The Republic

K. J. Pedersen

Part II

Chapter Three

Johannes Kirkagárd

HEAVY WITH CHILD ... the euphemism was one I had never really, fully understood before. And not until I saw Máire inghean Cormac, Shane’s sister, sitting on the living room couch with a blanket over her legs and feet did I appreciate it. Matti was right — her belly was huge. What more though, she looked worn out, weak, and had gray bags under her eyes.

I felt a fearful tenderness when I saw her. “How are you feeling, Máire?” I asked gently.

“Well enough ... I guess,” she said. “It’s been a long time since I saw you last, Johannes.”

“Yeah ... not since last winter.” I helped them move into this apartment the winter before, but had not been back since. “So ... when’s the baby due?”

“Near the end of December,” she said. Then she pulled her feet up closer to her body. “Sit down.” As soon as I did so, she asked Lukas how his father was.

“Unemployed and blacklisted,” was his curt reply.

It was an innocent, sincere question on Máire’s part, but one which Lukas had taken offense to. There was an uncomfortable lull then. Lukas and Shane did not really know each other well. And the Mac Cormac family only knew Lukas by his association with me.

I glared at Lukas for a moment, informed him silently that he was being churlish, and then steered us away again from that subject, and back to the baby. “Boy or a girl?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “And when I go to the doctor Monday, I don’t want him to tell me either. I can wait until the birth.”

“She wants it to be a surprise,” Shane explained.

I nodded, looked around, and asked, “Where’s Cully?”

“At a friend’s, I think,” Máire said.

Shane’s mother called from the kitchen. “Cully’s at Wil’s, Máire. Call him. Have him come home. Dinner will be on the table in ten minutes.” She appeared in the living room a moment later. “Would you boys care to stay for dinner?” she asked us. “We have beef broth, mashed potatoes, and leftover roast from last night.”

Shane shook his head. “No, we’re fine.” He looked at his watch. “Besides, we’ve got to go.”

“There will be adult supervision at this party you’re going to?” Martha said.

Shane shrugged. “I guess so,” he lied.

“No alcohol, no hashish, no — ”

“Okay, mum, okay! It’s just a party!”

“And don’t stay out past midnight,” she said.

“Okay. Fine. Whatever.” Then he turned to Mattæus and whispered, “Next she’ll be telling me I can’t have sex either.”

Martha glared at him. “I heard that.”

Lukas and I laughed.

Shane seemed irritated. “Let’s go,” he said.

I gave Máire’s foot a squeeze. “Take care.”

* * *

“Was it this quiet last week?” Shane asked from the driver’s seat.

Mattæus had given him the keys, despite my concerns, and over my protests. Honestly, I wasn’t so sure I trusted Shane behind the wheel. I was afraid he might be as aggressive on the road as he was in the halls. He proved an able driver though. But instead of driving south into Hohtun, he’d taken us north, and then west across the bay, and into Niew Lifrapol.

“It was worse,” Lukas said. He was sitting in the back seat, next to me. “Last week, man, downtown was dead. There were no cars to speak of on the roads. No pedestrians. No beggars. Nothing.”

“It’s not even nine o’clock yet,” Shane said. “Where is everyone?”

“We really shouldn’t be here. The police have this car’s registration and license number. They might pull us over. They might think we’re part of the protests.”

“I just wanted to see if it was true,” Shane said.

“What?” I asked.

“The rumor. It was all over the Network today. It’s going around that the police and Oxnaforde Services are going to break up the protests this week like they broke the strike last week.”

“You drove across the bay because of a rumor?” I said.

“This is important.”

“We’re going to miss the party in Hohtun,” I said.

“Aodhán can wait,” Lukas said. “I’m as curious as Shane is. I heard the rumor too. The State is cracking down on everything now.”

“Let’s go back,” I told Shane firmly. “I don’t want to be arrested again. Or have the car impounded again. The fees came out my savings account to have the car released.”

“And mine,” Mattæus said. “Never mind that we were legally parked.”

“Funny how the law works, huh?” Lukas said. “Legally parked, but the car was impounded anyway because we were in town to participate in an illegal assembly.”

‘Illegal assembly,’” Shane repeated. “That’s what they’re calling the protests too — ‘illegal assemblies’ — because almost all the streets, sidewalks, and courtyards are privately owned and the protesters are therefore trespassing.”

“And that’s technically what we were arrested for last Friday,” Mattæus said.

And resisting arrest,” Lukas added.

‘Public assembly without a permit,’ that’s what they’re calling it,” Shane said suddenly. “And neither the city nor shire will issue permits to protest at the City and Shire Hall even though it’s public property.” Shane shrugged. “The freedoms of speech and assembly are easily circumvented, aren’t they? So easily they can hardly be called ‘constitutional guarantees’ at all.”

