Note to our readers: Here are more sections of "added-since-Christopher" material. My E-mail (Joe's E-mail) has been full of encouragement, tears, sadness at his loss, reminders that Chris still lives strongly, and deep gratifying comments that say to keep it coming. This is a team effort. Joe wrote these words last year. I've been re-reading them all and re-formatting into HTML (learning basic HTML all over again while driving our hero, the Nifty Archivist, nuts in the process. Joe and I owe him ... he's a good man, thank goodness for us). The setting for this writing and editing is unusual. We will explain at the beginning of the updates to the "My Buddy Andrew" series. Thank you all who have read Joe's story and sent wonderful E-mail. He is trying to answer it all, via my fingers. You can also blame any HTML weirdness on me. Andrew (April, 1999)

Chris & Joe - Part 8

Friday -- today was a day off from chores, one of very few in my life to date. Chris and I were going camping overnight further south, in the state's preserved forest. The forecast called for a clear, warm day. I sat once again on his bedside and kissed him awake, slowly rousing him for the depths of his dreams. It was after 7:00. I had just come from the shower, smelling of fresh soap and shampoo.

"I love the smell of you," he said as he lay there with his eyes closed.

"And I love everything about you. Come on, my bud, it's time to get moving. The bathroom is all yours."

Breakfast would be ready at 7:30, though I could not talk my mom out of making two breakfasts that morning. The rest of the family had eaten at 5:00, as usual. I had slept incredibly soundly, secure in my love for my best friend in the wide world. While Chris showered, I packed gear and clothing. The stiffness in my briefs had yet to go down. I put my hand inside my briefs and fondled my dick, unaware I was doing so.

"Don't start something you can't finish," he smiled at me as he walked back inside, closing the door.

"It's your fault."

"Yeah I know. It's always my fault. Guilty as charged."

"Okay, I'll hand out punishment later tonight. Trouble is, you might like it."

"I always like it. You're the best I've ever had."

"I'm the only one you've ever had."

"Yeah, you are that, man. And the only one I ever want. I rest my case."

"Okay, counselor, let's get some breakfast."

By 9:00 we were driving south to the state forest. Large white clouds layered the sky. The temperature reading downtown had been 56 at 9:00. Temps were probably five degrees warmer to the south. Traffic was light. A deer ran across the highway when we were about ten miles from the forest. We stopped at Cannon Mountain first. The view would be so wonderful on a day like today. There was a tramway that went to the top of the mountain. We ate a snack up at the top as we looked south toward the lakes region. There were few people there, so it was quiet and peaceful this mid-summer morning. The air was chilly up here, but the air was so pure. We could see forever in all directions. We stayed for more than two hours, looking at the wonders that were in our own back yard.

Next stop was "The Flume" a natural set of hiking trails and streams, with a water gorge tucked away off the road. We traded our sneakers for our hiking boots in the car. We also put on sweatshirts and a windbreaker, knowing that the inner trails would be quite cool since they were sheltered from the sun. We walked along the trails, hand in hand. We weren't really into public displays of affection, but this was a kind of sanctuary, tucked away from most of civilization, even though there were a few people around. We let go when we were near others. We crossed manmade and natural bridges of logs and planks. Water flowed freely from higher up in the mountains. The surrounding area was absolutely peaceful. We ate another snack late in the afternoon and then hiked back out to the car.

It was past 4:00 by the time we had wandered all over the inner reaches of the trails. We continued south to a region where we could camp. By 6:00 we had begun to set up the tent and our gear. Public showers and facilities were about a half-mile down the trail. We had a secluded spot, away from campers and RVs. We sat under the Milky Way and watched the shooting stars make a path across the heavens. Chris leaned his back into my chest, his ass up against my crotch. Our legs were stretched out in front of us, and I leaned against the base of a tall oak tree. I wrapped my arms around his chest and he held my arms. I nuzzled his neck, breathing his scent deeply. He still smelled of soap and shampoo from this morning, now fourteen hours past. The radio played a station from Boston, though it sometimes faded out on us. Crickets and bullfrogs played a symphony for us. The sound of a small stream bubbling by could be heard, almost out of earshot. Branches snapped in the distance as the wildlife came to forage for themselves and their hidden-away families. There was nothing but peace and quiet and no one except Chris and I for enjoyment.

We listened to the sounds of nature, feeling no need to talk. We'd said a lot last night and more as we drove today. Everything, for now, that I wanted him to understand had been said last night in that mighty maple. I will remember that for a long time to come because it increased our love ten-fold, to voice what was on my mind and to ease his fears. I never said something just to make him feel better, and I rarely talked from my brain, preferring to speak from my heart. The heart is far more honest than the brain.

There was an "energy transfer" going on between Chris and me as I held him; him drawing from me, letting it wash through him, and then him returning part of it to me, with his own additions. This was the energy of faith, love, true understanding, and companionship that equaled none. I held him a little closer, my right hand on his chest beneath his sweatshirt. My hand was the focus of the energy transfer, drawing from and pushing to his heart. I loved him deeply, never thinking of another man, never looking lustfully at anyone else (well, okay, except baseball players, but that was because they teased me with their asses). What I felt for the baseball player was nothing compared to what I felt for this man in my arms. Our lovemaking had bonded us forever, and forever seemed like a distant century that we could not begin to fathom. There was no tomorrow, only the moment in which we lived and breathed.

