This is gay love story between two boys and follows them as they grow into adulthood. Some chapters may contain references to sexual activities involving them and others.. If you object to this, you are urged not to read it. If reading this causes you to violate any laws in your community, please do not do so. The author does not condone the violation of any laws. This story is copyrighted 2002 under the pseudonym Omnius. You may not copy or distribute this story in part or in whole without the consent of the author.

This is primarily a romance. There will be some sexual scenes, but if that is your primary purpose in reading the story, you might be disappointed.

If you would like to comment on the story, please email your comments to .Thank you for reading my story!

Cottonwood Park

by Omnius

Chapter One

Timothy Holbrook rode his black Schwinn Typhoon south on Union Avenue, a backpack slung over his shoulder. A warm June breeze tossed his red hair across his tanned and freckled face. He paid little attention to the row of large turn-of-the-century houses on his right. Nor did he seem to notice the dozens of huge old maple and cottonwood trees that guarded them and shaded the street from the fierce Kansas sunshine. His eyes roamed over to the park on his left. At the northwest corner, as he crossed Tenth Street, he could see a group of young children in bathing suits squealing in delight as they jumped and splashed in the cooling waters of the municipal wading pool. Beyond, he could see knots of older boys gathered around several picnic tables outside the small recreation center. They seemed to be playing board games, probably chess or checkers, watched over by the usual yawning high school student hired by the town to oversee the kids and insure they caused no overwhelming mischief. In front of him, at the southern end of the park, facing Eighth Street, was an old green Army tank on which some newly graduated high school students had painted in white the cryptic message, "SR 68."

Halfway between the wading pool and the war memorial, where Ninth Street stopped on Union, a large gateway led into the park. Between the two red brick pillars was a wrought iron arch on which appeared the words "Cottonwood Park." As he approached the gate, he turned inward, hopped the curb, and rode through the archway. The path on which he slowly pedaled led to the center of the park where stood a statue of a man in nineteenth-century military garb. Timothy laid his bike in the grass and sat down beside it. Slipping the backpack over his shoulder, he leaned against the pedestal, on which was bolted a plaque bearing the words, "General John C. Fremont Abolitionist and Founder of the Republican Party." From the backpack, he extracted an apple, a peanut butter sandwich wrapped in wax paper, and a Thermos adorned with George Jetson, Jane, his wife, and his boy Elroy.

An old black crow landed atop the statue of General Fremont and began to caw, proudly announcing his sovereignty over the park. Timothy smiled and relaxed. This was his favorite place in Fremont, the place to which he escaped when he wanted to get away. It was here he came to read or write or think. He loved to hear the laughter of the little children, the cawing of the crows, and the screeching of the blue jays. Even the soft quiet sounds of the traffic downtown, just a few blocks away, he found pleasurable.

When the sandwich had been eaten, the apple consumed, and the Nestles' Quik in his Thermos drunk, he tossed the waxed paper and the apple core into a nearby litter basket. He then pulled out from the backpack a new paperback copy of Jules Verne's Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. He lay in the grass, resting his head on the backpack, and began reading.

He was only a few paragraphs into the first chapter, in which Verne describes how mariners the world over had reported sightings in 1866 of strange long objects in the sea, or shifting reefs, or strange creatures. He set the book down on his tummy and looked up the dancing diamonds of sunlight through the twisting and waiving oak leaves above. A soft breeze caressed his bare legs, tickling the fine sparse hairs on his calves and slipping inside the openings of his plaid Bermuda shorts. It felt nice. Even the prickly feel of the cool grass beneath him felt nice. He sat up, pulled off his T-shirt, and lay back in the grass. The sensation of breeze against his chest and grass against his back felt nice. For some reason, everything at that moment seemed to feel nice.

