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  1. Past hour
  2. Chapter 18

    Thnx for your comments. It's really helpful to us scribblers to hear from readers particularly with helpful comments. Yes, you're right about the switch; I racked my brains on how to handle this. I opted for the intersession thinking that the blood and bruising would be significant camouflage. But you're right, Adlai and Tavi are different physically and I missed this. I was thinking I'd write a sequel involving Cephas and Amenco as I downplayed their relationship in the story. I didn't want anything to distract from the main plot; I still may do this. Thnx again . . . I was delighted to hear from you.
  3. Homecoming

    ---Ryder--- It’s been a month since I’ve been home. A month of different cities, different crowds, different everything! And yet, no matter where I went, no matter how hard I searched I never found a smile as perfect as his. One that spoke a thousand words without actually saying a single thing. I’d stay up every night in a plane for the rest of my life if it means he’ll be on the other side. I’d do anything for him, and I pray he’d do the same. As the game wound down and we stood outside our cars I couldn’t help but sigh, knowing that our short time together was already moving way too fast. “Alright,” I began, looking over at Teddy, Blake and Liz. “so I know the original plan was for Teddy to drive us all, but I think you guys deserve a little bit better.” “What’s that supposed to mean?” Teddy teased, giving me a light shove. “It means a limo will be picking me and you up at around six-fifteen, and the two of you up at six-thirty.” I smirked, thinking of all the surprises I was trying to cram into my weekend with Teddy. “Ryder,” Blake shook his head. “I, we agreed to just drive because of the cost. I mean homecoming is here in the gym, it’s not like,” “I’ve got it covered.” I interrupted, not wanting to hear another word. “Tonight and tomorrow is all on me.” “Tomorrow?” Teddy repeated, looking up at me. “Mhm.” I hummed as the smile grew on my face. “You know, for Messiah’s concert at PNC.” “For what?” Liz let out, before anyone could say anything. I tried to stop it but my smile busted through as shock spread through their faces. “Back when I said I was coming home for this weekend Teddy’s uncle called them up and tried to get a gig planned so we could keep capitalizing. They shot us down at first,” I shrugged. “but sometime last week we got a call that the venue was open if we could make it.” “Wait.” Teddy shook his head, trying his hardest to add it all together. “But I haven’t heard anything about that.” “We announced it last night at midnight,” I let out. “Its with a bunch of local bands, and only like fifteen bucks a ticket. It’s a total win-win. We get to give back and keep getting our name out there.” I watched as Liz frantically searched through her phone, trying her hardest to find news of it online. “It’s trending all over.” She shook her head. “It’s, you sold it out by noon. That’s seven thousand tickets in twelve hours!” A strong blush overtook my face as I heard her words. “If you make tickets cheap enough you can sell out anywhere.” I shrugged, trying to justify the numbers myself. “Besides the lawn isn’t even open and it won’t have any of the fanfare Teddy saw in Atlanta. Just us up on a blank stage with a banner.” “This is fake.” Teddy shook his head. “I, Blake would’ve heard about it!” He turned to look at Blake but Blake quickly looked the other way as a smirk overtook his face. “You knew!” Teddy shouted reaching out and giving him a push. “Of course I knew!” Blake cracked in laughter. “Why do you think I talked you out of going to parties tonight?” “Ryder!” Teddy whined, looking back at me. “I needed a man on the inside.” I shrugged. “And he totally would’ve heard of rock tickets going on sale!” Teddy rolled his eyes but I could see excitement hidden in them. “Can you do me a favor and give my grandma a ride?” “I guess.” He sighed, trying his hardest to play the mad card. “I mean I like her more than you anyway.” “Oh yeah?” I giggled, grabbing onto his sides and moving in for a kiss. “Yeah.” he smirked as our lips met. “Alright!” Liz yelped opening the door to Blake’s car. “That’s enough for me! We’ll see you tonight.” “Yeah.” I let out, breaking away then going right back for more. “Ryder!” Teddy laughed, pushing me away. “You’re famous now! We can’t just make out in a parking lot!” “You were never supposed to in the first place!” Blake piped in, shutting his door behind him. “Fine. Fine.” I dismissed, looking at my own car across the lot. “How about I run home, get my suit on and then we can make out at your place until the limo gets there?” “You’re so immature.” Teddy rolled his eyes. “But I guess if you want that’d be cool.” I shook my head and started to back away. “I read you like a book Haner!” “Yeah you wish Sullivan!” He shouted back through laughter. My car and feet couldn’t seem to move fast enough, but as I finally ripped open my front door I slowed down, remembering the only person in the whole state who I missed as much as Teddy. Sure, I had seen her for a little this morning before I fell asleep, but it was five A.M.! That barely counts! “Grandma!” I called out turning the corner into the kitchen. “Grandma?” She repeated turning around and looking at me. “Watch your tongue! I’m not that old!” “What?” I shook my head as she walked over and gently held her fingers over my gauges. “Cooper.” She let out in a disappointed breath. “Your father is going to kill you when he sees these.” “What?” I repeated, trying my hardest to solve whatever game she was playing. “Did you even ask him?” She reprimanded voice growing strict. “Grandma, what the hell are you talking about?” I shook my head as worry engulfed my mind. “Fine, play your little games.” She shrugged walking over to the now whistling tea kettle. “But your father is going to spank you red when he gets home.” I began to bite my lip as my weight fell into a nearby chair. “Don’t try that puppy dog trick with me! You know that doesn’t work!” “Yeah, sorry mom.” I forced out, desperately waiting for the episode to pass. “Oh Coop.” She shook her head, taking a seat across from me. “What are we going to do with you?” “I don’t know.” I exhaled, trying my hardest not to cry. A few minutes of silence passed before finally she stood back up and turned on the tea kettle once more. “When did you get home?” She smiled, returning to her seat. “What?” I let out looking up into her eyes. “I, do you know who I am?” “Of course I know who you are Ryder.” She cackled with a calm shake of her head. “You know? You really shouldn’t sneak into the room and sit down without saying anything. You’re going to scare me!” “Grandma, I’ve been home for like ten minutes now.” I tried to explain as a tear or two began to drip from my eyes. Confusion spread on her face as she saw my tears. “Well alright, there’s no reason to get upset.” She comforted, walking over and wrapping her arms around me. “I guess I just didn’t notice you is all. I’m sorry dear.” “But, you, I-it’s okay.” I dejectedly exhaled. “I guess I should’ve said something.” “Mhm.” She hummed. “So stop trying to make an old lady feel bad with those tears.” She giggled, as her hug grew tighter. “I guess I just missed you is all.” Tears began to fall faster as the moment replayed over and over in my head. She’s been getting forgetful for a while now, but I’ve been lying to myself, saying it’ll be okay. Convincing myself that it’s just something that happens with older people. But this, what just happened, this isn’t normal. This isn’t okay. “Ryder,” She let out surprised by how broken up I was getting. “I had no idea you missed me so much.” She teased, trying her hardest to cheer me up. “I love you with everything I have.” I forced out, as worst case scenarios began to play in my mind. “I really really need you to know that.” “I do.” She nodded finally letting me go and pulling up a seat next to me. “You’ve made me the happiest I’ve been in a long time, and tomorrow night, getting to finally see you perform on a real stage. That, it’s going to be one of the greatest moments of my life.” I nodded and quickly began to wipe the tears from my eyes. “But that’s enough time with me for now. You should start getting ready for homecoming. Tonight we’ll catch up just like we planned this morning.” “Yeah,” I nodded forcing tears away once more. “Just like we planned.” I tried my hardest to put the moment behind me, but I found it hard to smile as I slowly put on the brand new suit I had bought for tonight. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. She thought I was my dad. She kept calling me Cooper, and no matter how much she stared at me she couldn’t snap out of it. I quickly threw my phone to my ear as it began to ring. Desperate for a distraction. “Hey,” Teddy laughed. “What’s taking you so long? You get lost or something?” “No.” I let out, trying my hardest to throw on a normal voice. “Just distracted is all. I’ll be there in like twenty.” He let out a short sigh, pretending to be disappointed. “One day my prince will come.” “That day is today.” I teased, remembering how much this all meant to him. “Now stop distracting me more than I already am!” “Alright. Alright.” He giggled. “I love you.” “Love you too.” I quickly answered before hanging up the phone. I threw on the last few pieces of my suit and stared at myself in the mirror. I need to put this afternoon in the back of my head for right now. I’ve been away from him for a month, and sure, he came to visit, but it’s not the same as being home. I can’t make tonight about me. I can’t worry him with my problems any more than I have. Grandma will be fine. Today, it was just a onetime thing. A minor setback. She wound up remembering me, and that I’ve been away! She remembered the concert tomorrow and what a big deal it’s going to be! Hell! She even remembered a conversation from five in the morning! Everything will be okay. As I got to Teddy’s house the attempts to forget turned into full blown denial, but for whatever reason that was okay with me. I’m doing what I need to to survive. To make sure I keep everyone I love happy. To make sure I keep myself happy. “WOW!” Mrs. Haner shouted as she walked in from the garage, seeing me for the first time since I left. “Wow, wow, wow.” She shook her head, walking over and looking me up and down. “Doesn’t he clean up nice?” Teddy giggled as a blush grew on both our faces. “I, um, yeah.” She shook her head. “Wow.” She exhaled one last time. “How are you home? I thought your flight was cancelled, I thought,” “He was trying to surprise me.” Teddy explained with a roll of his eyes. “The storm cleared and he was able to leave after the first delay.” “Well what a surprise that must’ve been.” She shook her head, trying her hardest to pin what about me was different. “Have you been working out?” I quickly nodded my head, trying my absolute hardest to fight the blush. “Touring takes a lot out of you so we’ve been training on our off days and before concerts. I mean, it’s really nothing big.” “Well it’s showing.” She laughed, looking over to her son and nodding. “I’m going to go upstairs and put some snacks together if you guys want anything to eat before Homecoming.” “Limo comes in like ten minutes mom.” Teddy shrugged as confusion entered her face once more. “Thank you anyway though Mrs. Haner.” I added in, reminding Teddy of his manners. “Limo?” She repeated, once again with more questions than answers. “Another Ryder surprise.” Teddy explained as his smile grew wider. “Along with the concert we’re all going to tomorrow.” She let out a sigh and shook her head. “It’s a concert for all of you. For me it’s babysitting your father then hearing him ramble about it for days.” She walked up to me and gave me a tight hug. “I love you, but cool it with the surprises. This house can only take so much chaos at once.” She joked with a smile. “Be safe tonight boys.” Her smile jumped to my face as she walked up the stairs. I don’t think she’s ever told me she loved me. I don’t think either of his parents have. Sure, they’ve shown it with their actions, but being told it. Hearing them say it. It-it’s something completely different. Once more I found myself smiling as her and Harry forced us into taking pictures outside of the long black limo. Teddy protested them, but we all knew it was for show. After all, I don’t think there’s a lens he hates! I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t weird when we showed up. Sure, I’m getting used to the constant stares and pictures, but seeing it here at Hudson, at a place where I know I was hated. It just feels, feels, wrong. The fake waves and smiles, they’re all, all bullshit. But as much as I want to let it out, as much as I want to put them on blast I have to play nice just like I did at the football game. It’s a small sacrifice I have to make for him. To the person who saved my life. Every now and again a teacher would walk up to us and try to start a conversation but I kept them as short as possible. None of them inspired me. None of them reached out and tried to help me fit in. They let me fall into the cracks. They cast me aside like the outsider all my classmates portrayed me as. They’re just as guilty, and I hope they knew it too. But just like with everyone else, I won’t make a scene; I won’t let it get me down. I won’t let it ruin our night. Besides the truth is I have much bigger problems to worry about anyway. As my grandma entered my mind I felt the forced smile on my face become harder to hold. “Okay,” Teddy exhaled, pulling me aside from the big dance floor. “What’s the matter?” “I just hate this song.” I teased, trying my hardest to make the fake smile look real. “Ryder,” He moaned, grabbing onto my hand and lightly squeezing it. “I was just, just thinking about how I have to leave again Monday.” I lied, trying my hardest to come up with the best excuse possible. “It’s not fair that I have to keep leaving you.” “I know.” Teddy nodded, but I could tell he was seeing right through the disguise. “But it’s not just that is it?” “No.” I moaned as he began to peel away my walls the way he always does. “I know what it is.” He nodded as my heart began to freeze. “You hate having to play nice with everyone here. You hate seeing all the kids who bullied you trying to kiss your ass. You want to give them a piece of your mind, just like you did with that reporter.” I let a seemingly bashful smile cross my face and nodded. “Yeah.” I let out, allowing my eyes to drift down. I don’t know when it happened, but at some point I learned to play people the way he does. Learned to wear masks the way he can. “At any point tonight, if it becomes too much, if you want to leave well I’m fine with that.” He nodded, forcing my head back up. “Having you here with me even for just an hour is more than I could ever ask for. You playing nice with others is just the icing on the cake.” “I’ll be cool.” I nodded as a slow song began to play over the speakers. “I think I just need a dance to take my mind away from it.” Once more I found myself easing right back into that soft spot of denial. Everything will be okay. I’ll be okay. Grandma will be okay. Teddy will be okay. We’ll all be okay. As the night wore on and dancing with Teddy turned into dancing with Blake and Liz I no longer needed to assure myself of anything. They had me distracted, and that’s all I really need right now. Those three had a special way of taking care of me. A special way of making sure I was okay. Whenever someone would try and talk to me like they knew me one of them would yank me away. They made me feel as comfortable as they possibly could. They wanted me here with them, and that was never as clear as it’s been tonight. Every now and again someone would sneak through and tell me and Teddy that they voted for us as homecoming kings, but for the most part their small barricade worked. It kept me away from all the fake people here, kept me away from all the bullshit. “Alright.” The principal began as the music began to lower and he took the stage. “We’ve got a few more songs left tonight but before we can continue I think it’s time to announce our homecoming King and Queen. Although this year it might be a bit unorthodox.” He let out, spoiling something we all already knew was coming. “As tradition I ask the school president to come up here and announce it, So Teddy, get yourself up here!” He smiled, trying to find him in the crowd. As he left my side I made sure to make a funny face. One that said dear God just kill me now! “Hey everybody!” Teddy let out, finally reaching the stage. “Everyone out there having fun?” He asked, as everyone yelled to him. For the first time in weeks I saw a mask go back up on his face, as he pretended to be the person