“Are you surprised?” Lukas asked. “Dissent, when effectively spoken and well heard, has always been made illegal.”

“If these are rights like the constitution says — the right to speak and ‘assemble peaceably’ — then why are additional permits required?” I said.

Nobody seemed to know.

“This is 10th Street,” Shane said and moved into the far lane. “The Hall is at the corner of 10th and North Lancascir streets, yeah?”

“Look, it’s almost nine,” I said, worried. I wasn’t even certain Shane was licensed to drive. If we were pulled over, and he was not....

“Nine? So what?” Shane said.

“Shane, we should go back. Aodhán’s party started at eight — ”

“If I know Aodhán, it’ll last all night,” Lukas said. “We’re not missing anything.”

“That’s right.” Shane turned west onto 10th. “We have plenty of time, Jóni.”

Tenth Street was broad, three lanes in each direction, an avenue of lights, and the city’s main east-west thoroughfare. The north side of the street marked, for the most part, the end of the city’s financial district, but the commercial district, which was what downtown Niew Lifrapol really amounted to, stretched on to the south for several more blocks. The classy Tower and Lifrapol Bay apartment buildings were prominent features on the south side of the street. I understood apartments there could cost their owners up to 250,000RS. By comparison, our house was valued at only around 53,000RS or so.

As we neared the City and Shire Hall, we were stopped by roadblocks and two police cruisers parked sideways across the lanes of traffic. One officer stepped forward and motioned us to stop. Shane rolled down the window and was immediately told by the policeman to turn back.

Shane argued.

I told Shane to shut up.

There was a crush of humanity being forced away from the Hall; they moved outwards in an expanding ring. In the Hall’s courtyard ahead, there were pillars of white and gray smoke illuminated by the red and white lights of the police cruisers and the Hall’s exterior lighting. I heard distinctive explosive bursts and saw more smoke arise, closer this time, in the street. Smoke grenades. There was a lot of noise, shouting, and then brilliant blue and white flashes. The police and Oxnaforde were using stunners, just as the state militia had the week before. The protesters were being driven from the Hall’s courtyard and into the street.

Many were running now, and once they did, it seemed like everyone took flight. The stunners erupted once more. There was more shouting; layer upon layer of noise.

Panic ensued.

“Turn around,” the police officer told Shane. He let his hand rest on the pistol worn at the hip. “I will not repeat myself again.”

* * *

It was Lukas’ idea that we should drive south through Niew Lifrapol along North Lancascir Street to the Suth Lifrapol-Tillaburh Bridge. He insisted it would be faster to get to Hohtun that way than to go back across the Niew Lifrapol-Acbeorg Bridge. It wasn’t; Tillaburh was yet further out — several miles south of Hohtun — but Shane was driving, and the idea suited him just fine. North Lancascir Street went right through the very worst areas of the shire, namely the old, decaying neighborhoods of Niew Lifrapol and its densely populated, dirt-poor suburb, Suth Lifrapol. I expressed my doubts too, but Lukas said as long as we stayed on North Lancascir Street everything would be okay.

Mattæus was messing around with the radio, scanning for news. Nothing. Just music and advertisements. He gave up, and stopped at his favorite station.

“Simon lives right over there,” Shane said as we neared 28th Street. “Half a block to the west.”

“Simon?” I inquired.

“Máire’s boyfriend.”

“You were right, Shane,” Mattæus said. “She definitely should not move in with him. This neighborhood....”

“Scary, huh?”

We all nodded.

The apartment buildings on both sides of the street were built in the 20th Century — probably in the 1970s and ‘80s — but unlike the relics of that century which dotted the area east of the bay, in our neighborhoods, these drooped and sagged with age, their facades had a worn, gray-brown color to them ... they were rain-washed, and looked perpetually soaked ... sickly.

Finally, there was a news report, for what it was worth: “Police have ousted protesters from inside the City and Shire Hall, which they have occupied since mid-afternoon. The courtyard outside and the surrounding block has been cleared. Independent sources report a hundred or so arrests have been made, but the North Lancascir Police Department has not confirmed this. Stay with us for news at eleven.” And with that, they cut to an advertisement.

We continued south, listening, hoping for updates which never came.

“It was just like last week,” Lukas said. “The State isn’t even trying to placate the public with a feigned, rhetorical liberalism any longer. They just act, and the public be damned.”

“No. It wasn’t just like last week, Lukas. There were no rubber bullets, no armored troop carriers, no tanks, no machine guns tonight,” I said pointedly.