Chris dozed as I held him and stroked his chest. It was past midnight when I picked him up and carried him in to our tent. I laid him on his back and then lay on top of him. He wrapped his arms around me and pulled me to him, kissing me on my neck, my cheek, and my lips. His breath was sweet and hot. After a few minutes, I lay on my back beside him and told him I wanted him inside of me. We'd had sex all week, but it wasn't just sex I wanted; it was to feel him inside me, to connect him to me to make me whole. He knew this.

He pulled my jeans off and put my legs around his back. He slid easily inside me. We kissed and he held me while I held him. The warmth of his body took away the chill of the night air. As he moved his hips gently, filling me up, we smiled at each other. Love. We were blessed with love. We were blessed with friendship, deep to our hearts. I moved to meet him, gently and slowly, feeling no desire to rush. The way he made me feel in the moment is the way I wanted to feel when we could not be this close. He did not merely fuck me, for the sake of sexual fulfillment; he made us one, for the sake of life fulfillment. He moaned softly and filled my insides with his seed. The seed bonded us together. The togetherness made us a whole. The whole would relieve us of our individual burdens. That's not theology, by the way, that's just what I think of life in general. When we struggle alone, the burden is ten times what it ought to be.

In one motion I rolled him on his back and entered his body. I kissed his neck and his ear, then back to his lips, then over to his other ear. He whimpered softly as I gave myself to him, not in weakness or pain, but in tenderness and gratitude for our love. He whispered 'I love you so much, Joe' in my ear, softly, almost inaudibly. He moved expertly in rhythm to me, moving up to meet me as I moved down to meet him. For fifteen minutes, we were joined in passion and a desperately deep love. I shuddered all over, shaking violently as if a large chill had hit me. But it was not a chill; it was a rush of warmth and desire to satisfy my friend. I stayed inside him as long as possible. But even when not inside him, the connection was complete, having been replenished by us both. He came again with me, squirting his juice all over his stomach. I leaned down and licked him clean, then lay on top of him and gave him some.

"I love you, bud," was all I could manage before I feel asleep in his arms, absolutely drained of everything I could give to him this evening, in the forests of the state. The wildlife foraged around us. We did not spook the deer or rabbits or raccoons. We lay in each other's arms, holding on for dear life. Chris and I lived as if today was our last.

Saturday -- the birds woke us at dawn. He was behind me, spoons-style, with his arms wrapped around my chest and stomach, keeping us warm all night in the sleeping bag. He woke just ahead of me. His warm breath hit my ear and traveled down my neck. I turned my head enough that he could kiss my lips. Did anyone kiss as much as we did? Could anyone possibly? If they did, and it was as passion-filled, then I was truly jealous and in awe. He was hard so he did what came naturally - slid into my warm tender ass. He didn't move much because he just wanted to be connected to me. I backed up onto his cock, holding it firmly inside, knowing what he wanted. He nuzzled my neck with his eyes still closed. He held me tightly, moving his hands over my slim body. We lay together, wondering what was going on outside our tent. We disconnected long enough to put the sleeping bag outside. The forest was foggy and cool. No one was near us and we probably wouldn't be seen. I lay down on my side again inside the sleeping bad. Chris re-entered my ass and held me again. So what if we did get caught. Who cares? I felt his cock gently probing my insides. He stiffened a half hour later, no longer being able to hold off is orgasm. I pushed my ass into his cock so he could stay there, my hole swallowing his cream. He kissed my neck.

"Have I told you yet today that I love you, bud?" he asked.

"I dunno. Try it," I said with a smile.

"I love you, Joe. I love you a lot."

"My man, that sounds so good. I love you too, Chris. I could hear it a thousand times a day and it would mean as much as the first time you said it to me."

I turned to face him, letting him hold me close. I slid my cock inside his ass as he had done to me. I stroked slowly, enjoying the warmth and wetness of his insides. He pushed down on my cock when I pushed up on his ass. Our rhythm, not surprisingly, was perfect and wonderful. He took all I gave, and I gave all he took. When my juice flowed inside him, he pulled me to him, looking deeply into my eyes. We finally got up and went to the showers.

We packed up our camp and headed northeast to Mt. Washington. We snacked along the way, avoiding the fast-food places in favor of meals packed by my mom or picked up in the mom and pop stores along the way. The early morning traffic on the auto road to the summit of Mt. Washington was relatively light, but it would increase in a matter of a couple hours. From the summit of the mountain, on a clear day like today, you could see five New England states and Canada. Mt. Washington had recorded some of the highest winds in North America, with large chains holding various structures in place. The temperature difference between the base and the summit was ten or fifteen degrees. The base temp was 70 today, and the summit temp was currently 52. Wind chill brought that down to the low teens.

