15. Cross-Currents

I was hanging out with Angie on a Monday evening the first time the feeling really gripped me.

We were poolside at Angie's, relaxing, enjoying the summer evening. A rain had come through earlier in the day and cooled things down. The gathering dusk, the sunset pastels painting the sky, the beautifully landscaped back yard that Angie's mom tended with such care, all combined to put us in a romantic mood. Her dad had been swimming laps earlier and had the radio tuned to an oldies station; we hadn't bothered to change it. Now her parents were out to dinner and a movie, and the two of us were enjoying the solitude.

She was dangling her feet in the water and I was sitting behind her. I was massaging her shoulders and stopping occasionally to kiss her. It was "Mellow Monday" on the radio station and the DJ was playing it laid-back, soulful, and wistful with slow tunes from the seventies. As the old Kansas song "Dust in the Wind" faded out, I heard the mournful opening piano licks of a Bob Seger tune my dad loved.

It was the words, that voice, that brought it all on:

It seems like yesterday,
But it was long ago:
Janie was lovely; she was the queen of my nights,

There in the darkness with the radio playin' low...
And the secrets that we shared,
The mountains that we moved--
Caught like a wildfire out of control,
'Til there was nothing left to burn, and nothing left to prove.
And I remember what she said to me,
How she swore that it never would end;
I remember how she held me, oh so tight;
Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then:
Against the wind--
We were runnin' against the wind.
We were young and strong: we were running against the wind.

As the song played, my mood began to shift a little. Before I'd had a chance to realize it, I was brooding over the words.

"Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then"...Did it happen like that?

Couldn’t be; I was eighteen and I knew where I was headed. As summer vacation faded into my last year of high school, life was good.

I did a quick inventory of the signposts. By any measure you could care to use, high school had been successful for me. I'd established myself with teachers and peers alike; I had a tight group of friends; and I was an athlete. I had a great social life, and I got along with pretty much everyone.

I'd gotten some looks from a number of universities. My grade-point average was high. Not stratospheric, like Angie's; she was on her way to becoming class salutatorian, while I tended to skate by on my ability without pushing the extra mile. Still, I'd be graduating in the top ten. And my SAT scores were strong.

Several of the coaches I'd been talking with had made some tentative verbal offers of soccer-scholarship money, and all of them had said I'd be eligible for a variety of academic scholarships. I was strongly leaning toward a particular small liberal-arts college in the state; it had strong industry connections in computer science, which suited my future plans well. And it had a strong soccer team; I'd been told by the admissions department that between my academics and my soccer, I could very likely count on a full ride.

My thoughts turned from my own future toward my buddy Matt's. He was also getting some looks from universities because of his football talent. His grades were solid: if things held, he’d be graduating with a B average. I took some satisfaction in that, because I'd worked hard to keep him going academically. In particular, there was a smaller Division II school up north that was looking to recruit a freshman quarterback with a strong arm. Matt looked like a great prospect to them, so there was every possibility that he would be attending college above the Mason-Dixon line.

Angie, for her part, knew exactly where she was heading: the University of Texas with a biology major, to be followed by medical school.

The sound of her feet splashing in the water broke in on my musings. I tried to force my thoughts back into the here-and-now. The future would take care of itself; right now I had this night, and a year of high school ahead, and a girlfriend and a best friend with whom I could enjoy it all. I'd known them for a decade; they were part of a world whose stability and security I'd taken for granted.

But that was the problem, wasn't it? Decades come to an end. And here I was, totally immersed in a world that would likely fade out forever as the three of us walked across the stage, took our diplomas, and walked on in different directions.

As I sat there, the Bob Seger tune ate at me. "Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then"...the words kept pulling me away from Angie's back yard and into my head, where half-formed thoughts and impossible questions began to chase each other.

What will this year bring...or the year after that?

Are we running against the wind?

You have another question, I heard a voice inside say.

I stopped massaging Angie's shoulders.

"Andy, what's wrong?"

I didn't hear her at first. "Huh? Nothing...just daydreaming." I kissed her and began rubbing her back. I needed a distraction. Without warning, I pushed her into the pool, and dived in after her. She screamed in surprise, and before I'd had a chance to orient myself after I surfaced, she dunked me in retaliation. I swam under her, came up behind her, and unhooked her bikini top. Then I swam her into standing depth, pulled her back up against my chest, and cupped her breasts in my hands, kissing her on the neck and shoulders.

I know how to deal with mind-games, I told the voice.

I'll be back, it assured me.


The football team began the school year with some confidence. It looked as though we had a chance to be contenders in the district, possibly beyond.

The first weekend in September we were scheduled for our second game of the season. I had high hopes for the weekend; we'd won our first game in a 31-3 rout against a tough team, so we were feeling pretty good about ourselves and our chances on Friday. On top of that, the Monday after was a teacher workday, so we'd be having a three-day weekend, our second in a row. I was looking forward to celebrating our impending victory with a couple of days of loafing.

But when Friday night's game came around, we found ourselves in a dogfight. Our offense played well, but so did theirs. The battle was hard-fought, and exhausting; finally, in the last half-minute of play, we managed a victory, 31-28.

I'd taken a beating from their defense; there were bruises on my bruises. Still, there's nothing like a victory to spike the adrenaline. The hell with exhaustion; I was ready to celebrate.

We were whooping it up in the locker room after the game. I was goofing around with Matt when inspiration hit me. "Matt...let's go to the beach for the weekend. Just you and me. One last summer fling."

