The Play’s The Thing

Teenage boy wearing a crown


Cole Parker

- Part One -

The all-boys private school I attended was as you’d imagine it. We had friendships and rivalries, bullying and fights, pressure to succeed, tears and laughter—the whole ball of wax. We excelled in academics and held our own in sports. We had happy boys and sad ones, extro- and introverts. As the school was chock full of boys of an age, there was enough sex going on that the admin had stopped trying to control it; they merely insisted it be surreptitious and that they didn’t hear about it; it had to be kept under wraps; any boys caught in flagrante delicto were expelled.

This didn’t stop the sexual escapades, of course. It merely moved them underground; the participants had learned how to be invisible.

The administration tried to keep the peace, tried to be supportive, tried to run a great school and did a pretty good job of it. Some boys fell though the cracks, but that happened in other schools as well. Most of the boys at my school, Crestline Prep, were happy there.

What wasn’t to like? The school sat on forty acres of woods and aesthetically developed Connecticut countryside, an extraordinarily gorgeous setting that even teen boys could notice, teen boys being famous for only noticing themselves and each other. But the buildings were modern and comfortable, the playing fields well-tended and rarely muddy or frozen. Classes were in small classrooms and rarely larger than fifteen students.

We didn’t have to wear suits and ties on a regular basis. We did for any formal dinners that occurred during the year and for the few dances that were held. Wearing ties and jackets for classes was so England and not part of Crestline. Too, we only had to attend religious services on Sundays if our parents demanded it; we were free to skip church if the decision was ours. Religion wasn’t foisted on us, and so the sermons and songs were spoken and sung to a sparse student showing in a small sanctuary.

Okay, so you get the idea. It was a great school, even if it did have some of the problems all schools do. But it had great academics, and that suited me fine. I was on the same page as our English teacher: we both loved our language, love words, love wordplay, word games, alliteration, the whole enchilada. I’m going to be an English major once I get to college. Probably be a writer some day. I have a couple of ideas . . .

Kids at Crestline go to college after graduation. Mostly to Ivy League colleges. That’s why they attend this school. Well, that and to get us out of our parents’ hair. Our parents are all rich and important and didn’t have the time or inclination to bother with us during our teenage years. For many of us, they hadn’t had much earlier in our lives, either. But that’s just me griping. Hey, I’m a teenager. Griping comes in second only to thinking about sex.

I’m a sophomore. We all live in dorms and all have roommates except for seniors. We don’t choose our roomies. The school does that and never allows two kids to room together for more than a year. They think we’ll have less sex that way. That’s at least our explanation for it. We’d rather choose our own roomies. It’s better to room with a kid you know and like, with or without sex being part of the deal. Some kids are way out there, always on, always wanting excitement and adventure with a group of like-minded teens hanging around. Others are more sedate, more introverted, more serious. If we could pick our own roomies, there’d be much less chance of putting two vastly different personalities together.

But they know best. They think they do at least. So, I was going back to school for my sophomore year having no idea whom I’d be spending the next several months living with cheek by jowl. I hoped whoever it was would be much like me: quiet, not exactly shy but not hail-fellow-well-met, either. I’d never had sex with anyone and a lot, maybe most, sophomores had taken that plunge, if not before but in their freshman year. I wasn’t a prude, but, well, maybe ‘careful’ would be the best descriptive for me. I certainly wanted sex. But for some reason I couldn’t even articulate, I wanted it with someone I cared about more than just being buddies with. Crazy, right, for a 15-year-old boy who was about to be a 16-year-old boy?

I’d had opportunities, but they often involved several of us together, and that wasn’t who I was, and I didn’t want that for my first-time mutual sex. The few times another boy’s eyes told me the opportunity was there, he wasn’t a boy I wanted to do it with. Sure, I’d had crushes on several boys, boys I’d probably have said yes to. But somehow, nothing had ever eventuated.

I knew my roomie would be either a freshman or a soph. I hoped he wouldn’t be the loud, obnoxious type or a chatterbox. I’d find out tomorrow.

Scene break

I arrived early. I wanted to be in the room before the interloper appeared. Okay, so I was feeling a bit combative or at least confrontational. If it was to be a fellow sophomore, I needed to set the tone. I wasn’t going to be pushed around. I’d show him that by already having chosen my bed and desk and closet. He’d take what was left. What was left, of course, was a mirror of what I’d already chosen, but that wasn’t the point. The point was, psychologically, I was one up; I was already calling the shots.

If it was to be a freshman, it would be just the same. I wanted him to understand that I was head honcho in this room. A friendly doyen, of course, because I hoped the kid and I could be mates, but I was to be the nominative leader of the two-man pack.

I set my things on the desk—computer, blank notebooks, pens and pencils in a jar, and a phone charger. The school supplied a desk lamp for each of us. I hung what needed hanging in the closet and used the small dresser for dresser stuff. Then I changed out of my more formal wear that the school liked us to arrive in so the parents would be impressed by how mature and serious we all looked. I donned shorts and a tee, leaving my feet bare. We didn’t have to dress for dinner till tomorrow after introductions and indoctrination.

Then all that was left was to sprawl on my bed and open my current book: Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library.

I’d left the door open. It made me look friendlier than I probably merited, but that was good, and my roomie wouldn’t be wondering if he should just enter or knock first. I hated to be in that position myself, not knowing just what I was supposed to do, and if I could make it easier for him, then good. I really did want us to be friends. The combative stuff? I think that was to impress me more than him. Okay, so I had issues. What 15-year-old didn’t?

No matter how one looked at it, I’d been much less than a leader or the head of anything in any situations at school last year. I did not want to be a nothing again.

I didn’t have a long wait. I’d only read three pages when I was aware of someone standing in the doorway, looking, for want of better words, slightly apprehensive.

What he was seeing in me was a kid on the slender side, not muscular or larger than average. Brown hair that was messed to the degree it was supposed to be. Brown eyes that were expressive and gave too much away, in my opinion. A regular sort of face that I’d occasionally heard called handsome, though to me, it had its share of flaws, like a nose that was too short or too prominent ears. But what teen doesn’t think like that about himself? I thought that, basically, I was okay looking. Didn’t scare small children, at least, and on meeting new dogs, they didn’t howl.

“Uh, hi,” the boy said in an only recently broken voice. “I think this is me?”

I was stunned. Couldn’t look away. And worse, I got hard, immediately and completely, and anyone looking at me could tell. He wasn’t looking down there, at least, and to avoid panicking, I had to stand up and turn to the desk to drop off my book, which I did with one hand while neutering myself with the other. Uh, making myself presentable, I mean.

I turned back to him and forced a smile. I could have simply stared and let my jaw drop, but that would be no way to sell myself as a proper roomie who wouldn’t spend the year trying to jump his bones. But it took willpower. He was that gorgeous, probably the most beautiful boy I’d ever seen—or even imagined.

