"FUCK YEAH!" Jamie and Gregg shouted in unison, running toward each other over the well-ploughed sand, jumping and colliding in a bone-jarring chest bump. Some of Gregg's sweat flew off his sun-bleached blond hair and smacked Jamie's face and neck as they crashed together, but he didn't seem to mind. They were pounding each other's backs, thrilled to have taken the beach volleyball match from their two opponents, the undisputed kings of the pick-up games on the beach, Ron and Alec.

"All right, all right, good game, men," Alec said, as he and Ron got it into a group hug, the four sweaty college jocks pounding each other and high-fiving.

"You kicked our asses that time, Owens," Ron observed to Gregg, the slightly more competitive of the two.

"Our turn will come again," vowed Alec as the four turned to head away from the sand court, awkwardly all arms-across-shoulders as they made their way through the sand.

"Your ASS!" Gregg hooted from the end of the line of four, smacking Alec's ass as if to emphasize the point. "YOUR turn is OVER, LOSERS!"

"Oooooooh!" Alec faked a reaction to the smack on his ass.

"Hey you two, don't get yourselves all worked up over there," Jamie laughed as they all fell away from each other. To Ron he said, "Don't mind him; he's been building up his testosterone because his girlfriend dumped him, and he's got nowhere to dump it, so it's building up and pumping up his natural competitive streak."

Alec retorted, "Oh, so as long as Owens is sexually frustrated, we're gonna keep struggling to win, is that it? So we just need to get him laid?"

Gregg caught up to Alec and grabbed his perfectly defined bubble butt through his board shorts. "You offering that pretty ass of yours, hot stuff?"

As Alec whirled around, Gregg got off another hard, loud SMACK on Alec's buttglobe and laughed. Alec got a lick with his open palm against the side of Gregg's face, the smack just as loud. "Yeah, you dream of this ass, buttboy!" he taunted Gregg.

"OK, ladies, let's break this up. Who wants a beer?" Ron asked, herding them toward the parking area.

"Great idea!" Gregg was the first to say. But I seriously need a shower first.

"Yeah, no kidding - you reek!" Alec threw in.

Ron smacked Alec's head. "Yeah, so do you - we all do after that match. Shit, I may need a nap after that. It was like a grudge match the way Madman Owens was playing out there."

"Guess I was just sitting to the side, letting him show off then?" Jamie feigned being miffed at being left out of the praise for his play. To be honest, he'd been the one who was on fire; Gregg was an awesome player, as fearless and competitive as always, but Jamie had been in the right place at the right time and had nailed every shot, spiking many, the sand on Ron's and Alec's faces and in their hair attesting to the times they'd eaten the beach trying to pull out one of his shots.

"You can't deny you're the pretty face of your team, Weston," Alec threw back, setting up his zinger to Gregg. "I mean, of the two of you, it's like beauty and the beast!" he laughed.

To that, Gregg hunched over with a loud, "AAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH," flexing his not-unimpressive biceps, triceps, traps, pecs and abs. His face may have been screwed up like a beast, but his body, well, at least one of the other guys needed to quickly think of sick puppies and taking a bad hop fielding in the baseball finals to keep his attention away from that hot bod . . . and to keep his cock from reacting when his board shorts offered little cover.

"Yeah, yeah, c'mon, beast," Jamie laughed and hooked his arm around back of Gregg's neck and pulled him on toward the car. "Jesus!" he exclaimed. "We DO need showers before that beer!"

They all laughed as Alec and Ron piled into Ron's ancient Honda Accord. Both very tall and leggy, the two of them getting into the tiny car were a lot like clowns piling into a Mini -knees in the air above the door sides and heads against the ceiling of the car. Gregg's truck was more suited to two over-six-foot college men.

Window down, Gregg called, "Beer and pizza, then?"

Out the side window of Ron's Honda Alec called back, "Give it about an hour, and we'll meet at Maria's. That work?"

"Sure," Gregg yelled, starting the Ram tough engine with a great growl of its V-8. "Losers buy, of course!" he called afterward with a grin.

"Hey, Owens!" Ron called across the front seat through the open passenger window. "Is it true that BIG truck you've got is to compensate for your tiny dick?" he hooted and threw the Honda into reverse and made the first exit from the parking onto PCH.

Under his breath, Gregg said, "I ought to show him and shut him the fuck up!"

"Hey, lighten up," Jamie told him. "He's just giving as good as he gets." Gregg slammed his fist into the steering wheel with unexpected anger. "Dude!" Jamie yelled. "Seriously, lighten up, man!"

