Tim Barts and Johnny Weeks sat on the front porch of Johnny's log cabin, each with a huge backpack frame set nearby, while Johnny read down through a check-off list and they both responded. If they both had the gear or stuffs indicated, Johnny checked the item and moved on. Tim's heavy 4x4 F-250 Ford truck sat in Johnny's driveway. In moments, they would load up and start out. In years past, they'd skipped the final "pre flight list" (Johnny's term for it) and marched out without oatmeal, or sugar, or once, spare socks.

"Binoculars," Johnny said. He looked over at his dearest friend in the world and smiled. Binoculars had, in years past, been point of disagreement: extra weight, and not used once. Tim had insisted and Johnny had fought. It had become a 'point of honor' with them, until this year, Johnny, as in so many things with Tim, had given up. Tim, without acknowledging his victory went on as though there'd never been any disagreement. This, also, was typical.

"I guess we're ready, then," Johnny went on, "now or never."

At 25, Tim at 27, they'd accumulated 15 years of friendship and more, and ten annual autumn forays into the back country.

After Tim's marriage 2 years ago, child one year ago, their journey seemed lost. Surprisingly, Tim had finally insisted upon it with Mary, his attractive but somewhat dominant wife.

Johnny would have never counted on it, but it had happened, and his own heart had felt some relief.

"Off to the wild blue yonder," Tim sang in wild, somewhat forced, glee, in an off key that defied the word "music."

"Shut the fuck up, or I'll have to plug that hole with a pair of dirty socks," Johnny threatened.

"Oh, you macho pig. Can't stand a little highbrow music, can you?" And so it went down the road to highway 25 and due north into the Windriver range. The aspen gold had just started to fall, and the sun was dim orange behind massive cumulus clouds. The forecast predicted a brief snow flurry and then rapid warming and then a good week. Tim's vacation week could not be changed, and so weather or not, this was

'it,' the only chance they'd get this year.

Johnny leaned back on the woven seat cover, the truck bouncing over every tar strip on the road, jiggling his body like the freight car on a bad railroad. He felt a combination of overt joy and sadness: this trip was the highlight of months' expectations. Starting mid-spring, his mind had focused on this uninterrupted week with Tim. No wife, child, jobs. Nothing but a slice of the past when they'd been teenage blood brothers, explorer scouts, and they could tramp for 2 weeks or more at a time.

But the other side was sorrow and frustration. In fact, nothing was the same. Tim's marriage had spelled the first real break in their solidarity, and now it was lucky if he saw him once a month. And Tim's handsome happy face had taken on a new turn: responsibility, worry. Money was never ample, and Mary watched his time with equal vigilance. Tim on one hand seemed to resist the pulls and commitments of the new life, on the other hand, he was a proud and good papa.

Either way, their friendship, which had been cast in golden concrete for years, had begun to triangulate.

Johnny's own personal life had changed as well: a brief affair with a somewhat older woman had failed after a few short months, amongst pressure from Mary and to a less extent Tim to "find a good wife!" What Johnny had known about himself in some roundabout way, and resisted, had now become unassailable: he was gay and in love. Had always been in love. And it wasn't with a woman: it was with Tim.

These trips had become an exercise in partial dream fulfilment: to have his man all to himself, even for a week, was a kind of heaven. But to have Tim not even have the faintest realization of the "reality" that he had to live with every day of his life was not only frustrating, at times it was agonizing. Johnny built his cabin, lived on the edge of poverty in this workless corner of the state, merely so he could be close to Tim. He doubted Tim ever even bothered to ask himself why Johnny put up with such straits and settled so close.

Last year, Johnny had had his first sexual encounter with a man. A trip to Denver, and a much resisted trip to a gay bar, where his looks had immediately made him a sensation.

"The new man was a looker." A somewhat effeminate man had come on to him, hard, and Johnny had finally given way, had let himself be fellated in the bathroom of the bar. As soon as his semen had squirted, a dense pall of intense shame had come over him and he'd bolted, to the chagrin of his wispy partner, retrieved his aged Jeep Cherokee and literally raced

(as fast as his car would drive) home again. Since then, the image played across his mind many times, but without relief.

It was always a mix of fantasy and remorse. Usually the face of the young man was substituted by Tim's face. To his fancy, anyway, a hundred times more attractive, masculine, desirable, and thousands of times less available to him.

But, still, just being with Tim was better than not having anything.

"What's on your mind, good buddy?" Tim said after miles of silence, as they turned off on state road 119, northwest into the heart of the WindRivers.

"Oh, just the usual shit."

"'Oh, just the usual shit,'" mimicked Tim, who had his sweat-shirted arm on the seat between them; one huge hand, calloused, reached slightly further to pummel him on the shoulder.

"YOU're the 'usual shit'" Johnny said, laughing, and punching back, fending with Tim's arm which was powerful and muscled, and even with two hands difficult to keep away from flipping his hat off and mussing his hair.

"'s good to get away for a week,'" Tim said, eyes on the road ahead. "I'll tell you, this family shtick is pretty intense sometimes. Not much sleep too many nights, and never enough money, and too few good times."

"So, forget it all, and let your hair down," Johnny said, sudden tears gathering in the corner of his eyes as he caught himself just before adding "and come away with ME!"

"Done! Good buddy. I couldn't even think of passing up this week. Though I think Mary was pissed."

"She doesn't like me much, does she?"

"Nah, it's not that. She likes you plenty. It's ME she doesn't want to share. And, 'course, she's tired too. And it IS a bit unfair for me to take off a week and leave her with Christy all by herself."

"Yeah." Even here, their presence was unmistakable and intrusive. He wondered if their whole week would be spotted with talk about the wife and child? He tolerated it okay most of the time, even made a pretty good stab at being interested. Christy, taking after her parents, who were both All American Beautiful, the perfect cleancut handsome healthy young couple, was a gorgeous little girl.

They rode in silence, turned onto the unmarked side trail that wound slowly, past washboarding ruts and low shrubbed creosote brush into the beginnings of aspen trees. A merry little stream cascaded down off rocks from high right where a peak already had a cap of white. A trio of aspens were flecked with the last gold of the season. The air smelled autumnal with the verdant rotting smell of leaves. It was beautiful, Johnny's favorite scene of anything he'd ever seen.

Tim pulled the heavy truck into the first clearing, which was partly hidden between a cluster of chokecherry trees, already devoid of leaves but so dense as to obscure the truck. He parked, engaged the foot parking brake.

"Well, that wasn't so bad," Tim laughed, "had I not been saddled with a morose neurotic rider."

"You ain't seen NOTHING yet," Johnny fed him right back. "I can get REALLY neurotic, and you'll be sorry you ever laid eyes on me! For one solid week, I'm going to make your sorry life even sorrier!"

"Ouch!" Tim got out of the truck, stood at his full 6'1"

height, stretched his broad shoulders, raised both hands over his head as if ready to take off in a Superman ascent, wiggled his hips from side to side. All-in-all, a gorgeous hunk of beautiful man, and in the best tradition, seemingly entirely oblivious of it all.

Johnny, shorter by 3 inches, broad shouldered and sinewy muscled, always compared himself unfavorably to his fairer friend, with the sandy hair, long straight nose and golden eyes. In years past, they'd shared clothes like brothers, and as far as he knew, they still could. Looking at the two of them, in his opinion, you'd have never guessed that was possible, but it was. 'Course, he'd have to turn up his pantlegs slightly.

"You know where the hell we're going?" Tim asked, "'Cause I'll sure as hell get us lost."

"I know you well enough by now," Johnny laughed, "so I got the trail memorized. Mind like a steel trap," he huffed his chest out and tapped his finger against the side of his head with a meaningful intense look on his face, then burst out laughing. In fact, he'd gotten 'em both lost last year, or was it the year before.

"Okay, lead on fearless warrior," Tim said, and misspeaking himself, donned his heavy pack and strode out first. Johnny fell in behind his friend, appreciating the opportunity just to feast his eyes on him. Tim, despite his laboring work, kept himself almost fastidiously neat and clean, one of many features that Johnny found so appealing. Today he wore nearly new appearing tan Timberland boots.

"New boots," Johnny noted. "You be careful, or I'll permanently borrow them."

"Yeah. Mary gave me a hassle over getting 'em too. Says I got 6 months' wear left on the old ones."

"Do you?"

"Only if you think running around in old, old boots is sexy.

I don't."

They marched on and upward, the stream on their left burbling its constant accompaniment, its running water sometimes under stones sometimes leaping over small waterfalls. The day so far seemed slightly warm but the clouds continued to build, layer upon layer, until the sun was blotted out and the sudden gusts became frigid and cold

.

"Brrr! Who the fuck's idea WAS this to come out here in the winter, anyway," Johnny chimed in. (Knowing that it was his!)

"Oh, quitchur complainin'. If worst comes to worst you can donate me your sleeping bag so I'll stay warm."

Oh, how nice that would be! Johnny thought, trying to create an image of sharing a bag with Tim, skin against skin.

Realizing it would never happen. But the temperature dropped consistently and the wind rose accordingly, until the sound of the stream was lost in the shriek and howl of wind buffeting them from the mountain slope on their right, down the Left Shore creek's canyon. After another 45 minutes of trudging onward, Tim never asking Johnny once for directions, he pulled up in the clearing they'd used 3 years earlier.

"Seems like a familiar spot..." Tim said, "and I'd just as soon get the campsite tacked down. Looks like we're in for a bit of a blow..."

Johnny looked around him at the natural clearing, set on a shelf 20 feet over the stream, surrounded by Engelmann spruce, blown about in a gusting, pummeling wind. The first snow flakes were already shining in the rapidly fading light.

In this spot, he remembered, 3 years earlier, he'd tried to have his first conversation with Tim. Then, like now, it'd been their first night out. Johnny, heartsick in love with Tim, watched (in those days) the loss of his friend's affections to Mary, powerless to do anything at all. His face had shown his disappointment and sadness. Tim picked it up immediately, but immediately mistook its cause.

He'd assumed Johnny was having trouble in his own love life

(well, that much was true), but with Lisa. In fact, there was no love life. Lisa had finally discovered there was none, at about the same time that Johnny had figured that there was going to be none. She didn't let the door slam her on the behind in making her departure, weeks before.

"Don't worry, there'll be others," Tim had said.

"I doubt it!"

"Of course there will. It's just the way you feel when you break up with somebody. Come on, I been there good buddy..."

"Yeah." How could Johnny tell him that there wouldn't be anybody else because he didn't want another---woman---that was the truth that seemed written in stone.

"I don't think it's so simple."

"I never thought so, either. But I know a gal who's so sexy you'll cream in your pants. Her name's Valerie. I went out with her a few times. She's great. Vivacious, small, pretty, smart."

"Oh, yeah. If she was so cool, why didn't YOU stay with her?"

"'Cause along came Mary..." Tim had sung out. His joy was huge and nobody could impact upon it.

It had been a miserable week, looking on with longing at a person who scarcely noted your own misery, and completely unable even to give it air between them them.

It was the first time that, in dour and impossible frustration, Johnny had sneaked clothes from Tim's duffle, wearing them at night, feeling close to him somehow, vicariously.

Since then, he'd been unable to break the behavior, which was a poor replacement for physical contact, but had become a sexual release, but even with it, a build up of lust and expectation.

He knew that he would do it again on this trip. He would stay awake until Tim was asleep, snuffling quietly in his sleep, and then would go out, as though he were going for a leak, and then would rifle his buddie's pack, searching for clothing that Tim had worn. No matter how sweaty it was, he would put it on, crawling back into his sleeping bag. It was incredibly frustrating, unable to masturbate in the same small tent for fear that Tim would awaken, he'd often stay awake most of the night, his tumescence becoming painful, savoring the feel of the clothes that had been next to Tim's skin.

For that reason only, he'd asked them to take two smaller tents this time. Lying near Tim, being unable to touch him, sexually stimulated without release for hours on hand, had become so frustrating that he'd finally made an excuse for relief: let's take separate tents so we can both sleep better, and it's a safety factor, too. Tim had seemed a bit perplexed, but agreed when Johnny pushed him.

So, this was the second "two tent" year. It curtailed their

"lying in the dark" conversation, which Johnny missed, but it gave him room to wear Tim's clothes in privacy and he could beat off, relieving some of the terrible frustration of their closeness. After the fact, he could return the borrowed clothes while Tim still slept.

They bivouacked: two pup tents came out and were staked firmly and Tim hunched over a small gas heater, trying to light it in the gale. Finally they moved to the lea of one of the tents and sat huddled together around it, getting it lit and a pan full of water set to boil, steam arising in quickly blown billets out into the encroaching darkness. Hot soup eventually emerged, and a freeze dried gemisch which Tim regularly fixed and raved about, and which Johnny ate reluctantly.

Then they'd both donned their several layers and cinched their hoods over and around faces, their breaths now visible and snow falling heavier.

"Shit, some night to start off with. I was hoping for one of those "nights around the fire, you know, where we could catch up on old times."

"What old times? I talked to you a week ago!" Johnny said, his own latent sexual frustration making him sharp and too curt.

"Sorry!" Tim laughed at him, too familiar to take much umbrage at his unhappy friend. "So, what's blisterin' your bonnet, anyway. All day you been testier than a rutting bull."

"Maybe that's my problem..." Johnny said, softly. The softness of his voice gave credence to what he was saying, and Tim suddenly turned to him, looking at him full on, inquisitorially.

"Well, hell's bells, there's fixes for that. Go take care of your problem in your tent. Us men 'er made for that."

"Yeah. I'm too cold to be interested."

"You just told me you were horny, now you tell me you're not interested..." Tim was still laughing at/with him, teasing, taunting. And not yet serious, Johnny could tell.

"I think I'll turn in. Too damned cold out here to sit around without a fire, and too windy to start a fire."

"Who's idea was it to give up the Eureka anyway. At least it woulda been warmer tonight! And we could have talked inside."

"You want to talk I take it?" Johnny asked, not sure that he wanted to talk to Tim tonight. Not sure he could keep his frustration from spilling over.

"Well, yeah, I've got a few things on my mind."

Snow was blasting them, now, in nearly horizontal bars of white, stinging their faces where it hadn't quite decided to give up being sleet.

"Okay, whose tent, then?" Johnny asked. "It's going to be a tight fit."

"I been in tighter squeezes that THIS with you, friend," Tim laughed. "Anyway, I'm not much afraid of getting pregnant."

Exactly, Johnny thought. The thought never crossed your mind, did it? Bitterly he turned away and crouched in front of his tent untying his sleeping bag from the backpack's straps from which it hung. "At least I'm going to be warm!" Johnny said.

"Okay, move over, pilgrim!" Tim demanded in false bonhomme as he drug his own sleeping bag into the too small tent. "Two men" pup tents were designed to hold one half of a big man, not two big men. He zipped the tent flap behind him, moved the head of his bag forward in hitches, his knees painfully coming down on Johnny who'd already crawled into his bag and was finally getting warm.

They were nestled side by side, their warmth commingling despite the dense layers between them.

"You've been under a lot of stress lately," Tim said, finally, inches away in the darkness, the tent fabric a couple of feet above flapping mercilessly in the wind. "I figured I ought to ask you what it was all about."

"Oh, one thing or another. My life is going nowhere."

"You don't like your beautiful cabin, the 'simple life?' I thought that was YOU. You said it was."

"I only settled here where there are no damn jobs because of you!" Johnny said after moments of painful silence, debating answers and throwing them out one after another.

"I suspected that. I'm sorry, too. It makes me feel guilty.

I know that our friendship seems to come second, now that I've got a family. I didn't intend for that to happen, but it seems like I'm competing for two many pies anymore." Tim sounded genuinely unhappy for Johnny. The sentiment sounded real, and Johnny was grateful.

"I make my own choices. So do you. You don't have to feel guilty. In fact, I think you're crazy TO feel guilty.

You've got a family, you've got a beautiful wife, a great little daughter; 'course your job stinks, but you can't have everything."

"Yeah, don't I know it. When I told Mary I was coming on this trek again this year, she made it quite clear that she thought I couldn't have everything, too. I don't know what kind of greeting she's going to give me when I get back. She was plenty tiffed. I can see her part, too. It's just that I needed to get away, NEEDED it! Needed to reconnect with you, too, old buddy."

Tim's voice was soft, earnest, in the darkness. His leg was firmly up against Johnny's thigh, and the latter's mind was as much focused on the warmth there as upon what he'd said, wishing the layers of fabric were suddenly removed.

"Well, I'm glad. I don't know what I'd do if suddenly you said "good-bye 'old buddy' my wife won't let me see you anymore."

"She'd never say that. She's not THAT foolish. We go back 10-12 years before she ever came on the scene."

"So what's it really like, being married?"

"You should try it!"

"Don't think so."

"Not for you, huh? Well, there are plenty of days when I don't think it's for ME, either. Like yesterday before I left."

"You didn't tell her before YESTERDAY?"

"I didn't. Isn't that the shits? I just couldn't face her anger again. She gets angry at the drop of a hat, and I knew this one would be another blowout. I just couldn't take it.

So I dropped it on her yesterday. Cowardly, wasn't it?"

"Yep." Johnny knew that Tim frequently avoided confrontation or unhappy feelings, tried to smooth them over. It was not one of his characteristics that he much liked.

"Well, at least you could be sympathetic!" Tim laughed, his leg shifting away and then back, more firmly as he hitched his butt around trying to gain more floor room. Now they lay in touch along one whole side of their bodies, shoulder to foot.

"At least you're a WARM coward!" Johnny teased him. "I never thought it could get so damned cold in such a hurry!"

"Well, that's what I'm good for, Mary tells, me, just to keep a body warm. Very little else. Sometimes!"

"It's not that bad. She loves you."

"Yeah. It gets pretty possessive sometimes. And I feel like running for the woods."

"Possessive. You mean, like jealous?"

"Sometimes, but mainly she wants me at hand all the time, never out of reach. She wants to touch my body..." he laughed, salaciously.

"Well, that's good isn't it?"

"Yeah, for about 20 minutes. Then it can get kind of suffocating."

"You mean sexually?"

"That, too. She's the randiest woman I ever met. She wants it up down and sideways, sometimes all three in the same night."

"Whoa! Should I be hearing this?"

"I thought you had the dirtiest mind in Smith County" Tim teased him. "Am I making you blush? Too damn dark in here to tell."

"So, you have trouble putting out all that she demands of you?" Johnny asked, his voice serious, not teasing or merely curious.

"Sometimes. Hell, yes, lately I've been complaining of being too tired, having a headache. Things I never thought I'd EVER say."

"What do you think is UP?"

"I just need some space, is all. Which is another reason I needed to come on this trip. See another human being."

"What would she have thought if it'd been another woman?"

"Oh, then we'd had fireworks and violence, not just hurt looks and slammed doors and a few demands thrown in."