His hair was a white-blond color, and he wore it long and untouched so it scattered over his head like a nest built by a first-time-mother-to-be blue jay, a bird famous for its disarrayed nest.

His eyes were a medium blue with just a tint of green. They were clear and focused on mine, thank God. He had the clearest of clear skins with a modest tan; he’d obviously spent time outside. His lips were full and red, and to me, someone who’d never kissed a boy, invitingly and almost irresistibly kissable.

He was simply stunning, the most beautiful specimen of a pulchritudinous boy I could ever think possible. And to top it off, he radiated sex. Looking at him was looking at an image of two-legged, adorable, inviting sex, up front and lavishly on display.

He was obviously a freshman, a year younger than I was, in all probability, and maybe a couple of inches shorter. A few pounds lighter, maybe, as well. He was dressed similarly to how I’d been when arriving at the school: a pale-blue polo shirt with a unicorn stitched into the fabric and located over his heart, fairly dark khakis, polished leather shoes and a hesitant, hopeful grin.

Anyone would get hard just looking at him.

I realized I was staring. “Come in! Welcome. I’m Bryson.” I stopped and hoped my smile didn’t look as feral as my thoughts were.

He walked in carrying his suitcase. “Anything else to bring in I could help with?” I asked.

He set the case on his bed, which was across the room from mine, as is the case in most dorm rooms. Not that far across from one to the other. He’d be sleeping there all year. Across from me. Near me. Maybe naked. Maybe me, too. God, I had to stop this! But he was just so, so lovely! Radiating sex. How was a boy supposed to cope with that?

He turned from his bed and caught my eyes with his. “No, I brought what was on the list. If I need something else, I’ll find out and take care of it later. I’m Evan.” And he smiled at me, both with his lips and eyes. Damn!

I looked away. I had to! I did what I could to look anywhere except at him without it being apparent what I was doing. I accomplished that by walking to his closet and opening the door and stepping in. “Okay, it’s empty,” I said while shoving my hand down my pants. “Just checking; sometimes boys leave things, and the school does a piss poor job of checking.” By then I was no longer advertising, hoping to God my problem was not at all noticeable.

I came back out. He was unpacking his suitcase, placing things on his bed before putting them away. Not looking in my direction. I watched for a moment, then said, “I’m Bryson. I’m a sophomore. You’re a freshman? Just a guess.”

He turned to look at me. I met his eyes without looking away, though it was difficult. It was impossible to look at him without getting lascivious feelings.

“You already told me your name.” He grinned. “I’m Evan—like I said.” He chuckled deprecatingly. “Yeah, a freshman. I was hoping for a roomie who knew the ropes here. Uh . . .” He stopped and, incredibly, he blushed.

I immediately felt the overwhelming urge to hug him. Not for me—for him. The thought of a kid like that being uncomfortable was almost painful. I wanted to protect him, to extirpate his worries and fears. Whatever it was that made him blush, it needed to be destroyed without mercy.

“This your first time at a boarding school, or is this something you’ve done before?” I sat down on my bed, thinking there’d be less exposure that way.

“Yeah. My mom got offered a job overseas and accepted it. No doubt she was delighted to be done with me. She’s a high-powered businesswoman; raising a son was something she was not cut out for. My dad is a workaholic who spends 12 hours a day in his office and often doesn’t even come home nights. He wanted to take care of me even less than Mom did. Boarding school was an easy choice for them to make. What about you?”

I moved my pillow to the corner between the wall and my bed and settled back against it, half sitting, half sprawling. “My parents were kind of the same. They both had careers, and Dad’s was calling for more and more travel. He oversees the company’s European and West Coast operations. Mom didn’t like the idea of being the only caregiver at home for me for months at a time. Money was no problem; they’re both loaded. I got sent here.”

I found myself almost blathering and didn’t know how to stop. “It was a shock for me, and it took a long time and two changes of roommates before I got comfortable at all.”

“Why was that?”

He didn’t seem to realize how humiliating answering that could be. But I didn’t mind answering, mostly because by talking instead of watching him while I spoke, it would be easier to maintain control. “It’s a little embarrassing,” I said. “Hard to talk about, really, but I want us to be friends, to be close, really. You’ll find that you need someone here you can pour out your feelings to, someone who won’t betray your trust. The best person to fill that role is your roommate because you spend more time, private time, with him than anyone else. I’d like us to be that for each other, but we don’t know each other yet.”

I rambled on. “But what I’m saying is, it’s difficult for me to spill my guts to you, but on the other hand, if I do, it’s hopefully starting a closer relationship. Well, one I’d like to have. And really, the only one embarrassed would be me. Even if you do tell others what I’m going to tell you, anyone who isn’t a freshman would already know.”

He looked at me funny, and I realized I was spouting like a volcano.

“I’m sorry. I’m not like this. I’m nervous, and there’s no reason to be. I should be the calm one here, and I’m not. I’m sorry. Really, this isn’t me. But you do need to hear this: life at boarding school is much different from other schools where you’re there for several hours a day, but then go home to a completely different life. Both types of schools need us to adjust, but the circumstances are different, and it’s more of an adjustment here. Here, you’re always, well, here. You don’t escape. The only downtime you have is in this room. That’s why it’s so important to have a roommate you can be intimate with.”

His eyes opened wider, and I hurried to explain. “No, not like that! Not sexually intimate, though a lot of roomies are if they both want to be. I meant intimate like talking about what’s bothering you or exciting you or new or whatever. You can talk about your feelings or behaviors and not worry that you’ll be judged or betrayed.”

He nodded. I think he’d been worried about the ‘sexually intimate’ intimation. Now he relaxed, and I continued.

“You asked why last year was difficult for me, and I’ll tell you, even if it puts me in a bad light. The other kids here decided I was aloof, maybe even condescending, and I lost two roommates who felt it was better to be one of the crowd than paired up with someone distinctly outside the crowd. The reason they thought what they did about me is what’s embarrassing. See, kids our age think about sex. Like all the time. You must be aware of that. We feel urges that are so strong it’s impossible not to think about them. I feel that; I’d guess you do, too.”

I hurried on so he wouldn’t think he needed to respond to that.

“Last year was the first time most of the freshmen here were away from home, away from parents. They were interested in sex and wanted to experiment, and they found plenty of other boys wanting the same thing. They now had a roommate they could have sex with—or maybe not; maybe with their roommate they’d just be friends. But they were thinking about sex, feeling the urges, and the kids they were with had the same thoughts.

“What it came down to was, there was lots of sex happening, mostly just jerking off with each other, but some group sex, too, and some of the boys became more adventurous.