More apartment buildings and several strip malls came and went, and it seemed the further south we went, the worse things got. The rows of concrete buildings which made up the strip malls looked cheap and hastily put together. Many of them were newer too. It didn’t matter, the quality was the same. They were all just slabs of concrete. The parking spaces out front were few, and there were yet fewer cars, but a steady trickle of pedestrians made their way across the parking lots in search of groceries and various other necessities.

“Turn here,” Lukas said.

“No,” Shane said. “Not here. This is only 137th Street. The bridge is another few streets down, at 141st.”

Lukas tapped his shoulder. “Turn here, Shane.”

“Wrong way,” Shane said.

“Just do it.”

And so Shane did as Lukas asked. But he was correct, it was a wrong turn. As soon as we had turned off North Lancascir Street, I knew it too. One block out we found ourselves on a heavily, deeply pocked street without lamps. But even in the darkness I could see the condition this neighborhood was in. The houses were all bunched together because so many of the lots had more than one ‘house’ upon them (a good number of these were simply shacks). Bags of garbage were lined up on both sides of the street, and in places the bags had formed mounds, waiting to be carried to the dumps by private refuse-removal companies on an account by account basis. Even though the windows were up, the smell reached its way into the car. The fetid odor ... it was nauseating.

Lukas looked out the side window for a long moment at one house, small, with a well-maintained yard, but otherwise shabby. There were no lights on.

“What?” I asked him.

“Nothing,” he replied and looked straight forward again.

Some of the dwellings had lights on shining through the windows, these were regular-service electric lights. Others were not so well lit, and I suspected they were lit with kerosene lamps, or portable, battery-powered electric lamps, as if the tenants were unable to maintain accounts with the electric companies. That happened, I knew, and electrical service for many was sporadic because of the prices involved. Truly, it was odd — absurd, in fact —we had four electric companies in the Niew Lifrapol Bay area, and all four were subsidiaries of the Æthelbaldson Foundation.

A few lots had autos parked out front. Most didn’t. And it seemed more than a few of the cars parked, judging by the condition of their windshields, tires, and bodies, were parked permanently.

The strangest thing was that there was absolutely nobody outdoors.

* * *

“I don’t suppose I’ll ever see him again,” Lukas said wistfully as we walked together towards Aodhán mac Aodh’s house in Hohtun.

Shane had parked as close as he could manage to Aodhán’s house, a little more than half a block down. The street, both sides, was jammed with parked cars. Aodhán must’ve invited everybody he knew.


“Jaroslav Alekseivich,” he said. “They left this morning. They took a train up to Nyhavn.”

“The whole family?”

He nodded. “All of them ... Jaroslav, his parents, little brothers and sister. They went to live with his mum’s folks. They have an apartment on the outskirts of Lillestróm, near Nyhavn.”

“Hurry up, you two!” Mattæus called back to us.

“Go on,” I replied. “We’ll catch up.”

“Aleksei was blacklisted too. Just like my fa’r,” Lukas said. “Surely Aleksei would be unable to find work here in North Lancascir again. Maybe he’ll have better luck up the coast in Nova Scandia.”

“I hope so.”

“We can fall back on my mother’s income; it’s adequate. At least as things stand now,” Lukas said. “It’s different for the Paovlovs though. They needed both Aleksei and Jaroslav’s income.” Lukas stopped and touched my elbow, urging me to stop as well. “I had Shane turn down 137th Street because that’s where they lived.” He paused. “It’s an awful neighborhood.”

“You were staring at a house, I saw. Theirs?”

“Yes; I’ve been there a couple of times with my fa’r. Aleksei was Local Five’s delegate a couple of years back. Sometimes meetings were held at the house. That never sat well with the landlord, you know.” He shrugged. “Maybe the Paovlovs will be better off in Nyhavn.”

He’d repeated that sentiment twice now; he was trying to convince himself of it.

“Sometimes I don’t appreciate how good our fortune is to live on this side of the bay,” I said. “Look around. Look at the houses here in Hohtun compared to those in Suth Lifrapol. Was the west side of the bay really that awful during the 20th Century?”

“I don’t think so. Everything’s been let go to rot, you know.” And then after a moment, he said, “Aleksei’s arrest was too much — he’d been warned about ‘making waves’ before — and their landlord had them evicted. If for no other reason, that was why they had to leave North Lancascir.”

“How is Jaroslav?” I asked. “Do you know?”

Lukas lowered his eyes, and said softly, but matter-of-factly, “He underwent surgery after the shooting, had what remained of his eye removed, and spent another day in the hospital,” he said. “He has a glass eye now. And there’s been no infection....”

“No infection,” I repeated. “That’s good, at least.”

“Everybody always said the same thing about Jaroslav,” Lukas said. “Bright eyes, warm heart....” He had tears in his eyes now.