they all knew “Good because today’s going to be a homecoming talked about for years. Not only did we win, but we had one of the biggest bands in the world play our halftime! I’m pretty sure I even saw their singer here at the dance!” He teased causing me to roll my eyes. “But let’s get on with it shall we?” He asked taking the small index card from the principal. “This year’s homecoming royalty as voted by the students is,” He let out, but froze as he saw the names. Slowly his mask began to crack. “No.” He shook his head tearing it up. “Recount and take me and Ryder’s names out of it.” “Teddy,” The principal reprimanded in shock as he went to take the microphone away. “What?” He asked, side stepping the principal’s attempt. “You really want it to go down like this? You want to elect me and Ryder and act like people here liked him? You want to act like people aren’t just being nice to him because he’s famous now?” Teddy asked pointing out the hypocrisy I had been swallowing all day. “And what about you and your staff?” Teddy continued, taking it even farther than I thought he would. “I know you and the other teachers heard about the bullying. I know he kept getting sent to your office because kids would kick the shit out of him. What did you ever do about it?” “Teddy Haner!” The principal scolded, starting to grow serious. “We were doing everything,” “Oh don’t feed me that bullshit!” Teddy exclaimed, still talking over the microphone. “You did the bare minimum and you know it. You were complacent with letting him get pushed along, we all were. You did nothing, and now that he’s in position to, I hope he puts us all on blast.” Teddy turned back towards the crowd and stared at everyone. “We all suck. We all almost killed him. So stop acting like you all liked him and give it a rest. You never knew him and you never will.” Teddy tossed the microphone back to the principal and unapologetically marched off stage. A few teachers tried to stop him, but he didn’t bother to slow down. He’s in so much fucking trouble and yet he doesn’t care. He took a stand, and let them all know they were wrong. He did what I’ve been dreaming of, and I-I couldn’t be any prouder. “I love you so fucking much.” I let out as he finally reached me. He let me hug him for a second before breaking free and grabbing my hand. “Let’s get out of here.” I nodded my head and as we began to walk towards the exit Blake and Liz quickly followed. “Fuck the system!” Blake cackled as we ran out the door and to the limo that had been patiently waiting all evening. “Oh my god!” he shook his head as the door shut behind us. “I had no idea you had it in you Teddy!” “Me neither.” I supported in disbelief, tightly clutching his hand. “I just couldn’t take it anymore.” Teddy finally spoke, still hot from his speech. “All the fake smiles and votes, it’s all bullshit!” “But you know you’re totally getting suspended right?” Liz asked, trying her hardest to bring us all back down to earth. “So?” Teddy asked with a shake of his head. “What do I care? I have a perfect record and a near 4.0 average. Let them put one little blip on there. It’ll add some character.” “I knew you dating Ryder would be a good thing!” Blake encouraged with a smile. “You’re, this is literally the proudest I’ve ever been to be your friend!” “Me too.” I giggled, giving him a friendly bump with my shoulder. “That was everything I dreamed of saying and more. The way you yelled at all the teachers! Oh my God Teddy!” “They deserved it.” He shrugged, still not sorry for what he had done. “Maybe that’ll actually change things now. Maybe now it won’t take someone killing themselves to stop bullying at Hudson.” “Great, so now all three of my friends are punks.” Liz rolled her eyes, but I could see in her eyes this whole voice of reason bit was just an act. Under it all she was just as proud as her boyfriend, hell, maybe even more. “Excuse me,” The driver let out, lowering the divider and reminding us we hadn’t actually been moving. “You kids still have another two hours left on the rental, I can take you guys home if you want but,” “Can you take us to Rutt’s Hut?” Teddy interrupted, leaning forward. “I can pull up the address on my phone if you need.” “I’ve got it.” The limo driver nodded, raising the divider up once more. “Rutt’s Hut?” Blake repeated shooting me a stupefied look. “There’s no way you eat anything from there!” “So,” He shrugged looking over to me. “It’s Ryder’s favorite place, and I think he’s earned it today.” “Okay, now I love you the most I’ve ever loved you.” I laughed, leaning over and landing a kiss on his lips. “You’re perfect you know that?” “That’s funny,” He shook his head. “Because a few months ago you stood right there and tried to tell me the opposite.” He teased, pointing back at the school. “Mmm.” I thought over recalling the moment. “And then you told me after your party we’d never speak again. So I guess we were both wrong.” “I guess so.” He nodded, finally letting the full weight of his body fall into me. The ride to the small run down shack was the most I’ve smiled in a long time. Sure, I love being up on stage. I love every second of my new life in Messiah, and I’ll never forget how lucky I am to live it. But night’s like tonight, surrounded by the people I love, well, no crowd of people could give me the love these three do. As we all stepped into the hut I tried my hardest to convince Teddy to get something but he kept to his iron will. Another big difference between the two of us, and yet it’s those differences that have pulled us so close together. That have given us so much to talk about. “Only you could sit here and eat a greasy ass hotdog in a two thousand dollar suit.” Teddy exhaled, looking me up and down. “This suit wasn’t two thousand dollars.” I lied, but could tell he saw right through it. “It’s Armani.” He sighed. “Who the hell talked you into buying it?” A small blush crossed my face as I thought it over. “Brandon.” I confessed. “He told me that if I was going to take you to the dance I had to do it right. I had to really wow you.” “You did wow me.” He giggled, resting his head against me. “But I don’t need you to buy expensive suits and limos. I loved you back when all you wore were band tees, beanies and jeans, and that will never change.” I shook my head, realizing how lucky I was to have him. It’s no secret that my bank account went from single digits to well, multiple digits overnight. Yet he doesn’t care about any of that. So many people would try and use me. Try and get what they could while they still can, but he’s treated me the same throughout it all. “I don’t mean to overstep but be smart with your money. Make sure you save it so you can take care of yourself. Okay?” “I will.” I nodded with a smile. “But you thank Brandon for me, you got that?” He commanded, showing he really did appreciate all the effort I had gone through tonight. “I will.” I repeated, thinking about the man who’d quickly become like family to me. “He was screaming at everyone and anyone at the airport last night.” Teddy looked into my eyes and shot me a puzzled look. “Why?” “He just really wanted to make sure I got home.” I shrugged, recalling the moment. “He makes jokes, but he really likes you.” “Are you sure about that?” Teddy skeptically raised his eyebrows. “Positive.” I confirmed in confidence. “To be completely honest he was the one who talked me into getting you a suite in Atlanta.” I giggled. “Ahh.” Teddy nodded. “So are any of these surprises Ryder originals?” “The cancelled text was.” I shrugged as a smile spread across his face. “And the limo, oh, and playing at halftime!” “Definitely keep checking with Brandon then, because you suck at this.” Teddy teased in a laugh. “At least I didn’t yell at the principal!” I giggled, still thinking over the moment. “That was so fucking cool.” “I think everyone else at school begs to differ.” Teddy exhaled. “But I wouldn’t take back a single word. You’ve gone through hell for me. Sat through almost every lacrosse game, come to parties, sat in a room with Mike, biting the bullet every time you had to to show you loved me. It’s about time I did the same for you.” Once more I couldn’t help but smile at his words. The distance is hard and waking up alone is damn near impossible. But I know he’ll never stop loving me, and I’d have to die before I ever stopped loving him. No matter what happens. No matter where life takes us we’ll end up with one another at the end. I know we will. Just like all the other times the goodbye was hard, but at least this time I knew I’d see him before I went on at PNC. I mean, I’m supposed to be on a flight to Minnesota tomorrow morning, so I can’t complain. Not when I get to spend borrowed time with him. No matter how small it is. That night I nearly fell asleep talking to my grandma. I just couldn’t tell her enough. All the people, all the cities, all the venues, I had to share it all. I had to make sure she understood how big I was making it. That every second she sacrificed for me was worth it. However that night only seemed to make my denial grow stronger. Sure I had to repeat myself once or twice, and her hearing wasn’t perfect, but she knew who I was, and responded to everything nearly perfectly. Her mind is as sharp as ever, I swear it is. Words couldn’t describe the excitement pumping through my heart as we arrived to PNC. I wish I could’ve spent the day with Teddy and his family. I wish I could’ve drove with them, but I needed to be here early for sound checks. To make sure the first show my grandma gets to see is picture perfect in every way possible. Right in front of the stage was wide open so a pit could take place, but shortly behind them stood multiple boxes we had each reserved for family and loved ones. As the band’s family began to show up I realized this concert was much more than me showing off to my family. It was all of us proving who we’d become. Showing our families the giant steps we had taken, and just how much they should be proud of us. I have no idea when I became so soft, but as I saw Teddy’s family and my grandma walk back stage I found myself fighting off tears once more. Teddy and his dad were wearing the tour t-shirts I had given them while my grandma had worn one of the many band t-shirts I had sent her. I mean, I knew she had them but I never expected her to actually wear one of them! “Grandma.” I laughed, walking up and hugging her. “I, I can’t believe you’re wearing that.” “Why not? I’m your biggest fan after all!” She cackled, breaking away from me and turning towards Teddy. “Sorry dear, but you’ll have to fight me to the death for that title!” “I don’t feel like dying today so you can have it.” Teddy teased, as he walked over and hugged me. “Line outside is crazy. They’re already having to bus people over from the other lots.” I shrugged as a blush ran over my face. “It’s just because tickets were cheap.” I let out, trying my hardest to justify it. “It would be the same for any other band.” “Ryder.” A stage hand ran over. “Five until we need you in the dressing room, then,” “A meet and greet.” I sighed as the usual pre-concert chaos began. “I know, I know.” The stage hand nodded and quickly ran over to find all the other members of the band. Desperate to round everyone up. “So this is it for now.” Harry nodded, knowing it’d be easier if he initiated the separation. “We’ll see you after the show?” “Yeah.” I quickly nodded. “Just walk over to the side of the stage and show the security guard your badges. They’ll let you right in.” As they began to walk away I grabbed the big heavy duty ear protection I had brought my grandma off the nearby counter and ran it to her. “Hold on, I can’t have you going deaf on me. “ I teased, forcing them around her neck. “I don’t need them.” She argued, but left them around her anyway. “Make sure she wears them!” I mouthed to Teddy as I began back peddling towards my dressing room. The wait before we went on always felt like nothing. The normal butterflies and anxiety jumped my bones as we stood idly by, hearing the crowd chanting our name. Except they don’t scare me the way they used to. Nots too long ago they used to paralyze me, make me feel like I wasn’t good enough, but now, now they fuel me to give the show of my damn life. “Alright boys.” I let out grabbing them around me as the lights went down and our normal static began to blare over the loud speaker. “This is it! This is where we played warped tour, and now we’re back! But this time it’s on our terms! It’s our show! In front of our families! It our moment for the fucking taking, and god damn it we’re going to play the best fucking show of our lives!” They all began to shout as finally Brandon pulled the hood over my head and Tommy handed me my bat. “Let’s fucking go!” Zack yelled pushing me out towards the stage opening. As I heard the news reports and hit songs play over the speakers I slowly began to step out. The crowd screaming turned to white noise in my ears as I focused on the radio in the center of the stage. I wound back my arms and smashed the radio the way I always do, sending the stage into utter and completely darkness. I felt the figures of my bandmates rush past me as I grabbed the hidden microphone off the ground. “New Jersey.” I grumbled, trying my hardest to sound weak. “I shouldn’t even need to ask.” Slowly but surely the crowd parted down the middle, having heard of our now usual opening. “Three.” I began, letting the crowd handle the rest of the countdown. The second they hit one all the light flashed on and smoke flew from the front of the stage. I ripped off the sweat shirt I had on and jumped feet first into the crowd, letting them carry me anyway they had pleased. They pulled and clawed at me, but I knew I’d be okay, I knew they wouldn’t actually hurt me. Finally I felt the thick hands of a security guard grab onto me and pull me back towards the small stage. As I started singing I couldn’t believe my eyes. The crowd ripped at one another in the most chaotic way I had ever seen. It was like all the other concerts poured into one. There was no doubt that they knew this was our hometown, and they were doing everything they could to make us proud. I let one song flow into another, trying my hardest to capitalize on all the energy in the open amphitheater. Every now and then I would look to the small box my family was sitting in and smile, blown away by everything that was going on. “Okay.” I breathlessly exhaled, as a stagehand ran over and handed me an acoustic guitar. “Now I don’t usually do this, but this isn’t your average show.” I shook my head as darkness surrounded me and my normal lone spotlight shined over me. “This is my hometown.” I let out as the crowd roared back at me. “But more importantly my grandma is in the crowd tonight.” The yelling only seemed to grow louder as they heard my words. “Now who here owns our first album, A Broken Home?” The screams were deafening as hands flew into the air. “Well if you turn it around you notice two grave stones.” I explained, trying my hardest to keep it together. “Those are my parents’. They never got to see me past age five, but that doesn’t mean I was alone.” I shook my head, pointing towards my grandma. “That woman right there, she made sure of it. Grandma,” I let out as a tear rolled down my cheek. “Every moment you spent worrying, every extra hour you worked to pay off a guitar or bass. It’s what made this possible.” I exhaled, spreading my arms as the house lights kicked on illuminating the crowd. “A lot of you are telling me my music has already saved some of your lives, and although Teddy’s the one who saved mine, well there would be no life to save if it wasn’t for her. I love you so much more than you can ever know. This one’s a cover of Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd, and it’s for you Grandma.” As I sang that familiar song I never broke eye contact with her. I never once looked at anyone else, and as tears fell from her eyes I felt them begin to fall from mine as well, yet I fought through that song because I know that’s what she would’ve done. I’ve never heard a crowd yell as loud as it did when I finished that song. If you don’t remember much more in your life, well I pray to God you remember this moment. Through all the hard times and tears you’re the reason I stuck with music for so long, and I’ll never forget that.
  4. You know, it's strange to read this chapter and my earlier comment again, because my feelings were different this time. The dread and the pain got to me somehow, like a shadow of impending death hanging like a black cloud over Tilly and Kellar. She fears the loss of her sister, and he fears the loss of the man he has fallen in love with. I don't know why I had this strong reaction, but I'll credit your ability to evoke our emotions and engage our hearts.
  5. Last Post Wins #44