"Yeah, what the fuck ever," Gregg growled, slamming the truck into reverse and peeling out of the parking space.

"Hey, what's up with you, man?" Jamie demanded to know. "I'd like to make it back to the dorms in one piece and not die in a road rage incident."

Gregg took a breath and forced himself to calm down. "You're right," he said simply, and then he was silent the rest of the drive back up to the Pepperdine dorms.

Pizza and beer in the seedy joint in Topanga Canyon went better, Gregg not quite as boisterous as usual, but not in his dark funk either. They had actually all gone together in Gregg's truck because Ron called after he'd showered up and said he couldn't get the Honda started. Gregg and Jamie were just getting back in his truck, and he simply said, "C'mon and ride with us then." He even paid for the pizza and beer, which wasn't uncommon because his parents were filthy rich, and Gregg had an unlimited allowance, whereas the other three were rather at the opposite end of the scale, two on full athletic scholarships, the third, Alec, working and using student loans to make it. Gregg was a great guy, usually, though, despite being a rich kid.

The usually was up until a few weeks before, when his moods had started to go haywire, his temper flaring unexpectedly on a more and more frequent basis. It had started before he and Candice broke up, but it was much worse - and getting even worse - more recently.

But pizza and beer was fun, and when it was time to get going - Alec had work that night - he offered to drop Alec at his job to save him the walk. Gregg dropped Ron and Jamie off on the way, as Alec's job was as a waiter down at a restaurant on the pier, and school was between Maria's and there.

"Hey, Gregg, seriously, man, I appreciate the ride. I would have cut it way close getting to the restaurant and getting myself changed and ready in time to set up for dinner," Alec told him.

"It's not a problem," Gregg said lightly. "Want me to pick you up after?"

"Nah, it's ok. We don't close for dinner until eleven and have to clean up and set up for brunch tomorrow anyway, so it'll be near midnight."

"Not like I've got anything to do later or need to be up early tomorrow."

"Nah, thanks, this is great, though, but no way you need to do that for me, Owens," Alec told him as they stopped in front of the fancy restaurant where Alec worked dinner shifts and Sunday brunches. "Seriously, man, thanks," he repeated, putting out his hand to Gregg.

Gregg clapped his hand against Alec's in a firm grip without saying anything, and Alec, when Gregg finally released his hand, jumped out of the truck, pushing the thought to the back of his mind that Gregg's handshake was a bit longer, tighter than just a shake.

Gregg was back in his dorm room, alone. His roommate was away for the weekend with his slut-du-jour. Cox - aptly named! - seemed to find the easiest girls in Malibu or Pacific Palisades, one after the other, the lower her IQ the better. Then he would suddenly have another bimbo, with no mention of where the last one had faded into the sunset. Usually a new bimbo rated an entire weekend, like this one, before Cox got bored and just fucked her and came back to play video games and study.

Gregg was studying for lack of anything better to do. It's not like any of the studies came easy to him; he had to work hard to learn and make decent grades, but he was committed to doing just that. Cox was more like Alec Dunne - he was a lot smarter than Gregg, and though he was serious and studied plenty, he didn't have to work as hard as Gregg did at it.

Cox was not like Alec Dunne otherwise, Gregg thought. Dunne was tall, like he, Ron and Jamie were all well over six feet, with Gregg being the shrimp at six-one and Alec being the tallest at near six-six. And unlike Cox, Alex's lean-muscled frame was a study in perfection, from his broad surfing-built shoulders like Jamie's to his narrow waist and perfect ass.

SHIT! Gregg realized he was hard as a rock, his cock straining his boxer briefs. GodDAMN! Every fucking time he thought about Alec, he got boned. And wet. He already had a spot of wet by his throbbing cockhead over his hip inside his boxers. Gregg went to straighten his hardon to a vertical cant in order to relieve some of the strain in his boxer briefs, but he found himself gently stroking his rock-hard, veiny cockshaft and running his index finger through his slippery precum at its tip.

Without thinking, Gregg brought his index finger to his lips and licked his juice off, his other hand having replaced that one, stroking his cock more insistently as his thoughts were of how hot Alec Dunne's ass felt in his hand this afternoon, how hard - firm yet flexible in a muscular way - and how perfectly that buttglobe felt in his grip when he'd teased him and grabbed it. Gregg felt his cock drip a glob of pre on his lightly-furred groin as he stroked, wondering if Alec's cock dripped the way his did when it was hard.

