By this time, you already know what this story deals with. If you're too young to be reading it, you already know that, too. But it's dedicated to you, anyway, and to all boys your age whether gay or straight. I don't encourage the behavior depicted in this story at your age, but in the right circumstances I could accept it. I hope you will like it.

This is a period piece; i.e. written at a time when HIV and AIDS weren't issues. The characters don't use condoms except to prevent pregnancy. Unfortunately, in today's times, condoms are an absolute necessity unless you have the will power to be monogamous, which I encourage.

This is a love story. Sure, sexual acts are depicted, because sex is a basic part of being in love and sharing your love with one another. There will be at least 12 chapters. Please send comments to me at Writers thrive on feedback. I hope this story helps someone (actually, a lot of someones).

I have tried to make this story as realistic and believable as possible. This chapter, however, does have a sizable dose of "wishful thinking" in it. I hope this doesn't diminish its value to you.

True Love

By Dan

Chapter 7

Part I - Love begets love

About 9:00 the boys got off the couch and announced they were going to take their showers and get ready for bed.

"Since we don't have school tomorrow and don't have to get up early, can we sleep in the basement?" Sam asked.

"Sure," his mom answered. "You guys sleep as late as you want. Just holler up the stairs when you're ready for me to start breakfast."

Dan followed Sam to the bathroom, eager to see his boyfriend naked.

"How about taking a bath instead of a shower?" Sam asked.

"Sure, any special reason?"

"No, not really. I just thought it might be fun to lay in a tub of hot water together. I'm still cold from last night."

"Won't the folks wonder why we're in here so long?"

"Maybe, but if they want to know, they'll just come to the door and ask."

While they talked, Sam put the plug in the tub and started the water running, making sure it would be comfortably hot before standing and turning to face his boyfriend. Dan had been standing patiently behind him, waiting til they could undress together.

As they faced each other, they began unbuttoning each other's pajama shirt. Once their shirts were open, they slipped into an embrace, hands rubbing softly up and down the smooth skin of their backs, Dan's cheek resting on Sam's collarbone, Sam's chin resting on Dan's head. They stood like that for several minutes, just drawing warmth from one another, the sort of warmth that only comes from one's love for another.

After some minutes, Dan lifted his head and drew back to look into Sam's eyes. The love he saw there almost brought tears to his eyes, again.

"I love you so much, Samuel. I don't know if I really understood how much until I thought I was going to lose you. I was so scared. And when I thought I heard God talking to me, I really got scared."

"Oh, Danny, no one could love someone as much as I love you right now. Not because you saved my life, but because of who and what you are."

Then Sam lowered his lips onto Dan's in a tender kiss meant simply to convey his love. But whatever his intentions, their kiss soon became more passionate. Their breathing speeded up and became somewhat labored. Their arms grasped one another more tightly, and it soon became apparent to each of them that certain parts of their bodies were demanding attention. In fact, those parts had come to attention.

Breaking the kiss, finally, Sam noticed the tub was almost too full for the two of them, so he quickly turned off the water. Then they slipped off their pj bottoms, each watching the other's erection spring forth as the material slid down their thighs. Like two little kids walking hand in hand, they grabbed each other's penis and stepped into the tub.

"Since my legs are longer, I'll sit in the back and you sit between my legs. I'll wash you and then you can turn around and wash me," Sam said.

So they did just that. With the water coming just a few inches short of the top of the tub, and about level with their nipples, Sam couldn't really wash much. So he settled for washing Dan's hair first, rinsing it with the flexible shower hose, and then washed his shoulders and arms. Grabbing one wrist, he raised Dan's arm in the air and washed it with his free hand. When he got to the pit, he couldn't resist the urge to tickle. Thus began a tussle of thrashing arms and legs, water splashing over the sides of the tub.

Once both arms were washed, Sam pulled Dan back so he was leaning on his chest. Fortunately the tub was long enough for their legs to stretch out. Dan's feet rested on the end of the tub and kept him from slipping down any further. As he laid his head back , Sam tilted his just slightly forward so that they were cheek to cheek. This position gave Sam a wonderful view of everything.