"Guess I should be glad I'm not, huh?"

"Yeah, I guess so." Tim shifted again, the tent warming to their combined exhausted breaths.

"What about you? You ever have a woman who wanted too much?"

Tim asked.

"Oh, yes I have" (ALL of them, he thought; little do you know! He'd always been able to sexually complete with women, and occasionally it'd been great sex, but he had little inclination to approach a woman for it, and that left them always coming on to HIM, an uncomfortable position). "I wonder. Maybe's its a kinda cycle: once you get a little tired, cramped, paranoid, or suffocated, you turn off, just a bit, and then she has to come on to you. After that, you're a bit more turned off, and then she's ALWAYS having to come on to you. You NEVER are the instigator. Could that be it?"

"Well, it's not as though I NEVER come on to her." Tim said, defensively. After a silence of many seconds, however, he came back, somewhat sheepishly. "But lately, you're right, it's never me."

"For you, that's saying a lot! You were always the hottest firecracker around!"

"WHO said that?" Tim said proudly.

"You did, I think."

"Oh, yeah, probably I implied it. Well, let me tell you, the wind has sort of left my sails."

"Well, every marriage must have it's ups and downs." To say nothing of every relationship.

"So, tell me about YOUR love life!" Tim said, nudging him with his elbow through too many folds of sleeping bag. "It's about time you told me something about YOU; I've been doing all the confessing here."

"You're lookin' at it. This is the closest I've been to another human being in 3 months."

"Ouch! What happened to Charlene?"

"She's a good friend. It was never more than that."

"So what's with you? Lisa was dynamite. I thought you were going to get hitched to her. And Charlene was, I should say

'is' cute, too."

"What's with me? I'm never going to get married. I'm not inclined."

"You say that now, but the time will come. Trust me."

"I trust you. You don't know what you're talking about."

"Ooh, tough guy!" Tim elbowed him again and Johnny laughed, relieved suddenly that Tim had not followed his too obvious hints, and shoved back. That resulted in a free-for-all shoving match, hands down at sides enforced by zippered bags, in which each fought to gain supremacy: in this case to be on top. Their laughter rang out. As always, in awhile it was Tim who ended up, crowing, sitting/laying on Johnny. Johnny knew that he never really tried. He WANTED it this way! But the exertion in the cramped space had made them both too warm, sweating.

"Shit! Now I'm suffocating!" Tim said, and zipped his bag down, rolled back slightly, his body still heavy on half of Johnny's. It was heavenly for the latter, and Tim was as always blissfully unaware of what he was doing. Tim had on a t-shirt and his jockey shorts, Johnny knew, and nothing else, as did he.

"So, go dance around outside. You'll get cool."

"Too cool."

"Well, let ME get some air. I'm dying, you lug!" Johnny unzipped and stuck one leg and one arm out into the frigid air. Then it happened. His foot came solidly against the foot of Tim, flesh against flesh, warmth in the coldness.

Johnny didn't move his foot. He fully expected that Tim would pull his own back, but he didn't. Tim never exercised the kind of male-male perimeter's that other men did, at least not with him. He'd observed this for years. Johnny suddenly stopped moving, feel into silence, his mind's focus upon the contact of their skin.

"You're wierd, you know?" Tim asked him, finally. "You get off on touching me, don't you?"

"Yes."

"Are you gay, or what?"

"Yes."

"I thought so."

"You thought so how long?"

"Years and years."

"So why haven't you said something? Letting me go through life living a stupid lie when all the time you knew anyway?"

"I figured you had to get to it on your own. You'd tell me when you wanted to. What could I say?"

"Yeah, I guess so. But I was terrified that you'd run for the hills." Tears came to his eyes. Tears which Tim could not see, but perhaps could sense, or smell.

"We're friends, hey? Friends don't desert each other for piddly reasons."

"You call this a 'piddly reason'--when all I can think of is you?"

"Oh, I see..." Suddenly Tim's silence said that the implications of this hit him like a ten ton load. His foot pulled away from Johnny's. "Stupid. I've been stupid."

"Yeah, you've been stupid." Johnny said bitterly. Now, he felt, it was all over.

"Let me get situated here a bit," Tim said as he leaned off Johnny and stretched himself, partly in and partly out of his bag and propped himself up on one elbow facing his friend, but not touching him. "Now, tell me the whole thing."

"You sure you want to hear any of this?"

"Well, no I'm not, but I'd better, don't you think?"

"I don't know. I don't see how you'd want to be around me any more after you know the truth." Again, self-pitying tears came to Johnny's eyes, hopefully unobserved. But the tremor of his voice gave it away.

"I'm not going to run for the hills. Quit saying that." But Tim's voice was unconvinced.

"So, what do you want me to tell you, after all?"

"Oh, I don't know. Just tell me, I guess, when this all started. Silly, it starts at birth, isn't that what they say?

Anyway, when did it start with ME?"

"11 years ago, I think. I probably fell in love with you the first minute I saw you."

"AIEE! You're making this hard!" Tim laughed, too loud, forced nervousness. "Go a little slower, okay?"

"Yeah, you stupid oaf. Anybody with half a brain woulda spotted it from the first."

"I did, I think. I just didn't want to make anything of it.

And it was neat having a younger fellow look up to you. I always thought it was some kind of hero thing, or something.

And then when we got to be good friends, it seemed like that part of things cooled off."

Silence intervened for a short while again, and Johnny's mind re-created the first vision of Tim he'd ever had. It was at the highschool gym, where classmates in different age groups would be in the same class, one of the few places this happened. Tim was already tall for his age, and muscular, not like the spindly kids most were at 16. Tim stood a head taller and weighed 20 pounds more than the nearest competitor, his hands and feet already full-grown. He was gorgeous: a head of curly hair, long strong face and elegant nose. Hero worship it had become, and right then Johnny knew that he wanted to see ALL of him. So, he'd made a fool of himself dawdling in the shower until Tim had come in. And what he'd seen had been as good as his mind's eye had forecast.

"So, are you going to tell me or what?"

"I thought I just had."

"No, well, maybe you have. Is that all?"

"You really want to hear any more than that?"

"I keep tellin' you, not really. But, well, I mean, what's it like bein' in love with somebody when they can't love you?"

"Horrible."

"You've hoped through all the years that this would change?"

"Well, I can't subdue my fantasy life, yeah. But I guess I'd have to admit that I never expected anything. Except maybe the occasional touch of your foot..." He suddenly giggled.

"Shit. Foot, my ass." Tim stuck his foot out of his bag again and fiddled until he'd found the opening of Johnny's bag and jammed it in and stuck it, hard, against Johnny's foot. "Is that all it takes to make you happy?"

"Hardly, and you'd better quit doing that!" Johnny said, taunting.

"Or?" The taunting lasted half a second, and then Tim DID pull his foot out, as he realized the implications of what he was doing. The loss of contact left Johnny feeling suddenly bereft and terribly alone.

"Sorry. I guess I forgot that I might be playing around, but you're serious. That's hardly fair to you."

"Hey, I'll take anything I can get!" Johnny laughed. "After 15 years of veritable wasteland, ANYthing is a blessing!"

"Hey, does this tent seem like it's growing smaller by the moment?" Tim asked, suddenly aware that the top of the tent was now touching his shoulder, dripping with condensation.

"Holy shit! We're probably covered with a foot of snow!"

It was a comedy of errors, more body contact than even before but all of it unappreciated, as they struggled to get jeans and boots on again. Finally they emerged to find not one but nearly two feet of powdery snow crushing their tent and obscuring every other thing they'd left around the campsight.

The other tent was obviously flattened, not even leaving a hint of its exact location. They beat the snow off the top of their tent and kicked and packed a circumference of snow around it. The wind still howled and snow, seemingly somewhat less, was still falling.

When finally they were able to crawl back into their somewhat straightened but still too tiny tent, they were laughing about what might have happened had they woken up sandwiched in a tent. Was that dangerous? Could they have suffocated without even awakening? Both had heard stories, but of questionable veracity.

Warmed with their exertion, they lay on top of their bags, clothed again, hips touching. "I gotta tell you something,"

Tim said. "A couple of years ago when we still were sleeping in the same tent, I thought I heard you get up and when I looked, I THINK I saw you going through my pack. At first I made plausible excuses. But after a couple of nights, I saw it happen again. And then I paid special attention. You were ripping off my underwear, weren't you?"

"No!" Johnny said, in hot denial, his cheeks flushing brightly red, except that neither could see them. "I'd never steal from you."

"Hey, this is ME!" Tim said. "You can never steal from me.

That thought never crossed my mind. But what WAS I seeing, then. I've always been curious."

"I don't think you want to hear."

"I think I can imagine. You were wearing my used clothes, weren't you? I mean, like for sexual reasons..."

"Yeah, that's about it. I'm ashamed for it, always felt guilty, but I could never stop doing it. I was so horny the whole time I was on these treks with you."

"Like now, right?"

"Well, I'm too embarassed to feel horny."

"But, I mean, you're always sexually turned on when I'm around?"

"Well, that's a crude way of putting it."

"Crude? Well, I didn't think I said anything but the obvious..."

"No, you're right. I'm just sorry I've put you in this place. It's obviously not your doing. I wouldn't blame you if you were turned flat off and couldn't see your way to even being around me, now that you know, even though, damn you!, you suspected right along."

"I don't know how to say this. Knowing, or I should say, suspecting you might be gay, didn't make me dislike you or want to stay away from you. But I always worried. I mean, how satisfying can such an arrangement be? I'm not gay. I'm not sure I even have very much potential in me for that. I mean, some guys, they say, can go either way. I'm not opposed to that philosophically. It just doesn't seem to be me, you know? Maybe I'm wrong, and maybe I could discover a side of me that I don't really know exists. For your sake, I wish I could. And I don't want this to sound like I'm interested in developing a sexual relationship with you. But I guess I've made my peace with the concept, and it just doesn't bother me."

"Well, that's an incredible relief. More than you can ever imagine. I had thoughts that you would be utterly unable to accept it, and would reject me outright. I'd fear and at the same time hope that you would discover my dirty little behaviors, so that I wouldn't have to pretend any more."

"Well, you can stop pretending. I'm glad it's out in the open, finally."

"What about Mary? She know?"

"No! I've never told her any of this, doubt I will. Anyway, I can imagine her look if she thought I was out on an intimate camping trip with a gay male friend who was going to seduce me away from her!"

"Oh, right!"

"Well, that's what SHE'd think, and I doubt she'd listen to my side of it at all."

"At some point she might find out. THEN what'll happen?"

"Who knows? Anything could happen. I'll pretend I never knew it, maybe."

"Is it good for you to have this kind of secrets from her?"

"Probably not, but that's the way it is. Your friendship, aside from her and Christy, is the most important relationship in my life."

"Thanks, good buddy. I guess I don't have to tell you how I feel about you... In fact, you'd probably never want to hear that again..."

"I'm not sure I fully understand it, though, and I AM curious."

"Like what?"

"Like, I mean, are you really 'in love' as you say, or is it just sexual attraction? or is it really just tight friendship? I mean, I feel THAT, too. And do you feel, uh, like attracted to other men, too. And how come you never had a relationship, that I know of, sexual or otherwise with another man? Say, one who shared your orientation?"

"I don't know the answers to any of your questions. I'm still trying to figure out all of this stuff."

"Fair enough. But, I mean, are you REALLY sexually attracted to me, or just the idea? I mean, you've seen me in all my worst. There can't be any mysteries any more. I'm hardly the tall dark stranger type. I'd think I'd be more like a brother, you know?"

"Well, I keep hopin' but it never seems to feel that way.

I'm as sunk as I ever was as regards you. I can't even tell you that my furtive little clothes borrowing escapades will stop."

"Well, hell, they don't have to be furtive. Or, maybe they HAVE to be, I don't know. You tell me."

"What are YOU saying?" Johnny asked him.

"I'm saying that I always loaned clothes to my brother. I never got uptight about that kinda thing. If you want to borrow my clothes, I can't think of anybody I'd rather have borrowing them. You're clean. I LIKE you. So, where's the problem? I gotta admit that it seems a bit icky. I mean, my old sweaty stuff? Jeez, I wouldn't want to put it back on MYSELF!"

"We'd better stop this conversation. I'm getting too horny.

I might just burst out and get us both icky!"

"Jeez. Maybe we'd better. Do you want me to resurrect the other tent? Assuming we could FIND it, even? Or I could walk around all night. Or I could walk around, for uh, like maybe 10 minutes. You know, that kind of thing..."

"Sure, 10 minutes is great. Just leave all of your clothes behind, boots too." Johnny laughed, teasing him.

"Go out buck naked you mean? Whoa. I don't think so....

Hey, but I don't mind borrowing some fresh clothes from you, or I could even use some of my own clean clothes. Sure, why not?"

"You don't have to."

"No, it's okay! I don't mind."

"Really?"

"Hell, no sweat. Nowhere except on my clothes that is!" Tim propped himself up and took off his t-shirt, then wrestled around and pulled off his jeans. And then stopped dead.

"I just realized, I'm going to be buck naked in this tent with you..."

"I won't attack you. I promise. And I won't even touch you, okay?"

"Okay." Tim bent to his task once more, and after minutes of finding and opening a pack and fishing out replacement clothes, he finally got new things put on. Then he paused again. "You want my boots? If you do, I'm gonna have to borrow YOURS."

"Do it, unless that's too hard for you."

"Nah, I don't care!" Tim rustled around and in moments was up and out of the tent, a blast of frigid air entering behind him. "You give me a holler, okay?"

Johnny zipped the tent again, and flipped on his flashlight briefly to locate all the components. They were all there.

He put on Tim's socks first, still faintly damp, but like all of his stuff, always essentially clean. There were his undershorts. Johnny pulled them over his legs, pulled them slowly up over his thighs, until finally they were on. The sensation of fabric touching him that only seconds before had been holding Tim's own ball sack and cock! He rushed, now, pulling up Tim's jeans, and pulling his t-shirt over his head, the faint smell of Tim all about the clothes.

He jacked himself, coming in a huge relief of semen, a handfull that he suddenly had no idea of what to do with!

Finally, reluctantly, he sucked it up into his mouth and swallowed it. The smell of his cum seemed, to him, to permeate the air of the tiny space. There was little he could do about it, except to open the flap and hope the wind would flush it out. But he didn't know what to do with Tim's clothes, now.

"Hey, Tim!" Johnny called out softly. The voice response was immediately at hand. Tim must not have been more than feet away through all of this. "You aren't going to put this stuff back on are you? You care if I just leave it on? You can borrow my clean stuff if you need it later. You'll run short of changes if you don't."

"'s cool. You done?"

"Yeah. Thanks."

Tim came crawling back into the tent, an embarrassment hanging in the air between them, neither finding good words to break it with. Finally Tim laughed softly and said, "It smells like a French whorehouse in here. Was it all as good as you'd hoped it'd be?"

"Yes. It was wonderful. And I don't have to keep a secret from you anymore."

"Good, I'm glad for that. I'm glad there's SOMEthing I can do that will get your rocks off, if even a little bit."

"Well, you did that. And I'm still wearing your stuff! This is going to be the best night of my life!"

"Well, you're welcome to it, buddy. Just keep your hungry little hands off me, okay?" He tried to make the latter sound like a big joke. They both laughed.

"I won't touch you. I swear."

"I didn't mean that the way it came out!" Tim protested. "I know you'd never make, what do they call it, unprivileged sexual contact? I guess I'm just too uneasy, this stuff is too new. So for now, probably that's all I can handle."

"I understand. And thank you."

They slept and the next morning uncovered from another mountain of snow. Apparently they wouldn't suffocate, or they would have.

The other tent was not only flattened, but the weight of the snow had torn the aging fabric throughout the whole length of the ridge. "Well, like it or not, I guess we're tenting together," Tim said. Johnny tried to gauge the tenor of his voice, what wasn't being said out loud. But he couldn't tell any underlying message. Tim seemed his usual ebullient, "top of the morning" camping spirit. As though nothing had happened. He made no comment nor pointed glances at the fact that Johnny still wore his clothes from the night before.

Minus the boots. He'd had to reclaim them for himself.

They reconnoitered the camp, finally got everything stowed away. "What do you think? Go higher? Or go back down a bit? This snow could be a bear. We shoulda brought snowshoes, or ski's or something."

"Yeah. I don't care. Whatever you'd like."

"Lower? We can go out along the mesa there. I think we must have camped there one year. By afternoon, maybe some of this stuff will burn off. It's mainly puffery anyway." "Yeah, but tough to walk through."

"Just 'cause you're draggin your pants cuffs..." Tim teased him. Johnny looked at his eyes, decided he WAS teasing, enjoyed the teasing, was intensely grateful that last night had not, ostensibly, changed their relationship. He bent and rolled up the final two inches of Tim's jeans cuffs.

"There, satisfied?"

"No. While you apparently have YOUR sex partner, if you want to call it that, I have nothing. I'm going to be horny this whole damn trip, with nothing but YOU to look at. And quite frankly, you are not the paragon of sexiness I apparently am for you!"

"Well, that's not MY fault! You'll just have to readjust your sights, that's all!" Johnny yelled back at him. The wind was still up and caught wisps of snow which it flung into their faces, while the sun glinting off the snow was blinding intensity.

They marched onward, with casual exchanges for hours, stopped for a snack at mid-afternoon and came up to their second campsite as the sun was heading behind the creosote bushes at the rim of the small arroyo. They found an overhanging shelf where sun had beat back the snow and left a small area of bare ledge. The reddish sandstone was still warm (or at least not as cold) from the day's sun.

Johnny flopped down on the ledge, extending his legs out in relief, and thought for the 50th time that day how good it felt to be wearing Tim's clothes. It generated a sense of complicity, of closeness that had never ever really been as complete in the past as it felt this day.

Tim sat down nearby, stretched out his feet and leaned back against a boulder. "Well, that was a good day!" he sighed, at last, a contented smile on his face.

"The best."

"I almost forget from one year to the next how great it is to be out here in the wilderness with a good friend. Stuff that you and I have been doing for years, now. I'd hate to give that up."

"Why would we have to?" A sudden spear of alarm went through him; the recent intimacy had lulled him into thinking it was finally "okay" between them.

"Well, I got married. That crimps our style. And someday you're going to find a partner, maybe a nice man, who knows?

But I don't think you're going to find him around here. I think you'd better bite the bullet and head off to one of the cities."

"I've never liked that scene. Actually I only tried it once, and it turned my stomach."

"Where does that leave you?"

"Hanging around here and living a lonesome life I guess, why?"

"And that's enough?"

"Not really. But every once and awhile a nice man I know comes up with an unexpected pleasure and makes all the rest worthwhile."

"Quit joking. I don't want that kind of pressure on me. It isn't fair to me."