Gregg knew Alec was a show-er in the cock department, based on the way his junk flopped in his board shorts and bulged in his jeans. Yeah, mmmmmmmm, obviously a big, swinging dick, and apparently a major set of balls on him, too. Gregg wished he was bigger, but fuck it, it was what he did with it, right?

Gregg found himself licking his thumb where he'd rubbed his cockhead and harvested more of his slick emission, now stroking faster, harder, with his other hand again as he savored his pre. MMMMMmmmmmm, yeah, Alec probably produced a ton of slick when he was excited, Gregg thought as he sucked his finger and imagined what it would be like to be licking Alec's much bigger cockhead.

Alec would shudder like he did when a girl sucked his cock and licked and teased the head and tip. He'd taste Alec's slick and lap it from the tap, knowing Alec would get more and more aroused, and then he'd suck his whole engorged head in his mouth and swirl his tongue around and work the underside behind his head where it was particularly sensitive and hope for more slick to flow into his mouth. He imagined Alec's cock, long, thick and HARD, his fat, blunt cockhead flared and teasing the inside of his mouth and crazed tongue.

Gregg's six-inch cock was hard as iron, and he was stroking hard, having coated himself with his own lube to keep from chafing himself. His thoughts had strayed to the way Alec smelled after their v-ball game - sweaty, musky - and imagined how his cock smelled and tasted at the nexus of his manhood. As Gregg pumped his pud faster, his balls tingling and getting him closer, he thought about his nose buried in Alec's musky pubes, his throat stretched around Alec's much bigger cock, Alec moaning as his big, low-hangers were now pulled up tight and he was close to his blastoff. Gregg pumped his cock faster, imagining his mouth on Alec's cock, sucking and licking, inhaling Alec's strong, manly scent, working hard to get Alec's seed.

Gregg's climax shot through him the second he imagined tasting the first drop of Alec's cum when it blasted into his throat, choking him with the volume of it. Gregg's first cumblast hit his chin and went up the side of his face and over his head, and another and another blasted onto his chin, neck, chest and abs as in his mind he was swallowing every drop as Alec's big cumtanks drained down his throat.

He lay back finally, a gooey mess, his chest heaving. WHEN THE FUCK had he started wanting cock?! "FFFUUUCCCCCKKKKKKK!" he shouted in frustration. Gregg grabbed the t-shirt he'd flung off earlier when he came back from dropping Alec at the restaurant and scrubbed himself with a vengeance. Then with another "FFFUUUCCCKKKK THIS!" he flung the t-shirt, soaked with his cumload, across his dorm room against the door. The place where a lot of his cum had been soaked up hit the door, and there was a cumsmear on the door where it fell. "Great!" he growled in frustration, yanking his boxer briefs up despite still being slimy down there.

I CAN'T FUCKING BE FUCKING GAY! Gregg raged in his mind, picking up a book and heaving it after his t-shirt slash cumrag, not getting any satisfaction out of it slamming loudly against the door and falling to the floor in a crumble of torn pages. DAD WILL HAVE A FUCKING SHITFIT! he thought.

And yet, he was, he thought defeatedly - he knew it, knew it as plainly as he knew his name now, after trying desperately to fuck those thoughts out of him with some prime pussy, mostly willing pussy who were more motivated to snag a "rich kid" than interested in his good looks and kind nature. THAT was a joke - he was getting more and more short-tempered and downright nasty at times. His breakup with Candice a prime example.

FUCK! Why didn't he just think of Candice telling him he had only had two things going for him when they met - he was great looking and rich - and then, when they'd seen each other the last time, she told him he was never much fun, unflatteringly moodier by the moment and not great in bed with his "sadly average" cock. He just told her he was sorry he couldn't be what she wanted and walked out, thinking it was really she - because she WAS a SHE - who couldn't give him what he wanted.

She was the most recent try, and she was the most fiery crash and burn. It was getting worse, and he knew it was because he wanted to be with Alec Dunne. Like he had wanted to be with Bobby Morse in prep school. Bobby had laughed it off when, after they'd jacked each other off for months in the privacy of their shared dorm room, typical teenage boys whose hormones raged 24/7/365, Gregg had finally asked Bobby if he could suck his cock. Bobby looked stunned and then said, "Good one! You almost had me there," and laughed until he wasn't hard anymore.