He then took the bar of soap and rubbed it all over Dan's upper chest, the part that wasn't covered with water. From his nipples to his neck, Sam created a good lather and set the soap aside. Then he proceeded to rub his hands gently, slowly, lovingly all over his boyfriend's chest. Dan sighed and settled back against his boyfriend whose hands were now creating a sense of warmth and comfort he hadn't quite experienced before.

As Sam kept moving his hands, Dan's nipples began to get sensitive. They rose into little quarter inch rivets that tickled the palms of Sam's hands. But Sam's hands and fingers weren't tickling Dan's nipples. Now, perhaps for the first time, Dan noticed that his nipples were really sensitive. Sam was playing with his boobs and nipples the way Dan had always imagined a boy would play with a girl. He was surprised that a boy could get turned on the way he had heard girls did.

But he was getting turned on. His little hairless dick was soon rising to stick it's head above water as though to look around or get a breath of air. Sam had closed his eyes and wasn't aware of what was happening to his friend until Dan moaned with pleasure. As he opened his eyes, they fell quite naturally on Dan's lap and the erection bouncing back and forth at the water's surface.

"Oh, I see the little guy wants some attention, huh?"

"Well, I suppose so. Maybe. If you don't have anything better to do that is."

The boys giggled as Sam slid his soapy hand down onto Dan's erection.

"Careful you don't get soap in the hole! That really stings."

Sam rinsed his hand in the water before grabbing his favorite toy and stroking it lightly. The way he treated it tonight, it was like he'd never seen it before. He didn't attack it as he normally might have. Instead, he just toyed with it gently. As he did so, new thoughts began filtering into his conscious mind. An idea he had been day dreaming about since their talk with his dad started to take hold as he realized that he really wanted it to become a reality and not just a dream. Dan could feel the head of his boyfriend's penis throbbing against his tale bone as Sam continued to toy with him.

"So you really sucked on my toes last night, huh?" Sam said softly in Dan's ear.

"Yeah. It wasn't so bad. They were too cold to have any taste. Either that or my taste buds were all frozen."

The boys giggled a little at that.

"I guess it was a good thing my pecker wasn't as cold as my feet, huh?"

Dan moved his head to the side so he could look into Sam's eyes.

"Yeah, I guess."

Then, before turning back to face the front, he added, "But I'd have sucked that too, if I thought it was in trouble."

Neither of them said anything after that. They just sort of laid there in a semi-reclining position and enjoyed each other's touch. Sam even stopped playing with Dan's boyhood.

Perhaps they should have kept talking, because it wasn't long before both of them had fallen asleep.

About 40 minutes after the boys had left to take their showers, Mr. Russell realized they hadn't returned.

"I better go see what the boys are doing," he said with some trepidation.

He knocked lightly on the door of the bathroom. When he got no answer, he tried the knob. It turned and he opened the door just enough to stick his head in. The sight before him caused him to pause and reflect again on how fortunate the boys were to know each other's love at this age. Sure he might have wished it were different, but love is love, and true love is something worth holding onto wherever it comes from.

Since the soapy water hid their private parts, he decided to invite Sam's mom and Dan's parents to come see this for themselves. One at a time, the others stuck their heads in and looked with parental love on these two special kids. In fact, Dan's dad was so moved he actually had to wipe tears from his eyes as he moved back down the hall. And Dan's dad prided himself on not showing his emotions.

When the others had returned to the TV room, dad Russell stepped into the bathroom and over to the tub. From this viewpoint, he could see Dan's equipment through the murky water, so he grabbed a wash cloth and laid it on the surface of the water and then shook the boys' shoulders.

"Don't you guys think you should get rinsed off and into bed? It would probably be a lot more comfortable," he said with a grin.

"Yeah, thanks dad," the boys responded.