"I know it. It isn't. What can I say. I just wish to hell you'd change your sexual orientation, that's all..."

"Yeah, right! If it's all that easy, why don't you change YOURS!"

"I don't want to."

"End of argument, I guess, huh?" Tim looked thoughtful, pinched his lower lip between finger and thumb, the way he did when he was mulling over things.

"So, what? What are you thinking?"

"What is it you really want from me anyway?" Tim asked, then added, "I mean, in your most grandiose dreams, how would it be different than what we have now?"

"Are you serious? It'd be completely different."

"Like what?"

"Well, you'd be married, or something like it, to me instead of Mary. We'd be together. I'd see you get up in the morning, see you go to sleep at night, I could touch you when I wanted, you could touch me, in joy and happiness, and then there's the sex, the raunchy stuff."

"You actually think about sex with me?"

"Sure, all the time."

"And what do you do?"

"You can't be serious. You don't want to hear all the gory details!"

"Well, I've heard a few of 'em already. You may as well tell me the rest. Then there won't be any secrets."

"But what if you are horrified? And you finally just decided you can't even look at me anymore?"

"A risk, I suppose." Tim leaned back, his lip still pinched, then leaned up again. "Oh, hell, I still want to know!"

"You're actually curious?" Johnny asked him.

"Yeah, I actually am. It's hard for me to feel anything about it, but intellectually, yeah, I'm interested."

"How much detail you want?"

"Whatever."

"Well, there's kissing. I'm not big on kissing, but just once I'd like to know what it felt like with a man....with you, I mean." Johnny was blushing furiously red, and turned away. "And then there's just holding and being held. Is that enough?"

"Well is that all?"

"Hardly."

"Okay, what's the rest?"

"We make love."

"Yeah? Like how? Just which partner am I supposed to be?"

"Usually you are the, I don't know what you call it, the, the, 'man' of the relationship. I've always made you the man."

"Well, thank heavens for that." Tim said finally, and then embarrassed, got up without saying another word and stalked off.

Tim sat on another flat stone out of sight of Johnny and recalled the first time they'd met. As far as he was concerned, it was not in a gym (Johnny'd told him they met in a P.E. class), but outside school towards the end of his sophomore year. He'd dumped an armload of books onto the steps and had stooped to pick them up, when this skinny kid had rushed forward and helped. He'd said 'thank you' and not thought any more about it, until several days later he encountered the same kid in the hall, staring at him. As soon as their eyes crossed paths, the kid's eyes darted away and he blushed bright red. Tim, who had his own younger brother, was amused.

I should have known right then that it was a crush. There lives crossed paths that summer when they both showed up at a YMCA job interview, and both got jobs teaching swim classes.

Johnny had been a serious, hard working kid who made every extra effort to teach his younger charges how to swim. It was impossible not to be impressed by him. He was a gentle person, and with genuine affection for his students.

Was that a homosexual thing? Did he get off on young swimmers? Tim mentally slapped himself for thinking that.

Johnny was a straight shooter (he laughed at that term, given its current context), well, not "straight" perhaps, but serious, moral, and always steadfast and worthy.

They became friends who ran in different circles, until at the YMCA reunion the next year they hit it off and both learned of their happiness in exploring and hiking, sometimes climbing.

Johnny had still been a slender kid then, acne on his face, too eager to please, star struck with the football halfback.

But on their first hike together, Tim generated some respect for him. He was extremely competent as a hiker and as a climber, in some ways more facile than himself.

It was always pleasant talking to Johnny: every word he uttered was hung on with great weight. It was flattering and ultimately, Tim had found that he liked being around Johnny better than anybody else. Perhaps in the sure light of the latter's affection, it was easy to return that affection.

When Tim's life lead into dating, their easy childhood friendship lead into different directions, but they frequently had double dated. Johnny had never been heavy into petting or sex, that much had been apparent. Stupid me to never have noticed. I thought it was religion, or morals, or maybe timidity, or something. Anything but what it was.

Tim started working at the grain elevator as soon as he'd graduated from college. Oh, he tried a semester of college, but it wasn't for him. He liked the physical labor, and was good at books, too. Before long, he was managing the local elevator company, but it was a small concern, and it was as much "runner" as manager. Overall, he liked it for a few years, and then he grew bored with it. But by then he knew Mary. Now he felt rather trapped in a job with little future.

Unlike himself, Johnny went away to college. During those four years, they got together only when Johnny made it back for a weekend visit, or for holidays or summer, though one summer Johnny had to take a job off in Casper. When they were together, it was like old times: Tim always felt the pleasure of Johnny's approval and warm regard; it was like having the sun shine on you.

At some point, probably years before he consciously made himself take notice, or maybe that was when he discovered Johnny rummaging through his backpack, he knew that it wasn't quite what it seemed. Longstanding suspicions had jelled, finally. For awhile, he tried to down key his relationship with Johnny, even told himself it was for his own good. He actually thought Johnny was "over it,"--not that that made any real sense, perhaps it had only been wishful thinking---when he started dating Lisa. He knew they were having sex, and Johnny had told him it was "good." He'd hoped that this was the lasting phase of Johnny's life. At the same time, he missed the constant attention, the warm glow, that he got from Johnny. He had to admit, he'd had a few pangs of jealousy. Not that he hadn't been the first to break up their twosome, with Mary.

But, despite the knowledge, then the doubt, he'd never really grappled with the reality of it all. Johnny, "in love" with him. Well, it was no surprise. Because it had always been.

But, he knew that it would never be as Johnny thought: he was not an entirely worthy subject. Even now he felt he was letting Mary's love go begging. He was incapable of being consistent, of returning either of these people's generous affection, bestowed upon him without expectation, and yet with enormous gravity. What would it be like to have to carry two people, one woman, and now a man; and Christy, soon enough? It felt overwhelming. Like, I don't need ANY of this!

But how did it feel? Johnny was a wonderful friend, as considerate and kind as any person in his life had ever been.

Tolerant of his vicissitudes, willing to listen when he was being foolish, irresponsible, or babbling on. But it still felt like hero worship. If he really knew me, he'd find a callous shell of a person.

Still, what now? Johnny was obviously unable to extricate himself. A friend would kick him out the door. It was, ultimately, the only kindness he could really bestow. "Get out of here! Find somebody else who can really return your love!"

He knew he wouldn't. A handsome man all his life, he'd learned to take people's admiration, affection, or desires and get what he wanted or needed. It was intrinsic to his nature, and altruism had never grown inside himself.

So, what? He didn't know. How did it feel to have a man hanging on your every gesture? Wanting more than he could get? Was he going to come on to me? Was it going to be intensely uncomfortable now that the cat was fully out of the bag?

He turned, finally, walking slowly back to the shelf, no answers only questions vibrating around in his skull. When he returned, he found Johnny absent. He made little of it, and started collecting dry sticks for a a campfire. At least, with the wind sheltered, they'd be warmer than last night....

Johnny moved away from the campsite, moving over snow covered rocks and heading for a high promontory from which he could see the surrounding countryside. Sometimes when things were too intense, being high up would alleviate some of his turmoil: after all, the world had been here for millennia, and would continue to be here for millennia after THIS small problem had long been in the grave.

When he clamored over the last small ridge he scrabbled out onto a rock strewn cliff, where he could sit and watch the campsite, now 300 yards distant. He could see Tim move about, knew what exactly he was doing, because Tim moved in predictable circles: right now he'd be fussing over a campfire. Tim was usually unhappy unless there was a roaring campfire. And when it was done, he'd mellow out and lean back and make jokes. And it had been one of the best times of the day.

There was no mistaking that everything had changed. No going back to the old friendship. Tim will never look at me with the old innocence and fun comradery again. He'll know that I'm looking at him every second, watching for a sign, hoping for what cannot be hoped for. But, hadn't that been a foregone conclusion anyway? Johnny had reached the end of his endurance: he couldn't stand it anymore. His frustration and unrequited desire had peaked weeks ago, and this trip was either going to be the last, or things were going to have to change. Maybe Tim was right: there was no future here for him. Certainly the jobs stank. The things he'd been forced to do: house painting, gardening, weeding. Well, the latter two he enjoyed. Still, no money to speak of, no way to do any of the things that he'd always wanted to do. And all because of Tim. Now married, forever unavailable to him, immersed in his new responsibilities, not wanting any new ones. It all was hopeless.

It left him with a great feeling of sadness. This phase, after all, had come to its end. Time to move on.

Can I go through the rest of this trip with him? It's more frustrating and painful that I ever imagined. Seeing him.

Wanting him so badly. Every time he looked up, his eyes automatically sought him out. Every time he thought, he knew he wanted to reach out and touch him. Wearing Tim's clothes:

at once so wonderful, and at the same time bringing only unbearable frustration.

Johnny sat until the sun dipped below the horizon, golden peach rays stringing up in a dense array lighting clouds from beneath. Beautiful! Could I give up this country?

Finally, darkness moving in, Johnny stood up and moved away the way he'd come. The going was extremely slippery, now.

Johnny moved slowly, carefully. A wrenched knee would be a very difficult thing at this point.

Despite his best effort he fell twice, bruising one hand and his hip as he came down hard on a rounded stone bedrock covered with slippery ice from the sudden cooling.

Well, there's no fix for it I can see, Johnny thought. Just go through the week, let it happen. Try to keep your cool.

"Gad, I was worried about you!" Tim said. "Where the hell did you go? I thought you'd fallen or worse, just left."

"Out of frustration? Maybe. No, I'm not leaving. And I was careful. Nevertheless, still fell on my butt. Look. Did I mess up your jeans?"

"Do I care?" Tim said, but looked over and nodded, "they're okay."

They finished supper without another word to each other, the strain growing taut and invisible, but palpable nevertheless.

"I screwed everything up, didn't I?" Johnny finally blurted out. "I'm sorry. I just couldn't go on the way it had been."

"Don't blame yourself. You didn't do it. I asked, remember?

And anyway, people don't make themselves gay or straight or anything else, they just are."

"But I miss the old friendship we had, and I sense it IS gone. You're not going to be able to look at me without wondering what I'm thinking next, right?"

"I thought about that a bit. You may be right."

"So, should we go back early or not?"

"No, I don't want to." Tim surprised himself. A part of him DID want to go back and a part didn't. But another part was unwilling to see the best friendship of his life suddenly blow away over this albeit huge hurdle.

"I don't really want to either, but I don't want to be miserable, either. Or want to make YOU miserable. None of this is your doing!"

"Oh, really? You gave me a few outs, told me I really didn't want to hear. I asked, didn't I? You know, the truth is, I don't think I really deserve you? You've been the most constant friend a man could ever have, have forgiven me everything. Remember the time when I utterly blew you away at that group? When I was intent on boasting about my football skills, what little there was of them? I look at myself, with you, with Mary, and I can tell you I don't really like what I see."

"Well, I can tell you, I LIKE you." Johnny said, then caught himself. "I don't mean sexually--well, that too--but primarily I LIKE you. I always have. You're big, beautiful, and my best friend. And it makes me sad has hell to think I've screwed it all up. DAMN!"

"Oh, aren't we a bunch of tear jerkin' sad sacks? To hear us talk, it was all over forever. We're just going to have to adjust, that's all."

"Yeah, like to the fact that I want to crawl all over you and you only feel like running in the opposite direction..."

Johnny Weeks, Chapter 2

Disclaimer: this is intended only for adults. It contains fictional scenes of an erotic nature including sex between consenting males. A portion of this story eroticizes shared clothing. If any of this is offensive to you, please change channels.

If you live in an area where the positing of this material is illegal, you must adhere to the laws of your locality and do not pursue this story. This is fiction: in real life, HIV is an ever-present danger: practice SAFE sex! If you are under age, you may not legally read this story.

If you like what you read, please e-mail me at [email protected] I'd like feedback and would like to correspond to any of you who have similar interests. If you don't like this material, save us both a lot of trouble.

________________________________________________________________________

"Now you can tell Mary I'm a great kisser!" Tim laughed, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, smiling, eyes suddenly merry.

"I don't think so, unless you REALLY want me to!"

"Wouldn't her eyes bug out of her head? 'I've been kissing Johnny and HE tells me I kiss good.'"'

"I'm not sure I could testify to that on the basis of a single good kiss," Johnny said softly. "It might have been a fluke."

"Don't press your luck. I'm not kissing your ugly face again unless I have to!"

"Okay, okay." Johnny agreed. So, what next? I guess I'll turn in," Johnny said, softly, seductively. "Strip off all these old Tim clothes."

"You better treat those clothes well if you ever intend to get any MORE of them. Especially if you want those I have on right now!"

"These clothes will get the very best treatment imaginable.

But I really need a reinstallment, and soon!"

"Oh, shut up!" Tim laughed, his eyes suddenly laughing and teasing, fun and games again. Johnny stood by the tent and shucked off his boots, then his (Tim's) socks, jeans, undershorts, while Tim stood nearby looking embarrassedly away. Johnny climbed into the tent, tucked himself into Tim's sleeping bag. Wonder if he'll notice.

Moments later, Tim crawled into the tent, naked as well.

Cold and shaking, goosebumps on his biceps and chest. He reached the flap of his bag, suddenly noticed that Johnny was in HIS bag.

"I was about to tell you you were in the wrong bag. But I guess this is what that's all about, right?"

"Yeah, I guess it is."

"Okay, here goes nothin' Geronimo!"

The warmth of Tim's skin against his own was suddenly there and intoxicating. It was every dream he'd ever had suddenly come to fruition. His eyes closed and his breathing became ratty, while his cock became rock hard and painful.

"Damn, you really ARE turned on," Tim laughed, feeling Johnny's cock against his knee, which was up over Johnny's thigh.

"Fairly warned," Johnny whispered back, and groaned softly.

His arm came up around Tim and held him closer.

The effect for Tim was not unpleasant: warm skin in a cold night, no matter whose skin it was, was sensual enough. And the electric effect it had on Johnny pleased him. At least it was good for Johnny. Probably, he had to admit, it was good for him, too.

"Okay, fearless friend, what now?" Tim whispered in his ear.

"Just let me enjoy touching you, okay? I can't believe it.

If it never happens again, well, at least let me enjoy this minute!" His hands reached out and ran down the backside of Tim, the muscled smooth back, the tight hard buttocks, the cleft between which he avoided assiduously. His own leg came up and ran up and down Tim's. This was nothing like getting sucked off in a seedy gay bar, this felt, well, right.

Exactly right.

Tim's hands stayed put on Johnny's chest for a moment, then commenced to slip up and down his chest and his back, almost involuntarily mimicking Johnny's own movements.

Tim leaned over Johnny's face again, and dipped his head and their lips met again. "This is too weird," Tim said, before sealing their mouths together, his own tongue delving deeply.

His own cock rose up furiously.

Johnny reached it, held it in his hand, afraid to move. It was at once bigger, firmer and yet softer than he'd ever imagined it could be. Oh, to be Mary, to have this to look forward to every night.

Tim's eyes were closed, his mouth glued to Johnny's mouth, their tongues toiling in pools of commingled saliva.

Tim came up for air, his eyes searching Johnny's eyes in the dim light, his mouth wet, a strand of spit spanning the distance between them.

"Is this what you had in mind?"

"Yes, damn you, yes!"

"I never thought I had it in me, but I do!" Tim grunted back at him, his mouth closing on Johnny again. Johnny grunted, both hands on Tim's cock. Tim rolled over on top of him, Johnny forced to remove his hands. But their cocks were firmly between them, rubbing together.

"Damn, you got a big rod!" Tim whispered, and laughed. It's poking me in the gut!

"Who's the biggest?" Johnny laughed, and reached down again.

Tim moved down slightly, until their two cocks were firmly aligned. Tim's cock was an inch at least bigger.

"Good! I knew you were the biggest." Johnny said, in soft adoration.

"What are we going to do with these things? I don't think there's any way in heaven that I can suck your dick. I wish I could."

"No sweat, amigo." Johnny said. He rolled Tim off him and crouched over him, the frigid air coming into the gaps in the bag. His own tongue touched the tip of Tim's rigid penis, which gave a start. Tim pulled away. "Don't," he said. "I want to fuck, okay?"

"I've never BEEN," Johnny said. "It might not be so easy, you're so big! But I do want to try."

Johnny salivated and made a big gob of spit which he used to inundate Tim's upright cock. The friction of his hand against his friend's organ caused Tim to grunt and groan.

Johnny made more spit and reached behind himself, rubbing spit into his ass crack, trying to loosen himself with a finger inserted up inside him, trying to put two fingers there, finding it painful. He was afraid that if he didn't move fast, the hardness of his temporarily aroused friend might be lost. He sat back, directing the hard pole to the target of his anus. They connected. Johnny swooned. Oh damn, oh damn!

Tim's eyes were fiercely closed, his mouth open and breathing hard. Johnny tried to loosen himself so that he could impale himself, but pressure merely created more pain.

"Can't do it, huh?" Tim finally asked.

"I'll do it! If I have to die trying! I want it!"

"I like kissing, myself," Tim offered, trying joking to alleviate some of the tension between them.

Johnny lowered himself again, after applying even more spit.

This time the angle was slightly better, and something happened. What happened is that Tim's cock head was firmly in place, stretching his anal sphincter. The pressure felt intense, but there was no doubting it was in the right place.

He pushed harder. The pain made him want to cry out. He was afraid to.

"Don't push," Johnny said softly.

He rose up slightly, sat down again. This time, Tim's cock gained a clear entrance, something gave way. The pain and pressure were intensely unpleasant, burning. Johnny had to raise up one more time. He anointed more spit, and settled back again. More happened. Tim was at least several inches up inside him. Johnny had to remain utterly still, his breath ragged with discomfort, until finally things relaxed and the pain got better.

He leaned down, finally, and their lips met again, Tim hungry to get his tongue inside Johnny. While this happened, Johnny backed up. And then it had happened. Tim was fully home.

He wanted to thrust.

"I'm going to make you pregnant," Tim teased him.

"I'll take my chances." Kissing, tongues roaming deeply.

Cock plunging fully inside him, pressure building.. A faint smell of feces in the bag with them.

"Stay in me," Johnny said, finally, and twisted himself, cock still firmly inside him, and lay with his back now to Tim, their two bodies in full contact now back-to-front, cock rigid and moving.

"Oh, oh, oh" Johnny shuddered as his friend's cock sundered him, as his friend's skin plastered against him. Tim reached around Johnny and pulled him ever more firmly against him.

"Ah, ah," Tim groaned, and pushed fully inside Johnny, his cock throbbing with the pulsations of semen rolling out of him.

"Whoa!" Tim grunted finally, his cock softening somewhat but still very much a presence. "I never thought I could DO that! But, God, it feels strange! Not like a woman at all."

Johnny had tears in his eyes. "Thank you," he said softly.

