SUMMARY: At a time of national turmoil, the lives of four boys become connected as each struggles to accept his sexuality and to address the challenges he faces in life. To the extent the boys succeed in coming to grips with those challenges, it may be in ways that prove surprising or troubling. This story is also being published on my blog and you can find a longer synopsis there. While some events, locations and features in the story have been moved forward or back in time for dramatic and other purposes, it takes place during an era when prejudice against homosexuals is rampant and the gay revolution in America is still in its infancy. Italics are typically used within the story to indicate what a character is thinking or saying to himself. Any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental.

WARNING: Sex is not the primary focus of this story. If you're looking for erotic content, you'll do much better with other stories on Nifty. While sexual content is secondary and incidental, the story does include some scenes that depict sex and violence, sometimes graphically depending upon the characters and circumstances involved. For that reason, the story is intended for mature audiences only. If you do not wish to read such material or it is illegal for you to do so, please look elsewhere. The story remains the property of the author and may not be reproduced in any form without written permission. It is protected by the copyright laws of the United States and other countries. You may download a single copy to read offline and to share with others as long as you credit me as the author, but you may not use this work for commercial purposes. You may not use any of the characters, bars or other fictional locations described in the story in your own work without my explicit permission. Nor may you use, alter, transform, or build upon this story in any way.

AUTHOR NOTES: This is my first effort at writing a story. As a general rule, I only plan to publish one chapter a week, usually on Thursdays. The latest chapter will always be posted on my blog before being published here. You may want to bookmark the location of my blog in the event you cannot find the story here at some point in the future and you wish to continue reading it: I've tried to provide a more helpful introduction to this chapter here. As always, comments and constructive criticism are welcome. Flames will be ignored. Have fun reading and feel free to let me know what you think by leaving a comment over at my blog or contacting me at

THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER: In Chapter 35, Andy spends the rest of Tuesday morning coordinating strategy and tactics with other congressional staff and outside organizations who support the amendment. Exhausted by the end of the day, he takes a quick shower and collapses into bed, promising himself once again not to go back to Exiles & Castaways. Andy spends Friday evening at home trying to relax, but he ends up just working at home and then going to bed. The next day he tries to keep himself busy doing a variety of things, including calling home to his parents, checking in with the woman he's hired to help him find a house he can buy in Washington, and visiting a nearby Mall. He makes himself dinner and watches some television. Then, frustrated to be spending the evening alone at home again, he drives down to the Jefferson Memorial and just sits on the steps clearing his head. Later, he visits the Hide & Seek, Washington's premier dance bar. Bored, he tries Outlaws, a leather bar, before he finally ends up at Exiles & Castaways in spite of all the promises he's made to himself. He spots Tommy and tries to leave. Before he can do so, Tommy invites him over to his table. Eventually Tommy asks Andy to show him some of Washington's monuments at night. When Andy agrees, Tommy invites some of his friends to come along. Sean and Teddy agree, and the four of them set out for a late night tour of the city.


Part IV - Virtues and Vices, Public and Private

Chapter 36

Tommy was sitting in the front of the car next to me while Sean and Teddy were in back. From the moment I pulled away from the Palermo after dropping Chris off, the two of them had been locked in a kiss that took my breath away. I tried to stop myself from looking, but my eyes insisted on stealing glimpses of them going at it in the rear view mirror. Eventually they broke apart and just smiled at one another for a moment before finally settling down.

I remember being relieved because I was pretty sure I would have crashed the car and killed all of us if they hadn’t stopped when they did. Just watching the two of them had made me go hard and I had to rearrange my pants to provide some relief to my groin. It was embarrassing.

“This has to be the quietest car I've ever been in,” Tommy said, suddenly breaking the silence. “You'll have to let me drive it some time,” he added.

I took that as a positive sign.

At least he’s talking about a next time, I thought.

“So where are you taking us first, Andy?” Tommy asked, as we continued down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the merge on to Constitution.

“I thought I would take you by the U.S. Capitol, which you can see straight ahead if you look up to your right over there,” I responded, pointing. “That's where the House of Representatives and the Senate meet.”

