Triptychs – Chapter 6




“Approaching, outbound: two cars. N, N.”


San Francisco, in the Embarcadero Muni Metro station; one floor above the BART station and the transbay tube, but still underground. I’d just come in on BART from Berkeley; ready for my Big Date.


So, so ready for it. I felt it, in my whole body.


No train came right away; just silence, and the rumble of the BART trains downstairs. People began stirring and sticking their heads out, looking down the tunnel for headlights. And then the announcement came again. “Approaching, outbound: two cars. N, N.”


You have to understand – it’s a robot voice, like, a female robot voice; it announces train arrivals all through the Muni system, every underground station.


And for some reason, they gave her a really perky, over-emphatic voice; brightly enthusiastic. It actually came out like this; ‘a-PROACHing OUT bound; two cars. N! N!!’  The ‘N’, which was the code for the line I needed, came out with a kind of delighted surprise, like the robot-lady was just thrilled to find out that there really WERE such things as N-cars.


 I usually laughed at the voice; but I didn’t today, I just smiled, her voice matched my mood, my overall happiness. Even if it was a temporary happiness; even if I knew it was fragile.


I was SO ready for this.


The train finally appeared, moving slow – if you could call it a train; actually it was just two, coupled-together grey-and-red streetcars – and it was already jammed with people, even though it was Saturday. People were looking unhappy, as they started to squeeze in.


I was still trying not to grin like an idiot, as I got on.




Even apart from the date thing itself, I was so happy; I had nothing to worry about, no truck, no mom at home alone . . . it was SUCH a luxury, not having to worry; it was freedom, it was sheer, fucking luxury.


I guess I should explain.


See, my dad . . . hasn’t been around, the last couple of years; not around the house, anyway, and good riddance to him. He was an abusive fuck, and he made my mom miserable.


But he’s still in town.


And sometimes when he’s drunk – and he’s REALLY good at getting drunk, he’s getting better at it all the time – sometimes he’ll call my mom, and try to get some money out of her.


If I’m around when he calls, I take the phone out of her hand, and I tell him not to call, and I hang up on him.


Okay. Maybe when I tell him not to call, it comes out a little stronger than that. At higher volume, too.


And last summer, after one of those times when I’d told him not to call, I came out the next morning to drive to my summer job at the Port – and I found two of the truck’s tires slashed. Pretty thoroughly.


THAT scared me. That scared me, bad. More for my mom’s sake, than mine.


The calls have been getting more frequent, since.


And yeah, we reported it to the BPD, the Berkeley Police Department. And told them who’d done it.


Fat lot of good, that did. No proof, no witnesses; and we didn’t even have an address or phone number for him, there was no way to know where he lived, these days. Just, somewhere in Berkeley. Or Oakland. Or Albany.


So. After that, I started parking the truck farther and farther away from the house; uphill, where I figured he’d be too lazy to go walking around, looking.


But I couldn’t move the house. And I couldn’t move Mom.


And I worried.


So. Can you see why a weekend like this, a weekend with my mom and the truck safe in Stockton, and me in San Francisco, would be so priceless to me?


And then, there’s Erik, of course. And what the two of us were going to be doing, that night . . .



*  *  *



I was early, I was way early; so I got off the N-train at Duboce and Noe, and I walked up Haight Street, taking my time.


Okay. I confess.


I was early, deliberately. And yeah, partly it was because I was looking forward to this date, I didn’t want anything messing it up, like a Muni Metro breakdown . . . which happens, a whole lot. If you’ve spent time in San Francisco, if you know someone who lives there, you’ll know what I mean.


But mostly I was early, because I’d wanted to do this. Walk up Haight; feeling it, experiencing it.


Haight Street in San Francisco, the Haight district in San Francisco, is really special to me. Really important to me; and I’ve got a past, involved with it.


Growing up, whenever I had a really bad fight with my dad, whenever things got horrible at home – I’d come here. To San Francisco; sometimes to North Beach, sometimes to the Castro . . . but usually the Haight. It’s my refuge, it’s always been my refuge.


It’s also the only part of San Francisco where young people, teens like I was then, like I still am now, really fit in; where we’re really welcome. I swear to God; San Francisco is a really, really rich city, a really expensive one . . . and the sad thing is – you just don’t find young people in San Francisco, much; definitely not in the Castro, where everybody seems to be about fifty . . .


The young people that ARE in San Francisco, are in the Haight.


“Hey, Shane! SHANE!!” from a voice in back of me; then, a ‘clack, clack, CLACK CLACK CLACK CLACK CLACK’, and a kid on a skateboard blew by me, WAY too close for comfort; then he coasted a second, and turned his head back to laugh as another kid did the same thing, blew by me really fast, only closer, almost hitting me. “Shane!”, from the second boy. “Fuck you, that was MY roach!” He was laughing back at the first boy.


Okay. So the Haight being a place for young people, isn’t exactly a totally blessing.


But I still grinned after the both of them, as they rolled up the sidewalk. Could’ve been me and Cole, just a few years ago. Could’ve been, easy.






Past Buena Vista Park, Haight gets way too busy for skateboarding.