As Mr. Russell left the room, Dan picked up the washcloth and turned to Sam with a questioning look on his face. Each knew they hadn't taken one into the tub; they never used them when they were washing each other. Sam just shrugged his shoulders and they each blushed at the realization that dad Russell must have put it where Dan found it.

When they had dried off and slipped back into their pj's, the boys grabbed a glass of soda and headed downstairs.

"Why did you want to sleep down here?" Dan asked.

"It's more private, and if we make any noise they won't be as likely to hear it."

"Make any noise? What kind of noise wouldn't you want them to hear?" Dan asked with a sly grin on his face.

"Well, I don't know..." Sam said, trying to appear embarrassed.

"Certain noises."

They set their sodas on the bedside table and began unbuttoning each other's shirt. Then they slid them off and wrapped their arms around one another, running their hands slowly up and down the other's back, sides and front. As they were doing this, Sam leaned his head forward and down so that their foreheads were touching. Their eyes closed, they each breathed in the other's essence, that just-washed, clean-boy fragrance that served as an aphrodisiac to them.

Soon enough the tents in their pants were pressing against each other, their hormones rapidly adding fuel to their fires. Trapping Dan's arms with his, Sam slid his hands into the waistband of Dan's pj's and pushed them down off his hips, down his legs and off his feet. Kneeling as he was at this point, his face was level with Dan's crotch. With Dan looking down at him, watching his every move, his erection bobbing straight out from his groin, Sam moved his hands slowly up Dan's legs, over the cheeks of his bubble butt and around to the front. With one hand, he cupped the little nutsac while he wrapped the other around the base of the slender shaft. Then he leaned forward and kissed the head of Dan's boyhood.

Before Dan had a chance to get Sam out of his pj's, Sam pushed him back onto the bed and laid down full-length on top of him, supporting his weight on his legs which were between Dan's, and his arms which were tucked in tightly to Dan's side. He slid his hands under Dan's shoulders to grab them from behind and above. As he ground his own erection against his boyfriend's and squeezed his shoulders, Sam began lavishing Dan's face with kisses. He slid up Dan's body until their armpits were even. Then as his fingers played lovingly with Dan's hair, ears and cheeks, he continued his kissing.

It was all Dan could do just to lay there and receive the love Sam was pouring out to him. At least his arms were free now, so he wrapped them around Sam's body and held on tight. Sam's lips started at his hairline near one temple, moved across his forehead, back across his eyes, stopping at each one to wet the lids with his tongue. Then they moved down his cheek, across his nose, down the other cheek and back to finally rest on his lover's lips. Were they lover's yet? Not really. But they would be soon.

As Sam's lips settled on his, Dan's hands started frantically pushing at the waistband of Sam's pj's.

"Take 'em off, Samuel!" Dan hissed urgently. "I want to feel you down there. I want us touching everywhere."

Without breaking their kiss, Sam used one hand at a time to move his pj's off his hips. Then Dan's feet took over as he raised his legs enough to hook his toes into the waistband and shove them down to Sam's feet. Sam kicked them off as they began to grind their erections against each other, Sam's sliding wetly against Dan's bald skin, the head of Dan's brushing against the soft furry bush that Sam had spreading out from the base of his boyhood.

But Sam had made up his mind about something, and as hot as they were getting just frenching each other, he knew he couldn't linger too long. So he moved on down Dan's neck, leaving a little wet trail where he paused to lick the skin. When he got to the left nipple, he stopped. Remembering how excited Dan had become in the bathtub when he had played with his nipples, Sam began to suck gently. The action seemed to come naturally to him, as though left over from his infancy.

The more he sucked, the more Dan squirmed, first from side to side and then up and down, raising his back off the bed as he thrust his chest into Sam's gentle caress. Sam's tongue was busy also, flicking back and forth across his boyfriend's little rivet. As Dan's breathing grew more rapid along with his heart beat, Sam moved over to the other nipple and continued his suckling. Then he moved further down, across Dan's tender midriff to his belly button where he paused to lick some more.

