Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Man from Swift Current Chapter Sixty Eight - The Interrogation

Chapter Sixty Eight – The Interrogation

I was still daydreaming about Rick, when Mark sat down next to me.  “A penny for your thoughts,” he said, grinning at me.

I looked over at Mark, trying to focus on him.   “What?”   I hadn’t really heard his question.

Mark laughed.  “You were so obviously not here, I was curious what you were thinking about.”

I blushed as I remembered what I was thinking about.   “I was thinking about the last time I saw Rick in his Speedo swimsuit, and what we were doing in the pool that day.”

Mark said, “It must’ve been good, because you’re falling out of your swimsuit.”

I looked down, and sure enough, I was very hard and standing straight up.   My Speedo bikini swimsuit just wasn’t made to hide much; as you can imagine, I was on full display for all to see!

Mark laughed and said, “It looks like you need some relief there, buddy!”

I looked up and laughed with him, “Yes, I really do!”

“I wish I had a girlfriend who would get that worked up just thinking of me!   You gay guys have it made!   It seems like all my gay friends have managed to find a boyfriend, and here I am, still looking,” Mark said.

“Well, if it’s any comfort, Ben is in the same boat as you.   He asked me to help him find a girlfriend once school gets started.  I’ll do the same for you,” I said, smiling at him.

Mark looked puzzled.  “How do you plan to do that?”

“In high school, all the girls were my friends.   They knew I was safe to be around, and the guys on the hockey team were my friends.   So, I got to play matchmaker, since the girls wanted to go out with my friends.   Ben asked me to set him up with the good looking girls on campus, just like I did in high school,” I explained.

Mark laughed.  “It sounds like you guys had a great set up in high school.   You had the pick of the guys on his hockey team, and he had the pick of all your friends.”

I blushed a little at the memory of having sex with one of his teammates.   I said, “Yes, it did work out that way.”

Mark exclaimed, “Cool!   I’ll take you up on your offer.   Just make sure she’s not ugly, okay?”

“It’s a deal!   It looks like I won’t be in need of assistance after all, since things are back to normal,” I said, pointing to my dick which had returned to its flaccid state, and was safely contained inside my swimsuit.

Mark looked down and laughed.  “Yep!   You’re okay now.   Are you up for some pizza?”

I replied, “Yes.   That’s sound great!   I think the guys are probably hungry by now as well.”

Mark said, “I’m sure they are.   How many pizzas should we order?”

“I’m not sure, but, there are six of us; so, I’d order at least four, if not more.   I know from past experience Ben can eat a whole pizza by himself,” I said.

“I’ll tell Mom to order six pizzas, one for each of us, to make sure there’s enough for everyone,” Mark said.   He got up and went inside to talk to his Mom.

We ate pizza and had a wonderful evening playing in the swimming pool.   It was a great end to a great weekend.   We called it a night about 10 o’clock, since we needed to head back to Minneapolis in the morning.   I decided to wait until the next day to call Rick.   I wanted to be able to talk to him without interruptions, so I went to bed, and was asleep fairly quickly.

I woke up the next morning with Robbie’s arm across my chest.   I guess I should have expected it, but I was still surprised he’d climbed into bed with me, again.   I tried to get out of bed without waking Robbie, but failed.

“Where are you going?” Robbie asked in a sleepy voice, as he stretched languidly and yawned.

His voice startled me, since I thought I’d succeeded in not waking him.  “I’ve got to hit the bathroom, sleepy head!   I couldn’t wait for you to wake up,” I replied, as I continued across the bedroom to the bathroom.   It wasn’t long before I heard Robbie’s bare feet padding across the hardwood floor.   He came up beside me, and dropped his boxer shorts and aimed at the toilet.   He put his hand possessively on the small of my back as we crossed streams.

Robbie laughed.  “You’re just like Zach.   He’s always so precise about aiming for the center of the bowl.”

I looked at Robbie with a scowl.  “Didn’t your mother teach you to aim for the cheerios in the center of the bowl?”

Robbie smiled and said, proudly, “Nope!”

“You’d better improve your aim, if you don’t want to be mopping the bathroom floor every day, when you come to live with us!”

Robbie laughed.  “Yes, Dad!”

I swatted Robbie on the back of the head.  “Don’t get smart with me, Robbie boy!”

That made Robbie laugh even harder.  “You’re such an old man, Glenn!   I’ll have to let my Mom and Dad know I’ll be more than okay with you making sure I obey their rules.   You’re worse than Zach is when he’s left in charge while they’re out of town.”

“How so?” I asked, wondering what exactly he meant.

“Zach has never complained about my aim, and I’ve never had to clean the bathroom before,” Robbie said.   “I guess you’ll have to teach me how to do the job right.”

I laughed and replied, “I guess Ben and I will have to show you how to take care of your own stuff, I suppose.   Things like cooking, doing the laundry, and general housecleaning.”

Robbie’s grinned widened.  “Correct on all counts!   Mom has always done all of those things.   The only chore I have to do is take out the garbage, and half the time Dad does that.”

I pushed Robbie toward the bedroom door.  “Robbie, go get yourself cleaned up while I get my shower.”

Robbie frowned and said, “You mean you still won’t let me shower with you?”

I didn’t even condescend to answer him, but put my arm around his waist and guided him out the door and into the hallway; and pointed across the hall to his own room.

Robbie grinned, mischievously.  “You’re so hard-hearted!   Kicking me out of your bedroom and making me take a shower all by myself.   I’ll have to tell Zach on you!”

At that moment, Zach’s door opened, and Zach peeked out to see who was in the hallway.   Seeing it was just me and Robbie, he stepped out.   He was totally naked, and had morning wood to boot!

Robbie whistled at the sight of his brother’s erection and asked, “Where’s Todd this morning?”