“Oh, we already know that one, Andy,” Tommy replied, grinning. “Don't we, Sean? Sean has some real special friends who work up there.”

“Yeah,” the kid replied from the back seat. But I could see he wasn’t smiling in the rear view mirror and wondered what that was about.

“It's kind of hard to miss on the way to the Hide & Seek and the rest of the bars in Southeast,” Tommy continued.

“And really convenient to Revelations and Head & Tails for all those big shots up there that like having their cocks sucked by young boys,” Sean added.

I decided not to pursue that either.

“But I bet you haven't seen it up close,” I interjected, turning off Constitution, stopping at the check point, flashing my identification quickly, and then pulling up in front of the building after the cops waved me through. It was one of the perks that came with the job although the cop stationed at the check point had arched his eyebrow momentarily when he saw who I had in the car with me.

“I could take you guys on a tour inside someday if you want,” I added. “It’s a pretty interesting place.”

“Maybe,” Tommy responded. “So what do they do in there when they're not molesting pretty young boys like Sean?” he asked.

“That's where they make the laws, Tommy,” Sean replied. “Your Congressman and Senators work in there. Except you don’t have any of those because you live in D.C.,” he added.

I remember being a little impressed Sean had known about that.

“Wow, it sure is pretty big,” Tommy commented, stepping back and looking up at the illuminated dome. It was glowing brightly that evening.

“Man, I wish I had tits like that,” Teddy interjected, as the four of us just stood there staring up.

“And would you look at that, Sean? It looks like the bitch is pretty aroused too. Look at how her nipple is standing straight up,” he added.

It totally cracked me up, as it must have done for Tommy and Sean as well, because the three of us started laughing simultaneously. We were barely able to control ourselves even when the cops began looking over at us, nervously.

“That nipple is called the Statue of Freedom, Teddy,” I finally said, once I was able to regain control. “And yeah, you're right, now that I look at it all lit up from this angle, the Capitol dome sure does look like a gigantic tit in the evening.”

“Bet it’s not as tasty as mine, though,” Teddy responded. “You’re welcome to check that out personally, Andy, if you don’t believe me,” he added, flashing his eyes at me while Sean and Tommy just laughed.

I didn’t say anything to that although I remember wondering why he was still coming on to me so blatantly in front of the other boys.

Eventually the four of us piled back into the car and I started to pull away.

“I would never have a problem getting a date if I had tits like that,” Teddy said, sighing.

“Your tits are just fine, Teddy,” Tommy replied. “And you don't have a problem getting dates either. You get more dates than all of the rest of us combined, girl.”

“Admit it, Teddy, everybody loves you,” Sean chimed in. “The only problem you have is you want to love every one of them back, you nympho.”

“True,” Teddy responded, sighing again, “so true. But I would certainly settle for just one strong, handsome, masculine man this evening,” he added, and I could see his eyes focused on me in the rear view mirror again.

“Do we have one of those in this car?”

“No,” Tommy responded, firmly. “We don't, babe. Get over it, girl. She's taken.”

That made me kind of nervous again. I remember wondering exactly what Tommy thought of me. He sure seemed to be sending mixed signals that evening. It was making me nervous, but I tried to ignore the whole thing.

Because we were close, I drove by the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress building. Then I decided to head back over to the Jefferson Memorial via the Expressway even though I had already spent a long time there earlier that evening.

When we got to the Tidal Basin, I parked the car and the four of us got out. I took Tommy, Teddy and Sean inside the monument and told them a little about Jefferson while they read his words up on the walls.

“Someday I’ll take you out to his house in Virginia if you want,” I said. “It’s kind of neat.”

“Mount Vernon?” Teddy asked.

“No, Teddy,” Sean chimed in. “Mount Vernon is George Washington’s home. Jefferson’s home is called Monticello.”

What is it with this kid, I remembered thinking. He sure knows an awful lot for a kid who spends his time on the streets.

When we were finished, the four of us sat down on the steps outside and looked out over the Tidal Basin. Like I said, it was something I did a lot although usually just by myself. I liked being alone with my thoughts late at night, especially when the weather was nice.