It’s the real Haight Street, between Buena Vista Park and Stanyan; it’s the Haight that the tourists come to find, the Summer of Love, LSD, the Grateful Dead . . .


And back when I used to hang out on Haight, when I was younger, it was so easy to spot those tourists; and it was hilarious to watch them, it really was.


Well, okay. The foreign tourists, the Europeans and Japanese, they really didn’t count. How could they know? It was the US tourists, the ones from Georgia, from the Midwest, from Southern California . . . THEY were hilarious.


I mean, we’d watch them; we’d be kids, sitting on the sidewalk, sitting on our skateboards, in clumps, just hanging out, smoking, talking . . . And we’d watch as they walked by, eyes darting, kind of suspicious and a little scared and delighted, all at once, and they’d LOOK at us, and you could just see them thinking, wondering; ‘Are they REAL street kids? Are they real San Francisco Hippies? Are they criminals, do they have homes?’



“Spare change?” from a grown-up guy, half-sprawled on the sidewalk. His hands were black with dirt; his clothes were pretty much rags.


Yeah; we weren’t homeless, when we used to hang out on Haight, as kids; but there were plenty of real homeless people, then and now.


“Here.” I gave him what little change I had, and my Muni transfer, in case he wanted to go somewhere, or sell it.


The coins and they transfer disappeared, fast. “Spare change?” he went, to the next person coming down the sidewalk; I shrugged, and moved along.



Deeper into the real Haight Street now, the sidewalks jammed. A used bookstore, specializing in politics, where I’d spent a lot of time, myself; a trendy clothing boutique, a smoke shop, then a used record store, with a big crowd of young people inside, and another crowd of them outside, looking at what they’d bought. A Tibet shop, with dirty, colored prayer flags outside, flapping in the breeze.


And then, the famous corner of Haight and Ashbury itself, with a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream shop on one corner, and tourists almost getting run down in traffic, trying to take pictures of the ‘HAIGHT’ and ‘ASHBURY’ street signs, one atop the other on the corner sign pole . . . a couple of camera flashes lighting the dusk, like summer lightening.


Me, feeling the cool breeze in my face, coming off the ocean; seeing the fog bank rising up at the way far end of the street, over the ocean, gray lined with blue, in the growing dim. Yeah, that’s another thing I’ve always loved about Haight Street, about San Francisco; when it’s hot in the East Bay, when it’s miserable and sticky and still . . . that’s when it gets foggy and cool in San Francisco, it’s when the cool sea breeze starts flowing in. It’s such a sensual relief, it’s almost like diving into a pool on a roasting-hot day.


It felt exactly like that to me, right now; and I just breathed it, and it added to my happiness.



Past one last clutch of French tourists, so clearly European it was funny; and past a little boutique gift shop, trying to masquerade as a Real Head Shop – and then I was walking into the Peace Cafe, the smells of steam and curry, and there was Erik alone at a table, looking at a menu, dressed kind of adult, and all in black and gray as usual; and my grin was so un-cool, I knew it was, but I so didn’t care.


“Hey,” I said.


“Hi, Trevor,” he went; softly.


And then, he was standing up, and on my side of the table, close; and he paused for just a second –


And he leaned in, slowly, close, and he kissed me, on the lips. Softly; briefly; not touching me anywhere else, just – kissing me. So softly.




“Hey,” he said; after his lips were a little away from mine, me still standing there, blinking, surprised. “It’s really good to see you.” I could smell his breath, I could smell his shampoo, I could FEEL the warmth of him, so close . . . and then he was sitting back down, so I sat down too, a little out of breath.


“Good to see you too,” I managed, a little late; and he smiled at me, one of his goofy – Hollywood smiles . . .


I guess that needs an explanation.


Erick’s . . . cute. Not beautiful, like Cole; Cole’s just stunning, he always has been. Erik’s more . . . cute; and handsome, definitely handsome, with black hair, and green eyes, and kind of a less-boyish, more-mature face . . .


And he’s got this thing, with his face, with his smile; I call it his Hollywood smile. There’s something just a little bit goofy about his smile, a little bit funny, a little bit hapless, maybe; Cary Grant had a smile like that, Harrison Ford has a version all his own, Tom Cruise has one, when he wants to dork out . . .


Erik’s got it, big time. And he was definitely using it on me, right then.


“Is this place okay?” His Hollywood-smile turned into something just a little anxious. “Have you been here, before? We can always go to the crepe place uphill, close to my place.”


“I’ve been here before,” I said; grinning back at him. Not saying, ‘I’ve probably been here a lot more than you’, which I could have said, honestly. “And this is fine, they have a tofu-and-curry dish I really love.”


“Really? Good; good.” He picked up the plastic-laminated menu, and glanced at it; then he put it down, and his expression got a little serious. “I’m sorry it took me so long to call you. It’s just that, with the start of the semester, and everything, I’ve been really

swamped. Really, really swamped, you wouldn’t believe it.” His serious expression got a little mournful.


“S’okay. I’m here now.” I grinned at him, I couldn’t help it.


“No it’s not, I should have called you, just to see how you’re doing, even if I was swamped.” He actually reached across the table, and squeezed my hand, quick, and I just knew I blushed . . . but I also came this close, to shivering, at the feel of him, the touch of his hand. And THAT would have been uncool, indeed.