“I could have participated. I was certainly invited at first. I never joined in, though, which was part of the reason I didn’t get along with a lot of the other freshmen. They decided I was arrogant and thought I was better than they were because I wouldn’t join in with what everyone else was doing, and that I was judging them harshly for what they were doing. I wasn’t! I just didn’t want to do what they were doing. I wanted to wait for the right time, the right person, the right mutual feelings.”

That got his attention. Not that I hadn’t had it before, but I saw something in his eyes.

I continued. “I can’t explain it very well, but for some reason, what I wanted was for my first time to be with someone I cared about, someone who cared about me, too. I was young and naive and innocent, and all the sex going on just didn’t feel right for me. I wasn’t ready, and casual sex without feelings for a partner had no appeal at all. I’ll admit it: I still haven’t had sex with anyone else.”

I stopped, hoping he’d say something, but he could see there was more, probably hearing in my voice that I wasn’t done, and so he just kept looking at me. I gulped and finished what I had to say.

“So, it was a difficult year. I’m a little shy. I was a lot more shy as an incoming freshman. But other boys could see that, and . . .” I stopped, swallowed, took a breath, and then finished with, “I had a difficult time.  The sex thing set me apart, and the shyness meant I could be physically challenged. Bullied. I was, but not that badly. The teachers here care about us. They saw I was alone a lot, and they watched, and the worst bully was caught and expelled. They don’t condone bullying here. That expulsion brought an end to that kind of harassment. By the end of the year things were better; it’s hard work, isolating another kid, and they eventually got tired of it, and I even made a few friends. When I left for the summer break, I decided that this year would be different. That I’d stand up for myself better this year. I hope I won’t have to, but if I do, I’m going to try to be braver. I worked on it over the summer, but I’m still a work in progress. If it ever happens, I’ll just see what’s what.”

That was it. I’d told him who I was. Told him way too much for a first meeting, but his appearance had me flustered. Well, obviously, there was a lot left out. But I didn’t know him yet. You can’t tell someone you don’t know things that can come back and bite you in the ass. Maybe I’d done that a little already.

I was curious about how he was taking what I’d said. Some boys would have found that confession a sign of weakness or a reason for ridicule. What I was reading from him was compassion. I hoped that was what it was.

I could have asked him to tell me who he was, what his weaknesses were, but I didn’t want to force him to say anything he wasn’t ready to reveal. Instead, I thought this the perfect time to talk about rules.

After taking a moment to let my emotions settle, I said, “We have business to discuss. House rules, I think it could be called.”

“Rules?” He sounded nervous.

“Yeah, but not pejorative ones, and you have as much say in this as I do. I’ll suggest what makes sense to me, and you can opine what your own thoughts are.”

He gave me a funny look, then said, “You talk funny.” Then he laughed to take the sting away. “You didn’t before, but just now you did.”

“I was nervous before; I’m more at ease now. Yeah, I do talk funny when relaxed. I read a lot; always have. Because of that, I tend to use words I’ve read. Do you know what ‘pejorative’ and ‘opine’ mean?”

“I’ve never heard either of them.”

I explained, then went into my rules spiel. “Okay, this might seem embarrassing or whatever, but we’ll be together here and if we can clear the air right off the bat so we both know what goes and what doesn’t will be useful. First off, jerking. I do it every day like every other healthy 15-year-old. You’re 14. I did it every day at 14, as well, so I’ll assume without asking that you are in tune with your age group. Some kids don’t mind talking about it, some love talking about it, and some would rather say nothing at all about it. But they all do it. So, the questions are, how and when do we scratch that itch?”

His eyes opened wider, and I didn’t want to force him to answer. Instead, I said, “We could be very stealthy about it and do it in the shower in our en suite. That’s what I did way too much of last year, and it isn’t nearly as satisfying as a long, slow, sensuous rub in bed before sleep. But there’s no way I’m going to do it in bed with you there listening and not having any idea what you’re thinking. So we need a rule. We can never do it when the other of us knows what we’re doing. Or, we can do it in bed with the lights out but not mentioning it. Or we can leave the lights on and watch. I mean, that way I can give you pointers.”

That resulted in his eyes opening even wider. I broke out laughing, which was good because I needed that relief and gave him time to settle. “That was a joke,” I said. “I didn’t think you’d go for the watching, and I wasn’t serious anyway. Just lightening the mood. But continuing the thought, I don’t think I’d be comfortable doing that, performing for you, any more than you would for me. But we should acknowledge that jerking is something we need to figure out in advance. Can we discuss this?”

He nodded. I could tell this was making him very uncomfortable.

“Okay then. I hope I’m not coming on too strong here, but this is what I suggest. Then you need to tell me what you think. I’d say the best thing for both of us would be to wait till the lights are out and we’re both in bed. Then we go at it privately, but if we make noise, which we probably will, the other one should ignore it. It won’t be discussed at all unless there’s a compelling reason to. But there should be no embarrassment, either. We’d just be doing what our bodies are urging us to do. Okay. Your turn.”

He fidgeted, which was endearing. Anything he did, how he moved, how he talked, the sound of his voice, all of it was a total turn-on. What he said was, “I’ve never spoken about this to anyone. You’re right, though. Things can’t be as private when living with someone as when you’re all alone. I guess I’ll go along with your suggestion. It seems to make a lot of sense, and in a way, it’ll make us closer. Knowing we’re both doing it means we’re both the same in that way.”

“Great! That’s settled then. Now, nudity.”


Ha. Got him. I laughed again. “We’ll be changing in this room, we’ll be getting dressed and undressed, and the en suite is just too small for that to be anything but annoying. I sleep in the nude, so unless we turn off the lights before getting undressed, you’ll see me nude every night if you’re interested. Or even if you’re not. We need a rule: is it okay to be naked in front of the roommate, or not? I gave my rule suggestion first last time. You go first with this one.”

“Hey, you’re putting me on the spot here!”

“Yeah, but wouldn’t you rather have this rule to make than the jerking-off one?”

“Well, sure, but I don’t know what to say. If I agree, doesn’t that suggest I want to see you nude? That I want you to see me nude?” He shuddered.

“No, I wouldn’t take it that way. I’d take it that you’re not ashamed of who you are or what you look like, and it would be one-hundred percent easier to live in such close quarters if neither of us had a hang-up about it. You got naked in front of other boys before and after gym class, didn’t you? Wouldn’t this be much the same?”

“So, you’re making the suggestion we should accept mutual nudity instead of having me do it first?” Then he grinned; he was teasing me. Damn!

“Okay, okay, you caught me. Ignore what I said other than how I wouldn’t harbor any nefarious thoughts about you if you agree we can be nude together.”