“This sure is nice and quiet,” Tommy said. “Kind of like you, Sean.”

“He may be quiet, Tommy,” Teddy replied. “But definitely not very nice. Evil is more like it,” he added, giggling, which caused Tommy to start giggling as well. “At least that dick of his is.”

Eventually the four of us piled back into my car and I drove north toward the White House. On the way we passed still another familiar site.

“That's the Washington Monument, Teddy,” Sean offered, pointing to the obelisk.

“Why that thing is almost as big as your prick, Sean,” Teddy responded, grinning. That caused Sean to giggle as well.

“Well, if anyone would know, you would, Teddy,” Tommy interjected. “You’ve seen Sean’s prick a lot more than just once.”

“You’re just jealous,” Teddy responded, sticking his tongue out at Tommy. “I’m sure Sean would be happy to introduce it to your pussy as well if you asked him politely.”

“Fat chance of that ever happening,” Sean piped up. “Tommy doesn’t let anyone near that ass of his.”

“You got that right, Sean,” Tommy responded.

After I got us as close to the White House as we could, I decided to make one final stop that evening at the Lincoln Memorial. But as I drove west on Constitution, I couldn't suppress an editorial comment.

“They killed 58,000 boys to build that monument,” I said, pointing it out as we drove past. “That's the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.”

“Who killed 58,000 boys?” Tommy asked.

“Your government,” I said.

He didn’t say anything in response to that and I decided not to pursue it further.

When we arrived at the Lincoln Memorial moments later, I circled around to the south and parked the car in a wooded grove nearby that was out of the way. Then the four of us walked up the stairs to the monument. Even though the place was deserted, this time the boys remained silent as they looked into the eyes of the sad face staring down at the four of us. He had that effect on just about everyone.

I pointed out a few things I knew about the Memorial and about Lincoln as well, and then sent the three of them off to check the place out while I continued to stare into those eyes. It always seemed they were trying to tell me something. I just could never figure out what.

When he had finished reading the words inscribed on the walls, Tommy walked back over to me.

“When we drove around the Memorial coming in, I noticed some kind of building that was all lit up across the bridge we passed. Do you know what that is, Andy?” he asked.

I knew what he was talking about immediately.

“That’s Arlington House,” I responded. “It was the home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The Union Army took control of it early in the Civil War and eventually turned the land on which it stands into Arlington National Cemetery, where veterans from all the wars the United States has fought are buried.”

“That’s really interesting,” Tommy responded. “I want to get a better look at it. Do you want to come with me?”

“Sure,” I replied.

I remember being surprised. I hadn’t really expected him to be all that interested in stuff like that.

“I guess we should round up Sean and Teddy to see whether they want to join us.”

“I’ll check,” Tommy said, walking back over to where the two boys were standing staring up at the walls.

When he came back after talking to them, he just shook his head.

“Sean wants to finish reading the words. Maybe they’ll join us later.”

Tommy and I walked down the steps and started to work our way around to the back of the Memorial. We dashed across the street and walked out a little way on to the bridge that led to Virginia to get a better view.

“Tell me everything you know about that house and cemetery,” Tommy said.

I had spent a lot of time wandering the grounds at the Cemetery on weekends since coming to Washington and now, from the deepest recesses of memory, I tried to recall all the interesting things I had learned in the process.

I told him what I knew about the house itself. I told him about the Tomb of the Unknowns, the monument dedicated to American service members who died without their remains being identified; and about the soldiers who stood guard at the Tomb twenty-four hours a day every day without fail.

I talked about a lot of the famous people who were buried at the Cemetery, including President Kennedy and his brothers, Robert and Teddy, and about the eternal flame. The more I talked, the more things came flooding back to me.

I talked about the Amphitheater where they held the ceremonies each year, the sections dedicated to the nurses, the former slaves, and to Confederate soldiers where the headstones were peaked rather than rounded; I talked about the memorials to Challenger and Columbia, the Christmas wreaths laid on the graves every year, the memorial to the USS Maine, sunk in what we called the Spanish American War, and more.

If you had the time and were willing to make the effort, there was no place in Washington you could learn more about American history than Arlington Cemetery.

