Stephen re-entered the room after Anthony and I had reclaimed our clothes from the floor. Davy was still sitting on the bed naked as if nothing unusual had happened. Stephen stood in the doorway, a strange look on his face. It wasn't anger, nor was it pain. He looked a little sad, a little wistful, as if he wished he could have been with us. Nonetheless, I felt horrifically embarrassed and uncomfortable.
"Davy, put your shorts on," he said softly.
"Why?" Davy asked.
"I'm not in the mood for the usual debates," Stephen answered firmly. "Put your shorts on."
Davy looked surprised and did as he was told. When he was clad, such as he was, in his shorts, Stephen walked over to the chair before his desk and sat. He was wearing blue jeans and a tight T-shirt, both of which were covered with flour and tomato. His hair was a bit mussed up and he was definitely sweaty. I felt like a pervert again because the feeling was growing in me as I looked at him. It was strange; he really looked good to me the way he was right then. I wanted to hug him, to feel him hugging me. Did I want to kiss him, too?
"Would you like to explain what's going on?" he asked in a composed, serious voice. His eyes were locked on Davy and, suddenly the usual calm, controlled, observant expression that seemed to be the hallmark of Davy's demeanor disappeared. He now looked as uncomfortable as Anthony and I felt.
"Well, Anthony and Jon are boyfriends like us and, uh, well, I was, uh, telling them about what you and I do, and—”
Stephen's eyes grew just the slightest bit wider as Davy said this.
"—and, well they didn't know about sucking, so I was showing them."
"It's really not Davy's fault, Stephen. We asked him. Rather, I asked him."
I was surprised to see Anthony stand and say that, but I couldn't let him take the blame for me. I stood up.
"No, I asked him to show us. It was me."
"Jon!" Anthony barked. "Sit down. I'll handle this."
"No!" I replied. "It's my fault. I'll take the blame."
Stephen's face changed to a slightly amused expression. Looking at Davy, he asked, "Are you Spartacus, too?"
Stephen rolled his eyes and smiled. He held his arms out to Davy and said, softly, "Come here."
Davy jumped from the bed and into Stephen's arms. The two held each other for several moments, saying nothing, their eyes closed. Stephen would caress Davy's shoulder and then run his fingers through the boy's hair. Davy just squeezed Stephen tightly, as if to let go would mean losing the love of his life.
Eventually, I heard Stephen whisper in the boy's ear, "My sweet Davy, I love you so much." Davy just whimpered. He climbed onto Stephen's lap, though I think he was really too big for the seventeen-year-old. He looked up at his boyfriend, mentor, and protector with an almost worshipful look on his face.
"Look," Stephen said, turning his attention to us. "I'm not upset about this. Surprised, even a little jealous. But, I'm not mad. However, I think, Jon and Anthony, that you need to understand something about what just happened."
Anthony took my hand and snuggled up to me again. He laid his head on my shoulder, under my chin, and watched Stephen. I squeezed my boyfriend—yes, I knew he was my boyfriend!
Stephen took a deep breath.
"Sex is a very wonderful and beautiful thing. If I could lie here and have sex with Davy all the time, twenty-four hours a day, I would. Sex is fun. It feels good. But, let it be special. And, Davy, one of the wonderful things about love and sex, especially when you're just discovering both, is learning all the wonderful secrets on your own. I think Jon and Anthony probably have wonderful and beautiful moments together and have learned a great deal on their own already. They don't need to hurry up. They just need to be boys and have fun and love each other and feel good and grow at their own speed. They will know when they're ready to move on to something else."
Anthony snuggled even closer to me. Davy cast his eyes down.
"I shouldn't have taught 'em about sucking?"
Stephen smiled and kissed the top of Davy's head.
"I didn't say that. Maybe they were ready to move on to that level. I don't know. I think wild three-way orgies might be a bit much for twelve, though I've never even been in one myself."
Davy looked up mischievously and said, with a twinkle, "You wanna?"
Stephen looked narrowly at Davy and playfully squeezed the boy's balls, eliciting a surprised yelp from his boyfriend.