“So, did you get your books, all right?” His hand went away; the memory of it didn’t. “And, you’re starting classes Wednesday, right?”


See – Erik goes to San Francisco State U, which is another California State University . . . and that’s the right name for it, by the way; don’t even ask – and, like almost every other school in the world, it’s on the semester system; while my school’s on the quarter system. Most everyone I know started school three weeks ago.


“Yeah, and yes,” I went. “Cole came with me, and helped.” I paused a second, and I grinned a little crooked, at him. Flirting a little, maybe. “But you know, still – Wednesday will be the first time I’ve started school all alone, all by myself, since I was eleven. Without knowing anybody else, there.” I grinned a little more, shaking my head. “Poor, shy little me.”


I expected him to laugh along with me. Instead he just gave me a look. “You know, you could have applied to SF State. You’d know Jason; and you’d know me.”


And I blinked at that, for a second. And I wanted to say, I couldn’t do that and still live in Berkeley with my mom, and there was no way I could leave her alone . . . but I couldn’t, that was family stuff, and too complicated, too.


And it didn’t really matter, because as I hesitated, his hand came across the table and almost, almost touched mine, again . . .


“Ready to order?” A really cheerful guy in a ponytail and a fluffy beard came up, and I blinked again, and the moment was past.



*  *  *





So I mentioned that all the relationships in my life are kind of hilariously-complicated, hilariously-fucked up right now, didn’t I? Which they are, they so totally all are.


This one with Erik – well.


It’s one of the more bizarre ones; almost a prize-winner, as fucked up relationships go. Hey, I’m really good at bizarre relationships!


So; yeah. The whole world, or at least all our friends, know I’ve had a crush on Erik for years and years . . . Erick’s known too, and he always used to kind-of ignore me, and at the same time, kind-of laugh it off. And if you don’t think it made things a little interesting, when Cole and me went over to Jason’s house, and Erik’d be hanging there, you’d be so wrong . . .


Only thing is – it wasn’t exactly, entirely, strictly true.


Okay. Most of that time, it really wasn’t true at all.


Erik was my beard.


‘Beard’, by the way, is a really old slang word, in old queer culture; a beard would be a friend, as in, a woman friend, a sister or cousin or lesbian friend, that a gay man could take to a dance, or something, so he could pretend to be straight . . . Not be suspected; not be found out.


Getting the picture, yet?


I used my crush on Erik, my supposed-crush on Erik, as an excuse; as a reason why I wasn’t getting a real-boyfriend of my own. Yeah; it was my major, tragic, unrequited crush on Erik, who was uninterested, unattainable, that kept me from getting serious with anybody else, kept me doing little dating-things on the side, hooking up, nothing-serious . . .


While I went on hanging out with Cole. Totally wrapped up with him; loving him so hard, even though I knew it was twisted, and wrong.


Oh, like any good cover story, there was a little bit of truth in it, deep down; and that truth was, I DID think Erik was cute, I always did; back when I was thirteen, and he was seventeen . . . and on, after that. Year after year, after year.


But mostly, he was my beard; my cover, my excuse.


And because life really IS hilarious, and God, or the Goddess, really does have a sense of humor . . . somewhere along the way, starting, oh, about a year ago or so, maybe – I started making progress with Erik. As in; he started noticing me.


THAT was a shock; believe it. When my play-flirting at him, started getting a rise out of him, some, for real . . .


And that made me start wondering, how much of my play-flirting was really just play - ? Wondering, what I really might feel about Erik, in the end, what I might feel about someone who – however un-seriously, however half-amused he might act about it all . . . seemed to LIKE me - ?


Yeah. For one, brief, proud, shining moment, I actually could feel myself starting to get, well, you know . . . like, sane. A little bit sane.


I mean, Cole was in love with Jeremy, and visa versa, they were so tight together, it was so clear, they were together for good . . . he didn’t NEED me, not the way he used to, and, and, Erik was flirting back at me . . .



And then came that time, that moment, last May; when it went beyond flirting. Way, WAY beyond.


We’d all gone to a pool party, an all-gay pool party, in the Oakland Hills . . . Jason and Erik, Cole and Jeremy and me, Jeremy’s friends Derrick and Drew. It was Erik who knew the guys who owned the house, Erik was why Cole and I had gone to the first pool party at the same place, when I was sixteen.


It’s a long story.


The short part of it is, that Erik and I, as part of a practical joke, kind of accidentally-on-purpose wound up getting really physical together, in the pool. Really, really physical.


Okay. In the pool; then, half-in-the-pool, half out; then, all the way out, in the cool air, on the pool deck . . . more than just once, if you get my drift. More than twice, actually.


It was spectacular. And yeah, I keep using that word . . . because it fits.


I almost wish someone else had been there to take some pictures, the way I’d sneaked some shots of Jeremy and Cole doing some of the same things, at the party two years before. But we were alone; which was probably for the best, in the end. Although the memories of that night, the wet, the night air, the feel of Erik’s skin, warm on mine . . . the taste of him . . .




We’ve had three real dates, since then, over the summer.