Occasionally I wondered whether I was boring him and would slow down, but then Tommy would ask a question and that would spur another outpouring of words. He seemed to be taking it all in and I was happy to share what I knew. I’m not really sure how long I spent talking, but eventually I noticed we were alone.

“I wonder what’s happened to Sean and Teddy. I hope they didn’t get lost trying to find us.”

“They didn’t get lost, Andy,” Tommy replied. “But we can go back now and find them.”

When we got back to the front of the Memorial, I looked up at Lincoln.

“Do you think they’re still up there?” I asked.

“I expect they’ve gone back to the car,” Tommy replied.

And sure enough, he was right about that. As we approached the car, I could see the two of them sitting up straight on opposite sides of the back seat.

“You missed a really interesting part of the tour, Sean,” Tommy said when he finally climbed back into the front seat. “You would have really liked it a lot. You should ask Andy to take you to Arlington Cemetery sometime.”

“Does it feel hot in here, Andy?” he suddenly asked, directing the question to me.

“Not especially,” I replied, wondering why he had asked.

“To me it feels really hot and that back window is really steamed up as well,” he continued, ignoring my response.

I glanced into the rear view mirror to take a look at the window in back. I couldn’t see Teddy at all and Sean looked away when he saw my eyes in the mirror.

“What are you talking about, Tommy?” I said, looking over at him. “That back window isn’t steamed up at all.”

“Are you sure about that, Andy?” Tommy replied.

“Stop it, Tommy,” Sean suddenly blurted out.

It made me wonder what was going on; and then I heard Teddy giggle.

“And don’t you start on me either, Teddy,” Sean added, sternly, trying to take control of the situation.

But that only caused Teddy to start giggling even more and then Tommy began laughing too. Sean looked at the two of them desperately for a moment. Then he lost it entirely and burst out laughing as well.

“Um, am I missing something here?” I asked no one in particular.

“You are,” Tommy replied, looking over at me and smiling. “You certainly are.”

I guess that’s when it finally occurred to me what they were laughing about and I felt like an idiot for not figuring it out sooner.

“Um, well, I sure hope everyone had a nice time,” I offered; and I meant it, too, because even though I was embarrassed, it seemed to me those boys were perfect together and just thinking about the two of them going at it back there made me smile.

“Sean did,” Teddy responded, still giggling, “didn’t you, Sean?”

“And I bet you did, too, Teddy,” Tommy interjected.

“I did, Tommy. Thank you for making it possible. Now maybe all four of us should go to the beach and continue the fun,” Teddy added, as I turned the ignition and started the car.

“Do you want to go to the beach, Andy?” Tommy asked, smiling at me.

The beach? At this hour? You have to be kidding, I remember telling myself. That's a three hour drive at least.

“I'm not really sure we could get a room at this hour and it seems kind of late in the evening to be driving all the way down to the beach,” I replied, much to the amusement of the boys who spontaneously broke into laughter.

“The P Street Beach,” Tommy chided, “not Ocean City. Haven't you ever heard of the P Street Beach? Near Dupont Circle? It's a fun place, babe. We should go some time.”

“Just not tonight, Teddy,” he added. “Like the man says, it’s getting kind of late.”

“Yeah, and I need to get back to where I’m staying,” Sean interjected.

I asked Sean for the address of the place and he gave it to me.

“What’s your favorite?” Sean asked as I drove north up 18th Street toward Dupont Circle.

“What’s my favorite what?” I responded, confused by the question.

“Which one of the monuments we visited tonight is your favorite, Andy,” Sean replied, “and why?”

It took me by surprise, I guess, and I remember hesitating.

“I like them all,” I finally said. “I guess I just like history, especially American history. Of the ones we visited, well, I like to visit the Jefferson Memorial and just sit on the steps sometimes. It’s usually pretty quiet at night and helps me clear my mind whenever I go there. But I like Lincoln better as a President. He was one of the few who managed to keep growing and learning until he died; and there wasn’t the kind of disconnect between his words and his deeds as with Jefferson. The Lincoln Memorial is really beautiful, but it’s crowded most of the time. The Jefferson Memorial is quieter. I guess that’s why I probably like it a little better. But Lincoln inspires me more.”