Zach smiled at his little brother.   “He’s still asleep.   What were you going to tell me?   I heard you saying something to Glenn.”

Robbie laughed.  “Your friend won’t let me take a shower with him, and he’s making me go to my own room to shower by myself!”   Robbie looked at me and grinned from ear to ear.  “I said I’d tell Zach on you!”

Zach punched his brother in the shoulder.  “Way to go, Glenn!   I’m glad you’re keeping the young pup in line, already!”   Zach went to swat Robbie on the behind, but missed; as Robbie scampered out of the way.

Robbie stuck his tongue out at his brother, and chanted, “Missed me, missed me, now you’re going to have to kiss me!”

In response, Zach chased his brother down the hall and into his room.   Pretty soon I heard Robbie yell, “Yuck!   Zach kissed me!   Glenn!  Help!!”

I wandered down the hall and peered through Robbie’s bedroom door.   Zach had Robbie pinned down on top of his bed.   Zach had straddled Robbie and was tickling his brother.

Robbie finally said, “I give!  I give!”   Zach relented and stopped tormenting his little brother.   Zach climbed off the bed, and turned to help his brother up.

Zach laughed and said, “Next time, don’t get so smart with your elders!”

Robbie grinned as he looked over at me.  “At least you’ll admit you and Glenn are elderly!”

That comment earned him a smack across the back of his head from his brother.  “Watch it, baby brother!”

I could see the two brothers loved each other very much, as I watched them interact.    I wish my brothers had been as close to me as Zach and Robbie were to each other.   Don’t get me wrong!   My brothers were always looking out for me, but they weren’t as close to me as these two are to each other.   Of course, I had Ben, who has always been my best friend.

Zach smiled at Robbie.  “Get your shower, so we can go down and eat breakfast.”

Robbie saluted his brother with mock seriousness.  “Yes sir!”

Zach gave Robbie a swat on the behind as Robbie turned to go to his bathroom.

Zach turned to me.  “You’ll have your hands full, Glenn.   Robbie loves to goof around, but he’s a good kid.”

I laughed and said, “I think between me and Ben, we can handle your brother.   Besides, you’re only a few minutes away in the dorms.  The way I look at it, Robbie will be wishing he was still living at home if he thinks he’s going to get away with anything while he’s living with us.”

Zach chuckled, “I guess you’re right about that.   Robbie doesn’t realize we’re on to him, and won’t tolerate as much stuff as Mom and Dad do.   But in other ways, I think he’ll have more freedom than he does here, just due to the fact we aren’t his parents.”

I smiled and said, “Yes, I agree.   I’m going to get my shower.   You’d better take care of Todd, while you can.   It’s going to be at least a week before you’ll see each other.”

Zach said, “Thanks for reminding me.   I’m got a special treat in mind for my lover boy.”   Zach winked at me and closed his bedroom door.   I returned to my bedroom to get my shower.   I love the Anderson’s home!   Every bedroom has its own en suite bathroom which makes it very convenient for guests.   I’ll have to remember that when Rick and I decide we need a house instead of a condo.

I made my way down to the kitchen to find Robbie already seated at the kitchen table with his parents.

I said, “Good morning, everyone!”

They all echoed my greeting.   Mr. Anderson said, “We’ve contacted the school already this morning, and they’ve accepted Robbie’s application.   We plan to drive down with Robbie’s stuff in a couple of days.   Will that give you and Ben time to rearrange things at your place?”

I was startled by Ben’s answer since I didn’t see him come into the kitchen behind me.  “Yes, that will be ample time for us to make the necessary arrangements.”

Ben sat down next to me.   “Sorry if I startled you, cuz,” he said, looking over at me, as he reached for muffin.

“Not a problem,” I said.   Looking across the table at the Andersons, I said, “I’m glad they have accepted Robbie’s application.   I’m sure he will do very well there.   He also knows if he messes up, it’s all over for him, and he’ll have to come home.”

Robbie looked at me and grinned.  “Yes, I know I’ve got to obey the rules.   I’m very excited about going there!”

Zach and Todd joined us.   They were holding hands and had that glow that seems to follow those who are madly in love with each other.   They sat down on the opposite side of Robbie from me and Ben.

Todd asked, “Did I hear you’re going to the Arts High School?”

“Yes, you did!” Robbie exclaimed.   “Can I call and talk to your brother, Adam, about it?”

Todd smiled and said, “Sure.   Here is his cell number.”   Todd took out his cell phone and passed it to Robbie, so he could punch in Adam’s number into his own cell phone.

“Thanks, Todd.   You’re the best!” Robbie exulted, as he passed Todd’s phone back to him.

Zach said, “I’m happy for you little brother!   Now, I get to tease you more often, because you’ll be less than 10 minutes from me.”

Robbie grinned.  “I’ll put up with your teasing, because I’m so excited to be going to a new school.”

We continued discussing Robbie’s situation and gave the Andersons our address, with directions on how to get to our house on Como Street.

Later that morning, we picked up Mark, and we drove back to Minneapolis.   The return trip seemed to go much faster, since we had so many exciting things to talk about.  

As Zach dropped us off at our house, he turned to me and said, “Don’t forget to make me a copy of the pics you took of me and Todd!”

I grinned and replied, “I’ll have it ready for you later today.  Why don’t you and Mark come by for dinner tonight?”

Zach looked over at Mark and asked, “Is that okay with you, Mark?”

Mark replied, “The only thing on my agenda for today is hockey practice.   After that, I plan to make it an early night.   So, as long as we’re back at the dorms at a decent hour, I’m game.”

Zach turned back to me.  “It looks like we’ll see you tonight, then.   Oh, by the way, who’s doing the cooking?”

