When they look back to the years of exploration and discovery, to the first crush, the first dalliance, the first romance, the first entanglement, they see joy and embarrassment and humor. They see naiveté dance with desire. Yes, those things are there for us too. We, too, were foolish and hopeful. We, too, were hysterical and hysterical. But when we look back, we, too frequently and too acutely remember another emotion as unwanted as it was inappropriate. There it is, interwoven with the memories of laughter and drama, of endless moments passing in an instant and instants that lasted an eternity. There, lurking below the brazenness, the silliness, the joy and the pain is shame. They had the self-doubt born of youth. We had the self-doubt born of ignominy.

If it had been different? If we had grown in a world that judged us for what we did rather than what we were? Can such a world be imagined? Such is the stuff of fantasy.

Join me, then, in a story of beginnings in this world of fantastic construction, where epithets and slanders have no place, where the natural is unquestioned and the full range of human experience is never denied. It will be a story of discovery and folly and longing and triumph. It will not be a story with shame. Here, instead, is a story set in a world where shame has no footing.

 CONTROL and KAOS by David Buffet

Episode 1

EJ's posture reflected the seriousness of the conversation. He was seated with his feet planted widely apart, his long frame bent forward so that his elbows rested on his knees. His forearms angled back toward center to where his large hands clasped each other in front of him, creating a diamond of limbs. His brown eyes focused on his forefingers. The sides of his mouth curled slightly down and in.
Topher, too, was serious. But where EJ's stance pointed forward, Topher's was closed. An ankle crossed over a knee, he sat back with his elbows protectively in his lap and played with the little blond hairs that covered his shin and calf. They were, somewhat unexpectedly, in the same boat now.
That they had both recently found themselves single left a void that neither of them quite knew how to fill. Rabbit's graduation had left EJ, in his words, "squeezeless." Now he was a senior and back at square zero on the boyfriend front. He'd never really had to find a boyfriend before. The Rabbit had discovered him when he was a sophomore, and life had been an endless, happy fuck since then. It wasn't that he didn't think he could find someone -- he knew he could. He was as gifted on the field as he was off, and he was, he knew, way hot. Between him and Topher, you pretty much had the top two catches in the school that year. No, it wasn't that he wouldn't be able to find someone, it was that the process of looking was such a pain in the ass. All that work just to find a void to fill!
Topher was in worse shape. They had seen the loss of the Rabbit coming, at least. What they hadn't seen coming -- or rather, what Topher hadn't seen coming -- was being dumped by Lise. He had been burned bad. To his credit, EJ had never once used the word "pussy-whipped" throughout the six months that Topher and Lise had gone out. Since then, of course, he had amply made up for it. Topher didn't like it, but he couldn't argue with it either. He had been pussy-whipped and was still reeling from it. He wasn't quite sure how or when it had happened, either. So when the final shot came, it was a broadside. He was still listing.
That was why EJ had suggested he switch to boys -- at least for the next one. Girlfriends were great, EJ had said, but they were very high-maintenance, and this was a year that was too busy to be worrying about stupid shit like that. They were seniors. This year was supposed to be fun!
"Boys would probably be easier," he had said. "Make them cum and they're happy." Topher laughed at this, pointing out that he was much the same. "That's the whole idea," said EJ. "You don't have to spend all your time worrying about what they're thinking or what they want. Girls are fucking baffling."
This was an argument in which Topher could find no flaw. Girls were baffling. They clearly liked sex as much as he did, but everything was always such a battle. Why do you spend so much time with the guys? Why can't we ever see the movies I want to see? How come you never say, I love you? Why can't you be more romantic? Why do you think farting and holding my head under the covers is funny? Everything was a fucking issue. A boy would be easier.
But he still found himself thinking about Lise all the time. Her smile, her smell, the way she squirmed when he was boning her and she was just about to cum. She made this little squealing sound. Maybe if he apologized for...for...for whatever the hell he had done to piss her off, she'd reconsider.
"I can't really argue with you, dude," Topher said, "but I'm not there yet. My head's still too messed up. I think I'm just going to take some time off."
"Yeah," allowed EJ, "she fucked you up good. Maybe you should."
"Anyway," Topher went on, "who? And how would you find him?"
EJ thought about this for a while. "Well," he said finally. "I don't know. I'll look around."

Seth was engaged in Serious Business. As Theo looked on trying his best not to laugh audibly, Seth inched the grape closer to the barrel in front of him. They were sitting next to each other in band, passing the time in their favorite sport: pissing off Amy Neuman. While the director busied himself haranguing the trombones, Seth was trying to see if he could lodge a grape in the barrel of Amy's flute without her noticing. It wasn't so easy. While she sat with the flute in her lap so that its barrel pointed out and back -- toward Seth who sat behind her -- she spent most of her time chatting with Jen, her stand partner. That put her in a position that made Seth's movements plainly visible out of the corner of her eye. Seth had to time it perfectly. He needed the moment after she turned to look left, but before she repositioned the resting instrument. A particularly vehement invective from the music director caught her attention and Seth made his move. He brought the grape to the end of the flute in a quick, fluid motion. It wouldn't go in, and if he pushed, Amy would feel the pressure and turn to see what was happening. He beat a hasty retreat.
"Fuck!" he mouthed to Theo. "Missed it by that much!" Theo, still trying not to laugh out loud, reached into the baggy of grapes in his knapsack and found a smaller candidate. He traded with Seth, popping the returned grape into his mouth. In the meantime, Amy had turned back to talk with Jen. Unfortunately, while this should have delayed a second assault, Seth had been paying too much attention to trying to make Theo laugh and not enough to his own battle plans. Without noticing that she had turned back he mashed the smaller grape into the end of the flute while she looked on in stunned horror.
"What the fuck?!" she said in disbelief. Alas, it was during one of those spontaneous silences that sometimes occurs in a crowded room. The look on her face was so precious Theo lost it. The grape he was about to swallow blew from his mouth like a cruise missile, landing in Jen's thick black hair just as the music director's gaze came to rest on the poor unfortunate who had decided to interrupt his rehearsal by audibly swearing.
By now the entire woodwind section was in an uproar. All were laughing hysterically except Jen who was feeling around the back of her head trying to figure out what had hit her, and Amy who was doing her best to defend herself to the music director by trying to implicate Seth. Her best efforts and highest indignations were of no avail, though, and she was ejected, unceremoniously, from the room.
Unlike Amy, Jen was a trooper. Finding the partially masticated grape in her hair, she pursed her lips, quietly palmed it, turned and grinned evilly at Theo. He would be finding it somewhere on his person by the end of the day.
Seth was having a hard time keeping his laughter to silent, unreleased spasms. Theo punched him on the thigh to get him to stop, but this only served to increase the pressure building up in his diaphragm. Tears began to form in his eyes. Having disposed of Amy, the director's attention had turned back to rehearsing the `bones, which gave Seth time to try to calm down. But every time he looked at Theo, the need to explode in hysterical fits just grew. He turned away from his best friend, and cast his gaze on the other side of the band in an effort to compose himself. That's when he saw something that made him instantly and completely forget the whole Incident with the Grape. There, staring intently back at him, was Saxyguy.
Seth and Theo had their own private names for pretty much everyone who intersected their little world. There was the Oaf and the Hobbit, there was Velveeta Stretchmark and Unibrowboy. There was the girl whose name was the sign of holding three extended fingers up from the forehead to signify her impossibly large hair. These weren't people Seth and Theo knew, per se, just ones they saw all the time. These were people who deserved mention, but not real names. High school is rife with this kind of anonymous familiarity.
There were all sorts of reasons Seth and Theo wouldn't know Saxyguy's real name. He sat on the other side of a hundred-piece band, and in high school, friendship is synonymous with proximity. He was a senior and they were sophomores, which meant that, according to the Indisputable Laws of the Universe, they had nothing in common. And every Friday he wore a football jersey indicating he was on some kind of team (Theo suspected it meant he was on the football team, though he could not be entirely certain) and they were drama geeks. All these forces conspired to keep him nameless. He merited a nickname in Seth and Theo's world for one reason alone: he was stunningly gorgeous.
Tall, both lanky and muscular, he was Mediterranean in tone and Viking in stature. His medium-short brown hair was covered by an ever-present light blue and white UNC Tarheels cap. His wide, square, slightly dimpled chin could easily sport a beard if he didn't shave every day. He had a straight nose and deep brown eyes and when he played his sax his jaw muscles flexed in an enticingly evocative way. He dressed casually to the point of distraction -- one was left wishing the shirt were just a little more open, the pants just a little lower.
"86," Theo whispered, following Seth's gaze.
"Yeah, 99?" Seth responded, still caught in Saxyguy's stare.
"Don't tell me Saxyguy is checking you out!"
"Saxyguy is checking me out," Seth said, turning back to Theo with a knowing smile.
"I asked you not to tell me that," Theo said, finishing the routine.

EJ and Topher sat on Topher's front porch, tossing a ball back and forth and enjoying the last light of the September evening. The kid was way cute, EJ explained, and just his type. Little and blond. And he seemed like he was okay -- at least from a distance.
"He's a sophomore?" Topher asked, throwing EJ the ball.
"You're going to date a sophomore?"
"I'm not going to date him, guy," EJ said, rolling his eyes. "This isn't about dating. This is about fucking. I'm going to fuck him. Wasn't that the point? Fucking without the shit?"
"You know he likes getting fucked?"
"Pretty sure," EJ replied, throwing the ball back in a perfect, easy spiral.
"How do you know he wants to get fucked by you?"
"Oh, he wants me," EJ said laughing. "He's interested. And if he isn't, I can make him interested."
Topher pursed his lips, considered this answer for a few moments, nodded, and threw the ball back. Yeah, he probably could. EJ could get pretty much anyone to do pretty much anything.
"But why a fucking sophomore? I mean...what'll...what if...a fucking sophomore?" Topher did his best to articulate his concerns when he had them. He was not, however, always successful.
"Look, what are you worried about?" EJ said, putting the ball down and beginning a patient explanation. "He's younger. That's a good thing. That's a good thing for a whole bunch of reasons. You worried that people will give me shit for doing a sophomore? No one's going to give me shit. First of all, if they give me shit, I'd fucking kick their balls in -- or you would."
Topher nodded. That was true.
"Second, why would they give me shit? Because I'm with a sophomore? Its not like I'm going to be hanging out with him -- I tell you, dude, I just want someone to fuck regularly. It's not like he's coming to our parties, or anything."
Topher considered this second point, and, in his time, acceded to it as well.
"Besides," he added, "I was a sophomore when I started doing the Rabbit. He was a year older than me."
"Yeah," said Topher, "but a year ain't two years."
"Look," said EJ, trying to find the words that would sway his friend, "it's good that he's younger because...well, I just want this one to be easy, you know?" EJ let the thought hang unsaid between them. When he realized that Topher wasn't getting it, he sighed, resigning himself to having to say it out loud.
"If I find someone younger, I can turn him into what I want. I can teach him. I won't have to go through all the shit you went through with Lise."
"I got it," said Topher. Lise had, indeed, put him through a lot of shit.
EJ picked up the ball and tossed it back across the porch to Topher.
"What if you're wrong about him?" Topher asked, turning the ball in his grip. He tossed the ball back to his friend, who caught it and spun it, balancing it on his finger.
"I'm not wrong about him." He stopped the ball from spinning, held it vertex-up from the bottom in one hand and punched it back to Topher with the other hand as if he were place-kicking it. Topher caught the ball and put it down on the wooden decking of the porch before voicing his real concern.
"Won't...won't the Rabbit be really pissed off?" The question hung in the air with the cricket chirps as the boys read each other's faces for a few seconds.
"So what?" EJ finally said. "Rabbit ran. I'm over him."
EJ tried to look at Topher with new eyes. They had known each other practically from birth and had been best friends as far back as either of them could remember. Try as he might, though, he couldn't see his friend as he was without also seeing him as he had been. He couldn't see the small bump on the bridge of Topher's nose without also seeing what it looked like before it got broken in that scrimmage two years ago, the way it swelled to the point where his eyes shut while in the hospital as they waited for him to be seen, the way they made fun of him for weeks until his two black eyes faded, the way his nose used to be upturned and pug before he went through his growth spurt in middle school. He couldn't see Topher's coarse blond hair without also seeing his head shaved when their summer soccer league team won the title, the time they decided to grow it long and he ended up looking like a yellow Brillo pad, or the time that chick convinced him to cornrow it.
"What?" asked Topher, suddenly self-conscious.
"What?" echoed EJ, pulled from his thoughts.
"You're staring at me. Something wrong?"
EJ laughed. "No. Shit, man, we've been friends a long time, haven't we?"
"Yep," Topher replied, picking the ball back up off the decking and tossing it back. "A long time."
They no longer spent all of their time together like they used to. Topher was the most loyal, most dependable guy EJ had ever known and that was why they had stayed such good friends. If there was a war and they were fighting together, Topher would jump on the grenade to save him. But what Topher had in loyalty, in athletic prowess, in sportsmanship, in trustworthiness - the really important qualities, EJ thought - he lacked in the ability to concentrate on tough ideas. They were split apart in middle school as classes started becoming leveled; EJ was always put in honors classes, Topher some levels below.
At first, it was difficult for them. They both felt like EJ was being punished for something. But over time they both began to trust the fact that while EJ was really smart, that wasn't going to get in the way of his being a good guy. They also both began to understand that it would be EJ who would be the problem solver between them.
In the beginning, when a really difficult problem arose, Topher would make suggestions. EJ would entertain the idea seriously and they'd discuss the benefits and drawbacks of Topher's approach. Invariably, it was Topher himself who admitted it was probably a bad suggestion. EJ was never condescending about it, and Topher never felt like it was wrong for him to have made the suggestion in the first place. But after time, it started becoming clear that EJ always had the better ideas, and that if for no other reason than to save time, it made sense just to go directly to EJ's plans.
If you were to ask either of them if Topher was a follower, they'd both laugh at the suggestion. Topher was one of the strongest guys in school, was completely respected by the coaching staff and kids alike, and was enjoying his second year as varsity quarterback. Quarterbacks aren't followers. Quarterbacks are leaders. It wasn't that Topher followed EJ, they'd say. It was just that EJ could think through things faster. You don't put a 300 pound kid at wide receiver. If guarding is what the kid can do, you let him guard. Thinking was one of the things EJ could do real well, and so Topher let him.
So if EJ said he was over the Rabbit, he was over the Rabbit. And if EJ said that his doing a boy would be better, then his doing a boy would probably be better. It wasn't that Topher understood why, or trusted, even, that it was true. What he did trust was EJ.
"Anyway, I am over the Rabbit. Just like you're over Lise, right?" EJ asked, interpreting the silence that hung between them.
"Yeah, sure," said Topher in a voice that left his friend completely unconvinced. "Just like that."

 Episode 2

Seth operated under the conviction that his modest status in life belied the grandeur of his being. He ought to have been rich, but he was born to the wrong parents. He ought to have a license, but he wasn't old enough. And he ought to be treated better than a mere sophomore. The century had begun with three years of oughts, as far as he was concerned.

When Theo had first met him he had joked that Seth was plural. When Seth walked into a room, it felt suddenly crowded. Seth was invariably Bubbly. Seth was Cheery. Everything Seth touched was Superlative. Theo thought of him as existing in a world of Wanton Capitalization. Seth wasn't larger than life -- he was merely larger than his life. That is what had led him to the theater.

He had, in fact, landed a small role in the first show for which he had ever auditioned. That it was a small role didn't particularly bother him. He was a first year student -- it was a three-year high school -- and there weren't that many speaking parts to go around. Theo had auditioned as well, and hadn't even been cast, having to content himself with being on the stage crew. And in the Great Ladder that was high school social interaction it made a kind of unjust sense that he only had a small part. Such were the Immutable Laws of the Universe. Big parts went to upper classmen. Besides, Seth lived by the maxim that there were no small roles -- just opportunities to bitch ebulliently about the people who got the large ones.

Such was how they normally spent most of their time in rehearsals. They would hang out backstage, complaining wistfully about how very bad Jon and Joshua -- the two leads -- were, how they wouldn't know the difference between schtick and acting if it bit them on the ass, and how much better Seth could do it. But not this rehearsal. In this rehearsal, the conversation was altogether different. This wasn't a Bitchfest. This was a patented Seth Effuse-orama.

"When we get married, do you think something wacky will happen at the wedding, like drinking the map to the Melnick uranium mine or something?" Theo took a breath to answer, but Seth continued on without pause. "And do you think we'll live in an apartment like the Smarts, or in a house like the Bradys? I couldn't deal with astroturf in the back yard. Either way, he'll come home every night and we'll fuck and fuck and fuck. Sigh." Since he had been cast, Seth had taken up the habit of speaking in stage directions.

"Don't you think you should get his name first?" Theo asked calmly.

"Name shmame. Oooh! I bet it's something hot, like "Dirk" or "Rock". I bet it's, like, Rock Solid. Wouldn't that be a great name? This is my husband, Rock Solid."

Theo was laughing. "You're over the top, Seth. Even for you. Anyway, how do you know he even likes you?"

"Didn't you see the way he was looking at me? He's interested. He's Definitely Interested. Can you imagine what our kids would look like?"

"Butt babies don't survive long, dear," Theo said, patting his friend consolingly on the thigh as he sat opposite him. Seth giggled.

"With Saxyguy? Anything is possible! Oh!" Seth shouted, interrupting himself. "Can you imagine what the Evil Alex will say when he finds out I'm dating Saxyguy? He'll fucking Shit!"

"Get a grip!"

"I can't. I can't! I'm so excited. So when do you think he'll make his move?"

"I don't mean to burst your bubble, or anything but...Jesus, Seth. He's a senior. Why's he going to go out with a sophomore?"

"'Cause I'm Da Bomb, baby," Seth said in a perfectly convincing voice. "But you're right" he said leaning in and dramatically looking around to make sure no one could overhear, "we need a Plan!"

"Maaaaaaax..." Theo warned.

"Oh lighten up, 99. It'll be fine. It'll be just fine."

Feigning illness, Seth and Theo had skipped out of rehearsal an hour early and were sitting in the stands along the sidelines of the football field trying to make sense of the chaos in front of them. Boys were running alternately at and away from each other in a dance that they suspected was somehow choreographed. One in the middle would grunt rhythmically, then they'd all collide with each other and fall down as a group.

The players on the field existed in helmeted anonymity, which allowed Seth and Theo to focus on the charm of their costumes. Mesh half-jerseys ended well above tight spandex pants creating an array of treasure trails as distinctive as the numbers sewn onto the players' backs.

"Holy Disappearing Hairline, Batman!" Theo was saying, "look at that brown curly one! You know, I see that, and all I can think is how much I want to make it wet."

"Down, Boy Wonder," Seth returned, "we're on a serious Bat Mission here."

"Yeah, but look at the ass on that one over there," Theo said more quietly, indicating with a slight point of his chin which player he was talking about.

"What, the fat one?" Seth asked, crinkling his nose in disgust.

"No -- next to him. On the left."

"Oh, him!" Seth said. "That is, indeed, a mighty ass."

"A mighty, meaty ass, to be sure," Theo echoed.

"That'd be a good team name, don't you think? The Mighty Asses?"

"I'd play for them," Theo allowed, lost in the view.

"Like you know anything about playing football," Seth said.

"Who said anything about playing football?" Theo asked without breaking his gaze.

Seth turned to him, blinked, and cracked up.

"So which one is he?" Theo asked, still scanning the field. "Are you sure he's in there?"

"Yep. He's in there," Seth said. "He's got to be. He wears the jersey in band on Fridays. I think that's when they play."

"We should have paid attention to what number he wears. How are you going to find out which one he is?"

"How long we been here?" Seth asked.


"I said, how long have we been here?"

"I don't know," Theo shrugged. "About 10 minutes."

"Like this, then." Seth stood up and stretched languorously. As the grunting player in the middle of the field grunted his last grunt and shoved his hands between the legs of the player in front of him -- Seth could learn to like this game, he thought -- Seth reached down, crossed his arms, took hold of the hem of his T-shirt and lifted it clear over his head, pulling it off altogether. He turned around and bent over to fish into his knapsack making a big show of waving his ass in the direction of the field. Finding a long-sleeved jersey, he pulled it out and popped it over his head, turning back just in time to see the ball fly across the field to hit a player who had turned to look in his direction in the side of the head.

"There ya go," Seth said, sitting down again. "That would be him. Number 32."

"Too bad it's not 86, huh?"

"That would be cool," Seth answered smiling.

The Grunter walked over to the guy at whom he had just thrown the ball and began yelling at him, taking off his helmet in the process to reveal a sweaty mass of coarse blond hair.

"Ooh," said Theo, "who's Mr. Yummy, and why is he yelling at your boyfriend?"

The second helmet came off to reveal Saxyguy's angry face as he yelled back at Mr. Yummy. The two exchanged a few more indeterminate invectives before they walked back to the crowd and took their places squatting in the faces of other boys who squatted right back. But not before Number 32 glanced again, this time with mild annoyance, at Seth.

"We can go," Seth said.

"That was it?" Theo asked incredulously. "You're not going to wait for the end of their rehearsal? You're not going to talk to him?"

"No need," Seth said. "It's the old take-off-your-shirt-and-wave-your-ass- to-get-the-attention-of-the-guy-you-have-your-sights-on trick. Works every time."

"Yeah," Topher repeated for the umpteenth time, "he's cute. But you still shouldn't'a let him distract you like that."

"I know, I know," EJ replied, dismissively waving with his free hand as he drove with the other, "I shouldn't have."

"Next time keep your eye on the fucking ball." Topher wasn't amused at all. All may be fair in love and war, but football was fucking football. EJ looked across the cab of his pickup and grinned.

"But you've got to admit," he said, "he is cute." Topher merely glared back. EJ returned his gaze to the road, sliding into one of his many accents. "And I told you he were interested. That boy want it bad. And he gonna git it. He gonna git it real gooood."

"Seems to me like you're the one got it bad," Topher said. This observation caught EJ short. He all but screeched the truck to a halt on the side of the road, and turned in his seat to face Topher full on. Topher continued his condemnation. "You're the one going fucking gaga at a little tit and ass, dude. You're the one fucking up at practice. Who gonna git what?"

EJ's brows knit. "You think?" he said.

Topher nodded ominously.

"Well that's not good," EJ said. "That's not good at all. If I'm gonna ride, I'm driving."

"That's alls I'm saying, dude. I mean, a fucking sophomore..."

EJ frowned. "Okay," he said, turning in his seat back to the road and starting the pickup again, "I got it."

"So what're you going to do?" Topher asked.

"We'll show the twink who's in charge."

Procession of the Nobles was a bitch to play, even for the second clarinets. It was all he could do to keep his fingers from tying in knots. Theo wasn't in much better shape and was taking this play-through to write in every flat individually on the score. This, Seth knew, was his way of looking intently busy while not playing things he couldn't play. The first three musical skills Theo had learned were to look as if he were playing, to blame his reed, and to point at his stand partner whenever things went wrong. These were qualities Seth would have admired were he not the stand partner.

Having finished the play-through, the music director turned his attention to the trumpets, which allowed the boys some time to chat.

"So explain to me again why we didn't wait to the end to go over to talk to him?" Theo asked.

"What if I told you he had to write a sonnet to me, exclaiming his love for me in nine different ways before I'd consider it?"

"I wouldn't believe you." Theo answered, happily reciting his lines from the script.

"Would you believe a haiku expressing mild interest?"


"How about a limerick about a boy from Nantucket?"

They smiled. It was a tired routine, but they loved it. Theo waited for the real reply. When Seth figured out that the question was serious, he sighed.

"Because," he began with enough of an eye roll to indicate that this was something Theo Really Ought to Know Already, "then he'd think he could have it anytime he wanted it."

"But he can. Like you'd ever say no to that?"

"Well of course he can. But he doesn't have to know that, does he? Why buy the cow if it'll milk you for free?"

Theo giggled. "So he has to ask you out? You can't ask him?"

Seth shrugged.

"Seems a tad stupid to me," Theo said.

"I don't make the rules. I just live by 'em."

"And what if he doesn't?"

"Condescending pat," Seth said while patting Theo's knee condescendingly. "He will."

"He will?"

"I've got secret weapons," Seth whispered, conspiratorially.

"Shoe phone?"

"No," Seth answered seriously. "These." He smiled broadly showing two large, deep dimples. "And these." He tilted his head down so he was looking up at his friend. The yellow specks in his green eyes twinkled from below his eyelashes.

Theo grinned. He was well-familiar with these weapons and the effects they had on people. Seth had always been completely adorable, even as he matured. He played the angel so well that very few people other than Theo knew about the twisted little devil deep inside.

The music director was calling for attention again, having dispensed with the trumpets. Instruments were readied, postures were straightened. Theo rewet his reed and set his embouchure ready to look like he was playing. Seth did the same, ready to actually play, when out of the corner of his eye a blue UNC Tarheels cap turned in a direction it shouldn't have, distracting him from his music.

Clarinet in mouth, he glanced to the other side of the band while the music director raised his baton. Saxyguy, evidently, had an itch that couldn't wait. While his tenor hung on its strap from his neck, one hand held the hem of his shirt up slightly while the other was pushed directly down the unbuttoned front of his jeans where it was scratching things that three quarters of the school would have gladly volunteered to scratch for him. He wore light blue boxers with penguins on them. The penguins danced a little as he scratched beneath them. The hem of the boxers were pulled out from his stomach by his embedded wrist, and Seth could barely make out the penguins on the top doing their best to peek inside. They weren't alone. Seth spontaneously and unconsciously levitated nearly an inch to try to get just a little better viewing angle. Unfortunately, this was at the same instant that the director's baton came forcefully down and the entire band played, forte, the first chord of the piece. The shock of the sound popped Seth back into time and space, where he collapsed back into his chair and blew for all he was worth.

If only it had been the right note! (Or even the right octave!)

Looking back on it, he couldn't tell which was worse -- that he had made a sound so intensely ugly that the baton had actually flown from the hand of the conductor on the upbeat as if it, itself, were trying to flee from the cacophony; that before the squeak had even finished ringing, Theo was pointing directly at him in a far-side-hand, over-the-head point that Absolutely Everyone could see; or that everyone else's head had instantly snapped to look at Seth except Saxyguy's. Saxyguy hadn't moved a muscle save for calmly taking his hand out of his pants and quietly rebuttoning the front of his jeans. In particular, he hadn't snapped his head around. This was because, Seth realized to his horror, he had been staring at Seth all along. And he was smiling. A victorious, self-satisfied, smirky little smile.

 Episode 3

Seth and Theo sat, as they did almost every evening, in Seth's playroom with their homework sprawled out before them watching TVLand. Usually, half of their attention was taken up in watching the show, half in talking, and, if a half was left (Theo, in particular, hated fractions) in doing their homework. But this was one of their favorite episodes: Snoopy Smart vs. the Red Baron. It was the one where Max and Sigfried have the dogfight over the potato fields of Idaho. More importantly, it was the one in which 99's mother was introduced. She was one of the boys' favorite characters. As a result there was more watching, more talking, and less homework tonight.
"Go get me a soda," Seth said when the commercial came on.
"Get it yourself," Theo answered dismissively without looking up from his math. "Jesus. It's your house."
Seth sighed. "Theo," he began, closing the French book he was pretending to read, "we both know you're going to get me a soda. I'll ask you again, and you'll be all, fuck you, and then I'll say, pleeeease, and you'll be, like, get it yourself dude! and I'll get all whiney and annoying, and you'll finally get it just to shut me up. So we can save on time if you just get it now while the commercial is still on."
"I am not getting you a soda," Theo said. Unfortunately, Seth's logic was impeccable, and Theo knew it. Seth always got his way. He was the pushiest, most obnoxious, most self-centered person in the universe. Sometimes Theo wondered why he put up with him. But at times like that, he remembered that he was also funny, he could be tremendously sweet and, when you got down to it, was a very good friend.
"Pleeeeease..." Seth whined with a dimple-pocked smile.
"Max, you realize you're a pain in the ass?"
"And loving it!" Seth answered. So much of their interactions had been lifted from Get Smart they hardly realized when they were doing it any more.
"Jesus Christ," Theo muttered, getting up. "But only because I have to pee." Seth batted his eyelashes coyly. "Don't push it," Theo added. "You're not that cute."
"Yes I am," Seth answered with a smile. "And thanks."
When Theo returned, he threw Seth his soda and took a swig of the one he had gotten for himself. "I saw them together at the Bell," he said.
"Who?" Seth asked, pretending to pretend to do his French conjugations.
"Mr. Yummy and your boyfriend. They were tailgating on the back of this really old shitbox blue pickup truck in the parking lot of the Bell at about 9:00 last night. We were driving by on the way back from my lesson. I saw them in front of one of the lockers in the Science wing a few days ago. Evidently they hang out a lot."
"Gasp! Locker in the Science wing? How is it I didn't know this sooner?" Seth said animatedly.
Theo laughed. "It was, like, yesterday, dude. I would'a told you but you were too busy squeaking."
Seth pursed his lips, unamused.
"Anyway," Theo continued, I can show you tomorrow where it is."
Seth rolled his eyes yet again. "We can't just show up there, Dingus."
"And why is that?" asked Theo, thumbing through his algebra book as if he knew the page on which he was supposed to alight.
"Because then he'll know."
"Ooh, I think he knows, 99." Theo said, putting his hands into a high D fingering pattern and issuing a blastissimo vocal eep. "You missed it by thaaat much."
"You're an asshole."
Theo smiled and kissed the air in the direction of his friend.
"Anyway, if he's going to be my husband, he's going to have to learn who's in charge, and the sooner he learns it, the happier he'll be."
"And that would be you -- the one in charge?"
Seth thought a moment before answering. "Look at Samantha and Darren. On the one hand, it was always about his work and doing it his way. But when you come right down to it, you just know that when they hooked up, she totally called the shots. And he was kind of cute -- at least the first Darren was -- but he's gotta have known that one little nose-twitch and she could'a had anyone she wanted. That's the way it Should Be."
"You ever begin to think that maybe we watch too much TV?"
"Definitely Not," said Seth, momentarily confused by Theo's non-sequiteur. "What made you think that?"
"Whatever," said Theo. "So what's the plan now, 86?"
"Simple, 99," Seth said. "We get him to come up to me and say hello."

At 10:15 p.m., after Theo had left, Seth stood before his bathroom sink, assessing his reflection and sharing with it thoughts so private he hardly felt comfortable confessing them to the mirror. Clothed he was not so bad, but naked he felt he left a lot to be desired. The hair was good - blond, though darkening as he aged, cut short on the sides with a little to play with right up top at the front. The eyes, too, were good. Light green, widely spaced across a nose that still had a bit of a boyish buttonness remaining. His lips were full, his jaw square. His cheeks contained his best features, he felt: dimples which, when fired and on target, were devastating in their effectiveness. But things went south with his gaze. He was Too Short, Too Narrow, Too Pale, and Too Smooth. He had hair under his arms and on his crotch, but that was it and, he feared, that was the way it was going to stay. His father was as smooth as he was. Nor did he have much hope for his stature in general. His chest muscles were beginning to get a shape to them, but even if he grew taller, his shoulders weren't wide enough to support a really good chest. The best he could hope to achieve was "swimmer build" - that term he had read so many times on the Internet it had lost all meaning. His dick was a good enough size, he had decided. It neither stood out as very large or very small. He also felt he had a pretty good ass, but again, that was because of the way it looked in pants. Nude it did not seem as high or firm or pronounced.
He brought a hand to the area between his crotch and navel and rubbed the skin lightly. He had counted a total of six hairs there - hardly enough to be classified as a "trail." Still, he was thankful he had any at all. He tickled them a little and felt his dick pulse in response. He spent a minute wondering if one could take a pulse on a hard dick and if so, might he want to become a doctor rather than an actor?
His hand absently traced his centerline up past his belly button to his pectorals. He poked the muscles a few times, testing for any firmness, then struck a WWE double-pump pose. There was depressingly little response from his chest which, continued to break, though just barely, the plane of his torso.
He released the pose and brought his inspection to his nipples. Strange little things, he thought. Why do men have them? His were small with areolae that hardly cleared the central knobs. He squeezed his entire pectoral, half-imagining milk squirting out. Where's the hole? Women's have holes, don't they? Why do they have holes and men's don't? Do women's not have holes either? Does the baby have to chew off the tip of it like a cigar before they can get any milk? That's gotta hurt!
Seth brought his fists up beside his head and flexed his biceps. These were more visible than his chest muscles, but still nowhere near where they should be.
"Tomorrow I'll start doing push ups," he told his reflection, who listened as patiently and silently as it had the night before when that very same promise had been made.
He put his arms back at his side and sighed. It didn't matter how many pushups he did. He'd never have arms like Saxyguy had. Seth closed his eyes and pictured those arms for the umpteenth time. Each muscle was separate from the other ones. You could actually see where each individual muscle started and ended, making his upper arm look like it was pieced together out of interlocking parts. Seth's looked more like it was rolled out of dough and baked into place. He wasn't sure if Saxyguy's looked so good because the muscles went so far out or because the crevices between them were so deep. Seth's muscles hardly went out at all, and there were certainly no crevices between them. Slight depressions at best.
Then there was the hair on his chest. He had hardly seen it under the mesh of the football jersey Saxyguy wore on Fridays, but that was enough to fuel a dozen different fantasies. Seth had seen the hair on his stomach more, since he tended to wear short shirts and was always lifting his arms above his head for some reason or another. He had two pronounced muscles that ran vertically up his stomach, dividing his front in half. They were separated by yet another deep furrow. But this furrow was not fallow. It sprouted a luxuriant line of hair from the chest down to where it disappeared below his belt line.
Seth's fantasies frequently centered around that vertical line of hair. They were lightweight fantasies, he knew. Not much really happened in them. Even though Seth had read endless accounts of sex on the net, he had never had any of his own -- save for some experimentation with Theo -- and fantasies need experience to take root. So mostly they were of Seth running his hand up and down that soft, silky line of hair while feeling the hard muscles underneath expand and contract with Saxyguy's breathing. Sometimes, he'd imagine his hand sinking into Saxyguy's pants to feel what was hidden there. Sometimes he'd imagine Saxyguy holding him in his strong arms and pressing his body to his.
This time, it was of Saxyguy sitting in his band chair across the room. In the fantasy, he was wearing shorts and the mesh football half-shirt jersey and his light blue Tarheels cap. The shorts were open in front, and Saxyguy's hand was down the front of them, tenting out his penguin-covered boxers. In the magical way movement can happen in fantasy, Seth appeared on the floor, kneeling in front of him, staring at the tent. Seth's fantasy hands rose to stroke the tops of Saxyguy's calves as his real hand lowered to stroke himself. Saxyguy's legs were hard and warm. The hair on them made the skin feel pebbly as he rubbed. Saxyguy seemed not to notice or to mind, so Seth stroked up and up, past the back of his knees to his hamstrings. His hands disappeared beneath the low-riding shorts as he felt the majestic curve of the thighs. He rubbed them up and down, up and down, warming the skin, kneading the steely muscles beneath. The exertion was causing him to lose his breath. Finally, his fingertips blisteringly hot, his hands moving at a frenzied pace over the tightly stretched skin, he looked up to see Saxyguy had turned his head and was looking directly at him, a slow smile breaking on his lips. Seth froze, every nerve in tense anticipation, every muscle bunched, his lungs paralytically full.
"Go for it," said the senior, and Seth did. So completely, in fact, that he had to get the Windex when he was done. That night, his dreams were populated by penguins.

A mile away, EJ turned in his bed as the blue-green lights of his alarm clock flashed 1:04 a.m. He had finished his homework an hour and a half ago -- the Calculus took almost two hours that night -- and, having spent a few minutes chatting with Kristen on the phone, had turned in to try to sleep.
Kristen was trying to get into his pants. All things being equal, he'd have been delighted to let her get there. She was, indeed, quite the babe. But all things weren't equal. Kristen wanted everything EJ wanted to avoid -- commitment, involvement, intensity. It wasn't worth it.
God damn it, why did the Rabbit have to go and graduate? He was so perfect. When they had first met, EJ had been completely clueless. But the Rabbit had made quick work of EJ's naiveté and inexperience. Within a week of their first hook-up, he had had EJ fucking him like a pro.
Despite his desire to sleep, EJ smiled in memory of their first time together. EJ had been so hot for the kid he was still amazed he was able to make it the whole minute forty-five before cuming all over him. The Rabbit had laughed at him, which had kind of pissed him off but did nothing to deflate what was, even post-coitally, a persistently strong erection.
The next two times were a bit more relaxed. "Just lie back, stud," the Rabbit had said. "Lie back and let me do the work. I'll show you how it's done. Pay attention. This'll be your job very soon."
Of all the times they had hooked up -- and those were almost countless over the next two years -- that was still one of the most powerful memories for EJ. Invariably, it boned him, as it had just done again. His right hand slid under the sheet.
EJ was always a prominent and central image in his own fantasies. Even when he was remembering something that had actually happened to him, it was almost as if he remembered in the third person. There he was, lying on his back on the Rabbit's bed, pants strewn on the floor, shirt still hanging askew on the bed post. And there, straddling him and holding his wrists immobile above his head, was the Rabbit. EJ saw Rabbit slowly lifting himself and recalled the intoxicating tightness of his ass as it sucked at his dick. He saw himself trying to buck up, trying to rebury his slick, shiny dick as it emerged from Rabbit's grip. But the Rabbit was controlling the pace, teasing, bouncing shallowly a little before sinking all the way down again in a wave of liquid flame. EJ's left hand joined his right under the covers.
It was the sight of his own dick disappearing into the Rabbit's ass that got him most hot. There was something about the strength of it. His abdominals became prominent with the exertion of desire. He began pumping himself under the sheet as he watched his hips rise to the Rabbit's shivering ass. His other hand began stroking his chest, enjoying the feel of his own skin.
The scene morphed, and he was fucking the Rabbit in the empty stands on the sidelines of the football field. Rabbit was bent over, hands on the bench in front of him, grasping for balance while EJ stood behind and plowed him relentlessly. A strange scene for a fantasy -- EJ had never screwed Rabbit in the stands. The Rabbit's pants were puddled at his feet, and EJ was wearing his uniform as if he were at practice. The lacings of his pants were undone, and the tops flapped as he drew Rabbit's hips forcibly back. EJ's own hips left the bed as he jacked himself, pushing into his own hand as demandingly as he used to push into the Rabbit.
Another morph, and now it was the little blond kid he was defiling. EJ liked to think of it as defiling. Sex was supposed to be dirty. It was more fun that way. He was still in his pads, but the ass had changed. It was the blond kid's, and EJ was taking it for the first time. The kid whimpered, and EJ, toes curled and calves rock hard in contraction, blew into his own hand.

At 2:40 a.m., Theo finally turned off the computer. He had been an insomniac for as long as he could remember, or perhaps since he was twelve. He wasn't really sure. But he wasn't sure of much at 2:40 in the morning, and he had seen a lot of 2:40s. He didn't need much sleep. Not at night, at least. That's what English class was for.
He had hung out at Seth's until ten or so. The two spent most nights together hanging out, watching TVLand, doing homework, talking about nothing. They had met in sixth grade when Theo's family had moved to town -- or the GBMD -- the Greater Bumfuck Metropolitan District, as Theo called it. He had been put in Seth's class and the two bonded immediately after they both failed a spelling test, only to discover that they had each been trying to cheat by copying off the other's test.
They had discovered the joys of anime together, and had taught each other how to look good dancing. They had shared their first clandestine drink -- a sloe gin fizz of all things -- and had developed a joint passion for old, stupid sit-coms. Finding a shared attraction for boys, they taught each other how to kiss and practiced the art of giving hand and blow jobs on each other in preparation for the day they found real boyfriends.
Seth made Theo laugh. And, as wrapped up in himself as he was, he was a good friend. True, he was pushy and stubborn at times, and once he got an idea stuck in his head there was absolutely no dislodging it, but when Theo's folks split up, it was Seth who got him through it.
Seth had gotten a lot of ideas stuck in his head over the years. Shortly after they had met, he had convinced himself that he was going to be the next Triple Crown-winning jockey, despite the fact that he had never been on a horse. A mild growth spurt finally put an end to that, and that idea was replaced by the notion that North Dakota was just a hoax. Since then, Theo had endured, in turn, the convictions that an affected English accent bespoke sophistication, that he could marry Mr. Matt Damon if he could only arrange a meeting, that cats were spies, that the answers to all life's questions were encoded in old sitcoms -- especially Get Smart.
The current fixation was unusual in that it seemed to be, at least in part, based on reality. Theo really had seen Saxyguy staring at Seth and, as remarkable as it seemed, had read the same desire in that stare as Seth had. But the idea that that stare was, inexorably, going to turn into the great love of Seth's life was ludicrous. Or, as Seth would have put it if he were thinking more clearly, it defied the Inexorable Laws of the Universe.
Ah well. Seth's foibles were something to muse over, but not something to be concerned about. At least not at 2:40 in the morning. Theo plugged in his headphones and cranked his CD player. He'd be asleep in a couple of hours.

At 3:00 a.m., Topher was doing the same thing he had been doing at 11:00 p.m. -- he was fast asleep in his bed. Sleep came easily during football season. After school came practice, and then, after dinner, he ran five miles or, if the weather was bad, worked out for three quarters of an hour or so. By the time he hit the sack, he had enough energy to strip and pull the sheet over himself. He was usually asleep within ten minutes of his head hitting the pillow. When Toper died, it wasn't going to be from stress-related illness. Topher didn't believe in stress. When he was happy, he laughed. When he was angry, he yelled. And any frustrations that built up were easily released on the field where he could rely on something solid: the capacities and limitations of his own athletic prowess.
He did dream, though. Strange, vivid, color dreams. In the one he was having that night, Lise and he were on a roller coaster. She was screaming and holding onto him. In his sleep, Topher smiled.

Seth and Theo had just left their World Cultures class. With band and lunch, it was one of three periods over the course of the day they were able to spend together. They were playing one of their favorite games: Name the Agent.

"Okay," Theo said, "the name of the chambermaid protecting Tanya Lupescu in Too Many Chiefs?"

"Easy," Seth answered. "41. How about the elevator operator who's watching 41 'cause Max doesn't trust him in the same episode?"


Seth nodded. They poured out into the hall with the rest of the class when the bell rang. Theo was on his way to Math, Seth to Biology, but they were in the same direction. Knapsacks slung over their shoulders, they navigated the hall rapids with the confidence that only boys in their third week in a new school could.

"I got one," Theo said. "What's the name of the firm that Max's lawyer belongs to?"

"Good one," answered Seth, racking his brain. "The law firm. The law firm. That was in The Little Black Book...It was...18, 26, 36, 44, 51, 33 and Sons?"

"Pretty impressive!" Theo allowed, "but it was 35, not 36."

"Un unh," Seth said. "36 was the one in Strike While the Agent is Hot."

"No," Theo said, "that was 35."

"Dismissive snort," Seth replied. "No, he was the one who was hiding in airport locker 31, and..." The sentence was never finished. Without notice, Seth was flat on his back on the ground. He had been looking at Theo instead of where he was going and as they turned the corner the irresistible force had walked smack-dab into the immovable object.

EJ and Topher stared down at Seth in momentary confusion. The kid had come out of nowhere, run directly into EJ, and taken a dive. As the sea of humanity flowed by, he sat on his butt staring up with the same look of surprise that was directed down at him.

It was EJ who recovered from the irony of the moment first. Without saying a word, he bobbed up his chin slightly in the universal greeting of the disinterested. But Seth was right on his heels. With equal nonchalance and in recognition of the compromising position in which he found himself, he charged up his dimples, took aim, and fired.