By the time he got to his target area, Dan was whimpering and moaning. Sam checked once in awhile to see if Dan was watching his progress, but his eyes were always closed. He paused just for a few seconds to stare at Dan's flagpole. Sam still thought it was beautiful, about 4" long and a half inch thick. The first thing he noticed was the rather large drop of clear liquid resting between the lips. But he forced himself to ignore it for the time being.

Dan's nuts weren't very big to begin with, and the sac had drawn up so tight they were hardly visible. Sam blew gently all over Dan's genitals, watching his penis tremble and throb with each heartbeat. Then he leaned his head down and dusted the area with his hair, gently brushing all he could reach as with a feather duster. Dan's whimpers had turned to moans and his fists were gripping the sheet so tight his knuckles were white, but his eyes remained closed.

Being careful not to touch any of the surrounding area lest Dan be forewarned of what was to come, Sam opened his mouth wide and settled his lips around his lover's (yeah, I think they're close enough to it to call them lovers now) scrotum. Just as his lips touched the base, his tongue pressed firmly against the sac. Dan reacted with a sudden intake of breath and a gasping groan that both boys might have feared could be heard upstairs had either of them been able to think.

At the same time he gasped with shock, his eyes popped open in amazement. Subconsciously he may have been hoping this would happen, but consciously he wasn't expecting it. Seeing Sam's face buried in his groin and his lips surrounding his sac almost made the youngster swoon.

"Omigod, Samuel! That feels soooo goooood! Oh my G-o-d!" he gasped in a loud whisper, almost a groan.

Then he collapsed back on the bed to revel in this new and wonderful sensation. His boyfriend was actually making love to him with his mouth. He couldn't believe it. The emotional impact was every bit as marvelous as the physical. Unable to control himself, his moans began to increase in volume.

Sam lavished his affection and his spit on his lover's nutsac for several minutes before moving on to his real target. He had been thinking about this for more than a week and all it took to make him want to make it a reality was the love Dan had shown for him the night before.

He let Dan's nutsac fall gently from his mouth and moved to lick all around it, all over that mound of flesh that surrounds every young man's (every man's) penis. He licked, he kissed, he stroked, he murmured against it. Then he drew back and looked again at the beauty of his boyfriend's equipment. In fact, he looked so long that Dan opened his eyes to see what he was doing. Their eyes locked and stayed that way while Sam's tongue came out, his head lowered, and he licked the dribble of clear liquid that was seeping from the lips of that gorgeous mushroom head.

Then he closed his eyes and engulfed that part of Danny that he felt was most precious - because he was the only one besides Dan who ever got close to it. He slowly allowed it to run along the length of his tongue to the back of his mouth. Then he closed his mouth around it and just laid there, his tongue moving from side to side along the bottom side and then around to the top.

He'd had no idea that this was going to be so absolutely wonderful. Danny's penis was so soft at the same time it was so hard. He could feel it throbbing against his tongue as he sucked on it gently, almost as a child would suck its thumb. His own erection was pressed tightly between his stomach and the sheet and was throbbing as strongly as Dan's was.

Dan was having trouble dealing with the feelings and emotions that were welling up inside. Of course, by this time tears were streaming down his face onto the pillow. Tears of love, joy, exultation, sexual thrill. Tears prompted by hormones out of control, by his love for Samuel and by the surprise with which Samuel had given him this gift.

"Oh God, Samuel," he sniffed. "What are you doing to me? I can hardly breath. Why have we waited so long to do this? Oh God I love you!"

At this point, Sam began moving his mouth up and down the shaft, rolling his tongue around and around on it, squeezing his lips as tightly as possible when he got to the head, then loosening them to go back down. His hands tenderly massaged Danny's nuts as he made love to his lover, his best friend, his boyfriend. As Dan's hips began to move up and down in counterpoint to Sam's head movements, Sam began moving faster and faster on his penis, sucking as hard as he thought he dared.

