The Boys of East Harbor: Derek
Chapter 1: Derek McCall

(b/b, ns)

DISCLAIMER: This work of fiction contains explicit material intended for adults over 18. If you are under 18 or are offended by non-traditional sex, or sex between minors, do not continue. If reading this type of material is illegal in your location, proceed at your own risk. This work is the sole property of the author and may not be reposted or reproduce without the author's written permission. This is a work of fiction. If any characters resemble the living or dead, or events are similar to actual events, it is purely coincidental.

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"DEREK!!" screeched Jaden Price, trying to squirm free of the clutch of the cute little imp. All of the boys in the locker room laughed at Jaden's predicament, including Jaden.

"It's against the law to bring weapons into the 'Y'. You better put that thing away, Derek!" Scottie warned, pointing to the tented front of Derek's Speedo. The swim team laughed harder as they showered and changed after practice.

"Hurry up!" shouted Coach William Datko. "You don't want to keep your parents waiting." He chose his authoritative voice so his charges would know he meant business, but if they could see him, they'd know he was stifling a laugh and shaking his head. He once told Derek's parents that if any other boy even once tried the things Derek did on a regular basis, the boy would be scorned or beaten. But there was something about Derek that allowed him to get away with about anything. No one could agree just how the boy pulled it off. Some would say we was just too adorable to ever get mad at. Others would say that his talent in the water earned him the right with his teammates to be a little odd. Maybe the boys were just too young to care about the little gay boy chasing them around -- it was still fun to them.

You see, Derek is boy crazy and everyone knows it. It's all he talks about. How cute that boy is. How nice another one is. Which one has prettier eyes. Which boys would he most like to kiss. At school, the girls all hang around Derek, gossiping and daydreaming about dating boys. When Derek's around the boys, he has a perpetual boner and chases them around. When he catches them Derek generally just holds them close, pressing their bodies together. But sometimes, he'll steal a kiss on the cheek or rub his boner against them. Whatever he does, it generally ends with everyone laughing and having a good time. But that's not always the case.

One day at the mall, Derek saw a particularly cute boy. His straight black hair hung over his ears and into his eyes. His Vans told stories of hours at the skate park. Tan cargo shorts and a Green Day T-shirt revealed healing war wounds of varying ages. When the boy turned, Derek saw the boy's cute freckles and crystal blue eyes. Though the boy looked to be about two years older than Derek, Derek ran up to him and grabbed his hand. The boy looked at the little blond and wondered why he was holding his hand. Derek responded in a way only Derek could. "You're really cute! Will you be my boyfriend?"

The boy pulled his and away and told Derek to get lost. Before Derek could open his mouth to object, Judith McCall, Derek's mother, caught up to her boy. "Come on Derek," she said, watching the older boy to make sure he wasn't going to make a fuss about being accosted by her son. The kid's friends razzed him about being propositioned by a boy and he didn't look very happy. She wondered if she'd just saved her son from his first thumping and she wasn't going to hang around to find out.

Judith's thoughts were brought back to the present when the side door of the navy Pacifica slid open and Derek hopped into the back.

"Hi mom!" Derek dropped his swim team bag on the floor beside his school backpack and buckled his seat belt.

She looked in the rearview mirror and watched her youngest boy. He was growing up so fast. She wished he would just stay this age, at least for a little while longer. But today was the first day of fifth grade and Derek's eleventh birthday was just around the corner.

"Good morning, sunshine," she said. That drew a huge smile and that smile was the light of her life. This was the first year the Sea Sabers, the YMCA's youth swim team, planned year-round practices in the morning for the kids interested in training in the off season. The team was so successful over the summer Mr. Datko volunteered to coach morning sessions and the manager at the pool was happy to set time aside for the boys. This school year Derek would shower and get ready for school in the locker room. She already missed getting her boy up and ready for school. He was doing it himself and no longer need her help. He'd even arranged with some of his friends to meet at school early to have breakfast together in the cafeteria.