“I know.” I put my hands on his shoulders. “Matti’s haunted by it, Luki. He saw Jaroslav shot. He actually saw it. And he dreams about it. That night — early that morning — he woke up bawling,” I said. “And it’s happened since. But ... don’t mention it to him. Okay?”

Lukas agreed.

“He cares about you, Luki.”


“You know he does. You’re his best friend. Well ... other than Shane, that is.”

We watched Mattæus and Shane walk together. It was chilly and they walked close to one another. They were lost in conversation.

“They remind me of us,” Lukas said.

“It isn’t the same between them,” I insisted.

“Maybe not.” Then Lukas lowered his head against the cool breeze, jammed his hands in his pockets, and walked forward again. “Everything’s coming apart.”

I fell into step beside him once more. “It’ll be okay.”

“You say that all the time. I wish it was true. But they crushed the strike, Johannes. After only one week! And they did the same tonight with the protests. I wish you were right; I wish there was something to your optimism. But you’re just being willfully blind!” he said.

“Luki — ”

“Fuck. I am going to miss Jaroslav — his smile, his enthusiasm, his perpetual, earnest energy....” he said, and trailed off.

I didn’t say anything, just put my arm around his shoulders, and drew him close the way he did so often with me. He turned to me and smiled. His hands came out of his pockets and went to my waist. Then he leaned forward and touched his forehead to mine. We were in the street, in public, where anyone could see us, and I did it — I kissed him.

“Let’s try to have fun tonight,” I said. “Let’s forget everything else.”

“Jóni! Luki!” Shane called to us. “Break it up, boys!”

“C’mon, man, let’s go inside,” I said gently.

“Listen, Johannes, these last few days, I’ve been an asshole. The way I acted. Fighting with you. Arguing.... Crying the other night.... Fuck, I nearly threw the game away this afternoon — ”

“It’s okay, man — ”

“No. No, it isn’t.” He scratched his head. “I went berserk on the field. I was playing stupid. I didn’t even care. I’m surprised you didn’t pull me out of the game. Even if you weren’t there on the field playing with us, it was your prerogative as captain to bench me.”

“You’re right,” I said. “And you were a hair’s breadth away from sitting out the rest of game.”

* * *

Aodhán mac Aodh and I had known each other since the summer leading to our first year at our respective senior academies. We’d met at a football camp in Suth Lancascir. Aodhán and I hit it off well, on the field and off, and we escaped the camp together nights and went into Mamescaester whenever the opportunity availed itself. It was a lot of fun, and ever since, Aodhán and I had exchanged cards at Christmas. I liked Aodhán, even if he was a rival.

The two of us were sitting together on the living room couch catching up, talking about football and school. We talked about our contest the week before. Aodhán was smug about it because they’d nearly won. And he had played well. Better than I had, honestly, and better than Lukas. The brunette sitting on the other side of me had passed out. Her head was resting on my shoulder. The smell of alcohol was heavy on her skin and on her breath. And what a slut — she wanted to take me upstairs to one of the bedrooms, but had passed out before I could tell her to get lost.

Aodhán was a good-looking guy. He wasn’t quite six-feet tall, but had a solid, athletic build. He had brown eyes, a mischievous expression, and a thick mess of light brown curls which, at the moment, he kept away from his face with a headband. I was jealous because he had the beginnings of a beard, whereas I shaved, at most, once every week or so. (Lukas still had a face as smooth as a baby’s, but he didn’t seem to care.) Yeah, Aodhán was definitely attractive, bright, friendly, funny, and I enjoyed his company.

“We won our first game this season tonight; beat them by a point,” Aodhán said and handed me a bottle of beer. “Lifrapol æt Acbeorg Academy is only so-so, but it was a good game.”

Hohtun may have had a rotten team, but Aodhán was more than a competent player himself. He was strong and accurate, but not particularly fast or agile. I knew his strengths and weaknesses — we’d played against each other for four years now.

“We play them this coming week,” I said.

This is my favorite song!” a girl standing nearby told her boyfriend loudly, interrupting us. “Dance with me.”

The music was turned way up then, and they joined the few couples dancing where the coffee table had been fifteen minutes before. Lukas was being sociable, as always, joining in conversations here and there. My brother and Shane disappeared out the side door with Toby and Wulfric and onto the patio, probably to share a joint or two.

“I scored four points, man,” Aodhán said over the noise. “Best game I’ve played in a long time.”

“Lifrapol æt Acbeorg has a new coach this year,” I told him. “He’s from Nova Anglia, from the ‘Saxon Shires’ — Nova Westseaxe, I think. They paid big money to get him too.”

“They didn’t get such a good deal then,” he said. “They’ve lost twice this season, and won twice.”