In response, EJ grinned (but not too much), slouched back against a locker and puffed his chest out a bit. Seth looked down demurely and rubbed his inner thigh, as if that was the part on which he had fallen. EJ gave his gum a couple of chews in a way he knew accentuated his jaw muscles, hooked his left thumb into his front belt buckle and leaned to the side, pulling the pants a bit lower on his hip. Seth reached for a book that had fallen from his knapsack which made the front of his jersey ride up over his belly button.

Theo rolled his eyes. "Jesus Christ," he said, "this could go on all day. I've got to get to class."

Topher laughed.

"Hi," Theo said, holding his hand out to Topher, "he's Seth."

"He's EJ," said Topher taking Theo's hand and pumping it once. "He's glad to meet you."

"He's glad to meet you, too."

"EJ wants to know if you need a hand," Topher said after an awkward silence in which EJ licked then pursed his lips.

Theo looked over at Seth, who was all but batting his eye lashes.

"Naw," Theo said, "he's fine. Seth wants to know if you're going to Candler's party this weekend."

Topher looked over at EJ. "Don't know. We'll see," he said.

The bell rang. Velocities around them increased.

"Well...nice to meet you," Theo said reaching down to pull Seth up by the collar, "but he's gotta get to class."

"So's he," Topher replied. "Later."

"Yeah," Theo smiled. "Later."

 Episode 4

Simon Candler had that peculiar combination of qualities that guaranteed universal popularity in a small town: he lived in a large house with a pool and expansive yard and his parents traveled frequently. As a result, the junior hosted regular parties attended by pretty much everyone. Some of Candler's parties had been legendary -- like the time that they had lit a bonfire in the middle of his back yard. The cops came, saw the pile of wood burning in the middle of the lawn, turned to the group of kids nearest to it and ordered them to put it out. That group had included Henry Vaskasian, notorious for his bad judgment when drunk. Unfortunately, Henry had been blitzed at the time, so when the cop told him to put out the fire, he had happily complied. In front of everyone -- including the cops -- Henry unzipped his pants, pulled out his dick, and peed on it.
One was not invited to one of Simon Candler's parties so much as word spread that the party was to occur and everyone just showed up. The network was so efficient that one time Simon himself was one of the last people to know about it. Mrs. Candler, stopping at the supermarket on her way home from work, mentioned to a neighbor that she and her husband were being called away unexpectedly on business that weekend. The neighbor's daughter overheard their conversation, and with a few well-placed cellphone calls from the produce aisle, started the ball rolling. Meanwhile, Simon was across town playing soccer. He returned to the sidelines having been rotated out to hear that he shouldn't worry, a keg had already been procured.
Topher and EJ sat on a couple of deck chairs, pulled back from the rest around the pool, as the party swirled about them. There were already over 200 people there and it was only eleven. The music blared from speakers which had been turned around to play through two windows into the back yard. EJ sat looking at his friend. Topher stared into his beer, watching the foam dissipate.
"Quit moping," EJ said quietly. "You knew she'd be here."
"Yep," Topher replied as another bubble burst.
"What do you want me to say? You want me to go off on what a bitch she is? She is. You want me to tell you you're better off without her? You are. You want me to get someone to beat the crap out of her? Hell, I'd do that myself!"
Topher didn't even crack a grin.
"C'mon, man. Lighten the fuck up."
"I'm sorry, dude," Topher said still staring into his cup, "It just sucks seeing her dance with fucking McReady, ya know? I mean, I knew she'd be here, but I thought...I don't know..." He pulled a long drink from the cup, almost draining it.
"Topher, man," EJ said gently, "Topher, look at me." Topher looked up from his beer. "Man, you're my best friend. You know I'd do anything for you. You know that?"
"Yeah, I know it."
"Then listen to me. It's over, Topher. You're not getting back with her."
"Yeah," Topher said, "I know it."
"No, man. I mean it. It's over. She's fucking McReady. And Tyler. She did Tyler like two weeks before you split. She's not coming back."
Topher stared at him blankly.
"I didn't tell you because...shit. I don't know. I thought I'd tell you when you got over her. I thought you'd be getting over her and I didn't want you to get...fuck, Topher, don't look at me that way."
Topher looked back into his cup.
"Fuck," EJ said. "I'm sorry, man. I thought I was doing the right thing. I thought...fuck."
They sat in silence for almost a minute, EJ staring at Topher, Topher staring into his cup. Finally, EJ punched his friend lightly on the arm.
"Say something, bro. Anything."
Topher drained his cup and held it out to EJ. "Get me another beer."
EJ laughed. "Okay, man. That's something. I'll be right back."

Theo and Seth arrived at the party respectably late. They had aimed for earlier, but it had taken Seth far longer than expected to find the perfect combination of flattering shirt and pants. He had settled on a cobalt blue pullover jersey that brought out the yellow of his hair and a pair of ass-friendly khaki shorts that had just the right amount of bagginess.
The whole first floor was packed with people. Dancing, milling, laughing, making out, drinking, being fabulous for and at each other. Seth spotted Evil Alex and Jen talking with Hymie on the far end of the living room. He steered Theo in the opposite direction.
"You see him?" Seth asked.
"Nope," Theo said, "but there's the Oaf and his girlfriend in the dining room."
"There's a Mrs. Oaf?" Seth asked, still scanning the room.
They turned down the hall toward the kitchen, where they fought through the increasingly densely packed crowd. Once there, Seth, holding onto Theo's shirt to make sure they didn't lose each other, wove his way forward. Around couples where possible, through them when necessary, he forced his way past the mostly larger kids toward the vortex of activity which he knew must be where the bar was laid out. They got there just in time to find EJ pouring his second glass of beer.
"Hey," EJ said to Theo, looking past Seth.
"Hey," Theo returned.
"Why don't you bring these out to Topher. He's out back by the pool. He's waiting for them."
"Sure," said Theo, taking the beers. As he walked past EJ, he turned so that only Seth could see him and animatedly mouthed, "Mr. Yummy!" Seth smiled back as Theo disappeared into the throng.
"You want something to drink?" EJ said, finally turning his attention to Seth.
"Sure, Chief," said Seth. "A coke?"
"I can probably find a coke in here," EJ said. He took two cups, disappeared into the people who were leaning against the counter farther down from where the keg had been set up, and returned with the cups filled. He handed one to Seth and raised his as if in toast. Seth clinked the top of his cup to EJ's, took a deep draft to wet his suddenly dry mouth, and almost did a spit-take. The cup was only half coke.
"What's in this?" Seth asked when he finally caught his breath.
"Coke," EJ said. "And some rum."
"'sgood," Seth said. "I'm not much of a drinker."
"That so?"
"Yeah. I get real stupid real quick."
"Practice makes perfect," EJ said, clinking the top of Seth's cup again and taking a drink.

Theo saw Topher sitting by himself in a lounge chair pulled away from the pool. He wore a gray T-shirt that said Cornell LAX across its stretched front. Theo marveled at the senior's looks. Thick chest, thick thighs, thick lips, thick arms, thick blond hair. The boy was a vanilla frappe. An unhappy vanilla frappe, Theo thought. Topher was frowning at his own knees.
Theo cleared his throat. Topher looked up.
"Would you be Gopher?" Theo asked.
"No, I'd be Topher," Topher said.
"Yeah. Topher. Christopher. You're the sophomore's friend, right?"
"Yup. I'd be Theo." Theo handed him one of the beers and watched in fascination as Topher drained it in four enormous gulps.
"Neo?" Topher asked and belched loudly.
"Theo. Theodore." Not knowing what else to do, he handed Topher the second beer.
"Thanks," Topher said, and finished half the cup in two more gulps. "What'll you drink?"
"I guess I'll go get myself something," Theo said.
"Good. Bring me back one too," Topher said. Theo turned toward the house and smiled. Mr. Yummy wanted him to come back!
By the time Theo got to the counter with the keg, Seth and EJ were engaged in an animated conversation. They had been pushed together and off to the side of the room by the crowd. Seth stood with his butt to the wall while EJ leaned in over him, one hand against the wall over Seth's left shoulder, preventing Seth's escape. As if! Theo thought, and went to get two more cups.
Having fought his way to the keg and drafted two tall ones, Theo turned back toward the door. If possible, EJ had saddled up even closer to Seth than he had been before. Seth had lifted his foot and put its sole against the wall. EJ cradled Seth's bent knee between his thighs. EJ was now leaning his elbow against the wall, which put his mouth almost to Seth's ear, and was telling him something that caused Seth's eyes to glaze over.
When Theo returned poolside, Topher was, again, frowning at his knees, the second cup of beer also drained. Theo sat down in the deck chair next to him.
"Did they do something bad?" he asked, handing one of the beers he held to Topher.
"What the fuck are you talking about?"
"Your knees. You seem unhappy with them. Did they insult you? Steal some money, maybe? Did they break a mad-expensive amphora your dad spent months buying on eBay then blame you for it?"
Topher looked at Theo for a moment in confusion then smiled.
"No, man. Just in a funk. You know."
"Yeah? What's her name?"
"Lise," Topher said, pursing his lips.
Topher laughed. A genuine, deep, resonant laugh. "How'd you know it was over a girl?"
Theo shrugged his shoulders. "I'm wise beyond my years." They clinked cup rims and both drank.

Seth hadn't been lying. He did get real stupid real quick when he drank. The first stupidity came in allowing himself to be convinced to have a second drink. The second came in asking for a third. He found himself by the pool without quite knowing how he got there. He and EJ had taken their shoes and socks off and were sitting with their feet dangling in the cool water. EJ leaned with his back to the side of the diving board. Seth leaned with his back to EJ, who was tracing figure-eights on his upper arm in a way that made him shiver.
EJ was talking. Seth wasn't quite sure what he was saying. A carefully laid out argument for why his blue pickup was most assuredly not a shitbox. Seth didn't care. So long as EJ kept holding him he could say whatever he wanted. It was all foggy anyway. Seth loved the feel of EJ's chest behind his head. As much as it made the world swim, he slowly rocked his head back and forth, trying to map the curve of EJ's left pectoral with the back of his skull.
EJ's fingers traced a circle about Seth's elbow. It tickled and Seth trembled in response. Mistaking this for cold, EJ drew Seth closer to him and enveloped him more in his arms.
"You cold?"
"No, Chief," Seth sighed contentedly, relaxing into EJ's embrace. "Perfect. So what were...something...shitbox?" The sentence made perfect sense in Seth's mind. He wasn't quite sure how he had lost two-thirds of it in the attempt to make it audible.
"No," EJ replied emphatically. "That's the whole point. It's not a shitbox at all. It's..." Seth lost the line of logic almost as soon as it started, and EJ's voice turned into a steady, soothing drone behind him.
EJ liked Seth. He was certainly cute enough, that was for sure. EJ wasn't sure why he was so taken with little blonds, but the fact remained he was. The little made sense, at least. They fit better -- the way Seth fit perfectly in EJ's arms. But why blonds? They had a silkiness to them in EJ's mind that was irresistible. It was like asking why he liked broccoli and not cauliflower. It didn't matter why, he supposed, he just did. Whatever it was that got him where he needed to go, Seth had it. And Seth was growing more and more adorable as the evening wore on and EJ got used to his face.
It wasn't just the dimples, or the sparkling green eyes, or the satiny smoothness of his skin, or the way his little nipples pushed out his jersey when EJ tickled his upper arm. EJ liked him. Seth was agreeable and interested in what he had to say. He was a good listener. Seth was focused on him, and EJ liked that in a person.
Seth shifted position a bit and his hand found EJ's shin. It was dark tan and covered in scratchy hair which Seth began to comb with his fingernails. By varying the spacing of his fingers, he found he could make wavy trails. Twisting it, he could form little spikes. He found an old scar and measured its length against his thumb.
EJ was still talking, but he seemed to have changed topics. Something about an offensive line. Seth didn't get who had been offensive or what the line he had used was, but it didn't matter. Instead, his attention was taken by the belt buckle that had begun to poke uncomfortably into the small of his back when he started playing with the hair on EJ's shins.
Wait a minute, Seth thought. An idea began to formulate out of the rum and goo that was his consciousness. That's not a belt buckle at all. What was that?
"13, is that you?" Seth asked blurrily.
"Huh?" EJ asked, not understanding the interruption.
"Oops," Seth said, "was that out loud?"
EJ laughed. "Yeah, babe. What did you say?"
"Nothing," Seth answered, recozying himself against the bigger boy behind him. "You talk."
EJ did, picking right up where he left off. Seth used the new position to do some investigation. He rotated his hips by the slightest possible amount. This pushed his lower back against the buckle. The buckle pushed back. No, that wasn't a belt buckle at all.
EJ was saying something about a running game. Making sure to stay in contact with the pokey part, Seth leaned over to the side so that his back was supported by the crook of EJ's arm rather than his shoulder and looked up at the older boy. He liked him. He liked him a lot. And not just because he was stunning. When Seth shivered, EJ wrapped his arms about him. When Seth stroked his shin, EJ popped a woody. Seth could make EJ react, he realized, and that made Seth very, very happy.
Looking up from that angle he could see the stubble underneath EJ's chin. There was a small bare patch on the bottom, nestled just behind the front of his jaw. The imperfection that made him perfect. Seth reached up and touched it. EJ lowered his head, trapping Seth's finger between his chin and chest.
"Who you poking?" EJ said, holding pressure on Seth's finger while he talked.
Seth grinned a goofy, contented grin. EJ smiled back.
"I can make him smile," Seth thought.
"Who?" EJ asked.
"Who what, Chief?" Seth asked, confused.
"Who can you make smile?"
"Oh..." Seth said, "that was out loud again?"
EJ laughed a second time. The motion freed Seth's finger from its trap under his chin. "Yes."
Seth swept his finger sloppily to the side and waved vaguely across the pool. "Theo. I can make Theo smile. He's right over there talking with Mr. Y...talking with your friend."
"I bet you can."
"Hi Theo!" Seth yelled across the pool. When Theo looked over, Seth waved. Theo and Topher stared at them for a beat. Theo waved back noncommittally.

Topher had talked through seven more beers, prompting Theo to return from one trip to the kitchen with a twelve-pack. For reasons that neither he nor Theo particularly understood or cared about, weeks of frustration poured from him in a blur of accusation, sadness, anger, desire, swearing and loneliness.
Theo listened patiently to it all, nodding when appropriate, adding an encouraging word or two when it was needed. He heard about how Topher and Lise had met unexpectedly at a party after a game they had just as unexpectedly won. He heard about Topher's efforts to make her happy, from buying her things to agreeing to see ridiculous movies to admitting he was wrong when he knew he wasn't. He heard a long story about a night when a kid had insulted her, so Topher had popped him one. Lise had gotten all pissed off and told Topher to stop being such an asshole. So the next time when some guy disrespected her, he asked the guy to stop and left it at that. Lise hardly said a word to him all night after that, except to suggest that he might want to put on some make up and join her in the girl's room. He heard about her infidelity with a teammate, and how hard that was going to make practices now that he knew. It took almost an hour, but Topher finally talked himself out. Theo watched him for a while in silence.
"Fuck," Topher finally said draining yet another bottle, "I'm fucking sorry. I don't know why I told you all that."
Theo shrugged his shoulders. "Seems to me it just took you this long to find someone who would listen."
Topher looked at Theo, belched and smiled. "You're a good kid. I didn't mean to lay all that shit on you."
"S'okay. It was interesting."
Topher laughed. "Interesting's not the fucking word for it."
"There's just one thing I don't get," Theo said.
"What's that?"
"Well, it's pretty clear what she got from the relationship. I mean, you worked hard to make her happy, and you're like the hottest guy in the universe."
"Pffft," Topher waved off the compliment like he was swatting a fly.
"So what did you get from it?"
"What did I get from what?"
"What did you get from the relationship? What did she give you?"
Topher frowned at his knees again in silence.
"Hi, Theo!" It was Seth's voice calling from the other side of the pool. Topher and Theo both looked over and blinked at him. The incongruity of it was not just due to its extraordinarily bad timing -- the mania of his tone, the sloppiness of his wave -- Seth was completely wasted.
Theo smiled wanly, waved noncommittally, and turned back to Topher. Topher looked at Seth lying in EJ's arms a moment, frowned and said, "hand me another beer, will ya?"
Theo reached down, took one of the few remaining bottles out of the twelve-pack, twisted the top off and handed it to Topher. Topher drained half of it.
"Well, for what it's worth," Theo said, "I think someone would have to be pretty fucked up to dump you."
Topher swatted the fly again.
"Don't do that." Theo said.
"Don't do what?"
"Why can't you just take a compliment?"
Topher shrugged. "Out of practice, I guess."
"That's what you need, then," Theo said. "You need someone to point out that you have the sexiest eyes and the most kissable lips within a hundred miles." Topher frowned and waved again. Theo continued, undeterred. "Your body is incredible. I mean, I'd pay just to be able to give you a massage! I would! I'd actually pay you just to touch your shoulders."
"Oh, please," Topher said rolling his eyes.
"It's true. And look at those legs! Your left knee alone could stop traffic!"
Topher laughed. "Left knee, huh?"
"Oh, yeah. No doubt. And there's something else, too."
"Better than my left knee, you mean?"
"What's that?"
"You're really sweet."
"I'm not fucking sweet."
"Yes you are."
"Shut the fuck up."
"No, you're sweet. You're really sweet."
"If you say that again, I'm going to beat the shit out of you."
Theo leaned forward. "It's okay," he whispered conspiratorially, "I won't tell anyone. No one else has to know. But you are."
Topher drained the rest of the bottle, looked at Theo and belched loudly at him.
"I'm fucked up. That's what I am."

One half hour later, Seth had deteriorated into a small blond bundle of laughter. Everything EJ said made him hysterical, including the idea that he should have yet another rum and coke.
EJ had kissed him twice. Long, languorous kisses that teased as much as they excited. EJ nibbled at his lips, sucked his tongue, tasted his teeth. Both had left Seth breathless. But each time, as Seth sank completely into the kiss, EJ pulled away, leaving him wanting more. When Seth, cradled in the crook of EJ's arm, reached up with his head to steal more of EJ's breath, EJ smiled, retreated and playfully licked the tip of his nose.
"You're mean." Seth said through his giggles.
"Yep," EJ allowed. "And you're tasty."
"Taste some more, Chief."
EJ smiled. "I'm full. And don't call me Chief."
Seth Burst out into ebullient laughter, even finding himself accidentally snorting a few times. EJ frowned. "You don't know why that's funny, do you?" He finally managed when the hysterics passed.
"No. You want to explain it to me?"
"No," Seth said still giggling, "it's too stupid. Sorry. It's nothing. Where were we? It was something about me, right? Eating?"
EJ leaned forward and licked Seth's chin. "Mmmmm. Maybe I could eat a little bit more.
"Yeah?" Said Seth. "Maybe you're thirsty, too?" He dipped his hand into the pool and flicked some water onto EJ's face.
"Oh, you're going to pay for that one," EJ laughed. His hand had been resting across Seth's chest. He reached around and grabbed hold of his rib cage and dug his fingertips in. Seth exploded into fits of squirming laughter.
After the requisite amount of begging, EJ stopped tickling and smoothed the front of Seth's shirt back down. It took Seth a while, but he finally stopped laughing.
"You going to be good?"
Seth nodded. "Promise."
"Then you get a reward." EJ bent his head forward again and brushed Seth's lips with his. When Seth felt EJ's tongue, he closed on it and sucked it greedily into his mouth. EJ allowed it, exploring the pebbly surface of Seth's tongue with his.
"'nf Mio" Seth said into EJ's mouth.
EJ finished the kiss in his own time, temporarily ignoring Seth's attempt to talk. When he was done, he sat up, looking down at Seth, who had become a puddle of swoon in his arms.
"What's that then?" EJ asked.
"It's Theo."
"Yeah, yeah. You can make him smile."
"No, it's Theo here. Hi, Theo," Seth said cheerily, waiving at his friend.
EJ turned around. Theo was standing above them on the diving board staring down at them.
"Hi," Theo said.
"What's up?" EJ asked, somewhat annoyed at the interruption.
"I think your friend needs some help getting home," Theo said.
"Why's that?"
"He just tried to get up to go to the bathroom. Kind of fell flat on his face."
"Well, it wouldn't be the first time," EJ said.
Theo stood there looking down at the assemblage of limbs before him and waited for EJ to offer to do the right thing. When no offer was forthcoming, he shrugged. "You want me to walk him home?" he asked.
"He only lives a few blocks from here. 147 Pine. You know where Pine is?"
Theo nodded.
"His room is over the garage. There's a separate stairway on the outside that leads up to it. Key's under a clay pot at the bottom of the stairs if he can't find his. Just don't wake up his parents. But their bedroom is in the main part of the house. If you're careful, you shouldn't have any problems."
Theo nodded again. EJ turned back to Seth. "Now where were we?"
"Bye, Theo!" Seth waved again. Theo nodded and turned back to collect Topher from where he sat on the pavement on the other side of the pool.
When he was gone, Seth pulled EJ's head down so that his ear was next to his mouth. "I have a secret!" he whispered hoarsely.
"Yeah? What's that?" EJ said then nipped at Seth's ear lobe.
"Mmmmm. That's nice," Seth said.
"That's no secret."
"Noooo. That's not the secret, silly," Seth slurred. "The secret is...the secret is that Theo has the hots for Mr. Yummy."
"Who's that, then?"
"Your friend! Mr. Yummy!"
"Topher?" EJ asked.
"Yeah! Theo has it for him. Shhhhh. It's a secret."
EJ laughed. "Mr. Yummy?"

Theo and Topher didn't so much walk home as they wound home. It was all Theo could do to keep the larger boy upright, let alone heading forward. At first he tried letting him walk on his own, but Topher kept falling off the curb. Next he tried holding his hand to keep him on the sidewalk. That idea was dropped when Topher decided he wanted to surf a hedge and the two of them ended up face down in a shrub. Finally Theo hoisted Topher's arm over his shoulders and wedged himself into Topher's armpit, fighting Topher's superior height and weight with leverage.
Getting him up the stairs when they got to his house was another trial. At least while they were walking, Topher had been talking somewhat coherently. By the time they got to his house he was alternatingly responding to the group of friends he thought he was with and collapsing entirely. Theo all but dragged him up to the second story of the detached garage.
The door he finally managed to unlock opened to a spacious, if messy bedroom. Out of breath from the exertion, Theo dragged Topher to the bed and unloaded him. Finally free of support, Topher rolled sideways onto the mattress. Momentum took over and he rolled too far. Theo winced as Topher's head hit the far wall with a dull thud. A quiet snore shortly thereafter reassured Theo that he hadn't killed him.
It took ten more minutes to undress him. When he was done, Topher was lying in his boxers with the sheet pulled over his waist. Taking a moment to catch his breath, Theo sat on the side of the bed and surveyed the older boy in the dim moonlight that came through the window.
Topher had big muscles. His chest was wide and deep, his shoulders were meaty, and his arms were thick. He wasn't model-buff, though. For one thing, his belly was full with all that beer. But more than that, he still had a small layer of padding that covered everything and softened the lines. Theo suspected if he ever called it "baby fat" he'd be threatened with a bloody nose.
Theo couldn't really see the hair on Topher's chest, but in the moonlight his edges seemed to be covered by a tiny line of translucent silver that shimmered as he breathed. It was transfixing, and Theo found himself wanting to run his finger up and down it. He leaned in for a closer look but retreated when Topher smacked his lips a couple of times in his sleep and sighed an indecipherable syllable.
It wasn't that it didn't occur to Theo the kind of fun he could have with Topher in this state, laid out before him. A part of him was dying to feel Topher's skin, to get into bed next to him, to peek under the boxer shorts. He wondered why he wasn't going to do any of those things when he knew he could probably get away with any or all of them. Instead, he just sat and studied the curves and colors and textures of him. He sat for a long time, content to watch Topher breathe.
The sun was about to come up when Theo finally broke the spell with an indecipherable sigh of his own. Making sure the door was locked on his way out, he left and headed for home, wondering if he could still catch the smell of Topher's armpit on his shoulder.

Despite the fifth rum and coke, Seth had a pokey thing of his own, which had been caused by EJ lifting the bottom of his shirt and lightly stroking the lower part of his belly. He was lying with his head in EJ's lap by this point, looking blearily up at the way the Tarheels cap framed EJ's face so beautifully.

For his part, EJ was stoked. Seth was hot and responding perfectly. He looked down at the green eyes that were looking up at him. Seth had the prettiest eyes. They were widely spaced across a little nose whose bridge held some light freckles.

He had pretty lips, too. Their pinkness stood out against the paleness of his skin. Eminently kissable. And those dimples!

"You're pretty," EJ said quietly as he brushed the hair from Seth's forehead.

"You're too pretty," Seth burbled.

"Too pretty to what?"

"No, I meant it the other way around," Seth said giggling. "You're pretty, too."

EJ smiled, and bent forward. In this position, they were kissing upside down. This time, EJ didn't hold back at all, giving in to what he knew they both wanted. By the time he was finished, Seth was out of breath.

"That was nice," Seth said, eyes still closed.


"I have another secret," Seth whispered.

"What this time?"

"You promise not to tell anyone?"


"Okay. Shhhh. Here's my secret. Stage whisper. I'm totally drunk."

EJ laughed. "I know," he said. "I got you drunk."

"You did?" Seth whispered with genuine surprise. "Why did you do that?"

"Because I'm going to hook up with you tonight, babe." EJ whispered.

Seth's reaction was not what EJ had expected: he burst into laughter. But not just your everyday kind of laughter. Seth was overcome by a fit of tears-down-the-face, feet-stamping-on-the-ground, can't-breathe, shrill, sidesplitting laughter. It was loud and drew attention. As it continued, EJ became annoyed.

"What's so funny?" he finally asked.

It took Seth another half a minute before he could formulate the words. "You are, silly!"

"Why's that?"

"You didn't have to get me drunk to hook up with me, dope. That's why I'm here!"

And then Seth did a second thing that EJ didn't expect at all. Having finally caught his breath after the hysteria subsided, he rolled gracefully out of EJ's arms and wretched his guts out onto the pavement.

 Episode 5

Theo got to band practice first on Monday, followed shortly thereafter by EJ, who was wearing a pair of blue sunglasses despite the fact that it was an overcast day and he was inside.
"Hey," EJ said, walking over after getting his tenor sax out of his locker.
"Hey," Theo said.
"Theo, right?" EJ asked. Theo nodded. "Thanks for taking care of Topher the other night."
"No problem," Theo said, fitting his clarinet together. They both took their reeds and popped them into the sides of their mouths. "And I'm guessing you took care of Seth, too."
EJ chuckled. "You didn't talk to him yesterday?" he asked.
"Nope. I called him but his mom said he wasn't feeling so good. I don't even know if he's in school today."
EJ told him of the events at the party after Theo had left. Theo used sucking at his reed as an excuse for not looking like he was pursing his lips in exasperation.
Seth walked into the room at that moment, looking slightly wan. Seeing EJ talking to Theo, he did his best to brighten up, dumped his knapsack in his locker, got his clarinet out, and walked over to them. "Cool glasses," he said.
"Thanks," EJ said. "You okay?"
"Of course. Why wouldn't I be okay?" Seth answered. Theo recognized the tone in his voice. It wasn't defensive. He was actually asking why he wouldn't be.
"No reason," EJ said. "You want to get together later?"
"Love to," Seth replied with a forced smile. "Which lunch do you have? If it's second lunch, we can get together then."
"Yeah, I eat second lunch, but I go out with Topher usually," EJ said.
"That's okay. I usually eat with Theo. The four of us can eat together."
"Deal," EJ said,as the music director began waving for silence. "Meet us in the lot. We'll take you out."
After the warm-ups and the first play-through of the march, Theo leaned over to Seth while the director addressed the low brass.
"Yeah, sure," he said, trying to keep the anger out of his voice. "We can eat with them. Fine with me."
"Eye roll," Seth replied.
"We could get in trouble," Theo added. "We're not supposed to leave the campus."
"Don't worry about it," Seth said, looking over at EJ. "What's with the glasses?"
"I don't know. A bunch of guys have them on today."
"They're cool," Seth said. "Kind of sexy."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. So why didn't you call me yesterday?"
Seth turned to Theo. "Would you believe when I woke up I had been sold into white slavery in Mexico?"
Theo laughed. "No..."
"How about I was hospitalized for alcohol poisoning?"
"Closer," Theo said.
"I was so sick I thought I was going to Die? Then I got into the Fight of All Fights with my folks."
"There it is," Theo said. "And no wonder. You drank a lot. You still should have called. It would have been nice to have heard what happened from you."
Seth went pale. "Why," he asked. "What happened?"
"You don't remember?"
"Just bits and pieces. Did we hook up? I'd be so pissed if we hooked up and I missed it. I don't think that happened, though."
"Would you believe you..."
Seth cut him off by taking hold of Theo's upper arm. His eyes had gone wide. "Serious," he said. "What happened?"
"You didn't hook up," Theo said as the director called everyone back to attention, "you threw up."
"Oh, no," Seth whispered.
"Oh, yes," Theo said but was unable to finish because the director was about to start. He took his pencil as if he were marking his score and wrote, in clear block letters at the bottom, "on his sneakers."
Seth went completely white as the band played through the opening strains of Thunder and Blazes.

EJ and Topher got to the parking lot first. They had run into each other in the hall the period before and EJ had filled him in on their new lunch plans. They bumped knuckles when they met.

"You feeling better?" EJ asked as they started scanning the crowd walking into the lot.

"Yeah," Topher said. "Fuck, I was wasted."

"Yeah," EJ echoed. "You weren't alone. You sure it's all right if the boys come along? You okay with keeping the other one busy?"

"No problem," Topher said. "Theo's a good kid."

EJ spotted the boys coming out of the building, and caught Seth's eye. Seth waved and headed toward the pickup.

EJ turned to Topher. "We okay?" he asked seriously.

"Yeah, man," Topher said after a beat. "Not your fault. You were doing what you thought was right." The two looked at each other for a minute, each through his own pair of blue sunglasses.

EJ tried to gauge Topher's sincerity. It wasn't that Topher lied. Topher never lied to him. It was more that Topher wasn't always the best person to ask about how Topher was feeling. Sometimes it took him a while to figure out what he was feeling. Sometimes he thought he was fine when he really wasn't.

"Okay, man," EJ said, bumping knuckles with him again. "We can talk more about it later if you want."

The boys arrived. Theo smiled sweetly at Topher. Seth looked artificially cheery. Topher climbed into the bed of the pickup and motioned for Theo to follow him. Seth got into the passenger seat, and they were off.

"Nice glasses," Theo said to Topher. "What are they for?"

"It's a football psych," Topher said. "Everyone on the team is supposed to wear them today. It's 'cause we won on Friday." EJ pulled out of the lot and picked up speed. The wind forced the two boys closer to each other in order to be able to hear. "Look," Topher said, "I wanted to thank you for the party."

"No problem," said Theo. "What else was I going to do?"

"No," said Topher, "I don't just mean getting me home. Fuck, that was the least of it. I mean for...I don't know...for being there, you know? For listening."

Theo just smiled in response.

"It helped, too. It's different now."


"Yeah," Topher said. "Like the day after when you have the flu."

"Glad I could help," Theo said.

"If there's ever anything you need, you just tell me, 'kay? If anyone ever gives you any shit for anything. You know?"

Theo smiled again.

It was a nice smile, Topher thought. The kid was good looking, come to think of it. His large brown almondine eyes capped by thick high eyebrows and full luxuriant lashes gave him an open, sincere look. When relaxed, the middle of his upper lip tilted up a little, showing his two front teeth. His body could be okay too if he worked out. Topher found himself wondering what Theo's chest looked like.

Seth and EJ sat in the cab in silence for the first few minutes of the drive. Seth sat kitty-cornered against the door with his knee bent on the seat between them so he could look at EJ, who was driving with a self-satisfied little smirk on his face, waiting for Seth to talk. Seth frowned at the grin.

"So you're just going to wait for me to say something, is that it?" Seth finally asked.

"Yep," EJ said, the grin growing more pronounced.

Seth swore under his breath and waited another half a minute. "Okay," he said, conceding the round, "I'm really sorry I threw up on your shoes."

"Oh, dude," EJ replied delightedly, "you didn't throw up on my shoes."

"Theo said I did," Seth returned, confused.

"No, babe. You threw up in my shoes."

Seth rolled his eyes and turned to look out the passenger window. EJ laughed heartily. "It's okay, babe," he said, patting Seth's knee. "Really." He left his hand on the knee. When Seth didn't turn back, he gave it a gentle squeeze. "Really. It's mostly my fault anyway. I shouldn't have made you drink that much."

"You didn't make me," Seth said without turning back.

"Yeah I did. But you got me back good. We're even. It's okay."

Seth silently looked out his window as the trees sped by. They were just beginning to show signs of turning color. Every once in a while, he'd see an old oak with bits of yellow, or a maple considering a blush. EJ's hand remained on his knee. Seth extended his leg toward the driver's side by the tiniest amount.

"Really," EJ repeated. He rotated his hand so that his fingers were tickling the inside of Seth's thigh. "Were you serious about what you said?"

Seth finally turned to look. "Which thing?" he asked trepidantly.

EJ laughed again. "You don't remember, do you?"

Seth pursed his lips. "You think this is funny?"


Seth frowned and turned back to the window, pulling his knee away and crossing his legs away from EJ. EJ could have sworn he actually heard the kid mutter the word "mutter".

"What the fuck?" EJ said playfully, "It is funny!" Seth crossed his arms, closing himself off further. EJ looked over at him. "Babe, I'm not laughing at you, I'm laughing at me!"

Seth had decided in English class that he was going to control their conversation through pissiness. This, however, was not what he had expected to hear. Despite his inclination to stay angry, he turned back to look at EJ.

"Why are you laughing at you?" he asked, again confused.

"Because I was such an idiot."

"You were an idiot?"

"Oh yeah! I'm, like, doing my suave best to get into your pants, and you hurl in my shoes."

"And how does that make you an idiot?" Seth asked dubiously. EJ stopped at a red light and turned to face him.

"Man, you don't remember, do you?" Seth stared back blankly. "See, I'm like, totally taken with you, right? So I think, how can I get him? How can I get him? and I come up with this great plan to get you drunk so you'll agree to hook up with me. And we spend this great night together, and I'm finally getting to be able to hold you, and you're like, so smooth and warm. And I keep feeding you more and more rum so you'll agree to go upstairs with me, and it turns out you wanted to anyway, and the whole plan was for shit, and all I got for my great idea was blue balls and green trainers."

Seth's eyes narrowed as he scrutinized EJ, but his lips betrayed a slight grin. "You were really taken with me?"

"Yeah, babe."

"And you did all that just so we could hook up?"

"Yep." The light turned green and EJ turned back to the road. Seth uncrossed his arms and put his knee back on the seat between them. EJ finished shifting and put his hand back on Seth's knee. "So you see why I think it's pretty funny? I usually don't have this kind of problem with hooking up with guys."

"Yeah," Seth allowed putting his hand on top of EJ's. "That is pretty funny."

The cool wind in the back had forced Topher and Theo into a corner of the bed of the pickup so they could hear each other. When they talked, they each turned so that they were mouth to ear.

"Did you talk with EJ yesterday? Are things okay?" Theo asked.

"We talked a little."

"Did you tell him you were pissed at him?"

Topher shrugged noncommittally.

"Well, you should," Theo continued. "You should tell people if you're angry at them."

Topher nodded, looking at the trees as they sped past.

"But you're not really angry at him, anyway, right?"

Topher looked at Theo and narrowed his eyes. "I'm not?" he asked.

"Naw. You're mad at her. Just feels like you're mad at him."

Topher stared at Theo for a moment. Finally, a slow, sideways grin spread across his face. He punched Theo playfully on the shoulder. "How did you get so smart?" He said.

"Ouch," Theo replied, rubbing his shoulder.

The truck pulled into the pizza shop lot, and the four piled out.

Emilio's was a favorite lunchtime haunt for upperclassmen with open campus privileges. Seth and Theo had been there plenty of times, of course, but never during school. It was filled with juniors and seniors they recognized from the halls, a good number of whom were wearing blue sunglasses. EJ and Topher greeted each of these with a hail and knuckle bump.

Seth and Theo stood in line while EJ and Topher schmoozed with their friends.

"You're looking cheerier," Theo said, leaning over conspiratorially.

"Oh, yeah," Seth answered with an easy smile. "Got it all planned out."

The guys joined them in line. EJ stood close behind Seth. Throwing his right arm over Seth's right shoulder, he found Seth's left nipple and tickled it a couple of times. Seth leaned back into him, making contact from chest to hips and reached up to hang onto EJ's forearm. It was strong and wiry under his hands. EJ rocked slightly back and forth a couple of times, bumping his groin into Seth's ass. Seth giggled.

EJ bent his head down so that he was speaking directly into Seth's right ear. "We are going to have such a good time," he whispered. Seth stroked EJ's forearm in response and pressed his hips back, mashing EJ's dick against his butt. He felt it pulse in reply.

The four of them ordered, found a table, and sat -- EJ and Topher opposite Seth and Theo. Automatically, all four started dabbing the excess oil off the pizza slices with paper napkins. This was par for the course at Emilio's, which was renowned throughout the county for the oil you could soak up off the top of pizzas. People one hundred miles away had been identified as being from their town by that peculiar custom.

For his part, Topher couldn't stop wondering what Theo looked like without his shirt. Once that idea had gotten into his head back in the cab of the pickup, it wouldn't leave. Theo noticed Topher repeatedly glancing at his chest and started to become self-conscious.

Meanwhile, in the silence that happens when boys begin to eat, Seth had surreptitiously slipped off his left shoe under the table, raised his foot into EJ's lap and was tickling his balls with his toes. EJ almost choked when the foot first arrived. His thighs snapped closed, trapping Seth's foot before it could find its mark. But Seth was smiling over his slices, watching EJ's face as he ate. He spiked his eyebrows up and down a couple of times, trying his best to look suggestive. EJ grinned from ear to ear and relaxed his legs, allowing Seth full access.

"You gotta work out," Topher finally said, unaware of the drama that was happening next to him.

"I do?" Theo asked.

"Yeah. You should. You got a good body. You could get some good definition. You ever lift?"

Theo turned to Seth. "I have a good body," he said as if it were an aside that only Seth and the TV viewing audience could hear.

"Conspiratorial wink," Seth replied.

"No," Theo said, turning back to Topher. "I don't know how. I'd probably drop the thing on my neck and decapitate myself."

"That's why you have a spotter," Topher said, always happy finally to be able to be the one who explains things. "See, this is what we do: we start you off on a simple program working two body parts a day. You can do four sets of, like, twelve, ten, eight and six reps, and we won't go 'till failure for a couple of weeks..."

EJ laughed at the expression of horror on Theo's face. "You're scaring him, dude."

"Naw, Theo's the Man," Topher said taking an enormous bite of his pizza. Theo looked over for help from Seth.

Seth smiled sweetly back. "Evidently, you're the man," he said.

"Max!" Theo mouthed. "Help!"

"Theo usually comes over my house after dinner and we do homework," Seth said turning back to the senior side of the table and unable to think of anything better.

"Maybe I could too," EJ said. "I got some work I need help with."

Seth smiled, ran his toes along the length of EJ's woody and began to rotate his foot around the tip. The motion caught Topher's eye. He pushed away the table cloth and saw what was happening in his friend's lap.

"Jesus fucking Christ," he said, half disgusted by the public display -- not his style at all -- and half amused by his friend's uncanny ability to get it from anyone he wanted it from. "I'm eating, here."

EJ patted Seth's foot, and gently pushed it off his seat. Seth flashed his dimples at being caught.

"Good job, Max," Theo said.

"Almost got away with it, 99," Seth replied. "Missed it by that much." Instead of indicating a half an inch between with his thumb and forefinger, he indicated a good eight inches between his two palms. Theo gagged on his pizza trying not to laugh.

"What the fuck are you two talking about?" Topher said.

"We watch a lot of TVLand when we do our homework," Theo said, trying to regain his composure. "You know. Sitcoms from the sixties and seventies and stuff. Mostly Get Smart. Sometimes we try to...I don't know...challenge each other with obscure references. Just a game we play. Don't worry about it."

The conversation continued easily among the four of them. Theo figured he had managed to avoid the subject until they were half way home.

"So seriously," Topher said into his ear as they rode in the back of the pickup, "you going to work out with me?"

They turned heads so that Theo could answer. Topher had curly yellow sideburns where he let them grow. Below that, Theo could see the bright stubble where he shaved. It covered a large round muscle on the side of his jaw which helped make what would otherwise be a thin face more square. Jesus, Theo thought, even his jaw has muscles. The blue of the sunglasses intensified the blue of his eyes as he waited patiently for an answer. Theo's resolve melted.

"Well, I think it's probably a monumentally bad idea, but yeah. I guess I will."

"Word!" Topher said happily, throwing his arm around Theo's shoulders and drawing Theo's head to his chest in a playful headlock. He threw in a couple of light nuggies for good measure. It was a combination of moves whose intentions Theo would spend the rest of the afternoon questioning. "Come over after dinner. You know where I live?"

"I've been there," Theo reminded Topher's left nipple.

"Oh, yeah!" Topher tousled Theo's hair and let him go. "See you at 8:00 then."

In the cab, EJ and Seth had picked up right where they had left off in the restaurant. Seth hadn't bothered to buckle in, sidling over to sit next to EJ instead. He had never been in a truck that was old enough to have a bench in front rather than two seats. It was kind of fun. In return, EJ put his right arm around Seth's shoulders and drew him even closer. Except for the constant need to readjust to shift, it was a very comfortable arrangement. They chatted about nothing for the ride back to the campus. When they pulled into the lot and parked, Seth turned to face EJ, tilted his head back, and shut his eyes.

EJ got the message and complied. Their kiss was tender and sharing. Seth was more of a participant than when he had been drunk, but he still let EJ's tongue do most of the heavy lifting. EJ, holding onto Seth's back while he explored with his mouth, could actually feel Seth melt. When he finished the kiss, they both needed a moment just to breathe.

"So," EJ said not letting Seth out of his embrace, "when we gonna hook up? I can't walk around with a hard-on all the time like this."

"And quite a hard-on it is!" Seth exclaimed giddily as he tickled the length of it through EJ's jeans.

"It's yours, babe. Just give the when and where."

"That depends," Seth said, breaking free from EJ's arms and opening the door.

"Yeah?" EJ asked. "On what?"

"On how nice you are to me." Seth shot a dazzling display of dimple across EJ's bow. "Thanks for lunch!" he said, and, to EJ's consternation, tripped happily back toward the school.