    Today is national popcorn day, so I will generously provide all denizens of LPWland salmon popcorn Except for @wildone He gets poisoned pickled herring instead.
  6. Chapter 9 For Better or Worse

    Uh-oh was the goal of this one. In the scheme of things, this was an important chapter. Yeah, Kellar was indeed overwhelmed, and it took him a while to process. I had so much fun slipping in Tilly's introduction at the end. Thanks, buddy...
  7. Chapter 9 For Better or Worse

    Well, meeting the most important woman in Tobyn's life went well, even if Kellar seemed slightly overwhelmed and a little And just as Kellar was enjoying the thought of Tobyn inviting him home and hugging him, there's Tilly, another woman he cares about. You had us all going uh-oh
  8. Honeymoon Bliss

    ...................Just wait until Blu finds out how much his hubby is really worth, isn't he reaching theage where he can control even more of his money? Nice chapter!
  9. Last Post Wins #44

    ...and back to me, again!
  10. Dead-Composers Society

    The Banjo on piano Thanks to @Parker Owens for introducing me to this composer's work! I hear lots that is distinctly American, and the structure seems clear antecedent to Ragtime, born a few decades later in Saint Louis. The composer was from downriver in New Orleans. Ivan Davis performes Louis Moreau Gottschalk's The Banjo. Written and published in Paris, 1855.
  11. Today
  12. Halo