"Aim to please," Tim said, gallantly, whispering in the darkness.

They lay silently together, skin against skin, Tim on his back and Johnny draped over him, one leg overtop Tim's thigh, his hand across Tim's chest, their breathing slowing finally.

"This isn't going to work, is it?" Tim said finally.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, this was going to be a one time deal, so you'd get it out of your system. Stupid idea!"

"It can be a one time deal. I know it was hard on your head, but it was wonderful for me. At least I'll always have this memory to fall back on."

"You loved it. You don't want this to be the one and only time. If I were you, I wouldn't either."

"Well, sometimes you can't have what you want. I'm used to it, after 12 years."

Silence fell again. Johnny, not having come himself, was still sexually aroused, his penis intermittently rampant.

But he thought Tim was already asleep. He shifted slightly, his leg moving up slightly.... Tim's cock was fully erect!

"Whoa, what is THIS?" Johnny whispered, delighted. "I thought you were asleep!"

"Shit. I don't know WHAT's happenin' to me..." Tim said, sounding faintly miserable.

"Don't worry about it. You're young, you been sexually frustrated by Mary's coming on too strong. It's warm skin on a cold night. That's all it is."

"Is it?" Tim said, unconvinced.

"Sure. You don't have a gay bone in your body. That's what makes me heartsick."

"I don't, huh? How about this one attached to me below my waist?"

"That one doesn't have a brain, it's all hormones."

"You're something else, Johnny," Tim said, finally, and gave him a brief hug. That hug, Johnny thought later, was worth a million dollars. Two million.

Tim eventually dropped asleep, though Johnny remained turned on and too excited to sleep. He listened to the breathing of his friend, as he'd listened to it for years when they were together, as he slipped off into sleep. He fought the impulse to move about, touching, feeling, appreciating the body contact with Tim that he had. He lost his internal battle. His hand, arm, casually moved about until, seemingly by accident, he hoped, he'd found the prize, which one hand touched with tender lovingness.

He must have fallen asleep finally, for he awoke with a start when Tim turned over, grunted, and it was definitely bright daylight out.

"Gad, I don't believe how bad it smells in this sleeping bag!" Tim complained, laughing at the same time. "Somebody coming into this tent would swear we've been doing something...dirty. Oh-oh, I think they may be on to something."

"Well, good morning to YOU, too!" Johnny laughed, afraid that Tim was going to get up, ending a night that might never be repeated.

"What the hell are we going to do? Bathe in a stream somewhere? Yikes. I'll freeze my tail off. Then you'll be left bereft."

"Melt some snow?"

"Not enough fuel unless you start a wood fire. You go ahead.

It's all your fault, anyway!"

"Granted, but all I want to do is stay here. It's you that wants up, not me. So YOU should start the fire!" Johnny responded.

"Oh, fuck it. I'm just gonna stay here!" He lay back, shifted, groaned, cleared his throat. He suddenly looked at Johnny, joking aside. "How do YOU feel this morning?"

"Sore as hell, if you wanna know the truth."

"Yeah, the ground makes a poor mattress. I must be getting old. It didn't used to bother me."

"I wasn't talking about my BODY..."

"Oh, what then?"

"I'm talking about a certain portion of my anatomy."

"Oh..." Tim blushed furiously.

"I didn't think you blushed anymore! It's quite becoming..."

Johnny teased him.

"I'm getting all befuddled..." Tim complained looking away, still blushing.

"Okay, change the subject."

"I don't WANT to change the subject."

"Okay, DON'T change the subject. What do you want to talk about?"

"I'm suddenly all scrambled up."

"I'm sorry. It's my fault. I can understand why my needs would scramble you up..."

"Oh, for pity's sake, quit apologizing!" Tim demanded. His downside arm had come up around Johnny's shoulder, and stayed. It was a lover's morning after embrace. With it there, nothing seemed like it could go badly, Johnny felt.

"I just meant, I told myself that I was doing this great act of kindness for my friend, something that otherwise was not at all interesting to me. I doubted I'd even be able to do anything. I even amazed myself! But, look what happened. I got turned on. I enjoyed it, probably as much as you. More, maybe, since you didn't even get to come, did you? And I had another hard on, waiting to go for round two. This is not at all what I'd counted on."

"Yeah?" Johnny reached up and held Tim's hand and pressed it to his chest, the heat of it stimulating him even further.

He didn't want to talk. He wanted to simply BE here and feel Tim's body next to his...

"You're not listening, are you?" Tim said, irritably, then laughed. "You're doing it again!"

"Doing WHAT? I'm innocent."

"Coming on to me..."

"I AM. I didn't think I was."

"Like the hand in the night last night."

"You were ASLEEP!"

"Fat ass chance I was asleep. I don't think I slept a wink.

Well, I must have fallen asleep at some point."

"You were AWAKE!" Johnny said. "Damn!"

"And what did you find?"

"What do you mean?"

"When you went groping?"

"Ah, I don't know, you, you know."

"Hard, right?"

"Sometimes men get erections in their sleep, that's what I read. I think that's true. You know, like when they're dreaming."

"Except I was awake."

"Now you tell me! Why didn't you tell me then?"

"I don't know. Except that I didn't want to be a participant, and I was, and I was foolin' myself by telling myself that I was a passive recipient. Like I was passive last night..." He laughed at himself. "Nobody could accuse me of that."

"No, you were active all right. Fantastically active."

"Flatterer! Have you no shame?" Tim said in a feigned falsetto.

"None whatsoever," Johnny said, and his left hand suddenly came onto Tim's cock and balls.

"Happy now?" Tim, said, quickly erect.

"Happier. Hard to be happier."

"So, you're sore, I'm horny again in the worst way. And you, you don't even HAVE an outlet. We're a sorry mess."

"There's more than one way to skin a cat..." Johnny hinted, holding Tim's cock and stroking it slowly, his heavy balls pulling up into their sack.

Tim tightened his arm around Johnny's shoulders. "I'm just hung about about the alternatives. Somehow, FUCKING, you know, like we did last night, well, it's still a masculine thing."

"So, we'll fuck."

"You said you were sore."

"I am. But for you I can do anything."

But neither moved. Johnny's foot came up alongside the tops of Tim's legs and thighs, felt his heavy big feet, ran his hand across Tim's chest. Just feeling him all over was like a dream.

"Our breath's must smell like dragons" Tim whispered. "Yours does at least."

"Yours, too."

Tim looked at Johnny, then bent over, his mouth coming up against Johnny's. Their mouths opened, tongues mingled.

Tim's breath grew ragged.

"Damn!" He pulled away. "Get some damn lubricant or something. I gotta do this again!"

Johnny scurried out of the bag, reached the pack outside fished. Found margarine. He came back and smeared a dob onto Tim's rigid cock.

"Bright idea." Tim said, trying to get between Johnny's thighs. But things didn't work smoothly. Finally, he said, between long kisses, "You'll have to do it, I can't find the damn way!"

Johnny threw off the sleeping bag, their naked bodies both hugely erect. He lay on his back, raised his legs. "Okay, Captain!" he said. Tim got between his thighs, raised up his hips, and with Johnny guiding the tip of his rampant weapon, it slid home.

"Oh," was all Johnny could say. The pain of last night was only a short memory, the pleasure far overriding anything else. The feeling of Tim deeply inside him, thrusting and withdrawing.

"I never knew it could be like this between us," Tim finally said, his eyes open and never wavering from Johnny's own. "I never knew I could love you sexually. But I do. It's as simple as that!" Unhhh, he whispered and groaned, pushing faster and harder. Unhh, Unhh, Unhh! He shoved home, his body not moving, his breath gasping. His semen burst forth deep inside Johnny.

Johnny Weeks, Chapter 3

Disclaimer: this is intended only for adults. If you are under age, you may not legally read this story. It contains fictional scenes of an erotic nature including sex between consenting males. A portion of this story eroticizes shared clothing. If any of this is offensive to you, please change channels.

If you live in an area where the positing of this material is illegal, adhere to the laws of your locality and do no pursue this story. This is fiction: in real life, HIV is an ever-present danger: practice SAFE sex!

If you like what you read, please e-mail me at [email protected] I'd like feedback and would like to correspond to any of you who have similar interests. If you don't like this material, save us both a lot of trouble.

________________________________________________________________________

Laughter and wailing and gnashing teeth as the two stood on a flat rock next to snowmelt runoff in a shallow streambed.

The frigid water, doused on bare sensitive skin may have been part of it. But also there was a newfound freedom. Nudity between them had been accepted as it was between male friends. Tim had never been prudish, even less than Johnny.

Now, however, things had changed dramatically.

Johnny was most aware of it, reveled in the newfound familiarity. Also basked in the realization that Tim was

"strutting his stuff," with him, acting like the new "man of the household," a different role than ever before. A part of him rejected the disparity between them. And their lovemaking had been distinctly one-sided: no release for Johnny, though it had been so much more than his richest fantasy that he could only be grateful, not fault-finding.

There was no forgetting what had happened: the soreness of his bum was a constant reminder. Johnny almost greeted the pain, but also relished sitting his stinging bottom in the cold stream. Tim looked on in amazement: "You can SIT in that water? You'll be a neuter the rest of your life."

There was also a pain in his hip. Johnny, looking, found a slight abrasion where he'd fallen on the ice the day before.

A circle of red surrounded it. It didn't look good. He scrubbed it carefully with soapsuds, but it was clearly painful.

They towelled with the same towel, Tim going first. When they got back in front of their tent, Tim bent over his pack.

Johnny stood back admiring his lover's small buttocks, covered with a fine blondish hair almost to the globes, and a crack between that made him want to touch him there...

"You want your clothes or MY clothes?" Tim asked.

"What you wore yesterday?"

"Well, is that alright?"

"It's better'n alright, it's good!" Johnny assented. It wasn't quite the thrill it had been the day before. Tim fished in Johnny's pack and drug out some of the latter's fresh clothes: undershorts, jeans, fresh t-shirt. While in younger years, they'd shared some clothes almost casually, that had fallen off in recently years. Tim kept himself fastidiously clean. Johnny had not seem Tim willingly wear anything of another in years, and now the thought was intriguing. Probably 'cause they're clean, he thought to himself.

A flash of resentment went by: yesterday it would have been a fetish-dream come true: today it seemed slightly presumptious. But he said nothing, went into the tent and donned Tim's old briefs, jeans, socks, and etc. When he stood up again outside the tent, Tim came over to him, gave him a tight hug, kissed him briefly on the mouth, all enough to arouse Johnny anew, but that was all. Tim was already packing the gear, his own plus Johnny's own pack.

They decided to ascend to the large escarpment leading to Middle Peak. It would be an easy hike, but mostly uphill.

Depending upon the amount of snow or mud they found, either an easy hike or a difficult one. They'd find a good camping spot on top, because they'd been there before. Along the first several hundred yards they flushed western quail and a grouse or two, plus a buck and doe. The day was pristine clear, still cold and yet because of no wind, easy to hike in shirtsleeves despite their altitude. Johnny, dark skinned by nature and with thick hair, tended not to burn. Tim, lighter complexioned, already looked pink. Johnny reminded him to use sunblock. Tim looked irritated for a second and then whistled to himself and grudgingly but somewhat sloppily put some over his head and neck.

This is feeling strange, Johnny told himself, almost aloud.

Tim, up ahead, bounced along in his long stride, apparently windless, a young male animal in his prime, happy and humming to himself. Johnny would have predicted some guilt or concern, or SOMEthing, but nothing came through. In fact, it was almost the opposite. As though some burden had been relieved.

"You seem to be in pretty fine spirits!" he said, finally catching up.

"Sure, it's a beautiful day! Don't you agree? 4 more days before we have to go back, nobody else to worry about.." Tim answered without turning.

"It IS a beautiful day," though he was increasingly aware of the pain in his hip, and a nagging concern that this bode ill. He was afraid to mention it to Tim.

They stopped for lunch, Tim perching on a rock, leaning back in the bright sunlight, spreading his arms wide, and apparently falling asleep instantaneously. Johnny caught up and looked down at him: were he feeling better, the view of Tim spread eagled on a rock, in his (Johnny's) very own clothes would have been stimulating enough to make an ordinary day into an extra-ordinary one. But his head had started to hurt as well, and it felt like his hip was burning. Johnny sat down and tried to talk himself out of it.

When he awoke again, things were obviously worse. He peeled down his jeans and looked at the wound, now virulent, raised, red hot. Tim slept on, unperturbed, on the rock.

There was no ignoring this. Johnny tapped Tim on the shoulder, who started awake, took a moment to figure out where he was, sat up. "I think I've got a serious problem, Tim."

"You do? What do you mean?" Tim was still not thinking clearly. He must have been awoken in a deep stage of sleep.

"I was just dreaming, funny...."

"Look here." Johnny showed him.

"Ouch. What's that from?"

"From falling yesterday. I slipped on a rock. Didn't even think I'd broken the skin, but apparently I must have."

"You're up to date on your tetanus, aren't you?"

"Yeah, I think so, but that doesn't protect you from another kind of infection, I don't think. Anyway, I think I've got a fever."

Tim stood up came across and touched his palm to Johnny's forehead. "Shit, you DO feel hot! What do you think we should do?"

"I tried to ignore it since this morning, but it's getting worse. It could be a serious thing, out here, specially since I'm getting a fever."

"You think we should head out?"

"I don't know. Yeah, I think we have to."

"Well, let's catch a snack and then start, okay?"

Tim broke forth snack mix, but Johnny was not at all hungry, couldn't even force himself to eat. Tim sensed this, hurried. He fastened up both packs, put the heavier on his back, turned back to Johnny. "Are you going to have trouble walking?"

"Not so far, I think," Johnny murmured, but in truth each step hurt. All the way from his calf right up to his shoulder on that side.

"We'd better cover as much territory as we can."

Things worsened considerable over the next two or three hours. The pain became excruciating, and Johnny could not keep up. His brow was drenched in sweat, his eyes half lidded.

"Buddy, things don't look good at all," Tim said, his concern written all over his face. "I think you'd better let me get you set up in a tent and I'd better make a run for it!"

"Then what, have search and rescue pick me up? That sounds pretty dramatic doesn't it?" But in truth, it sounded about right, given the way he felt.

In the end, he could scarcely keep his thoughts straight, and ended up being no help at all as Tim

quickly assembled the tent, fluffed out his own sleeping bag, got water, food stuffs, and made ready to depart.

"I'll be back real quick. You just rest, try to keep some fluids down, okay?"

"Okay, sure..." Johnny was lying flat, the pain already severe.

Tim looked down at him another moment, stood up and turned, but then turned back. "You are a very special person to me.

Don't let anything happen to you..." He thought another second, then came back and stopped down, kissed Johnny on the hot forehead. Then he was gone.

12 hours later, a team of men and a woman lifted Johnny onto a stretcher and called for a helicopter out of Sherman. He was unconscious. Tim stood by, dead on his feet, a worried expression on his face, tears coming to his eyes. "What do you think? Is he going to be okay?"

"I don't know," the woman said, who seemed bruff, all business, and too curt. Tim resented that she'd taken over HIS friend, and he was made to feel like he was a fifth wheel, too tired to protest.

The helicopter flew in an our later, but IV's and antibiotics had already been started. Johnny was being aerovac'ed to Casper.

Tim collapsed in the back of his truck when he got back to Sherman, the sun bright and too warm. He ought to call Mary, who knew nothing so far. But he could hardly face anything new right now. He also hadn't sorted out his feelings at all. What was going to be 4 days more before he had to face key decisions had disappeared into infection and unconsciouness. Finally he got up, dog tired, and called Mary. He explained minimally what had happened, and told her he had to drive over to Casper to see Johnny: that the latter could be critically ill. She tried to talk him out of it:

"There's nothing you can do, he's unconscious; why don't you wait until he's out of the woods?"

Finally, Tim, cut her short, asserted that he WAS going. Her response: "Fine! I've always known that HE's more important to you than I was, anyway!" Super, Tim thought, now she's jealous of a man! Funny, his next thought, for once her jealously might be justified!

When he got to the small hospital in Casper, he learned that Johnny had been transferred to Denver General. He was too exhausted to drive another mile. And, had no money for a motel. He stopped along a country road, pulled off, assembled the pup tent he'd shared with Johnny, and slept 12 hours. When he woke, it was dark and cold. He felt grimy and unwashed, still wearing Johnny's clothes. It all felt strange, as though this were all in another world.

He didn't like cities, but found the hospital, and was finally escorted to surgical intensive care unit where his friend was propped up, with multiple IV lines and a monitor, and where his whole thigh was swaddled in surgical wrap.

Johnny seemed awake but drowsy, confused. He seemed to recognize Tim, his naturally tanned face thin against the pillows, sicker looking than Tim had ever seen him. A brief smile came to his lips, and passed quickly as he seemed to fall asleep again.

"Shit," Tim said, and sat at the bedside not knowing what to do so say; attending sick people was definitely not his forte. When his wife delivered Christy, he'd been as anxious as all hell to get her home again. This was multiple times more anxiety producing. A tap on his shoulder. A young doctor, dressed casually in white sneakers, surgical greens, and a white coat with pens and stethoscopes and little lights hanging out of his pockets and over his shoulders, was standing behind him.

"You're Tim?" He asked. Tim nodded. "I wonder if I could have a word with you?"

"You were with him the last several days?" Dr. Johnson asked him. Again, Tim agreed.

"He got a really virulent strain of staphylococcus infection.

It's a tough one to treat because it's not sensitive to most antibiotics."

"Does that mean, I mean, does that mean you can't treat it?"

"We're trying one of the new guys. Too soon to tell whether it'll work or not. We did a surgical drainage on the wound, which is why he has the big bandage."

"I didn't think he was so sick!"

"I 'er, I don't know how to ask this, actually," Johnson said, "but, ah, are you and John, like, lovers?"

"NO!" Tim said too quickly and too loudly. What the hell was this doctor asking him?

"It's just, well, we found a small rectal tear, just as a routine finding on physical examination. That wouldn't necessarily mean anything, except that John kept asking for you, and well, I just figured..."

"No, we're just good friends!"

"But he's gay, right?"

"He told me he was? Why, is that important?"

"I don't want to make you feel guilty. It's just that staph is a nasty bug, and sometimes it's transmitted sexually.

People carry it around with 'em without even knowing it, sometimes. And, if you'd been sexually intimate with John, then you could either have it because of that, or maybe you even had it before. It's not a big deal, except that if it were you, I'd like to get a blood culture, just to be sure you aren't a carrier and if that were the case, I'd want to be treated too. Just so you don't carry it around. It could crop up in some nasty way, like in John, there."