Matt's look told me he thought I was nuts; the beach was an 8-hour drive south.

I said, "I'm serious. I don't have shit to do this weekend and I wanna fuckin' go to the beach!"


"Now! Let's just run home and grab some shit and go."

He was dubious. "Where are we gonna stay?"

"Let's see if Ruben's folks have the condo rented out; if not, we can snag the keys. You know they'll let us. Even if we can't, we can just take your van and camp on the beach. C'mon, Matt, let's fuckin' do it!"

Matt shook his head, rolled his eyes...and finally broke into a there's-no-point-in-arguing grin.

So we showered up and went home. Everybody was still awake at my house. My dad congratulated me on the game and we talked about it a little; then I called over to Ruben's.

It was a go. I invited Ruben to come along, but he had weekend plans that involved his girlfriend. That was fine with me; I’d been spending most of my time with Angie lately and hadn’t had much opportunity to hang out with my bud. I was looking forward to spending a weekend with Matt, relaxing and goofing around on the beach.

I took a few minutes to get some supplies together.  Then I went down the hall to Beth’s room and asked if I could borrow her boom box for a couple of days. "Okay," she said, "But I’ll kill you if you get sand or saltwater in it."

"Come here, girl," I said, pulling her into a hug. "I promise if I ruin it I’ll buy you a new one."

I took it back to my room and started carrying all the stuff downstairs to the driveway. Matt got there around 11:45, and we set off at midnight.


We made it to Mustang Island around eight o'clock the next morning. When we got to the condo, we unloaded the van, then collapsed on the big bed in the front bedroom for a few hours of sleep.

I'd set the alarm for 1 p.m. When it went off, I got up and moved my stuff to the back bedroom so we'd each have a room to ourselves. Matt broke out the sandwiches and beer we'd packed in the ice chest. We had lunch out on the balcony, enjoying the ocean view. Then we changed into some beachwear and spent a day in the sun and the surf.

September in Texas is still summer; the weather was ideal. The weekend had turned out to be perfect for spending time in the surf. We swam, drank a lot of beer, fished, and cooked our catch; we played some beach volleyball with a few other high school kids and college types who were there for the weekend; and we talked a little, one-on-one, with some of the ladies. There weren’t any crowds; the weekend after Labor Day wasn't a high-traffic period.

That evening we ended up at the pool. The condo had a football-field-length swimming pool divided into four tiers, each tier lower than the one before it and connected to the previous one by a waterfall. At the deep end there was a giant water slide, and a diving board. Around the perimeter there were about six hot tubs; there was also an island with a hot tub in the middle of the pool.

About ten o'clock that evening, Matt and I found ourselves in the hot tub on the island, with two college girls. There were only a few other people in that whole huge pool; it felt deserted.

I was talking with a blond named Candace. We'd gravitated toward each other since we first met earlier in the day. I had to keep the willpower going full-throttle, because she was putting the moves on me. It was an effort not to hook up, but I had no intention of cheating on Angie.

Matt was enjoying the attention of a brown-haired knockout named Brooke. And Matt wasn't spoken for, so there was a little more going on there. When Candace started making me sweat a little too much I decided I needed to cool down, so I offered to buy her a drink. There was actually a bar in the pool, and Matt and I had gotten fake ID's made during the summer.

I pulled myself out of the tub, tugging at my swim trunks to keep them from clinging to me and calling attention to the bone-on I had going. I walked over to the chair where I'd put my stuff. Reaching under my towel, I pulled a twenty and my ID out of my wallet. As I stepped back into the pool and waded with Candace over to the bar, I turned back to the hot tub to see if I could get Matt and Brooke anything. It turned out that Matt already had pretty much what he needed: He had Brooke's top off and was kissing her nipples...and she had her hand down his pants.


I readjusted my swim trunks, which were doing a lousy job of concealing my interest in the proceedings.

Candace and I sat at the bar and talked. The thought of getting with a college girl excited me, and I told her I'd love to do just that. But, I told her, I loved my girlfriend and wouldn't cheat on her. She was fine with it and said she liked just hanging out with me. She had just started her sophomore year in college and had broken up with her boyfriend the previous spring. It shocked her when I admitted to her that Matt and I were still in high school, but I could tell she was into me anyway. It would have been so easy...

But I wasn't going to fuck up. So Candace and I talked into the night, easy, casual, and chaste. Around midnight I said goodbye, kissed her on the cheek, and went back to the condo.

I was watching TV and drinking a beer when Matt came dragging in around 1 a.m. I nodded at him as he came over to the couch and sat down next to me. From the look in his eyes and the grin on his face I knew he had a story to tell.

I said, "Well?"

He started chuckling and said, "Shit, Andy, she jerked me off in the water!"

"Jesus, Price," I said, wrinkling my nose in disgust. "Are you tellin' me you fuckin' discharged your weapon in the hot tub? Gross, man."

Matt was indignant. "Hey, tell it to her...she's the one who started pumpin' my dick."

"Yeah, and I'll bet you were beggin' her to stop the whole time."

"You know it," he said, his face a study in sincerity.

I burst out laughing, and before long we were both practically rolling on the floor at the thought of some poor schmuck having to get the cum out of that hot tub. It never occurred to us that they'd probably just drain it.

We stayed up a while and watched some TV.  Then we went out on the back balcony. There were plenty of stars out, but no people, so we smoked a joint and sat around half-baked, talking and enjoying the night. We went back inside after a while and watched some more TV.  Finally we went to bed around 2 a.m.