In the few days since the fifth grade had ended, Timothy had begun to notice how nice everything around him was, how good things felt, how beautiful things looked, how pleasant things sounded. Just the day before, he had come into the house after a hard afternoon of riding his bike around town. He was covered in dirt and sweat and had taken a long shower. Sitting in the big chair in the living room, reading the last chapter of H. G. Wells' The Invisible Man, Timothy noticed the pleasant, relaxing hum of the air conditioner above him, the wonderful feel of the cool air against his damp skin, the smell of his mother's pot roast simmering in red wine in the oven. He almost wanted to sing.

He had felt the same thing that night when, after yet another shower, he had climbed into bed and marveled at how wonderful it felt to crawl in between new crisp, cool, sheets.

Even that morning, he had stood in front of his mirror in the bedroom he shared with Andy, his younger brother, and looked at his face. The blue green eyes, the blond eyelashes, the freckles across his nose and cheeks, the strawberry-blond hair cut neatly over his ears and combed across to the right, all seemed so, so nice. He just could not think of another word to describe it. He did not consider himself egotistical, (a word he had just learned in his morning search through the dictionary to expand his vocabulary- a game his father had begun with him a year before). He was not "stuck" on himself. It just seemed nice to look at himself.

All of these thoughts went through his mind as he lay in the grass beneath the statue of General Fremont, listening to the birds and the kids and the distant traffic, feeling the grass against his bare skin and the breeze inside his shorts.

Suddenly, something new entered his consciousness. The gentle cool caress of the breeze inside his shorts and against the inside of his thighs caused a new sensation deep within him, a strange feeling that grew, a need for something, something he could not identify, but a need nonetheless. It was similar to, but not quite the same, as the sensation he felt when riding in the car and his father drove over a hill just a bit too fast. His stomach seemed to rise within. However, this new feeling was more than that.

Truthfully, as he pondered the feeling, considering it, sensing it, experiencing it as it grew, (and the mere act of thinking about the feeling seemed to make it grow), it was not a completely new experience. He had first noticed it several months before while watching a rerun of Lost in Space. Will Robinson was wearing a one-piece, silver space suit and there was something really, well nice about the way he looked. Timothy realized that he actually enjoyed looking at Will Robinson's long hair as it fell across his forehead, his smile, his slim body in the space suit.

Something was happening. Timothy realized his thing was getting stiff. This was not a completely new experience. Sometimes when he was laying on his stomach watching TV, his thing would get stiff, just as it would sometimes when laying on his stomach in bed. And, now that he remembered, it had happened that night looking at Will Robinson. However, this time, he was on his back and all he was doing was thinking about the strange, wonderful feeling inside him, a feeling that seemed to be centered in his bowels, behind, well yes, behind his thing, and, now, even in his thing.

As he thought about his thing and how hard and stiff it felt, he began to feel even stranger. He felt hot and flushed. His heart was racing and his breathing was short and fast, as if he had been running. He closed his eyes and wriggled in the grass, enjoying the strange, exotic sensations coursing through his body. It was amazing, incredible, awesome. It was....

"Whatcha doin'?"

Timothy's eyes snapped open and he found himself looking into the wide, brown eyes, curly dark hair, and pale face of Daniel Weinberg. Timothy was panting and slightly disoriented as he tried to clear his mind.

"You OK, Timothy?"

"Um, yeah. Um, I'm fine."

Daniel did not appear convinced.

"Whatcha doin'?" he asked again. "You're face is all red. You look funny."

Timothy thought for a moment. He felt embarrassed, though he could not imagine why he should feel so.

"I don't know," he replied, irritated that Daniel was pressing him like this and irritated that his peaceful, beautiful, exciting moment had been so abruptly ended. "Just thinking."

Daniel looked down Timothy's body and his eyes stopped at the rise in the boy's shorts. A look of realization dawn on his face.

"You were thinkin' nasty!" he declared as if he had just caught someone breaking a commandment.

"Was not!" Timothy replied hotly. "I was just thinking"

"Were, too! You were thinkin' nasty. You gotta stiffy!"

Timothy caught himself. Daniel knew about things getting hard and stiff. That meant that other boys experienced this, as well.

"So?" he responded defensively. "I've got a stiffy. So what?"

