Someday Out Of the Blue

By LittleBuddhaTW


Special thanks to Kitty (PiscesRising) from for editing!





"Boys, we need to talk," Maggie said, as she placed her fork down next to her plate after finishing off the meat loaf I had made for dinner. Yes, I could cook. Aren't all good little gay boys supposed to be able to do that?

But the tone in Maggie's voice was not a positive one, and a million terrible thoughts started racing through my mind. Ryan and I were supposed to be leaving for Las Vegas in a week. Had she suddenly changed her mind about letting two sixteen year olds go to Las Vegas on their own? Was there a problem with Social Services? Was I going to be sent somewhere else now? Were Ryan's grades falling and he hadn't told me, and now I was going to have to sleep in my own bed?

I had made a lot of progress with some of my issues over the past month, but my tendency to worry about everything and always dwell on worst case scenarios was one that I had yet to get over.

"What is it, Ma?" Ryan asked, shoveling another bite of mashed potatoes into his mouth.

"Toby's leukemia has come back," she said.

Ryan's fork stopped dead cold, halfway between his plate and his mouth, as he looked back and forth between Maggie and a pale-looking Toby. Needless to say, I had lost my appetite as soon as she said, "Boys, we need to talk." But this was definitely not good. In fact, this was worse than all of the worst case scenarios I had quickly dreamed up. My mind suddenly raced back to that day at the Christmas tree lot, when Maggie had told me that Toby had leukemia as a child. But she'd said he'd gotten over it, so I'd never thought of it again.

"When did you find out?" Ryan asked, his voice surprisingly calm. I had about a million questions I wanted to ask, but I suddenly felt like my heart had sunk down into the pit of my stomach and there was something wedged in my throat, preventing anything from coming out.

How could Ryan -- and Maggie, for that matter -- stay so calm at a time like this?! Hello?!?! Toby ... leukemia ... BAD!!!

"I'm sure you boys have noticed that Toby hasn't been feeling well for the past few weeks. On the day he stayed home from school last week, I took him to the hospital to have some tests, just to be sure, and we got the results back today," Maggie replied. She was obviously trying to sound calm, but I could still sense the concern in her voice.

"Is he gonna be okay?" I asked, finally finding my voice again.

"You know, you all don't have to talk about me like I'm not even here," Toby jumped in, not sounding too amused.

There you go again with your big mouth, Connor!

"I'm sorry, Toby," I said sheepishly.

"It's alright," he sighed. "But it's not like I'm only eight years old this time. I'm a big boy now, and I can handle it."

"He beat it last time, boys," Maggie interjected. "So he has a good chance of beating it again. And he'll have the best medical care available. His oncologist, Dr. Myers, is excellent."

"Yeah, don't worry about it, babe," Ryan said, putting his arm around my shoulder. "Toby's a tough kid. He'll just be grouchy when he's on the chemo. But since he's a pain in the ass anyway, I guess nothing will really change."

Toby gave Ryan the finger after that remark, and Ryan responded by blowing him a kiss. I didn't see how they could be joking around at a time like this, though. I seemed to be the most upset out of all of us, and I wasn't even the one with leukemia! I didn't know what I would do if we lost Toby. I would probably be just as traumatized as if I'd lost Ryan. That's how much I loved Toby. They had both become inseparable parts of my life.

"What exactly is leukemia?" I asked. "I mean, I know it's a kind of cancer, but I don't really know what it's like."

"There are different kinds of leukemia. I've got what is called Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia," Toby explained, sounding very clinical. "It's a cancer of the bone marrow and blood, and depending on the type, it can progress either rapidly or slowly. It causes immature cells to build up, which prevents the marrow from producing enough red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets. The lack of white blood cells makes it harder for the body to fight infections, and the decreased platelets causes bruising and easy bleeding."

"Jesus," I sighed. That sounded serious. "How serious is the kind that you have?"

"Since it's 'acute,' it means it progresses very rapidly," Maggie interrupted. "Which means that we have to start treating it soon, and aggressively. It's more common in children and young adults. Chemotherapy is the most effective treatment, and although it works well, the treatment can be just as hard, or harder, on the patient than the disease itself."

"What do you mean?" I asked, getting more and more worried by the second.

"It means that Toby may be very sick after his treatments. We'll try to schedule them for Fridays or the weekends, so hopefully after having a couple of days to recover, he won't have to miss too much school. It's hard to say how the body will react to the treatment, though. Each patient is different. He'll start his treatment on the Saturday of the Spring Fair."

"He'll probably go bald, too," Ryan chuckled. I didn't find that very funny, though, and apparently neither did Toby, who just glared at his brother. As mature as Ryan was, I was getting a little miffed at his attitude. Toby was his younger brother, so he should at least be as worried as I was. But then again, they'd all been through this before, and I hadn't. I honestly didn't know what to think.

"Hair loss is a possibility," Maggie explained. "But it doesn't happen in all patients. So we'll just have to wait and see."

"You're gonna be okay, right?" I asked Toby.