"I see," Tim gulped, swallowed hard, the flame of redness in his face still quite prominent. By now, the doctor had guessed everything anyway, he was sure. Probably he had gay men in the hospital all the time: Denver was a big gay center, he'd heard. "Yeah, we were lovers. But actually just the night before, for the first time ever. I don't think Johnny ever had another gay lover before me. And I sure as hell know I never had a male lover before last night!"

"Well, then, I hardly see that it could figure. I doubt that's long enough incubation even for a nasty bug like that.

Still, if I were you'd I have it tested."

"Like, how would I do that?"

"Oh, you you ask your family doctor to get a blood culture, that might be easiest."

"How'd he know what to get?"

"I could write him a note."

Tim thought for a second. "But you've have to tell him 'why'

wouldn't you?"

"Oh, I see, uh, yeah, he might guess even if I didn't tell him."

"I wouldn't want him to know. How about here? Could I have it checked here?"

"Here, I'll get you a lab slip. But you'll have to check back with me in 3 days to see if it's positive."

"Whoa. Okay. Okay."

The two men paused in the small waiting room, empty except for them, until Johnson spoke again. "And by the way, you WERE practicing safe sex, weren't you?" This was said with a wink and was a rhetorical question: if you weren't then start, okay?

But Johnson detected the look on Tim's face and touched him lightly on the shoulder. "You're not comfortable with this whole thing, are you?"

"What do you mean?" Tim asked, defensively. "Just the look on your face. You said this was your first time, his too.

You want a number to call? Somebody to talk to?"

"I don't think so..." Tim said, backing away both physically and emotionally.

"Here, take it, you don't have to use it!" and he handed it to Tim after copying it from a small date book he had in his side pocket. "Or do you want to talk some more now?"

"No. No thanks."

It felt to Tim that any public discussion of what had happened between he and Johnny would lessen what had happened. Nobody else would understand. He should have talked more to Johnny about it. Now maybe it was too late.

He went back into the SICU, but Johnny was still out. Maybe they'd sedated him. He looked down at his handsome young friend's face and felt sorry that he'd never realized earlier how much turmoil Johnny'd been in, how much he'd tolerated in offhand comments, in ignored attention, missed get togethers.

He sat in the corner of the waiting room until he could bear it no longer, moved out into the corridor to hear two young nursing students chittering with each other: who's the cute guy in bed 6? What's HE in for? Tim just passed the glass doors and counted bed 6, Johnny. Funny, he'd never ever even thought about him being "cute" or "not cute." Johnny was just Johnny. But now these girls had called him "cute," he had to take restock.

He sat at the bedside for awhile, thinking that it was sad that there was nobody else to call.

Johnny was estranged from his father and his mother had died years earlier. One sister was in Tunisia or something, out of touch and disinterested. His eyes grew heavy and he tried to find a comfortable position in the chair provided.

"Excuse me," Dr. Johnson said, tugging at his sleeve as his eyes came open. "You know, you might need a place to stay...

He's probably going to be 'out' for another day; we've got him bombed because of the pain. Do you have a place?"

Tim shook his head, so tired that he really didn't care.

"I've got an apartment several blocks from here and I live alone. There's an extra bedroom. You'd be welcome to stay there for a couple of days while John here is getting better."

"No, that's all right.." Tim said, embarrassed and uncomfortable.

"Are you sure?" Johnson, who himself seemed to be merely his own age gave him a smile and asked "Do you have any money, then?"

"Not much," Tim said, finally, softly. In truth, next to none. He left home without much, hadn't been back, and in truth wouldn't have had much in any case. Things were tight enough.

"Then, I insist. You look like you could use a hot shower.

I even have a washer and dryer." He seemed insistent and well-meaning. Still, Tim found it strange.

"I probably could use both," Tim said, then suddenly thought.

"Where would Johnny's clothes be? I could wash those, too."

"Usually in the cabinet right there," Johnson pointed. They were. His clothes, though now one jean leg split the length apparently where they got through to the swollen leg. He rolled them up and brought them along.

"I gotta make a few calls and I'll be back in 15, okay?"

Johnson said and rushed out. Tim sat down in the hall, feeling vaguely foolish again, like a country bumpkin maybe.

Another gaggle of student nurses went by, one of whom, head taller than him, gave him 'the look' and smiled. There was no mistaking the quality of the look, which liked what it saw.

Johnson took him to a small upscale apartment 19 floors up with a balcony which overlooked Denver, and where city lights were blazing away like jewels. He showed him where everything was, loaned him a plush bathrobe, and himself got into jeans and a sweatshirt and started scrummaging through the refrigerator, dragging out one vegetable after another until the complete makings of a salad were there. Tim excused himself and showered, started the laundry, came out to the delicious smell of salad and homemade pasta. The lights were turned down slightly, and Johnson was sipping a goblet of red wine. He lifted a glass, question mark on his face? want some? Tim assented, and it was readily poured.

They made small talk over dinner which was uniformly excellent: Johnson was a much better cook than Mary ever would be, Tim thought. He was curious about his host, and cautious at the same time. He looked at him anew, now that his stomach was fed, he was clean and slightly less tired, though the wine was giving him a buzz.

What he saw was a somewhat slender dark haired man, his age or younger, obviously intelligent and inquisitive, and who looked at him with a peculiar intensity. Tim decided that he was probably an athlete of some sort, for he looked fit and tanned, tall and graceful. Why in the hell had he asked me over here? Surely that was unnatural for a doctor?

"So? Feeling better?"

"I'm worried about Johnny."

"Johnny, that's what you call him, right? He's seriously ill, but he's a young man in the prime of his life; if I had my bets, he'll do okay."

"I keep wondering if I'm the cause of his infection..." Tim said, knowing that the thought had been vibrating around in his skull, but had just now come forth into words.

"Well, we give each other colds every other day; we don't intend to harm anybody, it just happens." "This is different..."

"How?"

"Well, I mean, you said it could be communicated, like, uh, sexually..."

"Yeah? Possibly. But that doesn't mean you INTENDED to do it, right? You didn't know you even had it, IF you have it."

"I don't know. It still seems terrible to think that I might have, you know, given somebody else something that nearly killed them. And to do it THAT way..."

"You said this was the first time for both of you?" Johnson tried to keep his voice neutral and non-committal. In fact, it was the reason he'd invited Tim over. One look at this fellow, so gloriously masculine, healthy, beautiful, and he'd been smitten. The other, Johnny, was, if anything, as gorgeous to look at as this one, only a slightly shorter, darker version of the same. Neither looked the least bit effeminate. To know that they'd had sex with each other, anal sex, well the thought was enormously erotic.

"Yeah." Tim said, non-committally, too engrossed in himself to notice any brightening of interest on Johnson's part.

"You just met?"

"Johnny and me? No, we've been the best of friends for 12 years. Since I was sixteen, him, uh, 13 or something. I was his teenage idol or something. Stupid. He saved my life once, though he would deny it."

"What happened?"

"He hounded me about brakes on my truck. He followed me nearly 50 miles one day and insisted on inspecting my brake line. I think he even missed work for it. And found it nearly ready to go. But there's plenty of other times he's gone the extra mile for me." Saying it reminded Tim of the many many ways Johnny had extended himself for him. Now, of course, it was clearer that this was for 'love.' Somehow, it made it a little easier to understand.

"So you guys have known each other for 12 years, but...."

"But, you're wondering about us and sex, right?" Tim suddenly looked up and scrutinized the eager face of Johnson, his suspicions obvious.

"Well, it IS curious. But maybe you're tired of talking.

You probably need a good sleep..."

"Let me ask you a question, Dr. Johnson. Are you gay or something?"

Johnson's face blushed a deep crimson and he looked quickly away. Tim suddenly laughed. "At least I know why you invited me here."

"Partly. I have to admit. The idea of you two studs getting it on was pretty hot. I'm bordering on unethical practice here, but I'm off Johnny's case: his surgery is done and he'll be managed by infectious disease after today. Anyway, I guess I owe you an apology."

"Well, thank you for the bed and breakfast, anyway," Tim said, his heart softening a bit at the obvious embarrassment of the other, and his obvious consternation about being unethical.

"And you're welcome. I'm ashamed of myself for an ulterior motives."

Tim nodded. "I should tell you that I'm married, have been for 3 years, have a beautiful young daughter. I never THOUGHT I had any homesexual inclinations anywhere. I'm still so confused I don't know what side's up."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, I never was turned on by a man, Johnny or anybody else..."

"And so?"

"And so, it didn't keep me from fucking him!" Tim said, suddenly, forcing it out, a tinge of bitterness in his voice.

"Well, men who are straight--if there's really any such thing as all straight or all gay--have a long and notorious history of getting it on with other men in certain situations: I mean, like prison, Boy Scout camp, you name it. We're all sexual animals, period, and in the right situation, we'd probably be able to do it with the right DOG!"

"You always knew you were gay?"

"I suppose I did. But I was married for 3 years, too, just finally got divorced last year. For a long while, I tried not to admit my gayness to myself. And I'm still not out of the closet, so to speak."

"So, when you were married, like, I mean, did you have normal sex. I mean, were you interested in sex with your wife and all that?"

"Sure. We had good sex. It was one of the better parts of our marriage as a matter of fact."

"So then, what happened? I mean, how did you come to realize that you were, like, uh, gay I mean?"

"Oh, I always had a presentiment, I think. I'd look at guys, and I had fantasies about them."

"That's the thing. I never did."

"So, you probably aren't gay, then. Is that a big deal? Do you want to be? Surely not." Johnson realized that he felt disappointment.

"So, why did I do what I did with Johnny, then?"

"I thought we just covered that.."

"No, I know, us hot males will screw anything available, right? But it wasn't that way. Or, at least it wasn't COMPLETELY that way. I mean, when I was with Johnny, it felt right, somehow. I felt I was in love with him, that sex between us was something special. In a way, it was more that way than it ever was between Mary, my wife, and me."

"I'm jealous of you two guys," Johnson said, finally. "Not only are you the two most gorgeous men in Colorado, but you love each other, AND you're the best friends for the last dozen years. What a combination! I'll go through my life wondering what'd it'd ever feel like to have that kind of relationship."

"Yeah, well YOU may be jealous, but my head is scrambled.

And I don't have the faintest notion what to do. It feels right with Johnny, but I have a wife and daughter, and I love them, too."

"Ouch."

"AND, I can't even begin to understand, if as you say, it's a random act between consenting adults, why I'd be so "right"

about it. And truth be known, I'd do it again with him.

Except that now I think I've poisoned or killed him. Can any of this be the product of a straight male?" Tim looked away, a tear gathering at the corner of his eye.

"Hey, is it so important, then, whether you're gay or straight, both or neither? You love a wonderful friend and that love led you to something really great between the two of you. I'll admit it's inconvenient, now, that you have other obligations."

"I don't think I'm brave enough to be seen as having a male partner, you know? I never thought I was anti-gay or anything. I think I was in denial all these years about Johnny, because I didn't want to see myself as being in that situation."

"Well, that makes two of us, then," Johnson, said, as he stood up and started clearing dishes. Tim, still in bathrobe, started helping.

"But having you in my apartment in that bathroom is almost more than I can stand..." Johnson said, suddenly teasing and wicked.

"Johnny said something like that to me, too," Tim laughed.

"So, how in the hell did he get you in the sack? If you can tell me that, maybe I'll have the perfect line for those beautiful straight guys out there."

"No line at all. I guess I started out feeling sorry for him. Or, maybe I'm just fooling myself. Curiosity? Or maybe it WAS friendship. I think I said 'I can do this, if he wants it that bad, just this once... To tell you the truth, I wasn't sure I COULD do it. But, turns out, I had no trouble. Quite the opposite."

"Wish I could have been a fly on THAT wall," Johnson said, rolling his eyes.

"You a, what do you call 'em, a voyeur?"

"Well, I could be. Yeah, what the heck, I'll admit it, I enjoy videos. I haven't had the chance to watch in real life, but if I did, I'd just at it."

"You mean you watch gay videos?"

"Sure. When you're in the closet and you're gay, you get pretty frustrated. Even in Denver. I got a small collection. Could I tempt you?"

"Ah, I don't think so," Tim averred.

"Still don't know where your head is at, huh? Still, you might find out by watching. You could tell whether it turned you on or off, couldn't you?"

"I think it might be rather, uh, difficult."

"Oh, you mean, about me? Nah. I promise, utterly, hands off, no verbal propositions, nothing."

"I don't know..."

"I'll leave the room, even."

"I still don't..."

"Oh come on, it's not going to kill you." Johnson was fairly pleading with him, and Tim had his greatest problem in refusing people who asked him for something.

"Okay, but if I get uncomfortable, don't be offended if I just leave the room, okay?"

"No sweat. But you pick out what you think you might be interested in, okay? You can get an idea by the pictures on the boxes, if nothing else."

Tim went to the indicated cupboard and looked over two dozen video boxes, featuring men in various states of undress and arousal, and words that described various sexual acts thereinto. Confused and almost unwilling to proceed, nevertheless Johnson was standing by expectantly. Tim reached out and grabbed one and handed it to his host.

Johnson had a peculiar look on his face, but said nothing and went to the wall of entertainment equipment. "This one is a somewhat strange one. Sure you meant to pick this one?"

"It doesn't matter. Sure. That one is fine."

"Okay, then."

As it ran past the credits, Johnson went over and pulled shut the drapes across the floor-to-ceiling glass, "Better not to advertise to other high rise neighbors, I think," he laughed.

He sat down on the easy chair at right angles to the sofa where Tim sat, his legs and knees bare under the heavy Terry robe.

The plot of this one became obvious fairly quickly. A young black "doctor," a slender but powerfully built fellow in white jacket, was in his office talking to a young, but handsome white "patient" who was complaining of difficulty becoming sexually aroused.

"In my experience," the "doctor" was saying, "It's really just a matter of finding the right method."

"Like what, doctor?" the white fellow asked innocently.

"There is a spot just inside the rectum of men which will almost always cause arousal," the doctor said, smugly.

"Oh, really. Well, I, if it's there, I don't know how to find it."

"I'll show it to you," the doctor said, and in minutes the scene had become on in which the white was stripped of clothes and upended on the examination room table, following which the black man began applying different things to him, including fingers, tongue, sexual toys, and finally his own cock.

Tim watched it with fascination. He'd never dreamed that one man would touch his lips to another man's butthole. Or that a man would willingly take a huge plastic cock-shaped thing up his asshole. He watched with abandon, forgetting that he was not alone.

The film rolled to an end. Johnson got up and took out the tape. "Want to see anymore?" "Ah, no."

"I couldn't help noticing you didn't leave the room..."

"I didn't, did I?"

"Was your choice of topic, by any way, meaningful?"

Tim suddenly flushed. "Oh, you mean, 'cause he was a doctor and all?"

"Well, it did seem a surprising choice."

"I don't think I quite realized..."

"You didn't leave or tell me to turn it off..."

"No, I didn't." Tim realized that he was sexually stimulated.

He almost hated the fact that he was. But he'd never been good about forbidding himself that kind of pleasures.

Heretofore, it'd always been with women, though.

"So, must I still stay away?"

"You have toys like that?"

"I have a couple, why?"

"Just curious."

"Shall I get them?"

"Uh, no. I was just curious."

"So, Tim, did you get turned on, even a little bit?"

"Uh, well, I don't know..."

"You're lying. I was watching you!" Johnson said this teasing and laughing.

"Well, yeah, I guess I did, some..."

"Which part was the best?"

"I just never knew that men let other men put their 'mouths'

there."

"You want me to put my mouth there on you?"

"Ah, no, I wasn't saying that..." Tim said, his face growing hot and his cock fully erect and pulsating.

"Why don't you go and get in bed," Johnson said, suddenly,

"while I finish up in here?"

"Ah, maybe I should." Tim said, confused and fumbling, certain that this was not what it seemed.

Tim went into the spare bedroom, threw the covers back, and lay down, shivering all over and his heart racing. The lights in the other room were extinguished, and Johnson stood in the doorway, then turned the bedroom lights down to a dull glow. He sat on the edge of Tim's bed, his hands touching Tim's thigh. "Still under there?" He said, his hands searching higher. Tim looked away, wanting this not to happen, wanting it TO happen... The conflict rendered him immobile. Johnston's hand came up under the terry and found him, wrapped around his erect cock. "Shit! You're HUGE!"

Johnson said, and stroked him underneath the robe.

"Don't," Tim said, finally, fighting himself.

"You want me to stop?"

"I don't know. I, uh, it's just strange."

"Why don't you take off that robe?"

"I ah, shouldn't."

"Please do."

Tim allowed himself to be rolled gently to one side and then back while the robe was removed from him. He lay, naked, in bed, his cock betraying him, jutting up like the monster that it was.

"You are gorgeous!" Johnson whispered. "Turn over."

Tim's mind whirled and balked, but he followed his instructions. Johnson put a transparent sheet of lightest weight plastic over his ass cheeks, and nestled it between Tim's buttocks. "Safety first, huh?"

"Uh, yeah..." Tim managed to say into the pillow before he felt hands tugging at his legs pulling his thighs apart.

Johnson raised up and pulled both pillows down from the top of the bed and asked Tim to raise up. They were laid under his mid-section. The effect was that his ass was raised high. His butt was jutting up and vulnerable.

"Let me see," Johnson said, softly, and stroked his crack.

Tim felt the fingers, then felt the tip of one touching him right 'there' at the center of himself. The effect was strange, but pleasant. "You wondered if men put their tongues there," Johnson said, and said no more as his head dipped between Tim's buttocks and something warm, soft, and insistent probed his anus. Feeling things growing nearly panicked but out of control with lust welling up in him, he felt himself relaxing, his mind refusing to focus on anything but the sensation, the knowledge, of a man whose tongue was inside him.

"You like this?" Johnson finally asked, up for air. Johnny said nothing, just nodded, wanting it back again. Back it was, each time trying to gain further entrance to him. Tim suddenly wanted it badly. Just the idea that some man worshipped his BUTT!

Johnson was up again, his finger exploring, fully inside Tim.

"You are SO nice here," he crooned softly, in and out, in and out, until Tim's butt provided no resistance to it at all.

"You want to try one of those plastic things?"

"Ah, I don't think so," Tim said, frightened.

"Come on, I'll take it really slow."

Without waiting for an answer, Johnson got up but came back quickly, with a smallish dildo, still looking like a perfect cock with veins and skin realistic. It was glazed with a thick coating of something greasy. The plastic was removed

"Just feel it there," Johnson said, and the tip of the cool device was suddenly there, pushing gently. Johnson plied it carefully. Pushing slightly, then retracting. Tim about decided that he didn't want this happen, but lacked the resolve to object. The pressure of it mounted. Something was definitely inside him, now.

Johnny Weeks, Part 4

Disclaimer: this is intended only for adults. It contains fictional scenes of an erotic nature including sex between consenting males. A portion of this story eroticizes shared clothing. If any of this is offensive to you, please change channels.