Bobby, a year later, had said one night, "Remember when you joked about sucking cock?" Gregg froze, his blood going completely cold, his mind racing. He managed to utter something that Bobby took as an affirmative. "My older brother is a fag - he just came out to my parents and my older sister, and she texted me earlier and told me." Gregg had made another grunt-like noise, which was apparently enough for Bobby to continue. "She told me I should be 'considerate and accepting and stop using words like fag and queer derogatorily', as if he's not a fucking pervert! Do you fucking believe that?"

Yeah, Gregg believed a sister might say that to a kid who routinely said things like that, who'd just found out their brother was gay. No way he'd go through that - no fucking way. All he said was, "Well, he IS your brother, no matter any of that, but hey, bro, you have to do what you have to do." That had ended the conversation. And after that night, there had been no more stroke-eachother sessions, either.

By then Gregg's "fixation" - yeah, that's what he'd thought about it, what he'd thought it was, simply a "fixation" on Bobby had been squashed anyway. Of course then there was his baseball head coach Nelson, the new thirty-something hunk of an ex-major-leaguer who lingered at the back of his mind . . . and came to the front often, causing his teenage hormones to go to a boil again.

FUCK! Gregg thought again, though this time he didn't shout; he just sort of slacked and slumped. He WAS gay. There wasn't any doubt. And his dad gave tons of money to political groups to stop gay rights and, particularly, gay marriage, and his mom just tsked and shook her head whenever the topic came up. No way they'd understand, much less accept, a son of theirs being a faggot.

Then, as if he was meant to, he grabbed his iPad and angrily scanned the news. Anything to move his thoughts from his problem, from his dilemma, from his interest - yes, he was interested, not fixated, he knew that much - in Alec Dunne to ANYthing else. And there it was, an article about young gay men and women committing suicide, even in this twenty-first century, because they couldn't face being different and being ostracized, particularly by their families.

Gregg read and felt his stomach clench tighter and tighter as he read story after story, following links from the first to others, reading about the anguish and desperation young people - and not only young people - like he had felt. As he read the stories, each one resonated as something he'd felt, something he'd been feeling, something he knew he might feel if he kept going the way he was going.

It was after nine, so after ten at night at home in Colorado. With a sudden burst of determination, he picked up his phone and hit HOME. His parents weren't night owls, nor were they in bed early usually, if they weren't out at some function, but they also rarely received calls after "a decent hour" which he was certain ended earlier than ten. His parents' butler picked up on the second ring, a bit less formally than usual. "Master Gregg, is something the matter?" he asked.

"I want to talk to mom and dad, Mr. Flemming," he said, in the respectful way even now, at nineteen, his parents forced him to talk to Flemming, their butler. He was still a kid to them, and still under their control, and they demanded he respect even the staff that they treated somewhat less respectfully.

"I'll ring over to the main house right now, Master Gregg. But please, if I may, sir, is everything all right? You sound a bit . . . overwrought," he observed with concern, more formally than before but with genuine concern.

"We'll both know after this call," Gregg told the butler urgency in his voice.

"Master Gregg, may I make a suggestion?" the butler asked tentatively.

"Sure, but make it quick. My courage is screwed up tight here to get this done, but I think I could lose it at any time," Gregg told him honestly. "And if I don't, I may never do it, and I'm afraid . . . " he trailed off.

"Gregory - if I may - would you consider that whatever you're worked up about, since you obviously are worked up, might better wait until the light of day, or it might even wait for a face-to-face discussion, if it's something you think might be difficult for your parents? If you need someone, I'll be happy to stay on the phone with you, or if you need them, I'll get them for you, but sometimes a bit of judiciousness in approach, depending on the topic, and time to think, might be better."

Gregg deflated as it hit him that Flemming was right . . . as he always was, as he always had been when Gregg, his brothers and sister were growing up. Flemming had more sense for what was going on for them than their parents had, and he often had interceded, helped them, helped all of them avoid confrontations and catastrophes by caring and talking to them first and coaching them on how to approach their less flexible parents.

The Owenses weren't unloving or uncaring; they were just MORE than parents. They were like an institution unto themselves, with his father's vast business interests and his mother's responsibilities to support him and hostess and facilitate and then her extensive charitable works, too. And that was before their shared zeal for Republican politics, the more conservative end of the Republican party's expanse. Some time after all of that, they dealt with their children, usually through first nannies, then governesses then through their boarding schools, always as efficiently as possible.

"Master Gregg," Flemming's voice on the open line broke into Gregg's thoughts, "Is there anything you would like to talk about that you would take comfort from talking with me about before you talk with your parents?"