Even as Dan's hormones were raging out of control, so were Sam's. He'd always thought oral sex would be a one way street, that the one receiving it would get all or at least most of the enjoyment. But he was sure he could feel his own orgasm approaching to match Dan's.

After several minutes of speeding up and slowing down, bringing his lover to the brink and letting him calm down again, Sam grabbed the base of Dan's penis with one hand and squeezed it gently in rhythm with the motion of his mouth. At the same time, he toyed with his lover's nutsac, rolling those little balls around gently in the hairless container. When Dan's moans and gasps finally got loud enough to draw his attention away from what he was doing, Sam reached over and grabbed the pillow beside him and tossed it over Dan's face.

Dan pressed the pillow onto his face and bit down on it hard as his orgasm flew over him with more power than he had ever experienced. His face went numb and he saw stars and fireworks. His body felt like it was several degrees hotter than normal. He felt dizzy, even lying on his back. His legs stretched out with his feet bent downwards. His back arched up so much his little bubble-butt actually lifted off of the bed. Even with the pillow covering his face, his scream of ecstasy seemed awfully loud. And as his precious fluid flooded Sam's mouth in spurt after spurt, Sam's semen poured out onto the sheet. His own orgasm was more powerful than any he had experienced before, although probably not as powerful as Danny's. His own cries were dampened by the penis in his mouth and the mound of flesh pressed against his lips.

When at last Dan's body had relaxed and his semen had stopped flowing, Sam sucked gently on his penis, cleaning him thoroughly before letting it slip from between his lips. Looking up at Dan's face, he saw that his lover had fainted, just as he had once before. He crawled up the bed and grabbed the towel to clean the fluid from his belly and crotch. Then he laid his head on the pillow next to Dan's and waited for his heartbeat to return to normal.

Dan's first reaction upon waking was to turn towards Sam, throw his arms around him, bury his head in the crook of his lover's neck and cry. Love expresses itself differently in different people. For Dan, it was in his tears. As they died down, Sam leaned back a little, and placing his hand under Dan's chin, raised his head up so they were looking at each other. With a sly grin on his face, he spoke.

"Soooo? Danny .... was it good for you?"

Dan giggled at the joke.

"I... dunno. Maybe if you did it again, so I have something to compare it to...."

Sam hugged him and laughed.

"Well, at least it was good for me. God! I never thought it would feel so good to do that to you. I can't begin to tell you what it was like for me. It was just the most awesome experience I've ever had."

"Oh, Samuel. It was wonderful! You can't imagine what it's like. It's so much better than when you use your hand. We might never beat off again! You gotta let me try it. Doesn't my stuff taste bad?"

Sam gave him a look that said everything Dan wanted to hear. Then he said, "Tastes like Christmas to me."

Dan tried to move, but Sam wouldn't let go. He held on tightly and began kissing his lover. Their tongues danced a slow dance of love and joy as they lay there breathing softly.

"Danny, I have to tell you, your turn will have to wait awhile."

"Why, Samuel?"

"Because I came when you did."

Dan jerked back with a look of amazement on his face.

"You did? Let me see!"

And he threw back the covers that Sam had drawn over them. Using his foot, Sam showed him the wet spot on the sheet. It was LARGE. He had spilled more seed than either of them had seen before.

"I'm gonna have to find a way to clean that up before mom sees it," he said.

"Oh, surely she won't mind just once."

"Maybe not, Danny, but do we want her wondering how I could have had an accident like that clear down there at the foot of the bed?"

"Oh. I see your point. I guess not."

Sam drew the covers back up, reached over and turned out the light, and then drew Danny onto his chest as he lay on his back. Dan's arm rested along Sam's side, his hand on his boyfriend's shoulder. Sam wrapped both of his arms firmly around his love and hugged him. Then he let them slide down to rest gently, one on Dan's back and the other on his arm.

After just a couple of minutes, he said, "You can do me some other time, Danny. I'm really sleepy right now."

But Dan didn't answer. He had already fallen asleep, his warm breath tickling the peach fuzz on Sam's chest.