“This is difficult for me, Bryson. I’ve always been a very private person. But you’re right; we’ll be living closely together, and I can imagine there’ll be many times it would be easier not to worry about being me nude. So, my suggestion would be, we don’t need to worry about it. Treat it like the no big deal it is. We get undressed when it’s time to get undressed, and if we’re together at the time, so what? It’s fine.”

“I agree. Good rule. So, if I shower and you’re waiting to take yours, and I walk out of the en suite naked to give you a chance to get in there, and I’m drying my hair as I come out, and you see me, that’s no problem?”

He gulped, then said, “Fine.”

Scene break

We had a lot more time before going to lunch. I asked him if he wanted me to show him around the school or just continue talking or meet more people. He didn’t seem to jump at that question.

“I like talking with you, Bryson. I’ve never before talked about the things we just did. Everything you said was just amazing. It seems sort of like you’re opening a window, and I’m breathing in fresh air for the first time. Unless you’re tired of this, why don’t we continue? Maybe you’d like to go find some of your friends.”

“Honestly? I like talking with you, too, Evan. I want to get to know you better. We haven’t even touched on who you are. I’d like to hear that. But look, you and I are going to be friends, and maybe even closer than friends because roomies need someone to talk to, a confidante whom they can share personal thoughts with as I said before. I want to be that friend for you and hope you can be that for me. I don’t know what you are thinking, but this is an opportunity for both of us to find out if we can trust our new roomie. I can swear to you as earnestly as possible that what you tell me in secret will remain secret no matter what the inducement is to reveal it.”

He stood up, then sat back down on his bed. He seemed unsure of himself, and he dropped his eyes from mine. Speaking to his unmade bed, he said, “That’s exactly what I need. Can I really trust you?”

“You can.” I was going to go on, but he seemed ready to talk, and I felt I should let him. I stopped. His turn.

“Thanks,” he said. His voice was soft and warm, and the urge to hug him came back. I sat where I was on my bed and simply looked back at him.

“I was hoping . . . well, I’ll take a chance. You seem to be just what I was hoping for but never thought I’d get. I’ve had problems before coming here as well. It’s because of how I look.”

I should have let him continue. I would. But first, I had to jump in with, “You look fine. Perfect. People gave you problems for that?”

“Yes, all the time. They see me and get ideas. Boys and girls; adults, too. I know I look sexy. Enough people have told me that! And it’s been worse starting from when I was 12 to now. They want to have sex with me—it’s obvious. Some are bold enough to say that, but even the ones who don’t, I can see it in their eyes. And I don’t want to have sex like that.”

I needed to reassure him I wasn’t like that. But how could I do that? I did want what those others wanted.

“Evan,” I said, “you are beautiful. And sexy. But you and I, well . . . to be honest, you make me think about sex, too, but I’m a virgin. I already told you that. I want to remain one till I find the right person.

“I’d guess anyone looking at you is going to feel what you said. But with me, you’re safe. I’ve quashed my feelings for lustful, empty sex for a long time now, and there’s no way I’m going to push you to do anything like that. I may sometimes look at you with what you saw in other people’s eyes, but I think, once we know each other better, that will end. In any case, don’t worry about me. What I want more than anything is for us to be close friends.”

He smiled, and wow! What a smile! When he spoke, his voice was a little stronger. “That sounds so good to me. I was hoping for this. I don’t know how I got so lucky.”

I didn’t interrupt him this time; I just allowed him to continue.

“As I said, I’ve had problems before coming here, as well. I know it’s because of how I look. I’m used to it and very experienced at fending them off.” He gave me an undecided look, then said, “I’d better tell you. I’m probably gay. Haven’t done anything. Might hate being gay and the sex. Can’t really know until I actually have some experience. But I find boys a lot more attractive than girls. Maybe that’s because a whole lot more girls came onto me at school, and I didn’t like it. Boys didn’t do that except with their eyes. I think they were afraid to out themselves. But, when I saw they weren’t going to come forward, I kinda liked the idea of them looking at me like they did.”

“But you said—”

“I know. I know,” he interrupted me. “It was the idea of a stranger thinking about what he wanted to do with me—often an adult—and me having no say in the matter or even being a real person to him. I was just an attraction. I had the impression that because that because of my looks, he thought I’d be okay with anything he wanted to do with me. And I got that look all the time. But some cute boy wanting me but keeping his distance, nothing more than admiring me, I could handle that. It wasn’t something I had to protect myself from.”

He was silent then, and I couldn’t let the conversation end like that. He’d opened up to me. I had to meet him halfway. “I need to tell you something. I may be gay, too. I don’t want to be. I’ve been fighting it since I was 12. Thinking it was a phase. That was part of my not accepting any sexual invitations last year; I didn’t want to try something and find I loved it when I didn’t want to be that way. I want to get married, have kids, a house with a white picket fence, a dog, the whole schmear. I’m not the exotic type. But, I don’t know. I’m almost 16, and my crushes and attractions haven’t changed. So, I might be gay, too, even while fighting it. You deserve to know.”

He laughed. He actually laughed, cutting the tension in the room down to nothing. “We’re some pair. Two oversexed boys, maybe, probably, gay, who will live together, be nude together, jack off at the same time, want the same thing, yet keep our hands off. Who could imagine such a crazy thing?”

I laughed too, then said, “Well, we’ll have school to distract us.”

“What’s the school like?”

“It’s a great school. Very smart kids, too. Everyone goes to college when they graduate from here. What I want is to get a graduate degree, probably a PhD in English literature and then teach at the college level. This school excels academically. Most of the boys here apply to and are accepted into Ivy League unis. I’m smart enough and am leaning towards first Yale, and then second, Princeton.”

“What about extracurriculars? Are you into sports at all? I’m not and hope sports aren’t mandatory here.” He looked worried.

“No, not mandatory,” I said, and he relaxed. “You do have to join some non-academic activity, and they’d like it if you’d join two. They want us to be well-rounded; that’s important here. Learning how to behave as a gentleman; having knowledge of many things. I’m not athletic, either. I do like the theater, however, and had a class in that last year and got involved in the plays they put on. They mount two a year. The Theater Arts program here is nationally ranked. Big-time directors come to evaluate some of our actors and technicians. Even though classes are taught about all phases of the theater, they don’t consider that to be in the academic rota.”

His eyes lit up. When I’d sprawled into my corner, I’d set one pillow behind me and my second one rather casually over my lap. I was very happy to have it there; seeing those eyes, seeing his joy at what I’d just said, I had great need for that pillow. When his eyes gleamed and he grinned, I laid a hand on my lap pillow, just to keep it down, you know? I had a great need for that pillow.

“I love acting, being in plays,” he said. “I’ve done some of that. My mom got me involved with some community-theater groups. It was just to get me out of the house, but I loved it. I got to be someone else, and if the role was sexy at all, I got to have fun experiencing being sexy in a safe environment. That’s much different from the real thing.”