"You were thinkin' nasty. I bet you were thinkin' about girls, weren't ya?" Timothy noticed that Daniel's tattle-tale tone of voice had changed a little, becoming slightly husky and almost, conspiratorial, (a word he had learned the previous week- he smiled to himself as he concluded that the vocabulary exercises were working).

"I wasn't thinking about girls. Leave me alone."

Timothy picked up his book and opened it, hoping Daniel would get the message and run off in some other direction. Such was not the case, however.

"Well, if you weren't thinkin' about girls, what were you thinkin' about?"

"NOTHING! Now leave me alone!"

Daniel stood up with a startled and disappointed look on his face before turning away and walking north toward the rec center.

"Sheesh. Man, all I did was ask ya a question. Ya don't have to yell at me. Gee whiz. All I wanted to know was why ya had a stiffy. Ya'd think I asked about your mother or something. Man, some people are so sensitive. Its just a simple...."

Timothy sighed with relief as his tormentor finally disappeared. With his mind now off the unusual sensations of earlier, he returned to the mysterious sightings in the oceans of the world during the summer of 1866.

It was not until the sun had moved past the branches of the oak tree under which Timothy was laying and the rays and heat were shining directly in his face, that he put the book down and looked around again. There were more kids in the wading pool, but the contingent of chess players at the rec center had dwindled. There were only two games going and a single kid reading at a table to the side of them. There was a Coke machine behind him.

Timothy sat up, put his Jules Verne in his backpack, slipped his T-shirt back on and walked his bike over to the rec center. The monitor paid no attention to him as he focused his gaze on the two boys before him and the chess game they were engaged in. The other two ignored him as well. He placed a quarter in the Coke machine and pulled out a bottle. He checked the bottom to see where that bottle was from, (Des Moines- not very far- once he found a bottle from Atlanta and another from Philadelphia!), popped the lid off and sat down at a table by himself.

It was then that he looked up and saw the other boy looking at him. Their eyes met for a moment and then the other boy returned to his book, a paperback considerably thicker than Timothy's.

Timothy looked away, but felt he had to look back again at the boy. He waited, however, focusing his attention on the statue beside which he had been laying before. After a decent interval of time, he dared a quick glance back and was startled to see the boy looking at him again. Quickly, they both averted their eyes.

This was strange. Timothy had never been embarrassed about looking at a boy before. And, he had never seen another boy seem embarrassed about looking at him. He glanced over again and saw the boy deeply engrossed in his book. It was laying flat on the picnic table, obscuring the title. Timothy thought it was unusual for a boy who seemed to be his age to read something that look so adult-like from its size.

He took the chance, while the boy seemed so intent on reading, to examine him. He was definitely about Timothy's age, probably entering the sixth grade as well. He wore short cut-off jean shorts and a white T-shirt much like his own. He seemed just as skinny as Timothy, who had begun, in the last few months, to be teased by a few boys for being so obviously non-athletic. But, it was the boy's hair and face that attracted Timothy's attention.

His hair was blond, not the bright golden or white blond that one saw so frequently in the Scandinavian kids in Fremont, but a slightly darker blond, rather brownish but with streaks of a lighter blond within. This was not so unusual, but its length and thickness were. The hair did not cover his ears, but it swept across the top in long wavy curls, flowing over his forehead and down the back of his head. If he was not careful, Timothy thought to himself, the principal was going to send him home for a haircut when school started again in the fall.

Which brought Timothy to another thought. This boy was not from Fremont. Aside from the fact that he had never seen him before, (there were five elementary schools in Fremont and Timothy admittedly did not know every fifth or sixth grade boy in each of them), his hair style was definitely not that of someone from Fremont, Kansas. Sure, a few of the more daring and rebellious students at Fremont State Teachers College had followed the trend of their contemporaries at Columbia or Berkeley and wore their hair long over their ears and, in some extreme cases, down to their collars. However, it was unheard of among kids in Fremont and certainly a violation of the dress code of the Fremont Independent School District!