"Probably," he said, shrugging. "Don't worry about it, Connor."

I couldn't help worrying about it, though. Toby was my new brother, and I loved him more than life itself. I couldn't stand the thought of him getting sick like that, and the thought of him possibly dying was even worse. Like most people, as soon as I heard the word "cancer," I immediately thought that it was basically a death sentence.

After our little family meeting, Ryan went to his room to work on his homework, and I followed Toby to his room. If he was going to be sick, I wanted to spend as much time with him as possible. I had been starting to get over my clinginess with him that began after the dream, but now I felt that over-protective feeling coming back.

"Do you mind if I hang out with you for a while?" I asked him, once we got to his room.

"You know you don't have to ask that, Connor," he said, rolling his eyes. "I always love it when you spend time with me."

"Are you really gonna be okay?" I asked.

Toby walked over and wrapped his arms around me.

"Connor, I just got a new older brother, and I'm not ready to leave him just yet," he said, rubbing my back. I felt a little better after that, but I knew that I would be worrying about this for a long time to come.

After our little bonding moment, Toby sat me down and finally convinced me to try out his Playstation 2. Needless to say, even with his expert instruction, I sucked. Video games were definitely not for me. But I didn't care that I actually hated playing them. At that moment, I would have done anything just to be with Toby right now.

Eventually, I went back to Ryan's room to go to bed, but I had a difficult time falling asleep. I wasn't in the mood for sex, either. I was too worried about Toby and about what would happen if he was suddenly gone from our lives. Not only how it would affect me, but how it would affect the whole family. The boys had lost their father only two years ago, so what would happen to Ryan and Maggie if they lost Toby now? It was a terrifying thought. Apparently, Ryan could sense my anxiety.

"He's really gonna be okay, babe," he said softly, as we lay there on the bed, with me tossing and turning.

"How do you know that?" I asked. "You heard what your mom said about how serious it is. How can you seem so ... I dunno ... fine with everything?"

"We've been through this with him before, Connor," he said. "And he was fine. He'll be fine this time, too. These things can come back. Just act like everything's normal. Treat him the same way you always have. It's really not a big deal. Toby's not going to die."

I wanted to believe him, but it still bothered me that he seemed so calm about all of this. Even Maggie seemed to get a bit emotional as she announced the news to us. But Ryan's reaction made it seem like Toby's leukemia was just some kind of ordinary, everyday occurrence. I knew how much he loved and doted on Toby. How could he act like this when his brother had a potentially fatal disease? I really didn't get it, and it bothered me ... a lot. I thought I knew Ryan pretty well, but his response to all of this was the opposite of what I would have expected. And to be honest, it made me feel a little uncomfortable. It wasn't right.

The next morning at breakfast, I had an announcement to make. I'd thought it over long and hard the night before when I wasn't able to sleep, and I felt it was a good decision.

"I don't think Ryan and I should go to Las Vegas next week," I said, trying my best to hide my disappointment at giving up on seeing my hero live in concert.

"Why on earth would you think that?" Maggie asked, not sounding too happy. That threw me off-guard.

"Ummm ... I ... uhhh ... I just think we should be here for Toby," I stammered.

"Toby doesn't even start his treatment until after you guys get back. He'll be perfectly fine, and there's nothing you can do for him sitting around here," Maggie said. "You boys have been through a lot. Especially you, Connor. You need a little time away, and you're going. No arguments."

I still didn't like the idea of going off and having fun in Las Vegas while Toby was stuck at home all alone, having to face this whole cancer thing all by himself. But I knew that Maggie wasn't going to budge. Personally, I surprised myself, being willing to give up going to see Elton John to support Toby, but that's how much he meant to me.

Apparently, Ryan wasn't too happy with my little announcement that morning, either, because he approached me later that afternoon.

"Connor, what has gotten into you?" he asked, sounding annoyed.

"What're you talking about?" I retorted. I had a feeling that this was on its way to becoming our first fight, and I didn't like the thought of that.

"You seem like you're more concerned about Toby right now than our own relationship. You've been hanging all over him ever since the beginning of February, and you're freaking out about this when I already told you there is absolutely nothing to worry about," he said, sounding exasperated.

"I just want to be there for him," I reasoned.

"Well, I'm his brother. I'll take care of him, so just drop it, or you're going to ruin our vacation," he said, sounding more and more perturbed. That didn't sound like the Ryan I knew, and it was unsettling, to say the least.

I really didn't want this little disagreement to escalate any further, though. I hated confrontation. So I reluctantly agreed that I'd try to forget about it and enjoy our trip. And I was sure that once I got to Las Vegas and was sitting up in the front row, watching Elton John tear up the piano, I'd be in a much better mood. I just hoped I hadn't already damaged things too much with Ryan.

Fortunately, by that night, he seemed to be back to normal, and we resumed our usual snuggling in bed. He was right, though. There wasn't anything I could do about Toby now, anyway. I honestly wouldn't have minded skipping the concert to be there for him, but I didn't want to disappoint Ryan, either. He was my boyfriend, and even though I loved Toby, too, I had to remember not to ignore Ryan's feelings. Right? I didn't want him to feel like I cared more about Toby than him.

