SUMMARY: At a time of national turmoil, the lives of four boys become connected as each struggles to accept his sexuality and to address the challenges he faces in life. To the extent the boys succeed in coming to grips with those challenges, it may be in ways that prove surprising or troubling. This story is also being published on my blog and you can find a longer synopsis there. While some events, locations and features in the story have been moved forward or back in time for dramatic and other purposes, it takes place during an era when prejudice against homosexuals is rampant and the gay revolution in America is still in its infancy. Italics are typically used within the story to indicate what a character is thinking or saying to himself. Any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental.
WARNING: Sex is not the primary focus of this story. If you're looking for erotic content, you'll do much better with other stories on Nifty. While sexual content is secondary and incidental, the story does include some scenes that depict sex and violence, sometimes graphically depending upon the characters and circumstances involved. For that reason, the story is intended for mature audiences only. If you do not wish to read such material or it is illegal for you to do so, please look elsewhere. The story remains the property of the author and may not be reproduced in any form without written permission. It is protected by the copyright laws of the United States and other countries. You may download a single copy to read offline and to share with others as long as you credit me as the author, but you may not use this work for commercial purposes. You may not use any of the characters, bars or other fictional locations described in the story in your own work without my explicit permission. Nor may you use, alter, transform, or build upon this story in any way.
AUTHOR NOTES: This is my first effort at writing a story. As a general rule, I only plan to publish one chapter a week, usually on Thursdays. The latest chapter will always be posted on my blog before being published here. Comments and constructive criticism are welcome. Flames will be ignored. If you would like to let me know what you think, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading the story. I hope you enjoy it.
THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER: In Chapter 18, Josh is on his way to visit Nolan in New York City just after Christmas. Nolan insists on getting to the train station early, then starts reminiscing about his life. He recalls an incident that happened on his very first day attending The Barrington School. Something he said as a joke enrages the great grandson of the founder of the school and that sets off four years of enmity between the two boys. Nolan dislikes the school and its students, but working out at the YMCA makes him happier. It’s at the YMCA that he meets Brad, a veteran of the war who is also gay. Attracted to him, Nolan sets in motion a plan to seduce Brad. But the plan backfires when Brad rejects Nolan’s advances. Following him back home, Nolan discovers Brad’s boyfriend has lost a leg in the war. Ashamed of himself for the way he’s treated Brad and for cheating, Nolan finally confesses to Josh, who forgives him.
Part II - Innocence Abused
“Wake up, Nolan,” my Mom said, nudging my shoulder. “You fell asleep, but Joshua’s train is here. He’ll be coming through the door any minute now.”
I opened my eyes and looked around. Then I glanced over at the door through which the passengers were coming.
“Josh,” I shouted, waving, as I saw him come through the door carrying his bag. “Over here, Josh.”
He smiled when he saw me waving and I jumped up and raced over to him. I think he knew I wanted to do more so he stretched out his hand and I shook it.
I guess it was because I had taken my jacket off when we got to Penn Station and was only wearing a t-shirt, but it caught me by surprise nonetheless.
“Wow,” Josh said, examining me closely. “You've really bulked up, Nolan. You look great. I can’t believe what I’m seeing. I mean, I did notice some nice changes when we saw each other at Williams in October. But this is incredible. You look, well, I don’t know what to say. You look terrific, like one of those Greek gods.”
“Thanks,” I said, proud that all my hard work and effort was finally paying off. “It's really hard for me to tell whether all the training I’m doing is making a difference sometimes.”
“That’s because you see yourself in the mirror every day,” Josh replied. “But I haven’t seen you in months so the difference is really noticeable to me.”
We flagged down a cab and let the driver toss Josh’s bag into the trunk. Then we headed back to our place.
I remember Josh staring out the window as the city passed by.
“Wow,” he said, “this place is huge. I've never seen so many people in one place in my life.”
We lived in a five level townhouse on the Upper East Side between Park and Madison Avenues. When we got back to our place, I helped Josh lug his bag up to the very top floor where my room was. He hadn't brought all that much, but I didn’t want him living out of a suitcase and wanted him to feel at home so I helped him unpack and put all of his stuff away. Later, I showed him around our house.