 Episode 6

Eight o'clock found Theo standing on the landing outside Topher's door. It was a warm night, as it had been an unusually warm autumn. Theo leaned on the banister, staring at the door. He had already turned to leave twice -- the second time making it halfway down the stairs -- but each time he had turned back. Still, he couldn't bring himself to knock on the door.
He was just staring at it when it opened. Topher was inside, dressed in short cutoff sweats and an old once-white wife-beater. He was pumped and covered with a fine sheen of sweat.
"Hey!" he said cheerily, "I wasn't sure if you'd come. But I thought I saw you out there. C'mon in."
Theo walked in. The bedroom took up the entire second floor of the garage, except for a bathroom in the far corner. The room was clearly an architectural afterthought, added to the post and beam building as a servant's quarters years ago. Large roughhewn pillars held up the steeply sloped ceiling in four places. Along one wall was the bed, unmade and covered with clothes. A small table and two chairs were set up along the opposite wall. The third, farthest from the door, had a couch, TV and sound system. Along the wall closest to them was a bench and a set of weights.
Theo looked at the weights, then at Topher. "Sweet setup, huh?" Topher said, obviously self-satisfied.
"Yeah," Theo said. "It's big." The windows were wide open, and a fan was set up to blow air out the window closest to the workout area. Still, the room had a faint odor of musk. It smelled lived-in.
"The folks live over in the house, but I got pretty much everything I need right here. Where are your clothes?"
Theo looked down at his clothes and shrugged. He wore a green turtleneck and baggy corduroy pants. "You didn't bring clothes?" Topher asked. "That's okay. You can use some of mine."
He went to a bureau, opened one of the drawers and began fishing through it, throwing what he didn't want on the floor. At last he found what he was looking for -- a pair of tattered gym shorts. "These are a couple of years old," he said throwing them to Theo, "they should fit you." He continued searching through another drawer until he found a suitable T-shirt. "This too. Try 'em on."
Topher seemed to have a great deal of energy. As much energy, in fact, as Theo had discomfort. Topher continued his frenetic activity, kicking a large patch of floor clear of clothes, adjusting the angle of the fan, moving circular weights from one bar to another. Theo stood there holding the clothes without quite knowing what to do. Topher finally finished his preparation, sat down at the end of the bench and looked at Theo.
"Change," Topher said again.
"Yeah. Sure. Why not?"
Theo waited for Topher to turn around. He didn't. He continued to sit on the bench watching. So Theo turned around and reluctantly dropped his pants. Stepping into the shorts Topher had given him, he lifted them to find they were a couple of inches too large at the waist. Holding them up past his navel, he turned back around to Topher and let them go. They barely caught on his hips. Topher grinned.
Theo turned again and stripped off his shirt. Topher stopped grinning. "Wait a minute," he said before Theo could get the other shirt on. "Turn around again. Let me see what you look like."
Theo breathed deeply and realized he was trembling. Slowly and on unsteady legs, he turned to face Topher.
The kid had smooth olive skin, tan from a summer of play. He was thin, but not too thin. His chest muscles were high, tight, and just beginning to show. They were capped by quarter-sized red-brown nipples. His vertical abdominal muscles were long and slender. He crossed his arms and slouched. Topher realized the kid was uncomfortable.
"What's the matter?" Topher asked.
"Nothin'," Theo said in an unconvincing voice.
Accepting the answer at face value, Topher stood and walked over. He uncrossed Theo's arms and put them at his side. Theo allowed himself to be positioned. "See, we'll start on your arms first. Arms and chest. Build up some strength there so you can work on other parts." Topher tested the weight and thickness of Theo's muscles while he talked. His touch raised goose bumps on Theo's flesh.
"You cold?" he asked.
Theo shook his head.
"You got a good frame," Topher continued. "You should get some definition pretty quick." He was running his hands over Theo's chest, poking at the edges and center of his muscles. "I was smaller than you are when I was a sophomore. You'll see."
Topher kept talking lightly and excitedly about why working out was such a good idea, but Theo noticed that the quality of his manual explorations had changed. He wasn't feeling muscles anymore so much as he was feeling skin. One hand rested on Theo's shoulder, the other brushed back and forth between his nipples, sometimes dipping down to his stomach. For his part, Topher seemed unaware of the change, or of the effect the change was causing. He continued to effuse over the joys of lifting.
Theo closed his eyes, feeling the electricity in Topher's hands. The smell of the room was more pronounced with Topher right next to him. It was sweat and energy. Theo breathed in fully, causing a bit of a head rush. Topheromones. The thought made him smile. When he opened his eyes again, he realized Topher had stopped talking and rubbing him. He was just standing there looking at his face with his hand resting slightly above his navel. There was an awkward moment of silence as they looked into each other's eyes. Brown to blue and back.
Theo broke the spell by pulling away. As soon as he moved, Topher became animated again as if nothing had just happened. He walked to the rack of weights and got two twenty-pound dumbbells.
"Here," he said, "start with these." He handed them to Theo who, more than anything else, was aware of the fact that he still hadn't put a shirt on.
Theo looked at the weights in his hands, then at Topher. Topher laughed at the look on his face. "Do curls," he said. Getting no response, he mimed a few. Theo nodded and began swinging the weights up to his shoulders in great arcs. Topher laughed again.
"No, no," Topher said. "Look, here's the idea," he went to get two dumbbells for himself (forty pounders, Theo tried not to notice). "See, it's all about form. You want to keep really steady while you're doing them. Don't move your elbows. Pretend they're tied to your side." He demonstrated a few with each arm. Theo tried to imitate him. The cords in his neck pulled so tightly it caused him to frown involuntarily.
"Okay," Topher said, trying to be encouraging, "that's good 'cause you don't want to swing them the way you were, but you want to try to isolate the muscles you're working on. This is for your biceps and a little for your triceps. But you don't want to do anything else." Theo blinked at him. "Okay..." Topher said, trying to find another tack, "okay. Put them down." Theo complied happily. Topher put one of his weights down as well, keeping only one in his right hand. "Okay. Now watch me do a curl. See, I breathe in when I'm going up, and I breathe out when I'm going down..." he demonstrated. "See how the only muscles that are tight are my biceps and triceps?" Theo looked at Topher's arm, already bulking up after only a few of the motions.
"Feel right here," Topher said, indicating his right trapezius. "See how this is loose?" Theo put his hand on Topher's shoulder. The muscle, dense and round under the skin, was indeed pliable. Theo left his hand there. "Feel how loose it is?" Theo nodded. "Good, now feel my biceps." Theo ran his hand over Topher's shoulder and down his arm. The skin was cool and damp. He stopped where the biceps swelled. It was rock hard and curiously shaped. Theo had always thought that big arms were just kind of round. But on Topher's he felt dents and bulges where he didn't expect them. Topher watched Theo become engrossed in feeling his arm.
"Feel that?" Topher asked. The quality of his voice had changed. Again, Theo wondered if Topher himself was aware of the difference. Theo nodded.
"Good," Topher said. Theo, who had not been instructed to let go, left his hand on Topher's arm. Topher put down his weight slowly, letting Theo's fingers slide up past his shoulder as he descended. He picked up Theo's weights and handed them to him.
Topher walked around to stand directly behind Theo. His right hand cupped Theo's right elbow, his left held Theo's left trapezius. Theo could feel the dampness of Topher's chest against his shoulder blades and his breath on his ear.
"Okay," Topher said gently, patting Theo's right elbow, "first this one. Breathe in as it comes up...good...keep loose here..." his left hand massaged the base of Theo's neck a little, "good. And let it down. Breathe out. Good. You feel it here?" His right hand raised to cup Theo's biceps. Theo nodded. "Good. Now the other one..." he brought his left hand down to encircle Theo's left biceps. "good...and down...don't forget to breathe...good. And do the right one again...good."
Theo was on automatic. He had no idea whether or not he was lifting properly, or even if he was lifting at all. What he knew was that Mr. Yummy was holding him, stroking his arms, purring into his ear. Losing himself for a moment, he leaned backward and lost balance. Topher caught him.
"Too much? Doesn't matter. That was great!" Neither of them were quick to move. "You want to rest a minute?" Theo nodded, still not pulling out of Topher's arms. "Okay. I was doing bench presses before you came. You can spot me."
Another awkward moment while they both just stood there making contact. This time it was Topher who pulled back. "You can put those down now," he said. Theo put the weights on the floor.
"Okay," Topher said, walking over to his bench, whose bar was already set with weights, "I'm going to lie down on the bench like this, see? With my head at this end..." He lay back, planting his feet on either side of the bench, knees splayed wide. Theo willed himself not to check him out. "You come and stand here, right above my head." Theo moved around toward the top of the bench. "Good, but you have to get closer." Theo took a step closer. "No, right up to the bench," Topher said. He reached above his own head, grabbed the front of Theo's shorts, and pulled forward. When he let go, the waistband snapped Theo's belly and began to slide off his hips. Theo caught them just in time.
"Okay," Topher continued, "put your hands on the bar. Now, I'm going to do all the work. I'm going to lift it four times. By the fourth, it's going to be really hard. You just help me guide it back into the holder at the end, okay?" Theo nodded.
Topher lifted the bar and steadied it in his hands. Theo put his hands by his side, letting Topher have his space. "No," Topher said, "keep your hands on the bar. Follow me as I go down and up. Just don't help until the end."
"Okay," Theo said dubiously. He put his hands back on the bar.
Topher lowered the bar to his chest once, twice. Each time he lifted it, he did so with a great expulsion of air. By the third time, he was hissing air out through pursed lips. A little bit of spittle erupted, landing on the rug beside him. His chest, normally big and round, became granite. The difference was remarkable. Planes appeared where none had been before, striations arose at boundaries. Beads of sweat formed on the small patch of curly blond hair at the center of his chest and his face turned a deep, frighteningly bright shade of crimson. The fourth lift, as promised, was shaky. Topher fought the bar furiously. What had started as quick, fluid motion had turned into a battle for inches.
Theo became alarmed. What if Topher couldn't lift the bar? There was no way he was going to be able to keep it from crashing down on his neck. But the bar kept going up, helped on its way by a fierce growl. Topher's arms finally locked. He began to bring the bar back to the holder. Theo steered it into place.
Theo looked down wide-eyed. Topher smiled, sat up, and patted the bench beside him. Theo moved around the bar and sat down next to him. They both looked at Topher's chest.
"That was awesome," Theo said.
"Feel right here," Topher said, putting his own hand at a particular spot on his pectoral. Theo brought his hand up and placed it on Topher's chest. Topher flexed his muscles, causing his chest to pulse under Theo's fingers. Theo giggled.
"I'll never get like that," Theo said. "It doesn't matter how much I work-out."
"Sure you will," Topher said, bringing his hand up to the same place on Theo's chest as Theo held on his. The skin was warm and silky. Topher could feel Theo's heart beating. It was going fast.
Each was looking at the other's chest. They fell silent, and slowly, simultaneously, raised their gazes until they were looking into each other's eyes. This time neither of them broke free. The only sound was Topher's quiet breathing from his recent exertion and the autumn crickets outside.
Topher leaned forward, bringing his lips to Theo's. The kiss was tentative and tender. Theo marveled at the roughness of Topher's lips, Topher at the smoothness he found. Theo tasted like strawberries. They looked at each other for a long time after the kiss ended.
"I've never kissed a boy before," Topher said.
"Neither have I," said Theo.
Topher smiled. "Have you kissed girls?"
Theo shook his head. "Have you?" The question was obviously in fun.
Topher nodded. "Yeah," he said. "Lots."
"You like it?"
"Yeah," Topher said, "I think I do. You taste like strawberries."
"I was eating strawberries on the way over."
"I like strawberries."
"You want some more?" Theo asked.
Topher nodded. The second kiss was more insistent. Topher took Theo's face in his hands and pulled him to him. Theo reached over Topher's shoulder and took hold of his back, pulling the larger boy into himself as much as he was being drawn forward. Topher's tongue was everywhere, in Theo's mouth, on his mouth, licking his chin, his cheek, his ear.
Theo replied in kind, stroking Topher's back, his sides, his shoulders. He reached under his shirt to feel his skin with his fingertips, his palms, his forearms. The kiss was finally broken when Theo raised his hands, lifting the shirt off Topher entirely.
Panting, they surveyed each other, each allowing themselves to fully study the other for the first time in this new light. Theo was first to touch what he found interesting. He traced the valley between Theo's pectorals, ran his fingers around the hair on his chest, tested his deltoids by kneading them lightly. Topher was not far behind, stroking Theo's cheek, the nape of his neck, outlining his nipple, running his finger down Theo's side.
"That's nice," Topher said, feeling the hollow of Theo's stomach.
"I bet you say that to all your work out partners," Theo said.
Topher laughed heartily. "Yeah, right."
"You never kissed a boy before?" Theo asked. "Not even one?"
Topher shook his head again. "I've never done anything with a boy before."
"Seth and I used to practice kissing, but that doesn't count," Theo said.
"Oh, well, yeah," Topher said. "EJ and I used to jack off together when we were little, but that was different."
Theo nodded.
"So how do I rate against Seth?" Topher asked. Theo laughed. "He taught you pretty well."
"We taught each other," Theo corrected. "And that's not all we taught each other, either." He raised his eyebrows suggestively.
Theo nodded and smiled slyly. "'Course, you'd have to like boys."
"I like you," Topher said without guile. "Does that count?"
"That counts just fine," Theo said.
Topher kissed Theo on the nose playfully. Theo returned the favor. They both smiled.
"You want to go over there?" Topher asked, indicating the bed. Theo nodded. Topher stood and led Theo over by the hand. When they got there, he swept all the clothes onto the floor and pushed the piled blanket out of the way. Theo sat on the edge of the bed. Topher pushed Theo's knees apart with his own and stood between them.
At eye level, now, was the line of hair that ran from Topher's navel down to where it disappeared beneath his shorts. Theo reached out to feel it. It was coarse, like all of Topher's hair. The skin it covered was tan and cool. Below, Topher's erection tented his shorts.
With a hand under his chin, Topher lifted Theo's head, bent down, and kissed him again. This time the theme was entry and possession. Topher's tongue pushed into Theo's mouth and set up shop. It undulated and twisted, pulsing forward and back. Theo sucked at it, inviting it to explore and probe.
In a smooth, continuous move, Topher settled Theo back onto the bed and lay on top of him. The boy was small under him and Topher had no problem positioning him where he wanted. Theo lifted his knees and held onto Topher's hips with them. Topher liked that. He mashed their groins together. Interlocking his fingers with Theo's, he lifted his hands over his head. The boy was completely pinned. Topher broke the kiss and lifted his head to look at Theo's big brown eyes, so filled with desire for him. They were both panting, their only other movement Topher's rhythmic grinding of his hips into Theo's.
Topher was overwhelmingly heavy in a completely pleasing way. It was certainly different than kissing Seth. Topher had an agenda which seemed to be both the taking and giving of pleasure. Theo found the latter somewhat of a surprise. Topher moved Theo around at will, but the positions Theo found himself placed in were delightful. And the periodic sliding pressure on his dick was breathtaking. Topher was dry humping him now through their shorts in deliberate, forceful jabs. Their dicks were side by side so each thrust brought them equal pleasure. Theo found himself breathing in time with Topher's hip flexes. He wrapped his feet around Topher's butt and pulled in with his heels, encouraging Topher on.
Theo's eyes were wide and filled with hunger. Topher searched them for clues. They were urging him on, matching his lust and need with their own. When he found a spot that Theo particularly liked, they told him, and he stayed there. His own dick was straining for release. The friction between their bodies, of his sensitive head on the fabric of the shorts, of his foreskin sliding back and forth was bringing him close to the edge. He could tell the boy was close, too, from his breathing. It was shallow, sharp, and timed to his jabs. When Theo's eyes began to glaze and roll upward, Topher let himself pass the point of no return. His grip on Theo's fingers tightened as all his muscles tensed. Theo responded in kind, pulling against Topher's superior strength.
With one last thrust, Topher felt Theo's hips jerk. The spasm ran through his thighs to his feet wrapped tightly around Topher's butt. The sudden added pressure was all Topher needed. He mashed their dicks together and held as the waves shook him. Each twitch in one caused a sympathetic twitch in the other, and the orgasm passed back and forth freely from boy to boy. Topher never stopped watching. When Theo finally regained his sight, the blue eyes were still boring into him. Topher had a shit eating grin on his face.
"I spoojed your shorts," Theo said apologetically when he was finally able to catch his breath.
"That's okay," Topher said without moving or letting go of Theo's hands, "so did I." They both laughed a little giddily.
"You're really good," Theo said.
"Thanks," Topher answered, still staring down into Theo's eyes.
"No, I mean you're really good!"
Topher nodded.
"Like, all I want to do right now is nap."
Topher's eyes widened. "Are you fucking serious?"
"Sorry," Theo said. "It's just that that was so intense."
"No!" Topher exclaimed, his smile broadening from ear to ear. "That's great! Me too! All I ever want to do after I fuck is sleep. Sleep or sometimes eat a sandwich." He finally let go of Theo's hands and rolled off him. The two lay side by side face up on the bed. Without Topher on top of him, the sweat that had accumulated between them began to cool. Theo nestled closer for warmth. Topher adjusted so that Theo's head lay on his shoulder and absently stroked the boy's back.
"What?" Theo asked when Topher began to laugh for no reason.
"Nothing. Just that EJ was right."
"'Bout what?"
"When Lise and I broke up. He was getting over this relationship with the R-- with a kid named Rory, and so we were both single at the same time. He said I should find a boy, because boys were easier and we both deserved an easy time this time. And he was right. Like, you want to nap, too. Girls never want to nap after. They want me to talk to them and shit. It's pretty cool."
Theo broke out into hysterical laughter. Topher became alarmed. He sat up and looked at the boy as he writhed in giggles on the bed.
"What?" he asked, concerned that he had, again, said something wrong.
"No," Theo said gulping air, "it's not you. It's EJ!"
"What about EJ?"
"EJ wants something easy," Theo said through the tears of delight that were beginning to roll down his cheeks, "and of all people, he picked Seth. Now that's funny!"
Seth stood before his mirror for his nightly self-assessment. "Tomorrow I'll start doing sit-ups," he told his belly button. He wondered what EJ saw in him. It was easy to be confident in front of other people -- harder to be so when alone. He wished he weren't so thin, or so smooth or so...yellow.
There was no question about what he saw in EJ. From the dark eyes constantly half-hidden by the cap past the strong, stubbly chin and the broad chest with its two square, rock-hard muscles to the Dick of Death he had explored with his hand and his toe (not to mention the small of his back), to the hairy shins, he was 100% pure, fresh-packed, babelicious Stud. EJ had the kind of looks that made people on the other side of the street stop and stare. Seth wanted to be on his arm when they did.
He knew they were going to fuck soon. The thought made him shiver with anticipation. He couldn't think of a better guy to lose his virginity to. Theo and he had discussed at length whether or not to practice fucking with each other like they did giving head and hand jobs. They decided not to -- more romantic that way when the time actually came. It was also a bit of a relief for Seth who didn't relish the idea of letting The Monster anywhere near his ass.
Lacking actual experience, he had done a fair bit of research on the subject. Too bad he couldn't finagle a way to get English credit out of it. He knew it would hurt a little, he knew to clean himself out in advance. He knew to lubricate and that he could exert a fair amount of pleasure-inducing pressure variation if he could figure out the right combination of muscles. He knew he could practice on various objects. He had. Some of those objects had been clandestinely appropriated from the refrigerator later earning his mother's serious, if perplexed reproach. "Why would you eat that? That was for dinner." He had neither the inclination nor the nerve to tell her he didn't eat it.
He also knew that guys who liked to fuck liked to feel like they were in control of things. Granted, he got this from watching sitcoms, but EJ seemed to fit the mold perfectly. Evidently they all really did need to think like it was they who were calling the shots. Seth knew it wasn't. Under everyone with a lever is someone pulling it. Being hot and strong and having a big old sword to wave has its advantages for sure. But being able to make a hot, strong guy who has a big old sword to wave curl his toes and talk in tongues was what real control was about.
While it was a fine line he was treading he felt he was playing EJ just right. It was a difficult balancing act -- showing you were interested at the same time you were making him come to you. But EJ had complied valiantly. So soon they would be hooking up.
It was just the right amount of time, too. Any shorter and he'd have seemed too eager and thus uninteresting. Any longer and he'd explode. Or EJ would. Poor EJ was beginning to get a look of desperation about his eye that Seth found flattering, seductive, and mildly alarming.
Seth's reflection smiled at him. He may not be able to see what EJ saw in him, but EJ did, and that's what counted.

 Episode 7

Seth and Theo sat backstage loading weights onto the ropes to counterbalance the sets that were being hung. Seth didn't really have to be at rehearsal. They weren't blocking any of his scenes that day. He just wanted to avoid going home as long as possible, and helping Theo was a good way to kill time.
"So then he told me he's been walking around all day with a hard on since he met me," Seth said, "and I was like, your dick is Fabulous, and he was like, you can have it whenever you want."
"Not bad," Theo said, picking up another weight. "So there you go then. When you going to do it?"
Seth grinned. "I told him he had to be nice to me first."
"Now why would you go and do that? Hasn't he been being nice to you?"
"Exasperated grunt. You are So naive," Seth said.
Theo rolled his eyes, dropped his weight into the holder, straightened up, then looked at Seth. "I think Topher and I did it."
Seth picked up another weight. "Did what?" he asked.
"I think Topher and I had sex."
Seth blinked at him. Theo blinked back. "Be serious," Seth said.
"I am being serious. I think Topher and I did it."
"You think?" Seth asked.
"Well, nothing went inside anything else, but we both got off. Does that count?"
"Shut up!!" Seth said wide-eyed. "You and Mr. Yummy??"
Theo nodded.
"Get out!! Tell me Everything!"
Theo gave a brief account of the previous evening, leaving out the unspoken emotion and the conversation at the end. Seth listened to it slack-jawed. When Theo was done, a wide grin spread across his face.
"You Dawg! Why didn't you tell me you were trying to get him to come on to you?"
Theo shrugged.
"That's it. I got to do EJ now. This is so unbelievable! We're both going to have boyfriends at the same time, and they're best friends, and we're best friends. It's like Rob and Laura and Jerry and Millie. Except you guys are Jerry and Millie."
"I am not Millie Helper," said Theo emphatically, "and I don't know if he's my boyfriend or not. It just kind of happened. I don't know if it means anything."
"Of course it means something," Seth said. "And if it doesn't, you can make it mean something. This is so cool."
Theo returned to the task at hand, lifting another weight to bring over to the holder. "He said I'd buff out if I kept lifting. You think I should?"
Seth looked at him. "I don't know," he said honestly. "I like you the way you are. But you'd probably look hot if you bulked up. Do you want to?"
"Seems like a lot of work," Theo said.
"Yeah," Seth agreed. "But you'd be doing it with Him."
"Yeah," Theo echoed. "There's that."

Football practice let out at 5:00, play rehearsals at 5:30. EJ and Topher changed quickly without showering. Fifteen minutes before the rehearsal broke, the two showed up in the auditorium. Seth and Theo were backstage. It was Theo who spotted them come in. The boys walked out into the audience while the rehearsal continued behind them.
EJ took a seat in the back left corner of the theater. Topher, catching Theo's eye and indicating where he was going, moved to the back right. The boys split, each to their respective interest.
"I'm supposed to keep you busy while EJ plays with Seth," Topher said as Theo took his seat.
"You didn't tell him, then?"
Topher shook his head. "There wasn't really time. He spent all day talking about what he was going to do with Seth."
"I wasn't going to tell Seth. I wasn't not going to not tell him either. I mean I figured it would just come out some time later. But it came out this afternoon. That okay?"
"Sure," Topher said. "What do I care?"
They sat in silence for a minute watching the rehearsal. Theo didn't know what to say. He wanted to tell Topher how much he enjoyed the encounter, how turned on he was by him, how talented Topher was in bed, but he felt that to do so would somehow be inappropriate. He didn't want to come across as clingy.
"What play's this?" Topher asked after listening to a few lines.
"It's called The Country Wife," Theo said. "It's a Restoration comedy."
"Is it good?"
Theo shrugged. "I hardly pay attention to it. It's just a place to hang out after school. I work on the sets. See that living room over there?" Topher nodded. "I made that."
"That's good," Topher said. "Good job. You like working with your hands?"
Theo tried to decipher whether the question was meant as a double-entendre. "Yeah," he finally said, deciding it wasn't, "it's fun."
They sat still for another minute. Then, with an enormously understated motion, Topher bridged the three inch gap between them by moving his hand close enough to Theo's so that they were touching. Theo looked down at their hands, then up at Topher, who looked at Theo then down at their hands. Theo looked back at their hands wondering what would happen. Nothing did. He moved the pinky that was against Topher's hand so slightly it wasn't even a movement. It was more the suggestion of a movement. They watched for another half minute, until Topher's hand slowly took Theo's in his. Another half minute passed. Theo looked up at Topher. Topher looked back. Theo smiled at him. Topher smiled back.
Across the auditorium, Seth had taken a seat next to EJ.
"Hey, babe," EJ said.
"Hey, sexy," Seth returned draping his hand over EJ's thigh. EJ spread his knees wide in response and tweaked Seth's nipple through his shirt. "What brings you here?"
"You do. We just got out of practice. Thought I'd drop by and see if you wanted a ride home when your rehearsal got out."
"Sure!" Seth said. "Let's go for a drive!"
"Now?" EJ asked. "Don't you have to wait for the end?"
"Naw," Seth said. "I don't really have to be here today. They're not doing my scenes. I just came to hang with Theo. We can go, so long as I'm home for dinner."
Topher and Theo inconspicuously let go of each others' hands when EJ started walking in their direction.
"I'm taking Seth home. That okay with you, dude?" EJ asked Topher when he got to their seats.
"No problem," Topher replied. "I can walk."
"You sure?"
"Yeah. No worries."
He and EJ bumped knuckles, and EJ was off. Once out of sight, both boys rebridged the three inch gap.
"Your hands are really rough," Theo said.
Theo laughed. "Just an observation, not a complaint. I like them."
"You do?" Topher asked.
"Yeah. This knuckle especially," Theo said, indicating the middle knuckle of Topher's right pinky finger. "This is a mighty fine knuckle."
Topher laughed. "As good as my left knee?"
"Oh, I don't know," Theo equivocated, "that left knee's a killer..."

Seth was all over EJ as soon as they got into the truck.
"You're a randy little buck today, huh?" EJ said, pushing him out of the way so that he could maneuver the stick shift.
"I missed you," Seth answered, cuddling back close again once the truck was in forward gear. "Take me some place romantic."
"You're on." EJ peeled out of the parking lot. When he was done shifting, he put his arm around Seth's shoulders. Seth nuzzled in.
"Wow, you're ripe."
"Sorry," EJ said. "We didn't shower after practice. Wanted to make sure we got to the auditorium on time." He began to pull his arm away. Seth grabbed his hand and returned it to his right nipple.
"That's okay," Seth said, "I kinda like it."
"Perv," EJ said, laughing.
"Do what you do with my nipple again," Seth said. EJ tweaked Seth's nipple through his shirt. "Yeah," Seth giggled. "That's it. I never knew why guys had nipples before."
"I'll show you why you have lots of things, babe," EJ said, giving Seth's nipple a good pinch. Seth squirmed.
"I can show you some stuff too, you know," he said.
"Yeah? Like what?" EJ asked.
Seth walked his fingers across EJ's thigh and took hold of the top button of his jeans. "Oh, I don't know," he said slyly, pulling the button open and taking hold of the zipper. "Just stuff."
EJ tried to keep his eyes on the road as he felt his zipper lower and Seth's head descend into his lap. A blow job from a little blond in his pickup -- EJ was in heaven. He became instantly hard, the head of his dick poking up through his boxer shorts. His hand moved to the back of the boy's neck to help guide him toward the prize. He fought to keep his hips in the seat.
Seth peeled the top rim of EJ's boxers down just enough so that the head and crown were free but the rest was still restrained by the waistband. It was a great dick, from what Seth could see. The head was far bigger than the shaft, overhanging it in angled eaves. It was darker than the rest of EJ's tan skin, though it grew from the alabaster white below his tan line. A pearl of liquid was forming at the broad opening at its end.
"This is it," thought Seth. "Remember this moment."
He licked the tip, taking the liquid up with his tongue. It was unidentifiable in taste -- like his own when he tasted it at home. Unlike his own, though, he decided he liked it. He also liked the shiver that ran through EJ when his tongue made contact. "I did that," Seth thought. "That was because of me."
He felt the pressure on the back of his neck build. EJ was pushing him down onto his dick. Seth allowed it to happen. He kissed the end and ran his tongue around the head a couple of times. It was rubbery and loose at the surface but rigid underneath. He took the head into his mouth and sucked at it, rubbing it back and forth with the pebbly surface of his tongue.
EJ was at a disadvantage. He needed his feet to be free in case he had to break or shift gears. On the other hand, every muscle in his midsection was trying to force his weight onto his heels so that he could pivot up at the hip to shove the length of his dick down Seth's throat. Clearly, the boy needed to be taught how to go down. EJ would, otherwise, have been delighted to teach him. But he couldn't do it and drive at the same time.
He let go of the back of the boy's neck and took hold of the bottom of the steering wheel with his right hand, keeping pressure on Seth's back with his right forearm. That freed his left hand to lower his shorts, at least. He took hold of the waistband to pull it down under his balls, but Seth pushed his hand away.
EJ laughed. "I'm just getting my shorts out of your way, babe."
The head of EJ's dick fell from Seth's mouth with a plop. "I can do it myself, thank you very much." He leaned up and kissed EJ's chin before returning his attention to his midsection. "Now, where was I? Hmm..."
"Blow job," EJ said.
"Oh, yes." Seth licked around underneath the eaves. Pressing the area in front just below the head caused another globule of milky-white to form downstream. Seth lapped it up. Yes. He definitely was going to like the taste.
When the pickup stopped, Seth sat up. They were at the entrance to a small parking lot.
"Romantic, Chief. I said some place romantic."
"This is romantic," EJ said letting a car pass in front then pulling forward again into the lot.
"A Taco Bell? You think a Taco Bell is romantic?"
The pickup maneuvered behind the restaurant where a second completely vacant parking lot adjoined. EJ crossed over the short dirt patch between them. They were now behind a large warehouse of some sort.
"This is the old K-Mart," EJ said. "Closed a couple of years ago." He sped up, driving across the length of the lot away from the building. The pavement ended at the rim of a large gorge. Below, the wild trees were just beginning to turn colors. Yellows and greens and a touch of orange. Seth leaned forward to peer down into the gorge, then scanned to make sure the lot was truly empty.
"Okay," he said, "well, this is kinda romantic."
"Now," EJ said pulling his pants and shorts down to his knees, "where were you?"
"Let's talk for a while," Seth said, cuddling in.
"Do you fucking like giving me blue balls? Is that it?" EJ asked testily.
"Don't get angry."
"You can't keep priming the pump if you're not going to bleed the radiator," EJ said with some annoyance.
"I don't think radiators have pumps, Chief."
The muscle just below EJ's left temple bulged as he clenched his jaw. His eyes narrowed. Pulling the lever near the floor, he slid the seat as far back as it would go. Another lever and the steering wheel was tilted up and out of the way. His nostrils flared. Enough was enough.
In one quick, sure movement, EJ's hand cupped the back of Seth's neck and drew him forcibly toward him. Given the strength of it, Seth couldn't have resisted even if he had wanted to. When their lips met, EJ was unstoppable. He was everywhere, probing, demanding, taking. With his grip remaining firm on Seth's neck leaving no other option, Seth dissolved into the fury of the kiss as EJ consumed him.
As it was otherwise occupied, Seth was not permitted to breathe through his mouth, and as soon as he'd draw in air through his nose EJ would appropriate it for himself. He began getting dizzy from intensity and asphyxia.
Still locked in the endless kiss, Seth was only partially aware of the driver's side door being opened, of EJ maneuvering himself out of the car, of his being laid down lengthwise on the front seat. By the end of the kiss EJ was standing outside the truck bending over the seat. They were upside down to each other.
EJ stood up. He was magnificent. His shirt caught on his stomach just above his belly button, his shorts pulled down to his knees. Centered between, his dick stood up at a forty-five degree angle. It was long, dark and fleshy, and it was very, very hard.
He took Seth by the armpits and pulled him forward on the seat until his head hung back off the side. He pointed the tip of his dick at Seth's lips. This would be very satisfying. The boy was going to learn to go down, and he was going to learn quickly.
Seth was still breathing heavily from the kiss when he was pulled along the seat. That and the curious upside-down angle he found his head in made him go slack-jawed. From this vantage point, he could see the inside of EJ's thighs. They were defined by graceful curves. Seth reached up over his head to comb the hair on them with his fingers. But EJ was moving forward. By the time his hands got there they were too close. Instead, Seth grabbed on to the outside of EJ's thighs, feeling the junction where his ass grew from his hamstrings. Everything was happening very quickly. EJ was still moving forward. The unshowered funk got more pronounced. The tip of his dick passed Seth's lips.
The boy opened up and took the head with his lips, swirling his tongue around it. It was not enough for EJ, who now had a straight shot. With some satisfaction, he thrust forward steadily until his dick was buried down to the root. To his surprise, Seth took it easily, opening his throat and swallowing the shaft completely. The tight warmth was overwhelming. EJ grabbed onto the roof of the car for leverage. He pulled back so that just the head was in the kid's mouth. Seth used the opportunity to take a few deep breaths. EJ thrust again as deeply as he could, half hoping the kid would choke a little. It didn't happen. EJ watched Seth's throat enlarge as he took the dick in full.
Having tested for limits and finding none, EJ started pumping in full, assertive strokes. To his amazement, the kid was a master, managing to time his breaths, cover his teeth, open his throat completely, and still work the shaft with his tongue when it was in transit. The hands on his ass were even pulling him in, forcing that extra half-inch of depth after each thrust. EJ went wild.
He let go of the roof and bent in, holding onto the steering wheel for balance. With his other hand, he tore at Seth's pants. Managing to get the button open, he fumbled with the zipper. Seth, without missing an oral beat, reached down, opened his fly, and lowered his pants. His hands soon returned to EJ's ass where they once again pulled for bonus.
Freed, Seth's dick slapped up against his belly with a thud. It's base grew from a thin bush of yellow-brown hair. The sac beneath it, almost hairless, was wrinkled and tight, the balls already having begun receding in pleasure. In the heat of the moment, it was the prettiest dick EJ had ever seen.
EJ dropped a gob of spit onto his hand and grabbed the dick roughly. Another gob, and he was able to coat it completely. He began jacking the boy in rhythm with his thrusts. Seth's knees drew up involuntarily, fighting against the waistband of his shorts. His stomach was lithe, tight, and smooth, broken by a pronounced tan line just above where the bush began.
The sight of the boy laid out before him, taking his dick all the way down his throat and pulling for more, reacting to his jacking with such need brought EJ to the edge. He slid his palm over the head of the boy's dick furiously as he followed two half-strokes with a deep thrust. The switch flipped. The orgasm began in his toes and sped throughout his body. With his dick lodged deeply down the boy's throat, he spurted load after load. The pressure on his sensitive head as the boy swallowed was amazing, and soon became too much to take. He withdrew, shivering as the kid's lips tried to hold him in.
Able to breathe again, Seth blew instantaneously. The first spurt came out so forcefully it hit the roof of the pickup where it hung for a moment before dropping again back onto EJ's forearm. EJ didn't let up, stroking the boy's dick as furiously as when he was plowing him. Seth shot again and again, this time onto the windshield, the next onto his own chest. He was gulping for air now, and his hands flew to his groin to take control of EJ's manipulations. EJ would have none of it. He pumped for all he was worth, including the head in his strokes every once in a while just to see Seth squirm. When the boy was, at last, spent, he slowed, let go, and stood.
It took almost three minutes for them to catch their breath.

Topher had offered to walk Theo home. The sun was setting as they ambled onto his street.
"So you don't know anything about football?" Topher asked again, still confused that one could live fifteen years without such integral knowledge.
Theo shook his head.
"Well, do you want to come to the game anyway? I mean, I can teach you what's going on pretty quickly. At least in general."
Theo smiled. "Do I get to watch you bend down in those little stretchy pants and stick your hand in another guy's crotch?"
Topher laughed. "Yeah, that's part of it."
"That'd be fun," Theo said. He stopped in front of his house. "This is it."
The two of them looked at each other for a while, each not knowing what to say.
"Look," Topher said finally, "you know, this is all pretty new to me. I mean with boys and all."
"Me too," Theo said. "But I don't think it's that different."
"Yeah, it's different," Topher said. "If you were a girl, you'd be yelling at me by now."
Theo giggled. "For what?"
Topher shrugged. "I can never figure it out."
There was another silence. Theo looked at Topher. Topher looked at his feet.
"See, the thing is I kind of like you," the big blond said.
Theo smiled. "I kind of like you, too."
"And...and you know the thing we did when you came over to work out?"
Theo nodded.
"Well, I kind of want to do that again. Except more. More stuff."
"Me too," Theo said.
"So you want to come over again...to work out and stuff?"
Theo nodded.
Topher finally looked up. "Cool," he said.
"Except this time, do I have to work out?"
Topher smiled and shook his head.
"Cool," Theo said.
"You have really pretty eyes," Topher said. "Is that okay? Can I say that?"
Theo nodded.
"You do."
Theo took Topher's hand in his. "I have to get inside. My mom'll be waiting for me to come before she has dinner."
Topher nodded, but didn't move. Neither did Theo. "I like you too," Theo continued. "And I really liked what we did together, and I want to do more, and I'd love to watch you play football, and if you want me to lift weights, I'll lift weights, and...well, I like you too."
Topher pulled on Theo's hand drawing him in. They kissed on the street, beginning to learn each other's taste. Theo finally broke it off, and with a squeeze, let go of Topher's hand. He started up his walkway, but getting half way to the door, stopped and turned.
"And Topher," he said, "if I ever yell at you, I promise I'll tell you why."

"There's some more over there," Seth said, pointing to a blob of cum on one of the radio knobs. EJ hit it with a kleenex.

"So I'm your first time, eh?"

"Yeppers," Seth said, pointing at the glove box. "There's another one."

EJ wiped it up. "So where the fuck did you learn to do that?"

"I've practiced a bit." Seth was still reclining, this time with his head in EJ's lap and his feet dangling out the passenger side window. He turned his head, lifted the hem of EJ's T-shirt and kissed his belly button. The line of hair that led to it was silky and tasted of salt.

"With who?"

Seth looked up, smiled enigmatically, and batted his eyelashes.

"A man of mystery, eh?" EJ laughed.

"A boy's got to have some secrets," Seth said.

 Episode 8

Jen, Hymie and Evil Alex sat across from Seth and Theo in the World Cultures class. Jen was okay, but Alex was a dick. Hymie, whose real name was Scott, had used to be Alex's best friend but they had had a tremendous fight the year before and now they hardly spoke. That was how Scott had earned the name Hymie.
They were supposed to be discussing the classwork that had been assigned -- listing the great thinkers of the sixth century B.C. As the teacher was working with another group on the opposite side of the room, they were chatting instead.
"That party was totally chill," Alex said. "Did you see Brandon when he fell down the stairs? It was hysterical."
"You're an idiot," Jen said.
"No, it was. He was fine. He kind of skied the rug. His socks tore off. I thought I was going to pee."
"I didn't see it," Seth said.
"Yeah," Hymie said to Seth, "Where were you? You totally disappeared. I saw you come in, then poof."
Jen leaned forward conspiratorially and lowered her voice. "You didn't hear?"
Seth frowned while Alex and Hymie shook their heads.
"Seth was busy throwing up poolside."
"No shit?" Alex asked trying not to raise his voice. Jen nodded.
"You know EJ? Senior? Plays tenor, football team, really, really hot?"
Alex nodded.
"In his shoes."
A burst of laughter escaped Alex. The teacher looked over, raised her finger in the classic don't-make-me-come-over-there warning, and returned her attention to the group she had been working with.
"That was just foreplay," Seth said trying to minimize the horror.
"Oh, right," Alex said, "like you could get EJ. Did he kill you? He must be so pissed. Did he pound you?"
Seth grinned at Theo who grinned back.
"In a sense..." Theo said.
"Actually," Seth added, leaning back with his hands clasped confidently behind his head, "he got me. He spent the whole night trying to get into my pants."
"Right," Alex said incredulously, "like EJ would try to get you."
"Where have you been, Alex?" Theo said dismissively. "They're an item. Have been all week."
Jen went wide-eyed. "Are you serious?"
Theo nodded.
"Oh my God," she said. "He is such a complete babe." Seth beamed in response.
"You and EJ?" Alex asked unable to get over the idea.
"Don't worry," Seth said patting Alex's hand condescendingly, "you'll find someone."
"Not someone as good, of course, but someone." Theo added.
"Bitch," Alex said. Theo smiled sweetly.
Jen turned her attention to Seth. "I'm inclined to agree. You're definitely a bitch. It's not fair."
"Life's not fair," Seth said. "Otherwise it would freckle in the sun."
The teacher moved groups, wandering closer. Hymie raised his voice for her benefit. "Siddartha. Siddartha was a great thinker of the sixth century B.C."
"Yeah," said Seth. "Excalibur was Way Cool."
"Not King Arthur, you idiot," Alex said, "Siddartha. The Buddha."
"Whatever," said Seth with smile. "I'm doing EJ."

EJ worked his way through the lunch crowd and sat down across from Topher, putting the pizza between them. They each reached for napkins and began dabbing at the oil.
"Anyway, I figured out how to shut him up," EJ said, continuing the conversation they had begun at the counter.
"Yeah?" Topher asked taking a slice from the pizza. "How's that?"
"I shoved my cock down his throat."
Topher almost choked on the bite he had just taken.
"He was good," EJ continued. "I mean, really good. I don't know where he learned how to do it, but he took me right down to the root. It was choice."
"Better than the Rabbit?" Topher asked.
EJ considered it for a bit. "Yeah," he finally said, "I think he was better at it than the Rabbit."
"Wow," Topher said.
"Yeah," EJ echoed.
"You got a boyfriend now."
"He's not a boyfriend, dude. He's a fuck bunny."
Topher smiled and nodded. The smile artificially fixed when Tyler joined them at the table and sat down next to EJ.
"Who's a fuck bunny?" Tyler asked, bumping knuckles with EJ then turning to do the same with Topher.
Topher eyed him impassively, returning his bump noncommittally. "EJ's new boyfriend," he said.
"He's not my boyfriend," EJ repeated, trying to read Topher's reaction to Tyler's arrival.
"You have a new boyfriend?" Tyler asked. "Word. Who is he?"
"He's not my boyfriend," EJ insisted. "He's just a fuck bunny."
"Little sophomore named Seth," Topher said, taking another bite of the pizza.
"Damn," Tyler said, looking EJ up and down with mock disdain. "A sophomore?"
"He's not my boyfriend, okay? Jesus!"
Tyler's number was called. He got up to pick up his food. "Later," he said as he was leaving. The two boys echoed.
EJ looked at Topher. Topher looked at his pizza.
"So that's it?" EJ asked.
"Yeah," Topher said to his slice, "I think so."
"You're not going to call him out on it?"
Topher took a bite and thought about it while he chewed.
"Don't think I need to," he said finally. "What's done is done. I'm kind of over it."
EJ scanned his friend. Something was different. While that sentiment had been expressed many times, this was the first time EJ believed it. Topher didn't look like he was hiding anything. EJ looked closer. No, that wasn't true. He just didn't look like he was hiding his thing for Lise anymore. Now it was something different.
"What's going on?" EJ asked.
Topher looked up, then back at his pizza. "Nothin'" he said. "It's just not worth it with Tyler. I mean, what he did really bites, but he's a teammate, and even if that means fucking shit to him, it means something to me."
"Fair enough," EJ said, taking a bite of his pizza.
EJ looked like he was going to ask another question Topher didn't want to answer. He headed him off. "So have you fucked the kid yet?" he asked.
"No," EJ said, "that's next." The rest of the lunch conversation was taken up in listening to EJ's detailed plans for fucking Seth.