“I don’t know, yet.   Ben and I will figure something out,” I responded, with a grin.   “You’ll just have to be surprised by whatever it is we decide to cook.”

Zach laughed and waved good-bye, as he pulled away and drove down the street.   Ben and I spent the rest of the day moving our furniture around, or at least Ben helped until he had to go to hockey practice with the guys.   I finished setting up Ben’s bed and his desk.   Our bedroom looked a lot like it did in high school, except we didn’t have a dormer window.   I moved my photo clock of Rick off of my desk, and set it up on my dresser, next to my bed.   Looking at the message Rick had placed there made my heart yearn to hear his voice.   The time indicated on the clock meant I would have to wait until 10 PM tonight to call.

Meanwhile, I organized our bedroom; then, went next door to start cleaning Robbie’s room.   By the time Ben returned from practice, I’d swept and mopped the floor and dusted everything.   I looked around the empty room and thought, “We will need to buy Robbie a bed when his parents bring him down in a couple of days.”

While Ben got cleaned up, I spent some time updating my blog about my trip to Duluth.   Ben came into our room with a towel wrapped around his waist.

“So what are we cooking for the guys tonight?” Ben asked.

“Does spaghetti sound okay?” I asked.

“Yes, as long as it doesn’t have ketchup on it!   I hated that stuff Taka made for us the other day,” Ben said, grimacing.

“I promise I’ll use regular spaghetti sauce!   We need to run to the store to get the ingredients, though.   I checked the cupboards, and there isn’t much food in the house,” I said.

Ben said, “Let’s make a list of what we will need for the rest of the week, and we’ll make a trip to the store.   That way we won’t have to worry about shopping for food until the weekend.”

“I’ll make up a list of our favorite dishes, then, I’ll make a list of the ingredients we’ll need to make them,” I said.

I made up the list of meals we both like and shared it with Ben.   Then, I made the shopping list.   I drove us over to Joe’s Market and Deli.   I waited while Ben ran in and picked up one their gyros to tide him over until dinner time.   Ben never ceases to amaze me.   He can pack away so much food, but still manages to remain in such good shape!  From there, I followed Ben’s directions to the Rainbow Food store.   It took us about an hour to get everything on the list, since I wasn’t familiar with the store layout.   We ended up going back for things on aisles we’d already been down.   Next time, it shouldn’t take us so long!

 We made it back to the house, just as Zach and Mark arrived.   They helped us bring in the groceries, and I put them to work putting things away in the cupboards, while I put the water on to boil for the spaghetti.   I gave Zach a CD with his pics on it, while we waited for the spaghetti to cook.   Taka and Frank joined us for dinner.   We had a good time talking about our weekend, and sharing our adventures with Taka and Frank.   About 9 PM, Zach and Mark left for their dorms, and the rest of us decided to call it an early night.  

I got out my cell phone and sent a text message to Rick.   “Hello, r u there?”

*** ***

The last couple of days had been harrowing ones for Rick.   The MPs’ investigation had all of them on edge.   Each member of Sam’s company was escorted to Sgt. Riehle’s office and interrogated about their relationship to the deceased; and where they were on the night he was murdered.   Stan, Chip and the rest of the guys who played poker that night with Sam, were pretty shook up.   They had been instructed not to talk about the murder with anyone, especially not with people back home; since Sam’s closest relatives hadn’t been notified of his death.

Rick thought back to his interrogation by the MPs.

*** ***

“Where were you the night Corporal Meyers was murdered?” Sgt. Riehle asked.

“I played poker with him and the rest of the guys until 10 PM.   Then, we turned in for the night,” I replied.

“Why didn’t Corporal Meyers accompany you to the barracks?” he asked.

 “He said he had an appointment with someone, and he wouldn’t be long,” I replied.

“Did he say who he was going to meet, or where they were going to meet?” he asked.

“No, sir.   Corporal Meyers didn’t say who he was meeting.   He did say he was going to wait for them in the mess hall,” I said.

Sgt. Riehle asked, “Did you see Corporal Meyers using any of these items?” He pointed to a set of dildos, chains, gags and cock rings that were on the table in front of him.

“No, sir.   I haven’t seen any of those items before today,” I responded.

“Are you sure?” he asked, again.   This time he stood over me and looked me in the eyes.

“Yes, sir.   I’m absolutely certain I’ve never seen those things until today,” I replied.

“Corporal Lernier, we found these items in Corporal Meyers trunk that was under his bed.   Are you absolutely certain you’ve never seen these before?” Sgt. Riehle asked, for a third time.

“Sir, I’ve never seen them before today.   Corporal Meyers didn’t show them to me.  I didn’t know he had them,” I said.

“You don’t believe Corporal Meyers was gay do you?” Sgt. Riehle asked.

“No, I don’t, sir,” I replied, looking him in the eye.

“Well, take a look at these photos.   I think you’ll change your mind,” he said.

He handed me several photos.   What I saw made me sick.   I couldn’t believe the cruelty of the men who tortured Sam and left him to die!  I returned the photos to Sgt. Riehle.   I was feeling pretty nauseous.

Sgt. Riehle said, “There’s a bucket under the table if you need to puke.”   His tone of voice was cold and disdainful.   He continued, “I bet you’ve never seen a dead body in that condition before, have you?”

I shook my head and tried to keep from losing my lunch.   When I didn’t say anything more, he continued, “I want you to think back over the things Corporal Meyers said to you that evening.   Is there anything at all that would lead us to who did this?”

I thought for a moment.   “He was pretty close to a couple of guys in the motor pool.   I don’t remember their names.   He often would spend time with them in their barracks.   Other than that, I don’t remember anything out of the ordinary.”

Sgt. Riehle said, “That’s all the questions I have for you at the moment.   If you remember anything else, I want to know about it right away.”

“Yes sir,” I replied.

