Standing Up

A Sanitaria Springs Story

By Dabeagle


This story builds on the previously posted 'Love & Loss' and 'Charmed'. It is suggested strongly you read those first.

I have a boyfriend. It wasn't Nate, like I'd been thinking; in fact, he came out of left field. Well, technically, second base, but that isn't as well understood. It also made me think I was more emotional than I had realized because Crispin's story just left me wanting more and more, like a hit of some potent drug. It isn't every day someone tells you that you mean enough to them to brave the challenge of coming out, if only you'd date them.

When Crispin and I were still sitting on the bench where he'd had so much trouble trying to tell me what he felt, my whole body felt like one emotional blob of jelly, quivering with the tension of the romantic statement he didn't even know he was making. Once I'd accepted that, though, he had yet to speak. As of right that second, he was studying me with watery eyes and the occasional sniffle. I busied myself with trying to backtrack over the last two weeks to see if there were signs I'd missed that he was interested in me, but all I could come up with was how easily we'd gotten along. At last, he spoke.

“Are you messing with me?”

Okay, not what I'd expected. “Not at all,” I replied. I smiled and squeezed his hand and he looked down at our hands and he smiled. A small smile, but it was definitely there. Recalling his statements about being afraid of being outed, I pulled my hand away. He looked up at me with a frown.

“Why'd you take your hand away?”

“Well, I figured if someone from school saw you sitting on a bench with a guy, holding hands...”

I trailed off as he shook his head. “I am worried about my parents finding out, that's true. But...they're going to find out, eventually. Yeah, someone from school could make that happen faster, just because of small town gossip but...I'm not going to rob myself. I came out for me, and I'll deal with them if and when it becomes something. I want to date you for me so...hand?” He held his hand out, palm up and I smiled widely and placed my hand in his.

My heart was racing. It was such a rush to have someone so interested in me, so willing to put themselves out there, that it left me speechless.

“Well, we have to, um, kill some time since we're supposed to be at the movies. Want to grab a bite at the diner?”

He stood and I followed suit and, hand in hand, we walked a few blocks to a diner near where he'd parked. It was typical of so many diners with shiny metal siding and the suggestion of an over-wide diner car from an old train. Once inside I relaxed my hand, but he tightened his grip slightly and I responded by imitating him. The person who seated us didn't seem to notice, but a few other patrons did. We sat opposite each other and our waitress stopped by almost immediately to take our drink orders. I was a little surprised when Crispin spoke to her right away and ordered the two-person nacho dish. As the waitress walked away he must have noticed the look on my face.


“Are you hungry? Two-person nachos sounds like a lot.”

He paused noticeably and then tilted his head forward and slapped his hand to his forehead. He mumbled something incoherent and then sat up, shoulders still slumped.

“This is going to be harder than I thought,” he said. I sat and waited for him to continue, which he did. “Mellie and I came here a lot. We always had the nachos and, I guess, I ordered out of habit.”

A complicated set of emotions coursed through me. On the one hand it was a little irritating to be treated like someone he'd dated before. The other side of that was that he was apparently comfortable enough that I'd reminded him of the security of that relationship with Mellie. Of course, that was just the emotional response. Rationally I realized that each relationship must be built, In part, on experiences of previous relationships. At least Mellie and he had enjoyed a strong relationship; I wouldn't mind being equated with that.

“So, I guess that means you accept. Right?”

He frowned. “Accept what?”

I smiled and said, “Well, if you used to order these to share with your date, and now you order them to share with me...we must be dating.” I shrugged and looked at him expectantly.

His face softened and the edges of his mouth flickered, returning my smile. “That's a gracious way of putting it. Or we could just say I fucked up.”

“I appreciate the honesty,” I said, leaning back in the seat. “But I like my version better. I like the romantic you.”

He did smile then, a little awkwardly. With a worried tone that was a complete one-eighty from the way he acted outside he said, “I do want to...I need to think for a second.”

I think he was feeling the same heady fear that I was, one of being out in public for the first time and thinking everyone was looking at us. The idea was absurd, but the emotion...that everyone could see we were a newly minted couple, it was overpowering. Our drinks arrived and we each took a sip. Crispin seemed to be thinking about how to say whatever he wanted to say, while I took those moments to study him. His eyes were an unusual steely blue and his hair shone like polished bronze; it was a little coarse, maybe, and a bit puffy, but fascinated me. He could probably do with a trim. His face was heart-shaped with a petite nose and a mouth that, now knowing I could, I longed to get closer to.

He sighed and sat up a little straighter, seemingly ready to take on the task of speaking to me.

“So, first thing is my parents. Um, they're pretty conservative and...well, if we do this, they're going to find out. You know?”

“If we do this?” I asked, raising an eyebrow and choosing to ignore the rest for now.

He cleared his throat and nodded. “Yeah. You got my sob story but I think you need to know the rest. It wouldn't be fair to—”

“I don't care,” I said with a shrug just as the nachos arrived. The lady put two little plates down and I scooped some of the food onto it and started eating.

Crispin was sitting very still. “What do you mean, you don't care?”

I finished chewing and regarded him. “There will be some obstacles. I get that, I accept that and we'll figure it out. I'm not going to say 'wow, you sound like too much trouble to try and date; I guess I'll just walk away.'”

He let out a few short, sharp breaths and then said, “But don't you want to know what you're getting into?”

“Well, 'your pants' is on my list.” I pointed the corner of my chip at him, “The rest I'll find out, the better we get to know each other.”

He snorted a laugh and then glanced down. He inhaled deeply, crushed his napkin in his hand, his fingers pressing hard enough to drive the blood from his skin. “I just want to be fair and not, like, mislead you. I've never had a boyfriend before—”

“Me either,” I replied with a shrug. “These nachos are good, solid choice.”

Again he visibly paused. He cleared his throat and asked, “So you really don't want to know?”

I wiped my mouth and took a drink before I replied. “I'm going to find out, eventually. Find out everything about you, the good and the bad and the awkward. As long as we talk and we remember this relationship is between you and me and not our parents or friends, then there shouldn't be any big deal.” I paused and tilted my head. “I can't think of anything you could say to make me not try this out.”

He placed his hand on the table like a knife blade and looked at me with urgency, “I think this is important to tell you. Can I please just get this out?”

“Sure,” I replied with a smile. “I love listening to you talk.”

He blushed and looked away, a smile creeping onto his face. He glanced at me and said, in a very low voice meant just for me, “You're fucking adorable.”

“Not yet, I'm not,” I replied tartly and laughed as he turned that over in his head. He leaned back and shook his head and let out a slight chuckle accompanied by a deepening blush. At my urging, he took some nachos and ate with me.

“I suppose you think that crack makes you witty?” he asked.

“I'm a truth-teller,” I replied with a grin.

“Aren't you a little ahead of the situation?”

“A guy can dream...and use his imagination,” I replied with a snicker. He blushed, but continued to smile. His expression gradually melted away, though and he sighed.

“Okay, so look. I really want this, but I need to control some of it. I have to keep my folks in the dark as long as I can, they won't be good.”

“Well, you said that they will find out and if people from school see us out...or do you want to, um, keep us on the down low?” My stomach churned at the thought of him coming out for me, but only to me; I didn't want to hide how he made me feel.

“I have some guys on the team I hang with a little, but mostly it's Mellie. Once she and I started hanging out, people seemed to kind of back off. It's date and people don't have time for you anymore.”

“Hmm,” I replied and quickly finished chewing and swallowing before I completed my thought. “Actually, I've always found that people who are dating don't have time for other people. I don't want to be that guy. I want to spend a lot of time with you, but I want you to meet my friends and be a part of my life, not be my whole life. You know? Seems like a lot of pressure.”

He clasped his hands. “That's almost what you'd be doing with me, though. Mellie and I hung out most of the time and I want...” he paused and sighed, “I want to spend my free time with you. You see? It's already putting pressure on you and this is why I wanted you to know things before you said yes!”

I grinned at him. “You're cute when you're whining.”

He pushed his lips out and growled. “I'm not whining.”

I leaned back and gave him a penetrating look. “Crispin, you just totally blew me away by telling me you'd only come out if I would date you. I'm thinking, this totally great person is willing to do that for me. But ever since we sat down, it's like you're trying to talk me out of dating you. What's really going on?”

His eyes darted to the side and he picked at his food. I took a sip of my drink as I tried not to stare at him, waiting for a response. Instead I looked at his hands, his long, slender fingers that weren't able to keep still. I say slender because they were a few steps up from bony. Some people might even think Cris was skinny, but I thought his fingers were kind of representative of the rest of him—slender with wiry muscle.

“What are you looking at?” he asked quietly.

I glanced up and smiled at him. “Your fingers.”

He lifted an eyebrow and looked down at them. “What about my fingers?”

“I like them,” I replied and pulled more food onto my plate.

He frowned and looked as if he didn't know what to say. He glanced at me and then sighed. “Dylan, can we... I know this is completely not what I was saying before but...until I feel more, I don't know, confident about this, can we keep this under wraps at least here? Like, when we're at your place or your town, then it's normal. But when we're here...”

“Okay,” I agreed, nodding my head. “For now.”

He let out a long breath and nodded. “Okay.”

“So, I gotta say Crispin, you totally had me fooled.”

“Oh?” he asked, a smile playing at the edges of his mouth.

“Yep. I mean, I guess I should have wondered since no straight guy I ever knew ever asks about my relationships. Even Nate, who is a great guy and a pretty decent kisser.” I paused and looked at him meaningfully. “Are you a good kisser, Cris?”