Up here we had full winter gear on. At the base we had changed from sweatshirts and jeans with sneakers into thermal underwear (tops and bottoms), wool socks, flannel shirts, lined sweatpants, down jackets, and work boots. The wind, as usual, was quite gusty and sometimes we had to turn our backs to it for a moment. But the scene that stretched for hundreds of miles before our eyes made any challenge worth it. The view was spectacular. The valleys were lush shades of greens, with various bodies of water sprinkled about, all contrast against a brilliantly blue sky. Chris and I managed to find a spot in the rocks to sit in, shielded against the wind, so that we could ogle at the land below us. We held hands in my pocket or his against the chill air. Sharing the peace and beauty from this perch at the top of New England was overwhelming. We wanted to see this forever, and come back again, after the pace of school had made us numb.

In six hours at the summit, we took in every imaginable piece of the view we could. We positioned ourselves in prime spots on every edge we could, staying warm somehow, not wishing to be driven inside. We ate a light meal and then decided it was about time to take our last look around from the high vantage point. We wouldn't be here again until at least next summer.

Back at the base, we stripped the cold weather layers off us and changed back into summer gear. The temp was now near 80. We opted for T-shirts and shorts, socks and sneakers.

"How old are your Nike's, by the way?"

"'Bout six years, why?" So they were fairly worn, but very comfortable.

"No reason, but I know what you're getting for Christmas."

As we drove back to my hometown, we tried to picture where we were in relation to what we saw at the summit of the mountain. We laughed out loud when we decided that where we were couldn't be seen from the mountain because we were such small specks against the beauty of what could be seen from there. It was humbling to know how small we are, but we also knew that, to each other, we were hardly insignificant, and never would be.

I touched his leg as he drove, rubbing my hand occasionally up and down it, feeling how real and important he was to me. He reached over and touched the side of my face, letting his hand linger there, touching my ear, before putting it back on the steering wheel. I watched his face even as he concentrated on his driving. He never minded that I stared at him constantly, even when he couldn't look back at me. He was careful when he drove, as was I. We'd had a near-miss in our college town one day. He skillfully avoided the accident, but if he hadn't been paying 100% attention, we would have been sideswiped.

We pulled into my dad's farm about 6:00 in the evening. Dinner was still warm, so we sat and ate boiled ham, roasted potatoes, and corn on the cob. We both passed on dessert, but mom would send some home with Chris. She already had a package packed up for him. His mom always did the same for me. We liked the "care packages" we got at school or after holidays and vacations.

This was Chris' last night here. The feeling left me extremely happy on one side because we had a great week together. I was empty, somewhat, on the other side because we would be a month without seeing each other. Thankfully I'd be spending a week with him in the Berkeshires and then going right back to school after that with him. As quickly as this week passed, both of us knew the remaining four would not.

We started to pick up our plates.

"No, guys, not this time. You've got only a few hours left together. Go out and enjoy yourselves. I'm okay with these."

The night was warm and we knew we wanted to make love so badly. We headed out to the south pasture, unused this time of year except for growing hay. It wouldn't be cut down until mid-August, even though it was quite tall right now.

I put my right arm across his back as we walked. His left hand rested at the top of my left shoulder. I was going to miss his touch.

"I'm going to miss you holding me, Joe. I've gotten used to the comfort of your hands and your arms, touching and holding."

"Funny, I was just thinking that. It does feel good to be held, doesn't it?"

"Feels great. I know you love me when you hold me."

"Then know that I love you even when I'm not holding you, too."

"I do know, Joe, and I don't doubt it either. For me, there is no one like you. I want to be with you all my life."

"You will be. I want you all my life. It'll happen just that way, you'll see."

"Lay beside me, Joe. Make love to me so I can have you to think about after I go home."

I lay beside Chris in the tall hay. Our wet soft lips met and my muscles began to stir. I finally moved my tongue into his mouth. We had discovered together, on our first night ever of making love, that the lips alone were just as sensual in kissing as was our tongues. Lots of times we preferred just our lips, for they were soft and full of expression. Most of all, we just did what was natural for us. I pushed my jeans to below my knees. I straddled his legs and pulled his jeans off. I put his legs, one at a time, over my shoulders. When I entered him, his ring quickly and joyfully swallowed my entire length. The tightness thrilled my cock, making it even harder. Inside him, we once again joined in our common love. Our movements were slow and careful. I'd never hurt him and I never wanted to. Slow, unhurried, rhythmic movements. I pulled out to my cock head and then slid in effortlessly as his insides grabbed and sucked in my length. His hands held on to my ass as my hands lay to each side of his head. We kissed and he smiled at me.



"Don't ever stop loving me. Always make me feel this way."

"I promise, bud."

With that, I shivered, not being able to hold off any longer, even though I wanted this to last just a couple minutes longer. He gripped my cock with his ass and sucked out my cum. He was greedy, taking all I had to offer. When he released my cock, I put my face up to his ass and licked it all around, probing inside with my tongue. It had not taken me long to discover, after our first time, that he loved being rimmed. I made him cum hard once just by eating his ass. I knew all his secrets. There wasn't anything I didn't know about the man in my arms. So I lay on his crotch, drained of my cream. I licked at his balls and at his shaft. I swallowed his cock into my wet mouth and licked its underside. I probed his ass with my finger while I ate his dick. I could make him come from sucking him and frigging with his asshole at the same time. He'd loved to come in my mouth after our long suck sessions. More times than not we ended up doing each other in a 69 at the same time. I teased him relentlessly tonight.

