled into Gulfport at dusk. The cottage we'd rented was on Teagarden Road, about half a block north of Beach Boulevard. >From the listing we'd seen we weren't sure what to expect but the place turned out to be great. It was on the west side of the street, set back behind a picket fence in its own small yard. There was a front porch facing the street and in the rear a small but very private garden surrounded by a high board fence. Just inside the front door was a living room and behind it a dining area and kitchen. Sliding patio doors from the kitchen opened onto a deck with steps leading down into the back garden. Steve noted the charcoal grill, saying we might be doing a lot of our cooking there. From each side of the living room a door led into bedrooms, each with its own bath. In each of the bedrooms was one large bed.

The place seemed to be immaculately cleaned. The beds were made up and there were extra linens in the closets. In the kitchen cupboards we found china and cutlery. Everything we could possible want was provided.

"Okay," Steve said when we'd hauled all our stuff in from the car, "we need to get the sleeping arrangements figure out."

Daniel looked at me and shrugged.

"Any preferences?" Steve asked, ignoring Daniel's gesture.
Both Daniel and I were silent.

"Well then, why don't Rob and I take the room on the left. You and Sammy can share the room on the right, at least for a start?"

Daniel looked at me. This time I shrugged. What did Steve have in mind? What did he mean by "at least for a start?"

"Yeah, that's fine," Daniel said and started moving his stuff into the right bedroom. When we'd finished we had a further look around the place.

"Well, what do you say, guys?" Steve said, again taking the lead. "We should go do some shopping but somebody needs to stay here so Sammy can get in when he comes."

"I'll stay," Daniel said. "You two go."

"Should we do a big shop, or just get stuff fora couple of meals and stuff for breakfast?"

"Let's just get the minimum," I said. "Then we can all go along and get what we think we'll need for the rest of the week."

"That sounds fine with me," Daniel said. He tossed me the keys to the Lincoln and Steve and I took off.

As we pulled away I took a better look at the neighborhood. Our place was one of six more or less identical cottages on the west side of the street. There were another four units on the east side which seemed to have been built to the same design. They all had neatly painted white clapboard exteriors but each of the ten cottages had a front door of a different color. Ours was a bright canary yellow. We assumed, and later confirmed, that all the units were owned by the same person and all of them were let by the week to vacationers. During the weeks colleges and universities had spring break, they and the entire town seemed to be taken over by students.

We found a supermarket a few blocks away and bought what we needed, steaks, potatoes and salad makings, along with a big bag of charcoal and a can of fire starter. We got eggs and sausages for breakfast as well as bread for toast, a jug of orange juice and another of milk.

I wanted to ask Steve what he'd said to his folks that had prompted his father's remarks, but we were never alone for more than a moment in the store and the drive from the cottage to the store and back was so quick that I didn't have time to get into it. By the time we got back to the cottage, a small bright red Ford was parked out front and we guessed that Sammy had arrived.

We parked, carried in the bags of groceries and found Sammy and Daniel sitting across the room from one another, each on one of the two sofas. They seemed to be having a rather serious conversation.

"Hey, guys," Steve said in his most boisterous voice. "Glad you made it, Sammy."

We went on through to the kitchen and organized the food, putting the breakfast stuff away and unwrapping the pack of steaks. I put the potatoes in to bake and we returned to the living area.

As we came back Daniel got up and moved across the room to sit by Sammy.

Before Steve had a chance to take over the conversation, Daniel said, "Sammy and I have been talking. We think it would be a good idea to work out some ground rules."

"I agree," Steve laughed. "Rob and I will cook dinner tonight and you two can do the washing up. How's that for a start?"

Daniel looked over at Sammy and said, "sure, we'll wash up and then tomorrow Sammy and I will do the cooking and we can reverse roles." He paused only for a second before going on. I knew he wanted to get some things out in the open and he wasn't giving Steve a chance to take over the conversation and steer it away from the real issues. "Sammy and I would like to know exactly what you two have in mind so far as the sleeping arrangements are concerned."

"I thought we had that settled," Steve jumped in. "Rob and I will take that room," he said, gesturing toward the door on the south side of the living room. "You two can have the other one."

"Yeah, that's fine," Daniel said quickly, "but, when we were talking about it before, you said that arrangement would work "at least for a start." Sammy and I are wondering what you had in mind."