About an hour later, the parents came downstairs, the Russell's to say good night and the Whittington's to say goodbye. Finding the boys in this position, mom Russell went and got her camera. They each wanted pictures as they marveled at how their sons could say I love you even in their sleep.

Later, they awoke and Dan made love to Sam, using his mouth in much the same way. When he was finished licking his lover clean, they went back to sleep in the same position as before, their love for each other cemented even more than before by their first experience of making love to one another.

As soon as Dan went home the following day, Sam went to his dad with his problem. He wasn't really that eager to discuss what he and Dan had done the night before, but he was even more apprehensive of his mother finding the cum stains on the sheet downstairs. So while his mom was in Nancy's room selecting clothes to be washed, he went to find his dad in the TV room.

He sat on the couch next to his dad and spoke softly so as not to be heard by his mom,

"Uh, Dad? We need to talk."

"Oh? What about?"

"Well, it's kind of embarrassing, but it's sort of urgent, too."


"Well, ever since you had that talk with us, Danny and I have tried to be real careful not to make any messes."


"Well, last night was different."

"Different how?"

"Well... uh..." Sam was starting to turn red by this time and was fidgeting something fierce.

"It's usually easiest just to spit it out, son," his dad said comfortingly.

"Well... uh... well, last night we made love for the first time!" he blurted out quickly.

Obviously his dad did not understand, for his response was immediate and angry.

"Sam! I thought we had an agreement. You guys weren't to do that until after high school. You're not even in high school yet!"

"Dad! Not back there! The other way! And keep your voice down, please?"

"Oh. ..... You mean orally."


"So? Why didn't you have a towel ready like I asked?"

"We did! But it wasn't where we needed it. It was up beside Dan."

Mr. Russell was not quite getting the picture.

"Why don't you tell me what happened. I'll try to keep my mouth shut, or at least not say anything, until you're finished."

Sam really turned red now. He decided he'd just say as little as possible as fast as possible and see what happened.

"Well I was doing it to Danny, and when he came I did too!"

The expression on his dad's face was priceless. Sam thought his dad didn't know whether to shit or go blind, laugh or faint dead away. When his dad could finally speak, his voice was filled with wonder. He spoke softly, almost reverently to his son.

"You mean you got so excited making love to him with your mouth that you had an orgasm? Can that happen? Geez, it's hard enough to imagine a guy wanting to do that in the first place, but to get so excited doing it that he has a climax is amazing! That really happened?"

"D-a-a-d! You're embarrassing me!" Sam said with a blushing grin. His father's reaction was not at all what he expected, and now he was much more comfortable talking about his experience. With a look of excitement on his face and a note of pride in his voice, he expounded on his experience.

"But, yeah. It happened. I mean I had no idea it would be like that. I just wanted to do something extra special to tell Danny how much I love him, and we'd never done that before, so I just sort of surprised him with it. By the time I put him in my mouth we were both really turned on. It was... well, I don't know how to describe it.... well, it was just fucking fantastic!"

"Sam!" his dad exclaimed, laughing at his son's sudden outburst, his obvious enchantment with this new experience he was trying to describe.

Realizing what he had just said and how excited he had become, Sam blushed crimson and turned away. But his dad grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him into a fierce hug. Sam buried his face in his dad's chest and hugged back. The longer they sat that way, the more emotional Mr. Russell became. Soon tears of wonder and joy were trickling down his cheeks. When he had control again, he pushed his son back a little and looked at him tenderly.

"So, what's the problem? I know I asked you guys to keep a towel handy, but one accident isn't going to throw your mom into a tizzy."

"Dad! The stain's clear down at the foot of the bed. Isn't she going to wonder how it got down there? I don't wanna have to tell her what I just told you!"

"Oh. I guess I hadn't thought of what position you might have been in. Yeah, I guess we better change those sheets. Then I'll try to get your mom out of the house for a while so you can wash the dirty one."