Truth be told, Gregg had called the house landline in subconscious hope that his parents might be out attending some function this Saturday night. I'M SUCH A FUCKING COWARD! he thought to himself.

"No, Master Gregg, you're not a coward," Flemming said. And Gregg realized he hadn't just thought that, he'd said it. He slumped into a heap. "Gregg, you can talk to me. You know that."

Gregg did know it. But he also knew that Flemming had the same expectations, the same hopes and aspirations for Gregg as his parents did as one of "the Owens scions," as they were often referred to. "Mister Flemming, I," he started, but his voice broke.

"Gregg, you need to talk, and I'm right here listening to you. What's the matter, son?" Flemming asked gently, caringly, addressing him with the familiarity he had on the rare occasions that Gregg needed him to be there for him.

"I'm gay, Mister Flemming," Gregg blurted out, and then immediately tensed up, terrified of what he was going to hear in response.

"Ah, yes, that," Flemming commented knowingly.

"You knew?" Gregg asked, incredulous.

"Master Gregg, we're confiding here, aren't we?" Flemming asked.

"If you mean do I want you to break the news to my parents, would you?"

Flemming laughed then, at first a guffaw, then a long, hearty laugh. Gregg waited, not sure how much was implied in that laugh. When Flemming got himself under control again, he answered, "There's little I wouldn't do for you or your siblings, Master Gregg," he said. "But," and then he stopped himself.

"Could we go back to Gregg?" Gregg asked, feeling like he needed the butler who'd often been his friend, not just the butler.

"Of course, Gregg," Flemming said warmly. "And you can call me Donald."

"DONALD!" Gregg laughed out loud. "Your name is Donald? Why don't I know that after all these years. I figured your name was Percy or Archibald or some name like that!"

Flemming sounded a bit like he was indulging a much younger Gregg when he answered. "Anything but Don, Mast-er, I mean, Gregg. So you can call me 'Flemming' like would be appropriate for our respective positions, or, if we're still two gay men talking, I'd be happy for you to call me by my given name, Donald."

"YOU'RE GAY?" Gregg sputtered.

"Yes, Gregg, I am gay. And my gaydar is not inconsiderable, which is why I was not surprised when you made your admission a few moments ago."

"But my parents - they hate gay people."

"No, with respect, Gregg, they don't hate gay people. They don't support gay people's rights, but they don't hate gay people at all. They're just people who don't have a frame of reference to understand, and they fall back to fear of people who are different because they think their world will change if WE suddenly are ENCOURAGED."

"Okay, wait. Do my parents know you're gay?" Gregg asked, knowing they couldn't possibly. They'd treated Flemming with respect, albeit as an employee, but they'd helped him when he and his family had needed it long ago Gregg knew, and they'd demanded the kids treated him with respect. Given their anti-gay support, they couldn't possibly . . .

"Of course they do," Flemming said with some degree of exasperation. "I've worked here for thirty-six years, Gregg. I am neither cunning nor courageous enough to have hidden my true self from my employers - employers whose intimate secrets I, as their majordomo, know all too well - for that long."

"What do you mean courageous, Flemming?"

"Are you asking your family butler or your friend?" Flemming asked.

"Er, sorry, Donald. What did you mean courageous?" Gregg corrected his error.

"What I mean is that some people are able to live two lives successfully, hiding their true nature from the world and sharing it only with their partner or occasional interest, while to the world they maintain a fa├žade. Believe me, I'm discreet to a fault, but I'm not the slightest bit capable of maintaining a ruse like that, particularly not as a man with over sixty years on his clock! I would have been some statistic, Gregg; one of those people who end up in an asylum, not knowing who they really are . . . or worse."

Gregg thought back to the articles he'd read online which had, albeit precipitously, made coming-out an imperative for him. "Donald, I'm there. I'm becoming someone I don't like because I can't keep denying what I'm feeling . . . for other men. I had this awesome girl, Candice."

"Oh, I remember Miss Gillmore. You brought her home with you at spring break, before you two went to Mexico."