He looked at me with a bit of his old confidence and said, “I kept a girl happy for three years, didn't I?” Then he popped a chip in his mouth as I chuckled at him

“You kissed Mellie?”

He shrugged. “On the cheek, mostly. We never made out or anything.”

“Oh, that's going to change,” I said and grinned widely.

He blushed again, but his happy smile remained in place. We didn't speak for a few minutes, though I was already missing the sound of his voice. Instead we ate the messy dish and exchanged little looks. I found it kind of interesting that, while I'd thought Cris was good looking, it hadn't crossed my mind that...well, that this situation would ever happen. I'd been really happy to have made quality friends in he and Mellie and it just blew me away that he'd been maneuvering all this time to come out. For me.

We finished up and split the bill for the food, then headed back to his truck. We pulled away and I glanced down to his hand, flat on the seat, and gave in to temptation by reaching over and taking it into into mine.

“Is this okay?” I asked.

He cleared his throat and squeaked. “Yeah. Um, yeah. This is cool.”

“Suave, Crispin,” I replied and let out a little laugh.

“That's me,” he confirmed. “You didn't know you were dating such a slick guy, huh?”

“Cute and fun, yes. Slick? Hardly.”

“Hey, I'm slick as hell and you know it,” he replied. From that point we fount it easy to slide back into our normal conversational patter, comfortable and familiar. The only difference was holding his hand, which was huge. Even though I'd noted his hands looked slender, they were like cords of nylon rope: strong yet smooth to the touch. We pulled to a stop in front of, what I assumed, was his house and, on impulse, I pulled his fingers to my lips and pressed a kiss on them. He stared at me for a moment, then his gaze shifted and then pulled his hand away quickly.

“Shit! I think my mom just pulled the curtain back.”

“Relax, relax,” I soothed. “She probably wants to know why we're back so early. After all, she thought we were going to the movies.”

“But what if she—”

“She didn't,” I said firmly. “The cab is dark and we have the whole front lawn between us. Breathe.”

He sighed and nodded his head. “I'm sorry.”

“No sweat,” I replied and we climbed out of the truck and headed into his house. Shoes were left by the front door and, as I figured, his mother asked why we were back so soon. I thought it was interesting that she seemed concerned enough to ask but not enough to get off the couch.

“Mellie had her date there,” Crispin replied. “It was weirder than I thought it would be.”

His mom shook her head. “I don't know what she was thinking. Are you okay?”

“Yeah. Um, Dylan and I are just going to play some games in my room.”

“Okay. The stew is still hot on the stove if you get hungry,” she said, looking back down at her tablet. His father, who'd looked at us as we'd entered, had dismissed us and returned to his program on the TV.

I followed him back to his room and he held the door for me and then closed it firmly behind him. He sighed heavily and turned his gaze to me.

“You know, I think you're supposed to be happy to have a new relationship,” I told him. “You just look all kinds of upset.”

He moved his gaze to his feet and shook his head. “I feel so strung out.” He looked up at me and continued, “All week this has been on my mind, knowing the break-up was coming, knowing I had to come out to you. I was so...exhausted when we talked on the bench. Then, walking back to the diner when we were holding hands I just felt everyone was looking and I started to feel weird and then I worried about my parents and then...” He paused and pressed his lips together, pulling them toward his teeth. He blinked a few times and looked away from me. “I started to think that, maybe, everything I wanted was more than I could handle.”

I shook my head and wondered how I was supposed to help get us to a good place. After all, here was a guy I didn't have to get a few beers into before he seemed like he liked me. I decided that focusing on the good things would be the best place to start. “Every time you open up your mouth, I fall for you a little more. You know that?”

“What are you talking about?” he asked, his voice shot through with confusion. “Didn't you listen to me? I was just talking about being overwhelmed and confused and—”

“And saying I was everything you wanted. Yes, I heard that,” I said firmly.

He sighed. “What about the rest of it, though?”

I closed the space between us and looked down long enough to locate his hands and take them in mine. His fingers returned my grip lightly. Lifting my gaze to his face I said, “You're afraid and I get that. You also know that they'll find out someday, that it's inevitable. Let's enjoy what we can. Let's build our relationship so we can be ready when that day comes.”

His gaze flickered over me uncertainly and then a half-smile pulled up one side of his mouth. “Does anything faze you?”

“Oh, I'm pretty emotional,” I told him. “I'm shocked you've been, what? Evaluating me? Even more shocked that I didn't know, at all!”

A little of his normal self appeared in the smirk on his face. “I told you I'm slick.”

“Yeah, you were,” I admitted. “I hadn't even thought about you romantically. I mean, it hadn't even occurred to me.”

His hands loosened their grip on mine and he asked, “So you weren't interested in me?”

“Cris, I thought you were straight. Why even go down that path when you think you know that? Plus, to be honest, I was just loving having you as a friend. All the nuttiness I was dealing with at home and with my other friends, you helped me let that stuff be. It sorted itself out.”

He tilted his head from side to side. “So, do you think...I mean, you can just shift from platonic to something more?”

“Sure,” I said with a nod. “It depends on how we communicate. Like all your romantic talk? I totally love that.”

“I didn't think I was romantic,” he said and blushed. “I thought I was admitting to being a coward.”

“Nope. But I do have a problem with you,” I said and frowned as his gaze shot to my face.


“Well, we're in your room, alone. You're leaning against the door, so no one can come in and your ex-girlfriend has kissed me more that you have.” I lifted an eyebrow at him in challenge and he froze, eyes wide and his lips working silently.

My heart rate sped up as he let go of my hands and lifted them, a slight tremble to them, and gingerly placed them on each side of my face. His breath was coming a little faster and I imagined his heart was hammering just like mine was. The tips of his fingers pushed into my scalp, nudging me toward him, and I obliged. He guided me ever closer; his lips parting and then our noses bumped.

We both chuckled at our error, but it didn't last. He pulled me in with more force and his kiss, oh my God, his kiss. It wasn't like electricity and I didn't spring an instant hard on. Instead of these grandiose things, my world shrank down to the wonderful softness of his lips on mine, to the smell of his skin and the slow, languorous way his mouth opened slightly and deepened the kiss. I wasn't conscious of anything outside of the feel of my own lips pressed to his, of the small movements as our lips moved against each other. He tilted his head forward, breaking the kiss and leaving our foreheads touching as we both took in deep breaths.

“So? Greatest kisser ever, right?” he asked.

“I definitely want more of that,” I told him as I grinned.

Blushing and glancing to the side, perhaps listening in case his parents heard something as soft as a kiss, he said,“We, uh, better get to a game or, um, have some stew if you're hungry.” He glanced at me, grinning wickedly and he gave me a wry look. “If you're hungry for food, Dylan.”

“You're no fun,” I pouted and turned, which wasn't easy to do, toward his bed and the nearby game system. He grunted at me but soon we were playing and picking up our easy banter. I thought it was really cute how he tried to act like he was so slick, when in reality I think he was sweating bullets. It was thoughts like that, more than anything, that kept him winning. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

We both went out for a bowl of stew before it got too late and then it was time to turn in. We said goodnight to his parents and I stripped down for bed. Crispin was reaching for the light switch, obviously planning to change in the dark like he did last night, but I wagged a finger at him.

“Uh uh. No fair,” I said as I approached him and covered the light switch with my hand.

“What?” he asked, his confusion plain.

“What?” I echoed him. “Don't play dumb. You got to see me all dressed down last night,” I said, waving toward my boxer clad self. I grinned. “My turn.”

He blushed, hard and a nervous smile flashed across his face. It was so freaking cute!

“But, I wear pajamas. I have to, you know...” He rolled his hand in a circle toward me, willing me to interpret the rest of his thought.

“Get naked? I'm okay with that,” I grinned.

He blushed harder and then he smirked. “Maybe I'll get a little crazy and just wear underwear to bed.”

“Works for me,” I countered, not letting him get away with teasing me.

“Why?” he asked with a little laugh. “That's like seeing me in a bathing suit and you've seen that a bunch of times.”

“You wear board shorts,” I reminded him. “This will be much better.”

“Fine,” he said with a smile, a blush and a roll of his eyes. He stripped off his shirt and pants, hanging them, and tossed his socks in the hamper before he noticed, or acknowledged that I was gawking, and he paused. My gaze was flickering from his toes up his legs to the bump of his dick. From there was a pale happy trail leading up to his taut chest and quite red neck and adorable face. He coughed before slapping the light switch.

“Man! What are you doing? You're dad didn't say lights out yet!” I teased him, giggling.

“Shut up,” he replied, laughing as he climbed in bed and I followed him. I reached out and took his hand and pulled it close to my chest.

We talked softly, so as not to be heard by his parents. As much as it was exciting to have him next to me and be as dressed down as we were, I had to work to respect his fears about his parents and not mess around with him. I didn't feel like I was rushing him, pushing him into foregoing his pajamas, either, considering I felt so comfortable around him already. I was convinced that having any sort of sex with him was going to make me very happy, and that it would happen sooner rather than later, so I didn't need to push him into that. It was tough, though, because I was right. Seeing him in his underwear versus his swimsuit had been better. So much better.

That didn't stop me from coaxing a few goodnight kisses from him, though. Man, what a way to end the day.


