Chapter One




WHEN MY dad unexpectedly barged into my bedroom that Friday night, he could not possibly have chosen a more inappropriate moment. What he walked in on was me and my best friend, Mark, going at it on top of my bed. One minute I was in heaven, lying on my back with Mark’s sweet lips on mine, his tongue exploring my mouth and mine his, his hard dick poking me through his jeans, his hands on my head and in my hair. It was just the two of us, alone in the dark quiet of my bedroom, and life was good.

Then suddenly the world exploded, and I think my heart stopped beating for a minute from the shock. With no warning, my bedroom door swung open, my dad called my name, the overhead light was turned on, and Dad was looking at us. The bulb in that overhead light had to be a thousand-watt bulb, because it felt as if we were under an intense searchlight, something a ship at sea would use when looking for something. I couldn’t remember it ever putting out so much light before. I was a prisoner in custody with the brightest of bright lights aimed my way so I had no hope of escape.

It was a toss-up as to who felt more surprised. Mark flew off first me and then the bed faster than seemed humanly possible. I heard him hit the wall. If the wall hadn’t been there, I’m sure he would have kept going. But he did connect with it, so there he stood. My first reaction in the split second after it happened was to miss those sweet lips and the feel of his dick against me. My own erection was rivaling Mark’s. I felt as if I could pound nails into a board with mine. But one look at my father’s eyes, as wide open as I could recall ever seeing them, and I quickly lost my erection. I didn’t check Mark, but I would have bet big money his was gone also.

I propped myself up on my elbows, quietly freaking out that we’d been caught. I really thought the world was ending. All my years of efforts to hide my sexuality were erased in an instant. Everything I’d tried to hide was no longer secret but now out there for the entire world to see. All the times Mark and I had held off doing or saying something for fear someone might see or hear us—all those times had been for nothing because it was all out there.

At least we were both dressed—mostly. I mean, we hadn’t been that stupid to get all naked and rut around like a couple of animals. Sure, we’d wanted to—desperately wanted to—but all we’d been doing was kissing. We’d waited until a time when we thought we were in the house all by ourselves, a time when everyone was finally out somewhere. We’d closed the door to my bedroom, and we’d been quiet. What was the big deal? All right, I’ll admit that my hands had found their way inside the back of Mark’s jeans. Maybe I’d loosened his belt first so I could cup his gorgeous ass. But that was all.

My eyes darted around the room. It was my bedroom. I recognized everything in it. I’d seen it all, touched it all, and moved every single thing in it around at some point or another. It was my room, and it was as familiar to me as anything was. But it was also all different now. Nothing had been moved, but nothing was familiar any longer.

It felt like an eternity that we were frozen in place. I lay there, Mark stood there, and my dad stood there, all of us staring at one another but no one speaking. What was I supposed to say anyway? Coming out was off the table now, since my dad had figured out I was gay by the way Mark lay on top of me, kissing me like there was no tomorrow. Maybe there wasn’t going to be a tomorrow.

I’m not sure why, but I had become surprisingly composed. I had absolutely zero reason to feel calm. I probably should still have been freaking as much as Mark, but for some inexplicable reason, all my panic had drained away. I just didn’t seem to be panicked. Whatever the reason for my composure, for the moment I was able to focus on the situation somewhat logically.

My dad had a commanding presence. He was not a big guy. He only stood about five-five in height and was fairly trim, so he did not present an imposing figure. But a lot of energy, opinion, and ego were packed into that small frame. I’d always thought of him as something like a Great Dane or a Doberman in the body of a Chihuahua. If he’d ever heard me say something like that, he probably would have threatened to kick my ass, but that was just one of the many things about me that he didn’t or shouldn’t know. And unfortunately that list was one item shorter now.