“It always takes a year for a new coach’s program to catch on,” I replied.

Aodhán nodded to that, then said, “You beat Niew Lifrapol Central this evening, didn’t you?”


13-11?” Aodhán cried.

“It was a rough, fast-paced game,” I explained. “Their captain Michael Thomason is excellent. Better than he was last year. And he was hot on the field then.”

“I heard he went to a special football camp in Corpus Christi this summer.”

“Yeah, I heard that too.”

“Had to sit this game out, didn’t you?”

I rubbed my knee and nodded.

“Does it hurt?”

“Sometimes, yeah.”

“I read about what happened in the papers — the strike, the mass arrests, the use of force.” He paused, then said, “And I heard your father got Sceofeld’s board of directors to reprimand Chancellor Reinhardtsón too.”

“Well ... I think Deacon Nordkvist and the self-appointed ‘Morality Committee’ of the local parish had more to do with what has happened to the chancellor — and the policy changes at the academy — than what my father had to say,” I said. “I think my father’s call was just the catalyst, you know. From there, it just spread. And fast.”

“Nosey fuckers,” Aodhán said, and then corrected himself immediately: “Not your father, of course.”

“He’s the worst of the bunch,” I said. And that sounded like something my brother would say. I didn’t care. I was still angry with my father. I hated being confined to house, and having to sneak out, but he was determined to keep me away from Lukas. And I was just as determined to defy him!

“The Church is always sticking its nose in people’s business.” Aodhán lowered his voice, leaned over close to me, and said, “Our parish priest here in Hohtun threatened my father with excommunication a few years back.”

“For what?”



“That’s why my parents divorced. My father was fooling around,” he said. “We’re of the Western Orthodox tradition, Johannes, and divorce is a no-no where the Bishop of Rome is concerned. It was a big deal. Our priest made sure of that.”

“Is your family religious?”

“Sort of ... I guess.” Then he asked, “Will you play next week?”

“I’m going to practice on Monday,” I said. “If all goes well, I’ll play Friday. I’d hate to miss two games.”

We talked for a while longer, and then Aodhán said, “Look at him, making a pass at my girlfriend.”

Lukas was standing in the corner, a beer in hand, talking to a tall, slender, pretty girl with reddish-blonde hair. He was flirting, the fucker, and I laughed at the sight.

Aodhán shook his head. “I’m going to break them up,” he said. “I don’t like the way Lukas is looking at my woman.”

“Good luck.”

Aodhán got up, went over to where his girlfriend and Lukas were, and complained loudly. Lukas and Aodhán argued. They pushed each other around. They looked each other over, argued some more, and then Lukas smiled and handed Aodhán his bottle of beer. They laughed. Aodhán’s girlfriend looked confused.

It was subtle, but I knew what was going on: Lukas and Aodhán were flirting ... with each other.

* * *

Mattæus was on the dining room table, drunk, and dancing with a girl I’d seen in the halls at Sceofeld Academy. She was Iberian or Italian, I think, judging by her complexion. My brother had a taste for fine young women, no doubt about it — she was beautiful! They were grinding away.

My brother was glassy-eyed. He wasn’t just drunk — he was stoned. And he danced with abandon.

Shane was sitting on a chaise lounge situated against the far dining room wall, watching Matti. The friend of the girl Matti was dancing with was trying to get Shane’s attention. She was flirting and talking and touching him. But Shane didn’t seem to notice her at all. No, he seemed annoyed by her, and the pointless chit-chat. His attention was fixed on my brother.

I watched Shane for a long moment and the hard, confused, and hurt expression on his face. Maybe Lukas was right about the relationship between Matti and Shane after all, only it was Shane who had feelings for Matti, feelings which weren’t being reciprocated.

My brother was making an ass out of himself and pulled off his shirt.

“More skin!” someone shouted. “More skin!”

More skin! More skin! Show us skin!” came the cry.

Matti dropped his jeans down around his knees, grabbed the girl’s hips, and pressed his crotch against hers. He was wearing black hip briefs. Then he lifted her skirt, pushed the waistband up just under her ribs, and showed everyone in the dining room her silky, white thong, and ass. He turned her, so his crotch was against her buttocks, and then reached up under her shirt. They danced in perfect rhythm together.

Grab her tits!” was the new cry.

Tits! Tits!

Shane scowled, got up, and muttered loudly, “Fucking whore.”

* * *

I wandered around the house aimlessly, and was hit on a number of times by some very good looking girls. I was used to it and knew how to play the game without getting involved or hurting anyone’s feelings. I knew a good looking girl when I saw one, sure, but I was not at all interested. I was as homosexual as my teammate Antonius was heterosexual — completely, totally. The only thing I wanted at the moment was to find some place quiet, some place where I could be alone.