    I'm sorry again, but hopefully you like my other stories.
  13. Tomorrow was Ted’s wedding day and he could not be more excited to marry the man of his dreams. Ken was the perfect man in his eyes ever since he came to Ted’s home to do some major repairs on his old house after a friend of his referred him to Ken’s house repair business. The man with his blond hair ruffled, his stubble on his rugged face and a body that said that he worked with his hands for a living made Ted, the slight recluse, very excited to have someone like him in his house to do repairs. Never a great conversationalist, Ted interacted with Ken by giving him homemade lemonade from fresh lemons picked from the garden behind his house. Ken was very appreciative of the drinks as he worked to make the house that Ted’s family owned for more than a century back to working order. His family, including his parents, were very stingy when it came to money and that was why the house was being held together by glue and tape. But they would always say that that same stinginess was the reason why they had the wealth they had now, and Ted should have been appreciative for that whenever the plumbing did not work that day. However, after his equally frugal grandfather passed away a few months ago and gave half of his fortune to his only grandchild, Ted decided to buy the house from his parents who graciously took the money and moved to California where they lived in a house by the beach. With so much money remaining in his bank account, he decided to spend more on fully repairing the house, and despite the repairs costing more five thousand dollars, it barely left a scratch on his overall fortune. So, Ted was a little surprised when only Ken showed up for the job, and though he was grateful to have the owner of the home repair shop to repair his house himself, Ted was still unsure whether he could fix the house in less than a month since he planned to have friends of a certain variety to move back in and stay. But to Ted’s surprise, Ken was very efficient in his job as a repairman from fixing the electric wiring in the walls to replacing all the lightbulbs that were too high for Ted to reach. After two weeks of repairs, Ken was literally almost done with everything which really impressed Ted to no end. The infamous plumbing was the last thing that was tackled, and Ted warned Ken that even he was going to have some trouble repairing the pipes that must have been rusted beyond repair and most likely need to be replaced with up-to-date pipes. Ken assured him that he had seen worse cases of neglect when it came to plumbing, which involved a backed up toilet that resulted in a brown volcano eruption that Ted could not imagine doing without having severe mental trauma afterwards. So, Ted trusted him and left him to do the job. It was a few hours later and Ted decided to go to Ken with another glass of cold lemonade. Just as he approached the door to the bathroom that Ken was working on, the man himself came walking out without his shirt on and exposing his muscled torso. Ted swallowed his throat upon the sight of the man’s chest that was covered with blond hair, and those small nipples that were erect, begging to be nibbled on. “Oh, sorry. The water got all over my shirt and I had to take it off,” Ken apologized as he swiped sweat from his brow. “Oh, it’s okay. I, uh, brought you some more lemonade,” Ted offered with his hand extending out with the glass. “Ah, thanks again, Ted,” Ken said as he accepted the glass of lemonade. As Ken drank, Ted could not direct his eyes away from the man’s throat with the pronounced Adam’s apple that was flexing as he drank, then downward to his hairy chest that Ted would love to feel on his cheeks and then to the abdominal muscles he would like to lick down to Ken’s happy trail and beneath the waistband of his faded jeans. Then he looked back up to see Ken looking at him with a raised eyebrow and an empty glass in his hand. “Oh, uh, s-s-sorry,” Ted apologized with his cheeks red like an apple. To Ted’s surprise, Ken chuckled and said, “Not the first time someone was checking me out.” “Yeah, I’m sorry about that,” Ted said sincerely as he accepted the glass back from Ken. Smirking, Ken said, “Don’t be. I’ve been checking you out since the day I started working here, but I didn’t know if I should act on my urges or stay professional.” Blushing again, Ted said, “Really? I-I-I—” Ken’s smile broadened, and he walked towards Ted who backed away nervously before the back of his legs hit the side of the bed, causing him to fall onto the mattress. Ken continued to move like a predator cornering his prey, his legs on either side of Ted’s hips that trapped him there as Ken grabbed the empty glass from his hand and placed it on the nightstand. Ken then inched closer with his hands by Ted’s head and he looked at him with the most smoldering look someone had ever gave Ted before. And Ted was looking back with what must have been the most surprised look since this was a scene that he believed only happened in pornography where the plumber, after a long day of work, seduced his client and they had a passionate fuck before the scene ended with the two men making out while swapping each other’s cum. “So…how about it?” Ken asked as lowered his face towards Ted’s. “I, uh…fuck yeah!” Ted accepted as he abandoned all his inhibitions and slammed his lips onto Ken’s. And Ken proceeded to fuck Ted’s brains out with the help of extra tools in his toolbox, and they later did it again after the job was done, and a day later and the day after that. Then for months until they were no longer fucking, but making love to one another with the ultimate release being the sealant to their love for each other. Ted fell in love with the scruffy repairman who loved to create wooden miniatures of buildings and other structures, and Ken fell in love with Ted who loved working at the garden and inventing new mechanisms to have his green haven flourish even more. And when Ken proposed to him, Ted nearly had a heart attack as he said yes, and all day did he show his love for the man who knew all the right ways to work his tool inside him. Now it was only a day before they finally tied the knot and Ted was so happy to be marrying the man of his dreams…however there was a secret that he had kept hidden from his soon-to-be husband and the angel and demon on his shoulders were bickering about what course of action to take for this situation, and quite literally actually. “You have to tell him as soon as possible!” Stacie, the small girl said on his right shoulder. “Not now! After the wedding, and then you can slowly ease him into the revelation that there are people living in the walls your house,” Stevie said who was the equally-sized boy on his left shoulder. “But a wedding is commitment that no secrets will be between two partners in holy matrimony! What will revealing this secret of our existence after the wedding tell him about what Ted thinks about their relationship?” Stacie explained. “No! That would be unnecessary weight on both their shoulders on a day that is supposed to be the happiest day of their lives,” Stevie declared. “What about us? What about our happiness in continuing to live in this house without the fear of being exposed? Ted, please say that I’m right.” “No, Ted. I’m right! Please tell that to my thick-headed sister.” “Okay, okay! Settle down you two. Just let me think for a minute,” Ted said as he looked at the mirror in his bedroom. Ted was wearing his black tuxedo, making sure that it fit him as he thought about what was the best way to break it to Ken that the house that he moved into several months ago had small people living inside the walls of their home. And they were not like rats, cockroaches or any other type of vermin, they were just people who wanted to live in a place that guaranteed safety and happiness without the fear of being the food of predatory animals. Some of them have even become very close friends like the twins on his shoulders, though despite their constant bickering, have enriched his life completely along with Ken and the insane way he could work his tongue on the sensual parts of his body. God, did he love him. “Ted, are you listening?” Stacie said into his ear. Ted sighed. “I am, yes.” “So, have you decided on what to do yet?” Stevie asked with impatience. Loosening his bowtie and throwing it on the bed, Ted then sat down and covered his face with his hand in frustration. “I really don’t know what to do.” “Well, you have to know sooner than later because the longer you put this off, the more conflict it would cause between the two of you,” Stacie explained. “I know, I know,” Ted said, dropping his hands on his lap. “But how do tell someone that you love so much that they have little people living in the walls in your house?” “I don’t have a straight answer for you, Ted. But he needs to know regardless if he really is going to be part of this household,” Stevie added as he patted Ted’s head for comfort. “You’re right.” Standing up, Ted walked to the huge, twelve-foot tall bookcase that was built into the wall on the opposite of the bed and when he pulled on a book on the center shelf, the book then retracted back before the whole bookcase started rotating clockwise. After doing a complete one-eighty, the other side of the secret bookcase revealed a literal miniature city on the shelves filled with small people living there. Many of them greeted him in which Ted greeted back with the wave of his hand. There were holes in the shelves that allowed them to venture to different levels in the bookcase and on the sides as well that allowed them to venture into the walls and other parts of the house. Ted invented this himself so that he could keep track of who was living in his house and just to have a central hub for where these people could live in and interact with each other. These people have been living in his house for so long, almost for a full century around the time the house was first built. Ted remembered plenty of times when trying to sleep in his bedroom that he would hear noises and people talking, and when he told his parents they would just dismiss it as mere paranoia of a child scared of monsters under his bed or in his closet. Then when he discovered the little people on accident one night trying to get food from the refrigerator a decade ago, to say that he was surprise would have been an understatement since he literally fainted at the sight of actual tiny humans venturing in his house and grabbing food when everyone was supposedly asleep. It was also funny since that was around the same time when witches and magic were revealed to be real in this world, and these little people were one of the products of witchcraft. Ted then remembered waking up a few moments later and saw that the people were still there, and by his face to make sure that he was okay and that was when a newfound purpose was instilled upon him, to protect these people and give them the life they deserved. Things were easier when it came to hide these little people or gnomes from his parents, although it was difficult to hide their activity once more of them came to move into his old house. However, things were nonetheless simple, especially after his parents moved out to live in California while he stayed behind and looked after the gnomes and improving their lives like the rotating bookcase that all the gnomes benefitted from and thanked him graciously for his efforts. Now Ted had to deal with the realization that he was going to be married in less than one day to a man he loved so much and would live with him in this same house he also considered home. This was a major secret that Ted kept from Ken, and though he believed Ken deserved to know, he just did not know how to present the subject that gnomes were living in the walls of their house and made the bookcase their central hub. So, instead he was silent about the issue even when the noises and racket were sometimes heard around the house reminded him every time about the situation that he was putting Ken in. He really needed to know, and not blame the noises and the missing mini marshmallows on rats. A ringing noise was suddenly heard, and Ted knew that was his phone. After pulling down the miniature figurine that represented a statue of the gnome people, the bookcase rotated back to its original position and Ted walked to the nightstand where his phone was located. Picking it up and swiping his thumb on the screen, Ted said, “Hey, Ken!” “Hey, handsome. Did you get your tuxedo from the tailor yet?” Ken said with a cheerful tone. “I did, and it fits perfectly!” “Awesome! I’m looking forward to tomorrow when I take your hand in marriage and—uh, God! I can’t wait.” “Me too, Ken,” Ted said with a huge smile. “See then, handsome—Oh, and before I forget. I know you’re having a rat problem in your house lately and I decided to put a trap in a hole I found a few days ago in the kitchen. Just one and I’ll find out if it traps catch anything before I get more of them,” Ken explained. Ted eyes widened. “What kind of trap are you talking about?” “Nothing major. Just some type of very sticky tape I got from some random store a while back. Well, I have talk to the caterer now to make sure the wedding cake is coming tomorrow on time. See you later, Ted. I love you.” “Love you too,” Ted said before hanging up and changed out his tuxedo before rushing to the kitchen with the twins hanging on by the threads of his worn-out jacket. Walking downstairs to the first floor and into the kitchen, Ted opened the pantry where he knew the hole Ken was talking about that was hidden by several cans of asparagus. However, there was a yellow piece of paper in their place instead, and he carefully removed the sticky paper before any of his gnome friends accidentally stepped onto it. “Godmother, you really need to tell Ken now before things like this happen more often,” Stacie said with concern. “For once I agree,” Stevie said. “I know, I know. But what if he doesn’t…” Ted paused when he felt the sticky paper twitch between his fingers like it was alive, and when it jumped from his hold and latched onto his face, he stumbled backwards into the refrigerator that caused a vase on top to fall to the linoleum floor. Pulling the sticky paper that had a mind of its own from his mouth, Ted managed to take it off before tossing it to the floor next to the broken vase. “What was that?” Stevie asked as he tried to stand back up on Ted’s shoulder. “I don’t know, but I think that trap was somehow enchanted,” Stacie inquired. “Are you okay, Ted?” Ted was about to say that he was okay, but when his mouth would not open, he realized he was in huge trouble. He attempted to at least move his lips, but they did not budge either. It was like his lips were superglued shut and no amount of prying it open with his fingers or the spoons from the sink made any difference. “Oh, no, Ted! It seems the trap that Ken bought really was enchanted, and it somehow sealed your mouth shut,” Stacie said in shock. Ted nodded and hummed in agreement just when his phone rang again. He looked at the screen and realized it was Ken calling, however if his mouth was truly shut closed, then there was no way he could communicate with Ken. Also, his phone was ancient and could deliver text messages, and he cursed to himself for not upgrading his phone when text messages were the norm and it would have provided a lot help in his current predicament. And with his phone ringing again and again, Ted was panicking as ran around his house like a crazy man, not knowing what to do or who to ask for help. “Relax, Ted. Maybe there’s something on the sticky paper like instructions on how to remove the enchantment,” Stevie said. Groaning in frustration, Ted had no other choice, but to walk back to the kitchen and grab the piece of sticky paper that cursed him with a sealed mouth. Looking at the back, he read that the trap was designed to force a person to tell the truth, and the longer they held the truth the stronger the sealant became until it permanently sealed mouth and making his mouth disappear altogether. Upon those last words, Ted began to cry as the realization that his mouth would likely be gone if he did expose the truth to Ken right then and he would not be able to kiss his husband-to-be in wedding tomorrow was shattering him from the inside. And as he cried, he could feel the sealant on his mouth begin to press his lips closer together. Some time passed as Ted lied on the floor of his kitchen with his back to the cabinets, feeling hopeless as both Stevie and Stacie tried to pry his mouth open, but to no avail. Then when he heard the front door open and heard his name being called, he knew that the truth had to come out or everything would be a disaster going forward. So, getting back onto his feet, Ted walked out of the kitchen to see Ken looking around the living room for him with the twins hiding in the hood of his jacket. “Ted? Where are—Oh, there you are,” Ken said as he approached Ted and embraced him. “God, you weren’t answer your phone and I was afraid something bad happened to you. Thank God that wasn’t the case… Are you okay, Ted? It looks like you just cried with how red eyes look. What happened?” Ken asked with sincere concern for his future husband. Ted turned his head, ashamed that it had to come to this, to have an enchantment placed onto him, and the only way to break it was to do the one thing he was putting off since their relationship began two years ago. He was also ashamed that he did not believe his partner was worth telling the truth about, even if was something outrageous like gnomes living in their house. He was a kind-hearted man who would did not hurt people, not even once in Ted’s experience with him. Ken deserved to know the truth even though Ted did not deserve a man as perfect as him. “What’s wrong, Teddy? Are you having second thoughts about the wedding tomorrow? It’s okay if you are, and we can postpone it until you’re ready,” Ken said as he placed his hands on Ted’s shoulder. “Talk to me.” Facing Ken again, Ted began to mouth the first word of the truth, and just as the back of the trap said it would, the sealant began to loosen and soon his lips were unsealed as he restated his sentence to Ken. “I…I have a secret I need to tell you, Ken. And right now, is the time that I should tell you.” “Okay, that’s great. We need to be open with each other if we want our relationship to continue working. So, what is it that you wanted to tell me, Ted?” Taking a deep breath, Ted reached for the inside of his hood and covered the twins with a hand on top of the other. Slowly, he removed his top hand with other hand holding the twin gnomes, right in front of Ken. “Oh, miniatures! That’s awesome!” Ken said as he looked at the twins more closely. “Actually…we’re not,” Stacie said as she tapped Ken on the nose. Ken yelped as he stumbled backwards and hit an end table that caused Stacie to giggle loudly which was quickly squelched by her brother. Ted rubbed the back of his neck nervously as he watched Ken try to regain his balance and fix the picture frames that almost fell of the end table. “Yeah, so…that’s my secret.” Turning around, Ken said, “And that’s your secret? I thought it would be something different like you keep your childhood stuffed bear in your closet. Not that you have two gnome friends that you keep by you at all times of the day.” “Not all the time. Just when it’s convenient,” Stevie retorted with his arms crossed. Ken groaned which caused Ted to wonder if this was still a good thing to do since there is more to reveal than just a pair of gnomes. “Yeah and…there’s something else I need to tell you about,” Ted admitted as looked down to try not to see Ken’s reaction. “More? What else is there?” Ken said with hands on his hips. Sighing, Ted placed the twins on his left shoulder and said, “Just follow me to the bedroom.” “Oh, God. Please don’t tell me there’s monsters under the bed as well,” Ken said, still shocked by the revelation of Ted’s. Going upstairs into the second floor and into the master bedroom, Ted stopped by the bookcase and said, “You…might want to hold on to something.” Before Ken had a chance to respond, Ted pulled on the same book on the center shelf of the bookcase, causing it to rotate once again and revealing the gnome city from behind. He cautiously turned his head to look at Ken who had his mouth opened completely and his eyes were wide from most likely shock that the area where they first fucked and slept together for almost two years was the same place where more than a hundred gnomes lived from behind the bookcase. “What…What is all this?” Ken asked with his eyes still on the city that was still from the sight of him looking back at them. “It’s a place that I constructed, so the gnomes had a place to call home,” Ted said simply with his head down. “And…why didn’t you tell me any of this when we were together for two years?” Ken asked with furrowed eyebrows. “Because…Because I thought you would think of me as a freak who kept gnomes like a crazed old lady who would take stray cats into her house. You’re so perfect and sexy, and I didn’t want to ruin such an awesome thing by telling you all of this at first. And then as our relationship grew and we eventually fell in love with each other, it just got me more scared that you might leave me because of the gnome situation… And I didn’t want to abandon the gnomes either just to please one person…but with you it’s so complicated,” Ted explained, feeling out of breath. “So, you thought I would leave you over this?” Ted nodded. “You’re the most amazing person who ever came to my life, and to have you walk away…I don’t know what I would do if that happened. I love you, Ken, and I don’t want to ever lose you,” Ted said with his eyes beginning to water. “Hey, hey. Don’t cry. Come here,” Ken said as he extended his arms out and offered Ken a firm embrace. Sobbing lightly, Ted took comfort of having his lover so close to him with his face pressed firmly on his warm chest and his strong arms around him, protecting him from anything that posed a threat to them. “Ted, I want you to know that I love you regardless of anything that life throws at us, and if that includes knowing that we’re living in a house also inhabited by gnomes, then so be it,” Ken confessed. “Really?” Ted said as he faced Ken. “Of course. I mean, it’s going to take some time to get used to, but I’m sure I’ll adapt… Also knowing that you’re willing to share your house to these people so they have a home as well makes me think really highly of you like I always do,” Ken said with a smile. “I always thought highly of you, Ken. Never thought someone would do the same way for me,” Ted admitted with a sniffle. “You always have a low opinion of yourself. Just look at all those people right next to you who all think so highly of you right now,” Ken pointed out. Ted looked at the city in the bookcase and saw all those little people waving at him appreciatively with smiles on their faces for what Ted had done for them. “Yeah… I guess you’re right.” “I am right. And let me show you how highly I think about you right now,” Ken said as he pulled Ted by the collar of his shirt and pressed his lips onto his. Ted immediately relaxed upon kissing his fiancé with his lips that were sealed shut just a moment ago before he told his secret. And that secret was accepted by Ken, which alleviated more of the tension he was experiencing throughout the planning of the wedding. So happy that he was able to live his life with his husband-to-be and with the gnomes as they all clapped like it was wedding right then and they officially tied the knot. Their lips soon released, and Ken said, “It’s so great that you have such a caring heart for these people, but…” “But what?” Ted said, getting nervous again. “Can you turn that bookcase back around, so we can some…privacy?” Ken said with eyebrows moving up and down. Ted bit his bottom lip as he placed his hand on the miniature statue that allowed the twins to walk back to the bookcase via his arm before pulling it down. Once the rotation of the bookcase was completed, Ted and Ken were all over each other with lips swapping, teeth biting and hands roaming around all over each other’s bodies. With their tongues intertwined, Ken directed them to the side of bed where he pushed Ted onto the mattress. He then stripped off his shirt, and climbed onto the bed, on top of Ted while licking his lips like a predator eyeing his next meal. When Ken pulled out a condom from his pocket, Ted took the condom and tossed it away before saying, “I want you, Ken. All of you.” Ken nodded, and they proceeded to reenact the first time they fucked, however this time they were bonding by soul, body and fluid and that was one of the greatest treasures that Ted had ever gotten. So, when they both reached climax and Ken released his essence into Ted’s body, he felt their connection deepen and become even stronger because of that, and he loved it so much that they did it again until they were completely exhausted from all the love-making, of asses getting filled and erections shooting their seed, they turned the lights off right after and slept the rest of the night before their wedding day. After that, He was freed from his enchantment and the next day they were married, to spend their entire lives together and with their gnome friends. Surprisingly, Ken adapted very quickly to having the gnomes living in their house, which made Ted very gleeful to have both his new husband and the gnomes under the same roof. Ken even went out of his way to include updates to the city of the gnomes by building new and refined houses for them to live in who were all very grateful to him. And to no longer hold that secret that burdened Ted to no end was such a relief. Maybe that sticky piece of paper that Ken did not know was enchanted was more of a blessing than anything else. You know, they say that gnomes came to be in this world because they were the literal manifestation of secrets that hid in people’s houses like secrets in a person’s mind or conscience. However, with the secret of the gnome people living in the Ted’s house revealed to his husband, the gnomes were becoming more confident now that maybe they could venture back into nature and establish a new settlement with the help of Ted and Ken. It was ironic, but to know that these gnomes would not have to depend on Ted forever made him very enthusiastic for them, though he and his husband would always leave the door open for them to return and visit. And Ted had Ken to call his own home and they lived in peace and happiness onward.
  14. Time Changes Everything~Epilogue