As they were stripping the bed and putting on clean sheets, Sam's dad told him how to wash the sheet so the stain would come out. Every once in awhile he would just stop and look at his son in amazement, smile or even chuckle. Two or three times he voiced his surprise, saying things like, "that really happened?" or "I can't believe it." or "amazing!" Every time he did, Sam would grin and blush, but he still felt proud of what he had done and was happy with the way his dad was reacting to the news.

Part II - Notoriety comes in unexpected ways

Mr. Whittington's warning was indeed prophetic. Nurses, doctors, orderlies, even janitorial staff had all heard about the boys' ordeal before the shift change. And of course, they talked about it at home and on the bus and on the streets and just about anywhere else they could.

Perhaps somewhat unfortunately, at least for the boys, the Gospel reading the following Sunday was John 15:13. Pastor Thomas could hardly preach on that lesson without bringing Dan and Sam into it. Besides, the Whittington's and Russell's had already gotten so many phone calls they hadn't thought to ask Pastor Thomas not to say anything.

As the pastor shared what details he knew and worked his sermon around their experience, Dan slid further and further down in his seat, turning several shades of red. Even Sam blushed profusely, although he wasn't so embarrassed that he wanted to slide out of sight as Dan did.

Not all of the notoriety was pleasant, however. Although even the unpleasant seemed to serve a purpose.

The boys' school had what was called in those days, General Assembly. This occurred every Friday afternoon and was a time to hand out awards from time to time, announce special events that were scheduled, present plays such as the Christmas performance, etc. The first General Assembly after school resumed was set aside to honor Dan for his heroic deed. He had been notified in advance, but that didn't make it any easier for him.

Both the morning and afternoon papers had carried stories about the boys, and reporters from both papers were there to cover the assembly. Sam had been asked to tell the story in as much detail as he could. He and Dan and the school principal were the only ones on stage. Dan's and Sam's parents were also in attendance to see the award presentation.

Principal Warner opened the assembly with a brief welcoming comment and then turned the microphone over to Sam. With Dan sitting on a straight back chair to the side of the podium (sure it was straight back, folding, grey, dented AND uncomfortable. Didn't you go to junior high school?), Sam proceeded to tell the story again. He had told it so many times already, the details just flowed from his lips. While he didn't embellish the story at all, it was evident to everyone present that he was tremendously proud of his friend. Proud AND grateful.

When he got to the part about Dan sucking his toes, some of the boys snickered and giggled and poked each other. Some of the girls made faces and mouthed the universal ooooh! Yuck! But when he shared Dan's answer to his own question about whether or not Dan had known he didn't have athlete's foot or some other fungus, the audience fell deadly silent. This was the only point at which Sam shed a tear and everyone saw him wipe his eyes.

Now it was at this point that the unpleasantness happened. One of the journalists sitting in the audience was known for his attacks on homosexuals, queers he called them in his many scathing articles. As Sam wiped his eyes and prepared to leave the podium, this journalist stood up and yelled a question.

"So from the sound of things and the way you're acting, I'd say you guys are queer for each other, right? Is that the way it is? You guys in looove with each other?"

What happened next really takes longer to tell than it took to happen. A deadly silence fell on the crowd as many of them stared at Dan and Sam on the stage. The blood drained from Dan's face so fast that his mother thought he was going to faint. Sam sat down so suddenly and so hard, the chair almost fell out from under him. The journalist just stood there, a defiant look on his face, waiting for a reply.

The reply, however, came from a totally unexpected source. The first to react, perhaps no more than 30 seconds after the question was asked, was Randy, the bully of the eighth grade. The summer had been good to Randy. He had grown to about 5' 9" and weighed about 185. He leapt from his chair so fast it flew into the shins of the person behind him, his English teacher.

"Don't answer that!" he yelled.

Then he marched right up to the journalist and without any warning smacked him on the side of his face as hard as he could with his open hand. Shaking his hand in pain, he looked straight at the journalist and spoke in a tone of voice that carried throughout the hall.