He playfully tossed me away, put me flat on my stomach, and entered me from behind. One smooth push was all it took. His hands explored my back as he rode my ass. He bent forward and kissed my neck. Then he licked each ear in turn, probing inside and around the soft tissue. After about ten minutes, he rolled me onto my back, his cock still deep inside me, and wrapped my legs around his strong shoulders. He bent me in half and fucked me slowly and easily. My knees were up beside my ears and he leaned on the bend in my legs, drilling in deeply to touch as much of my insides as he could reach. His face told me he was close, so I gripped his dick tightly with my ass muscles. He opened his mouth as he moaned. His eyes opened wide and he threw his head back. He bucked, still sliding in and out, and gave up his biggest load of the week. I was the lucky one to be receiving his liquid love.

He lay fully on top of me, keeping my legs on his shoulders. His cock was still inside my ass, and I held his ass close with my hands so that he didn't slip from me too soon.

When he finally pulled out of me, I leaned forward and put his dick back in my mouth. I licked the cream from his dick and sucked him until he was hard again. He moved around so we were in a 69, not wanting me to be the only one with a hot cock in my mouth. He loved to eat my dick as much as he loved any other sex with me. We lay side by side, touching each other's bodies, holding hands, or stroking each other's hard cocks as we sucked.

We came together, simultaneously, and in a tremendous high to our lovemaking. These would be our last loads for a month, so we enjoyed getting each other off. We lay together for awhile long but knew we had to get back to the house. It was late and the day would start early tomorrow regardless.

The night was getting old as we sat on his bed. We kissed for a few moments.

"Thanks for everything, Joe. I love you, my bud."

"You're welcome, Chris. I love you too bud."

I stood up and then pulled the blankets over him, tucked him in, and kissed his cheek.

Sunday -- At 5:00 I was laying on top of Chris, kissing him awake. He smiled at me as I gently rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. The past week held pleasant and wonderful memories. It was hard to believe it was gone already, but the next few weeks would give me time to sit on the front porch at night, or to lie in my bed, and recall what we did together. We did a lot together. The memories would be deep and would last my lifetime. A month would pass soon enough.

We had breakfast and then we walked the pastures all morning. We returned to the stream where I'd taken him last week. We went to the north pasture and then walked over to the mighty maple where I had promised my love of him forever, no matter if he got cancer again or whatever else happened. We went back to the pasture where we had made love last night. The sky was not a night sky this time, but when he looked at the night sky at home this evening, he would know I was seeing what he was seeing and we'd be joined in the commonness of the heavens.

The days chores would keep me busy. By the time I finished mine, he would be just finishing his four hour drive home. Normally, I would be empty at this point. But I was not. I was full, knowing our love was one, complete and inseparable, and would last all our lives.

He called to let me know he got home safely and to tell me he was blessed to have my love. Only four weeks until we were together again; and the time would pass quickly enough.

"But while we're separated, Joe, don't rush though it just so that we can be together. You can still do your chores and be with your family, and walk the pastures at night with me on your mind, and still fully enjoy your life. Each day is special. We'll never know when our last day is, so live in the moment."

And I did. Each day truly was a blessing and each day brought me great joy in my work and in my family. Each evening was spent sitting on a large rock, or at the stream, or in the maple. No tears from sadness ever flowed from my eyes in those places; only tears of gratitude for my life and for my Chris.

In bed later, I smelled Chris' scent lingering in the pillowcase. My brother did not know that I had switched pillows. It filled my senses and allowed me to drift off in a deep, peaceful sleep.

Chris & Joe - Part 9

The four weeks between vacations passed one slow, and enjoyable, day at a time. Chris and I talked to each other every other night. It was like we were together, even though 300 miles separated us. I was up every morning at 5:00 a.m. The time I missed him the most was around 10:00, when my chores were done and normally when we headed out to spend the day together. I spent it with my friends from my childhood, finding simple and pleasant enjoyment in the basketball and baseball games, in going for ice cream or to the movies or to sit on Main Street and watch life go by. My friends had liked Chris a lot and asked how he was. Everyone liked Chris, most especially me. My heart was a little empty but if I closed my eyes, I could picture my bud sitting beside me.

And before too long, I was beside him. I arrived on a Saturday. We would have eight days together here and then we would drive back to school. We sat on the porch of his folk's house, feet up on the wide railing, enjoying the sun beating down on our faces and naked chests. His brother sat to his right and I sat to his left. Rob was a good kid. He had been amazed when Chris had told him of how I helped him when he was sick. Rob had been scared senseless when Chris was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease. When he realized that I was a good friend and stood by him every day, Rob relaxed and stopped worrying. He liked me and I liked him, very much. He was two years younger than Chris was and they were very close. Chris said the two never fought, never found the need. He said that it was like my brother and me. We were lucky to have special people around us.

It was time for dinner when Mom (who let me call her that) came to the screen door. We sat and ate fresh grilled swordfish, baked potatoes, corn on the cob fresh from the roadside farmer's market, and a tossed salad. Dessert, which we begged off until later, was strawberry rhubarb pie. I loved the woman for her thoughtfulness. She loved me for being a good "son". Pop was equally kind and generous to me. I loved to fish and he loved fishing, so I was an instant hit when we met three years ago. I was as much a member of this family as I was my own. I thrived on love, Chris' especially, but that of our families in particular.