"Right! That was when I was TRYing to keep my straight on." Flemming laughed at the choice of words, but Gregg went on. "But a week or so ago she told me I had gotten mean and nasty. And she was right - I've gotten more and more angry . . . with myself for what I feel, and-"

"Gregg, may I tell you something?" Flemming interrupted him, and Gregg just stayed quiet, coming down a bit from getting worked up as he thought about all the conflict and turmoil he'd been living with. "You're BORN the way you are, Gregg. Even your parents understand that. It's not a choice, it's not just a romp like schoolgirls or British schoolboys all seem to take. If you ARE gay - and I do believe you are - it's because you were born that way. You know, your parents aren't very religious and haven't raised you four to be either. But they are spiritual, they believe in a higher power - thank God, otherwise we'd probably still be going through those fun drunk years!" Gregg had to laugh at that. "You laugh, Master Gregg; talk about HARD WORK, try being a butler to a rich, prominent couple of drunks! It's not easy keeping that all going, let me tell you!" Gregg was laughing even more, but he stopped when Flemming yanked him back on topic. "Gregg, your parents won't take this news easily; but they'll TAKE it, and they'll get used to it. Gregg, they love all of you very, very much. Enough to make absolutely certain that you've all had the best of everything in life - not materially, I mean the best start in life - and they WILL deal with this. But you have to be considerate and deliberate about how you go about introducing this to them. They don't have an old gay butler's gaydar to have prepped them for this news."

"So you're saying?" Gregg asked.

"Don't do this over the phone, Gregg," Flemming answered directly. "Face your parents, let them see their successful son they love making a courageous admission and asking for their support. It won't be a Hallmark moment, but it will turn out all right, I believe that. And you know a good butler knows his employers better than they know themselves."

Gregg was silent, thinking about when he could get home to Denver. And how he could possibly wait until whenever that was - his next break wasn't until summer, over six weeks away, and he'd already made plans to go on a surf trip to Ecuador as soon as finals were over for two or three weeks before he went home, so -

"Need a more explicit suggestion?" Flemming interrupted his mind as it spun.

"Fuck yeah I do!" Gregg said and instantly added, "Oh, sorry!" as Flemming guffawed again into the phone. "Yes," Gregg gathered himself. "What do you think - Skype?"

Flemming gave a short laugh to that one. "No, Master Gregg, I do not think Skyping your parents to tell them you're gay is the best way! What I think is that you have that black card your parents gave you, and you undoubtedly can't imagine how you're going to hold this in for very long waiting, and I further think that if you missed a day or two of your classes, the world would not fall off its axel."

"Er, Donald, I think you mean its axis."

"OH whatEVER!" Flemming spat back, exasperated, and Gregg suddenly thought he heard Mister Flemming's gay showing and laughed. "Don't you laugh at me, young man!" he admonished through the phone, "Not when I have to pull you up by your kneepants here and help you get through this!"

"Sorry," Gregg said immediately, suddenly the little boy he'd once been, feeling the pain of disappointing someone he cared about impressing and being good for.

"Yes, well," Flemming said, collecting his thoughts. "What I'm saying is get yourself an electronic booking and fly here and TALK to your parents. You were in a state when you called, Gregg, and you need to get this off your chest."

"But how do I know-"

Flemming cut him off. "You won't KNOW until you've done it. But whatever happens, and I've already told you what I, with my relatively good perspective, think will happen, whatever happens, you will have given yourself a gift, Gregg, the gift of validation. It's either that, or summon up your courage and energy and live a lie, because I'll tell you what I know, having been around since well before you were born, will NOT do; you will NOT become someone you don't respect. No, sir; you're a good man, Gregory Alexander Owens, and you will not become someone whom you are not proud of, and you certainly will NOT end up some statistic and devastate the people who love you." And then, after a beat or two of silence, Flemming added, "Like me."

Gregg felt himself welling up and didn't fight it. No, it was time he just felt what he felt and got through it. "Thanks, Mister Flemming," he choked.

Flemming was quiet, and when he spoke his voice sounded unusually shaky. "So, Master Gregg, I'll be expecting a call from you in the morning to tell me to tell your parents that you're coming home for a brief visit?"

"Yes, sir," Gregg said, full of respect, as he'd always shown to Flemming, and full of gratitude. "Yes, you will be getting that call."

They disconnected, both then beyond their comfort level with the emotional significance of the moment. Gregg immediately went to the online travel site, searched flights and found one that left at seven out of LAX or eight-forty out of Burbank. As much as he wanted the extra time before what might be his Waterloo, no matter how sure Flemming was - and Gregg had to admit nobody knew his parents like Flemming did, but still, how could he believe that they'd react the way Flemming thought they would after all their anti-gay political support and - SHIT! STOP FUCKING THINKING ABOUT THAT! Gregg admonished his spinning head.