"So what happened?" Theo asked when they were finally alone at the lunch table in the cafeteria.
"I gave him a blow job," Seth said.
"Was it hard?"
Seth smiled. Theo rolled his eyes. "I mean was it difficult?" He corrected.
"Piece of cake," Seth answered. "He has a great dick. It's big, but not too big, you know what I mean?"
Theo pursed his lips. Seth could be an asshole sometimes. But he never meant to be. At least there was that.
"And he was really...I don't know...it was almost like he was angry while he was doing it."
"Why?" Theo asked. "What did you do?"
"No, nothing. It wasn't like that. It wasn't a bad angry. It was kind of hot. He...I can't really describe it."
"Topher didn't seem angry at all," Theo said. "He seemed... watchful."
"Yeah. He kept watching me. It was a little disconcerting. What we were doing...I was, like, on Mars, you know? I totally lost it..."
Seth nodded.
"...but he was, like, completely there. Like...focused..." The boys picked at their food in silence for a minute.
"I think EJ lost it. I sure did. I mean, I think we both were...I don't know...like, out of our bodies."
Theo nodded pensively. "He wants to do it again," he said. "I told him I did too."
"That's Way Cool," Seth said. "When are you going to?"
"I don't know. I think we'll do it again, but I don't know," Theo said tentatively.
"You think so?" Seth mimicked.
Theo nodded.
Seth stared at him a moment then rolled his eyes. "Frustrated grunt," He said. "Jesus. Get over yourself, Theo. You're beautiful. Everyone likes you." Theo didn't respond. Seth sighed. "Seriously, Theo, you're the only one who cares. It isn't a problem."
Theo shrugged impassively. "I guess I'll go over after dinner. I'll tell my mom I'm at your house, okay?"
Seth nodded.
"He wants me to come to the football game on Friday."
Seth smiled. "That'll be great. I can't wait."
"EJ wants you to come too?"
"Of course he wants me to be there," Seth said. "He just doesn't know it yet."
Seth stood in his livingroom, peering out the window from behind a curtain. He had just finished dinner when he heard the beeping in front of his house. The blue shitbox was idling at the curb. EJ sat in the driver's seat, staring at the house. Seth pulled the curtain open and waved. When he was sure EJ had seen him, he ran for the door. He arrived at the curb the same time EJ did. They grinned at each other. EJ opened the passenger side door with a chivalrous flourish. Seth got in and, after EJ had scooted around the front of the truck and climbed into the driver's seat, made himself comfortable on EJ's side.
"You look good," EJ said, trying to embrace and shift gears at the same time. Seth was in a hunter green collared jersey that brought out his eyes and his best pair of good-ass jeans.
"You look incredible," he answered. "You always look incredible." EJ smiled confidently. He wore a tight, sleeveless Jets jersey and a pair of 501s.
"Can you go for a ride?"
Seth ran his hand down the inside of EJ's right thigh and nodded. "Yeah. My folks'll just think I'm at Theo's."
"Cool," EJ said spreading his knees as he drove off. "You have a good day?"
Seth could already feel the erection growing under the jeans. "I dunno," he said coyly, running his fingers along the growing length of it. "Stuff on my mind. You know."
EJ tweaked his far nipple. "Stuff, huh?"
"Yeah. It's not so easy being a god of Universal Desire, you know," Seth said. "Lots of responsibility. All these guys beeping in front of your house...so much noise. Makes it very difficult to get any work done."
EJ laughed.
"So where are we going?" Seth asked.
"Some place romantic," EJ said.
"Mmm..." Seth gurgled doing a fair Homer. "K-Mart..."
EJ parked in the empty lot at the edge of the gorge and hopped out of the car, picking up a gym bag from the back. Seth followed as he made his way down a makeshift trail toward the trees and shrubbery below. The path was steep, the light was failing, and while EJ seemed to be able to negotiate it with an easy grace, Seth found it treacherous. The dirt kept giving way under his feet and twice he found himself on his ass hugging the hill to keep from sliding all the way to the bottom.
EJ, now half way down, looked back over his shoulder. "C'mon."
Seth furrowed his brows. He had always considered himself sure-footed. He got up to brush himself off but the motion of his arm caused him to fall again.
"Quit fooling around," EJ called back, already nearing the bottom.
Seth pursed his lips. Rising slowly, he outstretched his arms and moved forward like a Wallenda. Unfortunately, a rock gave way underfoot and he descended like a Wallenda, coming to a slow, gliding rest at EJ's feet. The avalanche he had caused continued for a few seconds after he ground to a halt.
EJ extended him a hand, helped him up, and brushed him off with a few swats to the backside. "This way," he said, heading off into the trees. Again, Seth had difficulty keeping up as the trail, now at the bottom of the gully, wound about the underbrush and overgrowth. He grabbed hold of the bottom of EJ's shirt, stretching it behind as the running back wove among the roots and branches. The path met up with a small stream, crossing it a few times via a series of well-placed rocks. EJ hopped them with the grace of a cat. Seth hopped them with the grace of an avocado. At last, they came to a large, grassy, stream side clearing. EJ dropped the bag and turned. "Here we are."

The clearing, while lovely, was far from pristine. Empty beer cans and a few broken bottles littered its periphery. There was an ash pit to one side with the charred remains of some logs, and someone had set up a lean-to which had long since collapsed. But it was quite private. You couldn't see the top of the gorge through the trees, and anyone coming would be audible for some time before their arrival.
EJ gathered Seth into his arms, kissing him insistently. Seth had to stand on tiptoe as EJ didn't lean forward. It made him feel giddily off-balance. EJ's hands lowered to his ass. Taking a cheek in each, he squeezed hard. Seth wiggled playfully.
EJ let him go. "I've come prepared," he said, leaning down to unzip the gym bag. Out came a large blanket which he spread on the grass. Next appeared a little boom box, which he set up and turned on. A hurricane lamp followed, which he lit and hung from a low branch at the side of the clearing. He fished through the bag again, this time pulling out a small vase which he placed to the side of the blanket. He pulled a dandelion from the grass and placed it ceremoniously in the vase.
"Only the best for you, babe. No one ever said I wasn't romantic."
Seth smiled and stripped off his shirt in response. EJ did the same. They grinned at each other across the blanket.
It was really the first time that EJ and Seth had had an opportunity to look at each other shirtless. They stood across the blanket in silence, taking in the sight.
Seth was perfect, there was no denying it. The slim hips, the golden, unblemished skin, the slender stomach, the chest suggesting the promise of muscles more than the muscles themselves -- if one were to construct a boy designed to get EJ hot, one could not do better. Even the Rabbit had his flaws -- just a bit too tall, just a bit too ruddy, just a bit too wiry. Not so Seth. Seth had it all, from the practiced coyness of his stance to the stunned admiration in his eye.
And stunned Seth was. In all his preparations, he never thought to consider the reality of the effect of a shirtless EJ there in front of him. He was thick and thin at the same time, if that could be possible. Wide, rounded shoulders capped square, defined pectorals which crowned granite, indented abdominals. For all the density, though, there was no fat anywhere. Fine dark hair created a fleur-de-lis on his chest then thinned to a line which extended down the middle of his torso, growing on either side of the central valley and curving gently into it. His torso was long -- Seth always felt he was more leg than body, EJ looked more body than leg.
EJ's arms were big at the top, biceps and triceps each defined and meaty. Farther down, a network of veins was visible under the dark hairs which covered his forearms. As he naturally tended to come to rest in Abercrombie and Fitch model poses, his shoulders slanted. One hand hung lower than the other. His fingers were long tapers.
EJ could read himself in Seth's expression, which was kindling for the fire growing inside him. Seeing himself reflected in the immobilizing desire in Seth's eyes, he slowly brought his hands to the front of his jeans and popped the buttons open one by one. He watched Seth lick his lips, wondering if the boy was aware that he had just done so. As he lowered the flaps of his jeans to reveal his erection, he saw need for himself in the intent stare, in the subliminal flare of nostrils, in the dry swallow. EJ got off on the effect he had on people. Seth's reaction was making him drip.
"You want me?" EJ asked, his voice quiet and raspy.
He watched Seth's head bob silently in the flicker of the light from the hurricane lamp.
"You want me to take you?" Again the slow nod.
"Good," EJ said. "You're going to get your wish."

Episode 9

The expert blow job Seth was giving him had caused an unexpected problem. On the one hand, it was not why he had brought the kid to the clearing -- the most notorious rendezvous for teen sex in the county. On the other hand it felt so fucking good EJ didn't want it to ever stop. Seth was kneeling in front of him, taking his dick in in long, deep, masterful swallows that made his knees go weak. Even the Rabbit wasn't that good at it. And the sight of him! The blond hair capping the face with green eyes that periodically looked up at him, glassy to the point of teariness, the way he slowly jacked himself below with one hand while pulling on to EJ's ass with the other -- EJ could easily spend his life in that single moment. He held the boy by the back of the head, but his usual technique of using the grip as a lever to push himself in wasn't necessary. Seth pulled harder than he ever had to push.
But that wasn't why he had come. It didn't matter the way Seth's tongue seemed to be everywhere at once, the way he actually used his teeth sometimes in a way that made the suggestion of scraping feel good, the way his dick disappeared entirely into Seth's mouth without any part of Seth's face getting larger to indicate what was within. It didn't matter that his breath was now audible and labored, that his stomach was tight as a crossbow, that he was getting closer and closer.
EJ pulled himself forcibly from Seth and took a step back, stooping over to rest his elbows on his knees. He fought to normalize his breathing. Seth, wiping his nose on his forearm and sniffing a few times, regarded him with curiosity.
"Sorry," EJ said, when composure finally returned, "Really close there." He straightened up, still a step back.
Seth, remaining on his knees and continuing to slowly stroke his own dick, watched the older boy try to collect himself with self-satisfied passivity. "Take your time," he allowed.
"You're pretty fucking good at that, you know," EJ said, still standing clear of the batter's box.
"I know," Seth said. "You inspire me."
EJ laughed. "Right," he said with great dubiousness. He rose to his full height. Fuck if EJ was going to be outdone. He stepped up to the plate and dropped to his knees. He spit on his palm, swatted Seth's hand away and took hold of the dick that now pointed at him. No sophomore was going to get the best of him in his own house!
He began playing in the way that had gotten countless boys to agree to anything and everything. The Rabbit used to suggest that he should charge for it. EJ dismissed the idea, of course, but it would get him a little hard whenever he thought about doing it. It was, of course, working perfectly on Seth. The boy had taken hold of his dick when he had knelt down and had even gotten in a few good strokes before EJ's magic started working. Now his dick sat immobile in a grip that fell slack except for an occasional twitch or shiver. That was the trick that made EJ hottest -- when he got them to forget what they were doing.
He was looking straight into Seth's eyes, but Seth wasn't seeing him. Seth wasn't seeing anything. He leaned forward without interrupting his ministrations and gently pushed Seth onto his back, allowing him to stretch out. EJ stayed upright, now working Seth's dick and balls together with both his spit-slicked hands. He began to work the boy's knees apart with his leg so that he could move between them, but a well-placed sweep of the palm on Seth's oozing dickhead did the work for him. Seth's knees lifted and spread of their own accord.
"Good boy," EJ said, content with the effect he was having. Seth responded with a series of random guttural consonants. EJ moved inside and forward so that his knees were spread and against the boy's cheeks, his thighs supporting the boy's legs, which were as wobbly as a rag doll's on either side of him. Aiming well, he let a large gob of spit fall onto the boy's crotch and worked it in. Seth's balls pulled from his grip and began receding.
"No, you don't," EJ said. With his right hand his grip on Seth's dick went vice-like while with his left he gave the boy a light but firm three-finger smack on the balls.
"Ooof!" Seth lifted his head in surprise, the world rushing back to his senses with the shock of the change. He was lying on his back, EJ between his legs. EJ's dick -- hard, majestic, and potent -- rose straight up from its root to just past his belly button. The hand on his own dick was grasping it so hard as to almost hurt. "What are you doing?"
"You're not getting off that easy, babe," EJ said, relaxing his grip and sliding his palm over the head one more time to remind Seth how he got into this position in the first place, "I got other plans."
"You know what I'm going to do, right?" EJ had reached over to retrieve a bottle of some kind of lotion from his bag. Having put a dab on his finger, he worked it pleasantly into Seth's crack and hole.
"Um hum," Seth said and wiggled his ass against EJ's thighs. The hair on them tickled his bum. Seth felt he was the luckiest guy in the universe. EJ was hotter than he ever could have imagined.
"Tell me," EJ said, dropping another large gob onto his finger.
"Tell you?"
"Yeah," he brought the gob to Seth's pucker, "tell me." A finger twisted the goo around the rim. His forefinger pushed past the ring and spread the lubrication around the inside. A second finger joined, though only up to the first knuckle.
"Mmmm," Seth purred, "that feels good. We're going to fuck, right?"
EJ nodded, never breaking eye contact. He pulled his fingers apart a little, stretching the ring a bit. Seth's lips drew back slightly. He relaxed and so did the lips. "You want to?"
"Mmmm," Seth purred again.
"Tell me."
"I wanna fuck."
"You want me to fuck you?" EJ corrected, spreading a little more with his fingers.
"Yes, please," Seth said.
"Tell me."
"I want you to fuck me, please."
EJ's fingers withdrew and he tapped Seth's hole with them a couple of times, each tap a little harder than the one before. Seth's ass twitched, clenching by the fourth. EJ rubbed the outside of it again, coaxing it to return to relaxation.
Seth watched EJ's face as he performed his ministrations. He seemed entirely absorbed in what he was doing. His lips gently parted, he breathed through his mouth while the traces of a smile played hide-and-seek at the corners. What he was doing was making Seth's asshole alternate from open to closed. Each transition played across EJ's face in a slightly new expression of curiosity or delight.
"How much?"
Seth giggled. "You want me to beg?"
"No," EJ smiled, "you want to have to?"
"No." Seth didn't get the feeling that EJ was serious, and he liked the idea of being playful during...play. EJ had busied himself with another glob of goop, working it onto the length of his dick. It was slick and shiny when he was through.
He wiped his hand on the blanket, then leaned forward onto his hands and knees, straddling Seth's shoulders with his arms. Seth's knees rose along with him, tilting his ass farther up. The new angle put the wide base of EJ's dick at Seth's slippery hole, with the rest strongly pressing against his perineum and up and past the base of his balls. He looked down into Seth's eyes. His dick slid slowly along the length of Seth's crack, the head poking gently at the hole before sliding slowly back.
"How much?"
"About as much as you want to fuck me," Seth said.
EJ's smile turned to a cocky grin. This was not the right answer. "Yeah?" Another slide, this time faster. Seth found by rotating his hips in the opposite direction, he could increase the friction. When the head found the hole, it pushed through fractionally before jumping the top lip and continuing the grind.
"You need it?" EJ asked, his voice low and raspy.
"Mmmm," Seth answered, his eyes rolling back with the delight of the friction and faux entry.
"Tell me."
"I need your dick, Chief," Seth sang melodramatically. A corner of EJ's mouth twitched up. Still not the right answer. Another slide. This one pushed the head three quarters of the way through Seth's ass ring before pulling out and ended with a wild thrust of the base of his dick against Seth's ass causing the boy to bounce forward on the blanket. Seth moaned. EJ pulled the kid back down and repositioned his hands on the blanket above his shoulders, preventing another inadvertent escape.
"Tell me."
Seth looked at him and blinked. They stared into each other's eyes. EJ rotated his hips back one last time. His head found Seth's pucker and he pushed. Seth let him in, feeling the ridges of the head pop past his muscles. It hurt a little, but his practice had paid off. EJ was not that much bigger than your average zucchini.
EJ froze, loaded, cocked, and poised. "Tell me."
"I do," Seth whispered. "I really want you to fuck me."
EJ nodded slowly, victorious. "I just want to warn you -- if I'm going to fuck a guy," he said in his sexiest sotto voce, "he's going to know he's been fucked."
"And I want to warn you," Seth returned in a foreboding stage-whisper, "if a guy is going to fuck me, he better be fucking good at it."
EJ smirked. He buried it to the hilt in one savage thrust.
EJ had let Seth scream. There was no one around, and the trees deadened the sound anyway. There was no pleasure in hurting the kid -- that wasn't it. EJ wasn't at all sadistic except, maybe, on the football field where everyone was kind of into SM in a mystical, unspoken way. He just wanted to settle the question once and for all. And that should have done it.
He waited until the pain passed, Seth could relax, and the kid's eyeballs could find a way back into his head. Seth was panting as if he were giving birth. His fingers dug deeply into EJ's upper arms. A nail or two was probably drawing a little blood. EJ didn't mind. He knew it was just waiting now.
He rocked the merest fraction of an inch. Seth drew in a sharp breath like a backward eff. Not ready yet. EJ relaxed a little. It might take a while.
Good for the kid for trying, EJ thought. Few guys did. When EJ turned on the sexual charm, boys and girls alike tended to diffuse into a puddle of docility. Doing them was fun and all, but where was the challenge? It was like playing football against a team that sucked. When your opponent isn't up to standards, your own performance suffers. Seth was feisty, trying to keep control of things all the way up to the end. It was cute, really. And disabusing him of the notion that he could was hot. He checked the kid by twitching his dick inside him. Seth shook in response. Still not ready.
The Rabbit had kept challenging him too, but that was different. The Rabbit was feisty because he had wanted EJ to exert control. Seth was feisty because he thought he could. EJ smiled inwardly as he looked down at the smooth little blond sophomore beneath him. As if.
He couldn't remember the last person who had put up such a fight. Maybe it was that 30-year-old chick EJ had met in a grocery store one day about a year back. She was hot for a 30-year-old, and EJ had caught her checking him out when she thought he wasn't looking. He had decided to do her to see what doing an old chick was like.
She had had other ideas, it seems, and all kinds of excuses. Propriety, the difference in age, distaste for one-nighters, and -- EJ's favorite -- "you're a child, and children are boring." It had taken him almost the rest of the day to strip her defenses. Once those were gone, it only took seconds to strip her clothes. When he left, she had a contented, if exhausted, smile and a new world view. Not all sixteen-year-olds were kids, and not all kids were boring.
EJ tested again. The reaction was better, but still not good. Seth had been playing him all week. It was the longest he had ever gone wanting to fuck someone without actually doing it. He had allowed it as a kind of novelty. Feeling the pressure build was an interesting experience. And he didn't mind lulling Seth into a false sense of power. It made the fall all the more thrilling. But a week was enough. He was ready for release.
Seth's breathing was almost back to normal, and his grip had let up a little. EJ pulled out so that just his head was inside. Seth's chest fell as he exhaled fully in a deep sigh. Having sent the kid one clear message, EJ was ready to send him another of a different kind.
EJ found Seth's lips and began to kiss him deeply and possessively. He rocked his hips forward half-an-inch and pulled back, repeating the slow, easy movement a few times. When Seth's chute finally accepted the first inch of his dick without resistance, he slowly slid in the second. The strokes became a tad longer but remained languorous. Meanwhile, his tongue was busy. It fucked Seth's mouth relentlessly, breaking only so that EJ could bite his lips or chin or suck on his eyelid or ear. It went where ever EJ wanted.
Seth was so distracted by trying to accept the fury of EJ's kisses, he hardly noticed that the strokes had increased in length yet again. Half the dick was now gliding in and out of his ass, generating warmth, a sense of fullness, and a curious tingling sensation at the halfway mark, but not so much pain anymore. As EJ sucked at his neck, tickling his skin with the stubble on his chin, he began to breathe in rhythm with EJ's rocking.
EJ's tongue returned to Seth's mouth, sweeping the kid's lips and tongue out of the way whenever they attempted even the slightest resistance. He went deep, flattened it so that it could brazenly taste both of Seth's cheeks at the same time, curled it into a little poker. Seth felt like he was being fed a meal.
EJ stepped it up yet again. He bounced his head with the same motion as his hips so that his tongue fucked Seth's mouth as his dick, now burying in three-quarters of the way, fucked his ass.
Seth found himself not only beginning to get used to it, but to like it. It must be like childbirth, he thought. An enormous pain, followed by something you could love the rest of your life. If it had to hurt so much, at least it had hurt with EJ. And he was sure making up for it. The feral kisses alone would have been enough to get Seth off were it not for the new sensations below. The pain really was receding, and every once in a while an inexplicable tingle would propagate through his midsection. In an attempt to find more of those, Seth began to move, tilting his ass into the down strokes and away from the withdrawals.
EJ felt the change. The kid was beginning to grip him when he pulled out. That was the sign he had been waiting for. He spit in his hand, reactivating the lube that had dried there and took hold of Seth's dick. He only had an inch to go, but it was the fattest, deepest inch, and he knew what it did to people. Starting to jack the kid, he brought a thrust to the verge of completion before pulling back out in rhythm. A few more sweeps of his palm over Seth's dick and he buried it to the hilt.
Seth's eyes rolled up and he moaned, but he didn't scream. That last little bit hurt -- both at his ass ring, which felt like it was being stretched to the point of splitting, and deep in, where the head pushed a place that had never imagined being pushed before. But EJ pulled back out almost as soon as he had gotten there, and what with the stroking of his dick feeling so good, Seth began to wonder if, when he did it again, it would feel better.
It didn't. It still hurt. But on the second withdrawal Seth found himself strangely looking forward to the third. It came seconds later. A feeling of fullness beyond fullness. It still hurt a little. In glaring contradiction to the way he had lived his Entire Life, Seth decided there was such a thing as good pain.
Seth had been close to cumming for almost five minutes. Every time either of them would touch his dick, he would feel it starting. But EJ kept squeezing his balls or batting his hand away from himself just when he was about to blow. The talent for timing was beginning to annoy Seth, who was becoming frantic for release.
He was beginning to understand the role of muscular contractions. It happened naturally without his having to think about it. He'd tighten up when EJ would push in, relax when he'd pull out. Clearly EJ enjoyed it, as he started issuing a series of little contented grunts when he did. There was still a little pain involved, especially when EJ changed the angle of his attack, or gave that extra push when he was all the way in. But the pleasure of the rest of it easily compensated. And the sight of EJ, sweating, teeth clenched, muscles taut as he buried his bone was electric.
Since the grunts came whenever he tightened, Seth decided to experiment. He clamped down and held for all he was worth on both sides of the stroke. It was hard work, but the payoff was immediate. EJ hissed air out through his teeth and his eyes rolled back and closed. Still tight as he could go, Seth began wiggling his ass from side to side as EJ plunged back in.
It worked. EJ's hand flew to Seth's dick and began furiously jacking it. He didn't need to do it long. After three strokes, Seth was bucking wildly as jets of cum flew from his dick. The added pressure forced EJ into spasm. He dumped load after load up the kid's ass, pressing in so deeply their skin stuck together when he released. When they were both spent, he rolled off onto his back. They both lay on the blanket with their eyes closed. It was a long time before either could speak.

 Episode 10

This time, Theo only stood at the top of the stairs for three minutes and he actually knocked on the door. When Topher appeared it almost took his breath away. He was wearing a pair of shiny red basket ball shorts with no shirt. He had clearly been lifting. His chest puffed out magnificently and his shoulders looked sculpted. He smiled shyly. Theo smiled self-consciously. They stood looking at each other across the threshold for a few seconds.

Topher shook his head as if to clear it. "Come in," he said. "I was just finishing up."

Theo walked into the room. The smell was more pronounced. It was, at once, slightly unpleasant and highly intoxicating, like returning to the sea at low tide.

"You look good," Topher said, touching Theo's cheek.

"So do you!" Theo said. "You're so...you look really good too."

"I was just going to take a shower. Can you hang out for a minute? It'll just take a sec."

Theo nodded. Topher disappeared into the bathroom and shut the door. Theo looked around. Not much had changed since he had been there last. A few more clothes on the floor. Theo walked over to the bed and stared at it. He glanced at the bathroom door to make sure it was still shut. The sound of water came from behind. He tested the side of the bed with his hand. He turned, sat on the edge, and bounced a few times. Gathering his courage, he lay down lengthwise on the bed. The pillow smelled like Topher. Theo buried his face in it, then, overcome by self-consciousness, stood up entirely and walked to the chair on the opposite side of the room. He sat and drummed his fingers on the table a few times.

When Topher reemerged, Theo was sitting on the floor against a bookcase reading a six-year-old X-Men comic book. Topher looked at him and smiled.

"Where'd you find that?"

"It was under a pile of shit," Theo said.

Topher had put his shorts back on. His skin was pink and radiating heat. He walked over to where Theo was sitting and joined him on the floor.

"I haven't seen that in years," he said. "What the fuck else is in there?"

They began rooting through the pile on the lowest shelf. There were electronic gadgets, Sports Illustrateds, unmatched socks, a dusty gameboy, a few Playboys.

"What's this?" Theo asked holding up a four-by-six homemade book with thick pages. Topher looked at it, touching the cover.

"That's an old album my mom made."

Theo's face alit when he opened to the first page. There, looking back at him, was the most adorable five-year-old he had ever seen. Tow-headed, chubby-cheeked, and grinning from ear to ear, the kid held a football that was bigger than his head.

"It's like a football album," Topher explained. "That was after the first game I ever played."

"How old were you?"

"Five, I think."

"You were the cutest thing in the world," Theo said unable to suppress a wide grin. Topher shrugged.

Theo turned the page. The body of the kid in the second picture was the same as the one before. This time, though, it was capped by an enormous helmet which completely hid the body's head. It looked like a toddler scarecrow.

"That was when they bought me my first helmet," Topher explained. "I loved it so much I wore it all the time. I would run around the house in it. My mom says I cried when I had to take it off to go to sleep."

"I can't stand it," Theo said.


"You were so cute!"

"Yeah," Topher added for him, "what happened, right?"

"You grew up and became really hot," Theo answered. Topher grinned crookedly, and turned the page.

"Oh, my God!" Theo effused. In the new picture the little round blond was standing next to a brown-haired Dennis the Menace. Their arms hung about each other's shoulders.

"That's EJ. We've been friends forever. We were on the same peewee league team."

"He was adorable!"

"I wouldn't ever say that to him if I was you," Topher warned. Theo's grin was getting bigger with each picture. The next was a picture of the cherub holding a trophy. When Topher saw it, he got up, ran to another bookcase across the room, rooted around in a pile, and came up with the trophy. He held it in the same pose the kid in the picture held. Theo laughed.

Turning to the next page, Theo gasped. There were six-year-old Topher and EJ dressed up in wigs and enormous ball gowns. The costumes were replete with accessories. The little blond sported a feather boa that was twice as long as he was around his neck. EJ was festooned with broaches, a multitude of bracelets, and a string of pearls.

Topher, remembering the picture too late, dove across the room to snatch the album from Theo. The distance was too far to cover, and Theo had time to put it behind his back.

"Gimme it," Topher said seriously. He was on his hands and knees in front of Theo reaching for the album. Theo twisted around holding the book as far away from Topher as he could while still trying to look at the picture. He was laughing hysterically.

"Gimme it!" Topher commanded again. On top of him now, he had hold of Theo's arm and was easily able to pull his wrist around. Theo, weaker and weak from laughing, gave up readily. Topher got the book. He flung it to the other side of the room.

The boys were intertwined on the floor, Theo still laughing hysterically, Topher looking stern. Topher, retaining hold of Theo's wrist, swiveled him around and down to the floor. Theo lay back with his arms held out from his body, his knees bent at odd angles. Topher was on his hands and knees straddling his waist, looking down at him with a frown. Theo started to catch his breath.

"What was that?" Theo asked, pausing between each word.

"We were six," Topher said by way of explanation.

"That was so..."

Topher cut him off. "If you know what's good for you, you'll stop right there."

Theo giggled. "I think it was darling."

Topher growled. "If you ever say anything about that picture to anyone, I'll seriously hurt you. You got it?"

Theo nodded gravely. But he was still grinning. Topher sustained eye contact to emphasize his seriousness, but Theo's laughter was infectious. The corners of his mouth began to curl up.

"I was six."

"It's okay," Theo said. "I won't tell anyone. I promise."

Topher nodded. They looked at each other for a moment, each trying not to laugh.

"But you were be-ewe-tee-ful!" Theo said, losing the battle. Topher scowled. Letting go of Theo's wrists, he reached down between his legs to take hold of the sides of his rib cage. He dug his fingers in and began mercilessly tickling the boy. Theo's laughter turned to shrieks and indecipherable protestations. He squirmed for all he was worth, to no avail. When he began to look like he was going to pass out from lack of air, Topher relented.

Theo lay panting under him, but began to regain a normal color. The more Topher looked at him, the more he noticed. The mop of straight brown hair looked better the messier it was. The eyebrows were large and thick but widely spaced. They angled down a little on the outsides like a cartoon animal. His cheeks were long and smooth and developed little red patches whenever he exerted energy. If he had to shave yet it wasn't very frequently. He wore a little cross on a silver chain that was puddling in the hollow where his neck met his chest. It was a weird cross, though. It had too many crossbars, and one of them was bent at a weird angle.

Topher reached between his legs and Theo cringed, expecting another bout of tickling. Topher smiled gently and pulled Theo's shirt out from where he sat on it. He lifted it up to the top of Theo's chest. Theo raised his arms over his head and lifted his shoulders off the floor a bit. Topher slid the shirt off.

Theo's torso was long and smooth. The only hair to be found was under the boy's arms, where little black patches appeared until he lowered his elbows. Topher reached to stroke the skin at the top of his stomach where the long muscles appeared from under the center of his rib cage. Theo was settling down, but still didn't trust him completely. When Topher moved to touch him, Theo's hands jerked to his wrists to make sure they weren't going to do anything untoward. Seeing that Topher's intentions had changed, they neither stopped nor guided his movement. Still, he held on loosely just to be sure. Theo was almost breathing normally now, but the flush hadn't left his cheeks.

"You have such pretty eyes," Topher said quietly.

"My mom says I have donkey eyes."

Topher frowned, which cause Theo to giggle. "No," he added, "it's a compliment. It's a Greek thing. Donkey's have these big round, sad eyes. They're really pretty. In Greece, if you like someone's eyes, you say they have donkey eyes."

"You got donkey eyes, then." Topher said, still thinking it sounded weird. He began running his fingers up and down Theo's centerline, from the base of his neck down to his belly button. Theo squirmed a little, this time in delight.

The boy on top of him was perfect in every way. Theo relaxed his grip on Topher's wrists, and slid his hands up and down Topher's forearms while the older boy stroked up and down his torso. The forearms, like his shins, were covered with thick, coarse hair, bleached completely white by the sun. Above his elbows the hairs were tiny and fine, causing the sheen that surrounded him whenever he passed in front of a strong light. Tufts of longer hair were visible under his armpits, and there was a little patch of curly blond at the center of his chest. South of that, it picked up again at his belly button, where wisps gathered and grew in a line which widened as it neared the top of his shiny red shorts.

The shorts were tented. Topher's erection pushed them out along his right side almost to his hip. Theo let go of his arms and slowly, tentatively reached for it. He touched the tip through the slippery material and it jumped. When it returned, he ran the length of it lightly between his thumb and forefinger. It was longish and very thick. Topher's hips flexed forward involuntarily as he traced it, the horizontal muscles in his abdomen becoming more pronounced with the motion.

Topher lifted off Theo, sliding across him to rest on the floor next to him. Laying on his side, he propped his head up with his hand. Theo straightened his legs, spreading himself before the older boy. They looked into each other's eyes.

"You're too perfect," Theo whispered. Topher dismissed the thought with a pffft. "It scares me."

Topher's brow knit. "Why?"

A few moments passed before Theo could voice his concern. "Why would you want me?"

Topher smiled. "I dunno," he said gently. "But I do."

"You do?"

Topher nodded. For proof he took Theo's hand and brought it to his erection. "Yeah."

Theo circled the head with the material of the shorts and squeezed it a little. He smiled shyly. "I guess you do."

"You know," Topher said, his voice a whisper to match Theo's, "I worked out for, like, an hour and a half before you got here." Theo blinked in response. "I only usually work out for forty-five minutes," Topher continued. Theo still wasn't getting it. "I wanted to be pumped up when you got here."

Theo got it. He smiled. "It worked." He brought his hand up and touched Topher's pectoral. "Big time." Theo's fingers found Topher's nipple and began flicking it lightly, tracing the areola, forcing blood into it.

"Jesus," Topher sighed. Theo stopped. "No, keep going. No one's ever done that before. That's nice." Theo pinched lightly and pulled. The nipple engorged. Theo licked his finger and rubbed the newly sensitized nub.

"I done that to girls. I never knew guys...fuck, that feels good." Topher whispered breathlessly. Theo smiled coyly, a little proud of himself.

Topher leaned forward. Theo matched. When the kiss began, their tongues met in the middle. This time, there was back and forth. Topher was unused to having a tongue in his mouth. Usually the girls let him take possession. He decided he liked it.

Topher began stroking Theo's torso again, this time with more strength. His hand descended farther down each time. Still locked in the kiss, it reached Theo's pants and smoothly began to undo the top button. Theo's hands sped to the area, interrupting him. Topher broke off the kiss.

"What's the matter?" he asked, the whisper full of concern.

"It's...I'm..." Theo's words trailed off into nothingness.


Theo struggled with formulating the words. Topher gave him time. "I'm kind of...down there is..."

"I've seen guy's dicks before," Topher said, misunderstanding Theo's trepidation. "I'm not expecting you to have a pussy, you know."

"No...I know. It's..." Theo took a deep breath. "I'm kind of unusual down there. I'm really embarrassed about it."

Topher started to smile, but seeing Theo's reaction to it quickly stopped. "Dude," he said as reassuringly as he could, "I don't care what it looks like. It's not about your dick with me. I ain't EJ." Theo nodded, but didn't relax the grip on his wrists. "Really," he added. "What, is it, like, really bent?" Theo shook his head. "I don't care. Really. Have guys made fun of you?" Theo nodded. "It's okay. I won't. I promise." Theo relaxed his grip a little, but still held on. "You got to trust me, little dude. I like you."

Theo gulped a breath. He let go of Topher's wrist and undid the button himself. Unzipping his pants, he shut his eyes so he wouldn't have to remember Topher's reaction. He lowered his boxers and fished his dick out.

"Holy Christ!" Topher gasped in astonishment.

Theo snapped his boxers back into place and sat up ready to bolt the apartment. He was furious.

Topher laughed. "No," he said, holding Theo's shoulder. "It's fine. I was expecting, like, burnt flesh or something." Theo was still angry. "That's the biggest fucking dick I've ever seen!" Theo tried to lift himself off the floor, but Topher increased the pressure on his shoulder, pushing him back with a thud and preventing escape. "Chill, little dude." Theo continued to fume. Topher held on tightly. "I said, chill."

Theo looked into Topher's eyes. He found merriment there, but no derision. He settled down a little, crossing his legs with his elbows covering his groin. When it became apparent that he wasn't going to flee, Topher relaxed his grip. Cupping the back of Theo's neck, he stroked the skin a little.

"Listen," he said, "it's okay. Okay?" No reaction save for a slight diminution in tension. "I think it's cool."

"It's not cool," Theo said. "It's freakish."

"Look," Topher said calmly but insistently. He lifted Theo's chin with his forefinger knuckle until the boy was looking into his eyes. "I always liked girls with really big tits. Now I like a boy with a really big dick. So what?"

Theo could find no subtlety in Topher's expression. He believed what he was saying.

"I'm really embarrassed by it."


Theo shrugged. "It's so...different. I hate being different."

"Well, all I want to do is play with it now."


"Shit, yeah!" Topher effused. The corners of Theo's mouth curled up for the first time.

"Can I kiss you now?" Topher asked. Theo nodded tentatively. Topher took him in his arms and kissed him with reassuring passion. Theo slowly dissolved.

"Now, haul that puppy out so I can take a closer look at it," Topher said lightly. Theo pursed his lips, but complied.

It was, indeed, a long dick. Easily the longest Topher had ever seen. It was also blockish, maintaining the same width throughout its entire length -- even where the head emerged from its sheath. It curved up slightly. The skin was smooth and loose along its length.

Topher held it, weighing it in his hand. "How long is it?" he asked in wonder.

Theo shrugged. "Seth wanted to measure it. I never did. I kind of don't want to know."

Topher closed his fingers around it. Thumb and forefinger barely met on the other side. "Jesus Christ."

"I wish you'd stop saying that."

Topher looked at Theo. The boy was unhappy. With his hand still encircling the beast, he kissed Theo gently on the lips, then retreated a few inches. "You know what it means if you have a really big dick?" he asked. Theo shook his head. "More for me to play with."

He increased the tightness of the circle he had made with his fingers and started slowly jacking. Theo breathed in sharply.

"Tell me how to do it," Topher whispered.

"Just the way you do it when you do it to yourself," Theo whispered back.

Extending a forestroke, Topher pulled the loose skin over the head and vibrated over the ridge a couple of times. "Naw," he said, "that's what feels good on me. I want to know what feels good on you."

"That feels pretty good," Theo replied, trying to keep his eyes from rolling entirely back into his head.

"What else?" Topher asked, still whispering.

"I don't know," Theo answered.

"Yes you do," Topher whispered patiently but firmly. "Tell me what you'd like."

"I'd like...I'd like...I'd like you to kiss me while you're doing that."

Topher complied, but not in the way Theo expected. He found the area where Theo's neck met his shoulders and began wetting it with his tongue. Beginning a series of moves that were clearly well-practiced, he licked, nibbled, sucked lightly, blew on and rubbed the stubble of his chin across the skin. All the while he worked the ring of his fingers slowly back and forth along the entire length of the boy's dick.

Theo's head swiveled backward in quivering delight as his knees drew up involuntarily. Topher seemed to intuitively know how to run the line between tickling and pleasure, his near proximity to the former only increasing the depths of the latter. Theo found himself unable to keep from making little noises as he spasmodically breathed. He accepted the sublime service until his own need to please took over.

He rolled, pushing Topher onto his back and climbed on top of him, knees straddling his thighs in reverse of the position in which the two had begun. He looked down at the rounded face, the blue eyes, the small, slightly crooked nose with an intense sense of possession. Leaning forward, he lowered himself down to kiss the full, if somewhat chapped, red lips.

When he got there and made contact, their tongues waged slight battle. Theo's won. Entering the older boy's mouth, he undulated across the palate, the inside of the cheek, the back of the teeth. The inside of Topher's mouth was a surprisingly small space, Theo realized. By broadening his tongue, he could fill it to create friction in all corners at once.

Theo felt Topher's hands at his dick. He raised himself up, sitting back on his haunches. Taking Topher's wrists, he lifted up and out. The hands unhappily released his erection. Theo maneuvered Topher's wrists onto the floor next to his ears, bending his arms as if he were doing a body building pose. He bowed, pinning the meaty forearms and contracted biceps under his own forearms and elbows.

Having thus immobilized his prey, he leaned in to kiss him again. This time, though, it was only cursory. Finishing quickly, he attacked again on the chin, licking the rough translucent stubble there with his tongue. The cross that hung from his neck dangled onto Topher's chest, tickling it as he nibbled.

He moved south, wetting a line down the center of Topher's neck, past the hollow, to his chest. The skin tasted of soap. He worked over to Topher's right nipple. Taking it in his mouth, he bit the end of it with moderate pressure. The resulting muscle contractions caused Topher's hips to buck. Theo rode him like a mechanical bull. When he finally let the nipple slide through his teeth, it was to replace the bite with tongue-centered sucking.

"Fu-uck," Topher sighed as Theo withdrew to see the results of his handiwork. It was a short respite. Theo moved to begin work on the other nipple in order to make it as hard and sensitive as he had the first.

Satisfied he had every nerve ending in the area alive and firing, he turned south again. Trailing down the centerline of his torso, his elbows slid down to rest on Topher's chest and he grabbed hold of the large round biceps. The pectorals were relaxed but supported his weight easily. Topher flexed his arms making his biceps go rock hard. Theo made an appreciative sound as he licked his way down.

Picking up the line of hair south of his belly button, Theo laved it well. He reached the waistband of the shorts. He let go of Topher's arms and sat up again. Grabbing hold of the shorts, he lifted up and down. Topher's erection worked free and thumped against his stomach. The older boy lifted his hips off the floor, lifting Theo easily along with them. Theo slid the shorts down to the large, slightly furry upper thighs.

While not nearly as long as Theo's, Topher's dick sported its own proud length with a thickness that grew from the base to its widest point two-thirds of the way down where it tapered again to a smaller, sheathed head. It was pale pink except where a large blue vein appeared on the underside and ran along the length before disappearing.

Topher had a thick bush of long, amber hair. While curly, the curls weren't as tight as on his chest. Below, pendulous balls hung in a loose sack that itself was covered with a goodly amount of hair.

"That's the way a dick is supposed to look," Theo said appreciatively, running his knuckle along the fleshy underside. A drop of precum formed at the top.

"C'mere," Topher said, beckoning with his finger. Theo bent forward. Topher cupped his neck and pulled him down the rest of the way, kissing him when he arrived. "You got a great dick. I love it."

Theo smiled. Pulling out of Topher's grasp, he arched his back, drawing down until his mouth was at the base of Topher's erection. With one long, slow motion, he licked the length of it until he came to the droplet at its end. Sucking it up, he explored the wide hole in the head.

"Mmmmm," Topher moaned, putting his hands on Theo's head. He stroked the boy's hair tenderly. "Take it in your mouth," he whispered. Theo complied, pulling the skin down taut and lifting the log off Topher's belly. He closed his lips on the head and swirled his tongue around it. Topher hissed as he exhaled.

"Take my balls in your other hand and work them around." Again, Theo followed instructions. They were heavy and still fully distended. The skin was warm, the hair on it making a scratching sound under the movements of his fingers. Theo ringed his fingers about the top of the sac above the two orbs and gently pulled them away from his body.

"Fuck, that's good," Topher purred. "Can you take more of it in your mouth?" His hands stroked Theo's hair again, guiding more than pushing him downward.

Theo opened wider and slid down as far as he could go. He got around two-thirds of it in his mouth before it bumped uncomfortably against his throat. He gagged a little in response, foisting a single, slight dry-heave. Topher pulled him off.

"That's okay," he said reassuringly, "you're doing great."

"Seth's smaller than you are," Theo said. "Much smaller. I could get his all the way in."

Topher laughed. "Well, you already done more than Lise ever would!"

"Lise never gave you a blow job?"

Topher shook his head.

Theo's eyebrows widened. "Why not?"

"A lot of girls don't like to," Topher said.

"That's stupid."

Topher laughed. "I think so, too!"

Theo giggled.

"C'mere," Topher whispered. Theo spanned the distance quickly. They kissed again. "You want to try again?" he asked. Theo nodded. "Sweet. Just try to relax and take it slow. You're doing great."

Theo returned to the work zone. He raised Topher's dick to a right angle with his hand, and took a deep breath. Again, he opened his mouth as wide as it would go and pushed down as far as he could. The head hit his esophagus and again he gagged. Topher pulled him up.

"I'm sorry," Theo said unhappily.

"That's okay, dude. Really. You're doing fine."

"No I'm not. Tell me what to do. Tell me how to do it."

Topher laughed. "I don't know. I never done it before!"

Theo smiled at his own silliness. "Oh, yeah. Right. I can ask Seth. He'll know."

"Seth learned on you. Yeah. That makes sense," Topher said petting the boy's head as it hovered over his dick.


"EJ. EJ was saying that Seth was really good. He was wondering where he learned. Now it makes sense."

"I told you Seth and I practiced on each other."

"Yeah, but I didn't know you were so...It makes sense how he learned to deep throat, that's all."

"I want to try again," Theo said, determined to make a go of it.

"Just do what you can, okay? It all feels great anyway. You don't have to go that far down."

Theo raised the dick a third time. This time he didn't attack it directly. He put the head in his mouth and sucked at it, wetting it completely. He slid down an inch then back to the head, rubbing his tongue along the sensitive underside where the head grew from the shaft. Topher moaned in appreciation. Theo slid again, this time two inches. Topher's head bumped against his soft palate. Theo created a vacuum, sucking for all he was worth as he pulled back to the head. He reached for Topher's balls again with his free hand. They weren't hanging as low this time, having already begun to recede with the work Theo had done. He tugged them gently, drawing them back out. Topher grunted in pleasure.

Theo took a deep breath and pushed down as far as he could go. It wasn't too much farther than the last time, but this time he worked hard not to heave, pulling off half an inch before he did. The added space gave him the ability to breathe out through his nose. He did, quickly drawing back in another deep breath. Still, he couldn't get the head past his esophagus. In frustration, he lifted his right hand, which was still holding Topher's dick, sliding the skin along it up to his chin.

"Fuck!" Topher gasped. Theo realized that he had just jacked Topher's dick while it was in his mouth and, while not deep throating, that might be pleasurable as well. He started a new strategy. He slid up with his mouth while sliding down with his right hand, all the while tugging at the balls with his left.