“Your home is really incredible,” Josh said. “It's a lot bigger than I thought it would be. And everything is so new. It must really be neat to live in a place like this.”
“I guess,” I replied. “I’ve never really thought about it much before. It's nice enough, I suppose, but I really find myself missing the farm, the lake and your tent these days; and the peace and quiet too. New York is way too noisy for me, especially during the holidays.”
“How's your goat?” I asked, grinning at him. “Is he keeping you all nice and warm this winter?”
“Oh, he's as cantankerous as ever,” Josh replied. “But, you know, the thing is, he’s never been as friendly to me since you kissed him, Nolan. I think he misses your loving and wants you to come back real soon.”
I remember giggling.
“Do you want to play with my Wii?” I asked.
Josh just looked at me momentarily, then his face broke out into a grin and he started blushing.
“I do,” he responded, trying to contain the smirk that was rapidly engulfing his face. “But I thought we’d have to wait until we went to bed tonight to do that.”
Both of us started laughing simultaneously.
“What’s the big joke, boys?” my Mom said, suddenly putting in an appearance in my room. She hardly ever did that any more.
“Oh, nothing, Mom,” I responded. “I just need to go find my Wii so Josh and I can play with it.”
I thought Josh would totally lose it right about then, but he managed to recover and my mother eventually walked away, puzzled at just how easily amused teenage boys could be.
When I finally found it, the two of us went down to the third floor where the large flat screen television hung on the wall. Josh got the hang of the Wii quickly enough and the two of us spent the next couple of hours playing a lot of the different games I had. In real life, Josh was a much better athlete than I could ever hope to be, but I was able to beat him most of the time when we played different sports on the Wii, at least for the first couple of days.
As usual, my Dad was working late so my Mom made dinner for the three of us that evening. She wasn't as good a cook as Josh's Mom. Mostly we just ate out a lot. But I could tell she had put extra time and effort into welcoming Josh by making some of his favorite dishes and he seemed to enjoy the whole meal.
We didn't do very much that first evening. Mostly we just talked, bringing each other up to date about what was happening at school and stuff like that. Josh told me about the ceremony they had for Anthony Torricelli and about some other kid who was getting harassed at school for being gay. Like Josh, I felt bad for both of those guys.
My Dad finally got home around 9:30 p.m. and he talked with the two of us for a little while before heading into the kitchen to grab something to eat. After he finished, he and Mom settled down in front of the television while Josh and I headed up to my bedroom.
Originally my Mom had been planning to put Josh in the guest bedroom, but I vetoed that idea immediately and insisted on sharing my bedroom with him. So we had ended up just moving one of the other beds into my room; and since my room had a flat panel television as well, the two of us decided to get into our jammies and watch some TV before going to sleep.
My room was about as far away from the living room as it could be so we were able to play it loud. As for the jammies, well, we were planning to ditch those after my parents had gone to bed, but it was winter and they helped keep us warm in the meantime.
Later my Mom came by to check up on us.
“Your father and I are going to bed now, Nolan,” she said. “I know you're really happy to see Joshua, but I don't want the two of you boys staying up all night just talking. I'll give you ten more minutes to talk. Then I want you to turn out the lights and try to get some sleep. Understood?”
“Sure, Mom,” I replied. “We'll turn the lights out in ten minutes.”
“Good night, Joshua,” my Mom said, trying to make him feel at home. “My husband and I are very happy you'll be spending the next ten days with us. It will be fun for us, not just for Nolan.”
“Thank you, Mam,” Josh replied. “You don’t know how much I appreciate being invited here.”
You’re definitely right about that, Josh, I remember thinking. If she did know, your ass would be out the door in a flash so please don’t even think about telling her.
I hadn't really filled Josh in on my plans for the evening. We talked for the full ten minutes and then I turned the lights out.
“Don't fall asleep, Josh,” I whispered. “We need to give my parents a few minutes to do that first. But you can get out of your jammies. That’s what I’m doing,” I added, as I tossed them aside.