E-ticket confirmed, Gregg suddenly didn't know what to do with himself. His brain started reeling again, and he knew he had to do something. And then he decided. It was close to ten, so he could either go get stinking drunk with his fake ID, or he could hit the gym. Well, that was easy - the gym. Gregg knew he was a terrible drunk, and the idea of either being too hungover to get on the plane - and then later his parents would know he'd bought the ticket when their accountant got his credit card bill and summarized for them his expenditures like he knew she did - or facing his parents hung over, which would just be a huge FAIL in their eyes, given their victory over their own battles with the bottle. And either of those ways he'd let Flemming down, who really had a point, since when Gregg read story after story about young - and old - gay people who'd committed suicide because they couldn't come to grips with their lives, well it resonated inside him, pinged the growing unhappiness, Candice's words and even Jamie's unknowingly incorrect diagnosis reverberating. He didn't want to go down that path, and he felt like he had been slipping toward it and would again if he didn't just man up and DEAL.

While Gregg pumped HARD in the gym, his extreme sweating dehydrating him because even though he knew better he didn't drink enough, his thoughts got more random, worries about his future swirling around him in his thoughts like being inside a tornado funnel. He pumped harder - glad he was built reasonably big and was strong - and tried to focus on the proper movements of his body and to pump through his limits.

But Gregg's mind whirled and twisted his thoughts, and he finally stopped suddenly, completely unable to press another rep, realizing he'd done far too many with far too much weight, not hurt, but close to hurting himself. He'd slammed the bar back onto the rack and sat heaving, sweating and for the first time his thoughts slowed to a focus.

When he'd taken Alec's hand in his truck earlier, he'd FELT something. Not just in his nuts and cock - he'd FELT something in that clasp of hands, his and Alec's.

Gregg's body was raging with endorphins, and his brain was full of thoughts . . . of Alec. Gregg looked at his phone - a little after eleven-thirty. Without any more thought - for better or for worse - Gregg raced out of the gym into the too-cool night ocean air, feeling the prickling bite of the cold but only as a mild annoyance.

Within ten minutes, Gregg was showered and in clean jeans, a clean long-sleeved t-shirt and clean socks, along with sneakers - the socks didn't, technically, match, but CLEAN in a college guy's wardrobe was often a commodity in short supply, and finding clean pants, shirt and two socks, albeit mismatched, had to be some sign from the universe! Plus they were white, though one with blue stripes and one without, but they were close. He was in his truck, heading down off the hill, looking nervously at the clock on the dashboard but driving carefully despite the urgency of the time he saw.

Parked outside Maria's, Gregg was a bundle of nerves. What if Alec was pissed off that he'd come to pick him up despite saying earlier that he didn't want him to? What if he had missed Alec, and he'd already left? No, he'd said he didn't have to pick him up, not that he didn't want him to. What the fuck was he going to say to Alec? He could just go into the restaurant or knock on the door if it was locked already and see if Alec was still there? And say what - Oh, I'm the gay guy who wants to get Alec in my truck again? Alec wasn't gay - he'd know if Alec was gay, sure he would. Of course he hadn't had a clue about Flemming, and he'd known him all his life! Well, the guys would. Ron would for sure, since they're roommates, and he'd never said anything.

The restaurant door opened, sucking Gregg's attention back onto topic. It wasn't Alec, and Gregg realized he'd been holding his breath when he let it out and slumped in his seat. But his body jerked to attention again, when he saw Alec behind them. "Have a good night, now," he heard Alec wish the couple and wave, as they headed into the parking lot, and he turned toward highway . . . and stopped short when he saw Gregg's truck.

Gregg lamely waved at Alec, when he was just standing there, looking at him . . . or at his truck - he wasn't certain if the parking lot light was glaring in his windshield and if Alec could even see him waving and grinning like an idiot. Whether he did or not, Alec finally started walking toward the truck.

Gregg reached across and threw open the door for Alec when he got close. Alec stood next to the open door and looked in at Gregg. "What are you doing here? It's midnight."

His stomach was jumping like it was full of frogs, and Gregg, who usually didn't, stuttered his answer. "I I I I uh I wwwwwanted to give you a rrrrrrrride," he stuttered and was suddenly feeling like a little kid again, before his parents sent him to the speech therapist . . . and the shrink. "FUCK!" he hissed.

Alec grinned. "Well, which is it?"

"Huh?" Gregg asked, dumbly.

"A ride or a fuck?" Alec teased him. "Although," he continued, looking like he'd had a sudden thought, "If we did it right, it could be both."