“You’re dismissed, marine,” Sgt. Riehle said.

Rick got up and swayed a little as he did so.   Sgt. Riehle held his arm to steady him, “Are you going to be alright, son?”   It was the first time he’d shown concern for Rick during the entire interview.   The rest of the time he’d maintained a very cold, stern expression.   It was obvious to him this marine was not the individual who had killed his fellow marine; but he needed to maintain his objectivity.   Rick reminded him of his son, who had been killed the year before in this conflict.   He wanted to reach out to comfort this boy, but refrained; so as not to give any appearance of bias or prejudice to his investigation.

Rick nodded.  “I’ll be okay.”

Sgt. Riehle released his arm and nodded.   “Return to the barracks, Corporal, and I’ll have your commanding officer notified you’re not feeling well.”

“Yes sir,” Rick said, and left the room.

Sgt. Riehle turned to Corporal Saunders and said, “I want the entire motor pool brought in for interrogation.”

“Yes sir!” Corporal Saunders replied.   He left the room to quickly arrange the interviews.

*** ***

Rick’s thoughts returned to the present when he heard the door to the barracks open.   He glanced over to see his commanding officer come through the door.

He immediately got to his feet and saluted him.

“At ease, marine,” Lt. Col. Bachman said.   “Sgt. Riehle let me know you weren’t doing well, after his interrogation.   I’m sorry we have to put you through those interviews; but we need to find those who committed such atrocities, as quickly as possible.”

“I understand, sir,” Rick replied.

“Good.   I’m glad you seem to be better than you were a little while ago.   I’ve requested you be transferred to another base with the rest of your detachment for a few weeks, until we’ve settled things down here.   I think a change of pace will do you all good, given the circumstances.   However, I can’t release you until the MPs have completed their investigation,” he said.   “The sooner the murderers are behind bars, the better!”

Rick nodded his agreement.  “Yes, sir!”

“Corporal Lernier, I want you to take an hour to get yourself back together, then, I want you to report to your regular duty station.   I believe you’re assigned to help with the supply trucks this afternoon,” Lt. Col. Bachman said.

“Yes, sir!” Rick said, saluting his commanding officer.

Lt. Col. Bachman returned his salute, and turned smartly, leaving Rick to ponder why Sam had been so brutalized.   Sam was always trying to help people, and looked for ways to include them in his activities.   He had become known as the detachment’s social secretary, because he was always organizing events to keep the marines occupied and happy.   The most surprising thing was the fact Sam had kept sex toys under his bed.   Rick still couldn’t fathom the idea Sam was gay.   Sam had, until recently, been one of the most vocal homophobic guys in the barracks.   He had often spoken of his faggot brother, and never had anything positive to say about gays.

Rick’s cell phone buzzed in his pocket.   He quickly retrieved it and read the text message Glenn had sent, “Hello, r u there?”

He dialed Glenn’s number.   “Hello,” Rick said, trying to keep his voice from cracking with emotion.

I replied, “Hello, are you okay?   You don’t sound very good.”

“I’ll be okay.   I’ve just had a rough morning that’s all,” Rick replied, remembering he wasn’t supposed to say anything about Sam’s death.

“I want you to know I love you, Rick.   I’ve thought about you all day today,” I said.

Rick’s breath caught in his throat as a wave of emotion caught him off guard.   He struggled for a moment to regain his composure.

I said, “Rick, I’m guessing you can’t talk about what’s happened, since you told me you’ll be okay.   I know you’re strong, and will make it through whatever’s going on.   I love you, and have confidence in you.”

Hearing Glenn’s voice released what little control Rick had, and the tears managed to escape and roll down his cheeks.   He put his hand up to his mouth to stifle the cry of anguish that nearly escaped his lips.

I listened for a moment, then said, “I know you’re crying, Rick.   You need to let the hurt come out and express itself.   Don’t be afraid to show your emotions.   I know you’re trying to be strong, but sometimes part of being strong is knowing when to let the hurt express itself.”

By this time, Rick was sobbing.   He tried wiping the tears from his face as he listened to his partner’s voice.

I said, “I love you.   You’re my sweetheart and my only love.   Let the sadness leave your heart, so you can be the best marine you can be.”

Rick managed to recover a measure of control over his emotions.   He said, “Thank you, Glenn.   I’ve needed to talk to you for a couple of days now, and I’m glad you called me.   Just hearing your voice has helped me immensely.”  

“Always remember I’m here for you, Rick,” I said, soothingly.

Rick answered, “I know.   You always know the right things to say to me to cheer me up, and help me make it through the tough times.   That’s why I love you so much.   I’m going to change the subject, Glenn.   What did you do this weekend?”

I proceeded to tell him all about the trip to Duluth, and the addition of Robbie to our group of roommates.   When I finished, I asked, “Rick, will you be okay now?”

Rick responded, “Yes, I’ll be okay.   I love you.”

“I love you, more,” I replied.

“Get some sleep, lover boy,” Rick said.

“Good night, sweetheart,” I replied.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Man from Swift Current, Chapter Sixty Seven - Zach and Todd

Chapter Sixty Seven – Zach and Todd

We returned from boating to find balloons tied to the mailbox.  Zach said, “I wonder what the balloons are all about.”  He drove up to the front of house, and we were surprised to see the large number of cars parked there.   Zach turned to us and said, “I think my parents are having a party.   They didn’t say anything to me about it.   Did they tell you, Robbie?”

Robbie didn’t answer, but he shrugged, with a big grin on his face.   I got the feeling he knew all about what was going on.   We got out of the car and glanced into the backyard.    Zach’s parents had set up a huge picnic on the back lawn.   There was volleyball and croquet as entertainment, in addition to a couple of tables of food.  