She looked at his carefully styled blond hair and glistening hazel eyes. His angular face and small prominent chin reminded her so much of her own father -- especially his childhood photos. Derek even had her father's smattering of freckles across his nose and cheeks.

"You ready for your big day?"

Derek nodded. "Yeah. My backpack is right here. I put all of my school stuff in it last night and checked it before bed."

"Okay, buddy. Let's get you to school." Shifting the minivan into Drive, Judith pulled headed to North Elementary.


Judith anxiously checked her email for the third time, before she realized that school had only been in session for 15 minutes. She needed to relax or find some way to get her mind off Derek. The school agreed to send her updates throughout the day, especially if there were problems. She couldn't concentrate on anything else. She and her husband, David, met with Derek's teachers and the school administration to discuss expectations for the school year. Though understanding, Connor Shaw, the principal, was concerned how the other parents would react to Derek's antics this school year. He feared behavior taken for cute, child's play in the past would be perceived as sexual now that the boys were getting older. Everyone at the meeting knew Derek never meant any harm by his actions, but it would only take one angry parent to press charges, ruining Derek's life.

"It probably doesn't help that Derek has been told not to come out at school," said David with a half-grin. He knew didn't want to hear about Derek being gay or coming out, but they needed to be prepared in case Derek goes rogue and decides to do it despite everyone's objections.

"Oh," said Principle Shaw shaking his head. "I can't say I'd be surprised. I know we've been saying that this is probably just a phase for the last couple years, but as much as I want to say he's too young to know, I know better. I spent the summer doing some reading on the topic and talking to other principals here in town and around the country. Though we don't have any openly gay students, Principal Holbrook at the high school and Principal Trance at the middle school are both expecting it to happen any day now and are working with the faculty and staff to establish policies and procedures to protect the students and to deal with... um... let's say, 'closed-minded' parents."

"I prepared some materials for our in-service this summer," continued Mr. Shaw, "but I decided not to do that this year. But we may very well be the first building with an openly gay student in our district. Maybe I should cover this in our first in-service?" Mr. Shaw looked to the teachers for their input.

The three fifth grade teachers look at each other. The younger teachers waited for Mrs. Josephina Thurman to speak. Mrs. Thurman was a sixty-something teacher who'd been with the district since graduating from California Lutheran University in the 1970s. She'd won honors for her incredible teach abilities including her uncanny ability to connect with students, understand their challenges, and identify ways to help them succeed. The talk last school year was to place Derek in Mrs. Thurman's classroom. During fourth grade, they'd provided opportunities to for the two to get to know each other by having Derek help with some afterschool events under her supervision and spending time with the boy during recess. She knew she was going to have her hands full, but she was not prepared to have an openly gay student in her classroom. To be fair, it wasn't that she had a problem with Derek being gay. It was against her religious beliefs and if this was early in her teaching career, she would have had a different perspective. But after living in Southern California for nearly her entire life, she'd come to accept and respect her gay neighbors. She knew Derek was gay the first time she met him. He didn't have the feminine mannerisms, lisp, or other traits that many people identify with gay men. Long ago, she learned that there were plenty of gay men that didn't have those traits and straight men that did. Her observation was that Derek was an extremely bright, articulate child. When on task, the boy was creative, insightful and a hard worker -- the kind of student every teacher dreams of having in his or her classroom. But their conversation that first day revolved around Derek's dilemma at the moment. The little blonde fourth grader was preoccupied with assessing the beauty of two fifth grade boys. He couldn't decide if Johnny Kelly with is wavy red hair, emerald green eyes, dusting of freckles across his turned-up nose, or Juan Garcia, which his chiseled features, piercing black eyes and hair to match, was more beautiful. The dreamy look in Derek's eyes told her everything she needed to know.