There had always been a bit of tension there, lying beneath the surface, ever since that night when Ryan walked in on Toby and me kissing. Maybe this was somehow a part of that.



"Passengers, please fasten your seat belts and return your tray tables to their upright and locked positions ..."

I had actually been looking forward to my first-ever trip on an airplane. The take-off was really exciting, but unfortunately, that's about all I got to experience, having fallen asleep shortly after we'd gotten in the air. That was probably due to the fact that I had woken up at five in the morning so we could be at the airport on time to catch the plane. I didn't see why we had to take such an early flight to Las Vegas. But then again, the earlier we arrived, the more time we'd have to do stuff.

After a short cab ride from the airport, we arrived at our hotel, a Holiday Inn. I guess most people would think of the Holiday Inn as a pretty crappy hotel, especially compared with all of the luxury hotels in Vegas. But the Las Vegas Holiday Inn was pretty nice. Ryan had wanted to stay in one of the nice casino hotels, but I didn't really see the point, since we couldn't go into the casinos anyway. He seemed to think the Holiday Inn wasn't good enough for our "special trip," but he hadn't been forced to stay in some of the shitty motels I had over the years with my mother. So, to me, the Holiday Inn was like paradise. It really threw me off balance to see him acting so cranky about something so insignificant. It wasn't like we'd be spending much time in the hotel, anyway.

Once we'd checked in (fortunately, Maggie had reserved the room ahead of time with her credit card, so we didn't run into any problems with being only sixteen years old), we decided to get a late breakfast at a little diner we had spotted down the street, and then go out to do some sightseeing and shopping. Our first stop was the Liberace Museum, which I just had to see, with its collection of Liberace's garish, over-the-top stage outfits, his unique collection of pianos, and other artifacts. I'm not sure Ryan was that interested, but I was fascinated by all of it.

There were a bunch of other places to go as well, but since the show was that night, we didn't want to get too tired out. So after a quick lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe -- where I got to see more rock & roll memorabilia than I had ever dreamed possible in one place -- we just decided to walk around downtown Las Vegas and check out all of the beautiful hotels and casinos and do some shopping. I could have spent a fortune on clothes and useless souvenirs, but Ryan made sure my wallet stayed firmly planted in my pocket, which was probably a good thing. I wasn't used to having money, and now that I had some, I wanted to spend it. But I had to keep reminding myself that it wasn't really all that much money, and I needed to save. Plus, gas prices had been going up, and I had to have emergency funds in case anything happened to my car.

At about six-thirty, we headed over to Caesar's Palace, and I was thrilled to find that they had an entire shop filled with Elton John merchandise. They had almost every kind of Elton John memorabilia you could possibly think of, and I felt like a little kid in a candy store. I could have hung out there for hours on end, just running my fingers over everything. But after I'd bought a few cool things to put in my bedroom, Ryan had to drag me out of there so we could get to our seats on time. Did I mention already that we were sitting in the front row?!?!

The show itself was even more incredible, more over-the-top than I could have possibly imagined, and far different from his typical concerts. It was done in true Las Vegas style. Elton John was filling in at the 4,100 seat venue at Caesar's Palace when Celine Dion (whom I detested with a passion) wasn't performing there. Long gone were the days of Elton John's garish and gaudy costumes, from impersonations of Mozart, Tina Turner, and Donald Duck, to South American generalissimo uniforms and tuxedos with Boater hats. Instead, he opted for a plain black Versace suit, trimmed with multi-colored sashes, plain black sunglasses, and a simple diamond stud in his right ear (which I was more than positive was real).

Apparently, he didn't want his outfit to distract from the incredible props covering the stage, which included enormous inflatable bananas, cherries, cigarette butts, ice cream cones, hot dogs, and even a giant pair of inflated female breasts, mammaries which easily outsized any of the other stage props. And right smack in the middle of this bonanza of lights, sounds, and sights that overwhelmed all of the senses, was Elton John himself, seated at his striking red Yamaha concert grand piano.

"The Red Piano" show was a wild pop-art spectacle, designed by the famous photographer David LaChapelle, filling the stage with neon dollar signs and X-rated marquees. The massive LED screen at the back of the stage flashed with images of Las Vegas, seventies porn in full-action, and images spanning the course of Elton's long career.

Elton began his hour and a half setlist with a bang, pounding out the classic "Bennie and the Jets," then greeted the fans by saying, "Welcome to the Colosseum ... the home of Celine Dion ... but not tonight!" He then tore through a string of his greatest hits, including the soulful "Philadelphia Freedom," "Believe," "Daniel," "Rocket Man," "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues," "Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word," "Tiny Dancer," "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," and "Candle in the Wind" (complete with a video extravaganza of Marilyn Monroe images). Each of the songs were accompanied by their own video shows on the large LED screen. Some were raunchy and risqué, while others were poignant and touching. But overall, the effect was quite campy.