When I was sure my parents were asleep, I slipped out of my bed and climbed into Josh's. It was a tight fit, but he welcomed me warmly, wrapping his arms around me.
“Are you sure this is going to be okay?” he asked, nervously. “Do you think your Mom or Dad might come in here later to check up on the two of us?”
“No, it’ll be fine, Josh,” I said, “at least as long as I don't fall asleep in this bed with you. My Dad never comes up here and my Mom doesn’t usually either. Mostly she just shouts or knocks on the door when she wants me to get up.”
Then I leaned over and started kissing him.
After all those months apart, it felt so good. I had missed holding and kissing Josh so much and I could tell by his response Josh had missed me as well. I explored his mouth with my tongue while Josh’s hands started exploring my body.
“Jesus, Nolan,” he said, pulling his mouth away. “You really are a Greek god. I love the feel of your body and your face is cuter than ever.”
By then both of us were fully aroused, of course, and I wasn’t about to drag things out.
“Guess what?” I said, reaching under the bed.
“What?” Josh asked.
“Surprise,” I replied, handing him the box of condoms and the K-Y I had bought a couple of days before. “We've got enough of these to last the next month,” I added, grinning. “Or at least tonight if I have my way.”
“I'll do my best,” Josh replied, grinning at me. Then I unwrapped one of the condoms and rolled it down over Josh's hardened cock.
Josh was all over me in a flash after that. The funny thing is I had always thought I was the horny one, but Josh put me to shame that evening.
It wasn’t long before he had my legs up on his shoulders and was mounting me.
“Oh, fuck, I’ve missed you so much, Nolan,” he sighed. “You don’t know how much I’ve been looking forward to this night.”
He was wrong about that, of course; by then I did have a pretty good idea and soon enough I was whimpering, begging him to push in deeper and struggling to touch my toes to the ceiling while he ground his hips against my butt.
It didn’t take Josh very long at all.
“Oh, God, here I come, Nolan,” he moaned, exploding inside me.
It was just the beginning of our fun for the evening, of course. By the time I finally climbed out of his bed and staggered back over to mine, we had put a pretty serious dent into that supply of condoms I had bought.
The next couple of days were filled with one activity after another. We visited all of the usual tourist sites, of course, places like the Zoo and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Empire State Building, the Staten Island Ferry and the Statue of Liberty. I was surprised at just how powerful an impression these places made on Josh.
“New York is just so awesome,” he told my Mom. “I never, ever, thought I would see any of these places, at least not before I was an adult. This city is so big, so alive, so ...”
“In your face,” I interjected, grinning at him.
“That too,” he said, smiling at me.
“Wait until you see Times Square on New Year’s Eve,” I replied.
But I knew from our own trip to Vermont that going from one tourist site to another could get tiresome at times. You had to mix in some down time and some fun activities that would come as a surprise. One evening we took Josh to the first of the Rangers games I had picked out. My Dad had bought the tickets and came home from work earlier than usual so he could take the two of us to the game.
Being on the hockey team at his school, I knew Josh would enjoy it, especially since the Rangers were playing the Bruins. Being a New Yorker, I also knew I was supposed to root for the Rangers and I did, but I was secretly hoping the Bruins would win so Josh would be happy. And, sure enough, that’s how it turned out. The Bruins won, 2 to 1, and Josh rode my ass about it all the way home that evening.
Then he rode it again once we got home and went to bed. I remember praying for the Bruins to sweep the series.
Another day I took Josh to the YMCA where I worked out and showed him around. He decided to work out with me and was totally amazed by the amount of weight I was able to lift now.
“Just be careful,” he cautioned me at one point. “I like how your body looks right now, but I don’t want you to get too muscle bound like some of the guys in here,” he added, pointing to one older dude over in the corner whose muscles looked like they were about to explode.
“All you need to do at this point is to just keep yourself toned,” he continued. “Lighten up your workouts and mix in some other things like swimming,” he said. “Swimming is a great way to work out.”
“We could go down to the pool,” I said, “if you want to.”
“Sure,” Josh responded, so that’s what we did.
Later, after we were finished, we took a shower together. We weren’t able to do anything, of course, because other guys were using the shower as well. But we had a good time and just looking at Josh’s body was a complete turn on for me.