The western Massachusetts town Chris lived in was at the foothills of the Berkeshires. This was the first time I was going to spend any more than a day here in the summer. The rest of my trips had been at Thanksgiving for a four-day weekend. We had done little exploring out here. After dinner, Chris took me out to the edge of a pond not far from home. We brought bread with us to feed to the ducks. As the sun died in the west, we sat side-by-side. There was no one else around. The dusk was so absolutely still that I swear I could hear Chris' heart beat. He was looking at me as I was looking out across the pond.

"Now what did I do, bud?"

"Not a thing man. I am just happy that I can sit here and stare at you. As much as I had said that I didn't want the days of July and early August to pass quickly, I couldn't wait to see you again."

"You're wishing your life away by doing that."

"Maybe a little. But now I want the rest of the days to go slow as can be since you'll be with me from now until we break at Christmas."

I took his hand in mine and put it under my sweatshirt. I wanted him to feel my heart beating, since I had told him a month ago that it beats for him. He smiled and leaned in to kiss me on my cheek.

"That's it, a kiss on the cheek?" I teased.

"Yeah. And if you're a good boy, you'll get more later."

I held his face with my left hand and kissed him on his lips, briefly. I knew why I got one on the cheek. When we were sitting quietly together, we weren't doing it so that we could start making out (necessarily). Sitting alone together, watching the sunset turn to dusk, and listening to the sounds of the night were as fulfilling as being in the middle of the hubbub of the city with a million things going on. I've been with other friends who had to talk constantly or else feel awkward in silences. With Chris, I could be silent for hours and we'd still have the grandest of times. We sat holding hands, shoulder to shoulder, close and comfortable, and silent. He eventually put his head on my shoulder. I put my right arm around him and held him close. He nuzzled my neck and kissed it lightly. We listened to the ducks splash about. There must have been a bullfrog across the pond. The symphony of the night was crickets all around. The night sky was clear as could be. We watched stars shoot across the heavens, wondered if the bright stars we saw were Jupiter or Venus or some other planet entirely. We traced the Big Dipper and then the Little Dipper with out fingers against the sky. I kissed his ear and then his cheek, smelling him and inhaling deeply, wanting to keep his scent a permanent part of my senses. I took his hand out from beneath my sweatshirt long enough to kiss it, returning it to my chest as before. I looked into his eyes and put my forehead against his forehead. I kissed his nose and he kissed my lips. He put his hand flat against my chest while I removed mine. He moved it around slowly to feel the light fur that covered my chest. He tweaked my nipples just a little. He put his hand back over my heart.

"You're right, Joe. It beats for me, strongly. No wonder I love you."

I smiled at the thought. I touched his chest as well, through his shirt. He encouraged me to put my hand under his shirt too, to feel his bare skin, wanting me to know his heart beat for me too, as strongly. I didn't have to feel it to know, but we both loved touching the other, so I moved my hand over his chest, slowly. It was smooth as baby's skin. I kidded him a few times about his lack of chest hair. I said that he was a man in a boy's body.

I lay back on the ground and he put his head on my chest. I closed my eyes and played with his ear and touched his neck. I stroked his hair, running my fingers through the thick growth. I made circle motions with my fingers. He moaned in contentment, liking how I touched him. He moved up a bit so he could put his arms around my chest and I kissed the top of his head. He looked up at me and I kissed his lips as I held his head from behind. I loved my Chris and I knew he loved me as much -- no more, no less. I felt like the luckiest man alive to be laying here kissing my best buddy in the world. I had known love with only him, which made it that much better. We both knew we were not going to have sex tonight because we just wanted to lay together and kiss softly while listening to the night symphony. There would be a million chances to have sex to satisfy each other.

When the chill of the night air became too much for us, we drove home. It was 11:30 by the time we got there. Mom and Pop had gone to bed a bit earlier, leaving us a note saying "Night guys, see you in the morning .. Love always M&P". Chris' brother Rob was getting in at the same time as we did, having been out to the movies with his girlfriend. There was no official curfew since both boys were now in college, but the folks liked it when they were home before midnight. Mom was like my mom. She would go to bed but she would not go to sleep until she knew we were all home safe. The three of us sat at the kitchen table with a tall glass of cold milk and a plate of brownies in front of us.

"So you two going to just hang out most of the week?" asked Rob.

"Yeah. I'm done at the store for the summer. Why don't you wrap up your summer job a week early and come along with us?"

"I'd like to, but we're doing inventory before we put out the Fall stuff. Maybe I'll get a day to hang out with you if I can, but I know I'll be working most of the week."

