The return home, in the freezing cold felt like it took a long time. It didn't. But anyone who has walked in the dead of winter knows how one block can feel like one mile. Jude and Craig were inside and busy doing something at the counter. I told them about Timothy's visit, the talk with Scott and how I was feeling a little better. When I asked how their errands went they both stiffed a bit and said they had some information.

"Do I need a drink to hear this?"

"No. But afterward you might want one." Craig quickly answered.

Jude began to tell me about his conversations with the police and coroner. Hearing the news was difficult. Terry, whose birth name was Kevin Terrence Williams had died do to overdose of barbiturates. They wouldn't release his remains because he had no known next of kin. The apartment manager said that Terry had spoken with him a month ago and since the lease wasn't up for a few months and had been paid thru the end of the lease it was mine to use. I didn't understand how it was possible and wasn't sure I wanted the responsibility.

Then came the news that did hit me. They had planned a small memorial service.

My gut turned tight. My chest felt squeezed. My throat was dry. Sadness, pain and happiness battled within me. As much as it hurt to think of it being over, their consideration to plan a service made me feel good. "When?"

"Well Sam. We wanted to talk about this earlier but things were so crazy we kept pushing it off. It's tonight. Yes it is soon but...well...that's how it worked out. Are you ok with it?"

Tonight? It felt so soon.

"Sam. We know it's sudden and we should have just told you the other day but we thought it would be better to do it sooner rather than later..." Jude didn't wait for my answer.

Craig interrupted him, "And this way we can all start the New Year fresh."

"Fine. What time? Where?" Emotionally I shut down. Not sure if I was angry, just upset or relieved I wasn't trying to be rude, I just wanted to know how much time I had before it started.

"It's at seven at Ricco." Jude answered, sounding unsure of how I would react.

"I have time to hit the gym." I went to change and left for the gym.

It had been over a week since I had worked out and once again I felt it. My body felt weak but wanted the exercise. Trying to pace myself I went through the routine Timothy had been pushing me with before we left for the trip. It was nice to think about each exercise and not focus on the evening before me. The other guys at the gym were busy doing their thing. I didn't recognize anyone but wasn't paying much attention. My thoughts were not on sex or hot studs, a first for me while at the gym.

Back at home I changed into black pants and a dark grey sweater. Clean, shaved and dressed I went to wait until it was time to go. Craig had gone home so it was just Jude and I for the first time in a while. When he came out of his room I made us each a Manhattan. We sat listening to some music.

The cab ride to the restaurant was stressful. I didn't know what to expect, what to think or how to act. Walking in I was nervous. Jude held the door for me then moved in front so I could follow. The restaurant was new to me and rather busy. It was the last Saturday of the year and dinner hour had begun so it was no surprise. I wondered if everyone knew why we were there, the reason for our presence.

We entered a reserved room. As I looked I stopped in my tracks. Craig came up to us and gave me a kiss on the cheek. In the room were the guys from the studio, Timothy and Scott, Wade and Ben and about fifteen other guys who I had met in the last few months. My body swelled as the feelings of sadness and support hit. One by one they came up to me offering a kiss or hug and a few words. It wasn't my intent to cry a little but I did. After I had been greeted by everyone, Tom, the man who had filmed the video of Jude and I, asked for our attention.

Craig ushers Jude and I toward Tom and had us sit. The rest of the men took seats and Tom began to speak. What his background was, or previous experience I am unaware but he did a wonderful job talking about Terry, his life and our relationship. Once he finished Craig spoke, then Jude stood to speak. I was a mess by this point. Everything said was kind, caring and warm. The porn and sex and all the details of the terrible things that had happen to Terry were ignored as they talked about the good in him. Jude concluded with a prayer, something that surprised me, but it was fitting and felt right.

After the prayer we stood and moved the chairs back to the tables. Servers brought in drinks and appetizers and the conversation turned to other topics. It felt good. The men took turns sitting by me engaging in conversation and treating me kindly but not like I was broken. They spoke about the future, the New Year and life. Needless to mention I did get drunk. Not sloppy and stupid drunk but loosened up enough to enjoy myself. Having so many people in one place, being supportive and caring was something I had not experienced. At least not like in such a non-sexual way. No one groped me, felt me up or tried to get me naked. Considering every guy in the room had fucked me at some time it was a little odd.

The time came for people to leave. Each one said goodbye to be and offered their support and love. As we exited the restaurant Craig said good night and we took a cab home.

"Jude. Thank you. I can't believe how many people were there! Some of them didn't even know Terry."

"They were there for you Sam. Every one of them cares about you. You are important enough to them that they wanted to be there, for you."

"Still it seems unreal. All of this does. But I am glad, if that's the word, that you arranged it."

"I didn't really, Craig did."

"He did? I need to do something nice for him. Drink?"

"Sure. Why not?"

I mixed rum and coke for us and we sat together on the sofa. We spoke about the evening and how life gives us challenges. It wasn't heavy talk, just observation on how we don't know what will happen. When our drinks were empty I brought the glasses to the kitchen and asked Jude if I could spend the night in his bed. He smiled, stood up and taking my hand led me to his room.

Morning came quickly; at least it felt that way. The little service we had for Terry had taken more out of me than I thought. The company had been great, the sex with Jude fantastic and I slept like a rock but I did feel drained when I woke up. So much had happened in the last week we had not talked about new years at all. Over breakfast I asked Jude if he had plans and he said there were a few parties we could go to and there was always the exciting option of watching the ball drop in Times Square.