I was glad I'd had this inspiration. I hadn't been ready to leave the beach behind for the season, and who knew when I'd get back? My Jock Posse days were almost over, and everything else about high school was coming to a close.

As I lay there reflecting, it spoke up again. The voice.

Are you ready to talk about it?

"Shut up," I said out loud.

I rolled over and went to sleep.


We got up early on Sunday.  In the morning you have the best chance of finding nice shells washed up on the beach. We walked up and down the shoreline and picked up a few that looked good enough to take back.  We set them on top of our beach towels. Matt had this lame idea that someday he was going to open the only sports equipment store in the Dallas area with a surf shop; all summer long on the Jock Posse trips he had me helping him collect shells to use for decoration in his future enterprise.

He waded out into the surf; I followed him. We let the waves toss us around for a couple of hours. A little before noon, we went back to the condo, spent from the exertion. I grilled some hamburgers for lunch and we relaxed for a couple of hours. We watched some NFL football and played some poker; I won fifteen dollars from him. We watched a little more TV, talked a little more about football season.
Later that afternoon we went out to the pool and executed ridiculous daredevil moves from the water slide and the diving board. We entertained ourselves for about an hour and a half; afterwards, we lay out in the sun.

I was pleased to see I'd tanned up some. I burn easier than I tan, so I'd been pretty steady with the sunscreen.  I'd figured that as a result I'd stay pretty white, so I was happy to see my skin darkening just a little.  But Matt's skin had bronzed up beautifully, accenting the tight, cut lines of his musculature.  And the combination of UV rays and saltwater and chlorine had added sun-bleached accents to his sandy brown hair.

As he lay there on his back, napping, my mind wandered all over the place. Without really intending to at first, I let my eyes run up and down his sleeping form, studying him.

I spent several minutes staring at his incredible quarterback's arms. He was resting them at his sides, palm sides up.

I scanned down his torso, and back up.

The hair covering his muscular calves caught my attention, and I admired the way his blue swim trunks looked against his golden-brown skin.

The waistband of his trunks rode low enough to expose a couple of inches of skin below his belly button. A delicate trail of brown hair led to his waistband--and beyond, I thought.  I shuddered and pushed the thought away.

Years of crunches had chiseled a set of abs that most of the jocks at school envied. His chest was smooth and lean: sleek and defined, but not steroidal. I watched, mesmerized, as it rose and fell. Without consciously realizing it, I synchronized my breathing with his.

I let my eyes close, breathing deep and slow. God, looking at him brought me such peace.

I lay down on my back next to him to soak up a few more rays.


We'd need to leave for home around noon on Monday, so we decided to cap things off that evening by cooking on the beach and camping out. We set up late that afternoon. Matt had brought some firewood along, and he drove his van down to our site to give us a little windbreak and some shade. I had a small grill along with plenty of charcoal. After we'd made camp, he hauled out the grill and the firewood. I threw some newspaper down for kindling and set the logs on top of it.

"I need some exercise after all this drinking and sittin' on my ass," Matt said. Without another word, he turned and took off running down the beach, and I followed. After a two-mile jog, we took another dip in the ocean.

An hour later, we had a grill and a campfire going.

We kept it simple. Grilled hot dogs and chips; beer and a little weed; a campfire; music provided by my CDs and Matt's guitar. He'd brought his Fender Strat. He had a nifty little device he could plug into it so it would play through an ordinary radio tuner, or in this case, my sister's boombox.

As the sun went down, we were feeling washed out from our day in the surf, but it was a good feeling: mellow, relaxed. We were sitting side-by-side, watching the tide, drinking our beer, talking casually; laughing about the encounters we’d had over the weekend.

As my CD finished playing, we lit a couple of joints, and Matt picked up his guitar. He specialized in the punk bands, but I knew he had quite a few slow tunes under his belt, for seduction purposes. It was amazing to see how the girls responded to his music.

He started out singing and playing some four-chord, up-tempo punk stuff. It always astounded me to hear him sing. Who'd have thought, looking at Matt, that his singing voice would be so pleasing? He had a warm, innocent vocal delivery, but there was an edgy, weatherbeaten quality to it that was perfect for rocking out, and not only that: It made the ballads sear. Pain wrapped in velvet. It was stunning in its intensity.

I wondered why he'd never put in with any of the musician types. We had several amateur rock bands among the musically talented kids at school. As I listened to him, it struck me that he could have been the front man for any of them, if that had been his thing. He definitely had the pipes. And he was easy on the eyes too, I mused. I let my thoughts drift, envisioning Matt gripping a mike, all sweaty and punked out, singing his heart out while every girl on the front row fantasized about fucking him.

I was shaken out of my reflections by his next selection. Out of nowhere, he started in on an old Sarah McLachlan tune he'd heard me chord around with on the piano some months before:

I will remember you;
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by--
Weep not for the memory.

I stared at him, listening to him make his way through the poignant lyrics and the delicate chords.  By the light of the campfire, his tan skin had taken on a glow.

The thought came to me again: in less than a year, we'd go our separate ways.

A stab of grief knifed through me, catching me totally by surprise. I tried to speak over it, but my voice stuck in my throat. I struggled to keep my composure, but as he sang the melancholy tune, the words hit too close to home.

I stood up--almost jumped up--in an attempt to walk it off, get myself together a little. When I'd gotten a safe distance from him I stood, gazing into the fire, as he finished the song.

