Finally, I got my driver’s license! AND, for my birthday, my parents gave me a car. It wasn’t new, it wasn’t beautiful, but it was mine. I was not one of those teens who is interested in taking a car apart and putting it back together again or in tarting it up, so the car was perfect for me. It was the first time we had celebrated my birthday since Billy died, so I had very mixed feelings, but I knew Billy would want me to enjoy it.
Cole and I had jobs working on his grandparents’ farm for the summer. It was hard work and it didn’t pay much, but I enjoyed it. I learned how to milk cows and muck out the cow barn. We spent long hours in the fields weeding, cultivating, and just beginning to harvest before school began again. By that time, I had filled out considerably and developed a golden tan. Paul said I looked, “Very Sexy!” After that, Cole l and I worked on the weekends helping to harvest the crops.
Meanwhile, Paul and I became good friends. On the weekends, we went to movies, hiked, and just drove through the state. There was no sex, because I wasn’t ready for that commitment yet, even though I’m sure Paul was. He was very patient with me.
Late in the summer, I told Paul all that had happened with Billy and why I was reluctant to make commitments. Through his tears, Paul said that he understood and was willing to wait. After all, we had three more years of high school before we went off to college.
When school began, our usual group sat at the lunch table, except that Bruce was not there and we wondered why. I did see him in the hall occasionally and said, “Hi,” to him and he responded, but we never had a real conversation.
In late September, when it became time to plan the new Haunted House, I contacted all the old team. Everyone said they would be there except Bruce. When I asked him why he wouldn’t be with us that year, he just mumbled that he was too busy.
I told this to Paul, and we speculated together about why Bruce was dropping out. We both liked him a lot and he could be very funny, but we had no idea what was going on. So, we devised a plan.
At the end of school on Friday, Paul and I waited for Bruce just outside the school doors. When he came out, we each grabbed him by an arm and Paul said, “You’re coming with us.”
“No I’m not!” he said. “Let me go!”
We held on and dragged him to the parking lot.
“Help!” He yelled. “I’m being kidnapped!”
Paul and I laughed, and nobody offered to help Bruce.
When we got to my car, we shoved Bruce into the backseat and Paul sat beside him. Bruce asked, petulantly, “Where are we going?”
“To Tyler’s house,” Paul said.
“But I don’t want to go there!”
“Do you want to tell us why?” I asked. Nothing more was said until we got to my house.
There, Paul and I escorted Bruce into the house and towards the kitchen. My mother was there and had laid out hot cocoa and cookies for us. After greeting us all, she went upstairs, leaving us sitting at the kitchen table.
“What the fuck’s going on?” demanded Bruce.
I replied quietly, “Bruce, that’s what we’re here to find out. We know you’ve been avoiding us, but we don’t understand why. We both really like you and were sorry that we haven’t been seeing you. Can you explain?” Bruce just shook his head.
“All right,” I went on. “Let’s try this. Who knows your gay?”
He looked like the proverbial deer caught in the headlights. Finally, he sighed and said, “Only my mom, and I guess you two although I don’t know how you found out. I haven’t even had the courage to tell my dad yet.”
Paul smiled that wonderful smile of his and said, “TJ told Tyler who told me. We don’t really know how he knew except that he said he had gaydar and he knew about all three of us. So, can you tell us what’s going on?”
Again, he sighed and looked down at the table. “Okay, here’s what happened,” he began. “When Tyler spent so much time with TJ, I pretty much knew that he was gay. I didn’t figure out Paul until after TJ left and you two began to spend so much time together. I’m embarrassed, because, over the summer, I grew jealous of the two of you. That’s when I told my mom. She said that threesomes are often difficult because they usually break down into a pair and one. I just felt very left out.”
Finally, Paul and I understood. Paul said, “You know, nothing has really happened between me and Tyler. We’ve held hands a few times, we’ve kissed a few times, and we’ve had a few dates together, but nothing else has happened yet. I know I’m in love with him, but for reasons of his own he doesn’t yet want to make any kind of a commitment. We’re sorry you’ve felt left out, and Tyler and I want to do what we can to change that. We want to do things with you. We want you at the lunch table. We want you in the Haunted House with us. Sure, maybe sometimes Tyler and I will do things together. If you want to do things together with either or both of us, all you have to do is say so. Does that help any?”
“Yeah,” Bruce said. “I guess it does.” Turning to me he asked, “Could you and I have a movie date sometime?”
I looked at Paul, who nodded, before I said, “Sure.” We set a date and afterwards we went on to finish the cookies and the hot chocolate. Then I gave the two of them rides back to the school parking lot, where they said, “Thanks,” and went to their own cars. When I got home, mom asked how things went. I said, “Fine.” Then I went upstairs and called Cole to explain to him what happened.