Rob was a good kid. He was quiet without being shy. He had taken to me when we first met, and me to him. He was soft spoken, bright, had a great laugh, and loved his brother deeply. The cancer had rocked Rob to his very soul. The two had never taken each other for granted, nor had they ever had any major fights that either had regretted. Rob and I had talked alone a couple of times when Chris was very sick. He asked for my advice. I told him to treat his brother with the same amount of caring he had before because he wasn't really any different because of the cancer. He wasn't fragile and Rob and I both knew that he'd hate special attention, so the rule of the day was to live and care, as before. Rob had confided in Chris what he thought about me. I made sure Rob always got an ear when he needed it. We talked and he would ask me not to repeat certain things if that was all right with me. I kept his confidences to myself, even if Chris asked out of curiosity. He thought it was cool that Rob and I talked too and didn't mind that there were "secrets" among the three of us. Chris liked it that I would do as Rob asked, knowing that I did the same for him. Chris never knew how much it really tormented Rob when there was cancer in his system. He could feel it to a point, but Rob cared and felt a whole lot deeper than he was willing to tell Chris, if only to keep him from worrying. To be the keeper of that knowledge was an honor. Chris would also never knew that Rob cried on my shoulder, shaking and scared that his brother would not live long after he was first diagnosed. Even though I felt like I could, I did not cry with him. His pain was his own and he needed someone strong to share it with. I had my own cry on my own, alone, knowing how relieved Rob must have felt to let it out with me. It was very hard to cry alone with the same fears, but neither Chris nor Rob would know that. To them I represented a strong character, able to help relieve the pain or fear.

"Good night, men. I'm tired. See you at breakfast," said Rob as he pushed his chair to the table and rinsed his glass out in the sink.

"Good night RobMan. I love you."

"Love you too Chrisser. Take care, JMan. Glad you're here for the week." he said as he patted me on the back.

I smiled at him and raised my hand to say good night. We wouldn't be too long for bed either. I re-wrapped the plate of brownies and put them in the breadbox on the counter. I poured Chris and I another half-glass of milk. We sat on opposite sides of the table and held hands beneath it. I was rubbing my thumb across his knuckles as usual. Discretion was in order when we were alone in our family's houses. Neither one of us showed off anyway, so it was okay that we needed to be discreet. At this point neither Chris nor I wanted to proclaim ourselves to our families. We were in love for each other, not for anyone else. Maybe our families would be okay that we were gay. Maybe they wouldn't be. Who cared? This was between my buddy and me.

Chris took our glasses and rinsed them in the sink as Rob had done. We went around and turned the downstairs lights off, leaving the one over the kitchen sink on. We went upstairs to bed. There were twin beds in his room. For a moment we sat on his bed and kissed. When I got into bed, I lay on my left side so that I could face Chris. There was enough light coming in from outside that I could at least see his shape in bed.

"Night my bud. I hope you sleep good."

"I will my man. I'm tired. I think I'll dream of you all night."

"Joe, you always say the right things."

Indeed I did dream of Chris at some point in the night. I would not share this dream with him though. For some reason, it felt more like a foretelling than a dream. No. This one I would keep to myself. I lay in the darkness shaking while I listened to Chris breathing.

After breakfast we drove to the river and found a secluded spot. I lay on my back and he knelt between my legs to take off my shorts. He lay on his stomach and licked my cock from bottom to top, around my head, back to the base and then to my balls. He put each one in his mouth, one at a time, and rolled them around. His tongue hit the sensitive spot beneath my balls and then he moved down to my pink pucker. His blue eyes peered over my cock and balls as he looked into my eyes. I always watched Chris while he sucked me or fucked me. He always made eye contact with me and held it until it was time for him to come. Then he closed his eyes tightly and shot into whatever orifice he was doing. And then we would kiss while we shivered, letting the orgasm pass as it would. I smiled at him as he ate me, and I could tell that he smiled back, even though I could not see much of his face. He went back to my dick and made it nice and slick. I knew what he was up to. In a moment he got up and put his ass onto my cock. I humped into him as he rode me. I played with his dick while he slid up and down on mine. If he kept doing what he was, I wasn't going to be able to make it last.

"Easy man, you're going to wear out my dick!" I yelled as he picked up his pace.

The smile he gave me was wicked. He squeezed his ass ring around my cock, starting at the base and pulling up to the head. He relaxed only a little as he slid it back inside him. I rolled my eyes as he kept up the pace, driving energy through my groin and trying to pull my cum out of me. He succeeded, all too soon. I tried desperately to hold back because I loved the feeling of my hardness inside him. But he was relentless in wanting to feel my load inside him.

"Come on my bud, shoot your load. I want to feel it. You can't hold back because I'm not going to let you."

With that I shot inside him. My cock became slicker as he rode it. I hadn't come in a week so that our first time back together would feel right. Did it ever. I shivered from head to toe as he pulled every drop of cum from my hot balls. When I was empty, he knelt between my legs and cleaned me up. My cock shone in the bright sunlight. My balls were still tingling by the time he lay on top of me to kiss me. Then he put his ass up to my lips so I could clean him out. He craved my tongue in his ass. I shoved it in deep and licked his hole as clean as I possibly could. Then I put my middle finger up his ass and messaged his insides as I jacked his cock. He was about to come as he put his dick into my open mouth. He shot immediately, filling my mouth and throat with the creamiest load I remembered having. It overflowed my lips so he knelt down to kiss me and to take some of his own cream. He licked his lips as he sat back on my stomach.

"Thanks bud, I knew it was going to be great to have sex with you again. I needed it bad!" he said to me, playing with my nipples at the same time.