He put down his guitar and looked at me with curiosity. Slowly, a wistful smile appeared. He got up, walked slowly over to me, and placed a hand on my bare shoulder. "We've been through it, haven't we, Phillips?"

"Yeah, Matt, we have, man," I was able to get out. "We've been through it. Together."

"It's gonna be weird next year not having my boy around," he said.

My throat locked up again. I managed a "No shit," but it was almost a whisper. I stared down at the beach sand.

Neither of us said anything for what seemed like an eternity. I wanted to say--

What did I want to say?

I met his eyes with mine and said, "I kept my promise."

"I know you did," he said quietly.

"Just like when we were nine; just like always. 'I promise I won't let anything bad happen to you again.' "

He looked at me and nodded.

"This year's not the end of it," I added hoarsely. "I don't care where the fuck either of us are. Whenever; wherever. If you ever need it...I got your back."

He reached for me and pulled me into a hug. We stood there wordlessly in the firelight, holding on to each other. The sea breeze and the rush of the waves were the only sounds I could hear.

I rested my head on his shoulder. I didn't want to let him go. I could smell the sun and the sweat and the salt on him. And I could smell his body's own natural scent, familiar to me as my own name.

My breathing slowed and deepened, holding him in my arms like that, just as it had earlier, when we were lying out in the sun. But from a darker place there was an urgency, bordering on panic, swirling around inside me. Breaking through the calm and the peace, it shouted, you can't do this! You'll ruin everything! You have to let go; you have to sit down; you have to get away from him!

I had a fleeting mental image of a chain snapping, overpowered by opposing forces pulling on each end.

To make things even worse, my dick was hard as a rock.

This is what it feels like when a person falls apart, I noted absently.

In the internal chaos, my defenses slipped. In the deep peace of communion with his body, almost reflexively, without even being fully aware of it, I lifted my head and kissed him, twice, on the lower part of his neck.


He took in a sharp breath, and I felt his body stiffen. That snapped me into conscious awareness. I shoved him away, horrified. Oh, shit...oh, fuck. What the fuck am I doing?

I looked at him, panic-stricken, and sputtered out, "Fuck, Matt, I'm sorry, man, I don't know what--"

But before I'd even gotten my sentence out, he reached out to me again and pulled me into himself. Staring into my eyes, he whispered, "It's okay." I looked into his face and saw only reassurance. I knew my own face must be a mask of fear.

He smiled gently, ruffled my hair with his hand, and said, "I've known for a long time."

I pulled away again, agitated. Scared. Known what? "Matt...you know I'm not--"

"Never said you were," he replied, cutting me off before I'd had time to get it out. "I never said you were.  But I know what I see in your eyes when you look at me.

"Look, it's no big deal, and it's no fuckin' surprise." He paused, and chuckled. "Well, maybe it was a little bit of a surprise. But maybe...maybe now’s the time to talk about it.  I mean, if you want."

I couldn't talk about anything. Even the weather would have been an embarrassing topic. Shame rained down on me in wet, ruining sheets. I clamped my eyes shut and was shaking my head back and forth, trying to deny this, deny everything, press the "undo" button, make it go away and back to the way it had been only moments before. Then slowly and deliberately, he pulled me back to him again, until his arms were around me and I was caught in his embrace.

I couldn't speak. I couldn't look at him.

The inner voice I’d banished twice before came to the foreground.

Well. Here we are, right up against it this time, no? Maybe you should have talked to me.

I looked into Matt’s eyes. My silence wasn't helping him, and later--too much later--I understood that he was struggling as much as I was. He sighed and tried to fill the deafening silence.

"I don't know what you are, and I don't care," he said. "I'm not the same as you that way, I don't think." He frowned. "No...I'm sorry, man; that doesn't sound right. I didn't mean it like...I mean...look Andy, I know you're not gay. We've both...well, you know. Until Angie, you've been as bad a player as me." He massaged my wound-up shoulder muscles as he spoke.

I flashed back to the evening at Angie's, rubbing her shoulders and wondering what the future would bring.

"But I know what I know," he said. "Look me in the eyes and tell me you don't want to kiss me again."

I was devastated. I realized now that, unconsciously, I'd tried for so many years to hide this from him, hide it from myself, hide it from us; now here it was spilled all over the place.

I had been running against the wind.

So this is how it ends, I thought dismally.

He shook me. "Jesus, Andy, help me out here! I suck at talking about deep shit like this," he said. "I can't do this by myself."

I heard the words but the meaning wasn't getting through. He was going to hate me now.

It was over.

He put his hands on each side of my face and lifted my head until I was forced to look at him. I still couldn't meet his eyes. "Goddammit! Did you hear what I said? Andy, please--please--don't flip out on me. It's all good with us. It's not any new thing. I told you, I knew it a long time ago."

He was silent for a long time. >From the distant place my mind had gone, I nevertheless saw that he didn't know how to continue, what to say, what to do next. But I wasn't in any condition to help.

Finally he spoke:

"I don't...I don't mind it.  In fact, I guess...I guess I like it."

I stared at his shoulder, dimly aware of the fact that I'd heard him speak.

What did he say?

"I love you, bud," he continued. "You know that. There's nobody on the whole fuckin' planet who means as much to me. You did keep your promise. I don't think you even know how much you kept your promise. And if you want to love me like that, I...I can. I can love you like that, tonight. And it's okay."

He pulled me closer to him. I tried to resist, but couldn’t; he met my resistance by pulling me toward him even more forcefully.