The next day, the Haunted House group met for the first time. Bruce was there as well as four freshmen whom we had invited because we wanted to hand on the tradition to younger kids who could keep it going after we left for college. After introductions, we started making plans for Halloween. We had decided last year we would be open for two days this year. Since Halloween would be on Sunday, we decided to be open on Saturday and Sunday. We also knew that we wanted a fog machine. Someone suggested that we extend the maze either in the front yard or the back. While we thought that was a good idea, we knew there would be logistics problems with electricity and sound, but we agreed to think about it.
On Sunday, Bruce and I went to a movie. I picked him up from his house in East Syler and we rode together to the theater. Going in, we stopped for snacks, including a large container of popcorn, which was my treat. In the darkened theater, we sat in the back row, which seemed to be my customary place now.
I have no idea now what the movie was, although I remember laughing some at the time. In the middle of the movie I turned Bruce’s face towards me and kissed him. He looked a little startled, but he kissed me back.
After the movie, we walked down the street to get ice cream. We sat and talked about the movie and then I asked him if my kissing him had made him uncomfortable. “No,” he replied, “but it did surprise me.”
“Did you like it?” I asked.
“Oh, yeah!” he said. “Did you?”
“Sure, but I’m not sure that means much except that I enjoy kissing people. But,” I continued, “it’s a beginning.” I drove him home, dropped him off, and then drove to my house. I thought about calling Paul, but I decided that probably wasn’t a good idea. I called TJ, who happily approved of what I was doing. Then I climbed into bed and read for a while before going to sleep.
We had a lot of fun with the Haunted House. The new kids made great suggestions and their energy was contagious. After working on the house, we swam in Cole’s pool, splashing, dunking, racing, and playing water polo. Keeping the house open for two days worked well, and we made over $700 after expenses.
Cole had finally become aware of Amanda and her interest in him. They dated several times, and we eventually considered them a couple.
Through the winter, Cole, Amanda, Paul, Bruce, and I all went skiing at the farm. It did not seem to matter to Cole’s grandparents how many people he brought with him. Grandma Greene gave us snacks and fed us and made us always feel welcome.
I continued to date either Paul or Bruce, but I had to admit to myself that I felt much more chemistry between me and Paul than I did between me and Bruce. Also, sometimes the three of us dated. We had a good time and Paul and I tried to be very sure that Bruce was always included. In the spring, the three of us went hiking in some of the white mountains, and I finally got up Mount Lafayette. I loved the views from the tops of the mountains and vowed that sometime I would go up Mount Washington.
In the summer, Cole and I worked once again on the farm. Often when we returned home, we dove into the pool to cool off. Sometimes we were joined by Amanda or Paul or Bruce or a combination of them. It was a happy, idyllic summer.
School inevitably began in the fall, and we were all Juniors. In the second week of school, Bruce came to the lunch table positively beaming, but he wouldn’t answer any questions. This continued for several days until one day I asked, “Bruce, are you in love?”
Everybody at the table including Bruce burst out laughing. Finally, he said, with his shyest voice, “Yeah. I think I am.”
Of course, we all tried to pump him for details, but he wouldn’t tell us anything.
A few days later, I saw Bruce walking through the halls very close to an extremely cute, very fair Freshmen. I stared Bruce straight in the eye and gave him a big grin. He blushed and sheepishly smiled back.
Later, at lunch, while Bruce was sitting there, I told the rest of the group what I had seen and then said to Bruce that I thought he needed to give us the details. Again, Bruce blushed before saying, “Well, his name’s Charlie. He’s new to town, and you’re right, Tyler, he’s a Freshman. I think I fell for him the first time I saw him. To be honest, we’ve dated a few times off-campus. It hasn’t gotten any farther than holding hands and occasionally kissing, but the chemistry is great. I’m sorry to say, Tyler, that the chemistry with Charlie is much greater than it was with you. Please don’t be mad.”
I laughed and told him that I was not at all offended. I also said that I hoped Bruce would include Charlie when we did things together and especially in the Haunted House. As it happened, our first real chance to get to know Charlie was when the group met for the Haunted House in October. My Lord, he was cute! But he was also smart, and creative, and not shy to speak up among the older kids and the adults.
After our planning meeting, as usual we went to Cole’s house to go swimming. Of course, Charlie joined us. When we all went to Cole’s room to change, Charlie was a little bashful about removing his clothes, but seeing the rest of us do it with no problems, he quickly stripped and put on his bathing suit. He had begun to fill out in his chest and shoulders, and I was sure his arms and legs would follow shortly. Although he was the smallest one in the pool, he joined in all the games, laughing and splashing with everybody else.