Gregg looked at Alec in stunned silence. He couldn't possibly mean what he was saying. No fucking way - he was joking, sure he was. But then-

"Hey, sorry, didn't mean to fuck with you, Gregg, no matter how much fun that might be," the last said almost under his breath, as he grabbed the handle on the door jam, about to climb up into the truck. "I can still have that ride, right?" he asked before he took the step up.

"Uh, yeah," Gregg carefully enunciated to avoid stuttering. And as Alec was climbing up into the truck and Gregg was enjoying the sight of Alec's lanky frame stretching up and his perfect ass straining in his jeans as he was getting into the seat, he added, "Anything you want."

After Alec slammed the door, he turned around in his seat and faced Gregg, a wide grin on his face. "Heard that last part," he grinned. Gregg just looked at him, paralyzed with fear, Alec put his hand on Gregg's leg, causing Gregg's head to snap down to look at Alec's hand on his own leg, which was getting very hot like the rest of him. Alec was still grinning, now more a smirk than a grin. "I meant it if you meant it."

"I, uh," Gregg tried, but he couldn't make any more words come to him. He just hoped his heart rate got down enough so he didn't go into full arrest before he got Alec home. To Alec's dorm, not that he presumed he'd get Alec home to his dorm room. But Alec said-

"Hey, it's cool, man. And I really appreciate the ride, seriously, Gregg. Didn't mean to make you uncomfortable; it's just late, and I'm a little excited you came to get me I guess," Alec said, belting himself in.

"Could you put your hand back?" Gregg asked, finding his voice all of a sudden.

Alec jerked his head back toward Gregg. "On your leg?" he asked, his face full of surprise.

"I meant it if you did," Gregg answered, with a grin.

"OH HELL YES!" Alec almost yelled with a broad grin, clamping his hand down on Gregg's thigh again, but this time his fingers wrapped around close enough to Gregg's crotch to make him jump with excitement. "OK?" Alec grinned at him.

"Oh, MAN!" Gregg answered.

They sat that way, long enough that Alec wondered where it was all going, though knowing that he needed to tread carefully. After two of his coworkers had walked past the truck and winked at him and gave him a thumbs-up - fortunately Gregg hadn't seemed to notice them, his gaze being fixed on Alec - Alec just decided to go for it. He squeezed Gregg's leg and flexed his fingers enough to brush Gregg's nuts, eliciting a moan from Gregg. "Like that?"

Gregg very quickly said, "OH YEAH!" But then he seemed to get a bit more focused. "Actually, yeah, I like it a lot, Alec. But-"

"OH SHIT!" Alec exclaimed. "I hate it when BUT comes along." Then, feeling Gregg's body having gone tense under his hand, he backpedaled. "Of course, a sexy butt like yours, well, I always love when that kind of butt comes along," he said with a wink. Gregg's mouth was open in surprise. "Too direct?" Alec asked.

"Uh, no," Gregg said. "I mean, YES . . . to the butt part." He saw Alec looking confused now, but the smirk at the corner of his mouth was telling. "How about I just take a breath here?" he asked, straightening himself in the driver's seat.

"Please - definitely keep breathing, Gregg," Alec said, and he pulled his hand away, but Gregg clamped his on top and pushed it back on his leg.

"Keep that there!" he growled. Alec laughed at that and gripped his thigh and gave Gregg's nuts a tweak with his long fingers. Gregg sucked in a surprised breath. "Uh, yeah, like that," he said.

"Well, now that we've got that settled," Alec said, grinning at Gregg. "So we gonna sit here like this or . . . ?"

Gregg squeezed Alec's hand under his, and he pulled some energy from it. He was sharing a moment with another man, a moment that if he was lucky would lead to a night and then to many nights and days, if they clicked. It felt GOOD to him. "Can I tell you some things?" Gregg asked.

Alec unbucked his seat belt and scooted over until he was sitting against Gregg. "Can I sit here?"

Gregg reached around Alec and got the middle seat belt and belted Alec in. Alec looked at the seat belt then back at Gregg. "You can sit there ANY time you want, Alec. But tonight it's only going to be long enough to get you back to my room." When Alec looked surprised, he added, "Cox is away."

Alec moved his hands, taking a firm grip of Gregg, eliciting a gasp, and then, when Alec put Gregg's hand on his own cock, a more pleasureful gasp. "I don't think we're lacking for cocks," Alec mugged.

Gregg grabbed his hand away, knowing that if he felt Alec for another second or two, he was going to shoot in his pants. "Let's get up the hill," he said, quickly starting the truck and throwing it into gear. Maybe the conversation would have to wait.



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