Real dates, as in, getting alone together, getting physical, again. The scheduling was hard; because of our summer jobs, because I’m so worried about leaving my mom home alone, and everything . . . and maybe, also, because I’m not so sure how available he’s been, time wise; he always seems really busy, and I was right, about him preferring to call me, and not the other way around. He really wants to be the one who calls; I’m sure about that.


So, only three dates, all summer; not counting the pool party.


But they really had been good times, really, REALLY good times together, physically . . . and more importantly still, they’d been fun. Kind of playful; fun, lots of joking around, lots of laughing, laughing together, laughing at each other . . .


And not really romantic.


Not like this.



*  *  *



“How’s your – what was it, tofu-curry-and-rice?” A kind of softer, gentler version of his Hollywood-smile; and all at once, I felt warm against my leg, the warm of his leg pressing against mine – the tables at the Peace Cafe are really small – and all at once, I was blinking, again; off-guard, again.


And getting hard, fast; duh. Did I mention, I was really, really ready for this date?


“Good, actually,” I managed to say, after I swallowed. “Really good.”


“Mind if I try a little?” And I shook my head, and he reached over with his spoon and carefully took a little bit of my curry, and I was really, REALLY conscious of the warm of his leg against mine, the closeness of him . . . all the attention he’d been paying to me, this whole dinner; the careful, adult way he’d been treating me . . .


“Oooh! That IS good, I’ll have to try it, next time we come here.” That slightly-goofy grin, again, and me feeling a little bit like a deer in the headlights. “Here, you try some on mine . . . ” and he spooned out a big piece of his veggie lasagna, and put it on my plate; and I felt his warm leg press against mine, just a little harder.


I tried a little bit of it, cautiously, as he watched my face; and I saw his smile get bigger, at my expression.


“Good, isn’t it?”




“Yeah, it’s my favorite thing, here.” He picked up his fork, cut a little piece of lasagna, put it in his mouth, and chewed and swallowed, happily. “So,” he went, after. “Tell me more about this major of yours. ‘Communications’? It really doesn’t sound much like ‘Film’.” Those green eyes on mine, intense; curious. Intimate.


“Hey,” I shrugged. “It’s as close as I could get, to film, at Hayward State. And you know, even if I were going to Berkeley, or USC or NYU, even, it’s not like they really want freshmen declaring for a film major.”


“But it’s what you want to do.”


“It’s what I will do, for a living. And I’ll do real film school, somewhere. Academy of Art University here in San Francisco, if nowhere else. I’ve got it planned out, pretty well.”


“Okay. Good.” Another warm smile; another little fork-cut, at his lasagna. “But . . . are you going to have to move away, to make a living? Like, to Southern California? I wouldn’t want to see you move away . . . ” Back to a mournful look, again; just a little exaggerated, now, kind of making fun of himself, a little.


I thought, anyway.


“No . . . no, there’s lots of work in filmmaking, in the Bay Area.” For once in my life, I wasn’t grinning; still a little unsure, of me, of Erik, the whole situation. Instead, I just shrugged. “Lots of commercials; corporate films, documentaries, that kind of stuff. Pixar in Emeryville, Lucasfilm in the Presidio, tons of little shops doing post-production work for the big guys; though I’d rather be on the actual filming side. No, it’s just a matter of breaking in, somewhere, then moving up.”


“Is that hard?”


“It’s a process.” I shrugged, again. “I can always start out in porn. There’s lots of jobs in porn, in the Bay Area.” I saw his face, I swear his eyes dilated, and I had to laugh. “Hey! You’d be surprised, how many filmmakers, really serious filmmakers, people in the industry, got their start in porn.”


“Yeah?” His look was back to intense, but now there was something kind of . . . flushed, about it. As in, excited.


 Do you know what a turn-on it is, to see that look in someone you’re dating? To KNOW that you’re responsible for it?


“Yeah. But I’ll only work on the back end of the cameras. I already decided that part.” I tilted my head a little, and got back into flirting mode. “Some things, I don’t want to share. Not with the public, anyway.” Big, pointed grin at him.


I saw him blush, I know I saw him blush.


“Oh,” was all he said. And I couldn’t tell if it was a disappointed ‘oh’, or not.



*  *  *



Out the doors; into the darkness and the cool, walking side by side. Most of the tourists were gone, now, back to their hotels, or back to the ‘burbs, to Concord, to Walnut Creek. The real smokeshops – and there are a lot of them, on Haight, like every third store front, I swear – the real smokeshops were doing business now. You could see it through the open doorways.


The clumps of kids were still clumping, on corners, here and there; the flare of lighters, in the dark, the wariness, of looking out for the SFPD. They mostly weren’t smoking tobacco.


It was almost enough to make me, kind-of homesick; I’d been there, I’d been through that phase.


I started to say something about it, to Erik; but before I could, he took my hand in his; he took my hand, and held it, as we walked along.


Whoa. Just – whoa.


Silence, for a string of seconds; then –


“Jason’s in Berkeley, tonight; he’s got his own date.” A little breath of dry laughter, from him. “I feel like a kid whose parents have gone away for the weekend.”


Since they both went to San Francisco State, they shared Erik’s two-bedroom apartment. Starting, last month.