When we had all dried off and were getting ready to leave, Charlie spotted the grand piano in Cole’s living room. “Do you play that?” He asked.
“No,” Cole answered, “but Mom does.”
“Would she mind if I tried it?”
“I’m sure she wouldn’t.” Charlie sat down at the piano, fiddled with a few notes, and then launched into a Scott Joplin rag. When he finished, we all applauded, so he went on and played another, and then another. He was very good, and we were all enthralled. I had recordings of Joplin’s rags, so when Charlie launched into a rag that I didn’t know, I was surprised.
When he finished, I asked, “Did Joplin write that?”
Smiling shyly, he said, “No, I did." Then he explained, “I can’t really write music, and I can’t read it. I just play by ear.” As we left the house, everybody was praising Charlie for his talent and thanking him for sharing it with us.
Charlie joined us for the cross country skiing that winter. He had moved from Vermont, so he was already an accomplished skier. Of course, Grandma Greene welcomed him and fed him as she did all of us.
One day in the spring, Bruce took me aside and said, “Charlie and I have been doing a lot of dating and held hands and kissed, but I think I need a lesson on how to move forward. Can you give me one?” I didn’t give him a lesson, but I did give him a couple of websites he could check out.
The next day, when I saw him, he smiled broadly and said, “Oh my God. I certainly learned a lot. But do we have to do that stuff with the ass?”
I laughed and said, “You don’t have to do anything that makes either you or Charlie uncomfortable. I guess you should just go with the flow.”
Paul and I, however, had not moved on, and I knew he was getting more and more anxious as well as hornier and hornier. But I honestly didn’t know what to do about it.
Not a lot happened in our Senior year. Bruce and I and Amanda took part in the senior play, which was a lot of fun. We knew that it would be our last year for the Haunted House, and we worked hard to train new kids who could keep it going. Of course, we knew that Cole’s and my parents would remain very much involved.
In the spring, we began to plan what we should do to celebrate our graduation and settled on climbing Mount Washington. Bruce said he would talk to Charlie about that. At first, he was reluctant to join us because, he said, he wasn’t graduating, but when Bruce assured him that all the rest of us wanted him on the trip, he agreed.
We then had to figure out how to get Cole to go along with us. We made a plan whereby we would all drive together to Pinkham Notch and stay with the AMC there. In the morning Cole would drive around to the toll road and then drive to the summit of the mountain. We would climb up the Tuckerman Ravine trail and meet him at the summit. From there all of us would walk down to the Lakes of the Clouds AMC hut. It wasn’t a long way and it wasn’t difficult. We were sure that we could help Cole manage it. In the morning, we would all hike back up to the summit, and Cole would drive back down and meet us at the end of the Jewell Trail while we would hike down it, coming out near the Cog Railway. Cole was eager to make the trip, although his parents weren’t sure he should. He argued that he was 18 now and needed to be independent. Finally, his parents agreed.
Graduation was, I suppose, pretty much like any other high school graduation. After the ceremony, we all posed for pictures and insisted that Charlie be in them as well.
A few days later, in two cars, we headed towards Pinkham Notch, where we stayed overnight. The food was basic but delicious and there was a great deal of it. In the morning we rose, had breakfast, and put on our backpacks, which contained extra clothes, first aid equipment, a map, our trail lunches, and plenty of water. We said goodbye to Cole and headed up Tuckerman’s Ravine. There were times when the going was very difficult, but we were not in a rush because we knew we wouldn’t be descending until the next day. Nobody complained. Charlie certainly kept up with the rest of us. We talked little as we climbed. After several rest stops, we reached the ridge and the trail that would take us over to the summit. It was a beautifully clear day and the views were magnificent.
We met Cole as planned and worked our way down to the Lakes of the Clouds Hut. Cole managed better than I had feared and only needed a supporting hand from time to time to get down to the hut. Supper at the hut was again basic but filling. After supper we walked out to look at the little ponds which are the “lakes” of the Lakes of the Clouds. We had thought about trying to swim in them, but one hand in the chilly water convinced us not to.
The next morning, after breakfast and packing our trail lunches, we helped Cole again up to the summit parking lot and then took the trail down. For part of the way it paralleled the Cog Railway. Of course, it did not take us nearly as long to get down, which was a bit of a relief. We met Cole. Some of us drove with him to Pinkham Notch to pick up the other car and return to get the people we had left behind. Then we drove home for much needed showers.
We saw each other from time to time over the summer. Bruce told me, in confidence, that he and Charlie had moved on to oral sex but weren’t into the other stuff yet. We often convened at Cole’s pool.
In the fall we were all headed off to college so with tearful hugs we bade each other goodbye.