In the morning I woke him by circling his nipple with my finger, making the nub stand up and harden. He woke and teased me about weird ways to wake up, but he was blushing and had obviously enjoyed it; his nipple wasn't the only thing that had hardened.

We got up and had breakfast before showering. I went first and walked back to his room with the towel wrapped around my waist. He looked at me and, just to be a dick, I let the towel drift down over one hip and was rewarded with his eyes bugging out. After cursing me and adjusting himself, he went to take his shower.

As I dressed I wondered at the feeling of control I had, knowing that showing off a little skin turned him on so much. Had I been like that with Nate? Had he seem the same lust and hunger in my eyes that I saw in Cris's? The fact that I cared for Cris and he for me only heightened the flutter in my chest as I thought of him looking at me, of his adjusting his boner. It was intoxicating to realize I turned someone on that much. A cute someone at that.

Dressed for the workday I hoped that Todd's bombs had worked on those flying, stinging abominations out in his shed. I was putting my stuff back in my bag, since I wouldn't be coming back, when Cris stepped back into the room. He, too, had only the towel around his waist and my eyes were glued to his sinuous form as he pushed the door closed with his foot. I stood and closed the space between us, standing in his path.

“What?” he asked, blushing again. So goddamn cute.

“You haven't kissed me good morning, babe,” I said.

He blushed harder and then he narrowed his eyes. “You want me to grab your face like I did last night. Hoping I'll drop my towel?”

“Won't hear me complain,” I said, grinning. I cut off whatever he might have planned to retort by stepping in and kissing him. I placed one hand on the back of his head and the other on his shoulder blade, but allowed it to drift to his lower back, the heat of his skin delicious against my fingertips. I kept the kiss soft yet insistent, much as he'd kissed me the night before. He groaned in my mouth and I smiled as I pulled my head back to look in his steely blue eyes.

“I love kissing you,” he said, his words coming out with a sigh.

“Good response,” I chuckled. My heart pounded as I went back to packing my bag and letting him dress without me staring. I had a sense that he hadn't been naked in a bedroom with someone, which is a different context than a locker room. If you have to shower after gym or after a game you have a ton of other guys that are, mostly, trying not to let others see their shortcomings. Besides, I didn't want to just peek at his dick; I wanted to examine it at my leisure. It had taken over a month before I'd seen Nate's dick and while I was interested, I could wait to see Crispin laid bare only because of the joy I was experiencing in the anticipation that was building in my mind.

After we ate, we departed for Todd's. We fell back into our easy chatting, not talking about his coming out or our new status. In fact, the only difference was that I was holding his hand as he drove. That was perhaps the greatest thing about this new relationship was the differences between what had been going on with Nate and what I now had. I cared for Nate, quite a lot. I think it's safe to say I love him, as a matter of fact. But we didn't transition from friend-type talk to romantic situations without some help. Kissing, yes, and that was nice—more than nice.

But it wasn't like kissing Crispin. For one thing, Crispin kissed me first, with a little nudge. Nate had never initiated anything. In fact I think he enjoyed being pursued, which led to his being so hard to catch. But going from teasing to kissing with Crispin felt so much simpler and didn't require some crappy beer. Just the thought made my heart hammer in my chest, desiring that soft touch.


“Hmm?” I asked, turning to look at him.

“You just stopped talking. Where'd you go?”

I squeezed his hand. “I was just thinking. Differences between you and Nate. Kind of how amazing it is that my friend picked me up Friday and my boyfriend is driving me today.”

His hand twitched in mine. “You mean you want that? I mean, not just to have a few dates? You want to...commit to that?”

“Well, why not?” I asked and turned in the seat to look at him.

He glanced at me and then back at the road before taking a deep breath. “If we're dating, then that's exclusive. I mean—”

“I know what exclusive means, Cris,” I said with a chuckle.

He glanced at me again and said, “I know. But there are out kids at your school and maybe...”

“Crispin!” I said playfully and shaking his hand. “I'm putting my energy into dating you. I'm not looking to find someone closer to home or whatever is running through your head.”

He nodded and let out a deep breath before smiling slyly. “Well, I knew you wouldn't want anyone else after kissing me, of course.”

“Of course,” I agreed and giggled at his pleased expression.

We arrived at Todd's and Cris went inside to speak to his uncle while I made my way toward the shed. My thought was to open the doors, stand far back and see if anything was stirring. Bees I am pretty okay with; if you leave them alone, they leave you alone. Yellow jacket's attitudes are more like 'who the fuck can I sting now?' and I'm not cool with them at all. I opened the doors and hit the light before taking several steps back. In my mind the survivors had all rallied to the door in a last stand and were ready to sting the fuck out of whomever stepped through that door first.

“Dylan!” Cris called out from behind me. I waved to indicate I'd heard him, but kept my gaze locked on the interior of the shed in case of a swarming attack. Not seeing anything I cocked an ear, listening for the sound of angry buzzing. Still nothing. Cautiously I approached the interior of the shed, wondering if yellow jacket's had the brain power to set up an ambush.

I heard his steps approaching me, the grass whispering under his feet, and turned my gaze briefly toward him before returning my attention to the shed.

“Todd says to wait until next weekend. He's going to bomb again or something.”

I frowned and moved deeper in the shed, still not seeing anything. “I think he got them all, Cris,” I told him.

“Dyl,” he said and then paused before saying, “Babe. He said it's our first day as boyfriends and to go do something besides clean a shed.”

I turned to look at him and a smile crept across my face.

“What are you thinking, you perv?” he asked, laughing at me.

“I'm thinking you have to meet my friends and I want a little alone time with you. Any objections?”

“Alone time sounds good,” he replied, a blush highlighting his cheeks.

We drove back to my house, taking a meandering route. Todd had given him envelopes for the previous day's work and said the dumpster had a flat rate so holding it for a week wouldn't be an issue. As we drove I texted both Nate and Hannah to see what they were doing. Nate was staying close to home, wanting to be near his mother, but invited me to stop by. He then said that Devyn and Griffin would be there and sent me a wink. That shit!

I replied by telling him I was dating now and asked if he'd like to meet my boyfriend which he enthusiastically did. Hannah took much longer to reply, but when she did, she said she was going shopping with her mother and didn't know when she'd be back.

“So, since you know so much about him, would you like to meet Nate?” I asked.

“Um, yeah,” he replied.

“Are you sure?” I asked. “You don't sound...I don't know...”

He glanced at me and I realized that 'Nervous Cris' was back. “Can I ask you a question?”

“Please do.”

He scrunched up his face, just his cheeks really as he pushed his mouth around. “You said you blew Nate and that your brother, he, uh—”

“Yeah, I told you all that. What's the question? You want to know if I'll blow you?” I asked flippantly.

Cris's eyes bulged but he brought them under control quickly. “That wasn't my question. I'm wondering if it makes a difference to you that I haven' know.”

“No, I don't care. But...does it bother you that Nate and I have some history?” I asked, wondering if that was the real reason he was asking.

“Not...really,” he said, enunciating his words and speaking slowly. “I mean it sort of stinks that...I mean, I don't like to think of you with someone else, that's true. But what if he changes his mind about you once he sees you with someone else?”

“Well, it doesn't matter if he does, babe,” I told him. “I have a boyfriend. If I want to fool around, it's going to be with my boyfriend, not my best friend.”

He jerked his hand from mine and pulled the truck over to the side of the road with some urgency. He threw the truck into park and punched the steering wheel, eliciting a bleat from the horn. He growled, “I wasn't accusing you of that. I don't think of you like that. I'm not...some territorial, jealous asshole. I'm just asking how his feelings might make you feel, how complicated things might be.”

“Crispin,” I said softly. “I didn't say you were accusing me. I was just being clear that, whatever Nate's feelings, I'm in a relationship. With you. If Nate has some conflicting emotions, I'll handle it. I don't have a problem telling you that if he does have some confused feelings, but Cris...babe, he had his chance. It passed.”

He looked at me, his eyes wet. “Is this how I'm going to be, now? All fucking emotional and out of control?”

“Maybe, for a little while,” I said, guessing. “Maybe until you know me better, and trust me. I hope all that emotion translates into more kissing, though.”

He took the hint and unbuckled his belt, as did I, and we slid closer and engaged in another kiss that had the unfailing, uncanny ability to bring my world down to nothing more than my lips on his. It wasn't long enough, not by a long shot, but it was enough to get us back on track. It was sort of interesting that kissing him cleared my mind. Yeah, I'd been a little irritated at whatever implication was going on in his head, but I was back in balance.

We arrived at Devyn Kennedy's house and Nate was waiting for us. He greeted us warmly and shook hands with Crispin. He escorted us to the kitchen where his aunt and his mother sat at the kitchen table, coffee cups steaming in front of them. Seeing the two women side by side only increased the stark differences between them and I felt that Nate was right to be worried about his mom.

“Mom? You remember Dylan, right?” I stepped forward and gave her a light hug.

“I'd recognize that handsome face anywhere,” she said with a wan smile. “How are you, my dear?”

“I'm well, thank you,” I replied. “How are you doing today?”

“Eh. I'm still here. And who is this? I don't know this handsome one,” she said, peering around me at Crispin and dodging answering any more of that question. Can't say I blame her.

“This is his boyfriend, Crispin.”

“Nice to meet you, sweetheart. I love your name, it's very romantic,” she said with another wan smile.

“I'm only allowed to be romantic with Dylan, ma'am,” Cris replied as he shook her hand. Her smile grew wider and she managed a soft chuckle.

