The next morning, Christopher went into the basement without his usual banter and good cheer. He opened Randy's cage and told him to go to the center of the floor. Randy walked on all fours and waited.

"Let's go pee," Christopher said. Usually Randy would show his eagerness to comply with this welcome suggestion - jump from side to side, yip happily, even nip at Christopher's heels - but today he sensed that something was wrong. He followed Christopher up the stairs and, when Christopher opened the back screen door and stood aside, Randy went quietly to his piss tree and did his business.

He waited patiently by the kitchen door for Christopher to let him in. When he finally did, he clipped Randy's chain to his collar and led him into his living room. Randy, in dog form, was rarely allowed in the living room. Christopher sat heavily on the plush sofa and told Randy to sit at his feet. He absently rubbed his pet behind his ears and finally looked into his upturned face.

"I have to go away," he said at length. Randy cocked his head to one side.

"Yeah," he said. "To Wilmington. The one in Delaware. That's where my mom lives."

"Lived," he corrected. "She died in her sleep last night." He buried his face in his open palms.

Eventually he looked again into Randy's expectant face. "She'd been ill," he said. "We all expected it, but it's still a shock. I guess it's always a shock."

He was quiet for a time. "Will you come with me?" he asked. "You've been a wonderful pet and I love you for that. You've been a faithful servant when I needed one. Well, when I wanted one," he corrected himself. "But now I need a friend."

Randy didn't know what to do. He was a dog, and as such he had learned to obey a set of rules set down by his master, one of which was that he was not to talk when he was in dog attire. He sat mutely and blinked up at Christopher.

"I could go alone, but I've never been good at funerals. And my mother and I were very close until I moved here. I sort of left her in the lurch and I feel like a shit for doing that. Too late. I wish I had been a better son.

"I really don't want to be alone. You know?"

Randy continued to look mutely at his master.

"Be a man, for Christ's sake," Christopher said in exasperation.

Randy stood, still in a quandary.

"Have a seat," Christopher said, pointing palm up to a chair close by.

Randy sat. "I'll do anything you ask," he said.

"You don't have to do anything. Just be with me. Well, maybe that's asking a lot."

"Of course I'll go with you," Randy said.

"You still have your blue suit in the basement closet?"

"Yes, Sir," Randy said.

"Good," Christopher said absently. "The thing is, Randy, that I don't know how I'm going to explain you. How can I explain bringing a nineteen-year-old boy with me. I mean, most forty-four-year-old men don't hang around with nineteen-year-olds."

"Well," Randy said. "We can't disguise what is. I'll just be your friend. I don't know why you'd have to explain anything beyond that."

"I've not come out to any of my family, you know. I'm sure they all suspect, but I haven't confirmed anything."

"Well, maybe this is the time."

"Nineteen. Hell, I'm robbing the fucking cradle, for Christ's sake. That's what they'll all think."

"When was the last time you thought about anyone in your family, or cared what they thought? About anything?"

"You're right, of course.

"Well, all this will take care of itself, I suppose," Christopher mused. "They will think what they want to think. I'd better take care of travel arrangements.

"Bill, that's my brother - He lives in Wilmington. - has taken care of all the other details. I'll call him later and let you know what's what."

When Christopher stood, Randy was quick to follow. They stepped together, held hands and kissed briefly. "Thank you," was all Christopher said before turning and going to his room.

* * *

The funeral arrangements were simple. The viewing was to be on Wednesday evening and the burial the following afternoon. Bill suggested that Christopher stay in their mother's house since he would be the only family member attending from out of town. He met Christopher at the airport.

"I didn't know you'd be bringing someone with you," he said.

"This is by friend, Randolph. Everyone calls him Randy."

Bill and Randy shook hands. The talk during the ride into the city was about the funeral: who was coming from where and other innocuous things. As soon an they got to Christopher's mother's house, Randy excused himself to go to the bathroom. Bill turned to Christopher. "He's very young," he observed.

"Yes," Christopher agreed. "Very young."

There was a long pause.

"Is there a problem with that?" Christopher asked.

"No. No. Not at all," Bill said. "You should know that I wouldn't have a problem with that."

Christopher shifted his weight to his other foot. "He's also very male," he said.

"Yes," Bill said. "Very male," and his face broke into a little grin. He began to giggle.

"What's funny?" Christopher asked.