I loved seeing this enthusiasm; it was like he was really alive for the first time. For that moment I could see the real boy inside of him, and he was even more attractive that way, which I hadn’t thought possible.

“I do have to warn you,” I said. “The Theater Arts courses, and the plays themselves, seem to be like honey to ants for the gay boys here. Those boys will take one look at you and—”

“That happened in the community-theater productions, too,” he said, interrupting. “Like here I guess, gay kids liked acting and being in plays. They didn’t mind people knowing about them. The atmosphere was different there. I found out how to keep them at arm’s length without pissing them off. I wasn’t really worried there because there were always adults around, many parents, and I could have hollered if I’d needed to. For the most part, those boys made it clear what they wanted us to do together, but they didn’t try to force the issue.”

“Well, that’s good you had that experience. You’ll have a meeting with your advisor, probably tomorrow. You’ll be asked what route you want to take here, what you’ll want to major in at college. It’s okay to say you don’t know. Lots of boys do that. Then he’ll give you a normal academic schedule with English, math, science, history, all that stuff. Then he’ll ask what non-academic course you want, and you should tell him Theater Arts. If he tries to argue you into anything else, be adamant.”

That was enough talking for right then. He needed to put all his things away, and afterwards I took him around the dorm, introducing him to some of the guys I knew who’d warmed to me last year. The looks he got! Well, he deserved them, but I got to see why it would have been overwhelming for him. At least the ones I introduced him to knew me, knew I wasn’t interested in sex with anyone, and nothing was said to embarrass either of us.

Back in our room, preparing for lunch in the main school cafeteria where the headmaster would speak to everyone after the meal, I told Evan I’d seen what he’d told me about. “Every one of those guys I introduced you to was undressing you with his eyes. What I’m going to do is spend as much time as I can with you when you’re not with only the freshmen. They’ll be bad enough, but the guys in the years above will be harder to deal with. They’re all older and bigger and may come on stronger. If I’m there, it should be better.”

He gave me a questioning look, then said, “We’ll be together a lot then after classes, and if I get into a play, then at rehearsals, too? I mean, if one or more gay boys hits on me there, if he makes it clear he’s not going to take no for an answer, you’ll be there and see it? And, maybe  . . .”

“Protect you, you mean? Yeah, I’ll do that. Absolutely.”

Scene break

Our room rules worked fine. Of course, we did see each other nude, and of course I boned up. I explained to him it was hormones ruling the roost with me, and I got hard watching someone in chemistry class simply running his finger up and down a test tube. The fact I often became tumescent when I saw him naked didn’t mean anything more than that I was 15. He sometimes got hard seeing me naked, too, and both of us learned not to make a fuss about it. It was just life in a small, enclosed space for two teenagers.

If I’d thought Evan was beautiful clothed, well, I don’t know the words to describe him nude. Maybe Keats or Whitman or someone of that ilk could do him justice. I didn’t even try. I just enjoyed the show and got hard and shrugged it off till I could relieve my frustration under the covers at night.

Evan was a sensation at school. Any boy who looked like him would have been, but that was silly to say because there was no other boy with his looks.

The thing was, he was uncomfortable with the attention he got. He was more like me than I’d suspected, more introvert than extrovert. He was friendly enough one-on-one but looking as he did, he attracted a crowd, so he was uncomfortable much of the time we were out. I tried to be there with him at the times a crowd could form, like at mealtimes and times that were unscheduled down hours. We coped. I had meant to stand up for myself this year, knowing that would be easier said than done. Standing up for Evan, though, that came easily and brought me out of my shell like no one’s business. I was surprised that when I became confrontational, others backed down. Big surprise for me who, as a boy, had grown up shy.

- Part Two -

Evan got into the Theater Arts program, and he did even better than just getting in. He auditioned for the play that was being cast and was chosen for a lead part. The fact he had acting credentials—he had already performed in several plays with his community-theater group—made the choice easy for the casting director. Evan looked like a natural on the boards.

The director, Lewis Montgomery, wanted a freshman to play the part of a young prince who was being challenged for the throne. He had to look young, and so only a freshman was likely to win that role. Evan had much more experience than any of the others vying for that role. It was almost an unfair competition.

Evan was so happy to get the part! A riotously happy, over-the-top Evan was what I ended up having to deal with. The more excited he got, the more problem I had keeping my attraction under control and out of his view. Keeping my cool and all parts invisible was almost impossible, but I pulled it off.

Damn but that kid was just too beautiful. I was learning how beautiful he was inside as well. He didn’t have a mean bone in his body. He was generous with his personality, and though a bit shy, he seemed more open to me than anyone else.

The play, as were many that the school mounted, was written by seniors who were in the playwriting program. The school had classes in all aspects of the theater. Lighting and costume design and makeup, props management and background manufacturing, sound and set decoration were just a few. The writing class was always crowded. Kids at this school were top young scholars and writing was one of the things many hoped to do professionally.

The first day of rehearsals, after the roles for the actors and jobs for the ancillary group—like me—were determined, started with an assembly of everyone involved in the production. Lewis Montgomery took the stage in front of us sitting in the school’s theater seats. “This play,” he explained, “is about an elderly king who has two sons, one legitimate, one a bastard. Both are eligible to wear the crown, so there’s a natural rivalry. The king favors his legitimate son as his heir.”

Mr. Montgomery was one of those charismatic speakers, and his enthusiasm for the play was being instilled in us as he spoke. He was probably in his late 30s, but there was no question, listening to him, about whether he knew his stuff or not. I’d seen how capable he was last year getting the best from his actors.

“The king’s legitimate son,” he continued, “Prince Engler, will be played by Evan Stevens. Prince Engler is young and beautiful, but soft and naive, still living mostly in his imagination, perhaps not ready to rule the kingdom. The king’s bastard son, Prince Gorf, played by Ned Fong, is mean and conniving; he wants to be king much more than Prince Engler does. He covets the power. He is also larger and more determined than Prince Engler. The play was written to show the evils of avarice and ambition.

“Gorf convinces everyone that there should be a showdown between the two princes to see who is the more worthy. He insists his rival is a coward and not kingly. He requests a duel be held to settle who would be the best and therefore rightful ascendant to the throne.”

I was looking at the audience. They were rapt. It seemed to me that if the play was as enthralling as the director’s description of it, we’d have a hit on our hands. Melodrama it might be, but scintillating melodrama. Teens loved melodrama.

“Gorf calls Prince Engler a simpleton and a coward to his face and tells him he’s weak and a mere child. He does this in the town square with a crowd in attendance. Prince Engler’s advisors have no choice but to agree to a duel. It is a matter of honor: the country can’t abide a weak and cowardly king.