I was embarrassed for my brother. He made such a fool of himself, licking that girl’s nipples in front of a dozen other people. Had he been sober, he’d never have done something like that. No doubt about it. But sloshed, he had.

When news reached Lindi, Matti would be as good as dead, I figured.

So I found myself upstairs at the door leading to Aodhán’s bedroom. I figured by now he’d probably be in there going at it with his girlfriend — or perhaps even with Lukas as I hadn’t seen either of them for half an hour or so — but I tried the door handle anyway. If the room was empty, I could catch a quick nap. I was half-drunk. I needed it. Afterwards, I’d take my drunken fool brother and his sulking best friend home.

The handle turned and the door opened.

Lukas and Toby Beorcleah were sitting on the bed together, in each other’s lap, facing each other, partially undressed, their legs and arms entwined. They were kissing each other passionately. My entry, the noise, disturbed them, and both looked up.

Toby blushed, but Lukas grinned, and called to me, “Come in, Jóni. Close the door. Quick.”

I wasn’t particularly jealous. Lukas had sex with other guys; it was a fact of life. Still, I couldn’t help but feel a little hurt to see him in another’s arms. Especially when that someone was as cute as Toby.

“Sorry,” I said. “I didn’t mean to bust in on you two.”

“Close the door,” Lukas said, then jumped up from the bed and grabbed my hand. “I’ve been looking for you.”

“Not very hard it would seem,” I said.

“Right,” he said with a mischievous smirk.

“What’s this?” I motioned to Toby. “You seemed content with Aodhán. I half expected to catch you two together.”

“We had our fun earlier,” Lukas said. “Aodhán’s cute. Can you blame me?” Then he nodded in Toby’s direction. “But this one is even cuter.”

“Yeah, Luki, whatever,” I said and tried to sound casual about it. “I’d better leave you two to it then.”

“No way, man,” Lukas said, and locked the door.

Toby didn’t say anything. He was blushing and wouldn’t meet my eyes. I think he was ashamed of himself for fooling around with my boyfriend. Lukas didn’t seem to notice, or care, and led me over to the bed.

Lukas had on his jeans and socks. His shoes were nowhere to be seen, and his shirt was on the floor. Toby’s shoes and socks were off, but he was otherwise still fully dressed. Lukas unbuttoned his jeans then. He grinned at me, then at Toby, and pushed his jeans down his thighs.

“This is going to be fun,” he said.

“Maybe I should go,” Toby said and stood. But Lukas pushed him down again and he fell back onto the bed. “Or not.”

‘Or not’ is right, Toby,” Lukas said, and it took about five seconds before the rest of his clothes were on the floor with his shirt. He left on his white briefs though.

“Take off your clothes,” Lukas said. “Both of you.”

I was embarrassed; I’d never done anything like this before!

Toby stood, took off his shirt, and then pushed his pants down around his knees. He was wearing white bikini underpants ... a thong, I saw, when he turned and removed his pants entirely. He had a nice, round ass — small and firm.

“Cute ass, man,” I said.

He offered a coy smile.

“Now you too, Jóni,” Lukas insisted. “Strip, boy.”

My heart was racing, and a lot of the blood was going ... well, there. Before my pants even came off, I was as hard as I’d ever been. It was throbbing, pushing against my briefs, and needing serious attention. Lukas helped me out of my shirt, had me lay back on the bed, and then helped me out of the rest of my clothes too.

All three of us were on the bed now, still wearing our underwear, all hard, and all very excited. Lukas came up behind me and put his arms around me. I sat back against him, laid my head back on his chest, while Toby knelt between my calves. He looked me in the eyes. His expression was one of both lust and worry. All the while, Lukas purred in my ear about how good I felt in his arms.

Toby pushed my legs apart gently, and was particularly careful with my right leg and knee. I brought up my left leg, bent it at the knee, and moved my right leg over while Toby rubbed his hands up and down my thighs.

“Your thighs are ... awesome!” Toby said. “Look at the definition!”

“You’re not so bad yourself, Toby,” I said.

“I’m a skinny rat compared to you, man,” he said.

“You don’t have the body of a high school boy,” I assured him. “You’re not like all the other boys running around the halls.”

It felt so good to be held by one lover and explored by the hands of another. Toby leaned forward and kissed my injured knee. I leaned back and looked into Lukas’ eyes while Toby kissed my knee, shin, and thigh.

“You’re tense.” Lukas smiled at me. “Just relax, brother. Enjoy it.”

It didn’t take long before Toby’s shyness was replaced by playful enthusiasm. He leaned forward and pressed his lips to mine. Then I felt his lips open, and mine did so in response. He sucked on my lower lip for a moment. And then, suddenly, the tip of his tongue touched mine.