"You are," Bill was quick to reply. "Very young and very male. You are a sly old dog, and by all appearances, a very lucky one."

"I think so," Christopher said, and they smiled together. When Randy came out of the bathroom, the brothers were in a tight hug.

They broke apart. "We'd better get a move on," Bill said. "We have dinner reservations for seven." He clapped Randy on the back, slipped his arm loosely over his shoulder and led him out of the house. Randy looked back over his shoulder at Christopher who was smiling broadly. "Tell you later," he mouthed exaggeratedly.

* * *

The viewing went smoothly enough. As far as Christopher could tell, few people took note of Randy. There may have been one or two raised eyebrows, but who could tell what they might have signified? Christopher's sister Sally was the big exception. She had found Jesus a few years ago, apparently wandering around her neighborhood in his well-worn sandals, looking for a glass of water or maybe a cold beer, and she'd invited him in. Anyway, she and Jesus disapprove of man on man sex. She told Christopher that he was robbing the cradle (See? I told you someone would bring up that old canard.) and was going to go to hell. That was the last exchange they ever had.

Alone at the house, Christopher and Randy sat in the 1970s style living room. Christopher was, naturally enough, subdued.

"I can't say I'll miss her," Christopher said. "My life in Fort Worth is so far removed from my former life here. There are no connections. Still . . ." He looked down at the familiar old carpet.

Randy moved to sit beside him on the sofa and took his hand.

"It's kind of early for bed," Christopher said.

"It's been a long day," Randy replied. "If you're ready, so am I."

They went into Christopher's old bedroom and took off their suit coats. "Thank you for being with me," Christopher said. "I can't tell you how much it means to me."

Randy stepped close to Christopher and kissed him lightly. He put his arms around him and they kissed again.

"I often wondered if she knew," Christopher said when they stepped apart.

"A mother often knows these things," Randy said.

They continued to talk as they undressed. "We were very close at one time," Christopher said. "We had a wonderful relationship."

"Are you going to shower?" Randy asked, returning to the minutia of everyday existence.

"I think I'll just wash up a bit and shower in the morning."

"OK," said Randy. "You go first."

Randy followed when Christopher was done. When he came out of the bathroom, Christopher was under the covers. He held them up for Randy to crawl under. Randy saw that Christopher was naked. He removed his boxers and crawled in beside him. Christopher had warmed up his spot and Randy snuggled close. "Nice," he said. "This will be the first time we've ever slept in the same bed," he reminded Christopher.

Christopher pushed his arm under Randy's shoulders and held him close. "I wonder what Mother's ghost would think," Christopher said after he rolled onto his side and pressed his hard-on against Randy's hip.

"She's too busy trying on her new wings and halo to notice what we're doing," Randy said. He wrapped his arm around Christopher and rubbed his broad back.

"You think?" asked Christopher.

"I think," Randy answered. Christopher kissed him deeply.

As always, Randy took his cue from Christopher: When he nudged his shoulder, Randy rolled onto his back. Christopher got on top of him, reached down, cupped his balls and kissed his mouth. He started a gentle jacking of his erection and kissed his face. Randy closed his eyes and sighed.

Christopher licked Randy's chest, pursed his lips around some of the hairs that grew in an auburn tuft between his pecs and tugged. He kissed his way first to one nipple and then the other, laving each with his tongue, tugging and sucking with pursed lips and nibbling softly with his teeth. The biting hurt Randy a bit and he arched his back off the bed until Christopher moved lower and licked his navel.

Randy opened his legs and Christopher knelt between them. He licked the wrinkled sac that held Randy's tender balls and the inner thighs that were close and inviting. He held the base of Randy's hard cock and kissed his way up the shaft to the engorged glans. He paused, sat back on his heels and looked at his prize. The slit was beginning to seep its opaline ooze. Christopher, like a little boy who was about to take his first lick from an ice cream cone on a hot day at the county fair, gently, slowly licked the ooze off and savored its flavor. It was slightly salty and just a bit pungent. It was the best flavor in the world, and he was the one for whom it was made. He tried for more but there was none: He would have to wait.

But he needn't wait idly. He kissed Randy's pecs and lightly heaving abdomen. He kissed and licked his sides and nibbled at the hair that grew in his armpits. He leaned back on his heels a second time and when he pressed Randy's piss tube from base to tip he was rewarded with a second drop that grew slowly until it started to glide down the shaft. Christopher captured it with his tongue, tasted it momentarily, swirled it around in his mouth mixing it with his saliva, and spread it down Randy's shaft.