The opposable motion had the desired effect. Topher began writhing, muttering "fuck...fuck...fu-uck" as Theo reached zenith and nadir, nadir and zenith. The skin of his dick alternated between bunching up and being stretched tight with each motion.

Topher, continuing to stroke Theo's hair with one hand, brought the other to take Theo's hand off his balls. Theo let go, allowing his hand to be placed beneath the ball sac in the crevice between the large thighs. It was hot and damp there. Theo felt a bulge and realized it was where the erection began -- much lower than he had always assumed. He pressed the area with his knuckles.


Theo worked up a rhythm, trying to coordinate mouth with both hands. He bobbed for twenty seconds when Topher snapped to horizontal attention, pulling away completely from all his ministrations.

"What's the matter?"

The boy looked concerned. Topher caught his breath then smiled. "Really close," he said. "Don't want to blow."

"Why not?" Theo asked disappointedly.

"Nobody cums unless we cum together," Topher said as if reciting a catechism.

"Really?" Theo slid down from his straddle and lay on his side next to Topher. Propping his head in his hand, he bent his knee, drawing his thigh over Topher's, and placed his free hand at the center of his chest. He began absently pulling the little hairs straight then letting them go, watching them snap back into tight curls. Seth didn't have any hair on his chest. Theo had never had the pleasure of playing with chest hair before.

Topher stroked the top of Theo's thigh with one hand, and the forearm of the hand that was stroking him with the other. Still breathing heavily, he was beginning to calm down, pulling back from the precipice on which he had found himself. "My dad and I had, like, one conversation about sex my whole life. I was fourteen. I had already hooked up with a couple of girls by then, but he didn't know it. He said that it was important to be good at it, and if I wanted to be good at it, I had to do what they wanted, not what I wanted. He said a lot of stuff. One of the things he said was if you're going to cum alone, you might as well stay home and beat off."

Theo's eyes widened. "I can't imagine my dad saying anything like that to me. Ever."

Topher nodded. "It was horrible. I wanted to fucking disappear." They stroked for a moment in silence before he added, "but he was right. About all of it. I mean, I didn't want to hear it, but I agree with it totally now."

Theo sighed and rolled onto his back.


"Too perfect," he said. "It's all a dream."

"I'm not perfect at all. I'm not even fucking close. I'm just a stupid Polack," Topher said. He sat up, then stood up and surveyed the boy laying before him. His cheeks were rosy, the eyes at peace. His dick curved up well past his belly button.

"My little donkey," Topher said smiling. Theo batted his eyelashes. "I wasn't talking about your eyes," Topher added. Theo frowned.

Rising to a standing position slowly, he pressed the front of his body against Topher's. Reaching down, he took the older boy's balls in his right hand, reaching his fingers around to pinch the vas defrons on the other side. He looked up sweetly into Topher's eyes.

"If you ever say that again," Theo whispered with all the treacle he could muster, "I'm going to have to seriously hurt you." He gave the balls a mild but clear twist.

"Ooof!" The smile left Topher's lips as he tried to bend, back up, and grab Theo's wrist all at once. "Okay! Okay! I give!"

Theo raised his fists in victory. "...Still champeen," he announced, imitating a boxing announcer, "Theodore...ore...ore Cardiosandros...andros...andros!" He made the sound of a crowd cheering, and began to bounce around like a prizefighter accepting acclaim.

Topher laughed heartily. Walking over to the bed, he collapsed onto it lengthwise watching Theo hop around the room. Theo gaze finally settled on him.

"You ready to get it on with the Undisputed Champion of the World?"

"C'mere," Topher said, beckoning again with his finger. Theo bounced over to the bed. "I want to make the champion blow his fucking wad."

Theo's bravado melted back into desire. He lay down on top of Topher, who rolled them over on the bed until he was on top instead. Getting onto his knees, he turned around so that he was facing Theo's midsection and straddled his chest.

Theo began stroking the outside of the mighty thighs, beginning to love the scratchiness of the hair. Topher's back was as magnificent as his front. Here, again, Theo was surprised by finding definition where he never expected definition to be. Little bumps and furrows going at odd directions. Just above where his butt began, another little patch of hair was beginning to grow right in the center of his lower back.

Topher took hold of of Theo's knees and bent them up. He hooked his elbows behind the knees and drew them back farther. This had the effect of pivoting Theo's hips up, so that soon Topher was looking directly at the crack of his ass.

This was a new position for Theo, whose line of sight was blocked by the wide shoulders above him. He was expecting a blow job. He saw Topher, indeed, bend forward and down to do that very thing. But he seemed to miss. Instead, his tongue made contact in the space behind his balls between his legs -- the space Topher had told him to press on when he had been doing him.

A completely new and unexpected sensation enveloped him as the tongue slid forward -- backward from Theo's perspective -- toward his hole. His hamstrings began to twitch in response, as if the nerves went straight to those muscles instead of way-stationing in his brain. Topher's hold on him was pretty strong, though, and no amount of twitching would break it. His elbows crooked in the back of his knees, his hands rested on the cheeks of his ass, where he was gently pulling them apart both with his thumbs and by widening the angle between his elbows.

Theo began breathing through his mouth as Topher neared his pucker. The relaxing ministrations were having a counterindicated effect, increasing rather than decreasing the tension and contraction of the muscles he was massaging and licking. Theo felt drawn out, wound back like a bow holding a quiver. When Topher reached his asshole with his tongue, Theo bucked so wildly the older boy became concerned.

He relaxed his grip, rose, and turned to look at the boy lying beneath and behind him.

"Sorry," Theo said.

"You want me to stop?" Topher asked.

"God no!" Theo all but screamed. Topher chuckled. "It's just so...intense. I've never felt anything like that before."

"I've never done anything like that before."

Theo looked at him in amazement. "Then how do you know? I mean, how do you know what's going to feel good? I mean, how did you know that that would feel so good?"

Topher smiled coyly. "I guess I've done a lot of digging. When you get down to it, a hole's a hole."

Theo laughed. He wiggled his bum in the air where it lay in Topher's hands. Topher got the message and returned to pay it attention.

Theo considered himself neither savvy nor stupid when it came to sex. He had done some reading, he had done some talking, he had done some practicing. This technique, however, had somehow gotten past him without ever being noticed. He didn't know if it always felt that good, if Topher was just really good at it, or if part of the delight was its unexpectedness. Whatever the answer, he didn't particularly care. His eyelids fluttered shut as his pucker fluttered open. Mouth wide, reaching for shallow breaths and making sounds his own ears didn't hear, he gave himself over to the sensations completely.

When he returned to his body, Topher had stopped and was looking at him, twisted around where he knelt, a look of confusion on his face. Theo realized he had said something, but he didn't know what it was.

"Why?" Topher asked.

"Why what?" Theo felt like he was returning from a head rush.

"Why stop?" Topher asked.

"Don't stop! Why stop?" The conversation was unfolding like an Abbot and Costello routine.

"You said stop," Topher said completely confused. "You were pounding me on the legs with your fists. I think you bruised my calf right there." He pointed to a place on his left leg.

"I punched you?"

"Yeah," Topher answered in his what-a-retard voice. "Hard."

"Topher, that was so intense. I don't even remember...I had no idea that I was...that felt really good."


"No, I mean...shit...I can't believe Lise ever left you. What an idiot."

Topher let go of Theo's knees, letting his legs fall back to the bed. "It was never this intense with her," he said, turning back to face Theo's feet. "I don't think I was ever this good with her."

"How could you not have been?"

Theo saw the shoulders shrug. "It's kind of different with you."


The shrug again. Theo waited for an answer. He waited a long time. Finally it came.

"Lise kind of expected it all, you know what I mean? So it was like...I don't know...work. I mean I liked it. I always like it. But you're more like...surprised when I do stuff. It's nice. Makes me want to do more stuff."

Theo was glad Topher was facing the other direction so he wouldn't see the full flush that engulfed his cheeks. "You know what it makes me want to do?" He asked. He saw Topher shake his head.

Theo pushed at Topher's ass, inveighing him to sit up on his knees. The larger boy complied. Theo reached through his legs, pulled his dick down, and scooted a few inches forward. He took the end of it in his mouth, reached up to grab hold of Topher's ass, and pulled it forward as strongly as he could. The dick slid into his mouth, making it to within two inches of being fully engulfed.

"Fu-uck," Topher grunted in response. He felt the tongue swirl around within the tight enclosure while the boy fought to deep throat him. In response, he snatched at the kid's knees, rolling them back up again and dove for his pucker.

The two urged each other on that way, effort begetting effort. When, at last, Topher could take no more, he began to pull out. "I'm getting real close," he whispered hoarsely. Theo pulled him back with his hands, increasing the already noticeable suction in his mouth and bobbing up and down a few times with his head.

Just as he was about to gush, Topher timed a deep-as-he-could-go tongue thrust with the ending of one of Theo's muscular contractions. Theo had become so loose in response to his rimming, the tip of his tongue slid in a full inch before the walls closed on it again clamping it off. He felt the abdominal jerk in Theo just as one of his own was forming. He quickly reached around the kid's hip to find his enormous dick hanging down toward his stomach. He felt his first squirt rush across the boy's tongue as he felt the kid's first squirt ooze into his hand. Using it as coating, he slid his palm down Theo's dick and jacked him hard a couple of times, timing their releases together. Whatever shards of ego still stood after the initial earthquake were tumbled by the countless aftershocks.

Within minutes, both were fast asleep where they lay.

 Episode 11

EJ sat in AP Physics trying to amuse himself while Missy Clark asked yet another question to which the answer was obvious. EJ rarely asked questions in class. When he had a question he could usually figure out the answer if he just thought about it. If he couldn't, he'd wait until the evening to call his lab partner, Amelia. She was pretty smart. Together they could figure out pretty much anything.
Missy asked questions all the time. She asked questions when EJ knew she already knew the answer. Missy Clark very much enjoyed the sound of her own voice. EJ did not share in this delight. When he wasn't feeling annoyed by her he was feeling embarrassed for her. Mostly, though, it was the former.
Missy had no self-control. That was what pissed him off the most. EJ had a lot of self-control. You had to if you were going to manage three AP classes, sports, music, and a social life all at once. That's why he rarely got drunk and only took a couple of hits when a joint was being passed around. EJ didn't like the feeling of being out of control.
The teacher patiently answered Missy's question and continued the lecture only to be interrupted once again. EJ caught Amelia's attention and rolled his eyes. She suppressed a grin and turned back to face the board.
Being really smart and really good looking meant he rarely had to be out of control. On those occasions when one of those qualities failed to get him what he wanted, the other usually did the trick. There were those teachers, for example, who responded well to a quick mind. There were others who responded just as well to a wife-beater and tight pair of jeans. It didn't bother EJ, so long as they responded to something. They didn't realize he was manipulating them, of course. It had become so natural to do so that sometimes he himself forgot that he was doing it.
EJ had settled the whole Ethics-of-Manipulation question years ago. Most people, he had decided, were followers. They wanted strong people to come along and help them decide things. In return, they'd offer whatever recompense was in their means -- a free lunch, a ride (before he got his truck), a beer, a movie, a good grade. EJ was a leader. He wanted to be the one that helped them, and accepting their gifts was only fair. It made them happy.
Like it made people happy when he flirted with them. He flirted with pretty much everyone. It was a kind of public service, he felt. It gave people the impression, even if only fleetingly, that they had a chance, and that gave them a couple of nights of explosive, if solitary, pleasure. And even if not, he liked the attention.
There were three kids in the physics class who stared at him all the time. Two girls and a boy. EJ enjoyed that, too. The boy sat directly behind him. When EJ was feeling generous or bored, he'd lean forward in his seat so that his pants rode down in back. Sometimes he'd scratch back there just to call attention. Other times, he'd lean back, clasping his hands on his cap. That did really nice things to his shoulders and arms. The boy was always very friendly after such philanthropy. He'd asked EJ out a number of times. The guy wasn't his type, but EJ always deferred rather than refused. Why crush his dreams?
Football was all about control. Control of the self and of the opponent. To excel -- and EJ did -- you had to have a sharper focus of attention than the guy trying to stop you. Football was a mind game. Yes, it was strength and agility and guts. But mostly it was making the guy believe you were going left when you were going right, psyching him out before he ever made contact. That was the fun part. Stronger was helpful -- that was MacReady's strategy. Smarter won the game.
Missy asked another question. EJ sighed quietly and started doodling in his notes. The squiggle turned into a caricature of a rabbit.
The Rabbit expected him to control things, even in the beginning when he was learning. He had first approached him at a party in January of EJ's sophomore year. EJ was doing his best to look cool despite being one of the youngest guys there when this adorable little strawberry blond walked over to him and handed him a beer.
"What's your name, stud?" he had asked.
"EJ," he answered, doing his best to smolder and be suave at the same time.
"Well, EJ," the Rabbit had said, "drink up. When you're done with the beer, you're going to fuck my brains out."
"I am?" EJ asked.
"For Christ sake," the Rabbit said, "say it with conviction."
"I am!" EJ responded.
"There you go, stud. Now bottoms up. Then bottom's up."
At the start, for the first three or four times, the Rabbit had to tell him what to do. But EJ was a very fast study, and within a week he was on top to stay, telling the Rabbit what position he wanted him in and trying out moves that he had devised. Before long, the Rabbit was complaining of an itch whenever they weren't fucking. And as many times as not he'd be able to get him to forget his own name when cumming.
He kind of liked it when the Rabbit lost it completely like that. There were times when EJ would be throwing him a particularly wild fuck and the Rabbit's eyes would glaze over and he'd go all jelly. The Rabbit called it, "hitting the spot." Invariably, seeing the Rabbit respond to him that way would send him right over the edge too. It was a terrific feeling of power being able to do that to someone -- a feeling EJ liked, and wanted back.
He hated to admit it, but he really did miss the Rabbit. He missed the "study breaks" when Rabbit would show up at his house unannounced in the evening, go up to his room, crawl under his desk and start playing with his dick while he tried to study chem. Twenty minutes later he'd be gone again, they both a tad more relaxed and able to focus.
He missed the after-game parties when they'd all be down the cellar at Pic's house, or up in Topher's room, all paired up, all making out. The Rabbit fit in with the guys really well. They thought he was funny. And he had absolutely no shame. To the rest of the team's delight, he went down on EJ in front of everyone at one of those dimly lit late-night parties. They were delighted, of course, because it gave them the moral ammunition to be able to expect their dates to do the same. "Fuck, Lise, I don't know why not?! The Rabbit's doing it right over there..."
He missed the way he could get the Rabbit hard without touching him, just by a look. Once EJ learned that trick, he started to abuse it, getting the Rabbit to pop a boner in front of his folks or in school, or worst -- when they were fighting. The Rabbit would get pissed and threaten to cut EJ off, but he never did.
Seth was on his way to filling the gap the Rabbit had left. At first he was surprised by the little games Seth seemed to play. Then he began to see them as a challenge to his authority. Rather than annoying him, that just made it more interesting. EJ was smarter than the kid. Older, smarter, and more experienced. The kid would learn who was in charge, and it would be fun teaching him.
But the little games did make it more interesting. EJ doodled the pickup truck. That time he had face-fucked him was completely hot, and to his own surprise, he found himself somewhat shaky when it was over. The fuck was even hotter. And even if the kid hadn't quite begged for it the first time, that would change in quick order. EJ had accepted this about himself in the past few years: people wanted him to fuck them. Lots of people.
If it bothered the Rabbit that he fucked other people, he never let on. "So long as I get that dick whenever I want, what do I care where it is in between?" he'd say. The first dalliance came about a month after EJ and the Rabbit had started hooking up. EJ had begun noticing that all these people were looking at him sexually. At first he thought they could tell he had just learned how to fuck and wanted in on the action. Later he figured they had always looked at him that way, but until the Rabbit, he had just never recognized it for what it was. Once he clued into it, though, he found it everywhere.
There was the kid at the Taco Bell who would always manage to brush his hand while giving him change. There was the girl in the Gap who would smile goofily and be at an inexplicable loss for words whenever he was around. There was the boy in gym who would always shower for exactly the same amount of time as he did.
Finally, sitting in the food court at the mall one time with Topher, he determined to act. There was a blond kid wearing a varsity soccer jacket from a neighboring school sitting at the next table who kept looking over at him. Whenever EJ would spy him, the kid would look away, as if he hadn't been staring. EJ tried to make eye contact, but the kid kept pretending.
EJ cocked an eyebrow at Topher in a move the latter knew meant, "watch this."
"Hey," EJ called across tables. When the blond kid looked over, he caught his eye. "So, you want to fuck, or what?"
The kid's pupils went small as his eyes widened. He sputtered out some kind of response neither EJ nor Topher could decipher. Within an hour, EJ was in his pants. The very next Friday, the team met the kid's school's team on the football field where they pretty much did to their opponents what EJ had just done to the kid.
That night, at the after-game party and after a great deal of soul-searching, he told the Rabbit about it. The response shocked him. The Rabbit just shrugged and asked if the kid was good. EJ told him that he was, but not as good as the Rabbit, which seemed to be the correct answer. That was the end of it.
Next came a college student named Mara who taught him the difference between fucking a girl and fucking a boy. While she was fun, and by no means the last girl he did, he had decided he liked boys better.
He learned the intricate signals of hooking up. The Rabbit started it by telling him what to look for, but the student soon surpassed the teacher. It was all in reading the right signs, EJ discovered. Everyone's were different, of course, but when people wanted to get fucked -- guys especially -- they all pretty much acted the same. EJ could read it in the wan, self-conscious smiles, the nervous fidget of the hands, the way they tried to stand or sit in a position which accentuated the body part they felt looked the best. Mostly, though, he could read the longing in their eyes in those moments of furtive contact before they invariably looked away. It was the looking away -- the desperate attempt to seem disinterested -- that was the biggest give-away.
He learned that they wanted him to walk up to them, to take charge, to be strong, to tell them what they didn't want to admit they wanted, then to do it to them. EJ was happy to oblige. He developed a knack for being able to smooth-talk his way into the pants of pretty much anyone who caught his fancy.
He was a generous lover, if generosity can be selfish. It turned him on to know he could make the person he was with leave time and space behind, and he worked hard to find ways to tear them, if only temporarily, from the universe. He rarely took the trip himself -- there was always a self-awareness, a modicum of control, even in the depths of orgasm. Awareness of what the self was doing to the other was, after all, the basis of what got him off in the first place.
EJ was smart enough to understand all this. He didn't dwell on it, though. He incorporated his growth as a sexual being, his maturation into a talented entrepreneur of pleasure, his matriculation as a student of human behavior as it pertained to desire as easily as he did his success on the football field or in the science classroom. It was just another way in which he excelled.
He wondered, sometimes, if it was Rabbit who taught him to be casual about sex by being so casual himself, or if the Rabbit chose him because he recognized, somehow, a kindred spirit in that respect. EJ didn't know how he could have, but then again, no one really understood how he could read who wanted to get fucked and who didn't so easily. He had tried to explain it to Topher once, but it hadn't worked. Topher finally gave up trying to understand and just trusted that he knew what he was talking about.
The memory of the first time he had hooked Topher up with a girl brought a smile to his face. They were sitting together at a party. The Rabbit was off dancing with someone while they talked. EJ had pointed out that a girl neither of them had met before was standing on the opposite side of the room sending desperate signals to Topher. Topher didn't believe him because he didn't see it -- he couldn't read it like EJ could for some reason. EJ didn't think it was because he wasn't smart enough. Topher could read people incredibly well in other ways. It wasn't that he was bad at reading these particular signals, it was more like EJ was good at it. EJ finally convinced him to walk over to her and say hi. The look of sheer surprise and delight on Topher's face as they left together remained etched in EJ's mind.
Seth had sent out all the right signals, looked perfect, and had seemed like a great replacement for the Rabbit. When they started talking, though, everything went askew. Seth didn't defer like he was supposed to. He didn't let EJ orchestrate the conversation like he should have. He deep throated way better than he ought to have known how, and while he did, indeed, lose himself when EJ got him off, EJ had, surprisingly and against all odds, kind of lost himself, too.
The fucking will have fixed that. EJ had seen it before. Once infected, there was no cure of him.
Seth stood naked before the mirror, wondering if he looked different. Without question he felt different. Certainly his ass felt different. The ache that had set in had graduated into a pleasant tingling and he finally felt, a few hours later, that he had regained some modicum of control over the muscles there. Taking a shit had been an unexpected adventure as he realized that a theretofore mundane task had become suddenly sexualized.

He looked into his eyes trying to see if there were signs of his experience. The green stared back at him dumbly. He smiled at his own silliness, or perhaps because he was happy. The brightness spread from his grin to the rest of his body, and he bounced on his heels a couple of times in delight.

"You're a lucky, lucky boy," he and his reflection told each other.

But the giddiness passed as he began the nightly survey of his own body, this time trying to see what EJ saw. His public face may have been one of bravado, of braggadocio even, but his reflection knew better. He didn't deserve it. For Seth, self-confidence, like cheeriness, was an affectation. He knew he was supposed to be cheery so he was, like he knew people thought he was cute so he acted that way. But neither were deep-seated, intrinsic feelings.

He searched himself more closely, wondering, as he so frequently did, what would be there if he stripped off all the artifice he had built. What would he see if he could see himself objectively? How did EJ see him? Did he believe the public face? Did he like it?

There was something that felt so strangely right about their encounter. He couldn't put his finger on it like he couldn't put his finger on what was the central core of his own being. It was like he lived in a hall of internal mirrors, never sure which image was real, which was reflection.

He couldn't remember how old he was when he figured out that people responded to his being cute. It began with old ladies. Despite parental admonitions to the contrary, he was quite happy to accept candy from strangers. He found a coy smile or a dropped dimple were usually good for some kind of sweet. As he learned to milk it, his effectiveness spread to adults in general.

When he started school, he was an instantaneous hit with the distaff side of his class, with whom he learned that animation was key. The boys were not converted until he added cheer and humor to his repertoire. When he finally figured out that people wanted to hear what they wanted to hear, more than they wanted to hear the truth, his arsenal was fully equipped.

He got used to getting things, because when you come right down to it, when you give people what they want, they give you what you want. But what was the actual truth as opposed to what was the public truth began to get lost, and of all the people he knew, he was the only one who ended up not particularly liking him.

In fourth grade he had told Alice Cunningham what she wanted to hear when he discovered that her family drove down to Disneyworld every spring break for a week of fun. That was the first time he had ever experienced Space Mountain. In fifth he cutesied up to Howard Breznak to gain access to his new X-Box when it became clear that no amount of nagging would procure one from his own folks.

That's why he had become so close with Theo. Theo had his own agenda. While they had never explicitly discussed it, Seth understood that Theo understood that the games were just games designed as a means toward an ends. Theo cheated in his own signature way.

What did EJ want? What would be the best way to play him? And how could he play him if he lost himself the way he did when they were fucking? His reflection answered with inscrutable silence.

"I'll start doing push-ups tomorrow," he told it. His reflection winked.

 Episode 12

Seth and Theo sat opposite each other, glue-washing a flat. One of Seth's scenes had just been blocked, but he still had to stay for the reruns at the end of the rehearsal. It was Friday, and that was a good thing. Nothing beat the feeling you got when a week of school was over as far as Seth was concerned, except, maybe, when a year of school was over. Theo was being unusually quiet. They had hardly talked during band and at lunch all they had discussed was Seth's Great Plan for getting an extension on his French project, which included being good and pleading with an option of throwing a tantrum.
Seth was complaining about his English homework as they painted.
"It's absurd. We have to read three short stories this weekend alone. Not just one, three. That's almost a book."
"Which short stories?" Theo asked. "Maybe I've read them."
"I dunno. Something by Wilma Cather and Summertime Mom and some other dude."
"I think that's Willa."
"What's Willa?"
"Willa Cather," Theo said, dipping his brush back in the vat of glue-wash.
"What kind of a name is Willa? I really think it's Wilma."
Theo shook his head. "It's Willa."
"No," Seth said, patiently explaining, "Theodore, Thelma. Dog, Dogma. William, Wilma." He punctuated his connections with the paintbrush on the flat.
Theo laughed. "I don't even know where to begin with that one."
"Like William Defoe and Wilma Flintstone."
"It's Willem," Theo said.
"Oh, don't start."
It was a regular game they played. One of the first tricks Seth had ever learned was to play dumb, and he had raised it to an artform. Many people actually believed it. Theo knew better.
Grinning at each other, they finished the flat, carefully tilted it up against the wall to dry and readied the next one for the glue-wash.
"So did EJ invite you to the game?" Theo asked.
"Not exactly," Seth replied absently, beginning to brush the muslin like he was applying make up. "We didn't really have time to talk about it." The very first thing Seth had done when he had gotten home that night had been to IM Theo. There followed a gloriously flowery account of most of what had happened.
"I'm going to surprise him there," he continued. "He'll be delighted. Have you talked to Mr. Yummy since? Are you going to do it again?" Theo smiled enigmatically. Seth stopped painting and looked at him. "You did already, didn't you?!" Theo nodded. "You Absolute Shit! Why didn't you tell me?! Was it Fabulous?" Theo nodded again, trying not to giggle. "That's so cool. What's he like? Did he propose?"
Theo rolled his eyes. "It's not like that. We just like each other. I don't know what it is. It's okay. Kind of fun slowly seeing where it goes, you know? Like being in a curvy tunnel. You don't know where you're going to end up until you end up there."
"I'd hate that," Seth said, thinking about it. "I want to know where it's going from the start."
"But you don't. You can't."
"But I do. I have a Plan," Seth intoned gravely.
"So what's he like?"
Theo reflected a bit, trying to pick the right words. "He's careful."
"Do I mean caring?" Theo asked.
"I don't know. Do you?"
Theo shrugged. "He was about to cum and he stopped because I wasn't ready yet."
"Get out!"
"No, it's true. And he kept asking me what I wanted."
"He did?"
Theo nodded.
"EJ asked me what I wanted, but it seemed like it was more to hear what he wanted."
Theo thought about that for a while. "I don't think it was like that."
"What did you tell him?" Seth asked.
"I said I didn't know."
"Why not just tell him?"
"'Cause I didn't know."
This time it was Seth who rolled his eyes. They glue-washed in silence for a bit.
"Can I ask a question?" Theo began quietly and without much conviction.
"Should we lower the cone of silence?"
"Serious," Theo said. "You gotta promise not to go all nuts on me when I ask."
Seth looked at Theo, then returned to painting the flat. A clever answer was not in order. He nodded.
"When you're deep throating, how do you get it in and keep from gagging?"
The question didn't phase Seth at all. "But you can already deep throat," he said. Theo waited for him to get it. It only took a beat. "Oh. Okay. Big?"
Theo nodded.
"As big as..."
"No," Theo cut him off. But bigger than...well, than I'm used to."
Seth didn't take it as an insult. He just considered the question. "Okay. A couple of things," he began, matter-of-factly. "Try not to eat anything beforehand, 'cause that's just disgusting, you know?" Theo nodded. "Do it upside down, 'cause the angle's better."
"You mean, like, standing on my head?"
"No," Seth said, "like that time at the campground on the picnic table. You remember?"
Theo nodded. "With my head hanging back?"
"Yeah," Seth illustrated the position in a small glue-wash portrait. "Breathe before you start 'cause you can't breathe when you're down on it. Oh yeah, and breathe through your nose. But it's going to get all runny. That's okay." Theo nodded again, trying to take it all in. "And your eyes are going to water. That's okay too."
"All this happened to you?"
Seth nodded.
"With me?"
Seth rolled his eyes and nodded. Theo frowned.
"Look," Seth said, "you asked!"
"Yeah. Sorry. Why can't I stop gagging?"
"You have to swallow."
"I can't," Theo said. "I'm gagging."
"You're gagging," Seth explained, "because you're not swallowing."
Seth patted his knee. "I may not know anything about Sunset Mom, but I know about this."
"Somerset Maughaum, actually," Theo said.
"Get a life."

"So Cooledge is sitting there reading the paper like he always does, right?" Topher reported animatedly, "and he looks up and sees that fucking Uzi is in the back sound asleep at his desk. Mouth wide open like this." Topher slid his head back a little and went slack-jawed. EJ nodded. "So Cooledge takes a piece of chalk from the board, right? And throws it at Uzi. Tried to get it in his mouth. But Uzi wakes up right when the chalk is in the air and it hits him right in the fucking eye. It was fucking priceless."
"Serious?" EJ asked, wide-eyed. Topher nodded.
"And Cooledge was like, "I was aiming for your mouth!" and "don't sue me!""
"Was Uzi pissed?"
"Naw. He laughed. You can't get pissed at Cooledge, you know? He's so pathetic. I mean, what's the point?"
They laughed over the scene for a while. Topher finally stopped when he noticed EJ looking at him.
"What?" he asked defensively.
"Nothing," EJ said. "Just I haven't seen you laugh like that in a while."
"It was fucking funny!"
"No, it's good." EJ said. "Just you've been kind of down since...well, you know. It's good to see you back."
Topher cocked a sideways grin and nodded. "Yeah, I've been an asshole."
"No you haven't."
"Yuh I have."
"Well I'd'a been pissed too. Just good to see the old Topher again." He held up his hand and they bumped.
Topher returned to the chore of taking his uniform out of his gym bag and stuffing it back into his locker. Thursdays were when all the dirty clothes came home to get washed. On Fridays they returned, ready for the night's game.
"So what happened?" EJ asked, having finished his own transfer a few moments before. Topher looked around the team room. There were a few other boys, but mostly it was like it was every Friday after school -- deserted until they had to return for the game. He shrugged noncommittally.
"You want to get out of here?" EJ asked.
Topher shoved the last pieces of his uniform into his locker and flung it shut. He nodded. Soon, they were back in the empty hallway of the school, heading nowhere in particular.
"Can I ask you a question?"
EJ looked over at his friend. Topher hadn't asked if he could ask a question in years. When he had a question, he just asked it. He didn't ask if he could ask one unless...
After a long silence, Topher cleared his throat. "When you're fucking, doesn't it like...like hurt them?"
EJ worked hard to suppress a grin. The question still might not mean what he thought it meant. "Well," he began in a voice he usually reserved for tutoring or talking with adults, "it doesn't have to hurt them if you don't want it to. You can get around it. But it can hurt a little at first. Especially the first time."
They walked a few steps in silence, EJ giving Topher the room to ask his next question. It finally came.
"How do you get around it?"
The grin won. EJ punched Topher playfully on the shoulder. "Dawg!"
"Don't go all ape-shit on me," Topher moaned.
"Sorry," EJ said, sounding completely unconvincing. "Who is it?"
"What if it was no one?" Topher answered. "What if I was just curious?"
EJ thought a moment. "You know, Seth told me something at Candler's that I forgot to tell you."
"He said his friend had the hots for you." Topher brightened visibly. "Dawg!!" EJ exclaimed.
"All right, all right," Topher said, waving his friend down. "Yeah. So Theo and I kind of hooked up a couple of times."
"What'd I tell you, dude? You like it?"
"Yeah," Topher answered with simplistic honesty. "I did. It was different, but it was good."
EJ nodded. "And now you want to fuck him?"
Topher nodded. "And I think he wants me to."
EJ laughed. "Well, if you think he wants you to, he must be fucking dying for it."
Topher cuffed him on the back of the head. As if on cue, they both dropped their bags and play-sparred in the hall. Topher got in a couple of good mock slaps. They laughed.
"So serious, dude. I don't want to hurt him."
"'Kay, 'kay" EJ said. They picked up their bags and continued ambling down the hall. Despite their being alone, he talked in a low voice. "The first big thing is guys don't make their own juice, so you have to get something like KY."
Topher nodded.
"It's his first time?"
Topher nodded again.
"Okay. You'll want to loosen him up a lot first. So you eat him out good. Then start sticking your fingers up there. One at a time, then when he gets used to it, two. Spit on them first -- get 'em wet so they'll slide in and out, you know? About two knuckles in, you'll feel this little bump. Aim for it. It's his prostate. He'll go fucking nuts when you press hard on it."
Topher nodded. "Eat, fingers, spit, bump."
"Eat, spit, fingers, bump, actually, but you got the idea. There's really two parts that hurt -- there's like his actual ass ring. So that gets stretched, and it hurts, you know?" Topher nodded. "That's what you can work on. Try to get it loosened up first."
"What's the other part?"
"The inside," EJ answered. "That has to stretch out too. Can't really do anything about that. Just use a lot of goop, go slow, and let him get used to it. Tell him to push out like he was shitting. That helps them."
"Does it gotta hurt?"
"It hurts with girls the first time too, you know."
"That's true," said Topher, considering it. "I guess it's supposed to."
"I guess," EJ echoed. "And you know," he added tentatively, "sometimes if it hurts a little, that's not so bad."
"How do you figure?"
EJ shrugged, carefully choosing the words into which he put the thought. "Sometimes if it hurts a little, you know they know you're there." Topher looked at him blankly. "The Rabbit used to like it when I just put it to him sometimes. Like diving in cold water after you take a sauna, you know? Little shock to the system. Lets you know you're alive. And when I would do it, he'd look so...you know how when you look at someone's face when they're cumming, you can't really tell if they're feeling pleasure or pain? I mean, you know it's feeling good, but it's the same look as they'd have if they hurt. You know?"
"Kind of," Topher answered. The thought was a new one to him.
"Sometimes," continued EJ, "there's not such a big line between what hurts and what feels good." He could see Topher trying to turn the concept over in his mind. "It's like football," he added. "Love the game, but it fucking hurts when you get hit. But you don't think about that part of it, right? Just part of the game."
"So fucking guys is like football?" Topher asked incredulously.
"Pretty much."
"Hands to the face still a penalty?"
EJ laughed. "Nope. And you can't be called for having too many men on the field."
They found themselves in front of the auditorium. Neither of them had steered there, it had just appeared before them. EJ gave Topher a grin and they walked in.
The rehearsal was in progress, which meant a couple of kids were on stage reading from books and there was a teacher in the front of the audience who, all at the same time, was paying attention to them, talking to a kid who was standing next to him, and yelling to a kid who was standing on top of a long ladder fiddling with a big light that was attached to a steel bar that hung from the ceiling. One side of the stage had some scenery on it, but neither EJ nor Topher could discern what it was supposed to be. It looked all curtainy, even though it was only painted. A group of kids were messing with it -- some with paint brushes, one with a power drill in her hands, one with a glue gun. In another portion, off to the right, two kids sat talking as they pulled at threads on long strips of material. On the other side of the back of the stage, Seth and Theo sat across from each other with a piece of scenery on the floor between them. They were painting it white. EJ motioned to the back of the auditorium. They walked up the aisle and took seats.
Seth was talking, though they couldn't hear what he was saying. Periodically, he'd smile, and the dimples would twinkle. He sat resting on a hip, his legs extending off to the side, propping himself up on one hand, using the other to paint and for emphasis when he talked. In that position, EJ could see where his jersey fell from where it smoothly covered his chest to where it gathered on his rib cage and side. He squinted a bit, trying to see if he could catch a glimpse of nipple poking through the shirt, but he was too far away. He could see the crease in Seth's pants between his thighs and his ass, though. It was a small, tight ass, like the rest of him. EJ shifted in his seat.
"He's cute," Topher said.
"Which one?" EJ asked.
"Yours. He has a cute smile."
"Yeah," EJ answered, "he does. I brought him to the glade, you know. Totally made him scream. It was sweet."
"Like squeal? Lise used to do that."
EJ looked at his friend. But the reference to the bitch wasn't followed by the usual darkening of spirit. He was really over it. EJ smiled.
"What?" Topher asked.
"Nothing," EJ said. "No, not squeeling. I made him scream."
Topher nodded in the knowing way that EJ knew meant he didn't understand what he was saying.
"It's like what we were talking about before. I like them to know I've been there. They like it too. You know what I'm talking about," EJ said when Topher replied with a long silence. "Girls are the same way. Yeah they like it slow and smooth too, but when you come right down to it, they just want you to take over and give it to them like there's no tomorrow."
"Oh, okay," Topher said. "So it's the same as girls."
There was something about the way he said it that made EJ wonder if he was getting it at all. He let it pass, and shifted his gaze to Theo.
Theo sat on one ankle, the other leg bent so that his chin rested on his knee as he painted. His back made a long, slender curve from the floor to his neck. His hair radiated out from a point at the top of his head. On the sides, it curled up just a bit over his ears before ending. In the front, it bushed up a little, with patches slanting left or right or up as they wished. As he was relaxed, his upper lip was in its resting position -- pulled back and up at an angle. EJ could see his front teeth all the way from the back of the audience. Every once in a while, he'd add a word or two to the conversation, but mostly he just listened. At one point, Seth began painting a diagram in white on the white. Theo watched carefully, tilting his head down so that he was kissing his own knee. The calf was long and slender. Theo was going to be tall, EJ thought.
"Yours is cute too," EJ said.
"You think?" Topher asked hopefully. It was odd. He had never asked for EJ's approval with a girl. This was still new to him, and he was unsure of himself.
"Yeah, dude. He's totally cute. You want to talk to him?"
"I could say hi," Topher answered nonchalantly. EJ smirked. Topher looked at him. "Don't make me fucking hit you," he warned. EJ laughed, causing Topher to laugh too.

"Why are you painting it white?" a voice said from behind Theo. "Is it like a cloud or something?"

The boys turned. Theo brightened. "It's glue-wash," he said. "You have to cover new flats with this stuff. It makes the cloth stiff so you can paint on it. It's like primer."

"Okay," Topher answered.

"What are you doing here?" Seth asked. "Don't you have rehearsal?"

"Practice," Topher said, a little annoyed. "It's called "practice", not "rehearsal". Game's tonight. We don't practice on the afternoon of games. Just go home, eat and stuff. You coming?" he asked Theo.

Theo nodded happily.

"Go over and talk to EJ," Topher said to Seth while pointing to the audience, "he's over there." Seth spotted EJ, dropped the brush, sprang to his feet and tripped merrily to the back of the house.

"That was kind of rude, don't you think?" Theo said after Seth had gone.

"It was?"

"You could have said "please" or something."

"He's a sophomore," dismissed Topher.

"So am I," Theo said.

Topher considered this. "Yeah, I see your point," he said genuinely. "Okay. Next time, please." He crossed to the other side of the flat, sat down, and picked up the brush Seth had abandoned. "Just paint it like regular?" Theo nodded. He dipped the brush in the bucket of glue-wash and began applying it to the flat in broad, straight strokes.

"I know nothing about football you know," Theo warned.

"It's easy," Topher began. "See, you get points by getting the ball into the other guy's end-zone."


"Yeah," Topher said, "end-zone. The field is a hundred yards long. On either side is an "end-zone"." Theo nodded. "If you do, it's a touchdown, and it's six points."

"Six? Wow."

"Anyway, then you get an option for an extra point. You line up on the two-yard line. If you throw the ball in or run it in, it's called a conversion and you get two more points..."

"Then shouldn't it be called extra points?"

Topher blinked at him. "No, because you can kick it through the two posts at the end of the field. That's only worth one point..."

"Then it's extra point and/or points."

Topher looked at him blankly for a moment, but let it pass. "So you get four chances to get a touchdown. Those are called downs. If you can move the ball forward ten yards in the four downs, you get another four."

"Is that like a hoe-down?"


"I don't know. I thought, like, down, touchdown, hoe-down?"

Topher pursed his lips. This wasn't going anything like it was supposed to.

"No, not like that. It goes first down, second down, third down, fourth down, then back to first down again."

"Okay," Theo shrugged, adding, "I guess."

When you have the ball, you're on offense. I'm on the offensive line. So you'll see me when we have the ball."

"Which number are you?"

"I'm number four."

"Oh," Theo said, a little disappointed, "who's number one?"

"It doesn't work that way," Topher said beginning to get irked. "We'll line up where the ball is -- that's called, the line of scrimmage -- and the center -- he's going to be the guy in the middle of the line of scrimmage..."

"That's why they call him the center?"

"Yes," Topher said, "the center will give me the ball..."

"You're in the center too?"

"I'm the quarterback."

"Is that why you're number four?"


"Four quarters in a dollar? Is there a dollarback? Is he number one?"

Topher squinted at him. "Are you fucking serious?"

"Guess not then."

Topher tried one last time. "Anyway, I'll call a play, the center will snap me the ball, then I'll either hand it off to someone who will try to run it down the field, or pass it to someone."

"Do you squat before or after all this? Tell me about the squatting. There seemed to be a lot of squatting when we watched."

Topher fell into stunned silence, staring blankly at Theo. Theo did his best, but the merest trace of a grin at the corners of his mouth betrayed him.

Topher's eyebrows raised. "Have you been fucking playing with me?" Little patches of color appeared on Theo's cheeks in response. His grin grew more pronounced. "Oh, you little shit!" Topher chuckled. "I'm going to kick your ass in."

Meanwhile, Seth had bounced over to where EJ sat. When he got there, he flopped dramatically into his lap, threw his arms around his shoulders and started to give him a big, wet kiss. EJ pulled him out of the kiss, but not out of his lap.

"Whoa, there," he said. "You sure you want to be doing that in front of your friends?"

"Absolutely!" Seth answered, moving in to kiss him again.

EJ laughed. "Slow down there, pah-dner," he said in his best Cowboy. "Plenty o' time for them there things." EJ turned him around so they were facing in the same direction. Seth leaned back, fitting comfortably into EJ's lap. He rested his head on the larger boy's shoulder.

"I'm coming to the game tonight," he said. "You going to hit a homerun for me?"

EJ laughed. "That's baseball. This is football."

"Okay. You going to kick a homerun?"

EJ cuffed the back of his head playfully. Seth giggled. EJ talked into his ear. "I want to fuck you right now so bad." He slid his hands onto Seth's thighs, pointing his fingers down and in.

Seth moaned. "I got a busy schedule," he said, "but I could probably fit you in. Suggestive wink."

"You fit me in pretty well yesterday, babe."

"Yeah," Seth said without guile, "that was intense."

"Just the beginning." His fingers massaged Seth's inner thighs, moving upward with each stroke. Seth all but purred.

"Once you get a taste of the J, all you want is more."

Seth thought about this a moment. It was surely the most ridiculously pompous thing he had ever heard. But it had been said with a completely honest conviction, and, Seth allowed, it was true.

"C'mon, babe. Let's go for a quickie. You know you're itching for it." He jerked his hips, giving Seth a little grind.

"Jesus. Now look what you've done," Seth said. The front of his pants were tented in obvious semaphore. "How am I supposed to go back to rehearsal like this?"

EJ clasped a hand onto the end of the tent-pole, and roughly rubbed the material around on it. Seth squirmed.

"Gee, I don't know. Guess you'll have to skip out and we can go do it now."

Seth sighed. "I can't. I'm going to be called back on stage in a sec. After he blocks the scenes, we run through them a couple of times at the end of the rehearsal."

"You sure?" EJ whispered into his ear in a syrupy sotto voce. His other hand found Seth's balls and squeezed. Were it not for the back of the seat in front of them, the actors on stage would be getting quite a show themselves. "You'll love it, babe. I'm feeling like a tiger." Seth moaned again, losing all resolve. "I'm going to touch places you didn't even know you had."


"Mmm..." Seth answered. But the call hadn't come from behind.

"SETH." It was the director.

Seth snapped upright. "I gotta go," he said, pulling his shirt out in front, trying to cover. "Can't you stay 'till the end of rehearsal?"

"Got a game tonight." EJ answered, resenting the interruption. His magic had been working. He had been so close.

"Seth!" The director was losing patience. The other actors milled about the stage, trying not to be visibly amazed that EJ had had Seth in his lap, and the quarterback of the football team himself was glue-washing flats with Theo.

"Some other time, then" EJ said, not letting Seth go until he was ready.

"Okay," Seth whispered pulling trying to break from EJ's grasp. "I can't wait."

"Good, babe." EJ freed him and he flew down the aisle toward the stage.