If you live in an area where the positing of this material is illegal, please adhere to the laws of your locality and do no pursue this story. This is fiction: in real life, HIV is an ever-present danger: practice SAFE sex! If you are under age, you may not legally read this story.

If you like what you read, please e-mail me at [email protected] I'd like feedback and would like to correspond to any of you who have similar interests. If you don't like this material, save us both a lot of trouble.

________________________________________________________________________ The sensation was intense, not terribly pleasant, but Tim let it happen. Johnson pushed harder and the device was fully inside Tim's ass.

"Like this?"

"It's okay. No."

"You rather be on the giving end?" Johnson asked.

"I, ah, think we should stop."

"You don't want to screw me?"

"You're nice. But I think this is a mistake."

"Okay. Yeah." Johnson got up, the disappointment on his face evident and touching, in a way.

"What do you want, most?" Tim asked him, feeling more sorry that eroticized.

"Oh, to have us both excited and having fun."

"No, I mean, what one thing would you most want to happen?"

"I guess, uh, to have you screw me."

"I'll do that, if you want."

"You will?"

"Sure." Tim got off the pillows. Johnson fished in the side table and brought out a condom, which he rolled over Tim's slightly less erect cock. But Tim went flaccid.

"You can't do it with me, can you? You love your friend, not me."

"Yeah, that's the truth. I feel like I'm cheatin' on him."

"I wish you were mine, because you are incredible, and you are a nice guy to boot." Johnson got up and softly closed the door behind himself.

Tim looked at the objects left behind, his wilting cock in the condom, the greasy dildo with a little shit stain on its side, the sheet of Saran wrap. He wished he were anywhere but here, but there was no place to go. He wrapped the dildo in the plastic and sat it on the table. There was a gentle tap on the door. What now? He said 'come in' with reluctance.

"Ah, if you don't mind, I think I'll take that with me,"

Johnson said, indicating the dildo. "Never know when it will find some good use."

"Sure." Tim said, handing it over, wondering, but not really, what Johnson was going to do with it. The idea gave him a slight jolt of pleasure. "You going to stick that thing up your ass?"

"Why?" Johnson asked, wary.

"Just, if you do, I think it's kinda cool."

"Yeah, then, yes, I am going to."

"Just like that?"

"It's not smart, but, yeah, just like this."

"Cool."

"You interested again? Or what?"

"Just, well, I couldn't get it up, but I wouldn't mind seeing you do it with that thing."

"You want to watch?" Disbelieving

.

"I do."

Johnson shook his head like Tim was crazy, but funny happy crazy, and apparently he suddenly liked the idea.

"If I do it, can I touch your cock?"

"Okay, sure."

Johnson got on the bed again, took off his own robe, crouched on hands and knees, his ass in the position Tim's had been.

"Put it in," he asked Tim.

"I'll probably hurt you," Tim said.

"Just put it in," Johnson commanded.

Tim, did, taking off the wrapper, taking the greased object and pushed it against the back door, a tiny dimpled dark circle lying in a shallow ass crack, and put pressure on it, until it slid up an inch. His own cock was getting erect again. Johnson's hand came across and grabbed him.

"Shit, you are SO gorgeous," Johnson moaned in ecstasy, thrusting his hips into the pillow, moving back and forth on the dildo which Tim held, watching with fascination as it went in and out of him.

"You still wanna be fucked?" Tim asked, hoarse, lust in control.

"Yeah!"

Tim crouched behind him, his cock huge and sheathed, and rubbed some of the grease from the dildo onto himself, and then got behind Johnson, whose crack was greasy and waiting.

He moved up close, while Johnson backed again him, moaning.

He was in. Suprisingly easy. Johnson moaned and groaned and shoved himself back again Tim's lap. Compared to Johnny, he was loose back there.

Johnson took over, fucking himself, essentially, against Tim, whose own movements apparently were not fast or hard enough.

Johnson groaned finally and his own cock shot several strands of cum across the bed. "Damn! he groaned, pumping himself."

Tim had not cum, pushed hard to make it happen, but it wasn't going to. He groaned loudly to make it seem he had, and pulled his shit stained cock free.

"Bathroom's down the hall on the right," Johnson said, getting up quickly, gathering his robe and dodging out. Tim didn't know whether he'd come back or not. After 10 minutes, he went to the bathroom and removed the condom, washed, and returned to the cum streaked bed.

He decided that sleeping here was impossible for him. He got up and fetched his clothes, putting on clean underclothes and jeans, t-shirt and sweatshirt, socks, boots, and taking the rest of Johnny's clothes with him, he headed for the hospital.

He arrived in the antiseptic night of a hospital, where things are quiet but too brightly lit, where fatigue reigns and nobody looks up. He wanted straight onto the SICU unchallenged. Johnny's bed was bare. Panicked, he rushed to the nurses' station. Dear God, I'm screwing around and Johnny's dead!

"What happened to Johnny!" He wailed.

"Oh, he's much better. He's moved to infectious disease, up on 3-West." She said, concern momentarily crossing her face/eyes.

"How?" Tim asked, but was told quickly. He fairly ran up the stairs and came to Johnny's room.

He pushed the door open softly. Johnny lay in the hushed light, his visage pale, a monitor beeping away softly, twin IV ring poles carrying several, large and smaller, bags of clear fluids, dripping away into tubes leading down.

Tim looked down at him, concern and love flooding him, and leaned over and kissed him on the forehead, now surprisingly cool again. Johnny's voice surprised him.

"How in the hell did we get in THIS fix?" He laughed, weakly.

"It's a long story," Tim said.

"In the meantime, I liked the feel of what you just did."

"So did I. So did I."

Johnny Weeks, Part 5

The next time Johnny awoke, he was more alert and vivacious. His wandering eyes found Tim sitting next to him, in need of a shave, looking dead tired, but overjoyed to find him awake again.

"You been here all this time?" Johnny asked.

"Well, I go out occasionally to take a walk. Why?"

"'Cause I love waking up and finding you here."

"And I love you waking up..." Tim teased back, but his face flushing slightly, and looking hurriedly away.

"I'm embarrassing you. Seriously, though, without you..."

"I know, buddy, I know."

"What the hell are we going to do?" Johnny asked, suddenly.

"I don't know. I called Mary yesterday and told her one more day. She's furious with me."

"For what?"

"For being here. She hasn't gotten over our taking a trip. And now that you're outta the woods, she's convinced I should have been home days ago."

"You SHOULD go home, Tim..." Johnny said, his eyes looking away and sadness coming over them like a wave.

"I couldn't."

"You have a wife and child. And unlike me, you are not really suited to have a male, uh, 'friend'"

"I know. But I can't live without you, either."

"You don't have to live WITHOUT me. At least not all the time."

"You ever want to fuck me, Johnny?" Tim asked, his eyes merry, dancing, changing the subject. "I mean, I know you wanted ME to do you. But did you ever want to do ME?"

"What are you talking about?" Johnny laughed. They both stayed silent while a young nursing student came in and removed the last I.V. and gave Johnny a horse pill to swallow, all the while eyeing him like he was prime real estate."

"You see the way that girl was looking you over?" Tim laughed at him.

"I even had one give me her phone number." Johnny said, "and she was cute, too."

"Goes to show you, you're hot stuff. You've got a market out there."

"Quit jokin', Tim," Johnny said softly. "I've never loved anybody but you."

"That's a mistake, buddy, it's GOTTA be."

"The answer to your other question is, yes, I've thought about it."

"The other..., oh, yeah." Tim flamed red again. Then he laughed. "Well, how's your leg? Maybe we need to lock the door and have at it?"

"Right," Johnny said, merriment in his eyes, but not believing.

"I'm serious." Tim reiterated.

"No you're not."

"I am. I've been thinking about it. I think it's fair and it would mean we're both committed to each other."

"Oh, and we're not?"

"Whatsa matter, don't want to have me?" Tim laughed, and reached under the sheet and found Johnny's hospital gown, managed to get one hand up under and edge, against Johnny's thigh before Johnny cried out, "Rape!" and grappled with his hand, though his strength was a far cry from his ordinary self.

"Look what's happening out there," Tim suddenly pointed out the window and when Tim scrunched around in the bed to look, Tim had him. His testicles and penis were firmly in his hand.

"You cheated!" Johnny accused, but made no further attempt to resist, spreading his legs and laying back, his cock growing rapidly until it was fully erect, straining the bed clothes. Tim's hand stroked him, reached his heavy testicles.

"So what do you say now?" Tim asked him.

"You really want me to? Here? Now?" Johnny asked, the heat of what was happening under the sheet making him stutter and hesitate, unable to collect his thoughts.

"Yes, I want you to. But the here and now are a bit of a problem."

"Are you going back this afternoon?" Johnny asked, suddenly realizing what was happening. And the 'why' of Tim's insistence.

"I have to. I can't put it off any longer."

"So, you're willing to have me...?"

"Not only willing, I WANT you to."

"Damn. If ever there was a time I didn't want to be in a hospital!"

"Yeah, think what the rest of our vacation would have been like," Tim said, rolling his eyes up salaciously. "You would have been pregnant for sure as I had you every night."

"Devil," Johnny said, yielding himself up to his lover's hand holding, stroking.

Suddenly, Tim got up and went to the door, stuck his head out and looked both ways then came back in, setting a chair in front of it. It wouldn't stop anybody, but it would slow them down. Once that had happened, he returned to Johnny's bed and pulled back the sheet, the gown. He stooped, his lips coming across Johnny's penis.

"Oh, shit! Are you sure you want to do THAT? You don't have to, Tim."

"I want to." Tim answered, between breaths. He wasn't very good at it, his teeth taking little nips of skin as he worked.

"What's the matter?" Tim asked him. "I'm not doing it right?"

"You got big teeth," Johnny laughed at him. "But I love you for trying."

"I'm hurting you?"

"Well, it's sensitive, you know."

"You don't want me to?" Tim asked, suddenly defensive, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

"I LOVE it! But."

"Yeah, I'm not a very good cock sucker. Well, I'm inexperienced. But I must say, you're really SMOOTH down there. I kind of like it."

"Now we're both horny. Hey, I think there's vaseline over there," Johnny suddenly noted, and leaned across to the bedside table. A small jar of vaseline was there. He held it up like a prize. "What shall we do with this?"

"What do you WANT to do. This is YOUR turn. YOU pick."

"It's the damn hospital. Just get behind me, okay, and act like it's your cock. And beat me off."

Johnny rolled partly away from him and Tim lay down behind him, his boots on the bed. Johnny's feet came down on top of the boots, his backside backing up into Tim's front side, Tim's cock already fully engorged and painfully constricted in his pants. "Damn, I want you!" Tim breathed into his ear. "You know, I want to fuck you..."

"Do it! I want you, too. Damn the nurses."

Tim pulled his jeans down to mid thigh and anointed a large gob of vaseline on his cock head. Johnny pushed his midsection back even further, and reached between his legs to direct Tim's penis, which finally was against him. With pressure, Tim was inside him, at first only a little and then with wiggling and shifting, fully.

"Oh, Tim. If you could only know what this feels like for me." He said softly and rammed back onto Tim.

Tim fucked him slowly, gently, holding him gently in his arms, reaching down around Johnny's cock and stroking him in a greased hand, the latter's cock fully engorged and straining.

"Let's do it together," Tim whispered. "Tell me when," and they did.

Johnny's seed flooded up and out of him in a steady heavy three spurt bonanza, which fell on the sheet in a heavy blob.

"Just a minute!" Tim said, and pulled out of Johnny and crawled across and licked up the semen off the sheets. When he was done he looked up at Johnny with half lidded eyes. "Now we've done it. I've got you in me, and you've got me in you!"

Tim went home that day to Mary. Things remained strained for weeks, and more strained when Tim drove back to Casper to pick his friend up. It was the first time he'd laid eyes on him for almost two weeks. Johnny was walking with a metal crutch, limping and looking uncomfortable. His face had thinned and his eyes seemed to have expanded. All-in-all, the effect was quite attractive, though he obviously was not fully back to his old self.

"Hey, tiger! You ready to go? What's with this crutch?"

"You don't know the half of it..." Johnny said, smiling despite his discomfort, glad to see Tim.

"Well, what's the rest of it? Are you going to make a full recovery?"

"Yeah, the surgeon says so. The wound is slow to heal, and the muscle tissue there is pretty bound up. Some damage from the infection, too. He says it'll be a bit weak. He recommends physical therapy for another 3-6 weeks. I told him the nearest PT was 75 miles away. He tried to get me to stay here, get a place. I said 'no thanks.'"

"Johnson, right?"

"Yeah. He was nice. The other guys were pretty rough, though."

"Well, shall we?"

Tim helped Johnny up into the truck, his hands on Johnny's arm and shoulder. Johnny grinned once he'd gotten situated. "Any thing I guess to get felt up."

"We don't have to have an excuse for that, do we?" Tim winked at him.

They rode in silence for a hundred miles, each looking at the other occasionally, but seeming no need for words. Tim felt utterly comfortable, happy for the first time in a couple of weeks.

"You look different," Johnny finally commented.

"How so?"

"Oh, I don't know. Like you're another year older, maybe. Also like you're happy."

"I AM happy. You're out, you may even get well. I'm having fun. Before anything else, you were my best friend."

"But the last two weeks weren't any fun, right? With Mary, I mean?"

"She can be difficult."

"What's worrying her now?"

"We never have enough money. She thinks we should move to a larger place, I should get a decent job, and so forth."

"And so forth..."

"Yeah, and she 'senses' something has changed about me. She hasn't put her finger on it. I suspect if she sees us together, her mind will click on it, though."

"Surely not. You? Nobody is his right mind would suspect anything with you." Johnny was being utterly sincere.

Tim shrugged his shoulders. "Could be. I don't know what's going on in her head more than half of the time, and the rest I don't like it much."

"How about Christy?"

"She's doin' great. She's a beaut."

"Your first commitment is to her, I think."

"I know. I know."

Another hour slipped by before Tim stopped for gas, and then driving a few miles further, stopped beside the highway, which rose from one range to the next, in a straight line stretching 50 miles at least. "I think I'd like to be with you, but to tell you the truth, I don't think either of us could live together in Wyoming."

"I agree."

"So, what do we do?"

"Nothing. You have your first commitment to your daughter. You don't know things can't work out with Mary. I know she's in love with you. She's just frightened."

"But what about you and me?" Tim asked, softly, looking out on the mountains he loved.

"What about us? I hope we'll still be the best friends we ever were. But in the meantime, I think that's ALL we should be. I think I'm ruining your life. And that, more than anything else, I don't want to do."

"You are not ruining my life!" Tim said, his eyes blazing, face red, staring over at Johnny with hot indignation.

"Okay, okay. Just let's say that we have to let this whole thing cool off awhile, okay?"

"Are you saying you WANT it to?"

"No, of course not," Johnny said, a tear standing prominently in his eye.

"But I have had a lot of time to think. Those times we were together were the best times in my entire life. Probably they'll BE the best times I've ever had. But you can't immerse your whole life in moments. Every moment wouldn't be that good, even if we WERE together, and many would be a great deal worse."

"Sure, everybody has their troubles..."

"As you are now with Mary..."

"Well, yes, but...

"But?"

"I see what you're sayin'.." Tim said unhappily. Next thing, he slipped over in the seat until his thigh was touching Johnny's good thigh, his hand gripped Johnny suddenly in the crotch, and his other hand came up around Johnny's neck and pulled his head back, his mouth finding Johnny's mouth, his lips meeting his and his tongue invading. Johnny surrendered, let it all happen, grew breathless in expectation and lust.

"Now, you're telling me THIS isn't important?" Tim asked him finally.

"You know that's wrong. For god's sake, you can FEEL me down there!"

indicating the hand that still held his massively firm cock in its heat.

Tim gently gripped him, moved his hand around.

"Mary and I haven't made love since I got back," Tim whispered. "I haven't wanted to. I think that's made her even more suspicious."

"Well, of course it did!" Johnny said, still too close to Tim to think, Tim's eyes following his own eyes, looking at his lips. Any moment, it looked like he'd pounce again. Johnny didn't think he had the power to resist him. Didn't WANT to!

"I stopped and bought something for us..." Tim said softly. He clicked open the glove compartment. Inside was a tube of vaseline, a packet of

"Wet Ones."

"You're wicked. What if I say no?"

"It could be rape."

"If I were stronger, I'd try you on for size."

Tim seemed satisfied. He drove on. 50-60 miles passed. There was a tension in the air. Johnny watched him now with careless abandon for staring: here was the most beautiful man he'd ever seen, in his opinion, so sexy that every part of him was desirable, from the top of his sandy hair right down to his heavy boots. And it felt like it was going to happen again. There was lovemaking in their immediate future!

When the foothills began to rise, Tim shifted into 4x4 and slogged up a logging trail and pulled in behind a stand of spruce. The air was chill, and rain beckoned under distant cumulus clouds, ones obviously approaching.

"Are you ready to put out?" Tim asked him. "I know you're sick and all that, but..."

"I'm ready to put out," Johnny answered, his eyes glowing and his lips parted.

"I just can't get enough of you!" Tim whispered, his mouth closing on Johnny again, his hands freely roaming over his clothes, and then grappling to get inside them. Johnny straightened his hips, popped his fly buttons, let Tim in.... Heavy hands beneath his undershorts, finding him, holding him in heat, rubbing him gently bringing almost to orgasm in quick little movements.

"Fuck me, Johnny."

"No, you do me! It's what you like best."

"I want it the other way. I want to have done it once."

Tim got out of the pickup. He quickly unlaced his boots, kicked them off, slipped down his jeans. Stood there with his erection fully limned inside his bikini style shorts. He got back into the truck, but neither knew how to proceed.

"Damn cold out there," Tim hissed. He got close to Johnny, whose hands roamed freely over his chest, abdomen, down, closer, and finally down under Tim's shorts, finding him there, more wonderful than he could ever describe, large, hard and soft at the same time, throbbing in synchrony with his heartbeat.

"Are you gonna do it, or what?" Tim finally asked him.

It took them both time to get the surgical trousers down over Johnny's heavy bandage. Tim got out the tube of vaseline and squirted a length of it onto Johnny's cock, rubbing it around until the length of him was greasy.

"You want me to sit on you?"

"Okay," Johnny indicated, leaning back on the seat, spreading his legs widely, while Tim sat facing him astride him, his ass crack lowering until contact was made. He reached behind him until Johnny was aimed correctly and tried lowering himself. It was terribly painful. Johnny daubed vaseline on one finger and shoved it up Tim's asshole. Just that effect was wonderful beyond words to Johnny. Finally, Tim seemed to loosen up

somewhat. And they tried again. Johnny's cock found its entrance and was-----in!

"Shit, this does feel like you've gotta take a huge crap, doesn't it?" Tim groaned.