“I like you already.” She turned her gaze to Nate and said, “Go spend some time with your friends, baby.”

Nate was clearly torn, but his aunt shooed him out of the kitchen. We were passing back through the living room when two short, cute guys bounded down the stairs. Devyn Kennedy, Nate's cousin, and Griffin Douglas, Devyn's boyfriend.

“Hey, Nate,” Griffin said in greeting. “Come swim at the Kirkwoods with us.”

“Ah, I have friends over,” he replied.

“So? They can come. Hey, Dylan,” Griffin said in greeting and punched me lightly on the shoulder.

“Hey, Griff,” I replied and nodded to Dev. “This is my boyfriend, Crispin Wolfe. Um, we didn't bring suits.”

“That never stopped you before,” Cris teased and then colored as he remembered we were in mixed company.

Dev held his hands up and then flashed a sign at his boyfriend who turned his gaze back to us. “He wants to know why we weren't invited to go skinny dipping.”

I rolled my eyes and grinned at Dev. “No skinny dipping. I had to swim in my boxers the first time we met,” I said to clarify the situation.

Dev put his fingers on his chin and Cris got them all laughing by muttering, “Those boxers didn't hide much.”

“Well, looks like not hiding stuff got you a boyfriend,” Nate teased.

“So, Crispin was it? Size queen?” Griff teased.

Cris opened his mouth to respond, took a look at me and wisely, I thought, shut his mouth to another round of laughter.

“Come on, guys, we'll find you suits.”


We spent a few hours at the Kirkwood's. I was happy to finally see what I'd been missing out on and it was kind of cool. I think that, being around so many gay couples made Cris far more relaxed than, for instance, if we were hanging out with straight couples. It's hard when the 'norm' is opposite sex couples and it always makes you feel a little out of place. On the other hand I guess that could lead to overload since guys like us are always in the minority.

Nate was busy spilling all my dirty laundry to Cris and they were getting along really well. It did me a lot of good to see Nate making every effort to get to know Crispin and apparently liking him quite a lot. Cris seemed to be enjoying Nate's company as well and I thought it boded well for me that they liked each other. We did decide to head out eventually, though, so we could have a little time together before he had to head for home. So we said our goodbye's and headed for my house.

Once more, Cris was horrified by my room and so our first official act together clean my room. How romantic can you get? We even moved some of my furniture around and he busted my balls the entire time about my room, which I let him get away with because it was kind of true. I also had to admit, at least to myself, that my room looked nice after he was done, and in the end I wanted to do more, like paint the walls. This much I did tell him.

“Paint, huh?” he said, glancing at the walls. “I'm not sure it'd stick.”

“Huh? Why not?”

“Well, we'd have to scrub the walls...” he said, trailing off and grinning at me insolently. I growled and tackled him onto my bed and, after a little wrestling around, just started to kiss him. He stopped fighting me and returned my kisses with enthusiasm. I sat up and pulled my shirt off and tugged at the hem of his. His face was flushed and his breathing was heavy as he pulled the garment off and a new layer of excitement was added into our kissing because there was no way I could—or would want—to block out the feeling of our chests against the other.

And yet, I was content. We were both absolutely hard and while I'd have had no issues going farther, I was excited and quite happy living on this edge where we both knew exactly how turned on the other was without moving to that next step. In fact, I didn't even move on to his earlobes or his neck or nipples because there was time for that and right now was the time for kissing and our chests to be mashed together in a tangle of heat, sweat and a passion. I was very content to live in this very moment as long as possible.

Eventually, however, I realized I was reaching the end of my ability to balance on the edge of this particular blade and I slowed my kisses with a huge effort. I knew if I didn't, there would be some kind of sexual contact that would be mind-blowing. At the same time, I was worried that 'nervous Cris' would pop up afterward, most likely when I wouldn't be there to help steady him. So, with an effort that was very nearly painful, I rolled off of him and lay beside him, panting and grasping to hold his hand.

“Oh. My. God.” Cris said, his breath coming raggedly. “I am going to keep insulting your house if that's what you're going to do to shut me up!”

“Hah!” I said, snorting and rolling onto my side. I let go of his hand and idly began stroking the skin of his chest. “My room isn't nearly as bad as the rest of the house.”

He looked at me and a crooked grin twisted his lips. “Well, um, that isn't saying much.”

I narrowed my eyes and said, “It looked like you were going to say something else and changed your mind. Hmm? What was it?”

He shook his head from side to side, laughter bubbling up. I started to tickle him, demanding he tell me and he squirmed and bucked under my fingers. Soon, though, he began trying to tickle me back and hell if it didn't work. In moments were were down to giggling at each other and trying to lance forward to deliver a quick tickle without leaving ourselves exposed to the other.

I guess he grew tired of that, though, and pounced on me. Holding my wrists down he delivered a quick kiss and smiled down at me.

“What?” I asked, grinning up at him.

He sighed, his chest heaving against mine, and he let my wrists go before tangling his fingers in my hair and kissing me again, lightly. “I'm just, like, totally happy right now. I wish I could just stay here, not leave this room. I wish I could just make this day last longer so I could enjoy this feeling a while longer.”

My heart soared at his words and I lifted my head toward him and he met me partway and we kissed quickly again. “What does your week look like? When can I see you?”

He grabbed my hand, which I'd worked up and was using to tease his nipple, and brought my fingers to his lips for a brief kiss. “I have a game at home Tuesday, and one away on Thursday. I have practice every day. I wish you had a car.”

“Me too,” I lamented. “So I have to wait until next weekend?”

He sighed. “Yeah. This is going to suck.”

“Yeah. I was hoping to see you in that tight baseball uniform again,” I said with a dramatic sigh. He arched an eyebrow at me.

“That can be arranged.”

I laughed at him and he darted down for another lighting quick kiss. He settled his gaze on mine. “My away game is at McKinley, so I figure you can't make that one.” He rolled off me and flopped onto his back. “I don't know how I'm supposed to get through the week without seeing you. This sucks.”

I rolled onto my side and sent my hand exploring across his chest. “Totally. I guess I'll have to give you something to keep you going through the week.” So saying I began kissing him in earnest, seeking out that knife point once again and hoping to draw out my balancing act as long as possible.


The school week was interminable. Texting with Cris wasn't the same as seeing him or speaking to him, of course, but we burned up a lot of our data time doing just that. At lunch Monday I was sitting with Hannah, Nate and his temporary girlfriend, Erica. I showed pictures of Cris to Hannah and she told me he looked skinny and to feed him. We hotly discussed the issue as I said he was clearly slender and wiry, but hardly skinny. Hannah pulled Nate into the conversation, but before he could render an opinion, Erica opened her mouth.

“I bet I could take him from you, too,” she said casually, rolling her tongue against her cheek with a satisfied set to her face.

Silence descended on our table. “What?” I asked.

She looked at me, then at Nate and smiled. “I know you wanted Nate, but I got him. Guys aren't actually gay; they just need to find the right girl.”

I opened my mouth to let her know it'd take more than a slut to change someone's sexuality, that I knew Nate more intimately than she ever would and that I'd be here for him long after she was gone. But Nate got there first with a very quiet statement.

“Erica, we need to break up.”

She frowned. “Why? Because I hurt his wittle feewings?”

“Because he means more to me than you ever will,” Nate replied calmly. “Now walk away before things get said.”

“Are you fucking kidding me?” she snarled. “We fucked, Nate. So, what? That meant nothing? Got what you wanted and you're dumping me?”

“I'm dumping you because you're being a jerk to my friend, who hasn't done shit to you. I'm dumping you because of all the mean shit you say about other people behind their backs, all the crap you talk.” Nate looked at her calmly, steadily. I was overwhelmingly impressed with him.

“Fuck you, Nate,” she said as she stood, her voice shaking. She snatched her things off the table and fled quickly and, despite myself, I felt a twinge of sympathy. Perhaps she thought screwing Nate made him her property. I suppose she could think that he agreed with her, if he'd not stood up to her before, but damn if Nate didn't come through like a champ when it came down to me.

“She's messed up,” Hannah said, shaking her head. “She saw a good guy and figured she'd keep you with sex. I'm a little surprised she wasn't right, Nate.”

He hung his head a little. “It wasn't exactly what you think. It went down...not like I'd have wanted it to. It is what it is and you guys are more important than she is anyway.”

“Me?” Hannah asked, her voice rising in surprise.

“Yeah,” he said, looking at her fixedly. “Josh Ridley ended up getting a reputation for going too far.”

“What did you say? Did you spill my business?” Hannah asked, her voice fragile with fear, but Nate was already shaking his head.

“I'd never do that to you. But I did talk to Dev about what to do and he spoke to his friend Derek—Derek Pellegrini?—well, Derek has a sister, a senior, and she asked a very surprised Josh out. Then she publicly accused him of being a misogynistic dickhead. Like, in the theater before the movie started. I guess she can make quite a scene, when she wants to. I'd guess he's not going to get a lot more dates.”

We sat stunned for a moment and then Hannah began to laugh slowly and placed a hand over Nate's. “Thank you, Nate. I'm sorry for—”

“Nah,” he said. “I'm sorry I couldn't punch him out or something, but I figured this would bring more justice.”

He and Hannah continued to look at each other and I smiled to myself, hoping I was seeing something good happening for them both.