As soon as he finished "Candle in the Wind," a large pinball dropped from the ceiling, along with hundreds and hundreds of balloons and tons of confetti, and a pre-recorded electronic-rock intro began, leading into the classic "Pinball Wizard." That was immediately followed by a hard-rocking rendition of "The Bitch is Back" (featuring a video of a naked Pamela Anderson doing a sultry pole dance), the up-beat "I'm Still Standing," and then on to the raucous rocker "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)." The excitement in the air that night as Elton totally rocked out on stage was palpable. And feeling the electricity that filled the arena, seeing how he had the entire audience eating out of his hand, made me realize how much of an amateur I really was compared to him.

The crowd was on their feet the whole time, screaming their heads off, and Ryan and I were lucky enough to manage to get a handshake from the Man himself as he made his rounds of the front row, signing autographs, shaking hands, and accepting gifts. He stopped long enough in front of Ryan and me to see that we were holding hands, and gave us a big smile and a wink! He was so close that I could smell the Versace cologne that he was wearing. That moment right there was the highlight of the whole show for me.

As Elton exited the stage, the stagehands removed many of the props that were strewn everywhere and replaced them with large, red inflatable letters spread out across the stage that spelled "L-O-V-E." At the same time, clips were playing of some of Elton's greatest performances over the years, including his famous 1973 show at the Hollywood Bowl; the Elton John Week in L.A. in 1975, capped off by his incredible show at Dodger's Stadium; as well as his amazing free concert in Central Park in 1980 when he dressed up as Donald Duck.

Elton then returned to the stage in a new outfit and thanked everyone for coming and supporting him for all these years. He then dedicated his final song to everyone in the room that night who was in love, and I couldn't miss his unmistakable wink toward Ryan and me as he started in on his trademark ballad, "Your Song."

As soon as he finished the last chords of "Your Song," Elton said a final "thank you" to the audience and was off the stage in a flash. Ryan and I just sat there in stunned silence, trying to come down from the spectacular journey we had been taken on. Ryan may have thought I was good, but I was glad that he had the chance to see what a true rock and roll legend could do. Elton had a charisma about him that could just leave an audience absolutely spellbound. And that was the effect he had on us that night. There were literally no words to describe how incredible it had been. One of my dreams had been fulfilled. But there was still one more dream that I hoped to have fulfilled that night when we got back to our hotel, and since Ryan seemed to be in a much better mood after the concert, I figured tonight would be the perfect time.

But as we walked into the hotel and passed the bar, I heard the unmistakable sounds of a piano being played, and the noises of a packed room. Being so wired after just coming back from the concert, I couldn't resist. So I asked Ryan to come in with me for a minute, and I walked right over to the guy playing the piano and asked if I could cut in for a couple minutes. He seemed happy to have a break, and I was giddy at the thought of actually "performing" in Las Vegas ... even if it was just at the bar in the lobby of a Holiday Inn.

Most people would probably be terrified of sitting down in a room full of complete strangers and performing. It didn't bother me at all. In fact, it was one of the few things that actually made me calm. It was rather odd, because the thought of having to interact with people I didn't know, much less actually talk to them, was frightening. And I didn't like people to notice me, either. I had always preferred to melt into the background. But there was something different about sitting behind a piano that cast away all of the fears and doubt.

As I sat down at the black Steinway baby grand piano -- the first time in a long time that I hadn't played on a digital piano -- and adjusted the microphone, I took a quick glance around the crowded bar, noticing the slightly perplexed faces of the customers, who were no doubt wondering what some random teenager was doing there. But I was going to show them, and I had the perfect song to play -- Elton John's "Holiday Inn," an upbeat, folksy number about life on the road. It was a relatively short song, with a really great chorus.

Slow down Joe, I'm a rock and roll man
I've twiddled my thumbs in a dozen odd bands
And you ain't seen nothing till you've been
In a motel, baby, like the Holiday Inn ...

The applause from the audience was also mixed with a tinge of laughter at the reference to the hotel where we were all staying. It was a good feeling, but I hadn't come here to put on a concert, just to fool around on the piano for a few minutes. So after thanking the house piano player, I made my way back out of the bar, with Ryan in tow. There was more important business to attend to this evening.

Despite the bottle of sparkling grape juice that Ryan had ordered from room service, and the romantic atmosphere cast by the candles and incense that he had lit around the room, nervousness was what I was feeling when I found myself lying naked on the bed next to Ryan, with him holding a tube of K-Y Jelly that we had bought at a drugstore we found while we were out shopping that day.

"Are you sure you're ready for this, babe?" he asked.

"Yeah, I'm sure," I replied, hoping I sounded more confident than I actually felt.

But I needed to do this. I wasn't going to let what happened to me keep me from being able to love my boyfriend. I had mentioned my plan to Dr. Frazier shortly before the trip, and although he thought that it still might be a little too soon, I was determined to go through with it. It was my body, after all.