    Take your $200 and raise you $1000
  15. Gifting Day

    Awesome chapter!!! I'm really looking forward to reading more of this as it gets released. Thank you for sharing it!!!
  16. I wish, just once, that I could enjoy a day off without shopping.   I’d pay a lot for that to happen. 


    Though it was funny when his card didn’t work..someone forgot to refill the card. 

  17. Gifting Day

    I enjoyed that. Look forward to more.
  18. Halo

    Awwww sad face really loved this one ok I will try those ones
  19. Chapter 1

    Wow, Comsie. This is starting to get weird now. I actually knew a ‘Deme’. I don’t know if his name was Deme or not, but he was the boy you describe. He was the souvlaki cook at my favorite Greek restaurant. He was the son of the owner and just a little older than Deme is now. He could have easily been Deme in a couple of years. In profile he looked just like Ganymede peeled right off a Grecian urn. Like Shane I was infatuated with him. He favored me a smile once and I still remember it to this day. I modeled my own Greek character Alexis in ‘The Seashell after him. I wonder if Alexis and Deme are related? ❤️
  20. Summer 1966 After their travels in the South including adventures in Key West, Reg and Will returned to Washington where Will stayed a week with Reg, Jake and Rob. Reg enjoyed taking his friend sightseeing. They visited all of the Smithsonian Museums, George Washington’s Mount Vernon and other places of interest. Rob and Jake provided both eye candy and playful sex action. When Will returned home to Ohio Vlad met him at the train station. Will then stayed with Vlad for three days resting from the fun in Washington and viewing a special Monet exhibition at the nearby Cleveland Museum of Art. Actually his visit was not really restful as Vlad was always ready for cuddling or more in the evenings and nights. He told Vlad about the graduate student, Aiden, he had met in Georgia. He explained that Aiden was pursuing his MBA (Master’s in Business Administration) at The University of Georgia while working as a grad assistant. He further related that Aiden hoped to enter a PhD program in a business school in the North. Vlad was interested in hearing about the sexual encounters with the handsome young man and his lover, Martin. Vlad expressed an interest in meeting Aiden. Will was not sure if Vlad had an academic or sexual interest in Aiden. He assumed both with the emphasis on the sex. Will wrote a letter to Aiden thanking him for the interesting times he had shared with him and Martin during his short visit. He also told him that he had discussed his interest in pursuing a PhD in the North with his friend Vlad. Vlad also wrote a short letter to Aiden inviting him to Cleveland to discuss academics and experience the charms of Ohio (alluding that he was one of the ‘charms’). For the next three months the two exchanged letters frequently. They arranged a June visit by Aiden to Cleveland. Vlad mentioned in one of his letters that Will had told him all about his friendship with Martin and that he was also invited to Cleveland. Aiden replied to the invitation of his friend in a letter that included the following: ‘My friend Martin has received tremendous pressure from his family to meet the ‘right’ girl and get married. During a visit to his parents in Atlanta, a student, Pauline, at Atlanta University (now Clark-Atlanta University) and her parents were invited to dinner. She is an education major at this historically ‘black’ university. They went on a couple of dates. One weekend when her parents were out of town she invited Martin to her home for dinner. Her plans were more than dinner. Martin who told me he had no interest in a sexual relationship with a girl soon found himself sitting on the couch with her when she snuggled up to him. She soon had her hand on his leg and then began caressing his crotch. Naturally rubbing of his dick brought on a hardon. She then had his pants open and exclaimed with surprise about the size of his hard dick. Obviously she had seen other hard dicks. The next thing Martin knew she was on her knees deep throating his massive piece. He told me she seemed to be an experienced cock sucker and had no problem swallowing his load. That night they slept in her bed and she opened her cunt to his dick. He does not know if she realizes he was a virgin to sex with a woman. Pauline is now pregnant and all of their parents are thrilled that these two have found each other and will soon give them a grandchild. They are not as thrilled that the child is arriving so soon. In two weeks they will have a quiet wedding. I do not want to interfere in Martin’s straight life and we have by unspoken agreement stopped seeing each other outside of class.’ Will who encouraged the handsome Aiden’s visit north sent him a plane ticket for an arrival in Cleveland in June with an open return date. Vlad met Aiden at Cleveland Hopkins Airport and the two immediately bonded. They stopped for dinner at a local restaurant on their way from the airport to Vlad’s apartment. Their conversation was easy as if they had been friends for years. Both had many questions about the others background. Aiden was especially interested in Vlad’s life in Russia. Upon arrival at the apartment neither needed any encouragement to embrace as an appetizer for more. They were soon sharing the shower playfully washing and caressing each other. Aiden enjoyed playing with the skin partially covering the head of Vlad’s steel hard dick. Vlad warned Aiden that his rising juices could not stand too much play without erupting. This only encourage the southern gentleman who kneeled and continued to play with his eyes just inches from the Soviet dick. When Vlad began to thrust Aiden swallowed the Stalin (the Russian word for steel) dick and was rewarded with his first of many tastes of Soviet cum. Following drying each other and a quick recovery Vlad soon was enjoying the southern hospitality of his guest. At one point Vlad swallowed together both Aiden’s smallish dick and balls. This was soon followed by Vlad’s first taste of pure Southern juice. The night continued with periods of cuddling sleep and tender sex. Will had told Vlad that Aiden was not into anal sex as either a top or bottom. Vlad, who had no problem introducing new concepts in the classroom planned to introduce the joys of the ass to Aiden in the future, not this first night. Over a long breakfast the two continued their discussion of academic issues that had begun by mail three months earlier and continued over dinner the previous evening. They had discussed and each received information by mail about programs available in northern Ohio. Vlad had also spoken to the Dean of Western Reserve’s School of Business (FYI: in 1980 the school was renamed The Whitehead School of Management). Since the regular school year had ended the Dean and many of the School of Business faculty were not available. Vlad, as a respected professor, was able to arrange a meeting by Aiden with the Associate Dean of Business and a lunch with three faculty members. Based on these meetings and a number of other factors Aiden decided Western Reserve University would be a perfect fit for his plans. The other factors included the fine facilities of the university, its library and research opportunities, its location in the cultural center of Cleveland and last but possibly the most important his, new friendship with Vlad. Aiden planned to complete his MBA at The University of Georgia in the fall semester and would be able to begin PhD studies in Cleveland in January. He began the application for admission to the PhD program process. Both he and Vlad had research projects to complete that summer. With Vlad’s assistance and recommendation Aiden was able to obtain full access to the Western Reserve Library. With this opportunity Aiden accepted Vlad’s offer to stay in Cleveland for the summer. He would stay in Vlad’s apartment and the two planned to explore interesting places in the area (as well as explore each other). Their first trip outside the city was to visit Will’s farmhouse near the small rural town of Seville. Since Will had been responsible for Aiden’s meeting Vlad the Southerner wanted to personally thank him for the introduction. Will was thrilled to see his young friend again. Of course the three shared Will’s large king-size bed and while Will at the age of seventy-one was not as active as the other two he did share some activities with the two and enjoyed being in bed with them as they got frisky. They met Paul Winkler, the handsome farmer friend of Will and his circle of friends including Peter Smith and Tom Kowalski. The ‘straight’ Paul was never aware of the gayness of his many friends. While Will owned the farmhouse Paul’s father owned the barn and farm fields surrounding the house. Paul and his father jointly operated the farm. The first afternoon of the visit Aiden met ‘straight’ Paul when he came to do the afternoon milking. It was a hot, muggy Ohio summer day. Paul invited Vlad and Aiden to join him and his sons at the swimming hole on the other side of the pasture that evening. Not wanting to reveal their sexuality Aiden and Vlad put on conservative bathing suits and walked across the pasture to the swimming area. Paul and his two sons: Paul Jr. age five and David age two were splashing around in the water. As they approached Paul stepped out of the water to greet them. The two were shocked and pleased that Paul was naked. Aiden felt a rush as he eyed the handsome, muscular hard from farm work body. His black curly hair matched the thick thatch crowning one of the biggest soft dicks he had ever seen. As Paul’s penetrating brown eyes seemed to bore into Aiden’s soul the Southerner’s dick started to respond. Aiden stepped out of the bathing suit and immediately jumped into the cool water. He was somewhat embarrassed by the size of his less than impressive dick compared to Paul’s. But he convinced himself that if the farmer were ‘straight’ he would have as much interest in his dick as he, himself, had in checking out girl’s tits (which was zero). They splashed, floated, and played with the children. As much as Aiden would have enjoyed brushing against Paul’s masterpiece he purposely avoided any contact with the farmer. As they walked back to the farmhouse Vlad told Aiden the tales his friends Peter and Tom had told him about Paul. When in high school the three had jerked off together a couple of times which revealed that the large soft dick was even more impressive as a hard shooting dick. He also told how Peter and Tom had provided a place and cover for Paul to fuck his girlfriend, Rachel, who was now his wife. He laughed as he related the story of Jacob, Paul’s father, seeing them fucking against the kitchen table when he almost entered the farmhouse to check on it since it was then only used a few times a year by the owner, Sean, a priest who had inherited it. Jacob had immediately driven to town and made a purchase at a drug store where he normally did not shop. That evening he confronted his son about his activities with the girlfriend. Jacob then told his son that he realized there was no stopping him once he discovered the joy of sex. He further stated that the only way to stop it would be to cut off Paul’s dick or lock him up. Since this would be painful and he needed his son on the farm he presented him with a bag full of rubbers with strict instructions to hide them from his mother. Vlad then filled in Aiden on the original owner of the farm. Sean, a priest in Pleasant Valley – a suburb south of Cleveland, had inherited the farm from his Uncle Bob. Back in the 1930s Bob and Jacob Winkler (Paul’s father) had been young man lovers. Bob had died during World War II on ‘D Day’ and Sean inherited the farm. Bob knew Sean was gay. Jacob Winkler eventually married and was the father of Paul, grandfather of Paul Jr. and David. Uncle Bob’s will had stated that if Sean did not farm the farm it should be given to Jacob. Sean happily transferred the farm to Jacob who had been renting the fields and barns for a nominal amount. Jacob then sold the farmhouse to Will who had made additions and improvements to it. Sean was given use of the farmhouse. He and his boyfriend, Frank – a priest in the Akron area, met there sometimes midweek for ‘religious experiences’ (Vlad laughed at this final expression). Aiden expressed an interest in meeting Peter Smith, Will’s nephew. Peter with a PhD in engineering and a professorship at Ohio State in Columbus was pursuing the career Aiden hoped to follow. Will called Peter and a meeting at the farmhouse the following week was arranged. That evening at dinner in their home in Columbus Peter discussed his planned meeting with Aiden with his wife Louise. As soon as two year old Peter Thomas, ‘PT’, heard his father mention visiting the farm he said: “Daddy going to farm. Please Daddy – I go. I see the cows. I see David. I go. Please.” Neither his mother nor father was surprised at his request. Months earlier his first word had been ‘Mommy’ then within a week ‘Daddy’. The next two words were ‘cow’ and ‘David’. Whenever they visited the farm he wanted to see the cows. He wanted to get up before sunrise and watch the cows being milked. He wanted to help but at two years of age it would be dangerous for a little boy to be too close to a cow. He also wanted to visit David Winkler who was also two years old. The boys played together and napped together. During visits to the farm if they were not with the cows or David little PT would ask when he could see either. Daddy agreed to take PT with him. The boy jumped out of his chair and ran to his father and gave him a big hug. Meanwhile, his twin sister, Louise, showed no interest in going to the farm. She was happy to stay home with Mommy. Upon arrival at the farm Vlad and Aiden met Peter and his son as they got out of the car. After brief introductions they immediately visited the pasture as PT wanted to see and talk to the cows. While holding his son in his arms Peter let PT talk to and pet the cows. They then drove to the nearby farm of Paul and Rachel Winkler where little David was anxiously waiting for the visit by his friend, PT. Rachel happily welcomed the guest knowing how much her son enjoyed playing with PT. They agreed that PT would have dinner with the Winkles and that all the men and boys would meet at the swimming hole that hot evening. Back at the farmhouse the four, Will a retired college art professor, Vlad and Peter both university professors and Aiden an aspiring professor enjoyed discussing academic issues, graduate study and the challenges and grief of academic politics. Since Will had lived most of his life in Daisyville in southern Georgia and knew Aiden was from a small Georgia town he asked Aiden about his hometown. Aiden replied, “I was born in and grew up in Cou Rouge (French for ‘red neck’), a very small town with a population of less than five hundred on the western border near Alabama.” At the mention of Cou Rouge Will became agitated. “Did you say ‘Cou Rouge?” “Yes, have you ever been there?” Will replied, “No, but the ‘Love of My Life’ was from there. I don’t want to say anything bad about your home but that town was not nice to my JB Huntington.” Aiden seemed as surprised as Will, “My mother was a Huntington. She must have been related to your ‘Love’. In fact I remember a scandal a few years ago. My mother’s cousins had been boasting how their long lost brother was going to make them rich. They then learned that their rich brother had left very small amounts to them, had given bequests to the Cou Rouge library and the University of Georgia. Most of the inheritance was given to some ‘Perverted hustler from the North’ who had bewitched their brother and stolen their inheritance. In a small town everyone knows everyone’s business.” Peter then stood and walked over to Aiden. Extending his hand he said, “Shake my hand friend. You are now shaking hands with the ‘Perverted hustler from the North’ who stole your relatives’ inheritance.” Will then told Aiden the story of his Lover, JB. “Jerry Bob, JB, had grown up in Cor Rouge. When it became apparent he was different from the other boys his life became hell. His mother, father, brothers and sisters all made fun of him. Upon graduation from high school he left home and with his high grades and perseverance enrolled in a university. He graduated with a degree in economics, a field of study that he both excelled in and enjoyed. He obtained a position at Daisyville College where we met. Our friendship turned into a loving relationship of thirty-five years. A few years after we met and became lovers he left Daisyville and entered a PhD program at the University of Georgia and eventually became a faculty member there. After he left Daisyville we maintained our devoted friendship and saw each other frequently since the University of Georgia in Athens is about a five hour drive on country roads from Daisyville. One of us would travel to the other or we would meet halfway for a weekend of ‘friendship’ (said with a smile). We spent every summer together traveling throughout the USA and as our incomes increased throughout Europe. During this time his family totally shunned him. He never felt welcome when he visited home, even by his parents. He never even suggested I visit his home. Eventually he stopped trying to have a relationship with his family. With his economics background and natural abilities he was a genius when it came to investing. While others lost money during the ‘Depression’ JB turned his small savings into substantial wealth. Eventually he owned real estate in Athens, Georgia, where he lived. He helped me make wise investment decisions and eventually both of us were financially comfortable. We hid our wealth from families and coworkers. When we retired the two of us moved to Ohio, my home state, and bought the farm house here in Seville. A few years later JB passed away following a cancer related illness. We discussed the distribution of his wealth. JB wanted me to inherit all his estate except for a few gifts to charities and the University of Georgia. I suggested that since I was financially comfortable and planned on leaving my wealth to my nephew, Peter Smith, that JB give the bulk of his estate to Peter. You might ask, ‘Why do I plan to leave my wealth to Peter?’ I grew up on a farm not far from here. While my family was not as wicked as JB’s I never felt I was part of it. I moved to the south to get away from the hostility and innuendos I suffered as I grew up. When I would visit my brother, Peter’s grandfather, he tolerated me but never showed any affection. Neither did his wife, Peter’s grandmother. Peter’s mother was the only person in the family who showed affection and an interest in my life. Eventually when I visited Ohio I would stay with them. After Peter graduated from high school I invited him to spend the summer in Daisyville with me. I needed someone to help me with various projects and Peter seemed a likeable boy. I never assumed he was gay. We eventually discovered our mutual interests. Peter had a relationship with my handsome Negro yard worker, nephew of my housekeeper. Henry was not only handsome, he was extremely bright and motivated. Henry then met, Seth, an acquaintance of Peter’s. To make a long story short, Seth, a cute red headed white young man, and Negro Henry eventually moved north where Henry is a teacher in Cleveland and Seth works for a landscaping firm. “ “There was a very funny incident concerning the reading of the will. JB’s family who had shunned him for years attended the reading of the will. They of course were shocked to learn they had been left almost nothing. They made a scene in the lawyer’s office calling Peter all kinds of nasty names. They did not realize that the young man getting them coffee and donuts and sitting next to the lawyer was Peter who wanted to see just what kind of people JB’s relatives were. One cruel thing they had done to JB was not tell him when either of his parents had died. So my friend, that is my history with your hometown.” Aiden laughed as he related how his grandmother on his father’s side had reacted to JB’s death. “When she heard that JB had died she told about the crush she and all her girlfriends in high school had on him. She told me that he was the most handsome and elegant dresser in their class. More than one girl pursued him. However, none succeeded in getting his attention and to the sorrow of many of her friends he left town immediately after his high school graduation.” After a light supper Peter suggested a circle jerk to reduce the pressure of swimming naked with the handsome straight farmer. Having seen Paul’s impressive piece Aiden agreed to the need to cool his dick prior to the swim. Placing a newspaper on the floor the three dropped their pants revealing their ready to beat dicks. Will was happy to keep his pants on and enjoy watching the action. Actually the newspaper was not needed to keep the floor cum free as Aiden kneeled and swallowed both Vlad’s and Peter’s juices. The seated Will asked Aiden to stand in front of him as he soon savored the Georgian juice. Upon arrival at the swimming hole, even with their recent cummings, all three felt twinges in their crotches as Paul dropped his pants and then scratched his balls while he innocently displayed his masterpiece. That night Peter and Will happily cuddled in Will’s bed downstairs. They wore sleep shorts as PT slept on a cot in their room. They wanted to give Vlad and Aiden privacy. From the sounds emitted from upstairs the two were having an enjoyable night. At the crack of dawn all except Will met Paul and his father, Jacob, and little David in the barn to milk the cows. Peter supervised the two year old boys as Vlad helped milk and Aiden was given a ‘how to milk’ lesson. With the completion of the milking Paul returned home taking David and PT. Grandfather / father, Jacob, remained for coffee and to share the sticky buns he had brought that his wife had baked. Actually Jacob wanted more than coffee and both Vlad and Peter were willing to give the fifty-three year old farmer what he wanted. Jacob was soon naked on his back on the bed. Aiden assisted by helping Vlad and then Peter lube their dicks. Both plowed into the willing ass and planted their cum. Will who had thought he would not be up to pleasing his friend was inspired by the two younger men and was next in line to take care of the farmer. Aiden who thought he had no interest in fucking became aroused by the sight of his friends’ activity and dropped his pants displaying a small but eager hard dick. When Will pulled out Aiden moved in and fell into the ass lubricated with both Crisco and the cum of his three friends. The once naive boy from the south soon discovered the joy of being a top. Jacob then took a quick shower while his ass dripped cum deposited by his four friends. He returned to his work at his farm while the others continued their academic discussions. PT spent the day with his friend, David, while the four friends drove to Amish country, about an hour drive south in the heart of Holmes County. This was Aiden’s first sighting of the Amish. He was amazed at the horse drawn buggies traveling the country roads. He thought his friends were joking when they pointed out that there were no electric or telephone lines going to the homes. As his friends explained the lifestyle of the Amish he enjoyed seeing the strong men working in the fields using horses to power their farm vehicles. At lunch in the Village of Berlin he was surprised to see Amish families eating their noonday meals. He enjoyed the home style meal and had his first taste of elderberry pie made from bitter berries that when sweetened with a lot of sugar results in a real mid-western treat. That evening they again met at the swimming hole. Naked and glorious Paul was already there with his son David and PT. Jacob soon joined them. While his dick was impressive it did not compare to his son’s in size or perfect construction. After the swim Jacob accompanied the visitors including PT and Will back to the farmhouse while Paul returned to his home with David. Aiden had mentioned during the day how surprised he was that he so enjoyed topping Jacob. The other three discussed Aiden’s new found pleasure and decided to orchestrate their next encounter so that Aiden went first. Having been the fourth fucker that morning Jacob’s hole had been well opened, especially after Peter with his mushroom head and above average dick. They decided, without letting Aiden know their plan, that Aiden with the smallest dick should go first. Jacob would be the tightest at the beginning and Aiden would most likely feel the joy of the fuck more than that morning. While Peter gave PT a bath and got him ready for bed in Will’s downstairs bedroom the others went upstairs to give Jacob a happy time. Aiden was told to go first not knowing this had carefully been planned to give him the optimum feeling of a tight hole. He fucked and shot. Will and then Vlad did their duty. After Will finished he went downstairs to tuck PT in and read him a bedtime story while his father who had the longest and thickest dick went upstairs to pleasure himself and Jacob. The following morning after milking the cows, a hearty country breakfast and visit by Jacob for a farewell fuck from all Peter and his son departed for home in Columbus and Aiden and Vlad departed for Cleveland. On the way to Cleveland their discussion included Aiden’s newly found pleasure, topping a man. He told Vlad how the second and third fucks felt much better than the first. He further stated he assumed it got better with experience. Vlad did not tell him that it probably felt better since Jacob’s ass was tighter the second and third time since the others with bigger, thicker dicks had not loosened him prior to Aiden’s fucking. For the following four weeks both Vlad and Aiden worked at home and in the university library on their research projects. Of course nights included loving sessions. While Vlad preferred topping to being a bottom he had enjoyed pleasing a number of men in both Russia and the USA. One night as Aiden was deep throating him while Vlad stroked his friend’s dick Vlad rolled over onto his stomach and lifted his ass. He then reached for the night stand, opened the drawer and took out the can of Crisco. Aiden needed no instructions. He lubed both his dick and Vlad’s ass as he had seen it done with Jacob. He leaned forward and easily shoved in his smallish dick. After pumping awhile Vlad said, “That’s great. But I want to look into your eyes as we make love. Let me roll over.” Aiden pulled out as Vlad rolled onto his back. He reached for a pillow to position the ass and smiled at his friend. Aiden placed Vlad’s legs on his shoulders as they had done with Jacob and returned to the waiting hole. In less than a minute Aiden was pumping into his friend as Vlad jerked himself off. The pulsating of Aiden’s dick inside him so tantalized Vlad that he soon shot streams of cum that landed on his belly, chest and lips. Aiden went to the bathroom to retrieve washcloths to clean himself and Vlad. They snuggled and within an hour the young Southerner again had the Russian’s legs on his shoulders as he grinned and fucked. The following afternoon Vlad took his friend to Club Cleveland. He gave Aiden no hints as to what might happen. The young man was amazed as they walked the halls and visited the steam room and sauna. In the steam room where only shadows could be seen he was groped by at least five men. Vlad stayed next to his friend making sure no one got too aggressive. In the large open ‘orgy’ room a man of about fifty was laying on his stomach on the platform in the middle of the room. Vlad told Aiden that the man obviously wanted to be fucked. Vlad had warned Aiden about fucking strange men and told him he must use a rubber. Vlad told his friend to restrain himself for two minutes while he got some rubbers. As soon as Vlad returned Aiden rolled the rubber onto his ever ready dick and moved in. The man showed little emotion as he was fucked. After pumping awhile Aiden pulled out and removed his dry rubber. As they walked back to their room he explained that he got little pleasure from someone who showed no feeling. He believed jerking off was better than fucking a lifeless hole. Vlad told him that he had the same feeling. Originally he had planned to fuck the guy next but the lack of emotion left his dick limp. As they sat on the bed in the small room talking with the door open ‘Fill me up – Phil’, the club’s unofficial welcomer, walked by. Phil immediately turned around and stood at their door and stared at Aiden. “Well, I do see a new face and dick. I would like to officially welcome you to Club Cleveland. Your friend who I have already had the pleasure of having pleasure with is welcome to watch as I pleasure you.” Phil got on his knees in front of the sitting Aiden stroking his dick which needed no encouragement. Phil then rolled a rubber onto Aiden. He then stood and leaned against the bed. With his ass fully exposed he accepted Aiden. Within a minute Aiden was filling the rubber. When he pulled out Phil turned around, slid the rubber off and pulled it over his dick. Then as he had done for Vlad and many others stroked himself while wearing the cum filled rubber. After shooting a second load into the rubber he smiled saying, “Welcome to Club Cleveland!” Then still wearing the rubber he departed the room with a swing of his ass. Vlad then told Aiden how Phil made it his personal responsibility to welcome newcomers or should it be newcummers to the bath house. By the end of the summer Aiden had met other interesting friends of Vlad. They had been invited to dinner at the home of Roland and Alex, the couple now in their fifties who had met over thirty years earlier when Roland was a university student and Alex a poor Russian immigrant worked as a laborer for a landscaper. Alex now owned his own successful landscaping firm and Roland was the assistant manager of Cleveland’s largest bookstore. Alex’s bottom was always available to all as a final course to the dinner served. While the gourmet meal he prepared for his guests was outstanding as usual the after dinner fuck was what Aiden remembered most about the evening. Vlad invited his former lover, Adam and his lover – Noah to dinner. Vlad had met Adam in a cruising men’s room at the university. The two had been lovers but Adam reluctantly broke it off as he did not believe that he as a Negro and Vlad could have a successful relationship when so many were prejudice against blacks. Adam, a talented artist, upon meeting Aiden suggested a portrait be done of the handsome young man. Aiden had seen Adams work on the walls of Vlad’s bedroom where there were nude drawings of Vlad, Noah, Peter and Tom. Aiden agreed to model after dinner. The completion of the drawing was delayed as all four, Aiden, Vlad, Adam and Noah, were soon entangled in an evening of enjoyable black and white sex. Once when returning from a visit to Will at the farmhouse in Seville Aiden and Vlad saw a young man with his thumb out as they turned off the farm road onto Route 3, the main road to Cleveland. When asked where he was headed the hitchhiker replied Lakewood (a suburb west of Cleveland). Riding in the back seat he introduced himself as Joe. He was hitchhiking from his home in Wooster to his girlfriend’s home in Lakewood. They were both students at The College of Wooster. When he discovered that Vlad was a Russian, Joe had many questions. By the time they approached the southern suburbs of Cleveland they easily talked as if they were longtime friends. Joe then explained that he was really excited and also nervous about his immediate plans. Joe then told Vlad and Aiden that he and his girlfriend had dated for two years. They had kissed a lot but until recently Joe had never done more than play with her tits. A few months earlier he had pulled down her panties and rubbed her pussy. He then had opened his fly and pulled out his hard dick. He held his hand over her hand as she stroked him and brought him to a climax. They had done this a few times. Finally she had agreed to go all the way. She had been keeping track of her periods and had determined this weekend would be a safe time to do it. Joe obviously was very excited and wanted to share the news with someone. However, he did not want to talk to his buddies about this until the act was successfully completed so he was thrilled to be able to discuss it with his new friends who he would never see again. Vlad then said, “Did I hear correctly that you planned to fuck with no protection?” Joe replied, “We have no worries. She has researched women cycles and determined this weekend is OK.” To which Vlad replied, “What you are using is the ‘rhythm method’. Do you know what men who fuck using the ‘rhythm method’ are called?” “No” replied Joe. “They are called ‘Fathers’. There is only one way to totally prevent pregnancy. Don’t fuck.” At that moment Vlad who was driving stopped and pulled into the parking lot of a Rexall Drug Store. “I’ll be back in a minute.” Vlad returned from the drug store carrying a bag. He handed it to Joe. “I assume you know how to use these.” Joe looked into the bag and pulled out a box of rubbers. Vlad continued. “Have you ever put one on and jerked off?” Joe replied, “I have jerked off a lot, but never with a rubber on.” Vlad: “Please wear one. I suggest you practice before you try to use one when you are ready to fuck. If you thought you were going to do it this evening better practice now so later you can concentrate on pleasing your girl and not have to worry about the complications of using a rubber. Opening the package and then rolling it on is a little tricky. Like many things it is difficult the first time. If your girlfriend is helping you get it on and it does not roll on easily you might spend so much time working on your dick that you shoot your load just getting it in place. You better practice. You will have total privacy if you just do it in the back seat. We won’t look. When you finish tie a knot in it and throw it away. Do not flush it down the toilet. It could mess up the plumbing and worse it might only go part way down and float back up after you thought it was flushed. I assume you do not want her parents to find a cum filled rubber floating in the toilet.” Joe replied, “You are the greatest friend a guy could have. Her parents are going out this evening so we hoped to do it soon after I arrived. I will do as you suggested.” Aiden and Vlad were amused as they heard the sounds of pants moving down and a pack of rubbers being opened. Joe was soon moaning as he was apparently stroking himself. He obviously shot a healthy load as his cry of joy indicated. Without looking Aiden handed him a handkerchief to clean himself. Joe then announced, “Thank you both! Stop at the next drive-in restaurant and I will throw away my evidence.” Although Lakewood was out of their way since it was west of Cleveland and Vlad lived east of downtown they offered to drive Joe to his girlfriend’s door. They wanted to meet this lucky young women. After meeting Joe’s Mary, Vlad handed him a business card and asked him to write them about his visit to Lakewood. Joe smiled as he put the card in his pocket. When Vlad put his hand out to shake Joe’s with a goodbye jester, Joe wrapped his arms around Vlad and whispered into his ear, “You are the greatest.” Joe then hugged Aiden in a not so manly way. A week later Vlad received a letter from Joe: “Dear Vlad and Aiden. Thank you for the ride to Lakewood. Your suggestions were excellent. After we did it the first time I told Mary about your advice. She laughed and said she was happy I was not picked up by a preacher while hitchhiking as he would not have been so helpful. After I mail this letter I must go to the drug store and buy another box, the twelve in the original box are all gone. …… the letter continued with comments about school and his classes in the fall …. Thanks again, Joe.” At the end of the summer Aiden returned to his studies in Georgia. The following January he happily moved into Vlad’s apartment and began his PhD program at Western Reserve University.
  21. Scene 09