I remember feeling foolish about going on about it so long.

“The Lincoln Memorial was terrific,” Teddy volunteered.

“It has absolutely the best view of the Washington Monument and that’s my favorite,” he added, which caused Sean and Tommy to start laughing.

“Yeah, right,” Tommy volunteered. “You like anything long and pointed, Teddy.”

“I do,” Teddy responded, giggling again. “You should try it sometime, Tommy.”

Eventually I was able to locate the townhouse I was looking for and pulled up in front of it a little after 2:00 a.m.

“Wow,” I said. “This guy must have tons of money to own a place like this.”

“He does,” Sean replied. “He works up on Capitol Hill and he’s letting me stay here for now. But he'll want to collect his rent in the morning.”

“How much rent does he charge you?” I asked, curious, reminding myself again I needed to get back to Jan to set up a time for looking over some of the places she had identified as possibilities.

Both Tommy and Teddy burst out laughing simultaneously. When I finally figured it out, I started to blush, embarrassed again by my own stupidity.

“Thanks again for the tour, Andy, and thanks for driving me over here, too,” Sean said, as he got out of the car after giving Teddy a peck on the cheek. “It was fun. And it was nice meeting you too. I hope I’ll see you around again.”

“You're welcome,” I replied. “It was nice getting to know you, Sean, and I hope you’ll see me around too.”

Tommy was silent for the remainder of the trip as I drove him and Teddy back toward where we had started the tour. Eventually we reached New York Avenue and Teddy asked to be let out at the Palermo. Tommy gave him a kiss on the cheek, then Teddy disappeared off into the dark headed south.

I remember wondering where he was going. It made me worry to see someone that young walking the streets at that hour of the night.

Tommy directed me down a darkened alley to the back door of the building I had watched him disappear into on Monday evening. I turned off the lights and the engine. It was late, much later than I usually stayed up, although Tommy seemed to be holding up pretty well.

“Um, well, it’s getting late and I suppose I should let you go,” I said. “I had fun tonight, Tommy. I hope we can do more stuff like that because I would like to be friends with you.”

“Do you want to walk me to the elevator inside the building?” he asked.

“Sure,” I replied. “That would be nice.”

I guess I was hoping to score a kiss in the process. Tommy was terrific when it came to kissing, I recalled.

Ray lived in one of those stately old D.C. buildings from some long ago era, the kind with graceful arches, elaborate carvings, and real architectural character. Like a lot of places in that part of town, it was slowly falling into disrepair. In a touch to some modern refurbishing, you needed a key card to get in through the back door. Once inside, a long, darkened, corridor led down to an elevator. To the right you could look out on to 13th Street from the second floor of the building, the one we were on. I reached for the elevator button, but Tommy pulled my hand away gently.

“What's your hurry,” he said, grinning at me. “I can't bring you up to Ray's place. But we can talk some more if you want,” he added, leading me around the corner to a couch behind the elevator that overlooked the dimly lit lobby below. We sat down. Neither of us said anything. Occasionally a car passed by on its way up or down 13th Street or a voice broke into laughter outside.

We sat there silently for a couple of minutes just staring at the traffic passing by.

“You’re kind of strange, Andy,” Tommy finally said. “I mean, with the way you kiss and suck cock, I know you can’t be totally clueless. But you didn’t know about the P Street Beach and had no idea what Sean and Teddy were up to; and then that question you asked Sean tonight back at the place he’s staying was really unbelievable. So I have to say I’m a little confused. Every time I think I’m beginning to understand you, something happens to remind me just how little I know. Maybe you could start with something simple. Like why you want to be friends with me, for example? You don’t even know anything about me.”

“What do I need to know?” I responded. “I know I like you. I don’t know exactly why, but I do. And you seemed to enjoy the tour we took tonight. Isn’t that enough to be friends? What else do I need to know?”

“Oh, I dunno,” Tommy replied, “how about that I’m a male prostitute. That would probably be something worth knowing, don’t you think?”

Later, I understood he had said it just to see how I would react. At the time, I just remember being shocked he had come out and said directly what I already suspected.