I would have broken away if I could have. I would have run away if I could have. But at that point I didn't have the will left to counter his insistence. Defeated, I laid my head back on his shoulder. My arms wrapped tentatively around his torso. We stood there silently once more, embracing in the dark.

His steady breathing, his strong arms, his silence, calmed me. Gradually I began to make my peace with it: he said it was okay, right?

What had changed, really?

Nothing, if I could believe him.

Slowly, I brought my head up from his shoulder, and finally, with some effort, looked him in the eyes.

He smiled at me. His eyes sparkled. What I saw in them gave me some hope that the words he said might be true. At least for tonight.

He continued to knead my shoulders, working to loosen the tense muscles. I closed my eyes and let him take me with his touch. Gradually, he eased off the massage and pulled me by the shoulders even closer to him, until my nose was practically touching his.

"We can do this," he said. "I know you got the balls to do this. So quit moping. It's good."

And slowly, gently, he put his lips on mine.

I pulled back a little. I looked into his eyes again, silent. Questioning. Are you sure?

He held my gaze steady with his, smiling, silent. He nodded. Of course I am. Trust me.

Encouraged, I kissed him back.

I wrapped my arms around him and we kissed again, cautiously, a few times. He looked at me and finally I was able to smile at him.

"That's better," he said. He laid his head on my shoulder as I'd done with him. I caressed his hair with my hand. Then he brought his lips to mine again, and this time he placed his mouth, open, tightly over mine.

As I felt his tongue enter my mouth and find mine, I instinctively thrust against him with my crotch. Catching myself at what I had done, I pulled away a little; he just laughed, and said, "I told you; it's okay. I don't expect you to stop with only the kissing." He grinned at me. Practically leered.

It helped, a little. That part seemed as good as always: his sense of humor. In response I put my mouth on his and began French-kissing him again, even more forcefully than before.

He was right there with me, into it. I had to fight the sense that this was an absurd dream.

The stubble of his beard against my face sent jolts of sensation straight to my aching dick; the feel of his chest rising and falling against my own began to overcome my urge to escape.

I let my hands slide lower, down to his butt; he grinned, and I grinned back and smacked him hard on the left cheek.

As the fear subsided, I was able to focus more clearly on what remained:




I began kissing him on the neck again. I was still scared, but I needed him so much, and he seemed okay with it. I started kissing a little lower, moving toward his pecs. I stopped, a little nervous, and looked up at him. His breathing was getting deeper. He put his hands back on my shoulders, nodded affirmatively at me, and pushed down gently as if to emphasize the point. I began kissing his left nipple, circling my tongue around it; then I moved over to his right nipple. He moaned quietly, "Oh, God, Andy."

I got down on my knees and my mouth continued its southward journey down his torso. I had a destination. But I wanted to spend an infinity with each part of him, tasting him, feeling his skin on my face, breathing in his scent.

Finally I got to the little trail near his belly button. I kissed as much of it as I saw; the rest disappeared into his waistband.

Then I put my hands back on his ass, pulled him in tight and kissed the fabric-covered outline of his dick.

His breathing became a little ragged. I hesitated as I realized the line I was about to cross:

There are names for this. Words. They're not pretty.

But he was so loving, so tender, so willing to let me do it, I didn't care. He put his hands in my hair, and stroked my head and the back of my neck gently. As his breathing got a little faster, he began to thrust lightly against my mouth. "Go ahead," he moaned softly.

My hands were shaking as I pulled his shorts down. He stepped out of them, leaned over, and kissed the top of my head. His cut seven-incher pointed toward the brilliant night sky.

I'd seen Matt's dick hundreds of times before, and had even seen it hard a few times. But I'd never had my face so close to it.

He was thick, and the head of his dick flared out much like mine did. God, even down here, he’s a work of art, I thought. I touched the bottom of his balls with my fingertips. A shiver went through his body.

I wasn't completely ready. A part of me panicked at the thought of what he would think of me tomorrow, of what this would do to us tomorrow. Things seem different sometimes after you've gotten off. I'd experienced that before.

But I was past the point of being able to call it off.

I put my face up against him, pressing my nose into his pubes, and breathed in the scent of him: the smell of Matt, mixed with the smell of sex. His pubes tickled my nose. I began kissing him all around his dick.

I kissed his nuts gently and held them in my hand; they hung large and heavy in their sack. Then I let them fall back into place and kissed his inner thighs for a long time, alternating between his right leg and his left, and traveling the full length of them, from his knees upward.

It occurred to me that at this point I could still quit and nobody could call me a cocksucker.

I had to stop for a minute, wrestling with myself.

Matt seemed to know exactly what was going through my head; he began rubbing my back, as he said, quietly, "It's just you and me here. That's all. You can go ahead."

Of course I trusted him, I told myself--and I wanted him so much. I said "What the fuck," out loud, which startled us both and made us laugh.

Slowly I began to kiss and lick my way up the shaft of his dick. His breath was becoming even more forceful. Hearing him, I knew what he was feeling, and it made me happy. I wanted to give him as much intense pleasure as he could possibly feel.

I stood up and kissed him once on the lips and said, "Lie down, Matt." He lay down on the beach towel he'd spread out earlier. I got between his legs and grasped his dick.

He was leaking a good bit of precum. It had pooled in a little bead at the top of his dickhead. I touched the tip of his dick with my tongue and licked off the sticky fluid. That's there because of me, I marveled.

