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 and you'll always find the latest chapter on my blog initially. However, I may publish more frequently on Nifty during the first month. Comments and constructive criticism are welcome. Flames will be ignored. If you would like to let me know what you think, feel free to contact me at To the reader named Steve who complained about not receiving a response to his e-mails: I try to respond to all e-mails, if only briefly, and I've specifically responded to all your e-mails. Since I'm not receiving anything from your e-mail provider indicating my responses are undeliverable, you may want to check your spam filter/folder to see whether that is the problem.

THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER: In Chapter 7, Josh rescues Nolan from the lake and starts CPR on him. Concerned that his friend may already be dead, Josh reveals his true feelings without knowing Nolan can hear everything he's saying. That evening Nolan tries to let Josh off the hook by telling him he didn't hear anything Josh said while performing CPR. But Josh recognizes Nolan is lying and finally comes out to him. Astonished, Nolan reveals that he's homosexual as well. In the ensuing conversation, Josh reveals some of his deepest fears about being homosexual. Nolan tries to address them, seriously at first but later with humor. The two boys end up laughing and with a better understanding of how much they care about one another.


Part I - Innocence Aroused

Chapter 8

It seemed like we talked forever that evening, revealing things about one another we had never told anyone before; and then, when we were too tired to talk anymore, we tried to get some sleep. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't fall asleep. I just laid there replaying everything that had happened that day over and over again in my mind.

I don’t think Josh slept very well either because the next thing I remember was hearing him curse.

“Shit,” he said. “I overslept and now I’m way behind in my chores.”

He said it softly and mostly just to wake himself up, I think, but I was already awake myself.

“I’ll help,” I responded, crawling out of my sleeping bag. “Just tell me what you need me to do.”

Josh looked at me momentarily, trying to decide whether he should accept my offer or tell me to go back to sleep. But by then I was pulling my clothes on and I think he knew I was serious about helping.

The two of us raced around the place frantically that morning, trying to get everything done that Josh was responsible for. I’m not sure how much of a help I was, but Josh thanked me when we finally finished up.

“I really appreciate the help, Nolan,” he said. “Thanks. Why don’t you take a shower first. That way you won’t be late for breakfast. My Mom will kill me if you’re late. She won’t mind so much if I come in late. She knows I get behind with the chores sometimes.”

“We could take a shower together,” I replied, grinning at Josh. “That way neither of us would be late.”

Josh just stood there staring at me momentarily. Then he started to blush.

I think the idea must have genuinely shocked him.

“Oh, jeez, don’t even think about something like that,” he finally replied, looking down at his feet.

“Look, Nolan, I do love you,” he added. “I love you a lot. But what I told you before is true. I get nervous just thinking about all of this stuff. And I'm pretty clueless when it comes to knowing what homos actually do when they, umm, well, umm, when they,” he stammered, unable to finish the thought and momentarily flustered.

“Oh, shit, I don’t know,” he continued. “When they do whatever it they do. The point is, I don’t know anything about all that stuff and I’m not sure I want to know anything either. So if you’re hoping we can do stuff together, I mean, mess around, do nasty stuff, whatever, well, you’re going to be real disappointed with me, Nolan. You’re from New York and know more about this stuff than I ever will. I’m just some dumb hick from Vermont. I don’t want you to get your hopes up or anything because I’m embarrassed just thinking about any of this stuff.”

By the time he was finished Josh was totally red.

“I’m really sorry, Nolan,” he added. “You deserve someone a lot better than me.”

“Josh, you’re doing it again,” I finally said, quietly.

“What,” he asked?

“You’re beating up on yourself,” I replied. “Look, Josh, I know how that goes. I beat up on myself a lot when I first admitted it to myself. So I’m not putting you down. I hope it doesn’t take as long for you to stop doing it as it did for me, but I’m going to be there for you no matter how long it takes. Because you’re my best friend, not some dumb hick from Vermont.”

