In the summer, the boys visited each other often.
When school began in the fall, they were in eighth grade. They saw each other during the day but weren’t always in the same classes. They continued to visit each other on weekends, but they found their nighttime activities a little constricted at the cabin because of Woody, so they spent more time at Marco’s house.
One day, Wyatt asked them, “Are you two boyfriends?” as he wiggled his eyebrows.
Fearing repercussions, Tad didn’t want to say anything, but Marco said, “Yes, we are, but we’d rather you didn’t spread that around the school.”
Wyatt grinned, wiggled his eyebrows again and promised not to say anything.
Continuing down the hall, Tad asked Marco, “Are we?”
“Sure. Don’t you think so?”
“I’m not sure,” replied Tad. “I’ll have to think about it.”
Again, they went to New York in April, where they met with Marco’s friends over lunch. As they ate, Damian asked, “Are you two just friends or is there more?”
Tad blushed his customary crimson as Marco looked at Damian and said, “There’s more.”
Later, Tad asked Marco why he said that to his friends.
“Well, we’re definitely more than friends, aren’t we?”
“I guess so,” Tad replied. “Does your mother suspect?”
“She might, but if she does, she hasn’t said anything.”
The trips to New York became a yearly tradition.
Marco turned sixteen in January and Tad would in May. As they flew to New York that year, Marco said, “There’s a part of Manhattan that we haven’t been to yet. This year I want to explore it a little.”
“Is it different?” asked Tad.
Monday found the boys on the subway, heading to Lower Manhattan. They got off at the Christopher Street-Sheridan Square Station.
Emerging from the underground, they found Christopher Street Park and sat on a bench.
“There it is!” exclaimed Marco.
“What?” asked Tad.
“The Stonewall Inn.”
“What’s so special about The Stonewall Inn?” asked Tad, dutifully taking a picture.
“There was a riot here in 1969. The Inn was a gay bar with dancing. The police raided it and the patrons fought back, causing a riot that was supported by other gays arriving and crowding into this park. It was the beginning of the Gay Rights Movement, and by the next year, there was a Gay Pride parade in the city.”
“Okay, I’ve heard of Gay Pride, barely, but why did you want to come here?”
“Because it was the beginning, and the movement is gaining strength every year. In the future, we will have freedoms that the gays of 1969 only dreamed about.”
Marco looked at Tad. “You’re not impressed, are you?”
“I guess I should be, but I’m not even sure I’m gay.”
Astonished, Marco looked at Tad and asked, “You’re still not? Even after what we’ve been doing the last few years?”
“Well, no. Don’t get me wrong, I love what we’re doing, but I’ve always thought that was just until the right girl came along.”
“Has she come along?”
“Tad, you’re about to be sixteen, you’re having and enjoying sex with a boy; how long are you going to wait before you decide that you’re gay?”
Looking at the ground, Tad replied, “I don’t know.”
Shaking his head, Marco got up from the bench where they were sitting, saying, “C’mon, let’s explore some.”
As they walked, Tad was amazed. He saw same-sex couples holding hands, hugging, and even kissing. There were also people walking together who were likely not gay. He wanted to take pictures, but wasn’t sure people would like that, although he had taken the one of the Stonewall Inn because Marco had told him it was important.
Marco took Tad’s hand and held it. “It’s pretty safe to do this here,” he said. They visited Washington Square and its famous arch, saw some buildings of NYU, and finally found a place to eat.
Sitting at a table, they examined the menu, which listed a number of ethnic foods the boys knew nothing about. When the young waiter came, they asked him to recommend something, which he did.
As he sashayed away from their table, swinging his butt, Marco said, “Clearly gay.”
“You think we’re gay, but we don’t walk like that,” Tad observed.
“If we did that in our little town, we’d probably get beaten to a pulp.”
After eating a delicious Indian dish, they walked back towards Christopher Square, again holding hands.
“Wait a minute,” said Marco, and plunged down some steps to a basement bookstore.
Tad followed and soon they were browsing the shelves. In addition to books the boys knew or had read, there were many shelves of what were clearly gay books.
Looking at the shelves, Marco pulled out a book titled, A Boy’s Own Story, by Edmund White.
“This looks interesting,” he said as he began paging through it.
Tad found a book by Mary Renault titled, Fire From Heaven. Seeing it was about Alexander the Great he thought he might enjoy it.
The boys went to the counter, where they handed their books to the clerk.
She rang up the books, put them in a paper bag, and gave Marco their change.
Before they left, she asked, “Where are you from?”
Marco told her. Smiling, she said, “Your first time in Greenwich Village?” They both nodded. “Well, I’d suggest you stay together and leave before dark. Also, stay away from the dock area; it might not be safe for you.”
They thanked her and left.