“Cool,” I said, after a second; my heart beating a little faster, thinking about the fun possibilities, for the night. Oh, this date was going to be PERFECT. “Cool. Who with?”


“Hmmph,” he went, still sort of laughing at himself; he swung our clasped hands forward and back a little, lazily, as we went. “Hey. Some things, I don’t necessarily need to know. Right?”


“Maybe,” I went, easily; walking along. A little high on the scene, the night, holding hands . . . grinning, wide. “Maybe. At least do you know, is it a boy or a girl, this time?”


“It’s a boy; I know that much.” I saw him smile into the darkness, out of the corner of my eye. “He’s been back on boys, lately. But that’s about ALL I know.”


Well, I knew Jason was into boys, a lot of the time; Cole and I had done a few really fun threeways sessions with him, when we were fourteen; I mean, REALLY fun, and also really pretty hot. But then Cole’d gone out on a couple of dates, real dates, with somebody he’d been interested in, and it’d all kind of died down . . .


And one of the things that made me laugh, about dating Erik this last summer, was wondering if he knew. Wondering what he’d think if he found out; if he didn’t know already.


I mean; it’s hilarious, it’s so hilarious. You know? And I couldn’t help grinning, huge, as we walked.






Back east on Haight; then right on Cole Street, where Erik lived . . .


Yeah. The cosmic irony of that one hasn’t escaped me.


Uphill now, one block, two, three – still holding hands, and in spite of the rush, the fun of it – I was getting a little worried. I mean, two guys can get away with holding hands in most parts of San Francisco, for awhile, anyway . . . but it isn’t really, totally, completely safe outside of the Castro; and the farther way from the main, busy streets, like Haight, the less safe it is. But Erik didn’t let go; and I wasn’t sure I wanted him to.


It felt good. It felt REALLY good.


And I couldn’t help thinking, it was kind of a window into what Cole had, with Jeremy; all the time. I’d seen them hold hands, so often. And I wondered, about Erik, and maybe me . . .    


I shut that thought down, fast, as we clattered up the outside, wooden steps to his apartment door. WAY premature, I thought; just enjoy yourself, I thought, just enjoy yourself. Don’t think so fucking much.


“Come on in,” from Erik, his Hollywood-smile a little wry, now; and then he was pulling me in, gently, and the door was closed, and his arms were around me, slowly, and his body was so warm, and then his lips were on mine –



*  *  *





I sure as fuck enjoyed myself. And I stopped thinking too much, REAL fast.



The sensations were key.


Like, the feel of his mouth, on mine; open, warm, wet, so FUCKING intimate; just, shockingly intimate . . . and it just went on and on, one of us pulling away a little, the feel of his warm breath on my face for a second, then the shock of his wet mouth on mine, again . . .


The taste of him. The clean taste of his mouth.



And then, a little later in his bedroom, the feeling of him; the feel of his bare skin against mine, as we rolled on his bed, still kissing, but kissing each other all over, and his bare skin was so WARM, and it felt so good against me, as I rubbed my leaking hardon against him . . .



The feel of his arms, around me. The feel of his body, over me.


Erik’s a lot bigger than I am; he’s almost as tall as Jeremy, but he’s a lot wider, he used to wrestle in high school. He’s wider, and muscular; and being held in his arms was being HELD, encircled, with his nude body pressed against mine, his dick pressed against me, his lips on my neck, my throat, then back on my open mouth again, wet and slick . . .


And as we made out naked on his bed, he began moving me, with those wrestler’s moves of his; moving my body around, positioning me, in ways that made it more exciting for both of us, and just for fun I’d move back against him, wriggle around a little, and he’d trap me with his body and move us into another position, and do something, laughing a little, to REALLY make me gasp . . .



And it was when he did that, when he used his body and his wrestling moves to flip me over onto my stomach . . . that’s when I knew how the night was going to go.


Well, no, actually; I guessed it. I KNEW, a second later, when he scooted back down the bed, and spread my legs, and I felt him get flat on his stomach between them.


I knew when I felt his hands on my butt; when I felt his breath, on my butt.


“Mmmmmm . . . ” I heard, from down there; then I felt my cheeks being spread, the feeling of cool air, and he whispered, “Relax . . . just relax . . . ”


“NNNNNNnnnnnnnnnn . . . ” from me, moaning into the pillow, as I felt his lips, down there, this tongue, so intimate, so fucking INTIMATE . . . his tongue, pressing against me, wriggling its way a little INSIDE me . . .



Getting rimmed drives me up the fucking wall, it really does.


I like doing it, too, it’s one of the things I always wanted to do to Cole, though I knew better than to try it. When it comes – sorry, came, past tense – when it came to anal stuff, it was always just fingers with us, a little penetration, a little prostate massage, as we jacked or sucked each other, even if we were GOOD at it –


No. Going off on a tangent.


No, I’ve always loved rimming and, especially, getting rimmed, it’s so HOT, and I never thought it was at all dirty or nasty or anything, I know I was totally clean for Erik, inside and out . . . No, it just fucking drives me CRAZY.


Erik was good at it, too. Enthusiastic. Energetic.




“Relax,” he’d whisper, pulling back a second; then he’d be wrestling me into another position, back on my shoulders, bottoms up, legs spread, and his mouth and his tongue would, oh fuck-me, be IN me, again . . .