 Episode 13

The stands were full, the sidelines more so. Lights shone on the field even though, at 7:00 p.m., it was still dusk. The pep-band was arrayed in the stands behind the home bench, wearing the black and orange, as did many on their side of the field. Theo and Seth sat next to Jen, who was warming up her flute.
The PA system blared a feedback screech, out of which the voice of a neighbor of Theo's could be heard introducing himself as the evening's play-by-play announcer. The voice introduced the opposing team, which was met by cheers from the green-and-white-clad fans on the other side of the field. The stands in which they sat were far smaller than the ones for the home team. Very unfair, Theo thought.
The pep-band struck up the school's fight song as the announcer introduced the home team players one by one, number and name. Despite feeling ovine, Theo found himself cheering for his classmates along with the rest of the fans. Seth whooped along with him, going shrill when number 32 was introduced. Topher was the last individual called before the rest of the team ran onto the field en masse. Theo wondered if this was honor or insult. Either way, he cheered extra loud, wondering if Topher could ever possibly spot him in the throng.
The pep-band offered a slightly atonal rendition of the national anthem, to which everybody sang along. The boys on the field dutifully held their helmets over their hearts and faced the flag. Theo scanned the field for number four. The blond hair caught his eye. He was toward the middle of the line of players. Like many of them, he had big black streaks painted across his cheeks like a pair of Groucho glasses worn upside down. Theo smiled with pride. Topher looked fearsome.
When the song was over, everyone sat and the boys ran off the field to be replaced by another set of boys who lined up, putting the ball in a thing-a-ma-jig that held it upright in the middle of the grass.
Theo leaned over to Jen. "Do you understand this game?"
"Sure," she said. "Why?"
"Can you explain it as we go along? I'm kind of new to it."
Jen nodded. For the rest of the game, when she wasn't playing flute for the pep band and when he wasn't fielding completely offhand remarks from Seth, she explained the intricacies of football, from lateral passes to onside kicks. Theo absorbed it as best he could, always keeping an eye on the field. He was delighted to learn that Topher had the lead role, though he was explicitly warned not to call it that. He threw some long passes, a variety of which were caught -- almost all of the time by players who went to their school. EJ played well too -- there were times he had the ball when he would head toward a massive and densely packed crowd of kids and still be able to find an invisible passageway through them. The way he darted and dodged reminded Theo of a ferret. The top and bottom of his body weren't always heading in the same direction. And he only dropped the ball once.
Three or four of the opposing players had no other job, it seemed, except to try to maul Topher. Theo found this idea both complimentary and alarming. Luckily, a similar number of schoolmates had the job of protecting him. Theo would have liked that job, except those that had it seemed to be at least twice as large as he was in pretty much every direction possible (and a few which were impossible). He more saw himself doing it with a sword and armor, anyway. And the truth of it was that Topher probably didn't need much protection off the field.
It wasn't a close game. Jen explained that they were playing one of the worst teams in the league. There were really only one or two teams that offered any competition on a yearly basis, she said. On good years, they had one loss. On bad years, two or three. So far, they had a perfect record, and -- if the odds-layers had anything to say about it -- would continue to do so for at least another two weeks.
The end of the game came with a whimper. Twenty-one points ahead, The home team got the ball with under a minute to go, and everyone erupted into cheers. Topher's squad -- the offensive line, Theo corrected himself -- took the field and just stood around pretending to play. They'd start the game...snap the ball -- he must get used to the new lingo -- everyone would move in slow-motion, and Topher would kneel on one knee as if proposing to the ass of the kid in front of him. People started leaving. A gun went off.
Jen had packed up the flute and was about to head down to the sidelines.
"What happens now?" Theo asked before she could get moving.
"That's the end of the game," Jen said.
"Right, but what happens?"
"Nothing," She answered. "Everyone goes home."
Theo pursed his lips. The team was heading back toward the school as the stands emptied. He and Topher hadn't discussed what was going to happen after the game. They remained in their seats uncertainly as the crowd thinned. Soon they were fairly alone. Theo chewed on his upper lip.
"Should we go try to find them?" he finally asked.
"I don't know," Seth answered with uncharacteristic uncertainty. "We don't know where they are. Have you ever been down there where the teams go? It's like a maze. What if we miss them?"
"We can ask someone," Theo suggested.
They looked around. The stands were deserted.
"I'm getting cold."

They were half way home when the blue shitbox pulled up next to them and slowed to a walking-pace. The window on the passenger side rolled down. A concerned Topher leaned out.
"Where the fuck have you been?"
"We watched the game," Theo said, confused.
The door swung open. Theo and Seth hopped up, Seth climbing awkwardly over Topher to sit between him and EJ, Theo squishing himself next to the door. EJ nodded peevishly from the driver's seat and pulled back out onto the road.
Topher stared at Theo. Theo got the impression that he had done something wrong. "Great game!" he said hopefully.
"We sucked," EJ answered dismissively.
"You won 35-14!"
"They sucked more," EJ said. There was no joy in Mudville.
"Well I thought you looked great. It was cool," Seth added.
"How come you didn't wait for us?" Topher asked.
Theo sputtered. "I didn't know we were supposed to."
"Sure. Why wouldn't you?"
"We looked for you for like, a fucking half hour," EJ added without turning his gaze from the road.
"We thought you left or something."
EJ was clearly pissed. But Topher wasn't angry, Theo realized. He was hurt.
"I'm sorry," he said, putting his hand on Topher's shoulder and looking into his eyes. "It was our first game. We didn't know what we were supposed to do or where we were supposed to go. We stayed 'till the end. We stayed past it. Tell me where to be next Friday, and I'll be there."
Topher weighed the answer. His features softened a bit. "So you liked it?"
"Yeah!" Theo gushed. "You were so good! The center of everything!"
"I threw two interceptions."
"You also threw for one hundred fifty yards, including six third down conversions..." Theo answered. Topher's eyebrows and jaw went in opposite directions. Theo grinned. "Or so I'm told, anyway."
"He's hustling you, dude," EJ said. "He knows more about football than you do. Watch. By Thanksgiving, he's going to be quarterback."
Topher laughed.
"I had someone explain it to me while the game was going on."
Topher put his arm around Theo's shoulder. "That's my boy," he told EJ.
"How about you? What's a nickel defense?" EJ asked Seth across the length of the cab.
"I wasn't paying attention to the explanations," Seth said. I kept getting distracted by this cute guy on the field with an incredible ass."
"Yeah," EJ asked, his voice softening in turn. "Couldn't keep your eyes off it, huh?"
"Very tight end," said Seth, smiling.
"I'm a running back, babe."
"Who said I was talking about you?"
EJ laughed as he reached over behind Seth and cuffed the back of his head.
The pickup eventually stopped behind a line of cars in front of a house. The boys spilled out. Topher explained that after home games, a bunch of guys usually went to an after-game party. They walked around the back of the house and let themselves in the basement door.
Inside was a very large, dimly lit basement playroom. Loud music played from a corner. There were about 20 guys there, two-thirds with dates. Some were making out, some were just talking. Others clustered in groups about the room. Conversation dropped off as they entered.
"They're with us," Topher said as Theo realized, to his horror, that everyone was looking at him. Topher draped an arm about his shoulder. Conversation seemed to resume, if slowly. "It's only 'cause you're new," Topher whispered into his ear. He didn't have to add and a sophomore.
EJ led Seth off to get a drink. Topher led Theo to an unoccupied couch in a corner.
"So you really liked it?"
Theo nodded. "I kept thinking it was like this medieval battle. Like dungeons and dragons or that kind of thing. And you were the prince." Topher smiled in response. "How come you didn't tell me you were in charge of the team?"
"I'm not. Well, I kind of am," Topher said. "Most people in the school already know, anyway."
"You're famous?"
This got a laugh. "Kind of." Topher's arm was extended along the back of the couch behind Theo's head. He tickled his far shoulder. Theo looked around the room uncomfortably. Of the couples, a little under half were boy-boy, the rest boy-girl. All were in relatively intimate poses. He and Seth were clearly the youngest people at the party, but since they had sat down, no one was paying particular attention to him. Except Topher. He sighed and nestled closer. Topher draped his hand around his neck down the front side of his chest.
"I think," he whispered so that only Topher could hear, "if we try it again, I'll be better at it."
"I don't know," Topher whispered back, "I thought it was pretty good already."
Theo smiled and his cheeks flushed. "No, I mean...you know...I think I know how to get the hang of it."
"The hang of it?"
Theo rolled his eyes.

EJ stood talking with Candler and Uzi, both single except for a beer. Seth stood behind EJ, sipping his beer and trying to follow the conversation. After ten minutes of listening to endless talk about the game -- they seemed to want to discuss every play in minute detail -- Seth excused himself to go to the bathroom. Three sets of eyes watched his ass as it disappeared across the room.

"This town is too fucking small." It was the anthem of the unattached. This time it was voiced by Uzi. By the time you were a senior, you'd done pretty much everyone you wanted to do. Options became limited: relationship or celibacy. "I can't wait to get out of this fucking little hole." The other two nodded.

"We should go down to the city some time. Maybe Christmas or something. Get a trip together," Candler said. "We could all go in on a room." This, too, was a common motif. A trip to the city was always being planned by some group or another, whether it be to sneak into a club or to get some action. In Candler's case, it would be for both. Some kids actually got excited about it until the reality of their parents or economics intervened.

"People are too fucked up about sex," EJ said. The others nodded, knowing what he meant and agreeing with him. To those for whom sex was merely a fun recreation, the idea that it should be inalterably tied to intimacy was absurd. A useless vestige of the bad old days, like wisdom teeth or an appendix. Sure, there were times when you wanted sex to be intimate. But there were times when you didn't, too. Sometimes a good fuck was just a good fuck.

"At least you had the Rabbit," Uzi said. "He was one-of-a-kind, huh?"

EJ smiled. "Probably a good thing. I don't know if the world could deal with more than one Rabbit."

"He was a fun one," Candler agreed.

EJ knew that the Rabbit had done most of the team. He was an active little boy before they had met and that hadn't changed once they had started going out. It didn't bother EJ in the least. For the Rabbit, it was more from curiosity than anything else. He wanted to experience as many dicks as he could. But he kept coming back to EJ.

"I did Spencer the other night," he'd say. "Never seen such a bent dick in my life. The guy has a permanent left-turn signal going. I kept wanting to spin clockwise while he fucked me. Felt like I was being reamed by a corkscrew..." or, "I met a kid yesterday. Hung like a horse but had absolutely no idea what to do with it. I actually considered going for a slice of pizza in the middle of it. Such a waste..."

He rarely did a guy twice. Once he had satisfied his curiosity, his interest flagged and it was on to the next. EJ was the exception. There was a je ne sait quoi about EJ, except that the Rabbit sait-ed exactly quoi. EJ was special.

A side-effect of their openness with each other was that EJ had a relatively detailed description of what most of his teammates looked like hard and how well or defectively they had sex. It was the Rabbit, in fact who had given Uzi his nickname. His review of Candler was somewhat less flattering. Despite dashing good looks, Candler, it seems, was on the small side of average in both size and imagination.

"Is he coming back for Thanksgiving?" Candler asked.

EJ shrugged. "Don't know. Haven't talked with him."


EJ shrugged again. "Got the poker in a different fire anyway."

"Yeah?" Uzi asked dubiously. "That one?" He pointed toward the stairs that led up to the first floor where the bathroom was. EJ nodded. "Cute little fucker," Uzi said. "Kinda young, though, isn't he?"

EJ shrugged.

"Young enough not to know better, huh?" Candler said with a grin.

"There ain't no better, dude," EJ said without bravado. "He's starting at the top." The other boys laughed.


The kisses were playful and airy. They kept breaking apart to chat. They had little in common, they discovered, save for a love of the water. Topher had defined himself almost completely by sports, and Theo's expertise in that subject was limited to spectating -- and then only in sports in which the tightest clothes were worn.
Theo, on the other hand, described himself as being interested in everything and nothing at the same time. When Topher responded to this with a blank stare, Theo explained by saying that he was a curious but lazy insomniac. So he never really learned anything because it was too much work, but he learned about things because there was nothing else to do in the middle of the night except surf the internet.
They also discovered that they didn't particularly care that they were so different. Theo said, between two kisses, he expected that people were either compatible or they weren't, and that it had nothing to do with what they did or knew. Maybe the two of them just were. Topher said he didn't know. His explanation, between two different kisses, was offered more simply.
"You're easy."
Theo frowned. "Isn't that a bad thing?"
"I mean it's easy being with you."
"Oh," Theo said, nodding. "That's different." He kissed Topher on the nose.
They stroked each other but kept it light and above the waist. No one else in the room seemed to be petting that heavily.
"You should see it when we play good," Topher said when Theo had brought it up. "Winning makes us horny."
"But you did win," Theo said , confused.
"Yeah, but...you don't feel as good when you don't play your best, you know? We slacked off because they sucked so bad. We shouldn't'a. Leaves a bad taste in your mouth, you know?"
Theo nodded. He traced Topher's cheeks where the black paint had been. "That stuff made you look scary."
"It's to cut down on the glare from the lights."
"It was kind of hot," Theo said. Color came into his cheeks.
Theo nodded. "Yeah. Ferocious."
"Ferocious, huh?"
"Yeah," he said, adding, "I liked it." Topher set his face to ferocious. Theo smiled. "You ever get to take the uniform home?" he whispered.
Topher nodded.
"Those tight lace-up pants too?"
Topher nodded.
"Good." Theo grinned evilly.
Topher smiled.

Uzi was telling the sad and tragic tale of his last sexual encounter. The other two boys were in stitches. "So she's like, "if you don't get that thing out of my face, I'm going to bite it off.""
"And?" EJ prompted.
"She wasn't fucking lying. Dude. I think I still have a scar."
Beer sprayed from Candler's nose.
"Dude," EJ said when he regained his composure. "We'll go to the mall. I'll get you someone."
Uzi laughed. "I can get my own ass for myself, fuck you very much."
They bumped knuckles jovially.
"What's with Topher?" Candler asked. They looked across the room to the couch in the corner where Theo was sitting in the big blond's lap. Topher rested his hand on the kid's knee. The two were talking quietly, and it almost looked as if Topher was actually giggling.
"Yeah," EJ said, "Toph' found himself a new toy."
"Really?" Uzi asked.
"Picked him out himself and everything," EJ said. "Just like a grown up." The other two laughed. "Finally, you know?"
"No shit," Candler said. "Did you see him at my party? Fuck."
"Yeah, that was bad. That's where he met the kid though," EJ answered. "And it's good, you know? Look at him." The three watched as the two kissed.
"Yeah, he's cute." Uzi said.
"No, I mean look at Topher," EJ said.
"He's cute too, I guess," Uzi said.
EJ looked at him dumbly until Uzi cracked a grin. The two broke up.
"So what, now you guys are raiding the Sophomore class?" Candler asked, turning back to the other two.
EJ shrugged again. "Done all the upper classmen I want to. Small fucking town, you know?"
"Ain't that the truth," Uzi added.
"Besides, he is a cute little fucker, isn't he? And the mouth on that boy. Like getting blown by a fucking Hoover."
"Nice," Candler said. "Sweet ass, too."
"You know it, dude," EJ said, taking a swig of his beer.
"And he's popular," Uzi said, looking past EJ.
EJ turned to follow his gaze. Seth was leaning with his back against the wall at the bottom of the stairs that led up to the kitchen and bathroom. Tyler was next to him standing very close and talking into his ear.
EJ frowned.

It was getting difficult to keep the petting light, even if it had been a bad game. The more time Topher spent with Theo, the hotter he got for him.
Funny, but he would never have picked him out of a crowd before they met. To begin with, despite EJ's advice, he hadn't really considered doing a boy. But Theo was easy. It was easy to talk with him, it was easy to be with him. Topher, for the first time in his life, could expect what was coming. When he threatened to beat the kid up, the kid just knew he was joking. He didn't have to spend twenty minutes listening to a lecture on violence. He didn't always have to talk about how he felt about things, which was a good thing because most of the time he himself had no fucking clue. Theo had never once used that phrase that Topher had come to hate more than any other: what'cha thinkin'? It was always a trap and he could never seem to find a way out of it. Topher was bad at lying, and the truth was always the worst choice. "I'm thinking about whether or not I want mustard on my sandwich for when we're done," "I'm wondering if I could finally afford a car if I stopped paying for all these stupid movies," "See how I'm just kind of staring at the corner of the room? I'm thinking about the corner of the room," or the worst answer of all because it was the most true: "nothing."
Learning his way around a boy's body was something new, but it was certainly fun when he had had to learn his way around a girl's, and this exploration was proving to be just as pleasurable. A little easier, to be honest, as he already had a pretty good working understanding of what things did and how things felt.
Theo was funny and easy-going. He was also smart, but in different ways than EJ. A couple of times he had said just the right thing to make Topher feel better. And he was feeling better since he met him. So much better, in fact, that he hardly took notice of MacReady and Lise who had been lip-locked since their arrival. It didn't make him sad anymore. That was a relief. It made him angry instead, but angry was something he could focus out of himself. One of the many benefits of football: angry got heaped on whatever opponent was unlucky enough to find himself opposite you that game.
Theo was also getting cuter by the day. At first, he was just kind of anonymous. But then parts started standing out in his mind. His chest -- smooth, tan, lean, defined but undeveloped. The little hollow where his neck met his trapeziums and the way the gold chain holding the weird cross would sometimes get stuck there. The big brown rings around his little nipples. The way his hair in front never seemed to know where it wanted to be. The way his upper lip stuck out when he was relaxed and the way he chewed on it when he was thinking or nervous. His eyes had become a big draw. They were deep and playful and...Topher had difficulty finding a word for what he saw there. It was different, certainly, than what he saw in Lise's eyes -- or, in fact, in the eyes of his past few girlfriends. He wondered about it.
Lately it had been Theo's ass. His legs were slender and his ass was high and tight. It was smaller than he was used to -- narrower than a girl's. But he liked the look of it, both when the kid was laid out flat and when he had had the kid bent over himself for the rimming. Perhaps that's one of the reasons he didn't play so well today. Against all better judgment, he had jerked off before the game. It was the first time he had ever fantasized about fucking a boy while masturbating. Visions of that tight little ass had made him waste a mighty amount of seed. Maybe that explained the two interceptions.
Why was it so easy with him, Topher wondered? Theo was like a bud. But that didn't seem to capture it either. Topher sighed, chalking it up to another concept he couldn't wrap his head around.
Theo looked up upon hearing the sigh. He didn't say, "what'cha thinkin'?" Topher punched him on the far shoulder, drew him in closer, and smiled.

 Episode 14

Having dropped off Theo and Topher at Topher's house, EJ peeled out. The screech of the wheels was the only thing that broke the frosty silence in the cab of the truck.
"Are you mad at me?" Seth asked after a few blocks.
"I'm not mad," EJ said.
Seth watched the shadows of the streetlights play off the striations of EJ's clenched jaw.
"You seem mad at me."
"I'm not mad," EJ said. The cap was pulled low over his eyes. He held onto the clutch with his right hand, his thumb rubbing the smooth off the knob.
"You're mad at me for chatting with Tyler," Seth said.
"I'm not mad," EJ barked.
"You're sexy when you're mad. All evil looking."
"I'm not...that's not the..." EJ pursed his lips in frustration, then smiled despite himself. The kid was even cute when he was being annoying. "Look," he said, "Tyler and I have a history."
Seth sidled over and took hold of EJ's right arm, feeling the strength of the biceps through the leather of his letterman jacket. "You know, when you get mad, this muscle right here gets all bulgy." He ran his finger up EJ's jaw sliding against the grain of the stubble. EJ let go of the stick and put his hand between Seth's thighs. "Are you jealous? Is that why you're mad?"
EJ roughly grabbed Seth's crotch through his pants and gave him a warning squeeze. "I'm not jealous, and I'm not mad," he said, twisting his hand a little. "But if you keep it up, I'm going to get mad, and then you're going to be a sorry little boy, you got it?"
"Mmmmm," Seth said. "You're sexy when you're not mad." EJ chuckled and loosened his grip. "Where are we going?"
"My house," EJ answered. "Just be quiet when we get there. I don't want to wake my folks up."

Once Topher and Theo got inside Topher's room, the propriety and restraint they had both shown so valiantly in front of others vanished. Topher grabbed hold of the boy's waist as Theo threw his own arms over Topher's shoulders. The kiss was almost desperate, each fighting to consume as much of the other as he could. One of Topher's hands migrated up between Theo's shoulder blades, the other slid down to cup his ass. Theo lifted a knee, hooking it around the top of Topher's hip to give him unfettered access. Topher leaned back, lifting him clear off the ground.
The display of strength just got him hotter. Freed from gravity, Theo lifted his other knee, circling Topher's waist with his legs. The senior held him easily, counterbalancing with little effort. Theo threw his head back as Topher sucked at the nape of his neck.
"I am so incredibly hot for you," he moaned.
Topher didn't answer. Instead, he turned them and walked toward the bed, dumping the boy on it when he got there. Theo lay splayed wide and breathless as the blond stood over him.
Topher growled. Theo smiled. Topher growled again and pounced onto the bed, landing on his hands and knees astride the boy. The mattress bounced under his weight. Theo giggled.
"Grrrrr. I'm supposed to be impressing you with my ferociousness," Topher said. "Stop laughing."

Seth didn't have time to scope out EJ's room. From the moment the door was closed, his attention was entirely focused on trying to cope with the force of EJ's advance. His kisses were overwhelming and demanding, stealing Seth's concentration, strength, and breath. Seth didn't even know how his clothes had ended up on the floor. He was just suddenly naked, pressed up against EJ's fully clothed frame.
EJ lifted him off the floor and fairly threw him onto the bed. He pulled his own shirt over his head in a fluid motion, then stood watching Seth watch him. He brought his hand to his stomach, feeling the line of hair and the muscles beneath. Seth's eyes went to his midsection. His hand traced up to his own chest, pulling Seth's eyes with it. He smirked. Seth was rock hard.
He walked up to the bed and slowly unbuttoned his jeans. Seth licked his pretty little lips. EJ fished his dick out of his boxers and aimed it down at the kid.
"You want it?"
Seth sat up, hanging his feet over the side of the bed. "Yes, please."
EJ pulled his pants and boxers down to his thighs. Seth took hold of his dick in one hand, his ass in the other, and pulled him forward into his mouth. EJ sucked in his breath as the slick warmth enveloped him. He ran his fingers through the silky blond hair at his waist, gripped the back of the Seth's head just behind each ear and pulled mercilessly forward until he could feel the kid's nose smashed against his abdomen. He was, again, surprised and delighted how easily the boy took his size.
He rotated his hips a little just to feel the friction and waited for the kid to gag. It took far longer than he expected. Eventually he felt the telltale suction. He held the kids head in place for a few seconds more before releasing. Seth pulled back, gulped some air, sniffed and lapped at the knob of his dick.
EJ took a fistful of the kid's hair and pulled his head back so that he was looking up at him. The boy was irresistible -- wet eyes, red cheeks, runny pug nose. He bent down and sucked the kid's mouth. Seth gave himself over.
EJ didn't know why he got off so much on seeing how much people got off on him. Yes, it was narcissistic, yes it was selfish, yes, it was manipulative, but it was who he was and he had accepted it long ago. Who knew why it was that what got people hard got them hard? In time, he came not to care about it. He liked to be in control. His partners were getting what they wanted; why shouldn't he?
EJ stood back up and, one hand still clutching the kid's hair, guided his dick back into the boy's mouth. He pulled and the kid slid onto him. After ten or twelve long deep strokes, his eyelids began to flutter.
Theo lay with his head hanging upside down off the side of the bed. Topher, now as naked as he was, stood before him. The angle provided him a novel view. Topher's balls were covered with a tangle of yellow hair, and hung loose and low in their sack. Conversely, his dick pointed proudly up from where it grew out of its own nest of long blond hair.
"You don't have to. Really," Topher said again.
"Shut up." Theo replied. He reached up and bent the dick down toward his mouth. With his other hand, he took hold of the back of Topher's thigh. Theo wanted to keep his air passage as straight as possible. Toward that end, he manhandled Topher into position, rather than accommodating himself. Topher did his best to follow the lead, inching to his left when prodded in that direction, rotating his hips back to allow for a horizontal penetration.
Theo took the head in his mouth and played with it with his tongue a little, enjoying it both with the foreskin protecting it and with it drawn back. Topher moaned in appreciation, but made no attempt to move. Theo drew him in a little, concentrating on doing everything at once -- covering his teeth with his lips, swirling his tongue, providing suction, not bumping it against his palate. It had been so much easier with Seth. For one thing, with Seth, Theo didn't care.
He gripped Topher's thigh more tightly, and began to draw him in. Topher complied, if slowly. Just when he felt like he was going to gag, he pulled fast and swallowed hard as if trying to down a number of pills at once. They both felt the head pop past his esophagus. From there, it was only a couple of strained gulps before Topher's bush was scratching his nose.
Topher drew in a sharp breath and held it, engulfed by the same unsure bliss that captures you a quarter-second before you sneeze.
Theo began to gag again, but with the dick lodged so completely in his throat, the only effect was that his throat spasmed wildly about the shaft.
Theo held out as long as he could, finally pushing Topher back. He had hoped to take a couple of breaths then attack again, but the gagging continued even after the head had cleared his larynx. He forced it out of his mouth entirely and gasped for breath, desperately trying to quell the need to dry heave. Seth was right. His nose and eyes were both awash.
Topher looked down in concern, misreading the tears. He wiped them from Theo's cheeks with his thumbs, then turned the boy lengthwise on the bed and lay down on top of him.
"You okay?"
"Yeah," Theo said, still panting, still on the verge of tossing up a hairball, but otherwise triumphant. "I did it!"
"You sure did."
"Next time," he said, regaining his composure if not his normal color, "twice!"
Topher laughed. "You don't have to, Theo," he said. "It's okay."
"Of course I do," Theo answered as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.
"No," Topher said. "Don't get me wrong -- that was...incredible...but that's not what I like the best."
"Oh, yeah?"
Topher nodded slowly. "And I was kind of hoping...you know...if it's okay with you..."
Theo finally realized that Topher, star quarterback, famous senior, hunk of hunks, was shy as a kitten.
"Fuck me, Topher," he whispered. "Fuck me ferociously."

Seth and EJ lay intertwined on their sides facing each other, their groins in light, playful contact. Seth's leg was hooked over and behind EJ's thighs, his foot on the bed behind EJ, his knee in the air. While he played with the diamond of short hairs on EJ's chest, EJ stroked the smooth skin on his ass and teased his crack. Seth purred. EJ ground their dicks together in response.

Seth was pretty clear on what EJ wanted. It wasn't too difficult to figure out. It was what people had always wanted from him. A little flattery, a little coyness, a little cuteness, a little deference. And in this case it wasn't as if the flattery or deference were a lie. EJ was stunning. Seth knew it. EJ knew it. Even (to Seth's ultimate delight) Evil Alex knew it. Seth's shivers were real. The purring was genuine, the moans were involuntary.

Giving him what he wanted was easy, and it had a wonderful payoff. EJ was, at his tamest, a tiger. With the right guidance, he could become a veritable whirlwind. Seth kissed a nipple then looked up and squiggled closer, opening his legs a little more to give EJ's fingers freer access. EJ smiled, looked down, and kissed him on the nose.

"You are so hot," Seth said.

"You're cute too, babe." EJ answered happily.

"I can't wait to tell Jen."

"Not Theo? I thought he was your best friend."

"Oh, yeah," Seth said, "Theo's absolutely my best friend. I want to tell Jen so she can eat her heart out."

"I'm just a trophy, huh?" EJ asked with mock dubiousness, liking the idea. "Just a hunk of meat, is that it?"

"Ooooh," cooed Seth, reaching down between them to take hold of him, "but what a hunk of meat!" EJ laughed and spread the lips of Seth's hole lightly with his fingers. Seth sighed. "You don't understand," he said, leaning more of his weight on the bigger boy, "you're, like, the catch of the school. Everyone wants you."

EJ was pleased. Seth deserved a reward, he decided. It came as a kiss as tender as it was caring. "Well, you got me, babe," he purred with syrupy fondness.

Seth found the gentleness surprising. "Yeah," he answered, after a considered pause. He returned his cheek to EJ's square pectoral. "I mean, that Tyler guy is cute and all, no doubt. But it's not like I'd actually take him up on it."

He could feel EJ tense up. He looked up innocently. "I mean, I'm sure he'd be fun, but why bother with him when I can have you?"

EJ frowned.

"What?" Seth asked coquettishly. "I'm saying you're better."


Topher's reaction wasn't what Theo had expected. He didn't throw Theo's knees over his shoulders or flip him upside down. He didn't even growl. Topher's ferocious fuck began with a slow, wet kiss. Theo began to unwind from the tension of so desperately wanting to be able to deep throat. Topher had rolled sideways and so wasn't pressing himself onto the kid during the kiss, which gave them the ability to explore each other with their hands. Theo's went to his favorite place -- below Topher's nipple where his pectoral grew in a great arc from his rib cage. There was something about that particular curve that kept drawing his eye, his hand, his mouth. Topher worked down Theo's midsection, toying briefly with his fully engorged dick -- more massaging its aura than the dick itself -- coming to rest behind Theo's balls. He pressed at the perineum with thumb and forefinger. Theo's knees spread entirely of their own accord. He traced a line to, over, and past the pucker. The muscles clenched involuntarily. Topher traced the line back up.
On the second descent, he still felt a twitch. By the third, the muscles remained in repose. Theo's eyes were closed. Had he opened them, he would have seen the ice blue studying him. A fourth run across the site and he felt the slightest lessening of tension. On the fifth, he dwelt.
The broad pad of Topher's forefinger pressed lightly at Theo's hole, gently probing left, right, down, up, and finally slightly in. Another clench slowed him, and he circled for a while, exploring the surface. The muscles fairly vibrated under his touch. He broadened his field of play, sweeping his hands over the taut cheeks a couple of times.
Theo's being was concentrated entirely on a four-inch square of his own flesh. The massage was stimulating and relaxing at the same time, as was the pull between desire and fear. He didn't know whether to turn to Jell-O or stone and ended up alternating between the two as the fingers magically coaxed him from one state to the other. Topher was reading him like braille.
Topher began running his hand over Theo's flesh. It found its way to his dick. He gripped it and jacked a few times. Theo's eyelids fluttered. It continued its journey upward, tickling the warm skin of Theo's midsection and chest. When it reached his mouth, the fingers traced his lips, begging entry. Theo smiled.
"Open up," Topher said. Theo opened his eyes. Topher took his hand away, leaned forward and kissed him. Retreating again, he returned his fingers. "Open up. You gotta get 'em wet."
Theo opened his mouth and Topher swabbed his tongue with fore and index fingers. Theo sucked them in. They were salty and the cuticles were rough. Theo wondered if, in his life, he had ever had any reason to have someone else's fingers in his mouth. What reason could he have had?! The thought made him grin. When Theo grinned, his upper lip pulled back, and his two front teeth showed. Their appearance invariably made Topher grin in return, if for no other reason than that he thought Theo was so cute.
"Wha'?" Theo asked, the word making its way out around the fingers.
"Nothing," Topher said. Their grins broadened. Each one thought the other did so first.
"'hy are oo 'auphing'?" Theo asked.
"I'm not laughing. Why are you laughing?" The grins had both broken out into smiles.
"I'n 'ot 'auphing," Theo said, starting to laugh.
"I'n 'ot either," mimicked Topher, also starting. Within a minute they were both in hysterics neither of them could explain.

EJ's dick was completely buried in the boy's ass. Seth was still twitching, trying to accommodate the assault. It was like in the woods, but moreso. This time, he was kneeling upright behind the kid on the bed, one hand practically holding the kid in a half-nelson while the other was firmly clamped over his mouth muffling, the yell that would otherwise have surely awoken his parents.

He had intended to do it nice this time. Give the kid a gift. Really turn on the charm. Long, gentle, and slow. But once Seth had started talking about Tyler, everything he said had just pissed off EJ more. The kid couldn't have gotten him angrier if he had tried.

EJ had shoved in his dick, sloppily lubed with a gob of his own spit as much to shut the kid up as anything else. It was a brutal thrust. They had gone from utter repose to complete tension so quickly EJ wasn't even clear how it had happened. But he was in deep, and the kid's thighs were beginning to stop quivering. Seth was still breathing noisily through his nose in quick, shallow drafts. Unseen from behind, EJ pursed his lips. This was not at all how it was supposed to go this time. But be that as it may, the kid's ass did feel good on him.

Another half minute passed. "You settled?" EJ said quietly into the kid's ear. Seth nodded, his mouth still covered by EJ's hand. "You still need to yell?" Seth shook his head. EJ released his mouth and relaxed his grip on the kid's shoulder and neck. "Just breathe," he said. "You'll get used to it."

Seth worked at relaxing. Maybe he and Theo should have fucked. If he could have gotten used to that monster, he could take anything. EJ let go, and Seth collapsed to his elbows on the bed,
doggy-style. Just like the first time, it had been sudden, it had been painful, it had been a shock to his system, but it had been Good. It had been Very Good. He didn't like this position as much, though. He couldn't see what was happening.

EJ, however, could. When the boy bent forward, he looked down to where his dick disappeared into the kid's smooth, white ass. The skin around his thick root was stretched so tightly it looked as if it would sound a note when he pulled out, like bowing a saw blade. With one hand he tried to coax the kid's ass into relaxation with strokes and a few playful slaps. He reached around and took hold of the kid's dick with the other. It was strange, but just like the first time he had taken him, the kid's erection did not diminish in the slightest when he plowed him.

Most guys he did -- especially the virgins -- lost their erections completely when he let them know what it was like to really get fucked. That first, suddenly full, relentlessly deep plunge was almost a trademark of his. He knew he was big, and that such an attack on an otherwise unopened hole took some getting used to. Even the Rabbit would go to half mast for a minute or two before the fullness turned pleasurable again. But Seth had remained a rock through the smothered yell, through the shock and shaking.

"You're hard," EJ observed, surprised to hear that he said it out loud.

"So are you," Seth grunted.

Topher's fingers were amazing. The first's entry had felt...unusual. Then interesting. Then kind of good. Theo watched him as he did his work. Topher was lying on his side propping himself up on an elbow, the other hand disappearing between Theo's legs. He alternated between looking up into Theo's eyes and down at his ass.
"That okay?" Topher asked for the umpteenth time as he slid the second knuckle in again.
Theo nodded. "Mmmmm."
Topher rotated his wrist so that his finger turned inside the boy. Half way around he felt something deep in -- a firmer patch of the hot, wet wall he was exploring. Remembering EJ's advice, he bent his finger and pressed it hard.
Theo's entire body headed toward the ceiling, levitating a good three inches off the bed. The explosive movement and squealed yawp caught Topher completely by surprise. He withdrew his hand immediately, sitting up in case medical intervention was necessary.
"What the fuck?" he asked with concern.
"What did you do?!" Theo was still shaking visibly.
"I don't know. What did I do? EJ told me to do that. I'm really sorry. I'll never do it again. I promise."
"Are you nuts?" Theo cried, "Do it again!! Do it again!!"
Topher's eyes widened. He really thought he had hurt the kid. "That felt good?"
"Ummmm....yuuuuh," Theo answered using Seth's impatient voice -- as if it were the Most Obvious Thing in the Universe.
"Really?" Topher still wasn't convinced.
Theo pushed Topher's shoulders back, dumping the older kid on the bed. He pushed the furry knees apart impatiently, slathered up his own fingers, and went for Topher's hole.
"Hang on a minute," Topher said, "I'm not...whoa..." Theo's finger slid inside. "I don't get...jees...not really into..." Theo's finger rotated around until it was facing the same direction as Topher's had been in him. He felt a little knob inside. With his other hand, he grabbed hold of Topher's dick. "...don't have to...that feels kind of differ...Holy Fucking Shit!" Theo had pressed for all he was worth.
Theo let up the pressure. They stared at each other for a moment, then both broke out into the wide, conspiratorial grins of two ten-year-olds who had just found a brand-new but abandoned bebee gun in an alley.
While he would have preferred to be able to watch, Seth was learning there was a lot to be said for this new position. For one thing, on his hands and knees, he could move more freely than when he was pinned on his back. He found himself rocking fore and aft to meet EJ's rhythmic thrusts with a reverse velocity of his own. It also felt like EJ was getting deeper in this new position, though he couldn't tell whether that was real or a by-product of having already been fucked once. Either way, it was nice. Every third or fourth stroke, they'd time it perfectly and the flared head of EJ's dick would find a new depth to explore.
It hadn't taken quite as long to get used to it this time, even though the entry had been more savage. And like the first time, the sensory overload had ended up being somewhere between pain and pleasure, like the intensity of the tingle when you whack your funny bone. And once he had accommodated, the fury of the fuck became indescribably hot.
EJ was jabbing at him, pushing as far in as he could go, then rotating his hips for an extra few millimeters of impalement. The thrusts were so forceful Seth could feel EJ's balls slap up against him each time they made full contact. Despite his intention to be quiet, he found he could not contain the little grunts that escaped him each time EJ slid across the Spot.
EJ gripped him firmly by the hips, pulling as he pushed. Despite the intimacy of the act, because he was facing the headboard Seth felt this position was somehow more private. He was the complete focus of EJ's attention while EJ wasn't even in his field of view. While EJ centered on what he was doing, Seth could center on what was being done to him. He liked it.
He liked being the center of EJ's world. Here was this big, built, dominant, aggressive football player who was completely absorbed by him. And it was so easy to get there. It felt...powerful. Seth reflected back on all his fantasies of EJ, all his expectations. EJ had met or surpassed every one of them.
Now he was reaping the reward. The heat of friction, the stretch, the sense of completion, of command, the scratch of EJ's pubes against his backside -- he could definitely become addicted to this. He could hear EJ's breathing become more rapid, feel the sweat on his thighs. Seth smiled privately into the pillow. "I'm making him do that," he thought. Another drop of precum dribbled from his dick.
They lay in opposite directions, head to crotch, each with a mouthful of dick and a hole full of finger. They had gotten past the stage where each time one would press the other would buck or squeal or crack up. They had gotten past the game of One, Two, Three, Push It, which left them both gulping for air in spasmodic fits of pleasure and laughter, especially after Topher mispronounced push it as poo shit. When Theo suggested what they were doing should be called "Dueling Buttjos" it took them a full five minutes to recover. They had also gotten past the subsequent discovery that one didn't have to press for all one was worth to get a reaction. While serious pressure made you feel like you were cumming without actually cumming, slight pressure was delightful in its own right. Now they were exploring the gradients, sucking on dicks -- or, in Topher's case, on the head of a dick -- while playing with the new range of sensations they could evoke in each other.
Topher finally rolled onto his back for a rest. They lay in repose, staring at the ceiling, arms hooked inside knees, and fondled each other in a relaxed way.
"Man, that fucking blows my mind, you know?" Topher said after a big sigh. He could hear Theo nod. The two of them breathed for a while. "Why didn't anyone ever fucking say, you know? I mean if someone had said, I would have known and..." the sentence ended in another sigh.
"What, like teach it in school?" Theo asked with a smile.
"Yeah! Fuck, I'd'a paid attention to that!"
Theo snorted. They lay in silence for a while more. Topher took a breath as if he was about to say something, but let the air out instead.
"Yeah?" Theo asked.
"Nothing," Topher answered.
"No. What?"
Topher stopped his fondling. Theo recognized it. Topher turned entirely inward when he tried to put words to a difficult thought. It had happened all through the first night at the party, and then periodically after. He waited patiently.
"You...you really had no idea I was the quarterback?" Topher asked finally.
It wasn't what Theo was expecting. "No," he answered genuinely but with care, not getting why his ignorance was so bothersome. "I didn't even know what a quarterback was."
"Humph," Topher said.
"That okay?"
Topher got up, turned in the bed and climbed onto Theo. "Yeah," he said adding, after a tender kiss, "that's okay." He kissed again, this time the chin. The next was for the neck. Topher worked his way down, crawling backward down the bed as he kissed. When he got past Theo's groin, he hooked his hands behind the boy's knees. Theo knew what to do, happily drawing them to his own chest.
Topher went to town, hitting Theo's ass like a spaniel on a favored chew toy. His fingers joined his mouth this time, prodding, opening, loosening. One fingertip then two, then a third from the other hand, while his tongue stroked and laved. He pulled his fingers apart and with a grand exhalation from Theo, a gaping chasm opened. Topher dove into it with his tongue, working for depth. When he needed a breather, his fingers replaced his mouth.
Theo didn't know if he was opening from desire to do so, from the determined treatment he was getting, or if his ass was simply giving up in the losing battle to stay tight in the face of such a single-minded, lengthy assault. All he knew was that each time Topher pulled, it stretched wider; each time he entered, it was with more fingers and deeper in. Minutes and minutes passed. It was only when he stayed open and loose when Topher withdrew everything that he was deemed ready.
Topher climbed off the bed and walked over to his night stand, his big dick bobbing with each step. He fished in it for a second and pulled out a tube of KY. Bringing it back to the bed, he climbed on and attempted to squirt some into his hand. None came out. He squeezed harder. Still nothing.
Theo took the tube from his hands and examined it. "See, it's covered with this foil at the top, 'cause you haven't used it yet," he said.
"Oh, yeah. Okay."
"You got the cap?" Topher handed it to him. Theo used it to poke a hole in the protective foil. "There you go." He handed the tube back.
Topher squeezed out a massive glob onto two fingers. It felt cold and wet.
"EJ says I got to use this on us."
Theo nodded. "That's a lot, I think."
"It is?"
Theo nodded again. Topher shrugged. "Then it'll be real slippery." He brought the glob to his dick and smeared it around generously. His fingers were still slick enough to apply more to Theo's hole.
"Oooh," Theo said as Topher lubed him up. "Squoogy."
Topher became serious. "You ready?"
Theo gathered his knees to his chest and nodded.
"It might hurt, you know."
"I know."
Topher swatted his knees back down and pushed him over, taking his place in the bed.
"I figured you could sit on it. That way you could...you know...take it at your own speed."
Theo smiled. Topher was pretty smart when it came to the important things. He climbed on top and straddled his waist. Topher pointed his dick up. Theo lifted up until he was over the tip of the head. He descended until he felt contact, then a little more until he felt Topher's head glide in. He waited there, gauging how it felt.
"You okay?"
"Yeah," Theo said, surprising both of them. "It doesn't hurt yet. You done good, huh? Feels...I don't know...big but not hurt."
"You want to go a little more?"
Theo descended. Topher's head wasn't the widest part of his dick. His sphincter stretched more while the flesh inside got introduced to the invader.
"You okay?"
Theo laughed. "You can stop asking me that, Topher. Yeah, it's okay. Feels real stretched out, but it's not that bad. How's it feel for you?"
"Me? Word!"
Theo descended another inch. The widest part of the dick was now at his hole. He took a few breaths, expelling them through pursed lips.
"Oh, shit!" Topher said.
"What's the matter?" Theo asked, pulled from his concentration.
"Nothing. Shit." Topher explained.
"What's wrong?"
Topher knit his brows. "No. Listen: shit. EJ said you're supposed to push out like you're taking a shit. He says it will make it go in easier."
"Oh, okay." He pressed abdominally as if he had to go. He sank another inch without trying to. "It worked!" He pushed out and sank down again, now almost fully impaled. The dick had passed the knob, pressure against which was counteracting the discomfort of the slow, if strenuous internal stretch.
Theo was breathing deeply and regularly, in through his nose, out through his pursed lips. Beads of sweat began to appear on his forehead and his cheeks had gone all crimson patch. It had never occurred to him that getting fucked would take such focused concentration.
"Just a little more to go," Topher encouraged. "Can you do it? Do you want to stop?"
Theo shook his head. Two deep cleansing breaths later, he engaged a serious push and sank into Topher's lap.
It hurt. But it was a surprising hurt. It didn't throb like a headache, or sting like a cut or ache like a bruise. He felt like he had a minor cramp. And it wasn't that bad.
"You okay?"
"Not bad," Theo said. "Actually, it's getting better just sitting here. Is it okay for you?"
"Oh yeah," Topher sighed, holding onto the boy's thighs, "this is incredible."
"Really?" Theo said, "Actually...I'm kind of wondering, you know...like, what all the fuss is about."
Topher smiled. "Slide all the way up and down," he suggested. Theo did so, his eyes widening in surprise.
Topher nodded.
Theo did it again. Topher had done his job tremendously well. He didn't feel like his skin was going to tear and the cramp had diminished to a dull ache -- and then only when he sank the last inch or two. Instead it was replaced by a sensation of ticklish well-being, accentuated whenever movement occurred. Motion, Theo realized, felt better than stasis. Much better. He raised up and sank again, eliciting a moan from the blond beneath.
"Starting to feel good?" Topher asked.
"Oh, yeah." He bounced a few more times in succession, deciding he could get very, very used to the feeling.