I explored the top part of his dick with my tongue for a while, occasionally hitting spots which made his whole body spasm a little. Finally I decided it was time to get down to business...and, for the first time ever, put a cock in my mouth.


It was almost too much; the thought that I was tasting Matt's intimate stuff had me far beyond turned on. I was overcome with my love for him, and with his willingness to let me love him. He lay on his back, breathing roughly, moaning softly, occasionally holding my head in his hands and thrusting his dick upwards into my mouth.

I began to give him a serious blowjob. I'd never sucked a guy before but I instinctively knew how, knew what felt good when girls blew me.

After a while, he asked, "What if you lie back at little and let me do this from above you?"

I grinned and rolled onto my back.

Pretty soon he was over me, fucking my face. His moans became more frequent and his thrusts quicker, deeper. I liked that, but I wanted a more active role. I had him sit up and spread his legs, and I positioned myself between them. I wrapped a hand around his dick, brought my mouth down on it, and started giving him head again. I got a good rhythm going, moving my mouth up and down rapidly on his shaft. His breathing became panting.

My hands were resting on his inner thighs as I worked on his cock. Finally I felt the muscles in his legs tense up; his breathing became even more insistent, until he said, "Fuck, Andy, you better back off now." In answer I just increased the intensity of the action. He grimaced, grabbed my head tightly, and said "Oh, fuck," and began pumping my mouth full of his juice.

The force of the blasts surprised me; Matt wasn't a "dribbler."

The taste surprised me too. I'd tasted my own cum before, and his wasn't all that different. But all I could think of was that it came from him, that I'd gotten him to empty himself--his lust, his love--into me. I loved it, I loved the taste, and I loved him, and for that brief moment, existence was full and complete, and Bob Seger could go fuck himself.

He must have squirted about eight times; I had to swallow fast. I kept him in my mouth as he was coming down, until he began flinching because it was getting too sensitive.

We lay there silently for a while, listening to the sea. After a few minutes, he started laughing.

"God, Andy," he said. "I never knew it could be that good with a guy." I don't know why, but that made me crack up too.

That was good; it felt normal. This didn't have to become something weird between us.

He sat up and kissed me, one last violent, impassioned French kiss; then he lay back, spent.


We laughed and joked with each other a little bit--trying to show each other it was okay. The scene gradually transitioned back into what it had been before things got crazy.

We opened up another couple of beers, and sat by the light of the fire. He'd never bothered to put his clothes back on; he just sat there naked, talking ordinary, as if nothing had happened.

At some point the conversation began to lag a little. Matt looked at me and said, "You never got off. You got me off but you never got off."

I smiled and said, "I'll live."

"No, man, we gotta get you off." I looked in his eyes and could tell he was serious.

"Well, okay, if you're volunteering."

He smiled. "Okay, then. Take your clothes off," he said.

That was enough to get me hard again. I got naked and sat down by him, figuring he was gonna jerk me off or, if I were lucky, suck my dick. Instead he smoothed out his beach towel and lay down on his back, his hands resting behind his head.

I looked at him, uncomprehending as I sat there beside his chest. I wasn't sure what to do next. Did he want me to sit on his chest and bring my dick to his face?

"We never talk about it much," he said after a moment of silence.

He'd lost me.  "Talk about what?"

"I never say 'thanks' but you know I always feel it."

I was still puzzled. "Thanks for what, Matt? You're my best bud and it's been awesome to have someone like you."

He sat up.  "I'm talkin' about what you said earlier.  You never broke your promise. Ever. You remember that night when we were little?"

I smiled at him.  "No way could I forget."

"I thought about what you said for months," he said. "It was the first time since...since Dad left, that I felt like maybe it would be okay."

"It wasn't anything," I said, dismissing him. "You were my friend; we were just kids. I talked big, but there wasn't anything special to it."

"That's bullshit," he said.  "It must have meant something to you or you wouldn't have said it.  You wouldn't have mentioned it tonight either.  You wouldn't even have remembered it."

"You meant something to me," I said quietly. "The thing about the promise...that was just my scared way of trying to tell you how much I cared."

"You kept me studying," he continued. "You helped me understand. You made me laugh. You kept the bad shit from happening."

I said, "You did all those things for me too."

I hardly had a chance to get those words out before he shook his head and said, "No. You'd have done fine without me. I wouldn't have done fine without you."

"You're not stupid, I replied. "I was just the guy who was there. Somebody else could have done it. You just needed a little encouragement."

"It wasn't just the studying," he said, "and you know that."

He stared out toward the sea.

Looking back at me, he said in a quiet voice, "I never talked much about it. But it hurt. It hurt all the time. Kenny. And my old man."

He paused for a long time, never breaking eye contact with me.

He took a deep breath and went on.  "I never told you this: My mom has a handgun in a little safe under her bed. Back in junior high...well, sometimes I would take it out...I wondered if...God, it just hurt so bad to be alive sometimes; I didn't know if I could keep..." His voice trailed off as he turned his gaze back toward the sea.

My heart started pounding.

"Look, here's what I...here's what I'm saying," he stammered, staring into the waves. "I'm saying you kept me safe. Because you made me laugh. You let me cry sometimes even. You never made me talk about it. You let me just hang out and not say a word. Just being you, you helped me believe it would get better..."

He turned back to look at me. A tear ran down his face. "So I didn't do that thing."

I stared into his eyes, overwhelmed, as he continued.  "And it got better. Because of you."