"Now sit down and shut up! I'm going to answer that question!" Then he looked around until he saw Hank, the captain of the football team.

"Hank, you and the guys make sure Mr. Big mouth here doesn't go anywhere."

Several of the team members moved to stand in the aisle as Randy made his way to the stage, with every eye in the house except Dan's following him. Dan had buried his face in his hands and was crying. He was sure that his and Sam's lives were over. Now they would go from heroes to dog shit in one fell swoop.

When Randy walked on stage, he went straight to Dan and knelt down in front of him. Taking the boy by his elbows, he shook him gently until Dan looked up at him.

"Now Dan, I want you to tell me the truth. I'm not going to tell anybody what you say, regardless of your answer. And don't shake or nod your head, 'cause people can see you. Just blink your eyes once for yes and twice for no. OK?"

Dan blinked his eyes once.

"Is it true? Are you and Sam, you know...?"

Dan stared at him for a moment trying to decide if he could trust him. After just a few seconds, he blinked his eyes once, then hung his head and buried his face in his hands again. Sam sat beside him not knowing what to do. He so wanted to reach out and hug his boyfriend, but he just couldn't do that, not here, not now.

Randy moved over to the podium.

"I said I was going to answer that man's question and I am. But I have something to say, and I'm going to say it."

With that he turned to give the principal a look that practically demanded an affirmative response. Then he continued.

"Last year I was known as the school bully. I picked on lots of kids smaller than me, especially Dan because it was so easy. He never fought back. I called him a queer once. I was making fun of him because he was crying. Called him a queer and knocked him down. His head hit the concrete step so hard lots of folks thought he was dead. He ended up in the hospital. Sam, here, hit me so hard I didn't know what happened for a minute. Then he stomped on me and told me to leave his friend alone. Actually threatened me, if you can believe that.

Several weeks later I fell into the deep end of the pool and almost drowned. I can't swim. In fact I'm afraid of water over my head. You want to know who saved my life, who jumped in and pulled me out? It was Dan. I almost drowned him in the process, and that's not a joke! Dan may be small, but his heart is bigger than anyone else's in this room. Then Sam gave me artificial respiration. And you know what? They've never bragged about it, never asked me for anything in return. Just went on about their business like saving somebody's life was just everyday stuff.

You asked if they're queer for each other. I'll give you an answer. I'll give you the same answer Dan gave Sam: What difference does it make!?! As for me? I'd kiss him on the lips if he'd let me, and I'd sooner be loved by him and Sam than by some bigot like you!"

By this time, Kathy, the girl who had kissed Dan on the lips at the Christmas play, had come up on stage. As Randy moved aside from the podium, she took his place.

"I just wanted to say that whether these guys are homosexuals or not isn't important to me, and it shouldn't be important to any of you. And I hope I'm speaking for the entire student body of Bemen Jr. High. If Dan and Sam were queer, they'd still be our queers. Dan's a hero, and I'm betting that he's the only person in this room, youth or adult who has risked his life for a friend. Are there any other reporters here?"

One fellow stood up in the back of the room.

"Well, I hope you'll write the truth of what happened here this afternoon. And I hope you'll tell everybody that Bemen Junior High took a stand against prejudice and bigotry, that we stood up for what's right. Can he print that you guys?"

The entire student body stood almost as one, yelling and clapping, affirming Kathy's comments. When quiet had been restored, she continued.

"I'd give you the same answer Randy just gave you. What difference does it make?! As long as I live, I will always be proud to say that I went to the same Junior High School that these two guys went to."

As the audience stood to applaud, she turned and stepped over to Dan. Taking his hands, she had him stand up. Then she wrapped her arms around his neck and gave him a big kiss on the lips. When she released him, she whispered in his ear.

"I know you and Sam love each other. And I meant what I said, it doesn't make any difference."

Then she stepped over to Sam and did the same thing, said the same thing. After that, the award was a bit anti-climactic.

... to be continued ...