"Yeah. You gotta like it for other reasons..."

"Well, at least it's YOU back there," Tim couldn't keep the pained expression off his face, but steadfastly lowered his butt, until Johnny was hilted. "I gotta be still for a minute. Finally he expostulated, "Whew!"

"I can live the rest of my life this way," Johnny said, holding Tim's back, and rubbing it gently, fingers finding there way down to where their bodies were so unmistakable joined.

"That's a little better," Tim said, finally, and raised his bottom slightly, let it sink down. The pain mostly abated, and he was left with a strange internal pressure sensation. But it was not unpleasant, now, he found, even kind of exciting, as a new and different sensation. His own cock had gone soft.

"What do I feel like in there?" He asked.

"Better than you can ever imagine."

"I don't need to use my imagination, I only have to remember you," Tim said, and squeezed Johnny's head to his chest.

"You think you could lay back on the seat?" Johnny asked him.

"With or without you coming out?" They wrestled around, Johnny's cock never fully slipping out of its tight spot, until Tim was on his back, his knees up against his chest and spread widely, Johnny between them, and deeply home in his asshole. Johnny rolled Tim's bottom up and gripped the bottom of Tim's feet, his cock pulling nearly out, and then sliding in, in and all the way in. Tim grunted when fully hilted.

Tim's eyes closed, gripping Johnny's body between his thighs, wrapping his naked legs and

feet behind Johnny's buttocks.

Their eyes met and held, the bodies making a slapping and slurping sound which bothered neither of them. Finally, in a thrust all the way firmly HOME, Johnny's body shuddered and he came, in spasms of cum, spilling deeply.

"You did it? You did it!" Tim said, proudly. "I'm never gonna be the same. I think after this I'll be able to shit bricks."

Johnny removed himself and wiped himself clean. Tim did likewise, his cock still flaccid.

"Can I bring you off? I'd love to have you do ME!"

"Nope, isn't necessary." Tim said. "I got what I came for."

"Was it better or worse than you imagined?"

"Better and worse," Tim grinned. "Better because it was you and 'cause you came in me. Worse because it's too much meat for my poor asshole..."

"ooh, talk dirty. I love it!"

"Oh, oh, something maybe happening here anyway." Tim's cock was rising up, erect again.

"Let me take care of this fellow," Johnny said. He pushed Tim back on his back and put his mouth on Tim's organ. Johnny sucked him with a strange suction that sent Tim's mind into shudders of near orgasm. One of Johnny's fingers found Tim's back door, but lay there without entering. Tim bucked and thrust, his excitement mounting. "Do it!" he said, "With your finger.

Do it!"

Johnny inserted his index finger completely up inside his lover. And the tightening spasms of muscles told him that Tim's orgasm was complete, as if the flood of semen in his mouth were not sufficient. He took it all, swallowed it greedily.

Johnny Weeks, Part 6

Disclaimer: this is intended only for adults. It contains fictional scenes of an erotic nature including sex between consenting males. A portion of this story eroticizes shared clothing. If any of this is offensive to you, please change channels.

If you live in an area where the positing of this material is illegal, please adhere to the laws of your locality and do no pursue this story. This is fiction: in real life, HIV is an ever-present danger: practice SAFE sex! If you are under age, you may not legally read this story.

If you like what you read, please e-mail me at [email protected] I'd like feedback and would like to correspond to any of you who have similar interests. If you don't like this material, save us both a lot of trouble.

_______________________________________________________________________

Tim dropped Johnny off at his cabin and went on home. Their conversation the rest of the way home had been painful and strained. Tim seemed to think there should be some way for them to live together, though he had no answers about his marriage. Johnny kept telling him that it would never work, not outside some anonymous city. Tim would have to leave his job into which he'd poured nearly 10 years. Neither had the prospect of a job outside Wyoming, and both dreaded the image of living in the city.

"I'll call you..." Tim said, looking at his lover and dreading his actual leaving Johnny's yard. He actually wanted to prolong it, have Johnny ask him in. Johnny knew this, steadfastly refused. Finally Johnny waved one last time, turned his back and walked inside, limping on his cane.

All Tim had was a big pain in the ass, which at this point was a friend, a reminder of what had transpired between them.

Though in his mind, he hoped they didn't do THAT very often!

The 5 minute drive to his place was dreaded, every mile, and he drove slowly. Johnny went into his cabin, shut the door behind him, and debated how long he could continue to live in his beloved spot in the scrubby woods. He didn't see how this could work out. And it would be painful for both of them. It had not turned out as he'd expected, but his fantasies had never had to deal with reality, nor "endings"

either. He sat at his kitchen table which was really "the table" for his two room cabin, unable to motivate to get up to do anything, though it was obvious that his cabin needed serious help.

Much later, hours maybe, the phone rang. It was an unfamiliar voice, or not quite, and Johnny raced to place it in his mind.

"It's Chuck Johnson," the disembodied voice began.

This made no sense to Johnny, but he didn't ask the obvious question.

"Just wondering how you were doing? You went home today, well, I guess that's stupid. You wouldn't be answering the phone if you weren't at home... Anyway, I was wondering how you were doing...?" The voice sounded strained, making nervous but friendly chatter.

"I'm a bit confused..." Johnny said.

"Oh, sorry. I'm the surgical resident, you know, Doctor Johnson."

"Oh, yes. Of course, I didn't recognize you because you used your full name instead of the 'doctor' thing."

"Concerned how you were," Johnson said again.

"Fine, really. A bit tired today, but otherwise, I think I'm doing well."

"Don't forget to get your leg bandage checked by your local doctor. Or, you know, I've got a week off coming, and I thought I'd drive up to Yellowstone or the Tetons. I could come through where you live and check it myself..."

"That's really not necessary," Johnny began, but was interrupted.

"In fact, I'd like to. How about the 16th?"

"Ah, sure, I guess so, if you really want to." Johnny grudgingly told him directions.

Days went by in which Johnny went to work, fought with himself every evening not to call Tim, wondering whether Mary had eased up on him, or whether he'd confessed all. Either way, Johnny couldn't face up to greeting her on the phone.

He'd half expected that Tim would call him, and both dreaded it, as well as lived each moment awaiting it.

One day he arrived home to find a paper sack on his porch.

Inside were a pair, not really new, of Timberland boots, which he knew to be Tim's. "Wanted you to have these. I wanted to be able to think of you in them, actually. Tim.

We had some pretty wild times when you or I were wearing these..."

Johnny walked inside, carrying the sack, and came the closet to calling him that he'd ever, but put on Tim's boots and took off for a long walk instead. When he returned, the phone was ringing. He rushed to pick it up. The voice at the other end was male, but not Tim's.

"Ah, good, I finally caught you. Things here at the hospital are really tense, and I said to myself, why not take my week a week early. Could I possibly stop up by. It would be tomorrow night?"

"Ah, sure. I'm afraid I don't have much space, not even an extra bed," Johnny heard himself saying.

"Oh, don't sweat it. I'm camping most of the way and when I get up there anyway. I wouldn't mind a dry spot to put my sleeping bag, otherwise, that's all I need. How's your leg?"

"It's practically healed. The scar is really bright red, but it's dry and the muscle itself is getting a bit stronger, I think."

"Excellent," Johnson said. "Well, then, I'll see you tomorrow night, okay?"

"Yeah, sure. I'll be home about 5:30."

When he rang off he sat thinking about this strange person who seemingly pursued him. The notion was neutral in his head, only curiosity. He couldn't even remember what Johnson looked like, really.

The phone rang again. This time Johnny knew it was Tim.

Tim's voice was soft, whispering, obviously trying to avoid being overheard.

"You get my package?"

"Yeah, Tim. Thanks."

"Only 'Thanks?'" Tim said, feigning disappointment. "Here I am making the maximum sacrifice, and it's only 'thanks.'?"

"I meant, THANKS!" Johnny said, laughing, his face alive after days of moving about without nervous energy. "But should you be calling me. Where's Mary?"

"She taking a bath. So I can't talk long."

"She know about us?"

"If she does, it's not because I told her. I would never do that, Johnny."

Johnny didn't admit that what he thought was that Tim had probably done exactly that. Tim was very poor at setting boundaries, limits, or not giving in when somebody wanted something from him. And Mary, if she'd been suspicious, would have demanded a complete accounting.

"So, did she ask?" Johnny said, involuntarily pursuing this out of some morbid interest, perhaps.

"Not directly. She looks at me funny. And she's still kinda pissed. But then she's mostly pissed at me anyway."

"But you think it's about us?"

"I don't know. Maybe it's just about the vacation."

"I had a funny call tonight," Johnny said, getting aroused despite himself and wanting to change the subject.

"Yeah, like what?" Tim whispered back.

"From that guy, Johnson..." Tim could tell that his news created a deep silence at the other end of the line. "You remember, the surgery intern, or resident, or something. He did my leg operation, remember?"

"Uh, yeah, I remember him. What's he calling you for?" The tones were guarded and thick.

"I don't know. Some cock and bull story about going through here on the way up to the Tetons to camp or something.

Wanted to check my leg since he was going through. I don't think that's it. But I don't know what he wants."

"I'm sure he wants to check your 'leg'--but it's the middle one," Tim said.

"What? What are you talking about?"

"He came onto me when I was up there with you."

"He DID?"

"Yeah."

"So what'd you DO?"

"I uh, well, I didn't even really know what was happening..."

Tim's voice shuddered and grew even softer. His guilt stood out, to an experienced ear like Johnny's, a mile wide and even taller.

"You DID it with him?"

"Not really..." Tim said, trying to rationalize for himself that he hadn't actually COME with him.

Johnny voice froze in silence. Tim waiting for painful long moments. Then he broke through, speaking slightly louder. "I was all screwed up, Johnny, didn't know what was up. He came on to me, but by then, I was over at his place, you know? I didn't want it, but..."

"But you didn't say 'no'"

"Well, I did, finally, but probably not quite soon enough..."

Tim's voice sounded near to tears.

"I'll talk to you later," Johnny said, his voice icy and withdrawn. He silently put the phone back on the hook. It rang moments later. He refused to pick it up.

He moved back to his bedroom, lay on top of the bed clothes, afraid to allow his mind to even conjure up images. It was a combination of terrible pain and disappointment, and the anger of betrayal, and lurking in there someplace, a final conclusion that his friend/lover was really gay, too, or at least a piece of him was. And that much at least alleviated some guilt. Johnny looked down at his feet, in Tim's boots.

The image and the thought, and the phone call with Tim made him horny, despite the pain. He pulled out his cock. The phone rang again. After 10 rings, Johnny stood up and walked to the phone, his cock, mostly erect, still in his hand.

"Damn you, Johnny..." Tim said, his voice hushed, "You KNOW how much you mean to me. Nobody else can ever replace YOU.

You're my best friend, and now much, much more than that..."

"Yeah, right. In one day you're off screwin' somebody else."

"It wasn't like that. I was doing it outta kindness. He was really desperate. I didn't even really want to." Those words hurt Johnny more than everything preceding had.

"That's really why you did it with ME," Johnny said in a low voice.

"It was that for about 30 seconds. You know that. I couldn't even come with him. I didn't want to. He left."

"So what'd you do with him?" Johnny asked. A cautionary flag went off in his head, but he refused to heed it.

"You know, I watched a video. He wanted me to screw him, so I tried, but I couldn't really."

"And that's all?"

"Ah, sure."

"You're lying, Tim."

"Well, most of it. He had me try one of those things, you know, a what-do-you-call-'em's, one of those rubber penis things..."

"Dildo," Johnny introjected. "YOU, you put a dildo up your rear end?"

"Well, I mean, I, uh, yeah."

"So. Then he screwed you?"

"Hell, no. I didn't want him anywhere near me in that way.

But afterward, he wanted to use it, the dildo, I mean."

"So, he used it after you did?"

"Yeah, and that's all that happened."

"So, was it great? I mean, the whole thing?" Johnny's bitterness didn't escape Tim.

"I didn't want to do ANYthing with him, I felt sorry for him really. And then I kinda got got up in it. I don't blame you for being pissed. I'm sorry. Please, I really am."

"You don't owe me anything, Tim. Not fidelity or allegiance.

The only person you really OWE anything to is your wife and daughter!"

"Ouch!" Tim said, softly, hurt. "I gotta go. Mary's getting out of the tub!" He softly rang off.

Johnny said and had a premonition of his life from this point onward: the one great love of his life could never really be his, and even if there were moments there would be great heartache from attaching himself to him. And he didn't like himself being bitchy and jealous. It was a demeaning thing.

He'd had enough of feeling different than his classmates, holding a secret that could never be revealed. Now he had to live this second life and be buffeted about endlessly not only by Tim, maybe, but perhaps by a lifestyle which in many ways Johnny didn't even find appealing.

He slept little that night, trying to free his brain from images of Tim, his cock rampant, shoved up another man's asshole, and trying to fight down his own arousal whenever that image became clear.

The next day dawned gloomy.

Johnny Weeks, Part 7

His mood matched the greyness. He dreaded the promised arrival of Johnson, felt washed out and hopeless about Tim, simultaneously longed for and feared a call from him, picked up the phone a dozen times to call before silently putting it back on the hook.

Finally the phone rang, and it was Johnson, in town, trying to find the correct small road. Moments later, it was Tim on the phone. "Johnny, look I'm sorry, what else can I say? It'll never happen again..."

"You don't owe me that, and I don't want you havin' to SAY it, even!"

Johnny insisted, enraged at himself and Tim. "Don't you see what this is, it's a relationship, when you already have ANOTHER relationship!"

"Yeah, but in a way, this is OUR relationship. I mean, we go way back, John..." (it was the first time in memory that Tim had used that term, and it felt strange and titillating at the same time).

"Look, I need some time to think about all this, that's all..." Johnny said, to himself as much as Tim, and hurting as he said it.

"Okay, I'll cut you some space, but not TOO much, Johnny, okay? I mean, I, uh, I just can't handle all this if it goes on too long, you know?"

"Okay. I promise. I'll call you tomorrow."

"Good. And Johnny, do me one more favor?"

"What's that?"

"Promise me you'll be wearing my boots until then?"

"Okay, but I don't understand..."

"I know it's silly. But if I know you're wearin' 'em I at least feel some connection. Please?"

"I said I would, and I will. In fact, I have 'em on now, if that helps."

"Okay, tomorrow then?"

"Sure." Johnny hung the phone up quietly, wondering at the dramatic change in their relationship, one in which he'd suffered silently in waiting for years, and which had so suddenly transmogrified in the last month to something very nearly what he'd dreamed about. Now, however, it hurt far more than it had before!

The car, a battered VW Passat, rattled and clanged up the short but rocky driveway. Johnny discovered, looking out, that he'd never even really noticed the surgical resident before. He'd just been a part of the whole hospital scene. Now he realized, with a start, that he was a younger man than he'd ever appreciated, and pleasant to look at. Dressed in jeans and boots, western shirt and a baseball cap, he looked almost kid like. He was obviously as nervous as a kid approaching the principal after a classroom misdemeanor.

"Hi!" Johnson said, too loud, forced jovial, stretching out a lean hand with long brown fingers. They shook.

"What a great place you have here," Johnson said, looking around, taking a big breath, putting hands on hips.

"Thanks. It's pretty rustic, actually, as you'll find out. But it's cheap, and I like it."

"I'd live here in a minute..."

"Kind of a long commute..." Johnny suggested.

"Yeah, there's that. Denver, though, is the pits. When I finish my residency, I'm going to go to a small town. Find a place like this."

"Being in a small town has some very real disadvantages..." Johnny started, thinking about Tim and himself. "I mean, when it comes to relationships..."

Johnson paused a second, looked at Johnny's eyes, flushed slightly red, and looked quickly away. "Have you and Tim talked, then?"

"Only a little bit. But yeah, some." Johnny turned on one toe, led his guest up the cobblestone path and onto the porch. "Get you a tea, coffee, something harder?"

"Still morning," Johnson replied, "but I could use something. Glass of wine?"

"Only have beer, I'm afraid. I don't drink much."

"Then I'll skip..."

"No, I'll bring a beer. Coors okay?"

"Sure. Will you join me?"

"Kinda early, as you said, but sure."

They sat back nursing a cold beer in a cool and somewhat gray day: the two somehow did not fit in Johnny's mind. But this whole scene was nearly impossible to figure. The only thing was, he found Johnson extremely attractive, didn't like realizing it.

"Thanks for putting me up. Or, if I make you uncomfortable, I don't mind heading on up the road. Do you want me to check your leg while I'm here?"

"It's fine. I can tell by looking at it. You did good work."

"So, you DON'T want me to check it?"

"It kind of clouds our relationship doesn't it?"

"Yeah. It does. Good, I WON'T check it. That was an excuse anyway, obviously."

"So your here, why?" Johnny asked, quietly.

"Stupid, isn't it?"

"I don't know. I haven't yet heard..."

"Yeah, stupid; I mean, THAT's stupid, too, I didn't even say anything yet..."

"Relax, okay?" Johnny said, smiling at last.

"Easier to do when YOU are not the one who appears stupid..."

"Okay. So what really brings you up here?"

"You, of course."

"Obviously, because here you are. But what ABOUT me?"

"Isn't it obvious, after talking to Tim?"

"But that was Tim, not me."

"To tell you the truth, I haven't been able to think about anything except the image of you two guys, uh, like 'together' if you know what I mean. I thought Tim was sexy, but compared to you, well, you're BOTH incredible, that's all I can say. So after mulling it over a month, I thought of the least plausible phoniest sounding excuse I could think of to come up here to see you again."

"He or me?"

"You. Or him. Or both of you. Except I gotta say, he wasn't much interested in me, not that I could blame him, not with YOU around."

"Flattering, aren't you?" Johnny said, grinning again. Flattery was always nice, and he rarely got much, except from some of the local girls, who'd long ago given up on him.

"Well, I THOUGHT I was just stating the truth... Look, this is very uncomfortable, and I'm feeling foolish. Shall I just leave?"

"You're HERE now, and a bit out of the way at that. Why don't you stay for the evening like you planned? I mean, we can at least be friendly."

"Thanks." Johnson said, feeling relieved and smiling it.

"Wanna see the place?" Johnny asked, launching himself up from the chair, his feet coming down from the heavy railing.

"Do you mind if I ask?" Johnny queried, "but aren't those Tim's boots? I distinctly remember them when he was..." Johnson bit off his words when he considered where they were going.

"Yeah, as a matter of fact, they are. You have keen observational skills."

"I'd give you a bit of blarney and tell you that's my doctor training and all that shit. But the truth is, I thought they were sexy when he had them on, and even better when you have them on..."

"Are you making a move on me?" Johnny laughed.