"Not that it isn't tempting," Stephen said, obviously checking Anthony and me out. "Jon and Anthony really are cute and sweet." His eyes seemed to linger on me and met my own. Quickly, however, he looked away.
"Davy, you're the only one I love and you're the only one I want to have sex with, to make love to. I want to watch you grow into a teenager. I want to watch you grow into a man. I want us to spend the rest of our lives together. You're the only person I want or need."
Davy looked ashamed.
"Hey," said Stephen as he lifted the boy's chin and kissed him on the lips.
"That doesn't mean that I don't realize you're twelve and going through puberty and that things may get a little intense for you for the next couple of years. For all three of you. You're entering a special time in your lives and sometimes, close friends at your age need some time with each other in that way. But, remember! There's more to life than just sex. Yeah, it feels good. Sometimes it feels almost too good. Don't get to the point that you want to do it and not do anything else. And, don't get to the point that you want to do it with just anyone. Yeah, it’s fun. But, it's also special and it's so much better, so very much better with someone you love."
I looked at Anthony, whose eyes locked onto mine. He learned over, took my hand, squeezed it, and gently kissed me on the lips.
When I looked up, Stephen was holding Davy close, their eyes closed. It was so beautiful.
"I think it’s almost dinner time," I whispered to Anthony.
"Yes, I think it is."
That night, as I lay alone in bed, for the first time I had no feelings of guilt or shame as I felt the feeling come over me, as I felt my penis get hard and stiff, as I rubbed it and dreamt of love. I felt wonderful and free. I dreamt of Stephen, so strong and handsome, holding me, kissing me, running his hands over my body as I ran mine over his; I dreamt of Davy sucking me and giving me the most intense feeling. I dreamt of Anthony and the way we made love, still my favorite way despite the new things I had learned. I dreamt of us lying together, holding each other, kissing each other deeply, and thrusting against each other until we both cried out with joy and love.
My world was now far better than it had been. Over the next few days, Anthony and I resumed our activities. Anthony loved to ride his bike and we went on several long rides in country, taking picnic lunches with us. There was an afternoon when we hid behind some bushes off a dirt road a couple of miles from town and made intense love to each other, finishing off by getting in a sixty-nine position and kissing and sucking each other's penis. It was a glorious time of freedom, love, and joy.
One August afternoon, as the thermometer reached triple digits— something I thought nothing about, having grown up in Dallas, but which everyone in Canterbury was freaking out over—Anthony and I were lying out in his backyard. His mother had gone to the grocery store and we were spraying each other with the garden hose to keep cool. Anthony had been developing quite a spectacular tan since we had begun hanging out with each other.
"Do you need some suntan lotion?" I asked, hopefully.
"Oh, I suppose you could put some on, if you wanted."
I grinned and picked up the bottle. We went over to a dry part of the yard and spread out Anthony's beach towel. He lay down on his back and I began to slowly rub the Coppertone into his soft skin. I worked his back muscles at the same time, eliciting moans of pleasure from him. He rolled over and I repeated the procedure, spending time on his nipples, which we had both just recently discovered were quite sensitive. Anthony had a very serious stiffy going in his shorts as my thumbs relentlessly rubbed his hard little titties and he writhed wildly on the blanket. I knew he was getting close to the point where he would lose control, as he always forecast it by starting to make the cutest, "Nnng, nnng" sounds. I leaned over and kissed him on the lips.
I looked up in horror and Anthony quickly twisted around. Standing not ten feet away was Fiona. In a flash, I knew she would ban Anthony and me from seeing each other ever again; I knew she would report me to my grandparents, who, kind and well-meaning as they were, would definitely not understand this. I knew it was over and just that quickly, I was ready to die. All of this went through my mind in that split-second when I saw her eyes, contemptuous and hateful, boring through me.
"Mum—" Anthony started.
"Go inside, Anthony. Now."
"Now! You," she spat at me, "you sick, little pervert, you leave this house immediately. And, if I ever see you touching my son again, I shall—"
Father Macintosh stood in the back door. I had never seen him angry before. He was always such a conciliator. Nonetheless, I could see he was furious, and not at us, but at his wife.