As I lay on my back, with my legs spread apart and knees pulled up to my chest, I prepared myself for the inevitable. But instead of jumping right into the main event, Ryan started off by gently lapping at my nearly hairless balls, while his hands rubbed my chest and his fingers teased my erect nipples. He then moved down to my hole and proceeded to feast hungrily, driving me into an absolute frenzy as his tongue probed deeper and deeper.

After a good fifteen minutes of giving me perhaps the best ass-licking of my life, Ryan sat up again, and I watched intently as he carefully unscrewed the cap of the lubricant and squeezed a generous amount into the palm of his hand. He then smeared it all over his already hard dick, before squeezing some more onto his index finger and rubbing it around my hole. I winced slightly as his finger slowly entered me, but as soon as he touched that magical spot inside of me, the pain and fear were quickly replaced by pleasure.

He worked his finger in my ass slowly for several minutes, and I focused on controlling my breathing, something that I'd learned when Cody had taught me about meditation.

If only Cody could see how I was applying his lesson now!
I thought to myself.

He then worked a second finger into my hole and continued his ministrations for a while longer. When I felt like I was ready, I nodded to Ryan, and watched with anticipation as he kneeled between my legs and aimed his thick cock at my hole. His expression was focused, with his tongue sticking slightly out of his mouth, just like when he was doing his homework. It was definitely cute.

I winced slightly again as I felt the large head of his cock make contact with my hole and begin pressing against me, but I kept focusing on my breathing, waiting for the inevitable. He pushed again harder ... but nothing happened. He tried one more time, wincing a little himself, but still nothing. It wouldn't go in.

"It won't go in, babe," he said gently. "You're too tight."

Shit! This definitely wasn't working like I had seen in the porn we had watched together on Ryan's computer. I'd seen guys with much bigger dicks than Ryan fucking guys smaller than me. How could it not go in?

"Try again, and push harder," I urged him.

"I don't wanna hurt you, babe," he said.

"Well, it's gonna hurt no matter what," I retorted. "Just try again, and I'll try pushing out at the same time, like it said on that website."

With that, I felt the head of his cock pressing against my hole once again, and I pushed out like I was trying to take a dump. After about thirty seconds of straining on both our parts, the head finally popped in, and I yelped in pain.

"Babe, are you okay?" Ryan asked.

"Yeah, just don't move for a second," I told him, trying my best to hold back the tears. I was going to go through with this, but it hurt, dammit!

After several moments, I nodded at Ryan to continue, and he began to press in again slowly. I felt a searing pain shooting through my entire ass as he inched deeper and deeper. I thought my whole body was going to split in half, and was starting to wonder if I could really do this.

"It's about halfway in, babe," he said, looking at me worriedly.

"Just hold it for a minute," I said through gritted teeth. Goddamn motherfucking sonofabitch, it hurt!

Finally, the pain began to subside, and I told Ryan to move in further. I eventually felt his pubic hair brushing against my balls and knew he was all the way in. I did it! I really did it! The pain was getting less and less, and I urged him to go on. As he pulled out slowly and then pushed back in, I felt the most intense sensation of pleasure shoot up the length of my spine, and a loud moan escaped my lips. What I had expected to be a slightly uncomfortable experience at best was beginning to feel incredible.

I wrapped my legs around Ryan's waist and put my hands on the back of his neck, pulling him down to kiss me, as he continued moving slowly in and out of me. As our tongues danced together, I moved my right hand down to cup his ass, urging him to thrust faster and harder. As he began to quicken the pace, I found that my hips were involuntarily bucking upwards to meet his thrusts, as I tried to shove my tongue as far into his mouth as possible. Fortunately, the kissing helped to stifle my loud moans, otherwise the people staying next door would undoubtedly have heard me.

Needless to say, being sixteen-year-old boys, our stamina wasn't very good. Within minutes, I felt Ryan's body began to tense up, and I knew from the way he was furrowing his eyebrows that he was close to cumming. I reached down and started rapidly jacking off. I then felt his entire body convulse and could feel his hot cum shooting against the walls of my ass, deep inside. The thought of that alone was enough to drive me over the edge, and I soon felt my ass clamping down involuntarily on his cock, eliciting a deep moan from Ryan, and shot my own load all over my chest.

Totally spent, Ryan collapsed on top of me, and we just lay there, trying to catch our breath, his cock still buried deep inside of me. I had never imagined that making love could feel that incredible. Not just the physical sensations, but the emotional ones as well. It felt like he was showing me he loved me with every inch of his body. It was more meaningful than words could ever convey. My whole body was trembling in the aftermath, and I just felt ... quivery. I felt like I wanted to cry, the emotions were just so intense. But I thought that might be a little too wussy, so I forced myself to hold it back. The thing that surprised me the most, though, was that I hadn't freaked out at all! Sure, it hurt like hell at first, and was a bit awkward, but I didn't have a panic attack or anything.

Eventually, as our breathing returned to normal, Ryan pulled out of me, and I suddenly felt empty. I would have preferred him to stay inside of me, but I supposed all good things must come to an end. After kissing me softly on the forehead, he went into the bathroom to clean up, and I just lay there, basking in the afterglow. If I'd had a cigarette then, I probably would have smoked it. I just felt so ... WOW! And the thought that there were millions of little Ryans swimming around inside of me right then made my heart flutter. It was like he was a permanent part of me now. I was probably overanalyzing things, or maybe just being overly sentimental, but I didn't care at that moment. I was in heaven.