“So listen up,” I continued. “We’re going to take all of this slowly, at whatever pace works for you. But you have to meet me half way, Josh. When I tell you to stop beating up on yourself, you have to try to stop doing it. Okay?”

“Sure,” he responded. “I’ll try, Nolan. I’ll try really hard. And thanks for being so understanding.”

I knew what I said was the right thing to tell him. What I didn’t know was whether I would be able to keep my hormones under control now that I knew Josh was queer like me. I mean, the thing is, I really did want to take a shower together with him that morning! It was frustrating having to take one by myself.

To be honest, I’m not really sure how the two of us got through the rest of that day because both of us were really tired out from talking most of the night. But somehow we did and that evening we went to bed early. I figured Josh was probably talked out by the time we crawled into our sleeping bags so I closed my eyes. I remember thinking we had made a lot of progress in the last twenty four hours and I was looking forward to making more in the days to come.

“Did you ever kiss a girl,” Josh suddenly asked out of the blue?

It seemed like a strange question since both of us knew we were homo by then.

“No, I can’t say I have,” I replied. “Why do you ask?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Josh responded. “I mean, it makes me kind of sad knowing I’ll probably never kiss a girl. I’ve been thinking about kissing for a long time now. Not like I kiss my Mom, I mean, but really kissing someone so they know how much you like them. The truth is, I don’t even know how to kiss and now I’ll never be able to see what it feels like to really kiss someone.“

“Why not,” I asked, a little taken aback by Josh’s latest confession? “I mean, yeah, sure, I suppose you won’t be able to kiss a girl if you’re homo. But you can kiss me, Josh. I would really like it if you did.”

““Oh, jeez, I don't know about that, Nolan,” Josh replied, looking at me strangely. “Kiss a boy? That’s seems totally weird. I don’t think I could ever kiss a boy,” he added.

“Let me get this right, Josh,” I said, totally stunned by what he had just said. “You like boys. You think you’re a homo. But you don’t think you could ever kiss me? Why the hell not? What am I, the Cookie Monster or something? You told me I was cute.”

“You are cute, Nolan,” Josh replied. “You’re cuter than any boy I’ve ever met. Hell, you’re cuter than any girl I’ve ever met for that matter. Maybe not as cute as the Cookie Monster, but really, really, cute. But, hell, I’ve never, ever, thought about kissing a boy. I would sooner kiss that goat of mine than kiss a boy. And there’s no way in hell I’m going to kiss that goat.”

“I just don’t understand this at all, Josh,” I said, shaking my head. “It’s not like you kiss a boy any different than you kiss a girl. Hell, I’ll kiss that goat of yours if you’ll kiss me. I’ve wanted to kiss you since the first day we arrived.”

“You’re kidding me,” Josh said?

“Why would I kid about wanting to kiss you,” I replied?

“Not about that, you doofus,” Josh responded. “You would really kiss that goat of mine if I let you kiss me,” he continued, giggling?

“Hell, yes, I would,” I replied.

“And would you let me take a picture of you kissing my goat, Nolan,” he added? “Not that we actually have a camera, of course, at least one that works.”

“Yes, I would let you take a picture,” I replied. “And my Mom has a camera so forget the excuses.”

“But would you promise to send me those pictures so I could blackmail you if I ever needed to,” Josh asked?

“Whatever you want, goat boy,” I replied. “Cuz if you kiss me once, you’ll never, ever, want to kiss a girl again,” I added, boastfully, getting into the whole thing going on between us right then.

“And one other thing,” Josh asked. “Would you kiss that goat of mine on the lips?”

“Don’t press your luck, Josh, you dumb fuck,” I replied. “Would you really want to kiss someone whose lips had kissed a goat on the lips?”

“I suppose not,” Josh said, laughing and shaking his head.

Then, after thinking about it some more, Josh agreed.