We kissed each other. There was desperation in Toby’s kisses. He was lonely, I came to realize, and so I kissed him again, tenderly. Suddenly, together as we were, I could not help but express my affection for him. I hardly knew this boy, knew him only from Chemistry class, and that he had been Lukas’ friend, and yet I kissed him as though we were lovers.

“Oh, God, Johannes,” he whispered.

Lukas moved, and I felt his body, his arms, his every movement, as he reached upwards. His hands were in Toby’s hair. My eyes were closed; I wanted to experience the sensations physically and undistracted. Toby’s hair tickled my nose. Toby moaned again, this time Lukas’ name.

And then I opened my eyes once more, and found the fine curve of Toby’s neck and shoulder, my boyfriend’s hands caught in his thick mane, and the silent, unspoken sigh on this blond, beautiful lad’s lips.

The movement of our bodies was fluid, natural, and utterly unashamed, as we changed positions, over and again, so all three of us could explore one another. Toby was the center of attention as neither Lukas nor I had ever experienced him sexually before. Lukas and I smiled at each other, knowingly, and enjoyed one another’s responses to Toby’s touch.

I wasn’t kidding when I said it earlier: Toby had a nice body ... long, lean, powerful. I put my hands on his tanned shoulders. They were dusted lightly with freckles. He flexed slightly, a shudder. I squeezed his shoulders then. “Nice,” I said.

He grinned. “Yeah?”


He rubbed my pectoral muscles then. “Thanks.”

I kissed Toby, deeply. We pressed forward together, against one another, embraced each other so tightly, and rubbed our crotches, mine against his. Lukas was still behind me, and he put his arm was around both of us. We laid together in that position for a long while, so content, before Toby wiggled out of our embrace and stood up.

“Hey!” Lukas protested. “Come back here, you little polecat!”

That was funny and I laughed.

Toby pushed his underpants down up front and stroked himself for a moment. “You mean: Pole-cat!”

Lukas lunged off the bed and grabbed at Toby. I followed. Toby dodged us both. Then we had him. We were all laughing together and wrestling on the floor. Lukas and I pulled Toby’s underpants down and off. I stood up, held the white thong over my head like a trophy, and then tossed it across the room.

Then Lukas and I slipped out of our underwear. I was embarrassed at first, but I was so horny, I hardly noticed once Toby pressed his body to mine and kissed my throat. My hands found Toby’s buttocks. They were smooth to the touch.

“God, Jóni, that feels so awesome,” he said.

I kissed his cheekbones, his forehead, his eyelids. “Toby,” I whispered, “who knew you were such a horny pup?”

Toby pushed his crotch against mine, a rough thrust. “Hornier than you think!”

Lukas was sitting on the bed, stroking his erection, and watching us carefully.

I moved so Toby and I were standing together in front of the mirror above Aodhán’s dresser. Then I maneuvered myself behind Toby, pressed my erection against his left buttock, and leaned forward so I could kiss his shoulder. I watched our reflection and let my hands wander over his body as I did. He was five inches shorter than I was, and a lot smaller generally. His erection, however, was no smaller than my own. It was almost seven inches long. His pubic hair was light brown, or sandy-blond perhaps. That fascinate me because my pubic hair was dark, much darker than my hair. Then I covered his erection with both hands lightly. His eyes were closed and he leaned his head back onto my shoulder.

“That is so sexy,” Lukas said, and I could see him in the mirror too, still stroking away.

I wrapped one fist around Toby’s cock and placed my other hand on his thigh, on the front and inside. I stroked him for a moment, adjusting my tempo according to his reaction. Then I closed my eyes and let the feelings alone guide my actions.

Then Lukas was holding me.

We wound up on the bed again.

“Does anybody have baby oil or lube or something?” Lukas asked suddenly. Toby was giving him a hand job.

Lukas liked baby oil to lubricate himself with — liked it better when I used it to lubricate his pole — and had a bottle in his medicine cabinet at home.

“Nah,” Toby said.

“Don’t look at me,” I told Lukas.

“I bet Aodhán does,” Lukas said. Then he hopped off the bed and grabbed his watch off the dresser. He tapped its face. “Call Aodhán.”

“I’ll spit on my hand if that makes you feel any better,” Toby joked.

Lukas turned up his middle finger at Toby.

Aodhán speaking —

“Hey, Aodhán, do you have baby oil anywhere around, man?”

What for? Where are you?

“In your room, that’s where,” Lukas said. “Do you or not?”

Who are you with?

“My boyfriend — ”

In my bed?

“Yeah,” Lukas said. “So do you?”