Interestingly, though, Timothy, whose hair was perfectly within regulation and who had never even conceived of the idea of letting his hair grow, found it interesting. Attractive. Nice.

There it was again. Nice. Timothy felt nice looking at the boy, looking at his hair, looking at the quietly serious expression on his face. Nice.

He had finished his Coke. He wanted to say "hi" to the boy, ask him what he was reading, inquire where he had moved from, start a conversation, build a friendship. However, something stopped him. What stopped him, he could not pinpoint; but, he hesitated. And, then, the opportunity was lost.

The boy suddenly looked up and glanced at his watch, closed the book, looked around him as if surveying his surroundings, took notice of Timothy sitting at the next table over, and then stood and walked away.

He watched as the boy walked off to the north, crossing Tenth Street and headed north on College.

Timothy was irritated with himself that he had not spoken to the boy. What would have been so difficult about just saying "hi?" What would have been the trouble of asking what he was reading? He had never experienced such reluctance before. In his entire ten, almost eleven years, on earth, he had never felt such a hesitation. This was definitely a strange afternoon.

That evening, Timothy sat at the basement workbench helping his father paint a Lotus slot-car British racing green. A transistor radio on the shelf above was tuned to KVFK, "The AM Voice of Fremont," regaling its listeners with the Lettermen singing "Where Were You When the Lights Went Out." A cone shaped desk lamp with a flexible neck provided just enough light and Timothy watched the smoke from his father's Pall Mall spiral upward before it. His Dad had shucked his impeccably starched white dress shirt and charcoal slacks in favor of a T-shirt and green work pants.

The boy watched in fascination as his father, with amazing precision, detailed the chassis with a pinpoint paintbrush. Everything his father did, he did well. The boy felt a surge of pride.

"What are you thinking?"

The boy looked up and saw his father watching him with a smile. He shrugged.

"I suppose I was thinking about how neat it is that you can paint that so... so accurately, I guess."

His father smiled.

"Well, it just takes a little patience and a little respect for quality. You do the same thing."

"What do you mean?"

"Well... I watched you put those decals on that Gemini space capsule last month. You had your ruler out and you measured and adjusted until they were just right. You do the same thing when you write your book reports or your themes. I've watched you look at your paper and scrunch up your nose as you think about the right fact or try to come up with the perfect phrase. I'm proud of you, Timmer. You have to have a lot of self-respect to do a good job and I think you do."

Timothy smiled as his father gave his shoulder an affectionate squeeze.

"Daddy, do you respect yourself?"

His father gave him a surprised look.

"Well, yes. Yes I respect myself. Why?"

Timothy hesitated.

"Well, why do you smoke?"

The man raised his eyebrows and gave a guilty smile.

"Yes, well, um, I suppose because I did something very foolish when I was seventeen."

"What was that?"

His father set down the paintbrush and placed the slot-car under the heat of the desk lap. He turned on his stool and faced the boy.

"I decided that it was important to fit in and conform. All my friends were smoking so I decided I wanted to be one of them. So I started smoking."

Timothy's eyes grew wide.

"But, Daddy! You're always telling me that just because my friends rob a bank doesn't make it right for me to."

His father grinned.

"Do as I say, not as I do."


The man put his arms around his son and hugged him tightly.

"I love you, Timothy, and you're right. I shouldn't smoke. It's awfully hard to stop, though, once you've started. This is why you should never make a major decision like smoking without thinking long and hard about it and making sure you're not doing it just to fit in. Stand up on your own two feet and think for yourself."

Timothy looked up at his father with a new and far more profound respect; his father leaned over and kissed him on the forehead before turning back to the workbench and putting out his cigarette.

"Tell you what," his father said as he stood. "Let's see if your Mom wants a banana split."

That night, in bed, Timothy felt a profound sense of peace and joy, a sense that all was right with the world and that nothing would ever happen to change that. He fell asleep with a wonderful sense of happiness and a pleasant and delightful stiffness.