Still behind the kid, EJ had lifted Seth from his elbows to vertical and was holding him against his own torso. They knelt, one in front of the other, locked together by their connection at the waist and EJ's arm, which wrapped around Seth's chest holding him in place. EJ sucked at the kid's ear lobe with his mouth, vigorously tweaked the kid's right nipple with his left hand and jacked the kid's dick with his right, all the while rocking his dick in and out of the kid's tightness. Seth had gone completely slack-jawed, lost in the pleasure EJ was inflicting on him.
EJ loved this part. He could bring his victims to a state of senselessness -- a kind of sexual hypnosis in which he forced them out of their own bodies. It was what guys who wanted him craved, he had found: a dissolution of the ego into the universe at large. EJ was happy to oblige. He had not met the ego he couldn't dissolve in a bout of sexual frenzy.
He had his way in bed the way he had his way on the field: by matching his wits, strength, speed and agility against his opponent. The only difference was that on the field, his opponents were trying to stop him. Maybe that's why he found this kid so hot. His sexual contests were usually so one-sided that they didn't feel like victories at all. Like the way they had played the game earlier that night -- the visiting team was so bad they could beat them in their sleep. As a result, he and his teammates had sunk to the level of the other team's incompetence. It was better when you bested a worthy opponent.
Seth's eyes were rolled back into his head, his eyelids fluttering, his breaths coming in gasps timed to EJ's plunges and the sweeping of his palm along the kid's dick. He had the kid exposed, raw, naked, accepting everything EJ had to give. He knew the kid was close, but he wouldn't let him cum. Not until he was ready.
EJ let go of the kid's dick and pulled his balls from their hiding place high in their sack. The skin of Seth's scrotum had already gotten thick, wrinkled, and rubbery. Timing perfectly with a deep in-stroke, EJ pulled down, twisting a little, and gently pinching the kid's vas deferens. Seth sucked in air through his teeth. EJ palmed the balls, keeping a downward pressure on them. Seth responded by clenching his already tight ass muscles and letting his head roll back limply against EJ's shoulder.
"There you go, babe," EJ purred into his ear. "Just let it all go. I got what you need."
The sound that Seth made brought EJ to the edge. It wasn't quite a word. Seth had tried to respond but couldn't muster the energy to form a consonant. Instead, it came out as a semi-sung, breathy, indecipherable diphthong. Seth was gone. What was left was pure reaction. Reaction to EJ's majesty.
He grabbed Seth's dick and pumped the sensitive head furiously. Seth closed like a clamp on his own dick and he blew, pumping the kid full of himself. Their spasms would have threatened to pull them apart, were it not for the strong arm EJ had wrapped securely around the kid's chest. Seth's arms flailed, he gulped for air. EJ showed him no mercy. Despite the cum flying into and out of the boy, the running back kept stroking. EJ was not content to send the kid to the moon. He was aiming for the stars.

Topher was on top. They had already cum once. That only took them a few seconds, surprising Topher, who prided himself on his ability to draw it out. But he'd never felt anything that tight, he explained apologetically. Girls were different. This would take getting used to.

Theo had laughed, pointing out that he, too, had cum right away and that getting used to it might not exactly be the chore it sounded like. As neither of them had deflated much with their orgasms, their next time was only a few minutes later.

The second entry was a breeze. Topher threw Theo's legs over his shoulders and guided himself slowly in. Theo's impatience took over and he bumped his ass up, grinding himself into Topher's scratchy bush. The senior grinned, getting the message. He started balling like a pro, long-dicking the kid at a brisk but sustainable pace. The last part of each down stroke evoked a grunt from Theo. When Topher realized it wasn't from discomfort, he continued to go deep.

Theo found that if he bent his legs even more, he could rest his heels on Topher's shoulders. That gave his upper thighs a bit of a rest, rotated his hips up so that Topher could punch with a better angle, and separated their upper bodies, allowing Theo to see what was going on. He watched the wide, rigid shaft disappear into and emerge from his own hole. The sight was too hot. He closed his eyes for fear he'd cum right away again.

Topher had never butt fucked anyone before, having been quite content with pussies for a long time. It was unlike anything he had ever experienced. He didn't know whether it was because it was an ass, or whether it was because it was Theo's ass in particular, but the heat, friction and tightness were beyond his comprehension. Despite his best training, he found himself veering toward the edge again way too soon. He stopped in mid stroke.

"Aaaarggh!" Theo grunted, opening his eyes. "What happened? Don't stop. Don't stop!"

"Really close," Topher said apologetically.

Theo reached around and pulled Topher's ass toward him, shoving the dick back deep. "Who cares? Me too. Keep going! Keep going!"

He did. They came a second time shortly thereafter, within seconds of each other. Topher collapsed on the boy, his dick still embedded and twitching in the kid's ass.

"You think we'll ever be able to do that for longer than thirty seconds?" Topher asked after he had caught his breath a little.

"Gonna be a shitload of fun trying!" Theo sighed.

 Episode 15

"It was sweet, dude. You should have seen him. The second time, he actually begged me for it." They were on their regular Saturday run -- they called it the long run -- though it was late afternoon rather than the usual late morning, and Topher had set an uncharacteristically relaxed pace at the start. The air was pleasantly cool as they ran side-by-side. "I should'a been a cowboy, ya know?" EJ mimed the cracking of a bull whip as he jogged. "Yee-haa!"
Topher laughed easily. He ran lightly with a bounce to his step that EJ hadn't seen in a while. "You do it at his house?"
EJ shook his head. "Mine. Had to keep him quiet. Jesus, what an ass on that kid. Tightest thing you ever saw." Their route brought them to the ornate stone gate of one of the town's cemeteries. They jogged through, each jumping at the entrance, trying to hit the twelve-foot-high keystone as they had pretty much every Saturday for four years. "You know he stays completely hard when I punch fuck him? Never seen anything like it."
"Cool, dude," Topher said, picking up his stride again after the jump. "So he's the new Rabbit, huh?"
"Gettin' him there," EJ said. "You know Tyler was chatting him up at the party last night? Fuckin' Tyler, man."
"That why we left so quick?"
"Yeah," EJ said as they headed toward the pond in the middle of the grounds. "Pissed the shit out of me. And the kid was all, "I don't see what the problem is...I like you better.""
"So what's the problem?" Topher asked.
"That's not what he was saying, man. He wasn't saying I like you better than Tyler."
"But you just said..."
"Dude, it's not what he meant. He was saying, like, I have to compete for him. Like he didn't need me to get off. Like he could always just do Tyler."
"Yeah, Toph. It's all part of the game."
Topher considered it. EJ was probably right. EJ understood this kind of shit so much better than he did.
"So what did you tell him?"
"Nuffin'," EJ said. "Showed him. Kind of explained the rules. Dude," EJ added with a self-satisfied grin, "I had to cover his mouth he was screaming so hard."
The cemetery was a great place to run. Smooth asphalt paths and no people -- live ones, at least. Topher ran at a couple of ducks, scaring them into the air. "What if he doesn't like 'em?" he asked.
"Like what?"
"The rules."
EJ laughed. "See, this is what you never figured out with Lise, dude. You gotta lay down the law with them. You gotta say, bitch, you want this? Then this is how it's going to be. Makes things much easier. They expect it. They respect you for it." Their route brought them up a small rise, then down to a large, kidney-shaped swan pond. Yellow leaves were beginning to collect on its surface. "That's why Lise pulled all that shit she did with you. You never let her know you were the boss."
Topher didn't respond, which EJ took as lisense to continue. "Like with this kid, right? He's trying to dick me along, like I need it as much as he does, right? So pow! I gave it to him big time. He practically fucking jumped out of his skin. It was beautiful, man. You should have seen him."
"Pow, huh?" Topher laughed, imitating him.
"Pow!" They rounded the pond and headed for the rise at the far side of the cemetery. "I tell you, dude. This is what they want. They want you to be strong and take charge and all. It's part of what turns them on. And if you don't do it for them, they get all out of hand."
"There's just one thing I don't get," Topher said.
"What's that?"
"You did need it. It's, like, the only thing you've been talking about all week."
"That's not the point," EJ said. "That's not the point at all."
"So he has to feel like he wants to fuck more than you do?"
"Now you're getting it."
"It doesn't seem very nice," Topher said as they neared the exit to the cemetery.
"Nice?" EJ echoed incredulously. It was not a word he could ever remember Topher having used.
"Bud," EJ said patiently, "nice is nice, but nice ain't hot. This is what they expect, which ain't so bad since givin' it to 'em is so much fun."
Reaching the street, they turned again, following the route they could both run in their sleep and headed toward their elementary school playground.
They went a few blocks in silence as an idea began to coalesce in Topher's mind. When it was almost coherent, he gave it voice. Had he waited until it made sense, it would have been too hard to put into words. "I think you're right about Lise."
"I know I'm right about Lise, dude," EJ answered.
"I think she kept feeling like I was...I mean, I'm tough, right?"
"She kept expecting me to be something...I don't know. I think you're right." They ran another block before he continued. EJ had gotten used to Topher's way of processing things. You just had to give him time. "She's not the only one, either. Like, Alissa? She had it too, only she wasn't a bitch."
Another block passed. They turned onto the playground. "And Annie. She had it."
"I lost you, dude," EJ said. "Had what?"
There was another long pause. "This...I don't know...like you said. Expectation. This idea of what I'm supposed to be like, you know?"
"They all do, man. That's the point. That's why you gotta be the boss. They all think you're going to be, like, like..." EJ searched for the right word.
"Like you," Topher said.
They circled the little league diamond where they used to play as kids.
"I don't know how to take that," EJ said.
"No, it's fine. It's just that...I don't...I don't know...I'm not."
"Not what?"
"Not like you," Topher said.
EJ looked over with concern as they ran. "Dude," he said with care, "you're fine. You're just having a bad coupl'a weeks. The bitch fucked you up. You'll see. You'll pull out of it." Topher didn't respond, clearly opting, instead, to think deeply. EJ continued gently. "Toph, you're like the hottest guy in the school. You're strong, you're a great guy, you're the fucking quarterback of the football team, for Christ's sake."
"No, that's not it," Topher finally said. They ran on for a few paces. "I think it's different for me." Another long pause as they crossed the green, heading toward the jungle gym. "Did you know Theo didn't even know I was the quarterback?"
"Fuckin' sophomores, man," EJ said.
"No. It's kinda nice. All these girls. They want to go out with the school's quarterback, you know? They expect...I don't know...they expect a quarterback."
"You are the quarterback, man."
"Yeah, but I don't want to always have to call the plays off the field, you know? And, like, Theo didn't even know what a quarterback was."
"And that's a good thing?"
They passed the merry-go-round where two five-year-olds were playing. One was holding on for dear life while the other spun it as hard as he could. The boys looked at each other and smiled as they ran past. That was how EJ had chipped his front tooth. They had bet Topher couldn't make him fall off. He hadn't, but in the end they had collided as Topher tried to push from the edge and EJ tried to hold on. It was still a bone of humorous contention. The tooth fairy had only left half a dollar when it finally fell out, since it was only half a tooth. Ever since, EJ had insisted Topher owed him fifty cents. It was that kind of history which made this kind of conversation possible.
"Yeah," Topher said in a strangely cheery voice. "I kinda like it."
"Did he stay all night?"
"Most of it," Topher answered. "It was was kinda weird. I fell asleep right away, you know? And I could've sworn he fell asleep too. But then when I would wake up to roll over or something, he'd be there staring at me."
"Is he a psycho?"
Topher laughed. "I don't think so. He says he an insomniac. So he'd be, like, just staring at me in my sleep or something. I told him I couldn't fall asleep again if he was doing it, so he stopped. But then I got up a little while later to pee, and there he was again."
"You gotta tire him out more."
"I don't know, dude. We fucked a lot. Anyway, one time I woke up and he was just gone. I think he left when the sun started coming up."
"So what do you think?" EJ asked. Topher grinned and ran on. EJ looked over, saw the expression on his friend's face, and punched him playfully on the arm. "I told you. Did I tell you?"
"You told me," Topher allowed, still grinning. They jogged on past the seesaws. "Are they all that tight? I mean, it was really tight."
"Yeah, well compared they are."
"And that knobby thing. Jesus Christ, dude!"
"He liked that, huh?" EJ asked.
"Fuck that! Me!"
EJ stopped in his tracks. "He fucked you, dude?"
Topher kept going, running circles around him. "Naw. Stuck his finger up my ass. Didn't think I was going to like it, but fuck!"

EJ started up again. "Yeah. That can be pretty good. You're in a pretty good mood, huh?" he asked as Topher wove a slalom pattern among the swings.
"Yuh," Topher said, shadowboxing as he jogged. "I like him."
"Good time?"
"Yeah, it was good. I like him." Topher repeated, wondering if EJ would hear him. Most of the time, it was hard to find a way to say things. Sometimes, though, it was hard to get EJ to hear things.
"That's great, Toph. See? You found a good easy fuck. That's what you needed to get your mind off Lise. You'll see. You're going to feel so much better."
"I like him."
"Cool, dude. So I know this kid, goes to North. Great little ass on him. Talks the whole time you're doing him about how much he loves it. Pretty hot. I can set you two up if you want. He owes me a favor anyway."
They reached the far end of the playground and turned onto the street. "No thanks," Topher said. "I like Theo."
"Wait a minute," EJ said, "you like him?"
"You like him?"
"I like him."
"You don't mean you liked it?"
"I liked it," Topher said, "but I like him."
"A sophomore?"
"Theo. I like Theo. He's coming with us to the movies tonight."
"He is?"
They jogged three blocks in silence.

When Theo showed up at Seth's door, the boys took one look at each other and burst out into laughter. Never had four feet climbed a set of stairs more quickly or recklessly. They got into the room and Seth slammed the door.

"Three times!" Seth whispered giddily when he was sure the cone of silence had descended.

"Five!" Theo whispered back. They stared at each other for a second with openmouthed expressions of delighted wonder before both cracking up again.

"He seemed pissed at you in the truck," Theo said when they were finally able to settle down. "What was that all about?"

"Oh, that," Seth said, waving his hand dismissively. "There was this stud at the party that started coming on to me and EJ saw it and got all pissed."

"That's so cool!" Theo exclaimed wide-eyed.

"Yeah, actually," Seth responded, considering, "it is, isn't it? It came in handy later, too."

"How do you mean?" Theo flopped down on the bed.

"Well, we were in bed and he was going all soft..."


"No, not like that," Seth said joining him on the bed. "He was still hard. I mean, he was starting to get all wishy-washy and lovie-dovie. So I pissed him off."

"On purpose?"

"Yeah. Worked, too," Seth said with a grin. "Oh, God, Theo, he was So Sexy! You can't believe what he looks like naked. And he's so Strong and..." he searched for the right word, "...heavy, you know?"

Theo nodded. "Yeah! Yeah! Topher's heavy too. Isn't it great when he's just lying on you and feel like you can't breathe but you don't want him to move?"

"...And his leg hair's all scratchy..." Seth added excitedly.

"...And his breath is tickling your neck..."

"...And his dick is poking into your stomach..." They brought their hands to their mouths and giggled like Betty Rubble.

"And it didn't hurt nearly as much as I thought it was going to." Theo added.

"Really?" Seth said. "EJ must be bigger."

"Why, it hurt?"

"Oh, yeah," Seth said. "Both times. At first it hurt awful. But once I got used to it, it was Spectacular." He emphasized the word with an OK sign.

Theo sighed. Seth sighed in response. They laughed again.

"Have you taken a shit yet?" Seth asked. Theo shook his head. "You're in for a treat."

Theo crinkled his nose. "So, like, where did you go? What did you do?"

"He took me back to his place" Seth said. "We were, like, tiptoeing up the stairs so we wouldn't wake his parents. It was so cute. And I started giving him this kick-ass blow job, right? -- look," he said interrupting himself, "I know you're embarrassed about your dick and all, but I am So Glad you are the way you are, Theo. I can give really good head now. Oh! Did you deep throat Topher?"

Theo nodded. "Twice!"

"Word! So anyway, I pissed him off and he fucked me. Just took me, you know? Like, Bang! It was So Hot. I can't even begin to say. And then he starts totally losing it 'cause of what I was doing. Did you have that effect on Topher? It was like, hey, I can push this button, and you have to go nuts. Sorry. You don't get to choose. I say so."

"The button!" Theo exclaimed. "Did you find the button? That was unbelievable."

"Oh," Seth answered, "EJ's got lot's of 'em. If I tug on his balls when I'm blowing..."

"No! The button!" Theo waved his hands excitedly. "Up his ass. Did you press it? Did he press yours?"

"You mean my prostate?"

Theo nodded. "Yeah. Yeah. Prostate."

Seth nodded. They went wide-eyed again and, in perfect unison, cracked up and laughed so hard that Theo had to get up to pee.

"So anyway," Seth went on when he returned, "the first time it really hurt. But then I loosened up, you know? And so we came and everything and just lay there for ten minutes, and then I was like, do it again, do it again, and he was like, beg me for it, babe." Theo smiled at the impersonation.

"Did you?" he asked.

"You bet your ass I did. But then once we started, he talked through the whole thing. He was like, you like that babe? I'm shoving my big dick up your ass."

"That's kinda weird," Theo said crinkling his nose.

Seth shrugged. "It was hot. I mean, I never thought about talking during it, you know? But he was so sexy when he did. And then the third time, he wanted me to talk. He kept asking me how much I wanted it and to tell him what it felt like. And when I did, he'd get hotter and hotter. I think he gets off on the the talking."

"We didn't really talk while we did it," Theo said. "Lot's of laughing, but not much talking."

"That's kind of rude, don't you think?"

Theo rolled his eyes. "He wasn't laughing at me, idjit. We were joking around."

"While you were doing it?"

"Yeah," Theo became introspective. "It's weird. Like you said, it never would have occurred to me that you could laugh during it. But when it was happening, it felt completely normal."

"We didn't laugh at all. It was Serious Business."

"There were times when we were serious too. But it was nice. It was...relaxed."

"How was he?" Seth asked.

Theo thought about the answer before giving it voice. "He was really sweet."



"He looks so scary."

"I know," Theo said. "But he's really sensitive. He's just like, I don't know, like this little puppy. He must have asked me if I was okay, like, a thousand times."



"EJ never asked me if I was okay." Seth pondered this state of affairs. "If he did, I think it would have been kind of weird. It was like...it was like we were wizards, and we were casting a spell together. And everything we said made the spell stronger. I think if he had asked if I were okay, it would have...broken the spell or something."

Both boys were over their initial giddiness. They sat with their legs crossed, facing each other knee to knee, and talked softly.

"I think it was just the opposite for us," Theo said. "It wasn't like we became other people like that. Each time we did it, it was like...we were becoming more and more ourselves."

"Was it hot?"

Theo nodded. "And kind of scary."

"Mine was kind of scary, too. But in a different way."

"Like how?"

Seth collected his thoughts. "Like...it was like when I pissed him off I was unleashing this...this force. And it just took over, and I wasn't really sure I could handle it."

"Yeah, I still don't get why you pissed him off."

"I already said," Seth answered. "He was getting all lovie-dovie."

"Isn't that a good thing, though? I mean, Topher was so...tender. I really liked it."

"I guess," Seth said. "It just didn't feel right. He was like this force of nature the first time in the gorge. I really liked it. And then it started looking like it was going to be all...well, like you said -- tender, I guess...and I thought it'd be more fun if it were like it was the first time."

"You don't like tender?"

Seth thought about it a while. "I think I would, but not with EJ. Does that sound weird?"

Theo shrugged his shoulders.

"It's like EJ gets off on thinking he's so macho. And I think I kind of do too. So I pissed him off to kind of rile him up so the sex would be..."

"Fiercer?" Theo asked.

"Yeah. That's exactly the word," Seth said nodding. "It was fierce. But then I didn't know if it was going to become too fierce, you know? That was the scary part."

"Did you think he was going to hurt you?" Theo asked with concern.

"No," Seth said. "Not like hit me or beat me up or anything. I don't know. It's like...it's like have you ever gone out in a Reeealy strong wind? One you have to lean into or it pushes you sideways?" Theo nodded. "It's really fun, right? It almost feels like you're flying. But then if it turns too strong, it blows you away completely."

They pondered this, each in the light of their own encounter. Theo drew his knee up to rest his chin on it. He chewed his upper lip absently. "Me and Topher were different," he finally said. "It was scary because it made me feel...see-through."

"Like transparent?" Seth offered.

"Yeah," Theo echoed, "Transparent. Like we could see right into each other. It was like we were reading each other. And it was kind of scary to be that visible to someone else."

Seth nodded. "Like you have this power over someone, and he has power over you, but it can get away from you."

Theo thought about it for a bit. "You know how you said that it was so hot, knowing you could make him spooj when you wanted?" Seth nodded. "I felt that too. Topher was so good. We'd be doing stuff together, right? To each other. And then I'd do something that he liked and he'd be so...I don't know...he'd like throw me back and just do everything to make me feel good. And it would be so intense that after a while I would have to make him stop 'cause all I wanted to do was make him feel good. And it was so chill knowing I could, you know?"

"Same and different," Seth answered. "I didn't really feel like he was trying to make me feel good a lot of the time. It felt like he was trying to make him feel good. But what he was doing to feel good felt Really Good, so it all worked out anyway."

"When you did what you did, was it so you'd feel good or him?"

"I don't know," Seth said, thinking about it. "I think it felt good knowing how I could make him feel. Like when he was fucking me, I could go tight or loose, you know?"

Theo nodded. "I did that too. He liked it."

Seth grinned. "EJ too. A lot. But I liked it too."

"Me, too."

"So was that for you or him?"

"I don't know," Theo answered.

Seth shrugged. "So I think it all works out the same in the end, you know?" Theo nodded.

"When are you going to do it again?"

"Don't know," Seth said. "Maybe tomorrow."

"We're going out to the movies tonight."

"What a gyp!" Seth griped. "I have this stupid thing with my parents I gotta go to. Childish pout!"


"So what are you saying?" EJ finally asked as they passed the corner that marked the beginning of the last mile of their run.

"Nothing. Just that I like him."

"Like you want to date him?"

"I dunno," Topher said. "Maybe."

"Jesus Christ, Topher. If I had known, I never would have suggested...I mean, wasn't the whole point that you find someone who's easy? You fall in love with everyone you fuck, man. It's degenerate."

"He is easy. He's the easiest guy I ever been with."

"He's the only guy you've ever been with."

"You know what I mean." Topher had begun to increase the pace. It was an unwritten rule. The first five miles of the long run were for talking or thinking or just hanging out together. The race couldn't begin until the last mile. "Anyway, I don't fall in love with everyone I fuck."

"Yeah?" EJ said, matching the pace and passing him. "Name one."

"Well there's your mama, for one." EJ laughed. Topher slid past. "Anyway, why not? I like him. So the fuck what?"

"So the fuck what?" EJ asked from behind, planning to draft for a quarter mile before a final sprint, "I'll tell you so the fuck what. You're going to become totally whipped. You did it with Lise, and you're doing it again with this..."


"...this Theo. It's like you're telling them to walk all over you, guy. You can have anyone you want in the school. You're like, the prize. And you're totally giving it away. That's why the bitch took advantage of you. You totally asked for it. People are going to start thinking you've gone soft, dude."

They were running pretty much all out by now. Topher's response was punctuated by deep, gasping breaths. "I think...I don't give...a shit...what they think."

EJ started making his move, pulling up next to Topher for a sprint past. The finish line -- a nondescript driveway at the end of a long, flat stretch of road -- was in sight. Topher charged onward at max plus ten. He knew EJ was going to pass him. While he had more upper body strength, EJ was a better runner, especially at distance. It was the difference between a running back and a quarterback. That didn't mean, though, he was going to let him win. He tried to lengthen his stride, ignoring the growing oxygen deficit building up in his muscles.

"Besides," he puffed, "you...like...your...boyfriend...too."

"He's...not...my...boy...friend!!" EJ answered, reaching the driveway a quarter second before his best friend. They bumped knuckles and collapsed onto the lawn, gulping for air. The runs always ended like this. EJ wondered what it would look like if, once, whoever lived in that house returned home just at the right time. He'd pull in to see two sweaty teenagers fighting for breath in a heap on his front lawn.

When they caught their breath, they stood and walked the last block and a half to Topher's house. "Anyway," the blond said, "if anyone gives me shit, I'll fucking kick their balls in. Or you will. Remember?"

 Episode 16

After dinner, they picked up Theo at his house. Topher got out, letting Theo slide into the middle. When he got back in, he stretched his arm along the back of the seat behind Theo's head. EJ peeled out, screeching the tires as the truck accelerated. There was something in the air in the pickup. The boys didn't talk much as EJ drove them to the mall.

"What's up with you two?" Theo asked as they walked in.

"Nuffin'," Topher answered. EJ said nothing, which was as much as he had said for most of the ride.

They were an hour early for the show. Theo shivered in the conditioned air. It was too cool for a short sleeve shirt, but he had worn it anyway. Topher took off his letterman jacket and gave it to the boy. It was so big he swam in it.

EJ and Topher knew a lot of people. More accurately, Theo realized, a lot of people knew them. A surprising number of adults and almost everyone their age greeted them as they passed. Theo recognized some of them from the party. They stopped frequently to exchange pleasantries. He found himself fading behind Topher's shoulder when they did. Neither of the boys introduced him, and he seemed all but invisible to the people they were talking to.

He also began to notice the admiration with which so many people approached Topher. You could see it in their eyes and posture and the way they spoke to him.

For their parts, the boys accepted the attention with casual nonchalance. There was a swagger to their step while they walked, but, Theo realized, there always kind of was. At least whenever Topher was with EJ there was.

They wandered into one of the clothes stores. EJ started looking for pants. Theo followed Topher to a table of shirts.

"You sure nothing's wrong?" he asked again.

"Yuh," Topher said picking up a vintage Tupac shirt. "I'm glad you're here." Topher held the shirt up to himself and turned to Theo, who squinted at the shirt then shook his head.

"No, I mean something wrong between you and EJ?"

"Oh, we're okay," Topher said, finding a polyester leopard print shirt and holding it up. Theo rolled his eyes. Topher put the shirt back. "We piss each other off all the time. Doesn't Seth ever piss you off?"

Theo laughed. "When has Seth ever not pissed me off?!" He picked out a black rib-knit long-sleeve V-neck and handed it to Topher.

"This?" Topher asked incredulously. Theo nodded sagely.

"Why are you pissed at him?"

"I'm not," Topher said, beginning to pull his shirt over his head. "He's pissed at me."

Theo smacked his hands away. "Changing room," he said.

"Really? Why?"

Theo smiled enigmatically and led him by the hand toward the fitting room. "So why's he pissed at you?"

"S'nothing," Topher said, falling in docilely behind the boy. "He and I just think different. That's all."

When they got to the changing room, Topher entered one of the booths and began shutting the door, but Theo squeaked past him into the booth.

"Okay," Theo said, smiling. "Now you can take your shirt off."

"Perv," Topher chuckled. He stripped and was about to put the jersey on, but Theo pushed him back against the mirror. The shove caught him off guard and he lost balance, falling hard against the glass.

Theo launched himself at Topher, taking advantage of his temporary disorientation. Theo's tongue was in Topher's mouth before the blond even knew he was being kissed. The kid's hands went for his nipples. They were cold. Topher started laughing, despite his full mouth.

"Don't laugh while I'm ravishing you. Very rude." Theo said, breaking off the kiss and punching him on the left pectoral.

"Ow." Topher was smiling. He took hold of Theo in a bear hug and squeezed.


"Punch me, will ya?" He squeezed harder. Theo's cheeks broke out in red patches. But he was laughing.

The boys played for a few minutes, attacking each other with kisses or smack-down moves. For the latter, Theo's weren't that effective and Topher's were well restrained. Still, they were rambunctious enough to earn a knock from the attendant, who reminded them that only one person was allowed in the fitting room at a time. Topher put his shirt back on and the two left the booth, sheepishly apologizing to the attendant as they passed.

EJ was at the far end of the store, talking with a cute redhead who was leaning back against a wall of cubbies and clearly enjoying the attention. Even from a distance, it was clear that EJ was standing intimately close to him. Theo knit his brows.

"Is that a friend of yours?" he asked Topher.

"Who, the kid EJ's picking up?" Topher asked steering them back toward the table so he could return the shirt. "I never seen him before."

"EJ's picking him up?"

Topher looked over again. They were smiling. The kid stood with his hands in his pockets. EJ was scratching the back of his head with his elbow out to the side in a way that made his biceps quite pronounced.

"Prol'ly just flirting," Topher said. "That's just EJ. That's what he does. He flirts with everyone."

"Really?" Theo asked as they headed over.


"Do you flirt with everyone too?" Theo asked.

"Me?" Topher asked with surprise in his voice. "Naw. Wouldn't do any good. I can never tell who likes me."

"Everyone likes you, Topher," Theo said.

"Naw." Topher waved dismissively.

Theo would have pressed the point, but they had come up to EJ and his intended conquest. Topher and EJ bumped knuckles. Theo retreated to his post behind Topher's shoulder to watch.

Close up, the kid wasn't as slight as he had looked from across the store, or as young. He had to shave, for one. And his jacket covered well-defined if lithe muscles. His voice was also deeper than Theo had expected. But he was definitely taken with EJ. That was as clear close up as it had been far away.

EJ introduced the redhead to Topher. "You remember Sean, used to play on the freshman football team back in 9th grade? Moved away? This is his older brother."

"Oh, yeah," Topher said, shaking the guy's hand. "Played defense, right? He was in one of my classes. Where'd you guys move?"

"Folks moved to the city," the redhead answered. "I went to college, and they put Sean in private school there."

"Cool," Topher said. "Tell him Topher says hi."

"Will do."

"Listen," EJ said, turning his full attention back to his prey, "we were just about to see a movie. You want to join?"

"Man, I'd love to," the redhead said, "but I can't. I'm meeting a friend here in a few minutes."

"Too bad," EJ said.

"Yeah," the redhead echoed with genuine melancholy, "too bad."

A few minutes later, they were back in the main section of the mall. Again, Theo was taken aback by the buzz of activity that went on around them. Guys and girls alike turned their heads doing their best to not seem like they were staring, as they walked by. EJ as clearly enjoyed it as Topher was oblivious to it. He seemed surprised by each person that said hello to him.

"I gotta pee," Topher said out of the blue. "I'll meet you at the Bell." He turned toward the rest-room, leaving EJ and Theo awkwardly alone. After watching him disappear into the crowd, they turned to face each other.

It occurred to both of them how little they actually had to say to each other. Theo smiled uncomfortably, then began to chew his upper lip.

His lips were cute, EJ thought. The top one stuck out as if he had buck teeth, even though he didn't. He was a pretty cute kid, actually, even if he wasn't EJ's type -- too olive. He was slender, though, in the way that sophomores who were going to end up being built were. Not too tall. His hair was a mess.

EJ just looked at him, knowing how intimidating his direct gaze could be. The kid was certainly cowed, but there was something else there. He tried to read himself in the kid's face and posture. There was the openness of the eyes, the slight tilt down of the head, the nervousness, the way his smile drew his cheeks out but not up, the crossed arms, the feet pointing askew. Yes, Theo was attracted to him but no, he wasn't into it. And there was something else. What was it?

"So how long have you and Seth been friends?" he asked, not knowing what else to say and still searching for visual clues to the buried feeling.

"Since sixth grade," Theo answered, relieved to have had the silence broken. "We moved in from out of state. You and Topher have known each other a long time, huh?"

"Since birth, about," EJ said.

"That's cool. You've known him for what? Like fifteen, seventeen years? That's a lot."

EJ thought about it. It was cool. He knew Topher better than anyone except his folks. "Yeah," he allowed. "he's chill. I'd do anything for the guy."

Theo wondered if he'd do anything for Seth. Probably not. A lot, but not anything.

"Him too, I think. When he talks about you, he sounds...I don't know...kind of awestruck."

"No, that's just the way Topher talks," EJ said, laughing. "I don't think he's awestruck by me." What was it? Jealousy? Was the kid jealous of their friendship? Close, but that didn't seem quite right. Jealousy would have looked more bitter. The kid didn't look bitter. He looked...what?

"I don't know, he has a lot of great things to say about you."

"Yeah? Well I have a lot of great things to say about him, too," EJ answered.

Theo got the impression the older boy was studying him. It made him even more uncomfortable. "Fer'instance?"

"Fer'instance? Fer'instance he's got an incredible arm. When you catch a pass it's like getting shot in the chest with a bullet. Pow." EJ smacked himself in the chest for emphasis. "Dead on accurate usually, too. When he's concentrating."

"You mean like when the guys who are trying to maul...you mean like when the offensive...thingy...holds?"

EJ laughed again. "The offensive line?"

"Yeah. The offensive line. You mean like he can't concentrate when the offensive line breaks?"

"No, he's okay in a collapsing pocket. I mean when he's concentrating on the game. When there isn't other shit in his life to distract him."

He noticed a slight frown appear on Theo's lips. "What else do you like about him?" the kid asked.

"You're the new guy. Shouldn't I be asking you that? What do you like about Topher?"

Theo became guarded and he wasn't sure why. He knew, at least, not to answer because he thought Topher was sweet. He decided on a safer route. "You know Seth and I had a nickname for him before we met. Called him, Mr. Yummy. You'd have to be nuts not to like him. Everyone likes him."

"You have nicknames for everyone?" EJ asked

"Pretty much."

"What was your nickname for me?"

Theo could feel the red patches form on his cheeks. He hadn't seen the question coming. Stupid, he thought. Once he had fallen in, the trap was too obvious.

"Oh, we had a band name for you."

"Yeah?" EJ asked, "what?"

Theo could feel EJ's eyes boring into him. He felt like an insect mounted on a pin. The guy was so good-looking it was difficult to think around him, and he seemed to do everything he could to compound that difficulty. He stood too close, for one. Theo had kept taking a step back just to give himself more room to think, but each time, EJ had bridged the gap again. Now Theo was standing with his back to one of the big potted palms that lined the center of the main corridor of the mall. EJ was inches from him. Of course, Theo thought, that's why every time he's seen someone talking with EJ, their back has been to the wall.

His eyes were distracting as well. The overall impression was that they were brown, but close up Theo could see that the irises were actually a kaleidoscopic amalgam of ambers and shades of dusk. They looked at him in an unwavering, unbroken stare which left Theo wondering if he could ever remember seeing EJ blink.

"Seth'll tell you," he said lightly, turning to his left and taking a few steps. "You'll get a kick out of it. Hey, shouldn't we be heading toward the food court to meet Topher?" Thus he was able to sidestep both the question and EJ's unnerving proximity. They made their way down the corridor.

Angry, EJ thought. The kid's angry at me for something. It was there to read between his eyebrows. Is he pissed at me for doing Seth? Is it that kind of jealousy? EJ looked Theo up and down as the two sauntered toward the food court. No. The posture he saw confirmed his initial assessment: Theo thought he was hot, but didn't want him to jump him. But definitely angry at something.

"Hey," Theo said, "I got a question. Does Topher not know how sexy he is?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, he can't take a compliment, and just before, I was saying to him just what I said to you -- that anyone would be happy to be with him -- and he totally dismisses it."

"Okay," EJ said, "I get you. The answer's yes and no. Yes, he knows he's hot, and he knows he's good looking, and he knows he's a catch. But no, he doesn't know that everyone wants him."

"Serious?" Theo asked wide-eyed. "How can he not?"

"He can't tell when people are flirting with him."

"Why not?" Theo asked.

"I dunno. He's too literal, maybe. But he really can't. He has no clue. One time we were at a party and this girl had to actually take his hand and put it down her pants. And even then he wasn't completely sure."

Theo giggled.

"We'd go out, and I'd be flirting with some guy, and Toph would keep coming back and saying, Her? How about her? and I'd have to go over and tell him yes or no." There, EJ thought. There it was again. The kid was definitely angry about something. "I've tried to give him lessons, but he just doesn't get it."

"But, like, everyone likes him."

"I know," EJ shrugged. "That's Topher. There are some things he just doesn't see."

They had arrived at the food court. They scanned the crowd but didn't see him. They turned to face each other. Theo felt the eyes on him again. Unconsciously, he took a step back. Topher came up from behind him, putting a hand on his shoulder. Theo jumped.

"You want anything?" Topher asked. Theo shook his head. "Why don't you go and find us a table then. I'm going to get a taco."

Topher and EJ sauntered over to the Bell while Theo made his way to lay claim to an open table. He sat, trying to catch Topher's eye to show him where he was. At the next table sat a rather imposing young man who was wearing a green and yellow letterman jacket. Those were the colors of the dreaded rival: North. He was dark and roguishly handsome in an overgrown sort of way, which is to say that there was probably a good-looking guy living somewhere inside all that excess muscle. Theo noticed he was looking at him. He smiled back cursorily and continued craning for the boys.

"Hey," the guy said. Theo continued to scan the counter. "Hey," the guy said again, louder. Theo turned to look at him if for no other reason than he was surprised that the guy had spoken to him in the first place. "You play football, a little thing like you?" His tone was playfully condescending.

Theo looked down at the jacket he was wearing. "It's not mine," he said.

"Your boyfriend's?"

"N...ye..." Theo didn't know how to answer the question, so he just shrugged and turned back to look at the line of people waiting for food.

"What's your name?" The guy was insistent. And intrusive.

"Theo." He said it without even looking at the guy. Maybe if he ignored him, he'd leave him alone.

"Brian," the guy said, oozing out of the seat at his table and into the one next to Theo while holding his hand out all in one smooth move. "Hi."

Theo looked at the hand, up at Brian, then down at the hand again. "Hi," he said without conviction and without shaking it.

"Brian," Brian said leaning forward. He'd be handsome, actually, Theo thought. If he had a neck.

"Hi, Brian."

The hand remained extended. When it was clear Theo wasn't going to shake it, he reached over and took Theo's for himself.

"You're a cute one. Anyone ever tell you that?" Theo looked, again, from the large paw gripping his hand up to the face of the intruder. He blinked while it finally dawned on him that the guy was trying to pick him up. It was a first. Maybe people could tell he wasn't a virgin anymore just by looking. He smiled to hide his embarrassment. Misreading, the guy took it as an invitation. "You got great lips."

"I'm not alone," Theo said, suddenly very uncomfortable.

"Not with me here," the guy answered, all smoothness. "You're too pretty to be left alone." He had big eyebrows and widely spaced green eyes and his smile broke each cheek into two continents.

"No," Theo said, motioning vaguely toward the line, "I'm with some..."

"What year are you in?"

"Huh?" It was all happening so quickly he was getting confused. For example, it was not until then that Theo noticed the guy was still holding onto his hand.

"What year are you in, Theo? In school?"

"Ummm...I'm a sophomore. Look, I really don't think..."

"Yeah," Brian said, "I thought you looked young. You're hardly shaving yet." With his other hand, he brought his finger up to Theo's face and brushed his cheek and jaw line tenderly.

Theo frowned. "I don't think you underst...."

"You really do got the cutest lips in the world. I love the way your upper lip kind of curls up. Makes me want to kiss them"

Theo's brows knit. He was trying to be polite about it, but the guy wasn't listening. "Look," he said, slowly and clearly, "there's no way I'm going to..."

"Your eyes are really pretty too," Brian interrupted him, "I love guys with brown eyes." The hand that had been on his cheek joined the other one which still trapped Theo's. "Can I buy you a soda or something?"

"No," Theo answered abandoning the attempt at politeness. "Get lost." He tried to wrench his wrist away, but the larger boy held on.

"Don't get upset, Theo," he purred. "I was just being friendly."

"The kid said get lost." Topher and EJ had come up from behind. They put down the food and faced the rival, Theo between them. Topher's voice was quiet and firm. Theo jerked his wrist free and stood, backing up to just in front of Topher, who put his arm protectively over his shoulder, draping it over his torso in a relaxed show of possession.

"This guy bothering you?" he said softly into Theo's ear.

Theo took hold of Topher's hand with both of his, pressing it to his stomach so he could feel more secure in Topher's grip. "Kind of," he said.

"You want me to take him out?"

"Who the fuck are you?" Brian said belligerently, standing to his full six-foot-four-inch height. He sized up Topher and EJ both separately and together. From the look on his face, he didn't consider them a particular challenge.

"I tried to tell him," Theo said.

Topher ignored the larger foe. "It's okay. You want me to kick his ass?"

Theo squeezed Topher's hand. The very idea of it thrilled him to his marrow. But he shook his head. "Naw, let's just get out of here."

"If that's what you want," Topher said. It was clearly not the answer he had been hoping for, but Theo was relieved he had agreed. EJ stood silent and edgy, watching the action, ready to assist if necessary.

"You're going to kick my ass? Is that what you said? That's a fucking laugh."

Theo could feel Topher tense behind him. But he picked up the food with his free hand and, still with his arm protecting the boy, turned the two of them around and began to leave.

"All you fucking pansies are the same in this God damned town. I should kick your ass. Then after the kid blows me, I can fuck you two good. Or maybe I should just fuck the kid, huh? Let him know what it's like to have a real dick up his ass."

Topher stopped walking. Theo could feel the charge in his muscles. He let go of Topher's hand, pushing back as he did so to indicate that Topher should stay where he was. Theo spun around and started walking toward the asshole.

He approached him slowly, his attitude a study in coyness. He looked up at the guy through heavily lidded, awestruck eyes and let a subtle smile play on his lips. When he was only inches away, he stopped. His stance softened completely.

"You're a real man?" he asked as sweetly as he could.

"You know it, baby," the asshole said, looking down into the cuteness of Theo's face. He put his arm around Theo's waist.

Theo's knee came up so quickly and forcefully it lifted the 235-pound linebacker a full inch off the ground. When he landed again, he crumpled into an agonized heap on the floor.

"Not any more, baby," Theo said and, just as sweetly as he had begun, turned back to the stunned looks of the two boys. "C'mon," he said, taking Topher's hand. "Let's go see the movie."

It took some work to drag Topher from the scene. Both he and EJ kept turning back to look at the groaning, senseless puddle of jock they were leaving behind. The expressions on their faces were of flabbergasted disbelief. Theo found himself having to pull hard just to get them to move.

They were well clear of the food court before either of them could speak.

"Note to self," EJ said. "Don't piss off the boy."

 Episode 17

Seth and Theo sat assembling their clarinets. Theo had shown up at Seth's house first thing the previous morning to tell him of the events of Saturday night -- particularly the way EJ had flirted first with the redhead in the clothing store and later pretty seriously with a kid they had met at the theater. Seth had listened with interest, asking for specifics beyond Theo's ability to recount them.

"Are you worried?" Theo had asked.

"A little," Seth had allowed. "I'll have to think of a Plan."