"I think I would have blown apart in a cream-filled explosion if we had to wait one more day. Are we always going to feel like horny teens?"

"I hope so. I like feeling like that."

We spent the rest of the day walking in the woods with binoculars, sitting beside the water and feeding the wildlife, napping as the water bubbled over the rocks that Nature had so carefully placed, and kissing. I think we would be the first recipients ever of a lip transplant because we were surely going to wear ours out. We could have had more sex. For today, once was enough. We wanted to be close. We both loved cock, but we loved holding each other even more.

Around 4:00 in the afternoon we were about to head back to the car so we could be home for dinner by 5:30. Chris suddenly grabbed his back and fell to his knees, screaming in pain as he went down. It caught me by surprise and he pulled me down with him.

"Jesus, what is it bud? What's happening?"

"My back! It feels like a knife went in. Arhhhh, help me my man, help me!"

I put his left arm over my shoulder and held him tightly with my right arm. He was pale as could be and very obviously in terrible pain. Only one thought went through my head. He spoke the words that I didn't want to think about.

"Please Joe, tell me it's not the cancer again. Please tell me. I don't want it to be. I'm so scared."

"I know you are bud. Maybe it's something else. It doesn't matter what it is, I'm right here and I ain't leaving your side. Come on bud, the car is just over there. I'll get you to the hospital."

I put my four-way flashers on as I stepped on the gas. When I hit the main road ten minutes later, I drove like a mad man, using my horn and passing cars at every turn. I kept both hands on the steering wheel but Chris held onto my arm tightly. Each spasm of pain would make him squeeze it harder. The tears flowed down his cheeks in a steady stream. No color had returned to his face yet. I kept glancing at him out of the corner of my eye, not chancing more than a quick look because of the speed I was doing. For ten more minutes I realized that there was not a cop in sight. And yet I can drive 10 miles over the limit on any highway in the state and find a trooper on my tail. My heart was beating like a hammer, thundering in my head. Damn, couldn't I possibly get an escort here?

I was driving fast enough that I missed the main entrance to the hospital. I didn't know where the Emergency Room entrance was until I stepped hard on the brakes and glanced around. In a second I was driving like a mad man again, speeding to the side corner of the hospital. I held Chris in place as I came to a quick stop and blew my horn several times. A nurse came out to see what was going on and then ran back inside for help. She and another nurse came with a gurney. We put Chris on it and they ran like hell, leaving me standing on my own. I had to call his folks but I didn't know what was wrong yet. I called them anyway; they had the right to know their son was here.

Rob pulled into the space beside Chris' car less than ten minutes later. He was at least as pale as Chris had been.

"Joe, man what's wrong with him? Mom and dad are on their way."

"Dunno yet, man. He's hurting but it was in his lower back. Come on, let's wait outside for your folks. I feel like I'm suffocating in here."

The folks arrived five minutes later, not surprised that Rob was here already. I think he was going to get a lecture later about his driving. Good thing they didn't see mine then because I would have been grounded for a year. Someone was watching out for us because there were a dozen opportunities to die at the hands of another driver along the way. We sat and waited for a doctor to come out. It was an hour before anyone realized that Chris didn't get here by himself and came looking for us.

Chris' family doctor happened to be in the hospital today and stepped in to take care of him. The young man, only five years out of med school and in his own practice, came to sit with us.

"Chris is okay folks. He's got a kidney infection. The rest of the first round of tests was clear. We're going to keep him overnight at least so we can make a thorough check, but I'm fairly sure we won't find anything more wrong."

There was an audible sigh of relief from the four of us. Pop put his hand on my shoulders and thanked me for getting Chris here right away. I told him he would be surprised where we had come from and that he ought to take it easy on Rob for the way he probably drove here since what I had done was at least a dozen times worse. Rob looked at me and nodded. I wasn't pressed for an answer to where we started the high-speed journey today. Mom had a good idea because of what we had stolen from her kitchen to feed the wildlife. I got a hug from her and a squeeze on the shoulder from Rob.

"You three go ahead and see him. I'll wait out here. They probably won't let me in since I'm not family."

"You are family, Joe. You're as real a brother to Chris as I am," said Rob. "Come on, man, you too."

Rob and I let the folks in first. They stayed long enough to make sure he was comfortable and okay. Mom said she'd have a good lunch waiting for him when he got home tomorrow. The folks left Rob and I, knowing that all was okay. Rob sat down on the edge of Chris' bed when Chris made room for him. I stood beside him. Chris took my hand and ran his thumb over my knuckles. He introduced me to Rob as Joe Andretti, Mario's younger brother, and telling Rob that no matter how fast he drove to get here, I would have passed him at least twice on the way.

We stayed until past the end of visiting hours. The nurse finally came in a second time and shooed us out of the room. She was right that we needed rest and that we ought to let Chris have his. I followed Rob home, having no clue how to get there from here. He and I sat on the front porch as the rain poured out of the night sky.

"Joe, you are a blessing and a half, man. I gotta tell you, so you know. I love you, Joe. You're incredibly special and I want you to know how I feel. I'm so glad you were the one with Chris today. I would have panicked so bad."