The following evening we took in Jersey Boys on Broadway. My Mom had bought the tickets and the show turned out to be really good, just like the last time I had seen it. I think Josh enjoyed it a lot and I'm sure it was one of the things he talked about with his friends when he got back to Vermont.
Just walking around the city at night during the holidays was a real treat, of course. The streets were still vibrant with Christmas lights and green Christmas trees were everywhere too.
The following day was New Year’s Eve and we packed in a lot of things that day, including skating at Rockefeller Center. Being on the hockey team, Josh really loved that. He was a terrific skater and looked more graceful on ice than most people did just walking around in their shoes.
I couldn’t skate for my life, of course. To be truthful, I looked like a total idiot; and I felt like one too when little kids who were only four or five years old skated past me, laughing at my rarely successful efforts to stay off of my ass. It was really cold that day so the hot chocolate we drank at the deli we went to for lunch tasted really good.
But the visit to Rockefeller Center was just a prelude to the real festivities, of course, and I was anxious for them to get underway. My Mom, Dad and I had been visiting Times Square on New Year’s Eve for years so we knew exactly when to leave our place and exactly where to hang out once we got there.
Before we left Josh called his Mom and wished her a happy new year. I had offered to let him use my cell phone to call her exactly at midnight, but he just said she would be in bed by then and decided to call her early instead.
By the time we got down to Times Square it was really pretty cold. But the place was totally mobbed with people so you hardly even knew it. Like we usually did, we agreed on a place where we would meet at exactly 12:15 a.m. if the four of us got separated.
That had never happened before, but I was deliberately planning on us getting separated that evening. I wanted to be alone with Josh so the two of us could welcome the New Year in the traditional way. And that’s exactly what happened. When the ball finally touched down and we screamed Happy New Year together, I threw my arms around Josh’s neck and began kissing him as passionately as I could.
I hadn’t told him I was going to do that so I know it came as a surprise. His body stiffened momentarily and I could see his eyes darting around frantically to see how other people were reacting. But no one seemed to be paying attention to the two of us and soon enough Josh was into that kiss in a really big way.
It didn’t really last all that long, of course, and soon enough we had to be off to the spot we had agreed to meet up with my parents. But I remember thinking to myself this was going to be one of the very best memories I would ever have in my life. I don’t think I was ever happier than I was right then letting all the people around us know that Josh was my boyfriend and I loved him very much.
It didn’t really take us all that long to get home and we were in bed soon enough making passionate love. I finally had to cut short all the fun because I knew we had plans for the following day.
We spent the morning just wandering around Central Park. The place was really alive with people and the two of us had a great time.
Then, later on, we took the subway to Coney Island and watched while the Polar Bear Club took their annual dip in the ocean. We were daring each other to join them and for a moment I was tempted. But then sanity prevailed and I chickened out.
The next day, armed with a huge sign and goofy outfits, we stopped by Rockefeller Plaza to take in the Today show. We had told Josh’s mom we were going to do that and, sure enough, she did catch a glimpse of the two of us on television. At least she said she did and I’m sure that made her very happy.
After that the days just seemed to fly by. We were spending more time alone at the YMCA working out and I was trying to take Josh’s advice to lighten up my workouts. And that’s when it happened. Just as we were finishing up one day, Marcus and a couple of his buddies showed up and started getting on my case.
The thing is, Marcus had followed me to the Y earlier in the school year. Without my being aware of it, he had watched me work out and had pretty much figured out this was a regular thing for me. After that he would stop by occasionally with some of his buddies and taunt me while I was working out.
Usually I just tried to ignore him. A couple of times I reported him to the staff and they escorted him and his buddies out of the workout room. But it bothered me a lot because the Y was my escape from school. Having it invaded by Marcus was unnerving.
“Oh, look here, guys,” Marcus said, pointing me out to his buddies. “It’s the little pussy trying to pretend he’s a real man.”
Josh was working on another machine, but he was close enough to hear what was going on.