Even at that point, although I knew I liked Paul a lot a lot, I still wasn’t sure if it was love. When we parted, he looked at me rather sadly, hugged me for a long time, and kissed me.
At college, being away from Paul, I soon figured it out. A week after I got to my university, I couldn’t stand it any longer, so I called him. When he answered, without even saying hello, I blurted out, “I love you!”
There was silence on the other end of the phone although I knew he was there. I was afraid he had found someone else, or he had figured out he didn’t love me, or he was tired of waiting for me.
Finally, he said quietly, “Well, it took you long enough to figure it out. You know I’ve always loved you.”
I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Since we were both at in-state universities, we agreed to get together on the second weekend after classes began. And we did.
Late Friday afternoon, I saw Paul’s car pull into the drive in front of our house. Before he even had a chance to ring the bell, I threw open the door and hugged him fiercely. He hugged right back. As soon as I had kicked the door closed, we were kissing, long, deep, satisfying kisses as our tongues explored every inch of each other’s mouths. When we finally broke the kiss, I took him by the hand and led him up to my room.
There, we tore off our clothes and nearly flew onto the bed. Facing each other, we hugged and kissed as our lust overtook us. We grasped each other’s cocks hungrily, pumping hard, our passion rising, until we came in a climax of shared ecstasy. We continued to hold each other as our breathing slowed, kissing again, but more gently this time, until finally I said, “Paul, dear heart, just lie here and let me love you.” He lay back, his head on one of my pillows.
Very slowly, I began to nuzzle and kiss and lick each part of him, beginning with his ears and his cheeks, working down to his neck and then his chest, where I nibbled his nipples as he moaned. I worked farther down to his belly button and the small bit of hair which pointed towards his sex. Again, we grew hard and eager. His male scent and muscled, nearly hairless body turned me on as nothing ever had. I took his sex in my mouth and began to slide up and down, sucking it. He groaned with pleasure and very soon arched his back and came in my mouth. I loved the sweet, salty taste of his semen and swallowed it eagerly.
When I finished, he did the same for me, and soon we lay back, fully satisfied. We didn’t speak, we just lay in each other’s arms until we heard my parents come home. I wasn’t worried that they would come up to my room, they never did, but I thought we should go down to greet them. We cleaned ourselves off and put our clothes back on.
As we descended the stairs, Mom looked a bit bemused, while Dad just smiled. I was sure they knew what had been going on, but that was fine with me and Paul.
Paul stayed for supper before going to his house. Conversation over the table was light and fun. When I saw Paul to the door, I kissed him fervently and said, “Come tomorrow and plan to stay overnight.” He agreed.
Back in the kitchen, my parents were trying to act as though nothing had happened. Finally, I said, “Okay. Yes, I love him and yes we did.”
Mom replied, “Well, it’s about time. We’ve been sure that Paul loved you almost since the first time we met him, way back when you were Freshmen, but we were never sure how you felt.”
“Neither was I,” I said, “until we were actually miles apart from each other, and then I was sure. When I called him and told him, he said just what you said.”
They laughed, and I added, “I told him to come tomorrow and plan to spend the night. Is that okay?” They assured me that it was.
Paul arrived in the morning, and, no, we didn’t spend the entire day and night in bed together. But we did manage to satisfy each other several times before the next morning. On Sunday morning I said goodbye to my parents and drove to Paul’s house, where we passed some time with his parents before we had to get back to school. His parents were as happy and welcoming as mine had been. Paul and I agreed to try to meet every weekend we could, and we usually succeeded except during exam time. The vacations were heaven!
The next school year I transferred to Paul’s university and we roomed together until we graduated.
The rest of the story goes on for many, many years but is quickly told. Love, and eventually marriage, with my mom’s blessing. Uncle Kyle and Uncle Steve at the wedding, along with TJ and his partner, Bruce and Charlie, Amanda, Cole, and his parents, and many friends from school. Settling in a rented house and adopting kids, the nuclear family with a twist. Living and working not far from Bardwell and seeing our parents and cross-country skiing often. The kids taking to skiing like ducks to water. In the summers, hiking in the White Mountains and often camping as well. Continuing the tradition of the Haunted House, adding to it and making changes every year. The kids loving it. My parents eventually deciding that the house was too big for them to maintain. Paul and I buying the house and them moving into our rented one. Paul and I deciding we couldn’t live in the garret with the kids on the second floor, so us moving into the master bedroom. (Although occasionally returning to the bed in the garret and reliving fond memories.) Paul and I refurnishing the house from yard sales and an occasional antique store. Our children growing up and eventually moving out, though not far, and beginning families of their own.
Through it all, Paul and I had a loving, happy life together in which we never ceased learning new things about each other. Love is awesome!