Josephina sized-up the other two teachers in an attempt to support, or justify, her next comment. Across the table from her was Chelsea Moncrieff, a young teacher that after a few rough years learned to focus on her career and made leaps and bounds as a professional. But Mrs. Thurman knew that Chelsea was not up for the challenges of having Derek in her classroom. Next to Chelsea sat Milo Gursten, a first-year teacher who is untested, but there was something about him that made Josephina trust that this young man would be an excellent teacher. He was a local boy, but having attended East Harbor South Elementary, Mrs. Thurman hadn't known him as a student. He doubled majored in Mathematics and Education with the goal of teaching high school math. However, upon receiving his undergraduate degree, his advisors talked him into finishing his Master's degree and to be certified to teach Elementary school. They feared his youthful good looks may make it a challenge for him to land a teaching job with students closer to his age. Even now at the ripe old age of 24, Milo could easily pass for a high school student. As an undercover cop, that could be an advantage. As a high school teacher it presented all sorts of challenges. East Harbor Schools were impressed with the young man and his credentials. They agreed to bring him in as an Elementary teacher and in a few years, if or when an opening came up at the middle or high schools, they would reevaluate Mr. Gursten's fit for the move. The promise from the district, one they fully intended to keep, was to get Milo into this dream teaching job at some point in his career. In the meantime, they wanted him in their school system, but in a safer position. If he was half as good as his recommendations say, he will be a star educator.

With a nod of her head, Josephina spoke up. "Can we just cut the crap and speak frankly?" Everyone was taken aback by the frankness of the older teacher, but she was entitled to say what she pleased. Even Principal Shaw gave up the floor to Mrs. Thurman anytime she wanted to speak. "Look, I know this is a business meeting at a public school, but I think if we continue to pussy foot around the topic, we aren't going to get anywhere and that only sets Derek up for failure. First of all, Derek is gay and I think all the incoming fifth graders who have any idea about how the world works have figured that out and seem to have accepted it. We don't need for Derek to come out for us to support him and provide him the protections we plan to after he comes out. We should have that in-service training and put it into action on day one of the school year." That made a lot of sense to everyone and the nodding heads told Josephina that she was on the right track.

"Second, I think the elephant in the room isn't whether or not Derek is gay, it's the fact that he's one of the oldest in his class and he seems to be one of the first boys hitting puberty. We can't ignore the fact that his hormones are starting to kick in and they are going to make him even more boy crazy this year, if that is even possible." Everyone chuckled at that comment.

"I think you are right, Mrs. Thurman," said Judith. "I think we have to go into the school year with the assumption that these two things are true and plan accordingly. I know Derek would be embarrassed by our conversation, but we do need to speak frankly and be honest and open about what is happening."

"I'm glad to hear you say that Mrs. McCall, because it makes what I have to say next a bit easier." Mrs. Thurman took a deep breath and exhaled before she continued. "You, and I mean all of you, understand what Derek's problem is, right?"

Everyone around the table looked to others to answer the questions. In fear of being wrong, in fear of being right, or simply being embarrassed by the topic of conversation, no one answered. "I know he's young, but I've seen this before. The poor boy is sexually frustrated."

That wasn't what anyone expected the older lady to say. The sound of the ice machine in the teachers' lounge down the hall broke the silence.

After letting that revelation sink in, Josephina continued. "I don't think I'm the right teacher for Derek this year. He needs someone he can identify with, someone who he will see as a mentor and will do anything and everything possible to please." She turned her attention directly to Milo. "Do you think you can be that teacher, Milo?"

Milo looked like a deer caught in the headlights. He'd been very careful with his social media to make sure his personal and professional lives never crossed. He wasn't even out at school. Since he lived at home all six years of college, it never really came up. His parent knew he was gay, but he never planned on coming out to the community until he had a life-partner or was getting married. Only then would he deal with being an openly gay teacher and the parents that would want to make trouble for him. But by then, he'd have years of experience under his belt and a well-cultivated reputation and track record.