I got my height from him. Or should I say, I got my lack of height from him. Usually a kid looks somewhat like one parent or another in some obvious way. But I was a blending of my parents. I got my height from my dad. I got my hair color from my mom. She’s also the one who gave me my blue eyes. My trimness came from him, as did my nose, but my mom gave me my square jaw—my dad’s was more the typical V-shaped jawline.

For someone who was usually loud and boisterous, that evening my dad looked—I don’t know—blank, maybe? I couldn’t figure out what was going to happen because I couldn’t get a read on him. He just stood there and stared at us. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t us. He stared at me. Me. I was the focus of his attention. He wasn’t acting like himself in any way I’d ever seen.

I’d expected him to yell, rant, threaten, throw something, or punch something—probably me. Hell, I wished he’d done one of those things. Maybe not the punching part, but any of the rest. As I realized he wasn’t going to scream and shout, I started to get scared. Mouthy Dad I could deal with—I’d dealt with him for seventeen-plus years. But Quiet Dad? No way. I didn’t know him, and I didn’t know what to expect from him.

I heard Mark panting like a trapped animal off to my right somewhere, but my entire focus was on my dad. Mark I could deal with in a minute, but my dad—this was bad. Without a word, Dad backed out of the room, and we heard his footsteps retreat back down the hall.

If he’d yelled at us I would have felt bad, but at least I would have known exactly what was on his mind. I knew he’d never be happy having a gay son. He’d never said that in so many words, but I knew him. He was a conservative man, financially and otherwise. He wouldn’t approve. Hell, what father wanted a gay son? When asked what they wanted for their sons when they grew up, no fathers ever said, “I want my boy to be gay.” It just didn’t happen.

Mark hadn’t moved. He still stood off to my right cowering against the wall, his eyes darting rapidly back and forth from the door to the window, seemingly analyzing which was the best way for him to make his escape. I felt bad for him. We’d talked about this night forever it seemed, and to have this happen just when we were getting started—well that just plain sucked. And Mark had been one damned fine kisser too. If his other sexual skills were anything like his kissing, then the sex we might have shared would have been smoking hot.

With Dad out of the room, it was time to focus on Mark. I swung my legs over the side of the bed and took a couple of steps toward him. He looked totally panicked. He looked like one of those deer caught crossing the wrong road at the wrong time on the wrong night. The look in his eyes was like that deer’s, sort of “Oh shit!” The only difference was that the car hadn’t hit him but had stopped and then backed up.

Close to him but not touching, I asked, “Are you okay?”

“What?” he demanded quietly. “What the fuck do you think? No! I’m not okay!” He closed his eyes and shook his head vigorously and just said, “This is bad. Oh, this is so bad.” He kept repeating those words for a minute, all the while shaking his head. His beautiful skin had lost all its color. He looked pale and shaky. Crap. This wasn’t just bad for my life; it could also be bad for Mark and his life.

Since Mark and I had been friends for years, my dad knew him and his parents. So I guessed I shouldn’t have been surprised when Mark asked suddenly, “He’s gonna tell my folks, isn’t he?” He looked panicked and sounded almost breathless.

“Mark, dude, take a breath. We don’t know anything. I don’t know what he’s thinking. Maybe he won’t have a problem with this. Besides, if he does, his problem is gonna be with me.”

“But my folks know your folks. They talk. They’re gonna talk about this. You know they will. Crap. Crap. Crap. Why did this have to happen? Why did I come over here tonight? Fuck. I should have just gone home. Then you wouldn’t have been kissing me, and he wouldn’t have walked in on us.”

It took me a couple of seconds of thinking about that statement to get really pissed. Sure, I wasn’t happy about how this had fallen out, but Mark’s phrasing put the whole fault—if there was any—on me. “Um, excuse me, but don’t you mean that we were kissing? As I remember it, you were lying on top of me.”

Mark suddenly reached up and shoved me away from him—hard. I hadn’t been prepared for that move, so I tumbled backward. Fortunately I didn’t hit anything as I went down, but I fell to the floor, yelling out in surprise as I went.