“UUUUUUhhhhhhhhh - !” from me, whimpering –


And he’d pull back again and look at me, between my legs, over my scrotum, and “Open up for me!” he’d whisper, fiercely, and then that warm, that wet, that TONGUE, again, pushing into that central part of me, and I’d whimper again, loud . . .



And hot as it was, incredibly erotic as it was – it was just a warm-up. Just foreplay.


Yeah. The real sensations, the ones that made me spurt all over us, REALLY well, REALLY hard – came next.



“Yeah - ! Oh, oh, yeah . . . ”


Me, in a voice I didn’t really recognize. Held firm in Erik’s arms; so, so firm, both of us on our sides, him behind me.


Him, inside me. Moving inside me, slick, unpredictable, unstoppable . . . jacking me from the inside, really, I was going to come REAL damn soon now, there was no way I wasn’t going to come REAL soon, and hard.


“Trevor . . . ” in my ear, and the wet of his mouth on my neck, on my cheek, then “Trevor,” in another breath as he moved, and moved, and MOVED inside me, and I gasped, and whimpered . . .


And I tried to shift myself, just a little, on his cock, I tried to get him to hit that spot inside me, feeling my orgasm so close, now – and he trapped me in his arms again, held me motionless for a second . . . and then, oh fuck, he shifted himself, he moved on top of me, he hit that place inside me with his slick cock, like he knew exactly what I wanted and he was GIVING it to me, oh FUCK . . .


“Trevor . . . ” It came out as a hiss, such an intimate hiss in my ear.




I exploded. It felt like I just split open and spilled over everything, the bed, my hand, Erik’s hand . . . warm wet over everything, me squeezing down frantically on Erick’s dick while it kept MOVING in me, moving even while I kept spurting, and spurting, and spurting . . .


And I was dimly aware, as the spasms trailed off, that Erik was still MOVING inside me, and his strong arms were squeezing me harder than ever, and his thrusts were harder than ever, and faster, and deeper . . . and even though I’d just come, that was still so, so EXCITING to me, it so was, and I tried to squeeze down on him –


“MMMMMMMMmmmmmphhhhh - !!”


And I knew he was cumming,  knew he was orgasming, he was squeezing me so tight I could barely breathe, and just knowing that, knowing he was SPURTING inside me – okay, yeah, into his condom, but still he was INSIDE me – just knowing that . . . was so shockingly intimate, so utterly, fucking mind-blowing, so, so EMOTIONAL . . .


“Erik,” I whispered, as he came to a stop, still buried so deep inside me; panting, into my ear, my cooling semen all over us.


Me, not knowing what to think, right then. Not really knowing what I was feeling. Just, me; naked, shattered, really, fucked – in the good way . . . Overwhelmed.


And that was just the first time, that night.



*  *  *



“No, no, no, turn it back!”


Erik pressed the button on the remote with his free hand. The other arm was holding me. “This one?”


“No, one back.”


Morning, now, Sunday morning; me and Erik freshly-showered – again – and on the couch in the living room, in front of their little flat screen TV, our feet up on the coffee table.


Still naked. Naked, and touching; snuggling, actually, me leaning hard against his warm body, his arm wrapped around my shoulder. My hand comfortable on his thigh.


“What?” from Erik, as he looked at the screen a second. Then – “What?! Sponge-Bob Squarepants - ?” I could hear him, trying not to laugh; it came out as a little snort.


“Absolutely! Sponge-Bob’s my hero, he’s my role model! Nothing ever gets him down, you know?” I settled myself a little more snugly against him, just loving the feel of his skin against mine, the visuals of him, his tight abs, his genitals, his muscular thighs . . . “Besides, he’s gay. We have to support our fellow gay cartoon characters, don’t we?”


“Sponge-Bob Squarepants is gay? Since when?” I saw his face kind of squinch up a little, out of the corner of my eye.


“One of those fundie, family organizations said so, a few years ago; I think they wanted to start a boycott, or something.” I tilted my head a little, so it kind of rested against his; and I felt his right arm, the one that was holding me, tighten just a little.


“But, but . . . he’s, like, a SPONGE,” went Erik. “Sponges don’t even have sex! Sponges don’t have genitals!”


“Well,” I said, comfortably, “Sponge-Bob’s got a cute butt, anyway. He’s always losing his pants, one way or another.”


Snuggling like this, with Erik – God. It was such luxury, it was such FUCKING luxury; if just felt so, so good. You know?


I never really snuggled with Cole; I just didn’t. For obvious reasons; whatever we had together, growing up, it wasn’t a snuggling kind of relationship. Especially after that one time, when I was kissing him; when I hit up against the limits, when I’d gone too far . . .


And then, after that, with other boys, with the hook-ups, and the one-or-two dates that I usually went on, while I was still all so totally wrapped up in Cole . . .


No. Not a lot of cuddling, not a lot of, THIS – back then.


“Everybody loves a Crabby Patty!” from Sponge-Bob, brightly, on the screen.


And I couldn’t help wondering . . . did Cole and Jeremy snuggle together, naked, like this, a lot? In that wood-paneled apartment they shared? Were they cuddling each other like this, right now?