"I... uh... Well, I... what do you mean..." Milo's cheeks were crimson as he stammered through his attempt at a reply.

"Oh, I'm sorry Milo. It really isn't my place to..., please forgive me," Mrs. Thurman realized what she'd implied and felt horrible. She'd had her suspicions about Milo's sexuality, but never intended to out him in this meeting.

"It's okay," said Milo as he recovered his composure. "I'm going to have to do this at some point, but this is a few years sooner than expected. If we're being frank, yes, I am gay." Chelsea's body deflated at Milo's admission.

"Milo, I didn't mean to out you. My intention was to impress upon everyone that you are a very handsome man and Derek will most certainly have a huge crush on you. If he is in your class, you will have his full attention and you can use his emotions towards you in a constructive way to help him succeed this school year. But being gay may be a plus too. That can give Derek an outlet for discussing his own sexuality with someone who will understand. Your perspective as a gay adult male, will probably carry more weight with Derek than anyone else's, especially when it comes to appropriate and inappropriate behavior."

"Oh, well, I guess I took your comment the wrong way," apologized Milo. He wondered if there would be repercussions from outing himself.

Sitting quietly during this entire conversation was the school's psychologist, Lars Meijer. He ran a pediatric psychology practice and contracted with the East Harbor schools as a consultant. Principal Shaw had called Lars in for this meeting since the two had spoken repeatedly about Derek and how the school should approach this topic. "Speaking professionally, I think Josephina is right. It's not common, but I've seen other boys become sexually frustrated to distraction. It poses two challenges. First, the boy doesn't know that is what's going on. He may have urges that are of a sexual nature, like Derek's giving boys hugs because he craves body contact, or his chasing them and giving them kisses, but he can't distinguish a sexual urge from other wants or needs. Second, at his age, it's difficult for us to encourage him to find a partner for his sexual activity. Maybe he needs to be taught to masturbate? That could take the edge off and allow him to focus on school."

"I'm sorry, I'm not..." started Milo. Lars jumped in quickly, cutting him off.

"Oh no, no, Milo. I was directing that comment to Mr. McCall," explained Lars, much to the young teacher's relief.

Derek's father turned bright red.

"I don't like to use my support of the school to promote my practice, but if you ever need me, I'd be happy to see Derek," offered Lars. "That is, for other things. The sex talk is all on you, Mr. McCall."

The mama bear in Judith rose to the surface. "Are you saying that Derek needs mental health services? There's nothing wrong with being gay." You don't mess with the McCall boys unless you are ready to bare the wrath of their mother.

"Mrs. McCall, may I call you Judith?" asked Lars. She nodded her permission. "Judith, I'm actually saying exactly the opposite. Derek sounds like an amazing child and I'd be honored to meet him sometime." Judith was pleased with that response but held her reservations on the school psychologist until he fully explained what he was trying to say.

"Derek is in an unusual situation in some ways. He's self-assured enough to understand his sexuality, without really understanding sexuality. And by all accounts, he is also coming to a time where his hormones are going to be catching up and adding a new component to his budding sexuality. Being older and farther along than his peers or any other student in this building, it doesn't appear that his has friends to discuss this with -- friends that are gay or friends in the throes of puberty. I was offering to set up appointments where he can have time set aside on a regular basis to ask questions, get advice, and to help him process all that he is going through mentally, emotionally, and physically. Plus, I've been considering setting up some group sessions with my other gay patients so they can meet gay peers and not feel so alone."

"Let's see how the start of the school year goes and then we'll revisit that idea," said Judith. "I like the idea of Derek having gay friends so he doesn't feel alone with his feelings. But I think starting therapy will be too much right now. He's starting year-round competitive swim training in the mornings. We need to get use to this schedule and figure out what a good time to fit in another activity."

"Good. I will talk with the other parents to see how they feel about having group sessions, or just social activities to allow the boys to meet," offered Lars.