“Okay, then, I’ll let you kiss me,” he said. “But only if you promise to let me take a picture of you kissing my goat and send it to me.”

“I promise,” I said, grinning at him; and with that I was out of my sleeping bag and next to Josh in a flash.

The truth is, I was pretty nervous right about then and it didn’t exactly help calm me down when Josh rested his hand on my thigh and leaned in close to me.

“Nolan, I really like you a lot,” he said. “You’re just so cute it hurts. You have a really terrific smile. It makes you look like an angel when you smile.” Then he rested his face on my chest and started stroking my thigh with his hand ever so gently.

I couldn’t stand it anymore. My heart was pounding and my head felt like it was about to explode. His face was just inches from mine. I brushed some hair out of his eyes. He looked into my eyes for what seemed like an eternity without saying a word, then wrapped his arms around me. His lips were so close, just inches from mine. Finally, I leaned over and pressed my lips against his.

It was pretty apparent Josh didn’t have a clue what he was supposed to do next. But once I pushed my tongue into his mouth and started exploring it, he got the hang of it pretty quick and was kissing up a storm soon enough.

I’m not really sure how long the two of us spent on that kiss. It seemed like a long time to me, but I was the one who finally pulled away.

“Did you like it,” I asked, curious, after giving him a couple of quick pecks on his cheek?

“I did,” he said. “Let’s do it again,” he said, pushing me down, then rolling on top of my chest and planting his lips on me.

Oh my, such a quick learner, I remember thinking.

But I wasn’t about to object. I rolled back on top of him and took up where we had left off.

We were pretty deep into that kiss when it happened. It was like I had completely lost control of my arm and it started to drift south down the sleeping bag in which Josh was still buried. It seemed to know where it wanted to go and it wasn’t going to take no from me right about then, that was for sure.

It was like a missile honing in on its target. But I guess Josh must have seen Star Wars or something because his hand suddenly became some kind of interceptor. As my hand moved in on its target, Josh just pushed it away. He did it gently and he didn’t break away from the kiss we had going, but I remember thinking right about then he couldn’t be as totally clueless as he claimed to be. He knew where that hand of mine was headed.

I’m not really sure how long we just lay there together kissing. I was kind of wrapped up in my own thoughts right about then.

This is the best night in my whole life, I remember thinking. This is everything I’ve ever wanted and more. I wonder if Josh feels the same way?

I couldn’t really tell for sure, but the fact that Josh didn’t want to stop kissing that evening seemed like a really positive sign. The truth is, I didn’t want to stop kissing either. But by then it was getting late and we were still pretty tired out from not getting any sleep the previous evening. So I finally told Josh we had to stop messing around for the evening. After that the two of us fell asleep pretty quickly.

By now my family and I had pretty much fallen into a routine. The next morning, after breakfast, we piled into the car and headed off on still another adventure in our quest to explore every tourist site in the state of Vermont.

By then I had even stopped whining about it, confining myself to pouting if they insisted on having lunch away from the farm and escalating that into a serious whine if they dared plan anything for the afternoon. I was willing to tolerate an occasional evening spent together doing something they considered educational (hardly) or fun (rarely). But by then my parents were aware that Josh and I had become the best of friends, and I think my mother cut me some slack knowing I had never had one before.

By noon the next day we were back at the farm for lunch and I just assumed that Josh and I would be going swimming in the afternoon. But when the time came to change into our swim trunks, he surprised me.

“Before we go swimming, I thought we should spend an hour over at my school. I have a surprise for you. I talked to Coach Johnson and he doesn’t have a problem with me showing you something.”

“What,” I asked, curious? “What are you going to show me?”

“Well, it’s a surprise, Nolan, so you’ll just have to wait until we get there to see,” Josh replied. “Otherwise it wouldn’t be a surprise, would it?”

“About the only thing we could do in that school of yours that would be a surprise for me, Josh, would be to have something spelled s-e-x. But I’m pretty sure Coach Johnson would have a problem with that so I doubt that’s what you have planned, is it?”