“They duel. Prince Engler doesn’t appear either weak or cowardly, and in the end, Prince Engler overcomes Prince Gorf in a manner that suggests heavenly intervention. Gorf lies at Prince Engler’s feet. The young prince stands over him, his sword ready for the kill. Then the young prince kindly spares the fallen prince’s life. As Prince Engler turns his back to walk away, Gorf rises with a dagger in his hand, murder in his heart and eyes.

“Prince Engler’s personal bodyguard cum servant, Humberline, played by Stewart Pemberbroke, intervenes and stabs Gorf, saving Prince Engler and the day.

“Prince Engler and Humberline are secretly in love, but the laws of the country prohibit a union between two men, and so they never can be together. The prince has to marry, and a woman is brought to him for the wedding. Thus, we have the tragedy of the play. The writers are hoping to leave no dry eyes in the house as the curtain falls on the two forsaken lovers looking wistfully at each other as the marriage carriage drives away. We’re hoping Evan and Stewart can pull off the yearning looks.”

Rehearsals began the next day. I wasn’t in it. Well, that wasn’t exactly true. The school wanted all Theater Arts personnel to have on-stage credits and experience, so everyone had a role, from the makeup designer to the lighting techs, the actor’s dressers to the stage manager, the script writers and the set builders and decorators and costume sewers. I was the stage manager for the play. But I was also in the cast. I was one of the guards when crowd scenes filled the stage. That happened several times, like during the duel, or when there were ceremonial affairs, and when Gorf challenged Engler as unworthy in the town square. Whenever it was required, all the cast was present on stage. Thankfully, we weren’t in costume and makeup; that wouldn’t happen till the dress rehearsal.

Scene break

“A little to stage left . . . more . . . yeah . . . stop! And Frankie, move upstage two steps. Fine. You guys got that? Be sure you remember it.”

The director had shown me where the actors should be in each scene, and when they moved, where they should move to. I made notes, then had to work with each cast member, or a group of them, like I was doing just then. The actors had to be confident of their positions if they wanted to appear confident on stage, and they had to show that or the play would become a laughingstock, a farce.

We’d been rehearsing for weeks now. First, everyone had learned their lines at table readings and then walked through the scenes, reciting the lines as they would in the play. Now, we were blocking out the scenes. I was surprised they were having as much trouble with that as they did learning their lines.

Evan had learned his lines early and completely. He had a quick, retentive mind. He didn’t have the most lines of anyone. Prince Gorf was the focal point of the play and its antihero. Ned Fong, who played Gorf, was a junior. He was large and looked the part of a villain. He also was smart and quick-tempered and didn’t like to be told what to do. I was a sophomore, but as stage director, it was my job to get him to where he belonged and when he was supposed to be there. I never got the impression either of us liked the other. But we were both professional enough to work together as seamlessly as we could.

Evan, being a freshman, was taken under the wing of most of the kids working the non-acting parts. I was afraid they were all falling in love with him, but more worried that he might fall for one of them. As an example, the makeup kid, Jimmy Fox, spent way too much time smearing grease on his face and then gently wiping it off. Sensuously wiping it off, in my opinion.

I tried to make it a point to be where Evan was, but he was all over the place, and I had to be in front of the stage or in the wings too much to babysit him.

The costume fitting was what upset me the most. Some costumes were elaborate and delicate, some were designed to fit snuggly, and the actors needed help getting into and out of them so nothing would be torn. Each actor had a dresser to help him with his costume. Our costumer, Carl, and Evan’s dresser, Donnie, seemed to be either at odds or were pretending to be; clearly they both wanted to be on hand when Evan was being dressed.

I asked Evan about that one evening when we were back in our room. “I wasn’t there,” I said, “but could hear you guys when you were putting on your dueling costume. It got loud. What was that all about?”

Evan gave me one of his sheepish grins, like maybe he was a little bit to blame for what had happened, or perhaps he ashamed of himself. “You know I have to be in tights for the duel. Well, we had to discuss that. They were both concerned the tights had to be tight enough to show the shape of my legs, but loose enough to allow the action of the duel.

“Carl brought in several pairs. I took off my chinos and started with the tights, and Donnie stopped me. ‘No underwear; the lines will show big-time and ruin the effect,’ he said. Well, naked under the tights meant no seam lines would show, but a lot of the shape of my junk certainly would. So, I nixed that. Well, I tried to.

“Carl wouldn’t have it. ‘I’ll sew some padding into the top of the tights, and the tunic will hang almost low enough during the times you’ll wear it with the tights, but for now, I have to see which pair fits you best. For now, try them on without your undies so I can pick a pair.’ He was adamant. I saw the wolfish gleam in his eyes and wasn’t sure exactly what his need was. I turned to Donnie for help, and he had the same look on his face.

“‘Come on,’ Carl said. ‘I’ve got no time for arguing. Too much to do!’ Now the dressing rooms are . . . well, you know how small they are, and there’s no privacy at all. No one thought we’d need it, since we’re all boys. Anyway, I started to drop my boxer briefs and you should have seen their eyes!”

I was intrigued but annoyed, too. “You did it? You stripped in front of them?”

“I figured, what the heck, it wouldn’t be the last time. And why should it be a big deal? I sort of turned sideways, but the mirrors in there make that useless. I just did it. And you know, both of them were hard when I was done. I laughed at them, and they at least smiled, knowing they’d been caught. Then, when the tights were on, Carl felt he had to run his hands over my legs to check for tightness, and when his hand was getting close to the goodies, I stopped him. Anyways, that’s why it got a bit loud in there.”

“Damn!” I couldn’t help myself. I was pissed.

Evan saw that and reached out and patted my shoulder. “I got back at them; I’m not above a little vengeance. I had to take the tights off, and they both were a bit goggle-eyed again in anticipation. So, I took a lot of time doing that, pulling them down just a little, then back up again, rather like doing a striptease for them, then pulling the top down almost to my goods. That was when I stopped and kicked them both out—before getting naked.”

Scene break

Boys getting naked into and out of costumes was happening all the time, and Evan was right: it wasn’t a big deal. It was to me when he was the one doing it, but I gritted my teeth and tried to ignore it.

We were closing in on the dress rehearsal. Sets were finished and installed on rollers for quick changes, lines were learned, blocking was set and memorized, lighting was locked, costumes finished and fitted. We were about ready to go and would the following day. The dress rehearsal!

I had a rare moment with nothing to do right then, so walked back toward Evan’s dressing room. He was there with Donnie, his dresser, and they were chatting. I didn’t like the way Donnie acted around Evan, but then, I could say that about ninety percent of the people working the play. I listened to the two of them for a short time outside the door. Okay, I was eavesdropping, but I still felt the need to protect Evan. I could tell from what I heard, though, that he didn’t need me with Donnie.