Steve looked down at his feet. I couldn't tell if he was embarrassed or just trying how to say what he meant. After a moment he looked up and grinned.

"We're all pretty good friends, right?"

"Sure," Daniel and Sammy said, almost in unison.

"I guess we've not really talked about it, but I think we know all four of us like to get it on with other guys," Steve went on, looking around for conformation.

After a long, awkward moment, Daniel said, "yeah, Steve, we all four like guys."

"Well," Steve continued, "before the week is over it seems likely that there might be some interest in some bed swapping. That's all I meant."

Daniel spoke quickly, wanting to get the issues out in the open. "Steve, you and Rob would more or less consider yourselves a couple, right?"

Steve turned to me and then looked back toward Daniel and Sammy.

"Yeah, we're a couple, but as you know, Daniel, we have done it with another guy."

"Me," Daniel said with no hesitation.

Both Steve and I looked at Sammy. "I know about it. Daniel was just telling me when you guys got back."

"So, Sammy, did you tell Daniel anything in return?" Steve said. His voice was low and there was a quality in it I couldn't quite figure out. Was it menacing or just very sexual? I didn't know.

"Yeah." Sammy looked at me. His eyebrow rose questioningly.

"It's okay, Sammy," I said. "Steve knows. I told him."

"Yeah," Sammy said, "I told Daniel that Rob and I got it on last fall in Athens."

"So let me get this right," Steve said. He lifted up his left hand and punched at one finger with the index finger of his right hand. "Rob and I are having sex. You both know that and we freely admit it in the confines of our little group here." He paused and then looked from me to Daniel and then from Daniel to Sammy. "I guess that raises another issue. I'm assuming that anything that is said in this group is confidential, and" he paused again, "anything that goes on between the four of us is equally confidential."

"Yeah, sure, certainly," we all agreed.

Steve then pointed to the second finger on his left hand and said, "good, then we come to Rob and me. We have sex together on a regular basis and we've also had a threesome with Mr. Lipscomb here." He looked at me again and then turned toward Sammy. As he continued I heard that odd undertone had returned. "Then we have Mr. Hill and Mr. Ballinger here, who had a go at it in Athens, Georgia." He looked around at each of us again and said, "does that cover it?"

We nodded but said nothing. Why was Steve doing that? Was he just trying to get our collective sexual relationships out in the open, or was there some deeper, darker reason?

"Yeah," Daniel spoke up, "that seems to cover it." There was a note of challenge in his voice. "So what's your point?"

"Well, I guess it's just that I know Rob here, in the Biblical sense, I mean." He paused.

"And Rob knows me. You and I, Daniel, we know each other and you also know Rob."

He looked around at the three of us and then went on. "Sammy and Rob know each other." Steve paused again. "I guess that just leaves you, Sammy, to get better acquainted with Danny and me. Then the circle will be complete."

I looked over at Sammy and saw that he was blushing.

"Maybe you can jump start that process tonight," Steve said, looking over at Daniel and then at Sammy. "With you two sharing a bed, I mean."

A sullen silence hung in the room. After a moment, when no one spoke, Steve said, his voice now very low, almost a whisper. "So all I meant was that Rob and I will take one room and you two can have the other, at least for a start." He looked around at each of us again. "And," he added, "we're already pretty good friends."

With that Steve got up off the sofa and walked toward the kitchen. "Now, I'll see if that fire is about ready." He went out the back door onto the deck. Daniel and Sammy and I continued to sit facing each other. The tension was thick between us.

"Uh," I said, clearing my throat. "I'm really sorry about that, guys." I wanted to add that I thought Steve had been a real shit but I held my peace. I went into the kitchen, opened the oven door and poked the potatoes. They were almost ready.

Steve came bounding back in, full of boyish energy, to say the fire was perfect. "How's the spuds?"

"Good, okay," I stammered. "They'll be ready by the time the steaks are done."

"Steve," I said as he turned to go back out with the steaks. As he stopped I gave a quick look into the living room. Daniel and Sammy were still sitting side by side, talking quietly together.

"Yeah, babe," Steve said turning back and giving me a big smile.

"You were a real shit in there."

"Yeah," he grinned. "I know."

"Does knowing you're being a shit make it okay?"