"Well, who can blame me?" Johnson smiled, looking him in the eye, suddenly, a look that made the question obvious: am I wasting me time, IS there any hope? Johnny's own gaze caught his a second, and then quickly brushed away, as he led the way off the porch into a 45 minute perusal of the immediate property, which included the ascent to a ledge where a view of the far off Wind River mountains held the horizon.

"Gorgeous!" Johnson said, behind and to the left of Johnny, thinking that BOTH views were gorgeous. Maybe the closer view was more so...

"Thanks. I always wanted my house up here, but no way could I afford to put in the footings."

"Big window right about where you're standing?"

Johnny shrugged. He turned and led back down towards the cabin.

When they go inside, Johnny got out some cold cuts and fresh bread, mustard and makings, and they both stood at the small table and made up thick sandwiches, then went back out on the porch again. The clouds were finally breaking up some, the sun had emerged intermittently, and the temperatures finally had gotten warm enough not to be chilly.

"How did you meet Tim?" Johnson asked him. Johnny launched into a tale of his early admiration for and frustration by an older, more graceful/athletic and popular guy, frustrating and hopeless for several years until the latter finally paid him some attention. Then a relationship marked by helpless and unrequited sexual attraction.

"Shit. And then it just changed? Just like that?"

"Seems like it."

"How can that be? Lucky sod!"

"I don't know. Tim won't hurt anybody if he can avoid it. I think he was just being kind, really. And then he found out that he COULD get into it.

Right now, I think he's just mixed up: he THINKS this is the new love in his life, but I remember he went through a spell like this with almost every new chick he used to meet and screw. And I think he screwed MOST of

'em."

"Ouch. One of my gay friends once told me that there was nothing but heartache in falling in love with a married man."

"I'm beginning to see it. Trouble is, Tim isn't even aware of this stuff.

I think he either can't or just won't open his eyes up."

"Meantime, though, you actually got it on with one of the sexiest guys I've ever laid eyes on. Incredible. Even if it doesn't go another step! I'd trade places with you. In a minute."

"You did, remember?"

"Not really. Not like you two guys. If I ever really got to know you and you trusted me, I'd really like to hear more of the story.

"Like how?" Johnny said, a bit curious.

"I mean, not only is it a turn on, just the fact that you two did it, but the whole idea of two friends... I mean, Tim was straight for all you ever knew, right, and then, I mean like on a camping trip, right? anyway all of that changes. How does something like that happen?"

"You're curious 'cause it's a titillating story or what?"

"That, too. But just the idea that it could happen. I'd like to know HOW it could happen. Maybe I'll learn something. I could stand to learn something... I'm not the most successful closet gay you ever met."

"I thought Denver was one of the capitols of the gay lifestyle..." Johnny said. By this time they'd finished eating and drinking and were propped back, feet up on the railing, chairs tilted back, the sun streaming onto the porch from the southwestern sky.

"Yeah. If you like it. First of all, I'm always petrified that one of my profs or attending's going to see me. Or maybe worse, one of my clinic patients. Eck."

"You crossed the line a bit with us two guys, though, didn't you? Isn't that kind of, like, unethical?"

"I'm not proud of it. I tell myself that you're a discharged patient, no longer tied to me in any way. And then I use the lame excuse of a follow-up house call. Which puts it right back in that court. So, for clarity, you ARE NOT my client anymore, period, end of that, okay?"

Johnny waved a hand, sure, who cares anyway? "But, I mean, surely it's tough when you examine some young stud, not just to maybe take a teeny little bit of pleasure out of the examination?"

"A few times it's been a real temptation. The opportunity doesn't present itself that often.

And despite my recent behavior, I'm basically an ethical doctor. Can we change the subject?"

"You do rectal examinations on men in the clinic, though, right?"

"Well, yeah. Most of the time it's no fun, though."

"'Most of the time' he says" Johnny teased. "So, tell me about the two hundred times it WAS fun!"

"I thought I was going to hear about YOU, not about me!"

"So, did you do a rectal examination on me?" Johnny asked, his face averted, the quietness of his voice betraying the emotional charge it held.

"Well, yeah, just as part of the routine physical examination I have to do on everybody."

"That's all, though?"

"Well, sure, that's all."

"You didn't linger a half second too long? Touch me where you shouldn't have?"

"No, of course not!" Johnson was getting defensive and riled. "You're beginning to sound like the grand inquisition. I'm feeling a bit paranoid."

"Don't. I'm just curious. But, in any case, you know exactly what I look like without my clothes on?"

"Well, you have a male body like hundreds of other male bodies..."

"But you know what MINE, personally, looks like..."

"Sure, when you're leg was bloated and red and you were incredibly sick."

"I'm sorry. I should be very appreciative. You did a good job."

"I am a good doctor."

"Who's conflicted about his sexuality just like Tim is?"

"No, in that regard I'm very positive. Since I was married, I no longer have any doubt about my homosexuality."

"So, then, why don't you 'come out' as they say?"

"I lack the courage."

"I see." Johnny thought, and then added, "and so do I."

The air chilled quickly with a sudden burst of very cold air, and clouds scudded across. One of the lightning quick weather fronts was headed across, apparently. From a delightful day on the porch, it'd suddenly become too cool to stay.

They stood up and went into the small cabin, suddenly aware of its smallness.

"To tell you the god's honest truth, I came up here hoping to find a man who'd be willing to have some fun and good clean safe sex... A man who's absolutely the hunkiest man I've ever laid eyes on..." Johnson sad, not looking at Johnny as he uttered these words.

"I figured."

"So obvious?"

"Maybe."

"And the answer is 'no' right?"

"I think you're very attractive. And in other situations, I think that I'd even like to get it on with you. But not today. I'm wearing my lover's boots, he's frantic about your being here, and I want to be with him, even though it's impossible."

"Damn! Why couldn't I have met you FIRST!" Johnson laughed, suddenly relieved and disappointed at the same time. "That handsome Tim had all the good luck! You are so beautiful! But I think I should leave."

After Johnson had left, amid a promise to be available should Johnny ever become single and unattached again... Johnny's mood dropped like a stone.

He was giving up an attractive man, after years of heedless waiting, for the promise of another man in whom there seemed to be little to expect.

Tim called after supper, his voice hushed, obviously talking so that Mary could not hear him. "Oh good, you're there..." he said, letting the rest of the sentence drop.

"Obviously. But what you want to know is whether 'he' is still here, right?"

"Right," Tim said, miserably. "Am I so obvious?"

"Yes, thank the lord." Johnny said, already feeling better after the loser of a day.

"I wish I could come over there right now..." Tim whispered.

"Me too."

"But Mary's on a rag."

"Yeah."

Silence fell on the line for a moment, then Johnny asked, teasingly, "What would you DO if you were here, big boy?"

"Let's put it this way, you wouldn't be able to go to the bathroom."

"Ooh, sexy talk... Promises, all air, no action..."

"Just you wait and see."

"I don't want to SEE anything. I want to FEEL something..." Johnny said, equally softly, though from his end there was no need to be quiet.

"Something deep inside me..."

"I can't stand it. Is there any possibility you could, say, like take a walk outside our place, maybe 9:30?"

"Is that smart?" Johnny said.

"Probably not. But I can't stand it."

"Okay. 9:30. It'll be freezing..."

"We'll keep warm."

Three hours to pass, with a mixed feeling of intense excitement and expectation and another of dread and guilt: he was back and messing where it was emotional suicide to continue. At 1-1/2 hours and counting the phone rang. Johnny's heart sank. Tim, calling it off. Instead it was Johnson's voice on the phone.

"Sorry. I know I was going to dodge out of your life. My car died in Willamette, you know where that is?"

"It's about 45 miles from here, isn't it? Tiny little place..."

"Anyway, I've been waiting all day for them to get the stupid part. No luck. They finally told me at 5 it wouldn't be in today OR tomorrow! I can't rent a car, and there're no buses, either. I'm stuck right here. I know I promised and it's a bummer, but..."

"Sure, I'll come and pick you up. Where will you be?" They exchanged directions and Johnny tore out of his driveway, knowing it would be tight to make it back in time.

Johnson was waiting right where he said he'd be, standing straight and looking down the road, with an obvious look of profound relief when he spotted Johnny's truck.

"Shit, I never felt so isolated in my life as I have in the last 3 hours.

Thank you for coming."

"No sweat. I been there. Take a look at this old junker. It's running on a prayer. It's left me out in the cold more times than I care to admit."

"Looks like you take care of it pretty well," Johnston said, earnestly, admiring both the old truck and the man who drove it, who did so with a sort of casual ease, shifting the cumbersome floor shifter in perfect coordination with his heavy-booted foot. He found himself staring, only aware of it when Johnny turned his head and caught him at it.

"As soon as I get back I've got to run out for awhile..." Johnny said, hoping to keep it casual.

"Tim?" Johnston said, more intuitively than could be imagined.

"Yeah, how'd you know THAT?"

"It's what I'd be doing, I guess. Or, I don't know. I just knew."

"Well, I hope you can't read minds. I think I have few thoughts running around in there that I'm not too proud of."

"Never fear. We're all accustomed to those. Me more than most, perhaps."

"Yeah? Like what?" Johnny laughed and looked over again, the steady rhythm of the truck tires bumping across the irregular highways tar strips jiggling them both into a kind of bobbing motion.

"You want to know MY innermost secrets? Well, uh, like what do I get in return?"

"What do you want?" Johnny was enjoying this guy, whose interest was so blatant but at least not coy.

"I want EVERYTHING. You, your secrets, the whole ball of wax." Johnston said, laughing but with a tinge of bitterness at the same time.

"My old daddy used to tell me, 'be careful, lest you get what you wish for."

"In this case, I'll live with that risk!"

"Got a case of aching gonads, huh?"

"I just think I've laid eyes on the man I want to live with."

"You mean ME?"

"Yeah."

"Live with in flagrant violation of societal expectations, risking their gossip, ire, and a dwindling medical practice?"

"Ouch. I wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember. It was the only thing I ever wanted to be. And I worked hard, and I was good at it.

It may be the only thing I ever did right."

"Yeah, I can certainly appreciate that," Johnny said, involuntarily admiring the fellow sitting opposite him, who was so earnestly telling the costs, albeit he didn't know he was.

"But now I find that my basic self is being denied. This life is not fulfilling enough. I need something more. I got married. I should have known that wasn't going to work. It didn't."

"It didn't, why?" Johnny asked, turning onto the highway leading to his own house.

"Because I didn't feel right with her. Sexually and otherwise, both."

"She was a good lady?"

"Oh yeah, she was first class, about the whole thing, actually. Said she should have known."

"Should have known, how? Because you weren't interested in her sexually?"

"Oh, I performed well enough. But I suppose it's a self-delusion that you can hide from another which people you look at when you're walking down the street, shit like that."

"Oh. Did you cheat on her?"

"Not until it was all but over, then I felt like a shit. This whole business erodes your self-esteem like salt on snow. You know what I mean?"

"Reminds me of years of lusting after Tim, while he went about his merry way, oblivious."

"Probably the same kind of thing." Johnston agreed.

"I always believed that 'just once' with Tim would be a memory I wanted and that I could leave him, finally, and go find a real life."

"It wasn't like that?" "Are you kidding? I'm miserable. Tim's a great guy. I love him. I've always loved him. Now it's taken on a kind of frantic sexual energy. I mean, I ALWAYS was attracted to him that way, too, but it was academic. Now it's real, and he's even reciprocated it somewhat. But it has no future. And THAT is the worst kind of hurt."

"How can you be sure?" Johnston said, despite himself rooting for the other two.

"I know Tim. I've spent 12 years studying every nuance of him. It's like an obsession, the focus of my life. I was the perfect friend, the best listener, the guy that rooted for every one of his successes, that he came to when he was feeling bad. I saw him through a half-dozen love affairs until he met Mary. And they all started like this."

Johnston said nothing, the light slowly fading from the car as the sun dipped below western mountains. "I hear you," he finally said. "And it sounds like your father's words were absolutely true."

"Yep." Johnny looked again at Johnston, his face lit only by the speedometer's yellow glow. What he saw was concern and his own kind of melancholy.

"So, you're going to meet him anyway, tonight? Right? You can't keep away from him, even though it only makes it worse..."

"You hit the mark. Exactly."

"You could just spend the night with me. It's unlikely that you'll be in any dither over ME... Simple fun instead of all that complicated stuff..."

Johnston tried valiantly to make it sound like a joke.

"I thought I WAS going to spend the night with you..." Johnny said, looking at his fellow rider, "but probably not the way that you meant."

"Probably not. Anyway, it'd probably be just like with Tim only having the shoe on the other foot, you know?"

"Oh, I don't think you've invested 12 years in ME."

"You're right. I'm sorry. It was a stupid thing to say."

"You're forgiven. I guess we're the same: there's this love thing, and then there's pure sex. Either alone is dynamite, and together, well, it's almost more than a man can hold on to. I feel some sexual attraction to you. I mean, who wouldn't? But I'm not in love with you. Nor are you with me."

"Well, if you gave me a few notes, I could certainly hum the tune..."

Johnston said, then quickly grew serious again. "So, what does he want to meet you for tonight?" Johnston said, finally. "I know it's none of my business..."

"I think he's threatened by your coming around me, and wants to be reassured 'we're' still all right."

"That's all? Let him talk to ME, I can reassure him you're as faithful as the local Irish setter."

"Thanks for the comparison."

"Only a good one, I assure you. But, I'll bet you two guys are gonna get it on. Right?" Johnston was laughing and teasing suddenly.

"You have a dirty mind," Johnny said, turning into his own driveway.

"Which means 'yes' admit it!"

"Which means I don't know..."

"Afraid to admit it!" Johnston taunted.

"I'm not afraid to admit it. Probably."

"I can't stand it. I can't stand it." Johnson chanted, wagging his head as in disbelief. "The two sexiest guys I've ever met, in the hottest sexual encounter of the decade, if not the century, right under my very nose, and I won't even have PICTURES! It's not fair!"

"Life isn't fair," Johnny smiled, enjoying the sudden sense of being lucky, superior, maybe. Enjoying the other's envy.

"I don't suppose you'd consider a threesome.." Johnson asked, hardly to be taken seriously. Looking at Johnny's face, however, he said "forget I asked." A moment later he raised up again and asked, "how about Polaroids?" This banter lasted until they pulled up in front of the cabin and Johnny left him off.

Johnny waited in the woods were they'd planned to meet, looking off to the house whose lighted windows stood plainly limned. In moments he knew that this has been a mistake: he could see Tim's daughter being readied for bed, hear angry voices between Tim and Mary, see occasional glimpses of them passing through the cone of visibility. Here was a family in crisis, or so it seemed, and he knew that his own contribution was enormous. He suddenly broke and ran, finding his pickup and easing it down the road and then gunning it ferociously. His phone was ringing when he got back home, Johnson sitting watching it nervously but not answering it.

"It's been ringing for 5 minutes. I figured it wouldn't be cool for me to answer it."

"You figured right."

"Went bad, huh?" Johnson said, perusing the countenance of the other. "Not the look of a well-satiated young man..."

"I didn't meet him. I saw his wife and kids through the window, and I reckoned I couldn't do this anymore. I'm sorry I ever started it..."

"YOU started it? Doesn't it take two to tango?"

"I don't know." Johnny sat down at the kitchen table, his shoulders slumped, fearing he'd break into tears any moment. He did, finally, his hands trying to wipe them away, but without avail.

"Should I leave?" Johnson said softly, finally. He wasn't embarrassed by Johnny's crying, was in fact moved for him, but knew that Johnny himself might be embarrassed, might want privacy, might want to be held, or might want to talk. But just which was so very hard to determine.

"No, you don't have to. I'll be okay. In a minute, maybe."

"You don't have to be 'okay.' Just let it all hang out. Forget I'm here, or do you want to talk about it? Or I'll take a long walk."

"Tim's the only person I ever wanted since the first time I laid eyes on him. For years he's been the impossible dream, you know? And then it comes true. It's like magic. Unbelievable. And miserable. Every day since then I've been miserable. How can that be?"

"Wow. That's tough. And he wanted to meet with YOU right? You were the one that wouldn't meet him? You're calling it off before it really gets started... Is that what you really want to do?"

"I can't do that to his family, to his kids, to him. He can't live a gay lifestyle. He's got a business he built from scratch, he lives in a community that would sooner eat dirt than accept an openly gay couple, and he can't even THINK about living anywhere in a city. But the biggest thing, he's not even really gay..."

"He's not gay? Well, then, he's bisexual. So?" Johnson said, disbelieving this man throwing it all away when it was being offered on a platter.

"Other gay couples have lived a closeted life."

"Not here, not in Wyoming. Everybody knows everything. And they wouldn't buy from him anymore. Pure and simple."

"Well, you know that best, but isn't that a decision he has to make?

Rather than you making it for him? Or at least, don't you need to talk to him about it? I mean, surely he has a right to tell you HIS side of it.

You're just projecting upon him what YOU think are the right decisions for him..."

Johnny shook his head as though to try to sober himself up. "I never thought of it that way. For 8 years I've been taking care of Tim in so many different ways, I guess."

Johnson nodded. "I know that feeling." There was a sudden knocking on the cabin door, a furious pounding. They both turned in sudden surprise and could see Tim standing, looking in at them, tears in his own eyes, looking frantic and dejected.

"If you don't let him in," Johnson said, "then I'm going to..." He stood up, but Johnny got up and preceded him and opened the door. His and Tim's eyes met in great pain and suddenly no words had to pass. Any questions Tim had had suddenly had been answered. Johnson took one look at them standing there in silence gazing at each other, and went and got his grapple and headed to the door, scarcely noticed. "Hey, guys, I gotta run.

Thanks for the hospitality. Have a good life, hear?" He clapped Johnny on the back, touched Tim's shoulder and left via the still open door.

"So," Tim said finally, his hair disheveled and his breath coming hard, tears gathering at the corners of his eyes. "You're doing all of this for me, aren't you? You love me. I can see it in your eyes. But you were going to give it all up, weren't you?"

"Yes. I was. I should have. You'll be sorry I didn't."

"Maybe. Who knows? For the moment though, I just gotta do what feels right. You know?"

"Yeah, I do."

There was a tiny knock on the door behind them, and Johnston re-entered, looking as sheepish as it was possible to look, and probably, feel. "I forgot, I can't go anywhere."

"Yeah, true," Johnny said, reiterating for Tim, "his car broke down over in Willamette. He's stranded until tomorrow at least."

"I know how that feels," Tim said, sympathetic despite his feeling of intrusion.

"Look, I think I'll drop my bag in here and take a walk, okay? What say, an hour? Guarantee of not less than an hour?"

"You don't need to take off. You'll get lost."

"Ooh. I'll walk down the road and keep my eye on the watch." He heard no other resistance as he quietly shut the door behind him.

Where it'll go, nobody knows......

 

John Wood

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