Mark, for his part, seemed oblivious. “I’ve got to get out of here,” he yelled to the room overall.

“Mark! Baby. Chill,” I told him as I jumped back to my feet. For the moment I was going to forget the fact that he’d just shoved me away. I didn’t like it, but he had a temporary pass. I placed myself between him and the door and tried to get him to stop so we could talk this out and decide how to handle the situation, but I never even got to start.

“Don’t touch me!” Mark yelled. So much for our whispered conversation. “I’ve got to get out of here,” he repeated.

My anger was growing as he started for the door. I was half tempted to let him go as he was, but I couldn’t do that. “Um, don’t you want to zip up, buckle your belt, and put your shoes back on?” Rather than take my advice genially, Mark instead sneered at me, but at least he did what I recommended. He didn’t look at all happy as he grabbed his shoes and shoved his feet into them without sitting down like he would normally do. Why was he so pissed at me? It wasn’t his dad who had walked in on us in his bedroom. No, it was my dad in my bedroom. If anyone should be freaking out, it should be me. I didn’t get why his response was so out of proportion to the moment.

“Where’d your dad go?” he demanded.

“How the hell should I know?” I asked him. “I haven’t been anywhere you haven’t.”

And he shoved me again, snarling at me, “Don’t say that.”

“What?” I half begged, half demanded. What the fuck was wrong with him? “Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Don’t try and pull that shit with me, that ‘I’m not gay shit’ because, dude, I know otherwise. You remember, I was lying there under you. I felt your dick poking against me. I know where your hands were. I know where your tongue was—in my mouth.”

“Shut up!” he yelled at me. I was convinced he was going to shove me again, but he didn’t. I was ready for him if he decided to do that. I also decided not to push him when he was as irrational as he was right then. I honestly thought the guy was going to cry.

“Mark,” I tried again. “I’m sorry. You know I didn’t plan this. I’d give anything for this not to have happened.”

“Yeah, well you better fix it, you hear me?” he ordered me as he zipped up his pants and rebuckled his belt. Before I could throw some snarky comment back his way, he was out the door of my room. It sounded like he ran down the stairs and out the front door. Glancing out my bedroom window, I saw him sprinting down our long driveway toward the street.

And we did have a long driveway—way longer than it needed to be. Land wasn’t as precious in the suburbs as it had been when we’d lived in the city. When my folks decided to move to the suburbs, one of the things that spoke of prosperity, of having arrived, was having a longer than necessary driveway. I didn’t get it, but it was important to them. I’m sure Mark was cursing the distance he had to run to get to the street as he made his escape that Friday night, but the rat bastard had abandoned me, and that pissed me off. It also left me all alone in the house to deal with my dad. Just when I could have used the backup and support of my best friend, he’d taken off and left me to sink or swim on my own.

For maybe ten or fifteen minutes, I simply paced, thinking. Every possible scenario ran through my head about what was going to happen next. I could picture every bad scenario, but I was more challenged to come up with positive ones. I guess Mark had been right—this was bad.

It had never been my intention to tell my mom or dad that I was gay. While I was comfortable with who I was, I felt no compulsion to share that news with them or with anyone else. But that decision had been effectively removed from my list of options that night, and it left me feeling somewhat scared, powerless, and nervous.

When I paused in my thinking and walking, I realized no sound was coming from downstairs. There was always some noise, some sound, that wafted to the upstairs. The TV or some music or a ball game—something. But that night there was nothing but silence.

I needed to find out where I stood, so I took a deep breath and decided to step into the lion’s den. Walking as quietly as possible, I slowly descended the stairs into the living room. The TV was off, and the room was empty. The only other place my dad might be if he was in the house was in his home office. He frequently brought work home with him and spent some time in there doing whatever it was he did.