“Hustler is the term we mostly use around here,” he continued, “but that’s just a prettier name for the same thing. So you’re telling me you want to be friends with a male prostitute? Is that it, Andy?”

“Um, well, I mean, do Sean and Teddy know that about you?” I asked, trying to avoid answering the question.

“Of course,” Tommy responded.

“And do they still want to be friends with you?” I asked.

“That’s different, Andy,” Tommy replied. “We’re kind of in the same business if you hadn’t noticed.”

It was obvious I wasn’t going to be able to avoid the topic so I tried to answer as honestly as I could.

“I noticed,” I replied. “Look, I don’t know anything about your background, Tommy, just like you don’t know very much about me either. Maybe someday you’ll want to fill me in on that. Maybe you won’t. But it doesn’t change the way I feel about you. If you’re trying to scare me off with words, Tommy, it won’t work. I’m better with words than you are. It’s how I make my living. So the only thing that’ll work with me is if you tell me you don’t like me and don’t want me to bother you anymore. If you tell me that, I’ll leave you alone. But for now why not just give me a chance to be your friend?”

“Most guys your age pay to be friends with me,” Tommy responded, his voice matter of fact. “Is that what you want to do?”

“Is that what you want me to do?” I asked, tossing the question back to him.

“I asked first,” he said, pressing the point.

“Look, if you need help, Tommy,” I responded, “feel free to ask. I’ll do whatever I can. But I don’t really think that’s what you want.”

The truth is I didn’t know what he wanted. He had me totally confused and baffled. Maybe he did want me to pay to be friends. And if he did, well, who knew? Maybe I would have right about then. I was just so tired of being alone and he was so cute and when he smiled I just wanted to hug him and feel him holding me tight.

“Sometimes I don’t know what I want,” Tommy finally muttered. “But, no, I’m not asking you to pay to be friends with me. Just so long as you know I’m a top, Andy, a total top. If that works for you, then, sure, we can be friends.”

I guess the only surprise was he had decided to be so brutally honest about it. It didn’t bother me. I realized deep down inside it was probably part of the attraction for me. I wanted to say something witty in response, but nothing came to mind so I just sat there looking at him, waiting for him to say something more.

But Tommy didn’t say anything more. Instead, he just sat there staring at me, waiting. He knew what I wanted. The grin on his face made me sure of it. But he just sat there, grinning at me, refusing to help me out with some words.

“Um, well, could I, I mean, would it, um, would it be okay if I kissed you?” I finally asked.

Tommy just rolled his eyes, then started to giggle.

“Man, you make me feel like I’m on my first date in high school or something,” he replied. “But, yeah, sure, if you want to; you can kiss me, Andy.”

I leaned over and pressed my lips against his, then kissed him chastely. I wanted to show him it could be about more than just lust. But he forced his tongue into my mouth and pressed his body against mine so hard I couldn’t move. All I could do was sit there squirming while he explored my mouth with his tongue.

There was passion there, real passion, just like the previous Monday. I started to explore his body with my hands, but the minute I did that Tommy pulled away as quickly as the whole thing had started.

“Do you go to church?” he asked out of the blue.

“Um, sometimes,” I lied, not really sure why he was asking. In fact, it had been years since I had been in a church and the last couple of times were just for weddings.

“Not all that often, actually,” I continued. “Why do you ask?”

“Because you’re definitely going to hell for what you did the other night,” he replied, smiling at me. “Was I worth it, Andy, worth going to hell for?”

“Yeah, you were,” I responded, returning his smile. “Definitely. But since I'm already going to hell, I sure wouldn't mind sinning some more this evening,” I added, reaching over and running a finger up and down his smooth cheek.

“Me either,” Tommy responded. “It’s just that I can’t bring you up to Ray’s. It’s a rule we have.”

I tried not to ask, but couldn’t suppress it.

“Are you and Ray, well, umm, I mean, you know, umm, best friends or something?” I finally stammered.

“We’re friends,” Tommy replied, looking over at me. “In some ways I probably don’t have a better friend. But, no, we’re not the kind of best friends you’re talking about,” he added. “He just likes his privacy. That’s why I can’t take you up.”