Mrs. Anderson met us at the front door and said, “Go freshen up boys, and meet us in the backyard.    Mark and Zach, we’ve invited all of your high school buddies over for a party.”
Mark and Zach looked at each other and did a high-five.   Zach gave his mom a hug, “Thanks, Mom.   You’re the best.”
We quickly did as she asked.   About 20 minutes later, we had changed our clothes and were ready to join the party.   Zach and Mark started introducing me and Ben to their friends.   Of course, most of them were former teammates from their high school hockey team.   After a while, Ben and I grabbed a plate of food and made our way over to a table to eat.  
I said, “Ben, look over there.”   I nodded across the yard to where Robbie stood with a couple of the guys.
Ben looked then smiled and said, “I think our little Robbie is being a big flirt!”
I laughed.   “And it looks like it worked.   Robbie is heading back this way with one of them.”
Robbie had a megawatt smile on his face and was practically skipping as he crossed the lawn toward us with a very handsome blond guy in tow.   The closer they got, the more I could see Robbie had found someone who looks like a Norse God.   It was all I could do not to drool!   Talk about a Thor look alike!
Robbie said, “Ben and Glenn, this is Todd Ingram.   He’s one of Zach’s friends from a neighboring high school.”
Todd smiled as he shook my hand.  “Nice to meet you, Glenn.”   His huge hand drowned mine.
He turned and shook Ben’s hand.   “Ben, I think we’ve met before.”
Ben smiled.  “Yes, we met last year when I visited Zach for the holidays.”
Todd nodded his head.   “Yes, now I remember.   Glenn, Robbie was telling me that you have suggested he attend an arts high school.”
“Yes, I thought it might be better for Robbie,” I said, looking over at Robbie, who was smiling from ear to ear.
Todd said, “My little brother, Adam, is attending the Arts High School in Minneapolis.   He lives in the dorms there.   Mom and Dad weren’t sure about it at first, but Adam is doing so well, they have become big believers in the special programs they have there for gifted music students.”
“Do you think your parents could convince mine to let me go?” Robbie asked.
Todd shook his head and replied, “I don’t think so.   Your Mom and Dad don’t seem to be the type of people who are easily swayed once they’ve made up their minds.”
“Maybe you could suggest they talk to your parents about the program,” Robbie said, hopefully.
“I’ll agree to try that,” Todd said.   “Where did your brother go?”
Robbie looked at Todd with a serious expression.  “Are you two going to get back together?”
Todd’s face grew somber.  “Yes, Robbie, I want to get back together; but I don’t know if Zach has found someone else since he’s been away at the university.”
Robbie said, “Zach hasn’t been the same since you two broke up.   I never understood what happened between you guys.   Zach won’t even talk to me about it.”
Todd looked over at us and asked, “Do you mind if I join you two?”
Ben smiled.   “Sure.   Hey, Robbie, would you mind getting Todd some snacks and a soda?”   Todd sat down at our table, leaving Robbie standing.
Robbie started to object when I asked, “Please, Robbie?”
Robbie, seeing he would appear childish if he didn’t, decided to do as we asked him.    “Okay, but I want to know everything you guys talk about while I’m gone.”
As Robbie left, Ben asked, “Do you really want to be with Zach?”
Todd’s voice trembled with emotion, as he replied, “Yes, Ben, I love him.   We broke up last year when Zach left for school.   He said he didn’t want to have a long distance relationship.   He said the best thing for both of us was to have our freedom to date other people.”
I put my arm around his shoulders.  “Todd, don’t give up hope.”
Robbie reappeared with two plates piled high with all kinds of snack food.  He placed them on the table along with two cans of soda.   Robbie took a seat on the opposite side of Todd.
Todd said, “Thanks, Robbie.”
Robbie responded, “No problem!   So, how do we get you and Zach back together?”
Todd shrugged and reached for his soda.  “I don’t know, Robbie.   I’ve tried to think of what I could do that would get Zach to talk to me.   He avoids me every time he comes to town.   When your Mom called me, I was totally surprised.   I don’t think Zach knew your Mom and Dad were planning this party, and I’m absolutely certain he didn’t know I was going to be here!”
I looked around the yard for Zach.   I saw him standing next to his Dad, talking animatedly with one of his former teammates, who we met earlier.
“Has he spoken to you tonight?” I asked, already knowing the answer.
Todd shook his head in the negative.   “Every time I start to approach him, he finds some way of avoiding me.”   Todd’s face reflected the pain he felt at Zach’s rejection of him.
Ben asked, “How long were you two together?”
Todd responded, “We met during our senior year in high school.   We had quite a dust up on the ice that night during the game between our two schools.   After the game, Zach saw me in the parking lot and approached me.   I thought he was going to give me a hard time about the game, but he took me totally by surprise when he asked me to go out with him.   We started dating, and it wasn’t long before we were spending most of our nights together.   I fell for Zach in a big way.   I think it scared Zach, because he started to distance himself from me before we graduated.   He broke off our relationship on graduation night, saying he didn’t want a long distance relationship.”
“You see, I’m on a full-ride scholarship at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and Zach is on a full-ride scholarship at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.   I made the team at Twin Cities, but I didn’t get a scholarship.   My parents can’t afford to pay for my college education; so I had to take the full-ride scholarship at Duluth.   Zach was really upset at me, because he wanted me to room with him in Minneapolis.   Then he told me we were finished.”
“I tried to explain why I took the scholarship at Duluth, but he wouldn’t listen to me.   He insisted I didn’t really love him.   He couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t let him help me with tuition and books.”   Todd’s voice broke with the intensity of the emotions he was feeling.