He was crying a little, and trying to hide it. I thought back on the times when he hurt and I tried to make him laugh. I thought about the diptych with the two photos of us, as children and as teenagers, arms around each other; the younger duo faintly marked--haunted and wounded; the older two, drawing undisguised wholeness from each other, at least for the moment.

"It's like I said," he continued, wiping his eyes with a bare hand. "I've sort of thought for a long time that you wanted this; what we did tonight. And more. I think I'm not exactly that way, whatever it is, but I do love you."

Hearing him say that filled me with a quiet joy. But I had no idea where he was going with all this.

"You made me feel so good tonight. It was incredible. I had no idea it could be that good with you. I never thought about doing that. No, that's not true. I did think about it because...well, because I knew you wanted it. But I was never sure if I could, or even if you'd let yourself. I mean, you're my best friend, but...well, that doesn't usually come with being 'best friends.'

"But when you kissed me tonight...God, it surprised me," he laughed. "Made me jump. But that's when I realized I could. Because I could feel you loving me. And being loved by you is one of the best things in my life.

"I know it was good for you too," he said. "And we just left you hangin' there. I want to make you feel the love too."

He touched my shoulder. "Ten freakin’ years we've been best friends. By now it's like you're inside me, always with me. I can take it one step further...Come inside me tonight. Make love to me. I can do this and I want to do it, for you."

I was so astounded it wasn't fully registering with me.

When I finally was able to open my mouth, I said, "Matt...are you saying you want me to fuck you?"

He smiled a weak smile and said quietly, "Damn, do you have to be so fuckin' crass about it?"

I laughed a little, nervously.

"But yeah, if you have to put it that way," he said, "You can fuck me."

Another long pause intruded. I sat there, considering, not saying anything.

"Why would you do that?" I finally managed to get out.

"Because you want it," he said.

The answer made me unhappy. "I never said anything like that. I never said I wanted it. Loving you: I can't deny that. I never denied it. You've been my best friend forever.

"But fucking: No way. I'd never ask. You can call me a cocksucker now, I guess, but I never said I wanted to fuck you. What makes you think you know I want to fuck you?"

He looked straight through me. "Are you denying it?"

I was silent.

He nodded as if I’d answered the question.

"I owe you," he said quietly.

"You don't owe me anything," I said. "I'm not somebody you have to throw a bone to." I winced as I saw him smile at the choice of words. "You know what the fuck I mean."

"I know what I know," he said. "I told you I could do this. Why won't you let me do this for you? Anyway," he grinned, "I've had a couple of girls play with my hole when we were going at it; it feels pretty damn good. And you know we both done girls up the backside.  If they can take it, why not me?"

I smiled a little.  He was right; we'd both pushed the envelope with some of the wilder girls we'd dated.  "I know you know how to get me ready," he said. "Just let me give you something you want tonight, Andy. I do owe you."

I looked at him and said, "Matt...I tried so hard not to let you know how I felt. I tried so hard not to fuckin' let myself know. I guess I didn't really know until tonight."

"You’re pretty stupid then," he said, smiling.

My head was spinning too much to get a coherent reply out.  "I guess...I mean, what the fuck, I know we probably shouldn't...but I think it would be...you just mean so much to me...And for you to do this..."

Then something else hit me.

"I don't know if you wanna be takin' me up the ass. People die from that shit these days. I mean, I figure I'm safe, but just as a general principle..."

He interrupted: "Dude...you're forgetting. We're here with the Mattmobile."

I had forgotten; Matt's van was a love shack on wheels. And over the past couple of weeks, sometimes Angie and I had "borrowed" his van, so between him and me, we kept his glove compartment well-supplied with condoms and lube.

That settled it. I wanted him with every neuron of my body.  But even if I hadn't, I felt that now if I didn't follow through I'd make him feel ashamed for having offered. "Okay, you're on; your ass is mine," I laughed nervously.

I walked over to the van.  I went to the front seat and grabbed a condom and some lube from the glove compartment.
Walking back over to the campfire, I tore open the package and began unrolling the latex over my cock. Matt was sitting up watching, and I could tell from his face that the implications of this, especially the physical ones, were dawning on him.

I looked at him and said, "We don't have to do this."

"Fuck that," he said. "Bring it. I can take what you got."

I knelt beside him and kissed him on the cheek. "I'll go slow and easy."

"Okay," he said, and lay back down on the beach towel.

I positioned myself over him and he spread his legs and bent his knees. I squeezed some lube on my fingers and rubbed some around on his asshole...and slowly began to insert my index finger. He clamped down, but then relaxed. I worked my finger up and down, then said, "I'm going one more finger, okay?" He closed his eyes and nodded his head. I slowly began to work my index and middle fingers into him.

This time he didn't tighten up as much.

"One more finger and that should do it," I said. He nodded again. This time I put my index, middle, and ring finger together tightly, lubed them up heavily, and slowly began to push them in.  He took in several sharp breaths, and his face tightened in a mask of concentration. Gradually, he relaxed, and I felt tense muscles ease up all over. He seemed to be going with it.

For my part, I was amazed, and turned on, at how soft he felt inside.

"Does it hurt?" I asked, pulling my fingers out of him.

"No...it's fine. Intense, is all. I'm ready. Just go slow."