"Just give it some time, Rob," he said, "I knew what I was doing." With that he turned again and went out to grill the steaks.

Dinner began in rather sullen silence. Steve told a couple of jokes but nobody laughed. Then, getting up quickly and heading back into the house, he said, `oh, I almost forgot." We were eating on the deck and the smell of the sea close by was carried on the cool evening air. I heard a subtle pop and a moment later he was back, carrying a bottle of wine and four glasses.

"I know we're all in training," he said, pouring a small portion of the dark red wine in to each glass. "But it is spring break and we can take a few liberties. He passed the glasses around and then lifted his own. "To friendship," he said and took a sip. Each of us followed his example, repeating the toast.

"One thing you guys have to understand about being friends is that you have to forgive your buddy if he acted out of turn." He looked around the table and then went on. "Rob here told me I'd been a shit. If so, I am really sorry. I just wanted to get the obvious out in the open." No one said anything and Steve added, "you can't tell me you guys weren't thinking the same thing. I just wanted to get us over the awkward part."

For the first time since Steve's amazing declaration in the living room, Daniel smiled. Then he laughed. He picked up his wine glass and lifted it. "Well, let me propose another toast." He stopped as if he were thinking it through and then said, "to friends, even when one of them is a shit."

We all laughed and in that moment the tension seemed to break. It felt as if we all three let out a deep breath. Even Sammy was grinning. He really was a very cute kid.

"And one more thing," Daniel said as we put our glasses down. "You guys may be in training but I am definitely not."

Steve looked over at him with an expression of disbelief. "I thought you were going out for track."

"I ran my ass off all through high school. This year at least, I am not going to be another dumb jock."

That comment, of course, earned him a round of boos and a few friendly slaps on his ears.
About three the following morning I was wakened by Steve. He was bending over my side of our bed and gently shaking me.

"Rob," he whispered, "wake up."

We'd gotten to bed late after a long conversation about the relative merits of the intellectual versus the athletic life. Once in bed Steve and I had cuddled for a long time. Maybe in a sense we were making up.

"I'm sorry for coming on too strong with Daniel and Sammy," he'd said.
"Well, maybe it was for the best. At least now we've all admitted that the possibilities exist."

"More than exist, Rob. I'm going to fuck that kid's ass before the week is over."
"What about me?"

"Oh, I'll fuck your ass, too."

"That's not what I meant," I growled.

"Oh, you want to get it on again with him?"

"You really are a manipulative bastard, Steve. You know that?"

"Yeah, I know, but you love me for it, right?"

"I'm not all that sure."

He'd gone after me then, trying to kiss me, trying to roll me over in the bed, trying to pin me in one of his famous wrestling holds. I managed to keep him off but we'd ended up in a powerful embrace which slowly changed for combative to passionate. Before it was over we'd become so aroused that release was a necessity. Steve had slipped out of my arms, rotated himself around and pulled my hard cock into his wet, willing mouth. I grappled for him and we adjusted our position to allow for a hard, driving, no-holds-barred sixty-nine. We'd both come in minutes and then, exhausted, we'd slept, our heads together on the disarrayed pillows.

"Rob," Steve was saying again as I gradually come out of a deep, dreamless sleep.

"Yeah," I groaned.

"Get up."


"Come on, buddy. You've got to see this." As he spoke, Steve had gotten hold of my hands and was drawing me out of the warm bed. My feet hit the cold floor and a shiver ran through my naked body.

"Why are you up?"

"Had to pee," he said but kept me moving.

We walked out of the bedroom and across the living room to the opposite door. Standing in the doorway and looking into the other room, I saw what Steve had wakened me to see. In the soft light from the front window, sprawled on a rumpled bed, lay the naked bodies of our friends. Daniel and Sammy were clearly asleep, deeply asleep. Their bodies were intertwined just as Steve's and mine had been. Their now soft cocks were still wet and glistening from their lovemaking. They looked like two sleeping gods.

"One more gap in the circle seems to have gotten filled tonight," Steve whispered.

"Yeah," I said, still too sleepy to make much sense. Then as my own body shivered again I turned to Steve and whispered, "maybe we should cover them up."

"Yeah," he said, giving me a soft kiss on the lips, "I think that would be the friendly thing to do."

To be continued.