"How dare you speak to those boys that way!"
“Charles! Look at that! They're kissing!"
"I am aware of what they're doing. But, your screaming is not the way to handle the situation."
Suddenly, Anthony stood up, a fury on his face I had never seen.
"Alright, then. I'm a poof! So, there!"
Fiona looked as if Anthony had slapped her. I was trying desperately to fade into the grass.
In a voice ragged with fury and barely controlled, she looked daggers at Anthony. "You are NOT homosexual."
"I am, too. And, I love Jonathan Hughes. He's the best friend I've ever had and he's the best thing that's happened to me since I came to America! And, you're not going to take that away from me! You always ruin everything for me. You scream at the headmaster because you don't approve of the curriculum. You scream at the coach because he's teaching me to be a fascist. You scream at Dad all the time about . . . about . . . who knows? You're always screaming. You're always angry. You're always protesting something. You're NEVER happy and you don't want anyone around you to be happy!"
Fiona's eyes looked as if they were about to explode.
"Charles! Say something!"
"OK. Anthony, you and your friend go play somewhere. Your mother and I have to talk."
"Oh, for God's sake, woman! Are you so blind?"
"Of course, I knew!"
"And, you said NOTHING!"
"Of course I said nothing. Look how happy he's been these last few weeks. Have you ever seen him that peaceful and tranquil?"
She was still on the verge of hyperventilating, but her voice no longer seemed on the verge of hysteria.
"Charles, you're a priest. Romans...."
"Oh for God's sake, Fiona! You're an atheist! Don't quote Romans to me. Besides, you're a feminist. How could you, of all people, quote Romans?"
She seemed speechless. I know I was.
"Mum," said Anthony softly. "I love you, but you don't know anything about me. Did you know I tried to kill myself last year?"
Fiona looked stricken.
"You never knew," he muttered in wonder. "You never knew?"
She looked completely taken aback.
"Fiona," said Father Mac, "you've been so busy with your writing, and your protests, and your anger that you haven't even seen your own son's agony."
Father Mac placed a hand on his wife's shoulder. Tears were forming in her eyes and I could see streaks of mascara starting to flow down her cheeks.
"Darling," he said gently, "you're never going to change the world, only people. One person at a time. And, you do it with love. Change the things you can and accept the things you can't. And, start with your son. He needs his mother. And, he needs his friend."
Fiona sat down on the step to the back door. She looked at her son through her tears.
"Darling," she muttered, holding out her arms.
"Mum," Anthony whispered. He ran to her and the two held each other and cried. Through my own tears, I saw Father Mac walk over to me. He put his hand on my shoulder and winked.
"Jon, let's you and I go have a talk, man to man, eh?"
We left Anthony and Fiona in the back and strolled around to the front.
"Jon, my boy," Father Mac began as he sat on a bench under the apple tree in their front yard. He patted the spot next to him and I took my seat.
"Do you do this sort of thing with other boys?"
I was shocked. "No, sir!' I replied vehemently.
Father Mac nodded. "I didn't think so. You're a good lad and I'm proud that Anthony would choose one such as you to be his friend."
He patted me on the shoulder.
"It is possible," he continued, "that the two of you will outgrow this. Many boys do, though many don't. Either way . . . "
We continued chatting for a while longer, until Anthony came out front and told his dad that his mother wanted his help in the kitchen. He took his place on the bench and said, "If your grandparents don't mind, I'm going to spend the night with you. Mum and Dad need some time to talk about things tonight."
"You mean about you and me?"
"Not just that. Other things, too."
"No, they're not getting a divorce. In fact, I think just the opposite."
And, that night, Anthony and I lay naked atop my bed. We loved each other. We held each other, caressed, kissed, and made love. We brought each other to that point of ultimate joy several times and when we went to sleep, my parents came to see me. Mommy kissed my cheek, Daddy hugged me and slapped me on the back. Even Dougy was happy to see me and hugged me.
"Be happy," Mommy said as she got up.
"Yes, son. Be happy," said Daddy, tugging my ear as he always did.
"Yeah, Jonny. Be REAL happy!" Dougy added.
And, from that moment on, I was.