“Is that all you ever think about,” Josh asked, shaking a finger at me?

“Yes. How did you guess,” I replied, slipping my mouth over his finger and sucking on it gently?

“Yuck, gross,” Josh replied, pulling his finger out of my mouth, just kind of slowly.

“You’re right. That’s definitely gross and way too small. Maybe when we get over to that school of yours, we can find something much bigger than a finger for me to suck on,” I added, grinning at him.

“Oh, God, I don’t believe you said that, Nolan," Josh replied, blushing. “You’re totally hopeless. I give up,” he added, shrugging his shoulders.

“It would be nice if you would,” I replied, “give up, that is, but I kind of doubt it. I’ll probably have to end up raping you,” I countered.

That only caused him to blush even deeper. But as much I liked watching him turn red, I tried to remind myself I had promised to take things at Josh’s pace, not mine, so I eased up on the banter.

It didn’t take all that long for the two of us to trudge into town. The school wasn’t too far off of Main Street, which, surprisingly enough, was the main street in the town. The school was one of those elaborate older buildings that had been built to withstand just about anything, with high ceilings, intricate wooden moldings, and a coolness that just seemed to radiate out from the walls. I remember thinking it had a lot more character than my school, which was much newer and undoubtedly had cost much more to build.

Josh’s surprise turned out to be the weight room, the one used by the different teams at the school.

“You said you wanted to build a better body, Nolan. I thought you might want to get started while you’re here in Vermont,” he said.

“Cool,” I replied, looking at all of the equipment and wondering whether this was really something I could do.

That afternoon session turned out to be my first lesson in lifting weights. Josh would explain what each of the machines was for and the different muscles it was designed to work. Then he would demonstrate how to use it until he was satisfied I understood. Since I was a beginner, the two of us would work together to find the exact right weight for me on each machine, one that would provide a good workout without causing any damage. Then I would do two repetitions of fifteen on each machine while Josh wrote down the number I was beginning at.

I wasn’t exactly Arnold Schwarzenegger to begin with so I was real disappointed with just how weak I turned out to be. But over the course of the next hour we worked our way through each of the machines. And by the end I was even a little proud of myself, both for actually sticking to it and for not whining about it either.

“You take a shower while I write up your numbers,” Josh suggested when I had finished up on the last machine.

“Shouldn’t you take one too,” I asked, grinning at him? “You worked out too, you know.”

“Not as much as you did,” Josh responded. “The showers are downstairs,” he added, pointing to the stairs and dismissing me.

Damn, I remember thinking to myself. Why won’t this boy get naked and make passionate love to me?

Reluctantly, I went downstairs by myself, stripped off my clothes, and headed off to the shower. It was only after I got wet I discovered there wasn’t any soap.

“Hey, you doofus,” I screamed as loud as I could. “There’s no soap in these showers. Could you bring me some? And be quick about it too.”

The next thing I heard was Josh shouting at me.

“Here,” he said. “I’ll toss it over the wall.” And with that he promptly did, depositing it on the floor about a foot away from me.

“Damn it, Josh,” I replied, bending over in an effort to retrieve the errant bar from the floor.

It was only for the briefest of moments, but it was exactly at that moment that I saw Josh staring at me at the shower entrance.

“Nice butt,” he said, laughing at me.

“Hey, can’t a guy have any privacy,” I shouted, turning around quickly and shouting at him.

“Oh, yeah, right,” Josh responded, blushing. “Since when did you become Miss Modesty, Nolan?”

“I’ll show you how modest I am,” I shouted, dashing toward the entrance of the showers with the idea of pulling him in fully clothed. Josh let out a shriek and tried to run away, but I was able to catch up with him and the two of us started wrestling right there in the locker room.

Josh was able to pin me down pretty easily, of course, and I wasn’t about to object to that in any event.