It was during that meeting they decided to provide updates throughout the day, when possible, particularly if there was an issue to address. Everyone agreed communication was key to ensure things were addressed before they became a problem. Judith kept telling herself that no news was good news. But if she had her way, she'd have live video feed from the school all day to watch her youngest child navigate his way through life.


With the new swimming program, his change in schedule, school clothes shopping and other activities, Derek hadn't had much time to dwell on the fact that he was getting the new teacher at school. Mr. Gursten was his name, but other than figuring out that he was a he, making him Derek's first male teacher, Derek knew nothing.

They arrived at school and before the minivan was even stopped, Derek was unbuckling his seat belt, anxious to see his friends. He hit the button to open the door when Judith grabbed his attention. "No goodbye for your Uber driver?"

Derek flashed his dimples and leaned between the front seats. He gave his mom a kiss and said, "I love you, mom. You're the greatest." Then he hugged her tight. She returned the hug the best she could from the front seat.

"Have a good day at school, tadpole."

"I will!" Derek turned, leapt from the vehicle, then pressed the button to shut the door. He waved as the door closed then ran to the front doors for his first day of fifth grade. Judith patted the wetness from her eyes before putting the van in gear and driving home.

"Derek!" came a cry from the other side of the cafeteria. It was Sebbie waving both arms to get his friend's attention. Derek grinned broadly and headed that way to join his "posse". At least that is how Derek referred to his group of friends this week. For years the blond had invented names for the group that never stuck. The other five would just roll their eyes and wait for Derek to move on to the next.

To see the boys greet each other, you'd have thought the boys hadn't seen each other since the end of fourth grade. That's the way they are. Derek, Sebbie, and the rest of the gang had known each other since pre-school. They also lived close enough to each other that hang out at each other's home or do things together. Over the years, their parents even became friends.

Sebbie was the nickname the boys came up when they couldn't pronounce his name and it stuck. Teachers, coaches, students, even his parents, called Sebastian Simmons by this moniker. Of the group, Sebbie and Derek were the de facto leaders. It wasn't so much that the others weren't leaders, it was just those two usually came up with the ideas and talked the others into joining in. Sometimes, the other four couldn't get a word in edgewise when Sebbie and Derek started talking.

In many ways, the raven-haired, brown-eyed boy with glasses was the opposite of the blond, blue-eyed Derek, and not just in looks. Derek was easily distracted in the classroom where Sebbie became laser focused. On the playground, where Derek was hyper and always in motion, Sebbie was the calming counterpart. But when the two are together, they shared a dorky, brainiac sense of humor (that kept each of them in stitches) and an aptitude for sports. Where Derek excelled in swimming, Sebbie was more than competent in soccer and baseball.

Also, at the table were Sean McIlroy, Rodrigo Gutierrez, Mochihiro "Mochi" Yoshikawa, and Jack Vance. They were a good bunch of boys. The school's faculty and staff all loved this crazy bunch. They were all good academic students, well-behaved when they needed to be but a lot of fun when the time came. And though they never intended to be leaders in the school, their caring behavior towards the younger students, lack of tolerance for bullying of any kind, and their friendly and welcoming attitude towards everyone set the tone for the school building, even the prior year as fourth graders. Principal Shaw was already trying to figure out how to bottle the boys' enthusiasm and attitudes so he could share it with students in the years following the boys' departure for middle school at the end of the school year.

Greeting Sebbie, Derek gave him a huge hug. Sebbie had been Derek's first boy crush all the way by back in pre-school and kindergarten. His second boy crush was Sean.

"It's about time, Derek!" said Sean in his light, lyrical Irish accent.

"Hey! I had swim practice!" defended Derek. Derek and Sean exchanged exploding fist bumps and giggled.