Later in the day, Hannah continued to tease me about Crispin being skinny until I reminded her I'd seen Nate naked and would use that against her. I was quite pleased when that shut her up, especially since I thought they'd be good for each other. I was also a little sad that Nate seemed to be moving farther from having a boyfriend because it'd be nice to have that in common, but I realized that maybe it wasn't the most important thing. That maybe our friendship was deep enough that there being a difference in our sexualities had no effect on it.

That didn't shut her up for all that long, though, to be honest. She told me that she and Nate weren't an item so why should it bother her? Then she started right back in about Cris being skinny and that I needed to feed him so I told her that he was huge.

“Huge?” she asked, skeptically.

“Yeah. Like one of those sticks of pepperoni from the deli counter; summer sausage. My boyfriend is definitely male.” I gave her a smug look even though I only had the faintest idea of how big Cris's dick was.

“Jesus, you've been dating what, two weeks? You've already seen his dick?” she asked and shook her head as we stopped at her locker.

“We make out, Han,” I told her as I leaned against the locker next to hers. “It's kind of hard to miss.”

She stopped what she was doing and held still for a moment then shook her head and resumed grabbing items.

“What?” I asked.


I twirled a finger toward her locker. “What was that whole pause thing there you just did? You trying to imagine my boyfriend's endowment?”

“No!” she said firmly. “Why would I picture someone out of reach? I mean, really, Dyl.”

I paused, wheels turning. “You were wondering about Nate's—”

She placed a hand over my mouth. “If I want to, that's my business and if I want to find out about it, I will.” Her face took on an uncertain look and then she said, carefully. “He is, um, definitely male though, right?”

We both broke down in giggles and I threw an arm around her shoulders as we walked. “He looks good naked, I'll give him that.”

“Well, I don't know if I want to go that road with him. I was really shocked at what he said, but I think this girl is going to go solo for a while.” She paused and turned toward me, “But I guess he's turned out to be a great friend, hasn't he?”

“Yeah,” I agreed. “Nate's pretty great.”

Tuesday Cris sent me a selfie after his game while wearing his dirty uniform. We made some small talk and started a series of games where we'd send a picture and try to figure out where it came from. Like, I did the crook of my elbow and it kind of looked like it could be a set of butt cheeks, that sort of thing.

Throughout the week I kept my eye on Nate and Hannah but it seemed as if she was true to her statement, she and Nate seemed to be closer than they had been, but not in a romantic sense. Nate teased me about how stuck on Cris I was in so short a time.

“It took you almost no time to get over me,” he said with a chuckle.

“Aw, I still love you, Nate. Don't worry, you're still my stud muffin.”

Hannah burst out laughing and nearly choked on her food. Nate blushed a little but looked pleased with himself regardless. Silly boy just likes the attention. I guess that's okay since I don't mind giving it to him.

“Seriously, though, Cris seems like a great guy. I was kind of surprised how easy he was to talk to. We jumped right into baseball, talking about our teams and their chances this year.”

“You mean the school team?” I asked out of confusion. I mean, the season already started and...

“No, the professional teams. You don't listen to a word I say, do you?” he teased.

“Please,” I said with a roll of my eyes. “How do you think Cris knew to talk sports with you? I already told him all about you.”

His gaze grew speculative and he coughed.

“Yes, Nate. I even told him about that,” I said smugly.

“About what?” Hannah asked, suddenly interested in the conversation.

“A-about my batting average this year. Cris and I were comparing,” Nate said with a nervous smile.

“Yeah. Nate got to third base—what do you call that again?” I asked and loved watching Nate blush.

“A triple,” he managed to say with a smile turning up the corners of his mouth.

“Right,” I replied as if I had actually been asking a baseball question.

“Are you kidding me?” Hannah asked and then burst out laughing. She turned and looked at me, “Do you think I'm an idiot? Nate got to third base with you?”

It was my turn to blush and Nate started to laugh which caused me to as well. We both giggled nervously while Hannah shook her head and made teasing noises. She paused in thought for a moment and then asked, “So, what's Cris's batting average?”

“Um, well,” I said hesitantly and trying not to giggle. This was stupid, why was I giggling so much? “Um, he's a new batter so he hasn't had a lot of chances at the plate. He managed a pretty solid second base, though.”

“Jesus,” Nate said with a shake of his head. “It's so easy for gay guys to just hook up. I have to buy flowers and do the meal or movie thing for weeks to even think about that, usually.”

“Except if you date Erica?” Hannah asked sweetly.

Nate slapped his forehead and then leaned his head on his hand as he regarded Hannah. “I'm never going to live that down, am I?”

“Nope,” she said with a laugh. Her face took on a pensive expression again and she asked, quite seriously I thought, “What did you prefer? I mean, you've been kind of all over the map with who you give your affections to. Did you like one better than the other?”

“Um, you mean between Dylan and Erica?”

“Well, that and just in general.”

Nate's gaze drifted off to one side and he shifted in his chair. He cleared his throat and looked at each of us before breaking eye contact again. “Well, it's like this. Um, I think I'm bi.”

Hannah leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms. “So you liked both?”

Nate pursed his lips and nodded. “But, please don't say anything. I've heard people around school and they think bi just means code for slut. I already feel kind of bad just for trying to figure out who I am and what I like without the extra judgment.”

“I love you no matter what, Nate,” I told him and smiled. I looked at Hannah who'd dropped her closed off stance but now tapped her lip with her finger. Nate looked at her nervously as she seemed to contemplate him.

“You know, I always wondered if being bi was a real thing,” she said. “I haven't ever really thought about kissing a girl or being romantic with a girl. I can't imagine a situation where I'd choose that option. But...I have to makes sense if you can be hetero or homo then why can't there be a bi?”

Silence descended between us as the noise of the cafeteria went on unabated. “It's frustrating,” Nate said and rubbed a hand across his face. “I've gone online and it seems like there's more hate for bi people than any other single group. I seriously liked kissing everyone I've kissed, regardless of gender.”

“Okay, but what about the sex part? You went to third with Dylan and hit a home run with Erica, did that make a difference?” Hannah asked. I looked at Nate with curiosity, yet felt bad at his discomfiture.

“Nate, I'm dying to know but don't feel like you have to,” I told him.

“Oh! Oh, right, no, please,” Hannah said, her voice laced with shock. “I didn't mean to pry in public, or even to pry. I just was curious, I guess.” She paused and said, “Okay, that's not true. I am curious so obviously I was prying. Sorry, Nate.”

“Nah, it's cool,” he said with a wave of his hand. “I just...I was being stupid. Um, I liked both but, honestly, being...with Dylan was better. I mean, I felt better about myself, about what happened. Erica just felt like a mistake, even though it felt good. I didn't like myself a lot after.”

“Interesting,” Hannah said. She glanced at me and rolled her eyes. “You can wipe that smug smile off your face, Dylan!”

Finally the week passed and I was waiting eagerly for Crispin to pick me up. I practically attacked him once he did, kissing him a week's worth in about ten minutes. He grinned dopily at me. “I missed you, too.”

“Ah, but did you beat off to me?” I asked, teasing him.

“Nope. Nate was my—ow!” he broke off, laughing as I smacked his arm and he huddled down, giggling against my assault. We did settle down and bantered the whole way back to his house. Despite texting all week it turned out we had no shortage of things to say in person. We had dinner with his folks, which was awkward because they were so formal.

We ate at a dining room table which was a little alien to me. At home, we had a table in the kitchen that was piled up with stuff because, well, it was a flat surface. Outside of that we had TV trays in the family room but no formal dining space. The Wolfe's served things from covered dishes and a platter held the chicken whereas we took things right from the pots they were cooked in, if we cooked at home. Usually it was something in the microwave. Also, his folks wanted to talk.

It wasn't anything major, really, I just wasn't used to it. They asked him about his day and me about my week, my grades and if I'd found any more bargains—the last from his mother, of course. His father asked about my academic interests and my grades in general before branching out into sports. It was obvious how proud he was of Crispin, not only academically but for his athletics as well.

“I was starting to think Mellie would be the one,” his father said with a sigh. “I'd imagine it hurts to have had that end so suddenly, but Cris has been a real trooper about it.”


“It's true, honey,” his mother piped up. “I expected it to be a lot harder for you. Are the two of you talking at school?” She didn't turn her head to look at him but for a split second before she turned her focus to corralling peas on her plate.

“Yeah. We're still friends,” Cris replied.

“Well, she sure made a mistake letting you go. But there will be other girls,” his mother said. Her tone was sort of satisfied, like...I don't know. It was just weird.

Privately I thought they were kind of paying lip service to their son's relationship ending and, perhaps glad he wasn't moping and out of sorts because then they'd have to deal with it.

“I let Nelson go, today,” his father said in an offhand manner.

“Oh?” his wife replied, showing only polite interest.

“I got complaints he was showing pictures of his son and his 'boyfriend'. I've spoken to him before, you know? It makes people uncomfortable and besides, he's supposed to be working, not talking about inappropriate things like that.”

“You have to draw the line somewhere,” his wife agreed. “It's a good thing your lawyer advised the 'At-Will' employment policy; it'll protect you when he complains to someone in big government.”

“It's a damned shame we need so much legal advice these days,” he lamented. “Too bad everyone can't be happy with Sundays to get their religion out of their systems.”

“Dad, I go to school with Simon Mazjanis! You just fired his dad?” Cris said, his voice very quiet and yet hitting in a perfect lull so that it landed like a thunderclap.

“Well, I'm sorry about that, Crispin,” his father stated, sitting up a little straighter and not sounding sorry at all. “I have a business to run and I can't be worried about everyone's feelings.”