And as I thought that – and wondered if I SHOULD think that – Erik’s free hand came down, and started lazily, casually brushing through my pubes. Once; twice. And things began to, like, just begin to stir for me, down there . . .


My pubes are pretty blond, as pubes for blond guys go; blonder than Jeremy’s, I know that for a fact.


Erik likes my pubes. A lot.


And as my dick began to expand, began to get hard – and that was really odd, to watch – have you ever watched yourself get hard, without touching yourself? Without somebody else, touching your dick? It’s kind of fascinating –




Anyway, as Erik brushed his fingers through my pubes, and I was plumping up, I started just lightly, lightly brushing my fingertips over the skin of his thigh; almost, just brushing the fine hairs of his thigh, and in a second, I wasn’t the only one beginning to plump up –


And all at once, there came a kind of scraping, then a sort of crashing rattle from the front door a couple of feet to Erik’s other side, to his left, and then the door was open and the sun was streaming in, and the outside air –


“Hi, Jason,” Erik said, in a completely normal tone. His fingers didn’t pause, they just kept tickling my pubes, slowly, as I froze.


“What the – Oh, no. No. I am not looking at this. I am SO not looking at this!” There was laughter in Jason’s voice, as he put his backpack down, and quickly shut and locked the front door.


And in another second, I unfroze, and put both my arms around Erik’s neck, as I tried to stifle my own laughter, tried not to bust out laughing.


“Hey, Jason,” I managed to get out; trying to copy Erik’s tone, before I lost it and began snorting, helplessly, into Erik’s shoulder.


“I am SO not watching this, as I go to my room. I’m not watching this!” With one eye, I saw him shielding his eyes from us, with one hand; a big grin visible below. The sound of his bedroom door, closing.


“You think maybe we should go back to your bedroom - ?” I managed to say, after a couple of beats. Still laughing.


“Why? We’re watching Sponge-Bob Squarepants. And besides, the little shit knows he’s not supposed to be home, yet. We had a deal.”


The sound of Jason’s door opening, then he was crossing the room again, shielding his eyes again. “I am NOT watching this as I go to the bathroom, and I’m only out here because I really need to go, I am NOT watch –  ” Then the sound of the bathroom door closing.


Erik took my dick in his hand, really gently, and squeezed it a little. And that made me REALLY hard. It made me gasp, actually.


“Erik – !”


“What?” He gave me a kind of sideways, Hollywood-innocent look.


“He’s coming back through here!” I was still spluttering with my laughter.


“So? I’m hard, too.” To prove it, he flexed his groin muscles, making his dick bounce against his stomach, once, twice, three times.


“He’s your BROTHER!”


“We shared a bedroom for fourteen years. Trust me; he’s seen me hard.”


The sound of a toilet flushing, and a pause; then, Jason coming through again, still laughing. “I’m still not watching! I’m going to my room now, and I’ll be listening to some REALLY loud music on m iPod – ” Slam, and the sound of a latch clicking home.


And as I held Erik there, grinning, not saying anything, not delivering the comeback-protest that would have fit – I felt him give a start, then he twisted a little in my arms, and looked down at me.


“Hey! Has Jason ever seen YOU hard - ?” And I blinked as he said it, and then I tried to smother some more explosive laughter, by burying my face back in his shoulder.


I mean, it was just SO hilarious; you know? Erik’s baby brother actually had some secrets from him!


“Hey,” I managed to say, at last. Trying to control myself; the vivid memories of the fun three-ways sessions, Jason, Cole and me, at fourteen, going through my head. “Hey. We were on the same swim team for three years; we showered together all the time, we were naked together almost every day. What do YOU think - ?”


“Is that supposed to be an answer?” from him, kind of sharply; and I felt his eyes on me, still.


So I moved my hand from his thigh to his beautiful dick; and pretty soon, we lost the thread of the conversation.



*  *  *



“I really wish I didn’t have to run off like this,” from Erik. His voice low; looking at the ground.


“Me, too. I mean, I wish I didn’t have to go back. Back so soon, anyway.”


A little after noon, at the N-Judah streetcar stop, off of Carl, just a couple of blocks uphill from Erik-and-Jason’s place. Me still dressed in yesterday’s clothes, which always gives me a sort of grubby, after-the-date kind of feeling, when it happens.


I was waiting for the inbound car, so I could get to BART and back to Berkeley; Erik was going outbound, to a study group somewhere out in the Sunset, by Golden Gate Park.


The two of us, going in completely different directions. Can cosmic symbolism get any more obvious?


“No, I mean it; if I didn’t have this study thing, I could go back to Berkeley with you, at least; maybe visit my mom and dad. I haven’t been doing that enough.” He shrugged. “And maybe we could get in some coffee at Strada, at least.”


“Yeah. That would be cool.” Me, being eloquent again. “Well, maybe the next time - ?”


“Yeah. Maybe.” His head still down, not looking at me.


Silence, for a few beats.


I kept looking at the little park across from us, across the street from my stop; the streetcar tracks came off of Carl, and curved into this little, weird-shaped mini-park, all grass and trees and flowers and dogs and dog-walkers; and the tracks went on curving, and disappeared into a tunnel in the hillside, diving underneath beautiful old houses and apartment buildings . . .