After returning from the bathroom with some tissues to wipe the excess lubricant off my ass for me, Ryan climbed into bed and we snuggled up closely. My whole body was still trembling.

"Are you okay, babe?" he asked.

"Yeah ... I mean ... I'm better than okay ... that was so ... wow ...," I stuttered like an idiot.

"No bad feelings or anything?" he prodded gently.

"No, I felt fine. My shrink said it might be too soon, but it felt perfect," I cooed, wrapping my arms even more tightly around him.

"You can be on top next time," he said.

"Not unless you really want to," I replied, running my fingers across his smooth chest. "I mean, I really liked it that way. I liked feeling you inside of me. I guess that makes me a bottom."

He chuckled. "Whatever you want, babe. It felt really nice being inside of you. I never imagined it could be that way. I'm really glad that you're the one I lost my virginity to."

His comment about "virginity" suddenly brought a not-too-pleasant thought into my mind. I wasn't exactly a virgin ... although not by choice.

"Ryan, do you think we should have used a condom?" I asked, feeling rather awkward. "I mean, you may have been a virgin, but ... you know ... I'm not."

Surprisingly, I wasn't so much ashamed that I wasn't a virgin ... I just didn't want Ryan to catch something from me, even though Maggie said that man had worn a condom when I was raped, and they'd given me an HIV test. But I knew from health class that there was something called a window period where HIV wouldn't be detectable in the body.

"I don't think we have to worry about HIV or anything, babe," Ryan said, brushing the hair away from my eyes. "I talked about it with my mom, and she told me that she'd also ordered something called a 'viral load test' while you were in the hospital. She said that it's much more accurate than the regular HIV tests. You'll still have to get a regular test in a few months to make sure, but it just didn't sound like there's going to be a problem. I'm not worried." He paused, looking a little embarrassed. "I guess we should have mentioned it to you, but my mom didn't want you to be worrying about it, with everything else going on."

I hadn't really been worried about HIV or anything until tonight. I guess it had slipped my mind. But now that I was thinking about it, I really wished we'd talked about it before. However, it was over and done with, and the important thing was that it seemed like I was safe, and so was Ryan. And we'd just had sex together for the first time, and I didn't freak out. That was enough to put me totally at ease. I ended up slept like a baby that night, melting completely into my lover's arms.

The next two days were pretty jam-packed with activities, such as a trip to the "Adventuredome" amusement park, which took up nearly half of our second day in Las Vegas, riding the roller coasters and other rides, eating over-priced food, and just walking around and enjoying the sights and sounds. I'd never been to an amusement park before, so it was quite an experience for me. Ryan told me that Cedar Rapids was a lot more fun, and promised to take me there over the summer.

On our third and final day, we hit the "Elvis-A-Rama Museum," where they had all kinds of cool Elvis Presley memorabilia, such as three of his cars, tons of jewelry he'd worn, clothing from movies he'd been in, and other personal artifacts. We also went to the "Shark Reef" and the "Guinness World Records Museum." By the time we got back to the hotel that evening, I was beat. Ryan and I hadn't made love since that first night, since I was feeling a little sore the day afterward, and tonight we were both dead tired. So after ordering a couple club sandwiches from room service for a late-night snack, we went right to bed, since we had a flight to catch the next morning to go back home.

I'd had an amazing time on the trip, and it really was nice to get away for a few days. I'd never had a proper vacation before, and as relaxed as I felt after those three days, I could tell that I'd definitely needed it. Ryan seemed to be in a good mood, too, so I hoped we wouldn't end up having any more disagreements like we'd had before the trip.

The flight back home was much like the flight to Las Vegas -- meaning I slept the whole way again. When we finally landed at the airport and got off the plane, I was ecstatic to see Maggie and Toby waiting for us. Toby looked very tired, but other than that, he seemed okay. Maggie also had a big smile on her face. As soon as I spotted them, I ran as fast as I could and practically jumped into Toby's arms. I'd missed him so much. Ryan took his time walking over to us, but he also gave Toby and his mom hugs, and put his arm around my shoulder as we walked out of the airport to go home.



It was a beautiful, clear, and slightly cool Saturday afternoon in April, but I was on edge, and the throngs of people at the school's Spring Fair did nothing to calm my nerves. It wasn't bad enough that I still couldn't deal with large groups of people, especially other teenagers. What made it even harder for me to get in the mood to perform was that Toby couldn't be there. Ryan had brought his camcorder so Toby could see my performance later (and this would actually be the first time I'd ever be able to see myself on tape), but I would rather have Toby be there himself ... and not sick. But I loved to perform. I lived for being up on that stage. So I would take it any way I could get it.