Cris was silent for a moment. “Do you still have my picture on your desk?”

“Yes, of course. What of it?”

“Have you ever pointed out that that picture is your son? Or, I guess has anyone seen it and asked?”

“I see where you're going with this, Crispin, but it's not the same thing. People don't like the whole gay thing thrown in their face. Besides, Nelson isn't gay—”

“But being proud of his son is grounds to be fired?”

“Where is this coming from? Look,” he said and held a hand up. “I have to limit distractions at work and this was just that. His co-workers didn't want to hear about his gay kid meeting up with some other kid who's light in his loafers.”

Thankfully Cris and I finished up and were excused, another weird thing. I'm sure Cris anticipated it because he asked if we both could be excused before I'd even set down my fork. We retreated to his room where he fired up his game system while I closed the door behind us. I took a controller and wedged myself up against him which earned me a little side-eye. Rather than starting a game, Cris decided he needed to address the elephant in the room.

“Sorry about dinner.”

“What can you do?” I asked with a shake of my head. “So you know that guys kid? Simon was it?”

“Yeah,” he said glumly. “Simon Mazjanis. He's a little...stereotypical, I guess. Not totally flaming but, you know, a little queeny.”

I tilted my head. “Is he a friend of yours?”

Cris shrugged. “We know each other. I didn't know for sure he was gay, but it's been a popular rumor for a long time. Fuck,” he said and pressed his hands together flat and holding them tight. “I gotta reach out to him. Right? Shouldn't I?”

I thought about it for a moment. “I think it would be a noble thing to do. Maybe even the right thing, if you think you can make a difference to him. Is he isolated at school?”

Cris sighed. “Some. He has some girls he hangs around with, but no guys, really. Shit, I'm an asshole.”

“Why do you say that? You are not!”

“Yeah, I am,” he said miserably. He turned his gaze to me, “I was lucky. I had Mellie when I wasn't strong enough to come out. Simon, on the other hand, has been dealing with the rumors for a long time and I didn't even reach out and try to make things better for him.”

I thought about that for a moment and when I spoke again my words were measured. “You know, Cris, everyone can see perfectly in hindsight. Maybe you weren't strong enough before to take the scrutiny. Thankfully he seems to be. I have no doubt he could have benefited from your friendship. But you can only do what you are capable of and, I think, you weren't capable yet. Maybe now you are.”

He pursed his lips and nodded. “I'm going to talk to him Monday. Try to be there for him.”

We didn't discuss it further, and I'm kind of glad. I was not liking his parents but to get into a debate about them wouldn't earn me any points with him. Instead we lost ourselves competing in the games and heckling each other as we did so. Pushing the other during a critical moment was fair play and extremely common. Tired of getting beat, Cris changed games to something we could play cooperatively which didn't involve as much distraction but certainly showed we could work as a team. We stayed like that until his mom called us out for some dessert, which was a nice surprise. Even better, we didn't eat it with the adults.

We retired to watch TV in his room. We were both stretched out on his bed and I glanced down at his bare feet, his toes long and slender and showing gaps of light between each one. I giggled at the silliness of looking at his feet.


“You have skinny toes,” I told him. “In fact I've been defending you all week; Hannah says you're skinny.”

He chuckled and wiggled his toes and then flexed his feet so that the toes curled impressively. “Mellie said I have spider monkey feet,” he told me.

“Can you peel a banana with them?”

He laughed. “What's your problem with my feet? And I'm not skinny!”

“I have no problems with your feet,” I told him with a chuckle. “And I told you I was defending you! I told Hannah you're slender and wiry which is at least three steps up from skinny.”

“I'm not skinny where it counts,” he growled.

“Prove it!” I dared him and laughed as we started to wrestle. I would have beaten him on strength, I'm sure, but he cheats when he wrestles. He tickles. We got loud enough that his dad told us to 'keep it the hell down' and so we relaxed, pushed snugly together while we watched TV. At some point he began to idly stroke my forearm and I sighed with contentment.

“If it's any consolation, I told Hannah you were huge.”

He collapsed into giggles beside me, periodically saying I did not do such a thing and I continually confirmed that I had. I even told him about the summer sausage thing and he just rolled with laughter.

Eventually it was time for bed and, once the lights were out, we got in a full on make-out. It was really hard to keep my hands from wandering down to grab him in his excited state, but I contented myself with inching farther than we had the last week—attacking his ear lobes, neck and nipples with my tongue and dragging my fingertips to make goose-bumps stand up on his skin. The edge we balanced on was far thinner than the previous week and I can't stress how difficult it was to not pull his underwear down and satisfy my desires.

Of course, I got a little worried in the back of my mind about his parents catching us and how he might feel post-sex even if they didn't. I didn't want to push him, but it was very difficult not to when he seemed so compliant in the heat of the moment. Eventually we slowed and I spooned him, whispering nonsense into his ear about how happy he made me.

The next morning was just like the previous week in that I woke up before he did. He was on his side facing away from me and I put my arm over him, placing my palm flat on his stomach and pulling him back toward me just a bit. He stirred and snuggled back into me for a few minutes before the urge to stretch and pee overcame us both. We got up and took turns showering, and I let the front of the towel dip dangerously low—enough to show some pubes—before sending him off to shower. He had an appropriately hungry look on his face before I shooed him out the door. Just like the previous week, I was waiting as he entered the room and I kissed him, letting my hands soak in the heat of his skin.

“God damn it, Crispin! Take your underwear—what the hell?”

We nearly leapt apart as his father burst through the door, Crispin's underwear dangling from his hand. Crispin stared in stunned horror while I worked to calm myself and try to get us out of this in one piece and keep our relationship together.

As quickly as he'd made his stunned exclamation, his father recovered. “Dylan, to the living room. Crispin,” he said, leveling a finger at his son. “Get dressed and join us. Now.”

I looked at Cris and nodded at him once, just to let him know I'd be waiting out there for him. I thought it was the best I could do, rather than simply walk out like a whipped cur. He nodded back, a quick jerky movement. I kept my head up and walked into their joyless living room and waited.

“Sit,” his father ordered.

“Thank you, I'll stand,” I replied coolly, though my voice shook with nerves.

“What's going on?” his mother asked from her perch on the couch.

“Crispin and Dylan were...were...”

Cris padded up next to me and I turned to face Cris' mom. “I was kissing my boyfriend is what he's trying to say.” My voice held a small tremble, but I managed to get the words out.

Silence bloomed, filling the space with an oppressive weight. She looked to her husband and then back to us, her mouth working without sound. Finally she bleated, “But you don't look gay! And Crispin certainly isn't! He plays sports! He dated Mellie! He drives a pick-up!”

She ticked these things off as if building a case for his heterosexuality, her voice going from worry down to reasonability the farther she went. Her husband nodded his head as she went, as if each thing were reassuring him of his son's heterosexuality.

“That's right! Crispin has always been interested in sports and he's never wanted to dance or anything girly like that. It must be you, Dylan, who's forcing something onto Cris. Admit it!”

“I admit I'm falling in love with him. I admit he's my boyfriend and I cherish him. I admit I'm going to back him no matter what.”

“Crispin,” his mother piped up, her tone whining. “Tell this boy he's wrong! He has to be imagining things! He must have misunderstood your friendship; after all, you've always been a great friend. Tell him, dear. Tell him!”

That awful silence filled the room again and I felt it grow in weight the longer it lasted, lingering like cigarette smoke. I turned to look at Cris, who had a lost, miserable expression on his face. His worst fear had come true faster than he'd have thought possible—than either of us thought possible—and I'd done it to him because I couldn't keep my hands off him.

“Maybe you're right,” I said quietly and turned to look at his mother. “Maybe I just wanted it to be true.”

“Well, who could blame—”

“I love him. I love Dylan.” Cris's statement wasn't an exclamation, but it had the weight of a dagger plunging into his parents' preconceptions of who he was and where he would go in life and how he'd get there.

I turned to look at him, and he was clearly terrified. His face crumpled further as his father spoke.

“Son...lots of boys have strong feelings for their friends, but you're too young to know what your sexuality may be. You've always formed very strong attachments to friends and, like your mom said, you've always been a great friend.”

“That's...because I had crushes on them, dad,” he said very softly. I reached for him and his hand settled into mine and held tightly as he continued. “You were okay with me when it was Mellie I was dating. That was okay because she was a girl. But...she was covering for me; she was being a great friend. But...Dylan is my boyfriend.”

“ can't have children!”

His mother started to cry. I glanced at him and nodded my head toward his mother and he nodded in reply, letting go of my hand and going to her. She clutched at him, weeping pitifully. Mr. Wolfe sat down heavily in his recliner, shaking his head and muttering to himself. I felt uncomfortably out of place but forced myself to stay where I was. In fact, I needed to be right where I was—visible to everyone.

Cris was kneeling by his mother and she leaned back, her face puffy and her eyes red. She reached out and caressed his face. “Was it something I did? Didn't I love you enough?”

“Of course not! You're a great mom!”

“You babied him,” her husband said uncertainly. “I should have taken him camping or hunting.”

“ don't even like guns. You think if I kill some poor animal it makes me straight?”

His father looked back with a lost expression. “But...there must have been something we could have done. Where did we go wrong? My family has never had any... This must be Todd's fault! He was always strange!” His voice gained strength as he latched onto the idea.

“He spoiled Crispin, that's true,” his mother agreed.