“Um, well, would you be interested in going back to my place then?” I asked, picking up on his revelation while also preparing myself for rejection.

Tommy didn't say anything at all for what seemed like the longest time. Instead, he just sat there staring at me. It was hard to know what he was thinking.

I guess he was trying to decide whether to take me up on my offer, but it seemed to me he was trying to decide something more as well.

“Okay, I understand,” I finally stammered, disappointed.

No matter how hard you tried or how often it happened, rejection hurt somewhere deep within. But at least he hadn't been cruel about it like a lot of guys would have been.

“But I really did enjoy talking to you tonight, Tommy, and touring the monuments with you,” I continued, trying to make the best of the situation. “I had a good time. Maybe I'll see you around next weekend.”

“Wait,” Tommy responded, grabbing my arm as I started to stand up. “That’s the problem with dudes like you, dudes with perfect lives. You assume too much. You never want to listen.”

“I mean, the thing is, we could go back to your place,” he continued. “I'm just not sure I should.”

“Why not?” I asked, trying my best to keep any flicker of hope alive.

“Well, um, it’s kind of late for one thing, don’t you think?” he said.

“But we could sleep late in the morning,” I countered. “I don’t have any real plans for the day. Unless you do, of course; if not, we could sleep as late as we want.”

“Well, yeah, I suppose,” Tommy replied. “I don’t have any plans. But the other thing is you’re probably not going to have the good time you think you will. Most of the time guys like you, older guys, have lots of expectations when they invite me back to their place. Mostly they think they’re going to end up fucking me because that’s the way it usually is and they don’t believe me when I tell them I’m a top.”

“And then when they don’t get to fuck me, they’re disappointed or mad and it isn’t even my fault because I always give guys fair warning. Like I already told you, I’m totally a top in bed, Andy, not some sweet, innocent, little boy that dudes like you want me to be. So just don’t have any big expectations, that’s all.”

“Okay, thanks for the warning,” I said, surprised. Candor wasn't something I had really expected.

“I'll lower my expectations accordingly,” I added. “But, the thing is, Tommy, if you go home with me, I can pretty much guarantee you'll have a really good time,” I added, grinning at him, “even better than last Monday. How can you refuse an offer like that?”

Then, surprisingly, I started to blush. I seemed to be having a problem with blushing that evening and it caught me by surprise, as it always did. I remember being embarrassed about blushing like that and that only made me blush even more.

“Oh, wow,” Tommy said, laughing, suddenly relaxed once again. “You're blushing. You look really innocent when you blush. But, okay, sure, when you put it that way, I guess it’s hard to refuse. Just don’t say I didn't warn you.”

It came as a shock. I couldn’t believe a kid as cute as Tommy would go home with me. I mean, not that I was totally a dog. But I tried to be realistic. I knew I wasn’t the hottest guy in the world and had always been pretty good at managing expectations. To me it just didn’t make any sense and I remember suddenly being nervous, real nervous.

It didn’t help when he said it on the drive back to Takoma Park.

“I would like to see that Vietnam Veterans Memorial before deciding which one is my favorite,” Tommy offered, out of the blue. “We didn’t really get a very good look at it as we drove by; and Arlington Cemetery too. Maybe we can go back to those sometime.”

“Sure,” I responded, confused. He didn’t seem like the type that would be moved by a monument or a cemetery.

But, then again, what the hell do I know about this kid? I said to myself.

It only intensified my worrying on the drive home that evening.

What I have gotten myself into, I wondered? What would happen once we got back to my place?

I mean, let’s face it. The truth is I had practically begged Tommy to go home with me. Both of us knew what I had promised when I told him he would have a really good time. I knew it was the only reason he was going home with me, but he was a male prostitute. He had been with lots of guys. Yeah, sure, he would get off, but he would be disappointed as well because I hadn't been with lots of guys and wasn’t very good at that stuff.

Why do you always screw everything up, Andy? You should have known better than to invite him back home. Now he'll never want to be friends with you.

By the time we got back to my apartment that evening I was a nervous wreck, but I tried my best to conceal that from Tommy.