"Thanks, RobMan. That's good to hear. I've liked you from day one, you know. Chris talks about you constantly. He misses you so bad when you are both at school. I felt more like a brother to you today than I ever have. When I saw how pale you were getting out of your car ... well, I just knew that your heart had to be in your throat with worry."

"You saved my ass from a chewing out, too. I owe you."

"No man, you don't owe me anything. If you could have seen me, even knowing how desperate I was to get Chris to the hospital, you would have made me pull over for a couple minutes to get my senses back. I think I finally did, a few minutes ago. At least I don't hear my heart beating in my head any more. God, I was so scared. He went down so fast and screamed so painfully. He begged me to tell him he was okay."

"He is, isn't he? The doc wouldn't lie to us?"

"No man, the doc wouldn't lie to us. Chris is okay."

"Okay, JMan, I believe you. I know you wouldn't lie, even if everyone else did. Wanna watch a movie with me for awhile?"

"Actually, I want to go back and sit with Chris. I haven't figured out how just yet. Wanna go with me?"

His eyes lit up and he smiled ear to ear. A conspiracy -- he was up for it. The worst that could happen was that we'd get thrown out of Chris' room. With very little to lose, Rob drove us to the hospital.

When we got to the hospital, we went in through the main lobby. From there we went to a public men's room down the hall. There was a nurse in the hallway toward the other end, attending to patients there. She had already been to Chris' room. Rob was standing behind me as we were about to enter Chris' room. The nurse caught us. She put her hands on her hips and shook her head. A moment later she signaled for us to go ahead. I blew her a kiss down the hall and she smiled, still shaking her head. A half hour later she came in to the room with two pillows and two blankets.

"These aren't for you because you're not here, but I need a place to put them for the night," she said as she left the room.

Rob and I giggled. There was a glimmer in his eye that he had outsmarted the nurse. In truth, she loved Chris and Rob both. She had taken care of Chris when he was here before. Rob would never leave his side and she loved that someone would stand by, even breaking the rules. For now they were her rules and we would be quiet so as not to get her in trouble for aiding and abetting. We settled back in the oversized chairs, each with a pillow behind our heads and a blanket wrapped tightly around our shoulders, sitting on either side of Chris' bed. He slept soundly. When the nurse came back in, Rob was sound asleep and I was wide awake, holding Chris' hand, yet again rubbing my thumb over his knuckles. She patted me on the shoulder and said to relax. Everything was okay and Chris could go home in the morning. She kissed me on my cheek and said that I was a good man to stand by my friend.

At 11:30 Chris was sprung, an antibiotic prescription in his pocket and feeling quite a bit better than yesterday afternoon. We didn't go overboard this week, but we did all the things we wanted to. Rob managed to get a half-day off on Wednesday so we drove down to Springfield and played tourist for the afternoon. Chris' appetite still left a little to be desired, but he managed to get a sandwich and some soup into him. I bought us ice cream in the mall, which seemed to agree with him as well. When we got home, we stopped by the house long enough to wash up and then headed out to the movies. When we got home again, we sat on the porch for an hour, listening to the crickets in the night. Rob once again went to bed before we did, but we didn't stay up much longer.

"You saved my life, my bud, in case I didn't say thanks yet."

"And you saved mine a long time ago, my man. I'm glad we're here for each other, even if you scared me half out of my wits. But I belong by your side, through whatever, so here is where you'll always find me."

"You're aces, Joe. I love you so much."

"I'm glad you love me, Chris. I don't know what I'd do without your love. Here's to a lifetime of it."

With that, we went up to bed. It took me no time to get to sleep. No bad dreams tonight, only peace and thankfulness that my buddy loved me, and that I loved him too.

The rest of the week passed smoothly. Chris and I were friends first so we went out on some journey each day and spent time in the other's company. He wanted me to make love to him but I was hesitant. I told him I would rather know that I was not the cause of his distress on Monday and that I'd feel better if we waited until we got back to school. He was not disappointed in my caution. He understood and accepted it. He did not blame me for causing him the distress on Monday; it was just a matter of coincidence and something would have happened anyway that day, whether or not we had fooled around. I was okay with that. Chris didn't lie to me or say something just to make me feel better.

On Saturday we saw Rob off to school. He had an eight hour drive ahead. We would stay until tomorrow since it would take less than three hours for us to get back on campus. Rob gave me a hug and held me close as he said goodbye. He would be glad to see me again at Thanksgiving and I told him that we'd call him during the week to say hi.

On Sunday Chris and I had a breakfast fit for kings with the folks. I think Mom worried that we would not eat well once we were at school. Though Chris and I were both slim, eating was not usually a problem. We would run again each morning and play basketball and soccer. We would at least try to eat the right things, given the pace at which we ran around each day. We assured her that we would not starve ourselves to death and hinted that a "care package" from home would insure that.

With a full belly and two cars packed with the school year's worth of needs, we hit the road and headed for New Hampshire. Yes Chris will call when we get in. Yes we will drive the speed limit, or at least close to it. Yes we would be careful out there. And, of course, yes we loved you and we're thankful you love us. We each got hugs from both parents and good wishes along the way. Three months wasn't so long to be away, but think of us each day anyway we said to the folks. They assured us they would. Chris was loved by his folks -- as was I.

To be continued ...