Todd paused as he tried to regain his composure.   “I don’t want to be a burden to anyone, and especially not to my boyfriend.   I couldn’t let him pay for my college education.   It felt all wrong to me.   I didn’t want our relationship to become a sex for pay situation.   Was I wrong to tell Zach I wouldn’t accept his money?” Todd asked, looking for confirmation that he’d done the right thing.
We all looked at each other, before Ben answered, “It depends on the type of relationship you had with Zach.   You would need to have a high degree of trust in your partner before allowing him pay for your college, and not feel it to be an imposition on him.”
Todd said, “I don’t think we had that trust.   I know, at first, we were mostly interested in having sex.   As my feelings for him changed, I tried to talk with Zach about our relationship; but he always would change the subject.”
I said, “It sounds like you two still have a lot of things to work out.”
Robbie grinned and said, “If things don’t work out between you two, I want to be your boyfriend!”   Robbie reached over to take Todd’s hand.
Todd laughed.   “You’re incorrigible, Robbie!   You’ve already spent most of the evening flirting with me!”
“Good!   Maybe Zach will notice, and decide to do something about it!” Robbie said.   He leaned over and kissed Todd on the lips.  
I looked over to see Zach watching us.  “Robbie, your brother is watching you.”
“Good!   Let him watch as I put the moves on his ex-boyfriend!” Robbie exclaimed, laughing, as he stood up, pulling Todd to his feet, and led him over to where Zach was standing.
Ben and I followed, wondering what Robbie was going to do.   What little we knew of Robbie, we were sure it would be something to see!   We didn’t have long to wait!
Robbie put his arm around Todd’s waist and said, “Zach, if you don’t want Todd as your boyfriend, do you mind if I date Todd?”
We waited to hear Zach’s response.   Zach’s expression went from surprised to anger.   “Before I answer that question, Robbie, will you let me talk to Todd?”
Robbie grinned.  “Yes, you can talk to Todd, since you asked.”  Robbie’s expression hardened and his voice took on an edge that took me by surprise.   “Maybe next time you’ll try talking things out with Todd, instead of avoiding him like he has some kind of disease.   You’ve been avoiding him for over a year now, and I’m tired of watching you mess up a good thing.   I like Todd a lot, and I think he’s good for you.   I want Todd to be a part of my life, even if he’s not part of yours.   So, please talk to him, and either settle your differences, or admit you’re both too immature to work things out; so I can work at convincing Todd that not all the Anderson boys are too stupid to recognize when they’ve found the perfect guy!”
To say we were stunned by what Robbie had to say would be an understatement.   It took Zach a few minutes to decide how to react to what Robbie said.   He reached out for Todd’s hand.  “Todd, let’s go inside where we can talk in private.”
When they had disappeared inside the house, Robbie looked at me and Ben.  “Did I do the right thing?”
Ben laughed and said, “I think you did, but are you really sure about wanting Todd to be your boyfriend?”
Robbie considered the question for a moment.  “Yes and No.   Yes, I want Todd as my boyfriend.    And, no, I don’t want Todd as boyfriend if Zach doesn’t approve, because if things did work out for us, I want Zach to be comfortable around us.”
About an hour later, we were gathered around the snack food table, as we chatted about our day on the lake.   I looked up and saw the patio door open, and Zach came out leading Todd by the hand.
I said, nodding toward the house, “I think we’ll know pretty soon which way things fell out between Zach and Todd.” 
Todd was smiling, as was Zach.   They came up to us, and Zach said, “Robbie, thank you for making me talk to Todd.   We still love each other, but we have a lot of things to work out.   To answer your question, yes, I do mind if you date Todd!”
Todd laughed.  “Robbie, thank you so much for what you’ve done for us tonight.”
Robbie asked, “Do I at least get a hug and kiss for all my hard work?”
Todd looked at Zach who nodded.  “Sure!”
Robbie hugged Todd then gave him a kiss on the lips.  “Todd, I’m serious about wanting you as part of our family; so you’d better work things out with Zach.”
Todd saluted Robbie and said, “Yes, sir!”
Robbie laughed.  “You are such a clown, Todd!”
Zach grinned.   “I think you have him beat in that category, Robbie!   Come here, little brother!”
Zach took Robbie in his arms and gave him a bear hug.   “Thank you for helping me to see what an idiot I’ve been.”
Robbie replied, “Isn’t that what little brothers do?   You know, help their big brothers with their humility!”
“Don’t be a smart ass!” Zach said, laughing at his little brother, as he cuffed him up the side of the head.   “Don’t forget I’m still your ‘big’ brother.”
Mrs. Anderson came over to where we were standing and asked, “Am I to assume you two are back together?”   She was smiling at Todd and Zach.
“Yes, Mom, we’re back together.   We still have a lot of things to work out between us, but I think we’ll make it,” Zach answered, putting his arm around Todd’s waist and pulling him close to him.
Todd’s smile lit up his face like fireworks on a summer evening!   “Thank you for inviting me over tonight, Mom.   It gave us the opportunity we needed to at least talk to each other.  Between you and Robbie, you’ve made me very happy!”
We spent the rest of the evening playing volleyball, and getting to know Todd.
***  ****
Rick had a bad feeling things weren’t going right when his friend, Sam, didn’t return to the barracks last night.  He woke up this morning to find his friend’s bed hadn’t been slept in.   He got up and took care of his body’s needs, and decided to turn on his computer.   He searched for it, but didn’t find it immediately.   Rick began to panic, then, he saw something poking out from under Sam’s mattress.   He reached down and lifted up the mattress, and found his laptop had been wedged between the mattress and the slats that held it up.   He opened it up and turned it on.   He waited for a few minutes for it to boot up.   When nothing happened, he decided to remove the battery and then put it back to see if that would solve the problem.