Today was Toby's first day of chemotherapy. And while I guessed that was good, since it was meant to help him, I knew it would also make him really sick. I was worried about how I would handle that. How was I supposed to take care of him? Would he even want me to? Would it upset me or gross me out if he was puking all the time and lost his hair? Worrying about that kind of stuff made me feel even worse about it, too, because I knew how insensitive that was. He was my "brother," after all, and I needed to love and support him, no matter what. Right?

But regardless of my mood and anxieties, I still had a show to do. And despite my dislike of getting involved in school activities, even I had to admit that this was for a good cause. The fear I saw in Mikey about his own coming out made me realize that our school having a GSA was important, so I would do my best to put on a great show. Mikey was there that day with his parents, and I'd noticed how uncomfortable he looked. He didn't come anywhere near the GSA booth or any of his friends from the club. It pissed me off that he had to live like that, and that just encouraged me to do an even better job. I would do this show for him.

Our GSA advisor, Miss Oh, had warned us of the possibility of some small protests from some parents and kids who had been opposed to the school's formation of the GSA. The most vocal had been the school's Young Christian Club, which had their own booth at the fair, where they were passing out booklets about the impending "Second Coming" and "family values" or some crap like that. Fortunately, however, none of that had materialized, perhaps because Officer Karen, the school's police liaison officer, had set herself up right by our booth. Even the most ardent of Christian fundamentalists would have been stupid to go up against her.

All of the various school clubs had set up their own booths with games and food for the fair. The GSA booth was handing out pamphlets on what GSA was all about, as well as information on other groups, such as PFLAG, for the parents of gay kids. They had also erected a wooden stage near the booth, and the "techie" kids, who usually did the lights and sound for the school musicals, had already set up the Kurzweil digital piano and hooked up the amplifiers and microphone. I wasn't going to be putting on a full concert, though, just playing a few songs of my choosing.

I had wanted to buy a new outfit for the performance, but Ryan had talked me out of it, saying that I couldn't buy new clothes for every performance I did, or I'd end up wasting all of my money. But ever since I'd been able to actually start wearing nicer things, I almost couldn't help myself when it came to clothes shopping. Fortunately, I had Ryan to keep me in check, and I ended up choosing to wear my black suit, silk magena shirt, a black Nehru hat, and pink tinted glasses with thick black frames. I had managed to buy a new earring, though -- a dangly, garish gold crucifix. I was kind of hoping that would piss off the Christian fundamentalists.

Promptly at three o'clock, Natalie, the president of the GSA, got up on stage to talk briefly about the GSA and introduce the performance. When she was finished with her little speech, I took my cue and walked up onto the stage to a reasonably loud round of applause, although nothing like what I had received at the talent show or my weekly performances at the pub. But people from all over the fair had gathered around, making for a pretty large audience, and it felt great to be on stage again. Ryan, Cody, the twins, Natalie, Tuwanda, and Delcondris were all right up front, and they were definitely the loudest members of the audience, hooting and whistling so much that I was feeling quite embarrassed.

I bowed briefly to the audience before sitting down at the digital piano and adjusting the microphone. I then dove right in to two classic rockers to get the audience riled up, "Mercury Blues" and Warren Zevon's "Lawyers, Guns and Money," followed by T. Rex's "Children of the Revolution," which allowed me to test out the upper limits of my vocal range. What I had originally envisioned as just a short performance was now turning into a full-fledged concert, with people singing along and clapping to the rhythm.

I also got to make good use of the Kurzweil's excellent synthesizer and MIDI effects. I had fallen in love with digital pianos for just that reason, being able to add a lot more to my solo performances, something I couldn't get out of a regular piano. To keep the crowd going, I then immediately started in on Billy Joel's "Stiletto," which I introduced by saying, "We still love you, Eleanor!" into the microphone, and making goofy faces at the crowd during the entire song. That earned a few chuckles from everyone.

After a polite round of applause from the audience, I moved on to some songs that were a bit more fitting for the occasion. I started with Melissa Etheridge's powerful and moving song, "Silent Legacy," which dealt with the fear, pain, and confusion of coming to terms with one's sexuality in a less than accepting society. It was my first time performing that song, and I had never even heard it before until about a week earlier, when Cody mentioned it to me. I had decided immediately that it would be perfect for the GSA performance. The angst-filled melody and lyrics captured what I imagined so many young gay people probably had to go through every day. And it was Mikey I was thinking about as I sang my heart out.

Your body is alive
But no one told you what you’d feel
The empty aching hours
Trying to conceal
The natural progression
Is the coming of your age
But they cover it with shame
And turn it into rage
And as you pray in your darkness
For wings to set you free
You are bound to your silent legacy

You are digging for the answers
Until your fingers bleed
To satisfy the hunger
To satiate the need
They feed you on the guilt
To keep you humble, keep you low
Some man and myth they made up
A thousand years ago
And as you pray in your darkness
For wings to set you free
You are bound to your silent legacy ...