Evan spoke in a compassionate voice, “Donnie, I like you a lot. But not the way you like me. I know what you’re feeling. I can read it in your eyes. And I wish I could do something to help, but I’m just not into you that way. As a friend, sure, one-hundred percent. But not for sex.”

I turned and walked away. No, I had no problems with Donnie, and perhaps Evan didn’t need so much protection from me as I thought.

As I was returning to the front of the house, Ned Fong, our Prince Gorf, passed by. I grinned at him. “Killed any innocents today?” I asked. Ned usually was in character with a scowl on his face. He made the effort to lose it and said, “Just keep those children quiet when I’m on stage. It’s way too noisy back here.”

“Speak louder,” I said and grinned. He half-grinned back and kept walking towards the dressing rooms.

We had just the rehearsal of dueling scene to finish, and we’d be ready for the dress the next day. It was late, and we were all tired, and Mr. Montgomery called us together. “The duel has been fine, better than fine, and I think we’ll call it a day now without running it tonight. We can run the duel at the dress first thing tomorrow and I don’t expect any problems. Great job, guys. I know how hard you’ve all worked, and I’m proud of each and every one of you. See you all tomorrow, Saturday, after lunch. One o’clock call.”

Evan was quieter than usual that night. I put it down to nerves. He was 15 now, but that’s still young. He had to be nervous with his big night now two days away. First, there was the dress rehearsal tomorrow night. Everyone was nervous about that. No one wanted to screw up, to make the director stop the flow of the rehearsal with a correction. That could have been why Evan seemed tense.

I didn’t push him. We got along so well when it was just the two of us together. We didn’t need to be talking all the time. Neither of us felt the need to fill the emptiness with nervous chatter for the sake of noise. That quiet calm was how it was that night, although I could swear there was tension in the room, and calm and tension didn’t seem to fit in the same box, yet that was how it felt.

That tension didn’t feel like it was between us, though; it seemed like he had a lot on his mind. Well, he should have. The whole school, students and administrators and hangers-on, would be focusing on him tomorrow. He didn’t have the largest part, but his was the one that made the show. He had to seem fragile at the beginning and stalwart at the end. He had to captivate the audience. But I thought he would. I’d seen the respect he’d earned from the other performers during rehearsals, and I’d thought Mr. Montgomery, even while trying to hide it, was amazed by the maturity of his acting.

I loved watching Evan perform. But then, there wasn’t much about him that I didn’t love.

Scene break

Saturday. Dress rehearsal. Everyone was on edge, but it was a happy, nervous excitement. We were going to run the duel first, then take a break before starting with Act One, Scene One. The duel would be in costume.

Damn. I hated getting into my costume. As a guard soldier in my formal dress uniform, I wore a garrison cap, a red tunic over a gray mail vest with a red sash as a waistband, ballooned gray trousers and boots. Why the hatred? It was because the mail vest was thin braided metal and under the lights, it soaked up the heat and happily transferred it to the skin on my chest and back. Mr. Montgomery didn’t want anything as distracting as a tee shirt showing under the vest. After a couple of rehearsals, I’d cut up a tee shirt so nothing would show and wore that under the vest. Relief! But the entire outfit still had me sweating like a captured spy entering the torture chamber under those forbidding lights.

We all dressed and assembled on the stage, hitting our marks, leaving center stage for the duelists. I looked at Evan as he strode to the center, still wearing his crown and in his dueling costume that looked so fetching. It was a body-fitting, long-sleeved dark top tucked into white tights and athletic slippers. He stopped with Ned in front of him. Both had epees.

Prince Engler lifted his lightweight, silver crown from his head, freeing his white-blond, uncombed hair and handed it to Humberline, his personal bodyguard cum orderly and spoke his lines, “Take care of this, Humberline. I’ll want this back in just a moment.” He said the words with a conviction bordering on contempt. Then he turned to Gorf, a feral smile on his face. “Any time you’re ready, sir,” he said. He showed no nerves or fears as he faced his possible demise.

They both raised their swords at a forty-five-degree angle and touched them. That was when I panicked.

Their dueling epees were real, but they had rubber safety guards on their tips. Those were the same color as the blades and couldn’t be seen from the audience, but they kept the epees from being able to penetrate anything. When I looked, I saw that Gorf’s blade was missing the safety tip.

I looked at his face. He was supposed to be wearing a sneering, avaricious, evil grin. What I saw looked nothing like that at all. He looked pale under his makeup, and his eyes were glassy. There was an intensity in him I’d never seen before.

The duel had been choreographed and practiced over and over. I was behind several other actors on the stage, and I began frantically pushing my way through. As I did, I saw the duel begin, and it was nothing like what had been choreographed. I saw the look on Evan’s face when he realized that Ned was entirely out of character. This was an actual duel! This was real.

Ned was older, larger and stronger than Evan, and Evan was now obviously scared and unprepared. I fought through the last of the kids in front of me and saw Ned swing his epee hard enough to knock the sword from Evan’s hand before pulling his blade back, preparing for the coup de grâce. I charged forward and into Evan, facing him, covering his body with mine, wrapping my arms around him to hold him from harm.

I felt a sting in my back, and then there was pandemonium. I held Evan tightly, and then he was holding me. I shivered and dropped to my knees, bringing Evan with me. I managed to look behind me and saw Ned down flat on the stage with two boys on top of him and several others surrounding him, one holding Ned’s epee. Ned was screaming and trying to move the boys off of him. They weren’t budging. Then Mr. Montgomery was there. Ned was big, but Mr. Montgomery was considerably bigger. He had the boys on top of Ned get off but had them both hold Ned’s arms, and Mr. Montgomery then enlisted four more seniors to march Ned off to the detention room and stay with him while the disciplinary officer was collected.

“He’s hurt,” Evan yelled, and then I was surrounded. Donnie and Ted—Ted was a dresser for the extras, like me—started removing my clothes, first the tunic, then the vest. With that off, they could see my bloody tee shirt. They removed that and saw a small wound in my back. It was no longer bleeding. It barely hurt at this point, less than a bee sting.

“The mail vest saved him,” Donnie said. Evan looked like he was ready to cry, and I couldn’t have that. Not in front of the entire cast.

“I’m okay,” I said, pushing my way to my feet, then giving a hand to Evan and pulling him up, too. “I don’t think the stab went in more than a quarter inch. It stung at first and shocked me, but it’s nothing, really.”

Mr. Montgomery took over then. He gathered the cast and asked if the play should go on. We all demanded that it should.

The dress rehearsal would go on as planned as well. Ned’s understudy was Jameson Poaster, a senior who was a practiced actor and had filled in for Ned in many of the rehearsals. He knew the part and would be fine in the role, even the duel. Mr. Montgomery asked Evan if he was all right, if he wanted to continue, and if he was okay with the duel. Evan looked at me, then smiled. He told Mr. Montgomery he was okay to go on. The entire cast cheered!