In my dresser, top drawer, under my socks and underwear,” he said. “You’re up there with Johannes? Hey, hold on, man, wait for me!

“Thanks for the baby oil, man,” Lukas said, “but this is a private party. Sorry. Only Toby and Johannes were invited.”

Johannes and Toby? In my bed? No way! I’ll be right up —

“G’bye, Aodhán,” Lukas said.

No, man, wait ... I’ll be up in just a moment!

“Down, Priapus. Down!”

There was laughter on the other end of the line.

Toby looked confused. “Priapus?”

“Priapus was a Græcian fertility god. He was often depicted with a cock half as big as the rest of his body ... and always erect.” I laughed. “Speaking of which, Toby,” I said, and pushed at his cock, so when I released it, the throbbing column slapped his abdomen, “you’re still as hard as a rock, man.”

He grinned proudly and stroked his erection suggestively.

I touched him again, my hand on his, and we massaged his throbbing pole together.

“Bye, Aodhán..... Bye!” Lukas tapped the face of his watch again, and disconnected the line. Then he put the watch on the top of Aodhán’s dresser. He looked at us. “Hey, you two, stop that. You’re making me jealous.”

“Kiss my ass, man,” I said.

Lukas rifled through the top drawer of Aodhán’s dresser in his search for baby oil. His back was to us. “Kiss your ass, huh?” he said, teased us, and wiggled his bum at us defiantly.

I jumped off the bed and slapped my boyfriend’s ass — hard — with an open palm, fingers spread.

He yelped and jumped two or three feet in the air, then turned around and slugged my shoulder. “Fucker.”

“Left a welt!” Toby said.

Lukas shook his head, swore at me again, and then pulled a lacy white bra out of Aodhán’s dresser. “I wonder who this belongs to ... Aodhán or ‘his woman’?” he joked.

“Aodhán,” Toby and I said and nodded in agreement.

“Kinky fucker,” Lukas said and threw the bra at Toby. “See if it fits, man.”

“Fuck off!”

“There it is!” Lukas produced the bottle of baby oil. “Now we are going to have some real fun.”

I took the bottle from Lukas and poured a little on my fingers and then I rubbed the oil onto his shaft. He drew in a sharp breath. I had plenty of experience with Lukas, poured more on his shaft, and then wrapped my fist around his cock, bringing it again to its fullest, hardest state.

He grinned at me. “Fuck, man, you’re the best.”

I leaned forward and kissed him. “No, you are.”

Lukas rubbed oil onto my cock, driving me crazy as he did so, and then led me back to the bed, pulling me along by my cock. He rubbed the excess oil onto Aodhán’s sheets with an evil-sounding snicker, I did the same, and then we went to work lubricating our new friend.

Toby could hardly keep still. He kept moaning and crying out and pumped his cock up into my fist or into Lukas’. We took turns.

“Fuck! Iesu never did this to me!” he cried.

“You’re serious? He never used baby oil?” Lukas said.

“No.” Toby writhed under Lukas’ pleasure-inducing assault. “Just spit.”

Lukas straddled Toby, put more oil on his hands, and then took his cock and Toby’s both in one hand, and stroked them together. That was too much, and after only four or five jerks, Toby suddenly cried out and came.

“No endurance there, boy!” Lukas said and laughed.

Toby was unable to answer; he was in the throes of ecstasy! He shot two or three times and it landed on his belly. He laid back into the bed, exhausted, and looked at Toby, and then at me, with sleepy-eyes.

“Fuck, yeah,” he said after a moment.

After that, it was our turn, mine and Lukas’. We were on our knees facing each other. He kissed me. I kissed back. Our hands were slick again with the oil, but it was lost on us, and we ran our hands through each other’s hair, given only to our pleasure. And then he was on his back, and I was laying down on top of him. His hands were on my ass. Our tongues met.

Nothing mattered after that. Lukas and I were completely lost in our own world. It didn’t take long for us to find the right rhythm, and soon we were moving together as one. We kissed each other in many varied ways. He laughed as I stuck my tongue in his ear, and teased him. He did the same to me. We laughed together again.

Lukas moved his legs up so they were around my thighs, locked his ankles with my calves, and forced my legs apart. I was still on top, grinding away, and knew he wanted to wrestle some. It was all very playful, but rough.

I lifted my chest off his, looked at down at him, and rubbed against him so just our cocks were gliding together, slippery. It didn’t take long before I came. Then, as soon as I had, we changed positions, and he was on top, so he could come too.

Afterwards, we laid together in each other’s arms. Then I reached out and pulled Toby into our embrace as well.

“You’re with us now,” Lukas told him. “Friends, all of us, as it should be.”

And we slept.

To be continued....