I then moved on to Elton John's "American Triangle," a haunting tribute to Matthew Shepard, the young gay man who had been beaten to death in Wyoming, and then another Elton song, "The Ballad of the Boy in the Red Shoes," a moving song about AIDS in the early eighties, when the Reagan administration had failed to take the disease seriously, leading to an untold number of unnecessary deaths and creating a social stigma against HIV/AIDS that has existed until the present day. All three songs were very emotional, and I put everything I had into my piano playing and vocals, almost moving myself to tears a couple of times.

After another polite round of applause and a quick "thanks" to the audience, I started on my final two songs, Bob Dylan's gentle yet stirring "Love Minus Zero/No Limit" and John Lennon's "Imagine." Was the loving and peaceful Utopia that John Lennon sang about possible? I certainly hoped so. But as soon as I was finished with my performance, I quickly got my things together and headed home. I didn't want to hang around there any more, plus I wanted to see if Toby was home yet and find out how he was doing. I was going to learn how to do this whole "supportive" thing, with Mikey and Toby.

When I arrived back home, Maggie was in the kitchen fixing dinner, and told me that Toby was upstairs in his bedroom. I immediately headed upstairs to see him, and was a little stunned when I got to his room and saw how horrible he looked. He was covered in sweat, his complexion was very pale, he looked more exhausted than I'd ever seen him, and he'd obviously been throwing up, based on the pail that was placed next to his bed and the faint odor of vomit in the air.

"How are you feeling, Toby?" I asked, as I walked into his room.

"Not so hot," he replied hoarsely. "Actually, I feel like shit."

"Is there anything I can do for you?" I asked him.

"Just stay with me for a while," he replied. "I'm kinda lonely."

"Sure, bud. No problem," I said, walking over to the bed and sitting down next to him.

For the next couple hours, we just sat there and watched some DVDs, and I had to smack him on the back a few times as he puked into the pail, so that he wouldn't choke. He really was a mess, and I didn't know what to do to make him feel better. I also got him a cool washcloth to wipe him down with since he was sweating so much. It was kind of hard to imagine that the medicine that was supposed to cure him could actually make him even sicker.

Ryan stopped in briefly to say hi when he got home from the fair, but didn't stay long to chat. Cody came by that evening as well to see how Toby was feeling, but he didn't stay long either. I wondered if it was because it was difficult for him to see Toby that way, or because Toby wasn't really up to having visitors. But after Cody left, Toby asked me to come back and sit with him, which I gladly did. That was pretty much all I could do, though ... just sit there. He didn't feel like talking much, and I didn't know what to say anyway. I knew telling him something like "You'll be fine" would just sound empty and meaningless, because he obviously had a hard road ahead of him if he had to go through this every week for who knew how long.

Sunday was more of the same, with me spending most of the day in Toby's room, watching DVDs and just lying next to him on his bed, occasionally helping him out when he needed to throw up or wiping him down with a cool wash cloth. Maggie had to work, so I kind of felt like it was my responsibility to look out for him, and Ryan pretty much stayed in his room doing his homework and playing video games.

I was a little disturbed that Ryan didn't think it was necessary to help out with his brother. It's not like I minded doing it. I loved spending time with Toby and was happy to help in any way I could. But I couldn't understand how Ryan, who had always been so protective of Toby, suddenly seemed so withdrawn and distant at a time when his brother needed him the most. I didn't think it was right, but we'd gotten into an argument the last time I tried to bring it up, so I just decided to leave it alone.

When it came to how he acted toward me, though, nothing had changed. He was just as sweet and caring as ever, which made me even more confused. Was he jealous of Toby or something? Ryan knew that I loved him, and that Toby was just like a younger brother to me. We'd been through this before. But if he was upset about my doting over Toby while he was sick, I would have expected that he would act weird around me or something, but he didn't. It was all just really strange.

Fortunately, by Sunday evening, Toby seemed to be doing a bit better. Although Maggie suggested that he stay home from school on Monday, Toby insisted on going, since he said he had to learn to get used to it. I wished he would have stayed home, too, but it was his body, after all. Nevertheless, I promised Maggie that if he was having a tough time at school, I'd bring him right home. I didn't want him to get any sicker than he already was.

"Thanks for staying with me this weekend," Toby said that night before I headed off to bed.

"You don't have to thank me, Toby," I insisted. "You know I'd do anything for you. I love you, bud."

"I love you, too, Connor," he said with a smile.

Unfortunately, I wasn't so sure that love would be enough to cure Toby of the cancer that was eating away at his body. It was going to be a hard several months, and I was hoping that not only Toby would make it through all right, but that I would as well. But even though Ryan hadn't been very helpful or supportive so far -- which still completely baffled me -- at least I knew that Cody would be around, and I was certain that he would also be able to give Toby lots of tender loving care.




EDITOR'S NOTE: OK, guys and gals. This is a story. Ryan and Connor are story characters who are learning about life, and that includes making mistakes and learning how to do things in a relationship. In real life, please educate yourself about HIV and other STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and discuss things with your partner BEFORE you engage in any sexual activity. You are important, and your health is important. Don't let anybody else make decisions that affect your health for you. We'd like you to be around for a good long time! -- Kitty