“Be nice,” he said. “Dry yourself off so we can go swimming.”

I remember toweling myself off, then wrapping the towel around me and trying to comb my hair at best I could in the mirror. I must have taken too long because the next thing I knew Josh was standing behind me wrapping me in his arms.

“Do I have to drag you away from that mirror, pretty boy,” he said, grinning at me?

“Oh, please do,” I replied. “You can drag me anywhere you want, Josh, including to that bench right over there,” I replied, pointing it out to him. “I promise not to scream while you rape me.”

“Nope,” Josh insisted. “It’s definitely a tempting offer, but I’m too strong to succumb to your charms, at least right now. I want to go swimming and you’re coming with me.”

“I wish,” I responded. “I wish I was coming with you, but it looks like I’m going with you instead.”

It took a moment or two for it to sink in, but I could tell it had when Josh started turning as red as a fire engine. It amused me how easily I could make him blush. But seeing him blush wasn’t much of a substitute for what I really wanted him to do.

We finished up pretty quickly after that. Josh made sure that everything was back in the right place, then the two of us headed back to the farm.

“I figured we could go over to the school early each afternoon and workout,” Josh said, on the walk back. “By the time you have to leave, you should be pretty use to the machines so we’ll bring your Dad over to show him how much you’ve improved in just a couple of weeks. That way maybe he’ll listen to you if you ask him to sign you up for the YMCA.”

“Good thinking, Josh,” I remarked, wondering whether I would ever have a body half as nice as his.

Later, after we got back to the farm, we changed into our swim trunks upstairs, then headed off to the lake. Josh brought along a flotation device he had borrowed from the school. The two of us spent the next two hours swimming, with Josh showing me various ways to improve my stamina and how to protect myself better if and when I got tired.

Then it was back to the farm for dinner. Josh finished up earlier than me and asked to be excused. I didn”t think anything about it until I had finished up. As I walked out of the dining room, I ran into him.

“I’ve got a surprise for you,” he said.

“What,” I asked, eager for whatever he had planned for the evening?

“Close your eyes,” he said. Then, taking me by the hand, he led me out of the house.

“You can look now,” he said.

So I did. And there, just staring at me, was his goat.

“Time for you to kiss him, Nolan,” he said, giggling. “Your Mom gave me her camera and I’m ready to take a picture of you two making out.”

“You’re kidding,” I said, looking over at him. “I was only joking last night,” I added. “I’m not going to kiss that goat.”

“You promised,” Josh said. “Are you going to keep your word or prove you’re a total wuss once and for all?”

Okay, I remember thinking. What’s the big deal? It’s just a stupid goat.

“Okay, Josh, I’ll kiss him,” I said. “But only if you promise to kiss me every night from now on before we go to sleep.”

“Sure,” Josh said. “I really liked kissing you. We can do it whenever you want. As long as you kiss the goat, that is.”

Josh must have taken a dozen pictures or more of me mugging with that dumb goat of his, trying to get use to my mother’s camera.

“Okay, this is it, Nolan,” he said, “time to kiss my goat.”

“I’m only doing this once, goat boy,” I replied, turning and staring at that goat. “So you better get it right the first time.”

“Smile,” Josh said.

And with that I kissed the goat on its cheek while Josh snapped the picture and burst into laughter.

“Got it,” he said, bringing the camera over and showing the picture to me. It was actually kind of cute in a way. But I wasn”t about to tell Josh that, of course.

Later, after we had returned the camera to my Mom, we went into town and took in a movie together. I insisted on paying as a reward for getting me into the weight room.

We kissed for a long time in the tent that night, so long in fact that Josh eventually fell asleep in my arms. I remember thinking it was the best night of my life.

Let’s face it, Nolan, I said to myself. Every night you spend with Josh from now on is going to be the best night of your life.

[Please be sure to check the Author Notes in the header above if you've not already done so]