“Look, Marcus,” I said, “why don’t you and your toadies go do something useful today. Taking yourselves out of the genetic pool by jumping off the Empire State Building would be my personal suggestion,” I added, “but anything that takes you away from here would be fine with me too.”
“Yeah, I’m sure you’d like me to go away, you little faggot,” Marcus replied. “But my friends and I want to watch that little butt of yours while you work out. We have some very special plans for it, girl, as soon as we get you alone.”
It was all the usual taunts and it went on like that for a couple of minutes. Finally Josh wandered over.
“Come on, Nolan,” he said. “Let’s go do something else.”
“Oh, look,” Marcus said, eyeing Josh. “The little faggot has a friend. Is this your boyfriend, Nolan? Are you putting out for him, girl?”
“Why don’t you shut your mouth and get the hell out of here,” Josh said, staring at Marcus.
“Are you going to make me?” Marcus replied. Then he shoved Josh.
I stepped between the two of them.
“Marcus, my friend and I aren’t bothering you. If you don’t turn around and leave right now, I’m going to ask the staff to make you leave.”
“We’ll leave when we want,” Marcus said, pushing me away from him.
“No, you’re going to leave now,” I replied, firmly.
To be honest, I don’t remember everything that happened after that. I remember Marcus taking a swing at me and missing. I remember my fist smashing into his face really hard. But after that everything went blank, at least until I finally heard Josh screaming at me.
“Let it go, Nolan,” he was shouting. “Stop it.”
He was holding me tight from behind while I was squirming, trying to get away from him so I could keep hitting the bastard.
It was only later, after I had calmed down, that Nolan told me how I had kept hitting Marcus until he fell down and how even that hadn’t stopped it. Josh said I had kicked Marcus a couple of times, then grabbed him by the hair and slapped him. The whole thing had shocked Josh, so much so he had only responded belatedly to what was happening.
By then the staff had come running up and were asking what all the fuss was about. Josh and some of the regulars explained what had happened and the staff told Marcus and his friends they had to leave and weren't to come back.
Eventually we went back to my place. Josh explained to my Mom what had happened. Then I told her about all the shit that had gone down at The Barrington School over the last four years.
Still later that evening, when we were alone, Josh smiled at me and ran his hand through my hair.
“I’m really proud of you for standing up to that guy, Nolan,” he said. “There are guys like him everywhere and they make lots of people miserable. You didn’t start it. You didn’t even take the first swing. But you stood up for yourself and I would have been proud no matter how that fight came out. But I’m really happy you kicked some serious butt.”
I didn’t say anything in response. I really didn’t know what to say. I wasn’t ashamed of what I had done exactly, but it wasn’t something I was proud of either. Mostly I was just embarrassed that I had lost control like that and didn’t remember exactly what had happened.
Knowing how much he enjoyed it, I took Josh ice skating again the last afternoon before he was scheduled to leave, this time at the Wollman Skating Rink in Central Park. It even started to snow while we were there and the whole thing became just kind of magical.
We were up half of the night making love and it would have been the whole night if I could have had my way. But at a certain point Josh just had nothing left to give. So we cuddled up closely and fell asleep clinging to one another.
The next day we put Josh on the train back to Albany. By then my parents had agreed I could spend the following summer up at the farm by myself with Josh. It was going to be a long five months, but both of us were determined to tough it out until then.
Back at school, it didn’t take very long for word to get around about what had happened between Marcus and me. Marcus’ parents called mine and complained bitterly, telling them I had broken his nose and that they would be calling the school and the police unless I apologized and my parents paid for his medical expenses.
To my surprise, my parents didn’t back down. My father pointed out there were witnesses to what had happened and that they had better think twice before they did anything rash because it was Marcus who might end up getting in trouble if they decided to pursue it.
I guess they must have done what he said because nothing ever came of it after that.
Except for the fact that I suddenly found I had more friends than I thought at The Barrington School.
They were coming out of the woodwork now, all of the kids who had been bullied by Marcus and his toadies, who had worried for years their grades would suffer if they got on the wrong side of Marcus. I became a bit of a hero around the school, with kids wearing fake broken noses and big smiles on their faces.
But it had happened much too late, of course. By then I was beginning to focus on what would come next in my life.