Walking out of the store Tad said, “I wonder why it wouldn’t be safe?”
“I’ve read that’s where teens go to get laid and sell sex. She was probably afraid we might get raped.”
Marco suggested they return to the hotel and look over their books.
Back in their room, the boys stretched out on the bed and began to read.
The two read and rested and even dozed for a bit until there came a knock on the door between their room and Mrs. Bartolucci’s.
“Almost time for dinner,” she said through the door.
“Okay,” replied Marco, sleepily. “We’ll be ready in about fifteen minutes.”
Slowly they awoke, got up, and donned clothes suitable for dining out.
In their room after dinner, they continued reading until it was time to go to bed. Once again, they showered together. As Marco began to soap up Tad, both of them started to grow hard. Once again he gave special attention to Tad’s cock and balls and to his asshole. They had never touched each other’s holes before, and they found that was a new, thrilling sensation. By the time they finished washing each other, they were both as hard as they’d ever been, and soon they were shooting their cum onto the shower wall and moaning and shouting.
When they dried each other, they grew hard again, so back in bed, as Marco bent down to suck his partner, he stuck his finger into Tad’s ass. Tad groaned and came again, crying out repeatedly. Then Tad reciprocated, and Marco too groan groaned and cried out as he came.
Before they slept, Marco whispered, “Tad, I love you.”
Tad went cold for a moment, but then realized that what he had been feeling for a long time was love for Marco. He whispered back, “Marco, I guess I’m gay because I know I love you.”
For the remaining nights they were in the city, Marco and Tad thrilled to the feelings they shared.
On the plane home, they sat next to each other, holding hands the entire way.
The night after they returned, Mrs. Bartolucci asked Marco, “I don’t want to pry too much, but I need to know if you and Tad have been having sex.”
Silently, Marco nodded before saying, “And we’re in love.” He feared what might be coming next.
“I know you’re gay, Marco, so I’m not surprised, but have you been careful?”
Hesitantly, Marco asked, “What do you mean?”
“Have you been using a condom?”
“No, Mom, but neither Tad nor I has had sex with anyone else, so I thought we didn’t need one.”
“Perhaps you don’t, but are you sure about Tad?”
“Yes, I am.”
“How can you be?”
“Well, he told me, and he doesn’t lie to me.”
She frowned and nodded a bit. Much to Marco’s relief, they moved on to other subjects.
However, the next day Mrs. Bartolucci called Rachel and told her of her suspicions. Rachel in turn talked with Neil, who said he’d ‘have the discussion’ with Tad.
That evening after supper, Neil asked Tad to join him outside. When they were sitting on the porch steps, Neil said, “Tad, Mrs. Bartolucci told your mother that she believes you and Marco have been having sex.”
Tad thought for a minute, blushing. He wondered how much Marco had told his mother and what he should say to Neil.
After a short silence, he said, “Yes, we have.”
“And how far have you gone with it?”
“I really don’t want to answer that. It’s too private.”
“I understand that, Tad, and that’s why I’m asking you now rather than at the supper table.”
They sat in silence for a bit before Neil asked, “Have you masturbated each other?”
Slowly, Tad nodded.
“Have you had oral sex?”
Tad blushed again but finally nodded.
“Have you had anal sex?”
Astonished, Tad replied, “I don’t even know what that is.”
“Okay, I suppose you’ll figure it out in time. Meanwhile, have you been swallowing Marco’s cum?”
Tad only nodded.
“Thank you, Tad. Now, are you aware of AIDS, the disease that’s striking down gay men right now?”
“Do you know if Marco has had sex with other boys or men?”
“I know he hasn’t. He’s told me that and we don’t lie to each other.”
“Okay, you need to continue the honesty with each other, and if either one of you has sex with another person, you need to tell your partner. I do not want you getting AIDS. I do not want to lose either you or Marco. Do you understand?”
“Yes, sir. Thank you.”
A few nights later, when Woody and Tad were both in the loft, Woody asked, “What’s going on between you and Marco?”
Tad thought for a moment before replying, “We love each other.”
After digesting that for a bit, Woody asked, “How can you love someone so ugly?”
“I suppose you mean his burn scars.”
“Woody, I think that when you really love someone, it’s not because of how good they look, it’s because of what’s inside them. Sure, it helps at first if you find them attractive, but I’ve never worried about that. Most of the time now I don’t even see Marco’s scars. I just see his beautiful, loving, gentle personality, and that’s what I love.”
“Oh,” said Woody. “I guess I never thought about love that way.”
“I hope you will, someday,” Tad responded, “and I hope you find someone, either a girl or a boy, as wonderful as Marco.”
With that, the two of them fell asleep. That is, Woody fell asleep and Tad jerked off ─ picturing Marco of course ─ before he too slept, still smiling to himself.