    4th January, 1995 Dear Diary of a Marathon Runner, I'm sorry I had to cut you off so suddenly. It's now sunset again, and I can't walk another step without the blisters in my feet pleading for mercy and my leg muscles going on a mutiny against my brain. At least I should be safe for now in this abandoned house made of wood that is too dead to chase me. I ran from sunrise to sunset. Twelve hours. That's about... twelve hours more than I would've liked. But the trees didn't give me a choice. The fairies in that house came for me when they heard my scream. The mother came out first to see what was going on, with her tree little children spying from behind the door, though she tried to keep them away with her body. The light from inside helped me recognise her as Araci Truira, one of mum's occasional partners and the one she named my brother Oraci after. I didn't know her family had a house so far away from town. If I had known what I was walking into, I would've ran to the hills instead. It would've been bad enough to cross paths with a random fairy. But a fairy who loved mum and would surely have learned about her husband's murder as soon as it happened... I never stood a chance. 'It’s you!' Araci's children tried to get even closer, in the way that children get fascinated by giant fangs that are about to cut them in half, but she locked them back inside. 'How dare you invade my home? Are you trying to kill every one of Nelma's lovers? You were such a sweet child, what went wrong with you?' I'm not allowed to communicate with other fairies, so I looked away. 'Poor Morumpi, he was such a kind soul! You mum loved him so much! You're a heartless monster! But if you're so bent on destroying Nelma's life, I'm going to stop you here! I call forth the forces of Nature to chase you away from this forest! Disappear, Nessa! You don't belong here!' Every plant within reach struck at me with their branches, thorns and leaves. Everywhere I went, nature followed, hurting me in whatever way it could. I ran past Araci's house, hoping it would be the end of it, but no. The trees spread the message through the whole forest. Now, the moment I step outside, I'm greeted by branches swinging to my face. I'm stuck here until I can move again. No food, no water, and soon no light. It was good knowing you, Dear Diary. I didn't manage to give you a name, but hopefully whoever finds you lying next to my skeleton years from now will be able to give you the attention you deserve. Good night, and good-bye.
  22. Dating Bi-Curious Men (Secrets)