Again, the computer wouldn’t boot up.   Rick thought to himself, “I wonder why Sam hid my computer under his mattress?   What was he doing with my laptop in the first place?   I knew I had to watch Sam, but I didn’t think he’d mess with my laptop after I yelled at him for violating my privacy when he erased my text messages on my cell phone.”
Rick had just finished getting dressed in his fatigues when the door to the barracks opened, and two marines entered the barracks.   Both of them wore armbands marked “MP.”    Seeing the rank on their uniforms, Rick saluted them smartly.
Sgt. Riehle said, “At ease, marine.   Have you seen Corporal Meyers?”
“No, sir,” Rick responded.  
“Is this his bunk and his belongings?” Sgt. Riehle asked, as he pointed to Sam’s bunk.
“Yes, sir,” Rick replied.
The two MPs searched Sam’s bunk, then, began looking through Sam’s personal belongings.   Rick waited in silence, as the search continued.
Sgt. Riehle handed Sam’s laptop to Corporal Saunders.  “We’ll need to scan that for any information about Corporal Meyers’ activities.”   He turned to Rick and asked, “Do you know what has happened to Corporal Meyers?”
“No, sir,” Rick said, an uneasy feeling coming over him.
“Corporal Meyers was found dead this morning.   His body was found under a tarp in the back of one of the supply trucks,” Sgt. Riehle said, watching Rick’s face closely, to see his reaction.
Rick tried hard to control his expression, but failed as the tears started running down his cheeks.   His only friend in the compound was dead!  
Sgt. Riehle, seeing the emotions displayed on Rick’s face, said, “You may sit down, marine.   I want you to tell me everything you know about Corporal Meyers.”
Rick sat down and wiped the tears from his face, as he began to tell the MPs about Sam.   Sgt. Riehle listened carefully; as Corporal Saunders took notes.  
When Rick had finished speaking, Sgt. Riehle asked, “Do you know of anyone who might have had a reason to kill Corporal Meyers?”
Rick responded, “No, sir.   Sam was always the one who pulled people together.   I don’t know of anyone Sam had made angry.”
Sgt. Riehle said, “We’ve already interviewed several of your companions this morning.   They’ve pretty much said the same things you have.   They mentioned that a group of you played poker in the evenings.   Are you sure that something didn’t happen last night during the poker game that angered someone?”
Rick thought for a moment then responded, “No, I don’t remember anything out of the ordinary.   It was the usual group of us, having a good time and enjoying each other’s company.”
Sgt. Riehle decided to ask one more question, to see Rick’s reaction, “Did you know that Corporal Meyers was gay?”
Rick’s astonishment showed on his face.  “No, sir, I didn’t know that.   He told me about his brother being gay, but never hinted at being gay, himself.”
Rick thought to himself, “Wow!   No wonder Sam was acting so different around me.   I misinterpreted Sam’s actions entirely!   I thought he was just trying to protect me; but, in reality, he was trying to get closer to me!”   Then the realization hit Rick that the MPs were looking for someone who knew Sam was gay.   What if they asked him whether or not he was gay?
Sgt. Riehle said, “That’s all the questions I have for now.   We may need to ask you more questions, as we continue our investigation.”
The two MPs left the barracks.   Rick was still sitting on his bunk, trying to process the facts Sam was dead and that he was gay, when Chip entered the barracks.   Chip came over and sat down across from Rick on Sam’s bunk.  
Chip asked, “Have you heard about what happened to Sam?”
“Yes, the MPs were just here, looking through Sam’s stuff.   They took his laptop with them,” Rick answered.
Chip asked, “Did they tell you how he died?”
“No,” Rick said, shaking his head.
Chip shuddered as he said, “I found him naked, in the back of a supply truck this morning, as I was getting the truck ready.”  
Chip started crying.   Rick got up and sat beside Chip, putting his arms around him.
Chip continued, “He was chained to the floor and he was beaten pretty badly…”
Chip couldn’t continue due to the sobs that wracked his body.   Rick held him close until he recovered.   Chip asked, “Why would anyone do something like that?”
Rick said, “I don’t know, Chip.   It’s bad enough being here, without having to worry about your fellow soldiers turning on you.   Sgt. Riehle said Sam was gay.   Do you think Sam tried to hit on someone and they got angry?”
Chip pulled back from Rick.   “You’re not serious are you?   Sam wasn’t gay!   I’m sure of that.”
Rick stood up, “They said he was gay.   I don’t know how they knew that.  Let’s go to the mess hall.  I’m starving.   Have you had breakfast?”
Chip looked up at Rick from where he sat on Sam’s bunk.  “Yes, I’ve eaten already, but I could do with a cup of coffee.”
The two left the barracks and headed to the mess hall.   They passed a contingent of MPs headed in the opposite direction.   They turned to see where they were headed.   The MPs entered Rick’s barracks.  
Rick asked, “I bet they’re going to turn the barracks upside down for clues to who killed Sam.”
Chip nodded his head, “I bet you’re right.”
*** ***
Keith and Kerry were just leaving campus after meeting with their counselors to make sure they were on track with the classes they needed, when they stopped, surprised at seeing Peyton leaning against Keith’s Mustang in the parking lot where they’d left it.  
They looked at each other before Keith took Kerry’s hand, “Let’s see what he wants.”
Kerry asked, “You don’t think he’ll try to do something stupid, do you?”
Keith said, “I hope not, but we are in the open, and there are a lot of people walking around right now.”
They approached Peyton, who smiled at them.   “Hello, Keith.   I bet you didn’t expect to see me!”
“Hello, Peyton.   You’re right.   I didn’t expect to see you,” Keith responded.
“Aren’t you going to introduce me?” Peyton said, smirking at Keith’s reaction.