Then he sucked. He locked his lips tightly just beneath the rubbery corona and lowered his head until his nose was against Randy's smoothly shaved pelvis. He constricted his throat, trying to swallow the essence of his boy.

Randy pushed his hips up. "I'm going to come," he said. "Oh, god. Here it comes," and he fed his seed to Christopher.

Christopher swallowed and sucked some more until his boy pulsed his last jet of cum into his mouth. He leaned back on his heels yet again and looked into Randy's face; and Randy, his beautiful face and luxuriant auburn halo on its white pillow, was looking back. Randy . . . waiting for whatever Christopher wanted, open to any suggestion, eager to satisfy his carnal urges.

Christopher felt an overwhelming joy at having Randy in his life. He stretched his body over Randy's, put his arms around him and kissed his mouth hard. Randy responded by hugging Christopher close. He closed his eyes and kissed his man even as he was being kissed.

Christopher moved his mouth to Randy's ear. "I want to fuck my boy's sweet ass," he whispered.

"Yes. Fuck me," Randy whispered back.

Christopher rolled Randy onto his side and joined him in a spooning position. He lifted Randy's top leg with his bent arm and inched his pelvis close enough to touch Randy's sweet hole with the tip of his hard cock. Randy pushed back as Christopher pushed forward and their coupling was completed. Christopher felt the warmth of Randy's rectum and pushed in to the hilt. He began a slow fucking motion and Randy rocked a bit and pushed back as well as he could. He wanted Christopher to fuck him deeply, at first to satisfy his man, but before long to satisfy his own lust. His moaning started low, but it crescendoed quickly into a high pitched - if soft - cry.

Christopher rolled him onto his stomach, mounted him higher and fucked him harder, Randy crying and gasping the while. Randy lifted his pelvis off the mattress, pushing back against Christopher's insistent hard fucking. "Oh, fuck," Christopher gasped and bent down to kiss Randy's neck. Randy twisted is head around and their lips met passionately if briefly.

Christopher pulled out. He nudged Randy to let him know he wanted him on his back. Randy turned and spread his legs wide. Christopher got between them, lifted Randy's ankles to his shoulders, pushed forward and entered him again. They gazed into each others' eyes until Randy began thrashing his head from side to side. He grabbed his cock and began to pump. He pounded as Christopher fucked. Randy felt Christopher's cock swell inside him. "I'm going to come," Christopher gasped. Randy jacked harder. He felt the tingling begin. "Ahhh! Here it comes," Christopher said. That was all it took to push Randy over the top. He spewed his first shot of boy cum that landed just above his navel. The second, harder than the first, arched high and hit Christopher on his chest. Christopher cried out and jetted his first shot into Randy and Randy pumped out his third stream. Christopher rammed harder and completed his climax in three more jets. He lowered himself onto Randy's heaving, sweaty chest.

They lay in each others' arms. Their kissing, now that the passion was spent, was soft and tender. Christopher broke away and looked at Randy in the eyes. "I've changed my mind," he said softly. "I think I will take my shower tonight." He pecked Randy's lips and rolled over and off him. He stood.

"Mind if I join you?" Randy asked. "I need one, too."

"Sounds like fun," Christopher said, and they went together down the hall to the bathroom.

The spray was warm against their bodies. Christopher soaped up a wash cloth and they passed it back and forth the between them as they washed each other's chests and lower torsos, their backs and asses. Christopher shivered when Randy's fingers grazed his pucker and he wondered why. They finished by washing their own legs and rinsing off.

Back in their shared bed, dry and warm, Randy nestled against Christopher. Their legs twined together. As Randy said earlier, it had been a long day. He began to nod off. "Good night," he whispered.

"Good night," Christopher replied. They slept soundly through the short night.

* * *

Christopher and Randy had to leave the grave site early to catch their flight back to Fort Worth. Bill and Cindy, Bill's wife, drove them. Cindy was as gracious as a person could be to Christopher and his friend.

"Apparently they talked," Christopher said to Randy after the plane lifted off.

"Apparently," Randy agreed. "They are a nice couple."

Randy reached over and took Christopher's hand. They did not let go when the steward came by to ask if they needed anything.



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