    In answer to your question: if feelings developed and secrets still had to be kept, the chances for devastating hurt to both parties increases.
  23. Time Changes Everything~Epilogue

    Excellent epilogue!!! Covered all our favorite bases...love, fun, family time, sorrow (with lots of tears), and updates on all the family dynamics...BASES LOADED, HOME RUN!! ...Ahmmm...I'll take Jared/Mason for $200 please!!
  24. Chapter 8 Hiding In Plain Sight

    ... with your invaluable help, Robin. Thank you so much. I am really proud of this story, and whenever I need encouragement, I revisit a chapter's comments.
  25. Chapter 49

    Wednesday, June 30, 1999 Leaving Freeport was almost as frustrating as getting in. We took a wrong turn so had to go back, a couple of times, then ended up learning far more about the place than we ever needed to. Finally, we were heading south. Though it wasn't pretty. It should've been, seeing we were edging the Gulf and driving through towns with great names like Brazoria, Matagorda, Palacios, and Magnolia Beach. But when we got to each, it proved disappointingly serviceable. And sun-baked. I'd promised Tom we'd take it easy: drive a few hours, then break during the hottest part of the day---so we didn't overwork the now-very-necessary air-conditioning. I figured we'd use the break time to get the oil changed. Soon after noon, we dropped the truck and some film off at Wal-Mart, then padded across the sticky parking lot to McDonald's. That was as fancy as Port Lavaca got. "I'll have a milkshake," I told the kid behind the counter. "We don't have any," I looked at the wall menu. Something that looked like, and sounded like, though probably didn't taste like, a milkshake was listed. "I'll take one of those," I said. "I told you---we don't have milkshakes." "Then what's that?" I asked. "A milkshake." "Then you have them?" "No," he snapped. "The machine's bust." Ah. Words. I ordered iced tea. In the South, that comes presweetened, though no one could tell me with what. If you want it unsweetened, you have to order it that way, and the waiters look pained. Worse, if you then ask for sugar, they think you're an idiot. A Northern idiot. A Non-Texan idiot. So I slurped my unidentifiably-sweetened tea through an industrial byproduct straw, and addressed postcards while Tom scanned the local free paper. The dog was outside, tied to a garbage pail in the rapidly fleeing shade. "Houses are cheap here," Tom soon announced, real estate having become his traveling hobby. "No kidding. What could possibly be the lure?" It certainly wasn't the Gulf, no matter how pretty that seemed to be. After picking up the truck, we stopped at a nearby beach: The water was murky. The wind was so hot and strong, we felt like pop corn. We parked at a kind of concrete shelter, one of several dozen along the shore. Each had water and electricity, I guessed for RVs, and individual picnic tables. Pets---leashed or loose---were forbidden on the sand, so we tied the dog to a pipe. She tried to follow us, but quickly got blown back by the drifting dunes and meekly retreated under a bench. Tom tried the water. It wasn't cool. It wasn't relaxing. We got tar on our feet. Still, it beat driving through the glare, so we splashed for a while, then poked through the neighboring, unexplainable, bird sanctuary. Finally, we went to scrub. Ahead, was one more ferry. We hadn't planned to take it, but based on a postcard I'd bought in Wal-Mart, we shifted plans. Which turned out to be the best choice of the day. The boat went from Aransas Pass---busy and uninviting---to Port Aransas, a wonderful-looking little town. "Should we stop?" Tom asked. "Yes," I agreed. But somehow we couldn't find a way to pull off the road. Then the village was gone. "Should we go back?" Tom wondered aloud. We wanted to. But we were stuck on a two-lane road, with traffic building behind us, and it was getting towards late afternoon. Besides, almost immediately, we were driving along the most beautiful beach we'd seen in days. "This is what that stretch south of Galveston looked like," I wanted to tell Tom. Though I also didn't want to remind him how much he'd hated that drive. A sign came up: Mustang Beach State Park. "Turn!" we both said. Then couldn't, 'cause we were jammed between roaring RVs. Tom kept looking for a place to pull over, or turn around, but there were none. Just dunes. Finally, just as an oppressive concrete bridge approached, no doubt eager to drag us back to strip malls and civilization, Tom impulsively yanked hard left, rushing---improbably for him---between oncoming trucks, and we were on the beach. A sign warned Residents Only, and threatened Huge Fines---up to a thousand bucks---but we didn't care. We'd made a desperate grab for opportunity, one that had already slipped from us twice. Tom parked on the white sand, maybe twenty feet from the water, stopping where signs allowed. There was no one around, not even a life guard, so we figured we'd swim for five minutes. Close to shore. Gauging the undertow. If the police suddenly appeared, we'd feign illiteracy. We slipped into trunks, then led the dog toward the low surf she'd liked so much on Fripp (a sign warned Dogs Must Be On Leash). The water was terrific, though the current predictably strong. The sky was grey, reflecting the Gulf, though it was still warm and windy. For Tom and me, nothing could have been better. Not so for the dog: Maybe it was the leash. Maybe the waves. Maybe she just wanted to be somewhere else. I tied her to the empty lifeguard tower and went back to the water. Five minutes. Fifteen. Thirty. We didn't want to leave, but the longer we stayed, the greater our risks. And we still had to drive. Wet and sandy, we finally slumped into the truck and crossed the bridge. "Which way?" Tom asked, sounding defeated. Left. But there was a motel just on our right. "We have to call for reservations anyway," I told him. "Let's see if there are any here." He didn't argue. There were rooms. We canceled our drive and asked the clerk about a legal beach. "You can get a permit for that one," he grinned. "But you gotta go into town, and they're probably closed by now. 'Sides, I don't think anyone'll bug you." "What if they do?" I said, having had this problem before. "Tell them you're from L.A. That's the other side of the country. Worst they'll do is sell you a pass." We dumped our stuff in our room, grabbed the dog, and tore back to the beach. Staying till after dark. 256 miles
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