Crispin stood up and sighed. “Uncle Todd may have spoiled me, but that doesn't make me gay. I was born like this. I've always liked other boys but I was too scared you'd reject me or...hate me.”

His parents protested that they could never hate him, and then challenged his ideas that he was always gay and that turned into blaming me. I guess that was one step too far for Cris.

“No,” he said, shaking his head and backing away from them. “I'm gay. Dylan is my boyfriend and I love him. That isn't a fault. Dylan is so good that I actually came out for him. He gave me the strength and I'm not going back,” he said, his voice shaking and I took his hand, which was flailing behind him in search of me. “I'm out. I'm gay. This is me. This is who I am.”

His parents fell silent. Cris looked at me, his face flushed and his eyes wet. I was so impressed with his strength and his heart; so proud of him. He plucked his keys from the hook by the door and said to the room. “We're leaving now. We promised Uncle Todd we'd work today.”

He looked like he wanted to say something else, but shook his head instead and we exited the house. I stopped him on the stoop and pulled him into a hug. His chest heaved against mine and he shook in my arms. I tried to soothe him by rubbing his back and whispering in his ear about how wonderful he was, how strong and how courageous.

A few minutes later he took a few deep breaths and he stepped back. I looked into his beautiful, pained eyes and whispered, “For the record, I love you, too.”


His uncle was waiting for us, his mother having called in hysterics. We sat down and gave him the short version and I was kind of surprised that Todd hugged Cris quite intensely and yet tenderly. I guess my creepy vibe of Todd had never really worn off, yet here he was challenging that all over again.

“Things will work out okay, buddy,” Todd said to Cris. “I'm actually encouraged. Your mom was more worried about you than anything else. It'll work out.”

“Maybe we should get to work? Might help us if we're doing something else?” I offered. Cris nodded his head and we stood and headed out with Todd in our wake.

Todd gave us some direction and we started working to empty out all the junk from the shed. It was hot work, especially as the day wore on, but we did it with a grim determination. With a few breaks for water and one for lunch, we finally finished around four o'clock. The dumpster was packed full enough that a tarp would be needed over the top to keep things from flying off when it was carted away. We slumped in exhaustion on the rear steps of the porch, tired and sweaty.

“After all this work, I don't know if I'll have the strength to face my folks,” he said suddenly. “I'm pooped.”

“I'll be right there with you.”

He glanced at me and smiled. “I saw you stayed right there. I appreciate that, more than you know. It also seemed like you were going to let me off the hook, at one point.”

I nodded and sat up. “Yeah, I was. I figured maybe it just wasn't the right time for you. I was worried they'd throw you out or maybe get violent. I wanted to protect you from that, if I could, since it was my fault in the first place.”

“Your fault I'm gay? I don't think so.”

“No,” I replied with a shake of my head. “I mean that you told me all about them and I should have known better than to kiss you in their house. I should have realized it was too much of a risk. I that I have you, it's so hard to resist.”

“Um, please don't apologize for kissing me,” Cris stated and pushed me. “And you think it's hard to resist? How about me the first night you stayed over? I knew I was broken up already. I knew what I had to say to you and I was struggling to find the balls to say it.”

“So...yeah, I guess you actually were checking me out that first night, weren't you?”

“Hell yeah!” Cris replied, his words broken by bubbling laughter. He grew silent and shook his head. “I stared at that picture uncle Todd took of you, right here on the porch, and I just...wished you were mine.”

“Wish granted,” I said with a chuckle.

The screen door creaked open and Todd leaned out. “Hey, Cris? Call your mom, okay buddy?”

“Sure. I left my phone in the truck. Is there...” He closed his eyes but never got to finish his thought.

“Just call her. Dyl? Come inside for a sec?”

I reached out and squeezed his hand, reminding him I'd be there for him. He squeezed back and I watched Cris step off the porch and head to his truck. His body was rigid with tension, yet he kept going without even a stumble. Knowing I could do nothing but hover as he spoke to his mom at best, and at worst be a distraction, I let him go. I turned and followed Todd into the house.

“I just wanted him to have some privacy for the call,” Todd said. “His mom is going to tell him to stay here tonight while she and his dad work things out. I guess it's been a tough day all around.”

“Yeah,” I replied. “That sucks, though. He's going to be hurt; he'll feel like they are rejecting him.”

Todd turned, pausing from digging through a drawer of what appeared to be take out menus. “We talked. She knows she has to tell him it's only for tonight. He's got to go home tomorrow morning about ten, have a chat with them.”

“I'll have to go with him.”

“Might not be the best plan, though I do admire your loyalty. Ah, here it is,” Todd said, holding up a menu in triumph.

“Even if it wasn't loyalty, he's my ride,” I said, half joking, half trying to be reasonable.

“Well, he'll have to come back for you. Trust me, he has to do this with his family. If it wasn't tomorrow it'd be Monday night when you're not there. You can't stop whatever it is, but at least he can go to you when it's over.”

I chewed that over as he placed an order for Chinese food. I waited inside for about fifteen minutes before Crispin came back in. He looked all right, I suppose. A little wrung out, but not much worse than he'd been when on the porch twenty minutes ago. I walked over to him and he pulled me into a hug and mumbled something that probably sounded like words, but I was too intent on rubbing his back and stroking his neck in an effort to soothe him to make sense of them.

“Aww, look at you two,” Todd said as he re-entered the room. “Adam was good for something at least!”

I pulled back and looked Cris in the eye. “Yeah, not the way he'd have thought, though. He tried to 'cure' me once. I'm sure this isn't what he had in mind, but I guess I owe him a thank you anyway.”

“Well, I ordered food. Cris? What did your mom have to say?”

Cris looked past me to his uncle and said, “She and dad have been talking all day I guess. They called my Aunt Sue? I've never heard of her before. Do you know her?”

“Yep. Your father's sister. Your mom leaked it only once. She moved to Canada years ago to be with her wife.”

My jaw dropped and Cris frowned. “You mean I have a lesbian aunt? My father's sister and he turned his back on her?”

“Well, to be fair, she sounded like a jerk,” Todd replied. “Just because someone is gay doesn't mean they are nice.”

“Why'd they call her then?” I asked.

“Well, first I'd guess she's the only other gay person they know. Second, but more important, I think they wanted to hear her tell them when she knew. How old she was. Their problem is accepting you for who you are and not who they thought you were.” Todd patted Cris on the shoulder. “They're getting there, buddy. They're doing the work of trying to understand and get their heads around it, which is way more than we thought they'd do. Give 'em a little credit.”

Cris glanced at me and then at his uncle. “You'd think the fact I was their kid would be enough.”

“Yeah, I know,” Todd replied and sighed. “We can't pick our parents just like they don't pick their kids. Somehow we all have to learn to get along being the people we are rather than who others want us to be.”

We spent a good while talking about the situation until the food arrived and then we ate in the kitchen while Todd showed us some of his images on the laptop that seemed to appear at the table whenever food and people were around it. He showed us the image of us from the previous weekend with our arms around each other's shoulders, our shirts discarded in the heat. Then, before I could ask for a copy, he handed us each a six by four frame with our photo inside.

Todd retired soon after the food was gone and Cris and I took showers and scrounged some of his leftover things from the drawer in the spare bedroom. Cris threw our work clothes in the wash and we sat out on the porch talking about anything that came to mind. It was a relaxed conversation, nothing of great importance and not one where I could point to anything specific we talked about. Instead it was just about listening to his voice in the dark and then speaking in such a way so as to get him to speak again. I loved listening to him.

I'm not sure what time it was, the sky had darkened but you could still see—just after dusk I suppose—and Crispin asked if I wanted to go swim. I did, though we moved our clothes to the dryer first, and made our way over to the pool. As we mounted the steps to the deck, Cris leading the way, a thought hit me.

“Shit! We can't swim!”

“Why not?”

“We have no dry clothes! All our stuff is in the laundry and these shorts are all we have.”

Cris turned to me and said, “I know.” Then he dropped his shorts to the deck and jumped into the pool. His head broke water and he pushed the water from his eyes. Grinning he asked, “Coming?”

“Not yet,” I said under my breath as I dropped my own shorts to the deck and jumped in. We splashed and played as we normally would, but it was filled with delicious tension which was wholly new because of our nudity. Something as simple as throwing the other person became sexually charged as our hands passed over parts normally covered up. Despite this, perhaps because of the overall non-sexual nature of our play, I hadn't gotten more than semi hard the entire time. But, at last I tired of the games and instead of throwing him, pulled him close and kissed him. He responded by wrapping his body—arms and legs—around me and returning my kiss.

The kiss was no longer my universe brought down to just the size of our lips nor limited to our chests rubbing together. Instead my world expanded, for now I could feel the length of our bodies sliding across each other, a slippery feeling that was highly erotic. His feet were pressing just above the back of my knee, a pressure that pulled his body tightly to mine. His dick was pressed against my belly and growing stiffer by the heartbeat and I was responding in kind. His legs released me and he began to push me toward the edge of the pool and I resisted only enough to keep us pressed together, to not lose the delicious friction.

Once I'd backed to the edge of the pool his lips redoubled their attack and his hands wandered behind me, pulling me close first by my waist, then both hands firmly settled on my butt. Encouraged, I copied him, squeezing, kneading and pulling him into me. There was no mistaking either of our states of arousal; indeed, I was reveling in the moment, knowing that Cris was sober and kissing me without reservation, that he was grinding his hard cock against mine because he wanted to. It was mind-blowing to be the focus of that kind of attention for the first time in my life—and I wanted more.