A day later, Seth was a picture of calm as EJ walked into the band room, got his tenor out of the locker and walked over to the boys, greeting them with a roguish smile from underneath his blue sunglasses. They chatted lightly for a while, earning furtive glances from the row in front where Jen was still trying to decide if they actually were an item or not.

Seth waited until the director was ready to call a start to the rehearsal. "Hey," he said to EJ, "I have to talk to you at lunch. Meet me right in front of the auditorium."

"Sure," EJ answered. "What's up?" The baton tapped the music stand requiring their attention. Seth shrugged an apology as EJ left for his seat.

"You should be there too," Seth whispered after the warm up scales. "I'm taking him for the period. You can have Topher."

"You going to call him on it?" Theo whispered back.

"I have a Plan," Seth replied, confidently.

"Why does everything have to be a plan?"

"All those hours watching Max. Have you learned nothing? What kind of secret agent are you going to be?" Seth asked stunned. Theo pursed his lips. "Actually," he added in a barely audible whisper, "I have two plans."

Theo looked on with curiosity as Seth dropped a pencil and, while he was picking it up, retrieved the end of a string which was laying on the floor. Theo followed it with his eyes. It extended forward under Amy Neuman's chair, finally disappearing under the music stand in front of her. Theo's eyebrows raised. Seth grinned evilly.

He reached into his knapsack and produced an alligator clip which he affixed to the free end of the string. "Watch," he mouthed to Theo who was beginning to understand plan number two.

Seth rested the alligator clip unobtrusively in his lap as the band rehearsed. It stayed there through the first break as the director rehearsed the flutes. After the second play-through, when he turned his attention to the low reeds, Seth saw his chance.

Amy was talking with the girl on her left, which put the back of her head to Seth. With the lightness and precision of a surgeon, he clamped the clip onto the end of Amy's flute barrel. Surveying his handiwork, he decided there was too much slack in the string and gently removed the clip, returning it to his lap.

Theo took the pencil and wrote on his score in big block letters: you'll get bagged!! Seth read it, smiled and shrugged. "Worth it," he mouthed.

He untied the string from the clip, pulled up some slack, and refastened it. They suffered through another play through before the director started talking with the trumpets. Amy dropped her flute to her lap and turned left again.

Seth inched forward a hair too fast. The motion caught Jen's eye, who turned back to look. Seth mimed a shhh. She rolled her eyes, and to the boys' great relief, faced forward again without sounding the warning. Seth and Theo exchanged nods, and Seth affixed the clip to the lip of the barrel of the flute.

When the baton next tapped the music stand, one hundred instruments were brought up to one hundred pairs of lips. One of those instruments, though, was attached to an alligator clip attached to a string which ran down the back of, then underneath, a chair where it was tied to the leg of a music stand. As the instrument went up, the music stand came crashing down.

One hundred things happened at once. The surprise of seeing her music stand topple, of course, made Amy jump. The jerking motion both exacerbated the movement of the stand and made the alligator clip pop off the end of the flute. Music flew everywhere as the stand crashed to the floor, knocking over the one to its left in the process. The director was not amused. The rest of the band, however, was. Pandemonium broke out. In the commotion, under the guise of helping to pick up some sheet music that had fallen near him, Seth quietly collected the clip, broke the string free of it, and dropped it in his knapsack, pushing the end of the string forward under Amy's chair.

Amy began her braying protests, which were finally silenced by a stern I'll see you after class from the director. Seth and Theo silently grinned at each other. EJ had watched the whole thing from across the band. While he couldn't have seen the specifics, he knew who the perpetrator was. He was smiling broadly and winked at Seth when the boy looked over. Seth responded with the most innocent, angelic expression at his command. EJ chuckled.

Seth and Theo were already waiting when EJ and Topher showed up. Seth watched Theo brighten. It wasn't that he stood taller when Topher was around. Everything lifted. The same was true for Topher, Seth noticed. His features softened. Seth had hardly seen them kiss or even hold hands. Still, it was clear what they did for each other.

"You want to take a walk?" Theo asked.

Topher checked EJ who nodded. "Sure." The two set off down the hall.

Topher seemed different since the mauling at the mall. Theo had difficulty putting his finger on what it was. At first he hardly noticed, as his attention was fixed on EJ when they got to the theater. EJ had spotted a good-looking jock that Theo didn't recognize. Compact but built, he had black hair, blue eyes, and a strikingly handsome face.

EJ watched him from across the lobby for ten seconds, turned to Topher and said, "He wants it."

"The one in the lacrosse jacket?" Topher asked. EJ nodded. Topher seemed surprised. "Really?"

"Yep," EJ answered.

"Wants what?" Theo asked.

"To get fucked," Topher explained.

"Really?" Theo asked. "The jock?" EJ nodded and headed over.

"It's a gift," Topher said after he had gone. "He can just tell."

Theo watched EJ brazenly approach the kid and strike up a conversation. The kid seemed aloof. "He seems like...I don't know...such a jock."

"Lots of jocks like to get it up the ass," Topher said with a shrug.

"What if he's wrong about him?"

"He never is."

The kid joined them in the theater, sitting to EJ's left. Theo did his best not to look over every time he noticed movement between them.

Topher seemed oblivious to the goings-on. He spent the movie periodically leaning over to animatedly whisper, "this is a great scene," or "you'll love this part." Theo would usually respond with a joke and, more times than not, Topher would punch him playfully on the arm or thigh. Theo began getting sore from the attention.

He was different on the ride home, too. More talkative than Theo had ever seen him, he went on easily about everything from the fucking defensive line to his fucking English class. He sat with his hand in Theo's lap, holding onto the top of his thigh. He'd squeeze or thump or punch it while making points. Theo realized it was the first time he had overtly touched him right in front of EJ.

The sex after they were dropped off at his house was qualitatively different. It began with the same care and deliberateness that had marked their previous encounters. He still checked frequently, in word and sign, to make sure Theo was okay. But once into the fuck, the reserve began to melt away. Topher became ferocious.

It wasn't the mock, joking ferocity of the playful growls or the leonine pounces. It was truly feral. Topher's strokes evolved into full-force, gut-wrenching thrusts that forced the very air from Theo's lungs. He'd piston in with a grunt and press it there, trying to squeeze an extra half inch of penetration out of the invasion. He'd draw it out only to piston it back in again.

Lying on his back, his legs propped over Topher's straining shoulders, the boy became fixated on the way his stomach muscles crunched each time he began a mighty drive.

Theo met the aggression with a newfound abandon of his own. He ground his ass upward, then from side to side, trying to get new and better angles of penetration. The motion of the fucking slid him up the bed. Finding his head banging rhythmically on the headboard, he reached up, took hold of it, and pushed himself down, halving the distance Topher had to thrust, thus doubling the force of it.

They didn't cum so much as they exploded in and on each other, thrashing in ecstasy, bound together by voltage. In the subsequent collapse, neither realized that Topher was still deeply embedded, or that they were holding on to each other with bruising might.

Theo smiled as he tried to recall the physical feeling. The sound of Topher's voice in the hall next to him pulled him back to the present.

"You want to come over tonight?" he as they meandered the hall.

"I can't sneak out every night," Theo said. "My mom's going to catch me eventually.

"So? Tell her you're coming over," Topher answered.

"On a school night? The only reason she lets me go over Seth's is because we kind of study."

"Come over my house. You can kind of study with me." His eyes twinkled under the blue glasses.

Theo laughed. "I mean homework kind of studying."

Coming to a door, they left the building and began walking down the driveway in front of the school. "I'm sorry about the other night," Topher said after a pause.

"What for?" Theo asked. "He was an asshole. You were getting food. I took care of it."

"No," Topher said, "I mean...later."

"What are you talking about?"

"I didn't mean to...when we were...Fuck, Theo, I get really confused around you."

Theo stopped walking, turned and looked into Topher's blue shaded eyes. He reached up and lifted the glasses off, putting them on himself. The world went azure before him.


Topher sighed. "It's like...I don't know...everything's so different with you."

"You mean because I'm a boy? Are you missing being with girls?"

"No, no." Topher turned and began walking again. Theo fell in beside him. It was easier to think when he wasn't being looked at. "I don't miss being with girls. I mean, I do, but I don't. Fuck. And it's not just because you're a boy. I mean, it is but it isn't. It's because..." the sentence trailed off. A half a minute later, it continued. "...like, with all these girls, they had these expectations of me, you know? And, like...I knew the rules."

"Okay," Theo said, trying to help him along.

"But it's like...with you it's like a totally different set of...I just don't know what the rules are, you know?"

"Like what rules?"

"Like..." Topher thought about it. "Like, all the girls I ever been with wanted me to call the plays all the time. Like all the time. And I just thought that was the way it was. But you -- sometimes you just come in and, like, I'm on the sidelines."

"You want me to...demure more?" Theo asked. Topher blinked at him. "You want me to only play defense?" he tried.

"Fuck no!" Topher answered quickly, once he got what Theo was suggesting. "No, I like it. I mean, it's fucking great. I mean, like, I never been with a girl who would just take over and...like...stick her finger up my ass, you know? Most of the time I'm asking her what she wants and all, and if I want her to do something, I have...you know...to ask her to do it and if it's okay and all that crap. And you...you just...come out swinging."

They had wandered onto the path that brought them down to the football field. They walked through the gate and slowly headed onto the turf.

"It's like..." Topher began when they reached the twenty yard line, "...I don't know how to treat you. Like the other night. You gotta know I never...I mean, I know I'm not supposed to..."

"Topher, what are you talking about?" Theo interrupted.

"I didn't mean to hurt you."


"When we fucked. I totally fucking lost it. I'm sorry."

"Are you serious?" Theo asked.

"Yeah, dude. I'm sorry. It'll never happen again. I don't know...just that when you decked that kid...I got so..." if the end of the sentence had ever existed, it didn't get past Topher's censor.

"Topher, look at me." They stopped and turned to face each other. Theo took off the sunglasses. "I loved the other night. I love it when you're tender and caring and attentive, I love when it when you're rough and hard and just want to get as deep as you can, I love it when you're so concerned about whether or not I'm enjoying it, and I love it when I can just take over and work as hard as I can to make you happy."



"I didn't hurt you?"

"My god, Topher," Theo said, "I was bucking just as hard as you were. Didn't you notice?"

Topher smiled shyly. "I wasn't noticing much."

Theo laughed. He put the glasses back on the blond's face, then touched his arm. "What does all this have to do with my decking the kid at the mall?"

Topher shrugged. "I don't know," he said. "But there was something about it."


It was a full minute before Topher could answer. Twice he inhaled as if to start a sentence but each time he gave birth to a gust of wind rather than a thought.

"Should I not have done it?" Theo asked finally, trying to help.

"No!" Topher exclaimed. "I mean, yeah, you should've. I mean I would've, but you did and that's...fuck."

Theo thought to ask another question but decided against it. Instead, he sat down on the field. Topher joined him, lying back to look at the sky. Theo spread out perpendicular to him, resting his head on Topher's stomach. The clouds reminded him of marshmallow Peeps.

"I never had a boyfriend before," Topher started. "If you were a girl I would have...like, you know, one time some guy was giving Lise crap, right? And it was like, I was fucked no matter what I did. And then there's you. So I'm like, Do you want me to take him out? And you're like, No. So fine, I don't, even though I fucking wanted to deck him. But then you do."

"Is this because Lise got pissed at you for not hitting that guy when she told you not to? It's okay with me, Topher. I really didn't want you to. I wasn't lying to you."

"No, no," Topher said. "Fuck. Okay. It wasn't that you decked him. That was totally chill. I mean, I had no idea you were going to call that play, but man! It was great. It's, like...I think it's why you did it that I can't get over."

"He was being an asshole. You wanted to. You said it yourself. I could see you wanted to. I don't get it."

"I wanted to because he was disrespecting you," Topher said, having finally figured it out. "That's not why you hit him."

"It's not?" Theo asked, trying to remember the exact sequence of events.

"No, when he was disrespecting you, you just said we should go. You decked him when he started disrespecting me."

Theo thought about it. Topher was right. He hadn't considered kneeing the guy when he was hitting on him, even though he was being incredibly obnoxious about it. It wasn't until he started insulting Topher that he had thought to take action.

"And you gotta know, Theo, I'm not used to...well, I never had anyone come to my...I mean...I'm not talking about like a bud, you know? I never had anyone like a boyfriend coming to my rescue." They were quiet for a few seconds as a breeze picked up, then settled again. "You're not going to want to fuck me, are you? 'Cause I don't think I could take that dick."

Theo burst out laughing.

"What's up?" EJ asked.

Seth brought his finger to his lips. "Shhhh," he said, taking EJ with his other hand and leading him down the hall, "no talking."

He turned the corner and walked into the bathroom. It was empty. Seth still had hold of EJ's shirt. He dragged him toward the handicap stall.

"What the fuck?" EJ asked.

Seth pushed him into the large stall and shut the door. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a red bandana. "I said no talking!" he said, taking the bandana by opposite corners and twisting it. He brought it up to EJ's mouth, spun the larger kid around and made a grand show of tying it behind his head. EJ let himself be manhandled, allowing the gag to slip between his teeth as Seth tightened it. He was clearly enjoying himself.

Seth spun him around again so they were facing each other. "You going to behave?" he asked sternly. EJ nodded his head, his eyes sparkling behind the sun glasses. "Good," Seth said popping EJ's top button and lowering the fly. "Don't make me take out the rope." EJ grunted a laugh through the gag. Seth pulled his pants down to his knees. "Now sit down," he ordered, shoving EJ back roughly. EJ sat, trying to make it look like the push off-balanced him.

Seth knelt in front of him, sucking up the dick that was inflating with each heartbeat. He swallowed it whole -- an easy feat given that it wasn't yet fully hard. It conformed to the shape of his mouth and pharynx. EJ moaned into the gag as Seth contracted his throat muscles, pulling the growing head past his esophagus, and then again as he swallowed twice more around the fully lodged shaft. His right hand gripped the root of EJ's dick while the other cupped, then tugged, heavily at his balls.

EJ sucked in breath though his nose. Seth pulled half way off and did something with his tongue that made EJ's knees vibrate. He took hold of Seth's ears, more for a sense of self-preservation than anything else.

Seth went deep again, bobbing a few times at the place where the ridge of EJ's head passed the narrowest part of his gullet, squeezing the base of his dick at the same time. When he released this time, it was to a series of tight jacking motions with his right hand. He could feel EJ's hamstrings twitch in response.

The cock was rock hard now and had lost its ability to bend. Seth used its tensile strength against it as he adjusted the angle of his head and neck. EJ emitted a low, guttural groan as the boy made him feel like he was about to snap in two.

Meanwhile, Seth's left hand was busy with its own devices. After pulling EJ's balls farther away from his body than they were comfortable being, he began to squeeze them -- lightly at first, but with growing pressure. Periodically, he'd twist them left or right, or drum on the stretched skin with his fingertips. Each time he'd tap, EJ would shift his weight, trying to lift himself off the toilet seat. Seth didn't allow it, making sure his full weight rested on EJ's thighs.

When the moaning became more or less continuous, he started a series of long strokes, sliding his mouth completely off the shaft while his right hand slid up it, then sinking back down in a fluid motion to bury his nose in EJ's bush. EJ still held on to his ears, but the strength had drained from his arms.

On one of the release moves, Seth looked up while his tongue swirled around the boy's large, rubbery piss-slit. EJ's head was leaning back against the tile, his jaw hanging slack about the gag, his eyes rolled back beneath fluttering lids.

It was while in this position that the two boys heard the door to the bathroom open. They froze, the tip of EJ's dick just past Seth's lips, his tongue resting on the head. EJ silently lowered his head and looked down at the boy. Both tried to breathe silently, though each had difficulty -- EJ because the bandana filled his mouth and Seth because his nose was running. They heard a pair of feet walk over to a urinal. There was the sound of a zipper.

They were looking into each others' eyes, now, each frozen save for their need for air. They heard whomever it was begin to pee. EJ's eyes went thin. Seth recognized it as a grin. Slowly, the older boy began to pull the blond's head farther down onto his dick. Seth fought it trying to resist, but there was nothing he could do without making noise.

EJ didn't push him all the way down. Instead, he waited until he felt the head of his dick bump the back of the kid's throat, then started lifting his ears back up. They were still making eye contact. On the third stroke, Seth's glinted with an evil light. With a quarter of the dick in his mouth, he fluttered his tongue along its sensitive bottom side and gave EJ's balls a good yank.

Every muscle in EJ's body tensed as he fought against the need to breathe in sharply. They were at an impasse. EJ could make him continue the blow job -- something Seth didn't want to do as it would be almost impossible for him not to slurp -- but Seth could make EJ's heart beat so fast he'd have to breathe audibly, perhaps even moan. They stared into each other's eyes, each grasping the situation completely, and called a temporary truce.

The cease-fire lasted about as long as most cease-fires do. As the seconds ticked by, one or the other would throw down the gauntlet, EJ by moving Seth's head a fraction of an inch, Seth by varying the suction on his dick or the pressure on his balls. Each eyed the other with nefarious glee, daring him to cross the line.

After what seemed like the longest pee in the History of the Universe, the intruder finished, zipped up, and left. As soon as the door closed, both boys snapped to action. EJ pushed down with a vigor that might have snapped Seth's neck had he not already been well under way on his own. Seth twisted EJ's balls all the way around, earning a satisfied, if muffled grunt.

He sucked for all he was worth, orchestrating tongue, lips, throat, and both hands in a symphony of contrapuntal pleasure. He could feel EJ getting hotter and hotter. When the senior's head bumped back against the wall again, Seth batted his hands off his ears and returned, unfettered, to his task. EJ's arms swung loosely at his sides.

Seth's sucking strokes and EJ's breath had become synchronized so that Seth's speeding up caused him to breathe faster. He was tensing up completely, his heels coming off the floor as if he were sitting on tip toe. Still holding onto his balls, Seth punched up, grinding his knuckles into the fleshy, blood-engorged perineum.

EJ's arms flew to the walls of the stall. He braced himself for the final plunge, ready to unload. Knowing he was on the verge, Seth's mouth went suddenly completely limp. The kid let go of all his various pressure points, hoisted off his knees and stood up. EJ's eyes went wide with surprise.

"So," Seth said calmly, "how much do you want it?" EJ's brows knit. "Tell me."

"'ou 'uck 'y 'ucking 'ick 'ight 'ow!" EJ demanded, momentarily forgetting he was wearing a gag. He pointed insistently at his groin.

"All right, all right," Seth said lightly, dropping to his knees. "Jesus. No sense of humor at all. Just remember," he added, taking EJ's dick back in his hands, "the Very Talented Mr. Mouth comes with me attached."

He attacked in earnest. Within a minute, he was drinking his reward.

 Episode 18
On the field, Theo had rolled over onto his stomach, still staying perpendicular to Topher, who rested on his back, his head in his hands, and continued to watch the sky.
"I don't need to fuck you, Topher," Theo said. "I like what we've been doing. All of it."
"Okay," Topher said. "I like it too. It's just...like I said, it's confusing."
"Toph?" Theo asked after half a minute of just looking at the blond's face.
"Am I your boyfriend?"
"A little bit back, you called me your boyfriend. Am I your boyfriend?"
Topher turned his head and looked into the big brown eyes. "I dunno," he said warily. "I think so. That okay? What do you think?"
"I think so too," Theo said. They looked at each other, brown to blue.
Topher rolled over onto his side and kissed Theo lightly on the lips. "Chill," he said. Theo smiled, making him smile in return.
"So are there any other rules I don't know about that I'm breaking?" Theo asked.
"Oh, yeah," Topher said. "Shitloads."
"How about..." Theo said, stealing the blue sunglasses again, putting them on, and rolling onto his back, "how about we don't use rules. How about we just do what we feel like?" He watched the blue clouds waft across the blue sky.
Topher shimmied around on the grass so that he lay lengthwise to the boy. Still on his side, he lay his knee across Theo's legs and his hand across his stomach. "See, it's shit like that why I'm so fucking confused around you." He was smiling now, though. Theo covered his hand with his own.
"Just out of curiosity," Theo said, knowing that the mood had changed and that the conversation had turned to play, "what are some of the other rules?"
"Oh," Topher considered, "like, fer'instance, you're not supposed to want to give me a blow job. I'm supposed to have to beg for it."
"That's a stupid rule," Theo said.
Topher laughed. "Fuckin' A, dude!"
"What's another?"
"You're supposed to be all impressed that I'm the quarterback," Topher said.
"Okay," Theo said happily, stealing a kiss to go with the glasses. "That's an all right rule. I can be impressed you're the quarterback."
"Would you be more impressed if I were the punter?" Topher asked.
Theo knit his brows. "Should I be?"
Topher laughed. "See? That's what I mean."
"Do you mind?" Theo asked.
"No," Topher said, reaching his near arm around under the boy and drawing him closer. "I kinda like it. It makes me feel...I don't know. Freer. It's good, I think. But it's weird."
"Are you going to be okay without the rule book?" Theo asked, rolling Topher onto his back and climbing on top of him.
"I don't know," Topher said. "Never played without a rule book before. It's all..." He searched for the word.
"Yeah," Topher said, "and confusing."
"Well, here's to chaos, then," Theo said, kissing Topher's lips lightly. "And to confusion." He kissed him again. "And to me fucking you."
"Oh, shush," Topher said, chuckling.
"Zis is KAOS," Theo answered. "Ve don't shush here."


EJ and Seth strolled the corridor side by side. The most personal conversations that could be had in a high school were had while strolling the corridors. It was a strange paradox that one could be most private only in the most public places.

"Theo and I started practicing for a couple of years ago," Seth was saying to answer EJ's question. "And he's kind of..."

"Big," EJ said. "Yeah. Topher mentioned it. That makes perfect sense, then. You ever do anything else with him?"

"Oh, you know," Seth answered, shrugging, "we just tried stuff out on each other. Where did you...learn?"

"It was this kid named Rory," EJ said. They were passing a clump of people clustered in the hall. He waited until they were clear before continuing. "People called him the Rabbit. He wasn't my first first, but he's really where I learned how to do it right. We spent a couple of years together."

"Where's he now?" Seth asked, feeling strangely shaken by the idea that EJ had had a boyfriend for two years.

"College. He graduated last year."

"You mean, like, he just left?" Seth was unsettled.

"Yeah," EJ said. "'Bout two months ago."

Seth looked at EJ as they walked. The blue cap was pulled low over his eyes, which were shaded by the blue sunglasses anyway. "You were with a guy for the past two years, and you just broke up?"

"Well, it's not like we were together together," EJ said. He draped his arm casually over Seth's shoulders. Seth continued to look up at him, searching for clues. "We fucked a lot though. The Rabbit was great."

"So what's not together together?"

"The Rabbit and I...well, we had kind of an understanding."

"Like what?" Seth asked.

They had turned into a hallway without any people in it. EJ steered them over to the side and leaned Seth back against a locker. He gently kicked his feet apart and stepped between them, leaning forward to make contact from the thighs up past his stomach. Seth looked up at him, trying his best to mask a worried expression. He was adorable.

"Like, we both liked hooking up a lot. And we did it a lot."

"That sounds like together together to me," Seth said, enjoying EJ's weight as he leaned into him. He reached up and took the glasses off EJ's face and put them on himself. Next he took the cap. EJ's hair was short enough that it didn't retain the shape of the hat. Seth put it on and pulled it low. All he could see was EJ's
cleft chin. He hadn't shaved that day. It was covered with a perfectly sexy stubble.

"Well, we didn't always hook up together," EJ said.

Seth frowned. "You mean, you cheated on him?"

"No, babe. It wasn't cheating. He knew about it. And he fucked around too. But he always came back, 'cause I had what he wanted."

"What'd he want?" Seth wasn't sure he liked where the conversation was heading. He also wasn't sure he liked the fact that despite his best efforts to the contrary, the pressure on his groin was getting him hard.

"You know what he wanted. You want it too."

"I do?"

"Yeah, babe." Still pressing him against the locker, EJ found Seth's hands. He intertwined their fingers and drew his hands out to the side, fully extending his arms. Seth was immobilized, crucified against the lockers. "You like it when I call the shots."

Seth tilted his head back. EJ wore a gentle smile. His eyes were magic. Against his better judgment, Seth agreed. At least he didn't do it out loud.

"I know," EJ said. He spoke quietly, his voice hypnotic. "It's okay. You can let me."

Seth was confused. What he thought was going to be a conversation about infidelity had, instead, turned into an exposé of the very depths of his attraction. He wasn't prepared for it. He tried to disengage his hands and wiggle free, but EJ had effectively pinned him in place and held tight. The weight of him was overwhelming.

Trying his best to ignore the two erections pressing against each other below, he turned defiant. "So you make all the decisions? Is that it?"

EJ was patient. "No," he explained calmly, "you can make some decisions. Just remember that when push comes to shove, I'm going to win. It's what you want. It's what I want. It's natural."

Seth's brows knit. "That's what I want?" he asked incredulously. In response, EJ rotated his hips, rubbing the material of Seth's pants across his woody. Seth's breath caught in his throat. EJ's smile became a self-satisfied, asymmetric smirk.

"So I'm going to keep to fucking around, babe," EJ said, purring the words in a tone of voice that was as calming as its content was alarming. "It's what I do. I like it. And when the time comes, you can too. But I'll always come back to you just like you'll always come back to me, because no matter where you look, you're not going find what I got to give you."

"What if..." Seth was doing his best to concentrate on breaking the spell EJ had him in. He didn't like what EJ was saying at all. Mostly he didn't like how compliantly his dick was responding to it. "What if..." When EJ looked at him like that it was too difficult to think. He felt too exposed. It felt too scary and too good. "Let me go," he said.

"I'll let you go when you say I'm right," EJ answered.

"You're not...That's not what I..."

EJ brought his hips back, sunk an inch, pressed them forward again and rose up, mashing their dicks together mercilessly in a classic fucking motion. Seth's attempted denial evaporated.

"It's okay," EJ said, his voice almost a whisper. "You can say it. We both know it. You can admit it, babe."


A teacher turned the corner into hall and began walking toward them. EJ reluctantly let the kid go. They turned away from the teacher and began walking again, giving Seth the opportunity to compose himself.

They had turned the corner and were halfway down the next hallway before Seth was able to collect his thoughts. The interruption was a lucky fluke. He had been about to agree. "How do you know what I want?"

They walked on a few paces while EJ decided how best to respond. "How many guys have you hooked up with in your life?" he asked.

"Not counting practice?"

"No. Real hook ups."

"Just one," Seth said.

"You know how many guys I've hooked up with?"

"No," Seth answered.

"Neither do I," EJ said deliberately. Seth looked over at him. His face was calm and relaxed as they walked. He wasn't saying it to be insulting. He was trying to make a point. Seth decided not to react with anger.

"You know who I could have if I wanted him?" EJ asked.

"Pretty much anyone?" Seth said. He had meant it as a joke, but it rang truer than he expected.

"That's right," EJ answered, missing or ignoring Seth's attempt at irony. "I could have anyone I wanted, and I picked you. You know why I picked you?" Seth inhaled to answer, but EJ cut him off. "I'm being serious," he said calmly. "You sure you want to give me a smart-ass answer?" Seth shook his head and let the breath dissipate. "Smart boy," EJ said.

"I can see things in people. I don't know why, but I just can. Like, I can tell who likes fucking and who wants to get fucked. I can tell what they're going to be like in bed just by watching them."


"I don't know. The Rabbit taught me, but I got much better at it than him. I could probably teach you, given time. It's the way they stand, the way their eyes move...it's a lot of things -- but that's not the point. The point is I could tell a couple of things about you before we even met."

"Like what?" Seth was both intrigued and a little scared.

"Like you're totally into me," EJ began.

"That wasn't so hard to figure out," Seth said. They were at the auditorium. Out of habit, Seth tested the doors. One was unlocked. He opened it and they turned into the dark, deserted theater.

"That's not all," EJ said. "I knew you were a virgin. I knew you wanted me to take your cherry. I knew you'd like it on the rough side."

"You could tell that from the start? Before we even met?"

EJ nodded. They were making their way down the dark aisle. The only light came from the emergency exits lamps and the small windows in the doors at the back of the audience. "I misjudged what it was going to take to get into your pants, but I knew I'd get there." He had Seth by the hand and was leading him slowly, in case anything unseen was in their way. When he got to the middle of the section of seats he turned into a row, sat down and pulled Seth onto his lap.

"What else?" Seth sat sideways, his feet dangling over the arm rest into the aisle.

"I could tell you were going to be...creative. I liked that. That's one of the reasons I chose you. And I could tell you'd put up a fight. I liked that too."

"I didn't put up a fight," Seth said. He could feel EJ's erection growing again. It began poking at his thigh.

"You put up a fight every time we see each other," EJ rejoined gently. "It's cute. I like it. You're putting up a fight now. It's hot. But you got to know, babe. I'm going to win. I'm always going to win. That's one of the things you like about me, and the sooner you get over that fact, the easier it's going to be."

"What if I were the one calling the shots?" Seth said, glad for the darkness. He could see EJ's silhouette but not his eyes. "What if it was me all along, but I've been doing it in a way that you don't even know I'm doing it? What if you feel like you're controlling everything because I want you to feel like you're doing it, but really it's me?"

EJ smiled. "See? You're still feisty. The Rabbit was never feisty. I like it. It's sexy. And it makes it all the hotter when I win."

"But what if that's only because I want you to think like you've won?"

"You really think you're the one manipulating me?"

"See, if I was, and I was doing it right, you'd never know, would you?" Seth was satisfied with his response. It made his point without saying outright what was really going on.

EJ chuckled. "I knew you'd be fun." He reached around the kid's waist from both sides and unzipped his pants. He reached in and fished out Seth's dick. It was rock hard. He brought his hand up, cupping it in front of Seth's mouth and waited. Seth collected a gob of spit and emptied it into EJ's hand. EJ brought it down and smeared it around the head of the kid's dick. Seth sighed and relaxed against EJ's torso.

"Face it, babe," EJ said, letting his hand do the magic. "It's the way it's supposed to be. We work differently. I get pleasure from my dick. That's fine. You get pleasure from my dick too. That's great! The difference is, it's my dick. That gives me the power. It's just the way the world is. And deep down, it's the way you want it to be, too."

Seth gave into the pleasure and spread his legs, draping one of his knees over the seat in front of them while keeping the other on the arm rest. He was sideways to EJ, resting his head on the jock's shoulder. EJ worked his dick, sliding over the length of it. Seth's hips bucked to meet the fist.

"I'll say I like it when you think you're in control if you say that that was the hottest blow job you've ever had," he whispered into the ear that was an inch from his mouth.

EJ turned his head and kissed him, his tongue filling the kid's mouth while his head palmed the head of his dick. Seth breathed in sharply through his nose.

"No bargains," EJ said, breaking off the kiss. "You admit you like it that I am in control. Not that I think I'm in control." He shifted sideways so that their heads were more at a level. Seth found himself leaning backwards, off-balanced save for EJ's arm around his back, supporting him. EJ kissed him again. Seth melted into it.

"That's not fair," Seth said when they paused for air. "You can't make me say things when you're getting me off. I'd say anything to get off. It wouldn't be honest."

"When you're getting off is the only time you're honest, babe." EJ squeezed the base of his dick, forcing a pearl of precum out of the top.

"The arm rest is digging into my back," Seth said, stalling for time. EJ tried to shift in the seat again, but Seth's leg got caught in the chair in front of them. Seth disentangled himself and stood up. "C'mon," he said, pulling EJ up by the hand. He led him down the aisle toward the stage. The air was cool against his dick, which was sticking out of his fly.

They carefully negotiated the stairs up to the stage. Seth brought him across it to the upstage legs. He made his way through the curtains to the area offstage that housed pieces of the set which were still in construction. Whatever light was in the auditorium was blocked by the curtains. It was pitch black. Seth felt his way forward.

"Here it is," he said, coming up against a couch that was used for a livingroom scene. He brought EJ's hand to it so EJ could tell where it was.

"Sweet," EJ said. He maneuvered Seth down onto it in the darkness. After a good bit of fumbling, they ended with Seth lying lengthwise on the couch with EJ spread out on top of him. EJ took his cap back and removed the sunglasses in the darkness, putting them on the floor beside the couch.

He took Seth's hands again, locking their fingers together, this time drawing them up just over Seth's head. He found the boy's lips and opened them with his tongue. They kissed for a long time. Seth tried to pull his hands down from over his head, more for the assurance that he couldn't than from any particular desire to be free. As they wrestled in place, EJ's knees worked their way down between Seth's, which began to bend and grasp EJ's waist. It was the most natural of movements -- the petals of the flower opening for the bee.

The kisses became more vehement and forceful as they both began to give themselves over to need. It was strange doing it in pitch blackness, and Seth found himself centering on exactly what he was feeling. EJ's stubble was abrasive on his skin. It burned, though not in an altogether displeasing way. He could smell EJ's smell. The rough fabric of his jeans pressed against his dick.

EJ shifted his weight. He brought his two hands together over Seth's head. Unlocking the fingers of one hand, he took Seth's free wrist with his other so that he had the kid's arms locked in place with just one hand. Using it and his knees as balancing points, he lifted his hips off the boy. Seth's knees continued to grasp him around the waist. The kid followed him up, still locked together. With a few gentle rocks he was able to free himself. Seth's hips fell back to the couch, his knees opened.

Seth felt EJ fumbling at his waist. He felt his button being undone, and EJ's hand pulling his pants down. Seth lifted his butt off the couch slightly, enabling EJ to finish the chore. He pulled the kid's pants and shorts down to mid thigh. This pulled Seth's knees in. But as EJ was still between his feet, Seth found himself somewhat locked into position, prevented from opening his legs further by his pants, and prevented from closing them any by the invisible mass between them.

He heard more fumbling, and shortly the sound of a zipper and the rustle of fabric. There was motion between his legs, and he felt the cushions of the sofa rock back and forth as, he assumed, EJ was lowering his pants below each knee in turn. It was weird not to be able to see anything even though it was happening right on top of him.

EJ shifted his weight forward. Seth's knees were brought up to his own chest, his hips rotating up in the process. He felt EJ's fullness press against him beneath his balls.

"What if someone comes in?" Seth whispered.

"Shhhh," EJ said, just as softly. "No one's going to come in, babe. It's just you and me." His voice was reassuring, even in the dark. "See?" the voice said as the dick mashed into his perineum and slid back and forth a few inches. "Doesn't this feel right?"

He heard EJ spit and felt movement at his hamstrings as, he imagined, EJ was slicking up his dick. It happened a few more times. The fourth time, he felt a wet finger at his hole. It slid in, followed by a second, attempting to swab the area in spit. It disappeared, and he heard EJ spit again. The finger showed up again at his butt. Seth wanted to jerk himself, but his hands were still immobilized over his head.

There was more movement Down South, and Seth felt the fingers guiding the oversized head of EJ's dick to his hole. It pressed there, testing the tensile strength of the opening. The fingers came back and worked him a little while the head hovered a half-inch away. A little more spit was applied and the head pressed forward, pushing at the ring of muscles which had yielded to it just a few days before.

Seth took a deep breath, knowing what was coming. The head pushed forward until it popped through, but then stopped. Seth looked down, but, of course, couldn't see anything.

"Admit you like it when I'm in control," the voice whispered. EJ's face was so close to his Seth could feel the breath but he still couldn't see even an outline above him.

"Admit that was the hottest blow job you ever had," Seth heard his voice whisper back.

EJ's kiss materialized out of the blackness. It was devouring, demanding, devastating. It was the hottest kiss Seth had ever experienced. He was breathless when it was done. He found himself pushing up with his hips, trying to get more of EJ's magnificent dick into him. But EJ retreated as much as Seth advanced, leaving just the head inside.

"Admit you like it when I'm in control."

Seth tried to reach around EJ's waist with his ankles. If he could reach the jock's butt, he could pull EJ into himself. But his own pants were binding his knees. He couldn't gain leverage. He flexed again, but EJ was ready for him. He would not penetrate any farther than the head.

"It's okay, babe," the voice said. "It doesn't mean you lose just because I win. When I win, we both win. It's the way it's supposed to be. All you have to do is admit it."

Seth hated that the logic of it was sounding better and better. If he could just get his hands free -- or his ankles. But the truth of it was that in one respect EJ was right. They both did get pleasure from EJ's dick, and that did give him a measure of power. Worse, it did feel good when that power was exercised.

"You can still fight, babe. I know you like to. Imagine the battles we can have, huh? And I know how much you want this dick in you. Let me give it to you, babe. Let me make you happy."

Seth tried to free his hands one last time, hoping that EJ's grip could be jimmied by the fact that he was trying to hold both Seth's hands in his one. But the grip tightened beyond expectation and an elbow came down from nowhere to assist.

"Shhhh, babe," the voice said calming the attempt at action rather than any sound that had been made. "Shhhh. Give into it. Let go."

There was one last option. Seth rotated his hips the other way, trying to free himself from the intruder. EJ was ready for that move too. He lowered as easily as he had lifted. The movement caused some friction, but just enough to be tantalizing.

What if I did? Seth asked himself. What if I did say it? I wouldn't have to mean it, would I? After all, he had manipulated EJ at Candler's party, he had manipulated him before he even met him when they showed up to the football rehearsal, he had manipulated him into the kind of fuck he had wanted after the game. He was in control, and even if it was EJ's dick that they both liked, he was the one that could determine where and when. And one of the most important elements of control is letting the person you're controlling think they're in control. That was really the art of it.

EJ began to pulse his dick. Seth wasn't quite sure how he was doing it -- maybe he was clenching his ass muscles which sent just that little squirt more of blood forward. However he was doing it, the head of his dick began to throb like a heartbeat at Seth's hole. The tease brought him over the edge.

"I admit it," he heard himself whisper.

"You admit what?" the voice above him asked.

The silence of the room matched the darkness. He wondered if he could hear his own blood circulate.

"I admit I like it when you're in control."

Seth felt EJ's lips briefly graze his, then felt the jock's free hand gently cover his mouth. The plunge was quick, smooth, and to the hilt. When the muffled scream faded, the voice spoke again.

"That was the hottest blow job I ever had."

 Final Episode

They sat in Emilio's dabbing the oil off their pizzas. It was relatively empty -- only a few of the other customers were from school. EJ and Seth sat next to each other, with Topher and Theo sitting across. Topher was telling a story.
"So Cooledge hands out this test, right? And fucking Uzi writes out his phone number for the answers, like number one is seven, number two is three, like that. Then when Cooledge comes over and looks at it, he says, what's that? And Uzi says it's the answers. And Cooledge says, no, that. And he points at the top of the page. And Uzi say, oh. I spelled my name wrong. And Cooledge says, you can't spell your own name? And Uzi says, all superior, I can spell my name. I just didn't want anyone knowing my phone number."
The boys laughed. "Was he serious?" Theo asked.
"You can never tell with Uzi," Topher answered between large gulps of coke.
"Wilson passes out a test a couple days ago," EJ said, "and Missy Clark says, are we supposed to take this now?" Everyone laughed again.
Both pairs of boys were sitting close to each other. Seth was practically in EJ's lap, while Theo's proximity to Topher was just enough that the hair on Topher's arm tickled Theo's forearm when they laughed. Hidden under the table, Theo impishly hooked his foot around Topher's ankle. Taking it as a game, Topher grinned and spun his foot around behind so that his was hooking Theo's instead.
Unaware of the footsie exchange going on across from them, Seth took EJ's arm, draped it around his shoulders, and nestled in.
"You may feed me now," Seth said imperiously, aiming his dimples at the older boy. EJ looked down at the cuteness crooked in his arm and smiled. The kid was adorable, there was no doubt about it. EJ took a slice in his free hand, brought it to Seth's lips, and happily shoved the majority of it in. Seth choked and laughed simultaneously.
"You know," Theo said, returning them to their conversation, "Seth hasn't taken a test solo since I met him."
"Aren't they always telling us that we have to be good members of a team?" Seth protested, wiping the spittle and tomato sauce from his chin. "All this cooperative learning shit? I'm just following instructions. Besides, if teachers didn't want us to cheat, they wouldn't have made it so easy."
"I once bet him that he couldn't pass a test on his own without cheating." Theo said.
"I won that bet," Seth pointed out.
"Stupid bet," Topher said, the bite of pizza still prominently in his mouth. "No way to check it."
"You want a stupid bet," EJ asked, "Topher drank the unknown in chem lab last year."
"That wasn't stupid. I made 20 bucks on that bet!" Topher protested.
"Dude, you had no idea what it was! You could have died!" EJ said.
"But I didn't and I made the 20 bucks, so who's stupid now, huh?"
There was a brief silence while the other three came to differing answers to that question.
"Besides," Topher went on, oblivious to the fact that the rest of the table had come up with him, "you were the one who set off that rocket in the bathroom."
"You blew up a toilet?" Seth asked.
"No, he just set it off," Topher said, trying to keep the slice from spilling out of his mouth. "It was in the middle-school boy's room. You should've seen it -- fucking bouncing off the walls in every direction. I thought it was going to fucking kill us!"
"That's okay, Theo superglued his hands together," Seth said.
"You did?" Topher asked.
"I had broken this vase of my mom's," Theo explained. "I was trying to fix it before she got home."
"So she gets home, right?" Seth added, "and his hands are glued together and the vase is stuck to his face."
They laughed at the mental image.
"Fuck you!" Theo shot back playfully. "Seth wet his pants in school."
"Disgruntled snort! You So missed the point of that story," Seth said rolling his eyes. "I got caught stealing the answers to a homework out of my teacher's desk, right? So I wet my pants. She didn't know why I was in her desk, and she felt so bad for me she totally forgot why I was there. I did my Pathetic Look thing. It worked perfect." Seth demonstrated his Pathetic Look. EJ smiled.
"Dude," Theo said bringing them back to the real point, "you wet your pants."
"So? The first time you got drunk, you fell asleep on the couch!"
"What's wrong with that?" Topher asked.
"It wasn't in his house," Seth said. "Not even the right street! He just decides he had walked far enough on his way home and he's there. So he goes in and goes to sleep on this old couple's couch. The woman came down the next morning and saw him passed out there and called the cops."
"Fuck, she was loud," Theo recalled. "I've never heard anyone scream that much. Anyway, at least I didn't do it on purpose."
"You want on purpose?" EJ asked. "Topher got his tongue stuck to a flag pole. Man, I never thought you were going to agree to that!" They were laughing hard, knowing that the sparring was harmless.
"At least I never spray-painted Mrs. Wheeler stinks on the blackboard."
"That's not so bad," Seth said.
"He signed it," Topher added.
Sprite sprayed out of Theo's nose.
"I was ten," EJ said, by way of explanation.
"You were a fucking idiot," Topher rejoined.
"Fuck you. You owe me fifty cents!" They laughed.
The conversation continued, as conversations among boys will. The four ate and talked and laughed. They interrupted each other with insults and bested each other with stories. Seth and EJ stroked each other as overtly as Theo and Topher did surreptitiously. Each was happy in being in the others' company, and happy with himself and his place in the world.

There is my construction -- a world in which people can discover each other and themselves. You have noticed, I'm sure, that I have not fixed its setting, though I assure you I know where it is. It takes place in Everytown, where life is finite until you get a car, where September is the month of possibilities, where new faces are as exciting as the old faces are comfortable. And while it is clearly not here, perhaps, as time wends on, we can find our way there.

You will want to know the ending, I expect. But that's for you to construct. Beginnings and endings are the hardest, and I have done my work. If you are a romantic, Topher and Theo are still together, discovering new ways of interacting without rules. If you are a pessimist, they were too different to last. If you are analytical, you can argue with EJ and Seth about who is more narcissistic, or, if you truly enjoy a fight, who really is in control. If you are horny, the argument can end in passion. My only hint at ending is this: they are, all four, happy. Beyond that, it needn't be decided.

That is the joy of fantasy. It is the chaos which only you control.
The End