As I stood outside his office intending to check on him, I was shocked to find the office door closed. I was almost surprised there even was a door to the room. I honestly couldn’t remember the room being anything except wide open. But that night the door was closed. Had he been sitting in there with the door open, I might have had the balls to walk in and talk with him. But no fucking way was I going to open that door and go in there. No way. None.

So I got something to drink and sat down in the living room. Flipping through the hundreds of channels we got on cable, I couldn’t find anything that would hold my interest. In point of fact, it would have to have been some freaking awesome program to capture my interest that night, and none of what I found even came close.

After sitting there flipping for fifteen minutes, there was still no sign of any movement from his office. The door was closed as solidly as it had been when I’d turned on the television. He had to have heard me out here. We were the only two people in the house that night. Hell, he wasn’t even supposed to be there. He was supposed to be off at the country club seeing somebody or doing something. I’d thought it was the perfect time for Mark and me to finally do it. Lord knows we’d talked about it enough.

We’d had the equivalent of phone sex face-to-face more times than we could count. I don’t know what you call it when you’re sitting in the same room with the person fully clothed and you’re telling that person what you want to do with them if they were naked. Whatever you call it, Mark and I had done it—a lot. I can say many things about my best friend Mark; he’s a scrappy kid, but he’s no lumbering giant. Standing just a little over five feet in height, we looked each other eye-to-eye with our socks on. Looking at his body was somewhat like looking into a mirror because we were built pretty much the same. We had all the parts other guys have, but there was nothing special about those parts. Nothing was wrong with them, but there was nothing noteworthy either. Neither of us had six-pack abs or pecs or biceps for days. Neither of us had the legs of a runner or anything like that. We were both just regular guys.

Mark was my best buddy. We’d been friends for forever. Over the years we’d grown closer and closer, spending countless hours together. We talked about everything. Well, everything except for one thing. Confessing to each other that we were gay took us a long time. It very nearly didn’t happen.

Now you’d think that it would be obvious to anyone who took the trouble to look that something was different about us. Neither of us dated girls or had any interest in girls. That, alone, made us unusual, because we were at the age when testosterone was coursing through our bloodstreams, and in most guys it set off an instinctive urge to rut with a woman, or several women—hell, as many women as would have them. We were different, but somehow no one seemed to notice or care. I don’t know which, but it allowed us to fly under the radar of most people, which was all either of us wanted.

When we each grew a pair of balls and told the other we were gay—I went first—everything changed. I wasn’t sure what Mark was going to say when I told him. I thought I knew my best friend. I thought I knew him, but I still couldn’t predict what he was going to say. Still, he was my best friend and I had to tell him, so I did.

It took him a bit longer to make the same confession to me. He told me, but he was clearly unhappy about it somehow. We kissed that night, and oh that guy can kiss. We wanted to get naked and experiment, play, do things we’d only dreamt about before. But we couldn’t do that, so we kissed. We kissed and we rubbed each other, humping while we kissed in my room in the dark. We both came in our pants that night. We had to be quiet about it because my family had been home. I wanted to scream when it happened. I wanted to shout from the rooftops and give the biggest moan of pleasure any man had ever given anywhere anytime through all recorded history. It was my first time cumming with another man, and even though he hadn’t touched my dick with his hands or his mouth or any part of his body, it still counted in my book, and it couldn’t have been better, because my first time was with my best friend.

While Mark was clearly gay, he was also not entirely comfortable with that information. He wasn’t happy he’d been born as something other than what everyone else was, especially something that, if known, would make people hate him and generally make his life miserable. So while he took every opportunity to kiss me, fondle me, and do everything he could think of with me, he clearly was conflicted. His orientation was fixed, but his happiness with that fact was not. Based on his reaction when my father caught us, clearly this issue was still in play in his mind.

My dad never did come out of his office that night. I waited for hours, convinced he would at least need to come out to pee, if nothing else. But his door remained firmly closed. I didn’t look forward to my eventual conversation with him, but it needed to happen, and it clearly wasn’t going to happen that night, so I went to bed.