The dress rehearsal killed! I probably shouldn’t use that word, but it was on my mind. It was splendid. But ‘killed’ is more evocative. Everyone had been startled by Ned’s behavior, but it merely added an edge to the rehearsal. I didn’t act. My part wasn’t necessary, and I’d only been included on stage because everyone was. I did my duties as stage manager after Mr. Montgomery had satisfied himself I could go on. All I needed was a small bandage.

The dress complete, Mr. Montgomery had a few words for us. “You all were fantastic, real troupers. We’ll go on as scheduled tomorrow evening. Get a good night’s rest. This has been a difficult day, but we’ve come through it.

“I just checked. Ned won’t be with us any longer. He’s withdrawn from the school and has already left. He said he only wanted to give Evan a scare, not really hurt him badly. Anyway, he’s gone. We’ll do fine with Jameson in his stead. Anyone have any comments? No? Then all be here tomorrow. Seven o’clock call.”

Scene break

Evan and I were in our room. He kept worrying about my back. “I can’t even feel it,” I said for the fourth time. “I may be slightly stiff back there tomorrow, but it’s nothing. The vest stopped it. What I don’t know is why Ned was trying to stab you.”

“I think I might know,” Evan said. He sat on his bed, then got up and sat on mine, turned so he could look at me. “Yesterday, I was talking to Donnie, and the door of the dressing room wasn’t all the way closed. Donnie was disappointed that I wouldn’t make out with him. He told me he wanted to so bad it was killing him. I told him I could just be his friend. That there could be no sex between us. Well, he got even sadder than he’d been, and I gave in.”

When he said that, I jerked more upright. “Gave in?”

He shook his head. “He was so sad, and so I told him if he wanted, I could pretend, just for right then and never again, to be his boyfriend. That it was for pretend and wouldn’t be much, no sex, but he’d have a moment. Donnie nodded and said that would be better than nothing, and he understood it was just play-acting for right there and then. So he said, ‘Evan, I love you. Please kiss me.’ And I replied in a deeper than usual voice, ‘Donnie, you’re the hottest guy at school. I want to get in your pants so bad it hurts. I’ve had a horrible time keeping my hands off you. I didn’t know you felt this way. Yes! Yes, I’ll kiss you.’ Then I got up and went over to him and gave him a quick, really quick, peck on the cheek.

“That was all. I left the dressing room then. Donnie was hard. He didn’t even try to hide it. I’m pretty sure he wanted to get off thinking about me kissing him, so I left. When I did, though, I saw Ned walking away from the dressing room. The door had been ajar a crack. I think he heard just the last part of what was said, the part where I said I wanted to get into Donnie’s pants. Not the part that it wouldn’t be real. What if he heard and believed the fake part?”

“So what?” I asked, not understanding. “So you liked Donnie. Why would that upset Ned? What? You think he likes you and is jealous of Donnie? Why stab you for that?”

Evan shook his head and gave me an exasperated look. “No, idiot! He likes Donnie, not me. They’re a couple! If he heard what I just said, he’d think I was stealing Donnie from him.”

He shook his head. “Donnie can look all gooey-eyed when speaking about me; I saw that happen once when he was talking to Carl. Ned may have seen it a time or two, also. Ned was sure to think he was about to lose his boyfriend if he heard what I think he might have.”

I smiled. “I understand. And I understand Donnie. I think he and the rest of the cast are all in love with you.”

It was almost bedtime. We stripped to our boxers. Both of us slept nude, but we’d tacitly gotten used to being in only our boxers when we weren’t ready to climb into bed yet. It was easier that way for me, my modesty secured from him, even if wearing only boxers made it obvious when my mind was on something other than studying.

“You’ve gotten good at fending off your amours,” I said as I finished throwing the rest of my clothes in my hamper. “You’ve gotten better at a lot of things.”

I think Evan heard something in my voice, something I’d been trying desperately to hide for months.

He gave me a look that melted my heart and stiffened my main part all at the same time. “Yeah, a lot of guys. But I’m not in love with any of them,” he said. He was staring into my eyes with a strength and conviction I wasn’t accustomed to seeing.

“Oh?” I asked. My heart was suddenly beating in alla breve time.

He looked down. As I was in my boxers and nothing else, my condition was obvious.

“They weren’t the only ones wanting me. But there was one, only one, who protected me, worried about me, was there for me all the time he could be. Who tried to save my life with no regard for his own. That he cared for me was obvious, so obvious it was luminous. Remember what we said about what we both needed in a partner?”

“Sorta. Remind me.” My voice sounded strangled even to me.

“That what we felt couldn’t be trivial. That I needed to care for him as much as he cared for me. That was what you told me our first day together. I still feel that way, still have that need, and I think you do, too.”

His eyes never left mine as he moved toward me. They were huge and deep, and I was lost. “You’re the one I care about; you’re the one who cares about me.”

He took me in his arms and kissed me, softly on the lips, then again, and then again, short kisses but to me, explosive and mind-shattering. I think my legs gave out because suddenly I was on my back on my bed and he was on top of me.

He was as hard as I was. With only two thin pieces of cloth separating us, his shorts and mine, it was easy to tell. He kept going with the quick, soft flickering kisses, and then started moving his hips.

There didn’t seem to be enough air in the room; I think I was sucking down most of it. Maybe that was why he was gasping like I was. Both of us, gasping and writhing, and then, suddenly, he stopped, raising his lips from mine.

“No picket fence then?” he asked in a voice I’d never heard before.

“Maybe. But don’t think you’ll get a room all to yourself!” I answered somehow, surprised I could talk intelligibly at all. I’d been longing for this, aching for it, for months. Now it was happening, and talking was irrelevant.

His lips were back on mine almost before I finished. Then we were both back at it, and I couldn’t imagine anything better than this. The writhing resumed. We were all over each other now, our sweat making sliding easy. Then almost unconsciously our boxers were gone, magically gone, and—

Crestline Prep has a motto that appears in all its literature. It comes right after the school’s name on all printed materials: Crestline Prep — Where young boys become gentlemen and scholars.

It was true. We were given lessons in gentlemanly behavior, proper comportment. One of the tenets that was pounded into us was, a gentleman must maintain propriety; his dignity; a gentleman never tells. And so this narrative must end here, with two boys, two passionate boys, almost-naked passionate boys, approaching the point where, for its narrator to be a gentleman, this tale cannot proceed.

But it isn’t necessary to. You do understand what ensued, I’m sure.

Yeah. That.

\\ THE END //

A big shout-out to my editing crew. Marvelous job as always.

Please contribute to this site. It is a resource that we need to keep our sanity in check in the parlous times. Your help is greatly appreciated.