I lubed up my condom-covered cock. I positioned myself over him, holding myself up by my knees and my left hand, and with my right, I guided my cock to his waiting hole. I pushed slowly, and felt the head of my cock invade him. He breathed in sharply and grimaced a little, but he put his hands on my back and pulled me closer to him. Once I got the head of my cock into him, things seemed to go easier. Matt always had exquisite control of his muscles. I could see him working on keeping those particular muscles relaxed. He breathed deep and slow, and as I eased my way slowly into him, I saw his grimace gradually relax into a smile, until finally he'd taken me to the hilt.

"I'm all the way in," I said. "Are you okay?"

"Better than okay. Go ahead," he said.

And so I did. I began slowly thrusting in and out of him. I put my lips on his; he opened his mouth and we tongue-kissed violently.

Occasionally he'd tighten up and gasp. I'd slow down to a stop while he recovered his control and relaxed his muscles. Before too long he'd figured out the mechanics perfectly. As my dick stroked his insides, and as I brought my face to his neck and chest to kiss him, the scent of his body and of our sex intensified my lust.

The remaining shred of thought upon which I could focus marveled at this fact: here I was, fucking my best bud in the whole world, where 24 hours ago I would have given every penny I had to hide those desires from the both of us.

But in spite of all that, it felt perfect.

I thought about that calm, insistent voice and spoke back to it:

I’m in love with him, and I’m making love to him, and it’s okay. Is that what you wanted me to face?

Yes, the voice replied. Thank you.

As I looked deep into Matt’s eyes between kisses, I ran it past my brain again, just for the sake of making sure I believed it: I was in love with Matt, and I was making love to him.

And it's okay.

No. It wasn't "okay." It was a dream beyond all hope, come true.

Suddenly, I thought of Angie.

I'd cheated on her.

No. It's not the same thing, the voice spoke up.

I agreed.  I love her. This doesn't change that.

Whether I was right about all that or not, I'd deal with it later. Without a trace of guilt, I pushed Angie to the back of my consciousness and focused on the boy I was making love to.

As the intensity of our lovemaking increased, the background scenery and sounds disappeared, and for the moment, just as Angie had when I was making love to her, Matt became my entire universe. At once both lost in him and at home in him, I blurted out, "I love you so much, Matt."

He held me tighter. "I know. I love you too, Andy."

I put my mouth on his, and while I fucked his ass, he fucked my mouth with his tongue, breathing through his nose, fast and deep. After a while I lifted my mouth from his and stared into his eyes as my dick moved up and down inside him. As his eyes stared back into mine, he said, "It's okay. It's good. You feel good in me; I can...I can feel how much you love me."

It was over much too soon. I couldn't hold out. It was too intense. I thrust deep inside him, and growled "Fuck!" He began kissing me fiercely on my lips, my face, my neck, as my dick, buried deep in his guts, pumped its load into the condom. After I was spent I started to pull out, but he said "Wait," and he held me inside. "I wanna finish with you in me."

He began working himself, and pretty soon he tensed up and cried out. He fired off and his cum hit me in the chest four or five times. His orgasm caused the muscles of his ass to grip my dick, and that made me hard again. When he'd finished, I pulled out, pulled the condom off, and jerked myself off to one final orgasm. My jizz shot onto his neck; a couple of drops hit his chin. He scooped them up onto his finger and stuck it into his mouth, his eyes afire with mischief. I laughed long and hard at his goofy expression, then collapsed on top of him, and we kissed and held each other until we fell asleep outside the tent, under the stars.

We woke up around sunrise the next morning, and somewhat self-consciously we disentangled ourselves and put our trunks back on. We broke camp, loaded the stuff into the van, and went back to straighten up the condo. During the early part of the morning we worked in silence. The morning's light had brought reality, and with it, uncertainty.  Ambivalence.  Fear, even. I kept thinking about how he'd told me he'd known I loved him like that for years, and I was beginning to feel uncomfortable, wondering what he was thinking of me now.

We were cleaning up the kitchen in silence. I couldn't stand it anymore. When he walked over to empty the trash compactor, as he reached for the handle, I grabbed his arm.

He looked up at me questioningly and I said, "Matt--I don't know what to--"

He broke in and said, "Andy...it's cool. We're cool. I'm not sorry, and I'm not ashamed, and I'm not embarrassed. It's just fine.

"This was our secret weekend, bro," he added. "Back in the real world it won't change anything, and it won't make me feel weird. It won't make any difference at all. Not after all these years. If you're okay with it, I mean." And to emphasize the point, he grabbed my hand and squeezed it hard in our patented secret-Matt-and-Andy handshake we'd invented in junior high. Then he slapped my shoulder with his other hand.

There was so much I wanted to say; there was so much more I needed to say. At the time, I wasn't even aware of most of it. But he needed to hear me say it was all good. So I simply said, "I got your back, Matt. Always. Count on it."

The ride back to Dallas was subdued, but peaceful. Each of us was caught up in his own thoughts and feelings about the weekend. When we got into town, he took me home and helped me get my stuff back into the house. I walked him back to his van. He opened his door, then, pausing for a minute, turned back to me.

"It was incredible," he said.

I shrugged. "I'm sorry if--"

"Don't be."

And, as if to illustrate his words, he put his arms around me and we hugged there in my driveway. I was struck by the scent of his body, intimately familiar and deeply comforting, and as it had at the coast, a deep peace washed over me once again.

Copyright 2005 by Adam Phillips

Thanks for reading.  I always enjoy getting emails about Cross-Currents, and I'd love to hear from you, especially now that the story has finally taken a "gay" turn.  You can reach me at aaptx28@yahoo.com and I'll do my best to write you back.