When Sean met the other boys when they were four, his family had just moved to the States. You'd have thought he'd have lost his accent since he'd lived longer in the US than he did in Bangor, Northern Ireland, but both of his parents, when at home, spoke with a heavy accent. Sean, adapting between both worlds, naturally varied his accent between home and school, but it was always there.

Even though Derek was certain that Sean would never be his boyfriend, he was reminded why he crushed on the boy. His mess of red hair, big smile and twinkling eyes made Derek's heart flutter every time. When Sean was around, he picked everyone up. Always positive, the boy found the bright side of every situation and he never met a person that wasn't his friend. Smart, athletic, and often the clown of the group, Sean kept the group grounded and smiling.

Turning, Derek was hit in the forehead by a straw wrapper shot by the laughing boys across the table. The others, including Derek joined in the laughter.

"Hey Mochi! Hey Rodrigo!" smiled Derek as he took a seat next to Jack. Rodrigo and Mochi both survived a Derek boy crush. By the time these crushes developed, Derek had entered his phase of unsolicited hugs and kisses for boys he liked. So, surviving a Derek's boy crush was the appropriate term.

Mochi was first. The only son of a Japanese father and his American mother, Mochi was showered with attention. When he started pre-school, he struggled socially, and it was this group of boys that took him in and taught him how to share and make friends. Now, as a fifth grader, Mochi was a math and science whiz and not a bad third baseman, either. His group of friends no longer had to teach him how to share his toys, but they did help him maintain a healthy academic to fun-time balance.

Rodrigo, who's grandmother is the Vice Principal at East Harbor High School, is sort of the strong silent type. An excellent athlete and raised in a family that values academics, Rodrigo goes about his business with respect, focus, and few words. When he chose to speak, others listen because what he said would be insightful and well-reasoned. His commitment to his friends was deeper than ever. At the end of the previous school year, some of the fifth graders tried to harass Rodrigo, throwing things at him and telling him to go back to Mexico. The boy was confused. He could trace his family tree in the San Diego area back to the late 1700s when the area was part of New Spain, long before most of the other kids' families arrived in the New World. Derek, Sebbie, Sean, Mochi and Jack stepped in and shut down the bullying fast. You mess with one, you mess with all.

The sixth boy was Jack Vance, the latest victim of Derek's affection. Derek was infatuated with the boy's quiet, laid back personality, shaggy brown hair, hazel eyes and flawless skin. On first impression, it would be very easy to overlook Jack, or pigeonhole him as a nerdy, book smart kid -- all of which were true. But Jack was also the best baseball player of the group and, when he decided to crack a joke, his sharp-witted humor cracked up students and teachers alike.

Once Derek was seated, he scooted over right against Jack. Jack ignored Derek's physical proximity. "Hi Derek. Are you excited to meet Mr. Gursten today?"

Derek, encouraged that Jack didn't move away, put his arm around the boy and laid his head on Jack's shoulder. The other boys watched intently, barely stifling their snickers.

"I guess..." said Derek in a dreamy voice, hardly paying any attention to what Jack actually said. The boy's smell and the heat from his body sent Derek's head into orbit.

"Earth to Derek. Earth to Derek," repeated Moshi before the boy burst out laughing.

"Com'on, Derek," said Sebbie, dragging Derek off Jack. Jack just continued to eat his breakfast. "You're going to be starving if you don't get something to eat."

Sebbie wanted to get another orange juice and Derek followed. Ordering some French toast and sausage, Derek added an orange juice of his own before the boys paid and headed out the door from the school kitchen to the dining hall.

Moments after entering the dining hall, French toast, sausage and orange juice went flying as Derek crashed into someone -- or someone crashed into Derek -- knocking the boy down.

Derek sat up and checked to see if he was wearing any of his breakfast. Dusting off his shorts and exposed legs, a hand entered his line of sight.

"Oh, I'm so sorry..." came the voice. "Are you Derek?"

Derek's eyes moved from the hand, up the arm to the most beautiful face he'd ever seen, sending his heart into overdrive.


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