My own plans had been to spend New Years Eve with Terry. Regardless of what we would have done it would have been the two of us and it would have been fun. Now what do I do? Honestly I wasn't feeling up to a party.

Having plenty of time on my hands and trying to think of something other than it being the last day of the year and being single I went to the gym. It was empty. The few guys who were there looked as depressed and lonely as I felt. The positive in the situation was I had time to do my exercises without waiting for someone to finish or have someone waiting on me. Pushing myself as hard as I could I imagined Timothy was standing beside me pushing me.

When I finished lifting I could feel my muscles screaming at me. Changing into the skimpy suit that Wade & Ben had forced me to wear way back when I smiled. Things will be fun again. Digging into my bag I pulled out the cockring they had me wear with the suit and put it on. Looking in the mirror I smiled. I was looking really good. Not as muscular as I wanted to be but still hot. And my bulge in that suit looked stunning. Too bad no one was around to watch. I had the entire pool to myself as I swam my laps. In the shower I left the cockring on. If a guy came in he would see it and I didn't care if he did.

After lunch I took a nap until Jude woke me, asking if I was going to be joining him. It was already dinnertime. Getting dressed in something a little showy, something that looked great at a party I hurried.

First we meet up with some guys for dinner. A couple of cocktails helped me to relax and I did manage to forget about the last few days and enjoy myself. The guys were all in great moods and I can't stay depressed when everyone is celebrating. After dinner our group went for cocktails at the home of one of the couples. It was fun to see two dozen guys, dressed to kill, smiling and laughing and enjoying life. It was also fun to have some attention paid to me. No one tried to get me naked or take me home but the complimented me on my clothing, hair and body. Who can resist good-looking guys telling you they think you're hot?

Around ten Jude asked if I was ready to head to another party. Of course I was ready to head out, I had been drinking for couple hours, not too fast but after seven or eight drinks I was feeling primed. Taking a cab we spent about half an hour in transit. We spoke about the guys at the party and the guys we may see at the next one. We arrived at the building and went to the top floor. The couple had a huge loft, perfect for parties. There were easily over one hundred people at the party. Some women were there, dressed to kill. Most of the guys were dressed to kill too. It was going to be fun.

Jude knew quite a few people and introduced me. People were very friendly and welcomed me, even if I was half the age of most of them. During the next two hours we ran into Craig and a couple of the guys we would meet for dinner. This was the first gathering I had been to where I hadn't had sex with most of the guys. When I mentioned it to Jude he warned me not to try and change that fact. I slugged him and promised to keep my pants on.

One interested development was Jude's interest in another guy. Since I had moved in I had not seen him actually flirt with a guy with the obvious intent of sleeping with him. Granted he had been having sex since I moved in, but outside of the few dates he had gone on in December he had been off the market. The guy good looking, nice body, a bit of a belly but guys in their late thirties don't always have six packs. Aging can be cruel.

Half an hour before midnight I had the chance to talk with Jude one on one. I asked if was going to be taking his stud home. He just smiled. Jude was drunk.

"Jude, take him home! Fuck until you both pass out. Do it! He's hot and obviously into you."

"Sam. I can't bring a guy home."

"Jude, don't let me get in the way of a hot night. In fact, I am not going home tonight. I will stay at Craig's. No excuses. You better take him home." I walked away until I spotted Jude's object of interest coming towards us. Returning to Jude I smiled at the stud.

"Hi, I'm Sam. Jude's roommate. FYI, I am not going to home tonight so you better make sure he gets there safely. Have fun." I winked, patted his ass and walked away.

Craig was flirting with a guy and it looked like the guy was flirting just as much. Saying hello I interrupted their little dance and joined in the small talk. After ten minutes it was clear I wouldn't be going home with Craig. Wondering what I was going to do and feeling a little lonely I went to find the bar.

Being at a party and feeling all alone is a terrible place to be in. Trying to keep my spirits up and not end up nose-diving into a depressing black hole I chatted with some people I had met earlier. Things picked up and as I realized I was feeling good someone yelled it was nearly time. The music stopped, conversations came to a halt and we waited with excitement to count down the last ten seconds of the year.

After the cheers and shouting Happy New Year! People began hugging and kissing, the music came on full volume and I found myself standing still. For a few seconds I was hit with the realization I was alone on New Years, at a party with close to 150 people. A hand grabbed my arm and turned me around.

"Happy New Year Sam." A deep, strong voice said as I was pulled in. Charles smiled and gave me a kiss. My arms hanging at me sides as he embraced me I returned the kiss and felt my entire body tingle.

"The hottest guy in the room and I got him." He smiled again as we separated.

"Charles! That was a surprise."

"I didn't think I would make it in time and as I am looking around I see you standing with these strangers. It took the entire ten seconds to reach you."

"Glad you made it." Understatement of the year! I was seconds from falling into despair.

"Me too."

The crowd was beginning to move again, people were beginning to leave or fill their drink glasses.

"You been here long?" Charles asked as we watched the movement.

"Long enough. Charles? I need a place to crash tonight."

Charles laughed, not just a little laugh but a big laugh. "Sam! That is the most original offer I have ever had! Come on, let's go fuck until dawn."



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