It was a ridiculously beautiful place, and a ridiculously beautiful September afternoon, and peaceful, and romantic as all hell; and of course I was framing Erik’s profile in the middle of it all, of course I was. Thinking, visuals; scenes, framing, shots.


Maybe using that as an excuse, not to think about the other kind of framing. The emotional framing; meaning, where Erik fit into my emotional life, right now.


I was confused.


My other dates with Erik had been – fun. Friendly, happy, really erotic, full of goofing and flirting. I already mentioned that, didn’t I? But it was true, it really was.


This weekend – had been a lot more.


It felt to me like Erik was, just maybe, wanting us to get closer; to go beyond what we’d been to each other, up ‘til now.


And maybe I felt myself – changing. A little, anyway; maybe I felt myself opening up, a little, thinking about what it’d feel like, coming home to Erik’s Hollywood-goofy smile, at night, to feel those wrestler’s arms around me all the time, instead of twice in a summer . . .


And, God-damn it all, fuck it all, I was still so much in love with Cole, I so totally was; I’d spent a lot of this date taking mental notes, coming up with scenes and erotic moves and stories to tell Cole, about the date . . . he was going to LOVE the Sponge-Bob Squarepants Incident; he so totally was.


But. Still.


Something was moving inside me, emotionally. A little, anyway.


And part of me knew, that something SHOULD be moving, should be changing . . . and part of me didn’t want it to change, at all.


I mentioned that I was confused, didn’t I? You can add, ‘pathetic’ to that description.




Confused of not, pathetic or not, I figured, at the very least, at a bare minimum, I wanted another date with Erik.


So, in total violation of my own Personal Dating Rules, in totally violation of the habits I’d spent years building up – I sort-of asked Erik for another date. Sort of. I approached it.


“Maybe,” I started, slowly . . . “Maybe the next time my mom goes to Stockton for the weekend, you can come to my house? You’d get a chance to visit Berkeley . . . and we could have a lot of fun.”


You have to understand the irony. This, from me; I’ve spent years and years, hooking up, trying to avoid too many follow-on dates, trying to avoid emotional entanglements . . .


“Yeah,” from Erik; looking towards the tunnel, where his outbound train would appear. “Yeah; that would be great.”


Silence, for a few beats. I watched, kind of sideways, as a big dog, deeper in the park – a yellow lab, I love yellow labs – discovered a tiny little terrier, and they sniffed at each other, all excited, happy, tense, tails wagging so fast they were blurs.


Then – “Actually, Trev, that would be really great . . . but you need to know, I’m not sure how much free time I’m going to have, this semester.” I turned to look at him, and his face was find of mournful, again. “I mean, I’ve REALLY got to get my grades up, if I’m going to have any chance of going to grad school . . . ”


“That’s cool,” I said. Blinking at him, for a second, wondering what he meant . . . Erik wanted to get into psychology, as a doctor or a tech; and I knew he had some grade issues. “That’s cool. Hey; I’m starting my own quarter, Wednesday. And there’s the other stuff.” I felt my mouth twisting up, on one side.


I’d told him something about my own situation – with my dad, and my mom at home, and how fucked everything was – I’d told him about it, last night. In bed. He knew more about the whole thing than anybody but Cole and Jeremy, now.


“Yeah,” he said, and I saw a find of dismayed sympathy, on his face. “Yeah. And, I really wish I could help, with that . . . ”


“That’s okay. That’s cool,” I went. Maybe a little abruptly. It’s family business, and I hadn’t meant to ask for help.


I saw movement out of the corner of my eye; it was an inbound streetcar on Carl, stopping at the stop sign on Shrader, a block away. I could already hear the weird, distinctive whine they make, when they speed up or slow down.


“I really do want to see you, though,” he went. His expression still mournful; sincere. I saw him glance over his shoulder at the streetcar, then back to me. “I’ll call you; okay? I promise I’ll call you.”


“Okay,” I said.


And it came to me, all at once – it came to me, that his sincere expression, his mournful-sincere expression . . . was a little, off. A little Hollywood-sincere, maybe?


Yeah; yeah.


He was keeping me at arm’s length; he was pulling back, he was so pulling back. I’d done the same thing myself, so many times, with so many of the boys I’d hooked up with, over the last few years; I knew the moves, I knew exactly what he was pulling. Exactly what he was feeling, actually; that flash of panic, the need to get away, the fear of getting tangled up, the fear of hurting somebody . . .


It wasn’t exactly the moment for laughter; but the irony was so fucking thick, that even in the middle of all my confusion, and yeah, maybe even the start of pain – I had to smile at it. Tilting my head, a little; beginning to laugh at myself.


I had a LOT to laugh at.


And Erik saw it, of course; he’d been watching my face, watching my reactions. And as the streetcar rumbled up to my stop, whining, making the ground tremble under our feet – he actually took me in his arms, those strong arms of his, and he kissed me, big time, deep, wet and long, really, really thoroughly, right in front of everybody –


“I’ll call you,” he said.


And then he was gone.


And I was left, stumbling up the steps of the streetcar, fumbling in my pockets for the fare, feeling all those eyes on me . . .


I was left, confused.