The closest I'd come to that feeling was my not-quite-sober make out sessions with Nate. We were always in our underwear for bed and I could feel his body respond to our kissing and stroking each other. Nate, however, did a lot of copying me. He wasn't adventurous but simply responding to the feelings I was creating in him and copying them, perhaps to return the feelings to me. I didn't want to repeat that. I wanted to take charge of this and make it different, make it mine. Make Cris mine.

It was different, too, because Cris actually wanted this; he had initiated it. He wanted to touch me and was obviously aroused doing so. Quite suddenly he stopped kissing me and hugged me tight, resting his chin on my shoulder. I kept one hand on his behind but moved the other up his back slowly, wishing to maintain our full body contact while trying to adapt to whatever he was doing, now—though that was barely restrained as I ached to seize control and send this passion I felt to its searing conclusion.

His chest was heaving, pressing and sliding against my own. He turned and kissed the side of my face. “I love you, Dylan.”

“I love you too, Crispy.”

“Crispy?” he asked, leaning back from me to look in my eyes.

“Yeah,” I said, grinning. “I like it.”

He shook his head and resumed the intimate hug, his breath coming in large gulps. “This is so...this feels amazing. I love feeling you like this. It's better than I imagined. But, um, I was, um, sort of close and I didn't want know, stop.”

“I like this too,” I told him. I hadn't been close to cumming, but I would have loved to have made him finish. The idea excited me a lot more than I would have thought; in fact, now that he'd admitted it, the idea of pushing him over the edge was more than simply alluring. It became everything. I wanted him to feel so good that he wouldn't be able to hold back. Not like Nate, not like when I blew him. No, this would be because Cris was already turned on by me, and now? Now I was going to take him the rest of the way. I turned us slowly in the water, nibbling his neck to distract him until it was his back pressed to the side of the pool. I began to move against him, creating that slippery friction that was such a turn on.

“Hey,” he said with a nervous laugh. “Didn't you hear me?”

I whispered in his ear. “I heard I was turning you on.” I pressed closer, sliding against him and relishing in the feel of his dick sliding alongside mine, of the head of my dick pushing insistently into the flat planes of his stomach. A feeling of power and desire welled up in me as his body responded to mine, pushing back. Grinding.

“Uh,” he replied, a small groan escaping his lips and only spurring me on. His fingers dug into my back, pulling me to him. “God, Dylan...”

“You said you were close. That just rubbing against me was making you want to cum,” I continued, becoming more turned on with the combination of my language and the physical sensations and his obvious enjoyment. In fact, talking to him, telling him that I knew I turned him on, that he was nearing release just because of my desired was intoxicating.

“Yeah?” he squeaked, his body writhing under my assault. “Oh...”

I nibbled his ear and whispered, “I want to make you cum.”


The morning required we shower again and then we dressed. I stayed behind with Todd while Cris went to see his parents. We parted on the front steps with kisses and my own words of encouragement. Cris looked nervous, but not so much as he had yesterday. I had hopes that he'd be okay and come back to me with good news.

After he left Todd sat down with me in the living room. “Well, just to be clear, my jobs around here are pretty much done and I think I've done my part to get this little romance started.”

I turned my gaze to him and smiled. “You must really love him to pay as much as you did.”

“Well, I do love him. From the day he was born I fell for that kid and I've always looked forward to spending time with him. But, being fair, I probably would have paid a company a whole lot more to do the work you and he did—and it needed doing. Maybe you could come back and do the lawn once in a while?”

“Sure. I don't have a job, but I'm starting to save so I can have a way to get around. Cris must burn through a ton of gas going back and forth to get me.”

“Um, I don't think he minds. Although, he may need a job if his parents decide they don't want to fund his current use of gas money,” Todd snickered.

“Yeah. I wish I could help him.”

“You have.”

“I meant with gas money,” I replied, rolling my eyes.

“Yeah, I know. It's tough to be a teen. Still, you guys are good together and I'm sure he'll come up with some way to get the cash to see you.” Todd turned to face me and grinned. “And that means he'll be conning me for extra bucks, so I get to see my favorite nephew. Sounds like a win all the way around to me.”

I shook my head and laughed. “If you like kids so much how come you didn't adopt or something?”

He nodded as if he were considering my question and he looked away, out the window nearest him. “I can't have children. When I was a kid I was in an accident working on a farm. I won't go into the gory details, but I lost the ability to have kids and it did some nerve damage to my right leg. Sometimes, if I'm tired or something, it can seize up. Not often, mind, but I'm sort of like an epileptic in that it's too dangerous for me to drive.

“Being single with a...randomly occurring medical condition doesn't make me an ideal candidate, especially living in a fairly remote place and not able to take a kid to the hospital in an emergency, for instance. Besides,” he said with a smile, “what kid is ever going to be as great as Crispin? I mean, that kind of's not something you can have with just anyone.”

He left that to linger on the air, like a sweet incense that demurely fills the room. I liked Todd quite a bit, then, and realized why he was kind of weird. I reminded myself that I was good at weird and found it very easy to dismiss the last of my odd feelings toward him.

It took a few hours before Cris came back, and he had my bag in his truck. He bid his uncle goodbye with a strong hug and many thanks. Todd paid us for the previous days work and we headed back toward Sanitaria Springs.

“So...what did they say?” I asked once we were on the road. “And why didn't you say anything about it to your uncle?”

“Because I think he already knew it was going to work out,” Cris replied. “Plus he told me to tell him later, when I hugged him. He didn’t want any delay in my telling you about it. Guy is an incurable romantic.”

“Lucky for us,” I chuckled.

“Yeah,” he sighed and reached for my hand. “So, it went okay with the folks. They were pretty stiff about the whole thing and there was some yelling.”

“About what?”


“Me? Why me?”

“First about you converting me or some shit, but I kind of slammed the door on that.”

“How'd that go?”

He tilted his head from side to side. “I don't think they entirely bought it. They don't want to believe that this is who I am, but...they love me too much to drop me. I guess that's a relief. I really wasn't sure, you know? I expected a lot worse.”

“Yeah. I guess your parents show their love by trying to make you ready to be on your own, like cleaning up after yourself, being responsible.” I sighed, “I wish they were more accepting of the real you, though.”

“Yeah. Well, it's not as bad as it could have been. I thought for sure I'd be living at uncle Todd's for a while. That gave me some backbone, actually—knowing I had a place to go.” He paused and then said, "I asked my dad to offer Nelson his job back."

"Yeah? What did he say?"

"Just that he'd think about it. Best I can hope for, I guess." He glanced at me and smiled before turning back to the road. “I have to mention my dad was very unhappily impressed with you.”

“He was? Why would he say something nice about me?”

“It's like this: we were at the end of the discussion, only one fight left to go, actually. He said that he was surprised you hadn't wilted and run out of the house when things got frosty in the living room.”

“And leave you alone? Fuck that,” I said with a snort.

“That's what he meant, even though he didn't say it. I think he admired your nerves, and maybe your loyalty.” He glanced at me again, “I did, too, for the record.”

“Shut up, we've gone over this. I love you so I stand behind you. It wasn't that hard. What else did you fight about? You said there was one fight left to go before this whole supposedly admirable statement from your dad?” Inside I was glowing with his praise—Crispy's, not his father's—but I didn't know how to accept it gracefully so I brushed it off and went to the next subject.

“Because they didn't want you spending the night and I did. I told them that, since we didn't go to the same school, we could only see each other on weekends and that meant spending the gas both ways, and it would be too much if I had to take you back and forth both days.” He glanced at me and grinned. “The way to my mom's heart is through her pocketbook.”

I giggled. “And did that work?”

“Partially. We went back and forth a little, but I was wearing them down. They want the sleeping bag thing to be how we do this, but I think they know it'll be just for show.”

I frowned. “They don't seem like the kind of people to do things for show. They're too...practical?”

“Pragmatic,” Cris said. “My folks aren't going to be opening any bedroom doors because then they'd have to deal with what they saw. As long as you don't groan too loudly—”

“Hey! Me? What about you?” I said with a snort. “I'm pretty sure the neighbors heard you last night.”

He giggled some more and said, “Well, if we can keep it down, I think it'll be a don't ask, don't tell situation.”

“What about you coming to spend the weekend with me?” I asked.

“Well, I asked about that actually,” he admitted. “But my mom would want to talk to your mom. I haven't even met your mom, but don't you think she might say something that would, I don't know, make my mom uncomfortable with, ahem, the 'level of supervision'?”

I thought for a moment and then grinned at him. “I can fix that.”

“You can? How?”

“Let's make a detour. I want you to meet my favorite relative, my aunt Mina.”

Cris looked back and forth from the road to me and he burst out laughing. “She's going to pretend to be your mom?”

I smiled smugly. “Maybe you shouldn't know, just in case your mom asks you directly. Plausible deniability.”

He laughed loudly and squeezed my hand. “I love you, Dyl. I don't think I could have stood up for myself like this if it weren't for you.”

“I love you, too, Crispy. I really, really do.”


~The End~

Author's Note: I hope you enjoyed my story. ICYMI I'm hearing from just a few of my readers about what they think, what they thought was funny or what pissed them off in a story. I pay money to host my site and post stories that you are reading. So, now that you've read, please don't assume someone else will say what they thought, go to my message board and leave a note, even as a guest. I did my job, reader, please do yours.