Keith said, “This is my wife, Kerry.   Kerry, this is Rick’s cousin, Peyton.”
Kerry didn’t extend her hand, but acknowledged the introduction, “Hello, Peyton.”
Peyton looked Kerry over like he was undressing her with his eyes.  “You managed to do pretty well for yourself, Keith.   Too bad my cousin didn’t do the same.   Speaking of my dearest cousin, where is he?”
Keith answered, “We don’t know.   We haven’t seen him since school let out last spring.”
Peyton laughed, “That’s funny.   I thought you two were the best of friends.   Surely he’s kept in contact with you.”
Keith replied, “You’d think that, but I swear, we haven’t heard from him in over three months.”
Peyton eyes narrowed, “What about that other sinner who he’s been having sex with all this time.   Where is he?”
Keith said, “I don’t know.   Glenn went back to Canada, and hasn’t called us since he left.”
“Do you mean to tell me that they aren’t together anymore?” Peyton asked suspiciously.
Keith said, “No, they aren’t living together, if that’s what you’re asking.”
Peyton smiled and said, “Good for Rick.   Maybe he’s finally come to his senses.   But that doesn’t change the fact he’s the reason I spent time in the pen.   If he does contact you, you can pass on this message from me – payback’s a bitch!”
Keith said, “I’ll warn him about you, if that’s what you want.”
Peyton’s laugh sent chills up and down Keith’s spine.   “Yes, Keith, warn him I’m out for revenge, and I WILL find him, believe me!”
Peyton walked over to Kerry and put his hand under her chin.  “Yes, Keith, you did very well.   Be grateful, Kerry, you met the straight cousin before you met the gay one.”    He dropped his hand to his side and turned to Keith.   “You’d better hope that faggot of a cousin of yours stays put in Canada.   I’ve not forgotten about him, either.”
Keith and Kerry watched Peyton’s retreating back, before Keith wrapped his arms around Kerry.   “Don’t worry, Kerry.   We’ll do everything possible to keep Rick and Glenn safe from the likes of Peyton.”
They climbed in Keith’s Mustang and headed back to their condo, where they called Grandpa Scarborough, to let him know about their encounter with Peyton.   Then, they called Keith’s parents and related to them what had happened.  
Keith said, “It’s a good thing Glenn and Rick are going to be gone until next summer.   Maybe by then, Peyton will have moved on to something else.”
Kerry asked, “Do you really think Peyton will just forget about it?”
Keith responded, “No.   I was just trying to be positive.   I’m pretty certain Peyton won’t forget.”
*** ***  
I woke up wondering where I was.   I rolled over and found Robbie had spent last night with me, just like he had the night before.   I smiled, as my eyes took in his angelic face.   Robbie never ceased to amaze me!   He was so immature in many ways, but very mature in others.   I still marveled at how he managed to get Zach and Todd to talk to each other.   Zach had invited Todd to stay overnight so they could talk some more.   That thought made me laugh.   I know they did more than just talk last night.   The noise coming from Zach’s room in the middle of the night confirmed that fact!
My thoughts moved to Rick.   I wondered what was going on with him.   I hadn’t posted anything on my blog for a couple of days now.   Rick hadn’t called me, either.   I had to fight the urge to jump out of bed that minute and call my guy!   I missed Rick terribly!   Again, I looked over at the sleeping boy next to me.   How little did Robbie know how much of a temptation he is for me.  For him to spend the night in my bed was a supreme test of my self control!
As I continued deep in thought, Robbie’s eyes opened and he smiled impishly at me.   “I’m sorry, Glenn.   Zach and Todd woke me up in the middle of the night, and I couldn’t get back to sleep; so I came and climbed in bed with you, again.”
“That’s okay, Robbie.   I heard them going at it last night, too; but I don’t remember you coming to bed with me,” I said, looking at Robbie.
“It was about 3:30 in the morning when I came in here.   You were snoring!”   Robbie exclaimed.   “You must be really getting old, since you snore so loud!”
After I got over my surprise at his statement, I said, “I know I don’t snore, you young pup.”
Robbie laughed.  “But I had you going there for a minute!”
“Yes, you did; and just for that, I’m going to subject you to some tickle torture!” I exclaimed.   I leaned over and started tickling Robbie, who started giggling uncontrollably.   After a bit, Robbie said, “Stop!   I give!”
I relented and got out of bed.   “Let’s get dressed.   I’m hungry.”
Robbie got out of bed and joined me in the bathroom as we relieved ourselves.   Robbie asked, “Can I take a shower with you?”
Instead of answering his question, I gave him the “look” as Rick calls it.   Robbie laughed.  “Okay, I knew the answer before I asked the question.  I’ll go to my room and take a shower in my own bathroom.”
Robbie left the bathroom, and I heard the bedroom door open and shut, as I jumped in the shower.   A short while later, we were in the kitchen with Mrs. Anderson, who was making pancakes, when Robbie asked, “Mom have you and Dad decided whether or not I can go to Minneapolis?”
Mrs. Anderson stopped flipping pancakes for a moment, and replied, “Yes, we’ve made our decision.   You’ll have to wait until after breakfast to find out what we decided to do, because we want to talk it over with all of you.”
Robbie smiled over at me.  “Cool.   Can I wake up Zach and Todd?”
Mrs. Anderson laughed at her son’s request.  “I think you should let Glenn do that.   If I know your brother, he’ll throw you in the shower for waking him up too early.”
Robbie laughed.  “You’re right, Mom.   Come on, Glenn.   Let’s see if the sleepy heads are awake.”
We opened Zach’s bedroom door to find them still asleep in each other’s arms.   I signaled too Robbie to be quiet, while I returned to my room and grabbed my camera.   I barely snapped off a couple shots when Zach’s eyes opened.   I kept taking pics until he realized what I was doing.
“Glenn those pics had better not find their way onto the internet!” Zach exclaimed, shaking his fist at me.
Robbie and I laughed.    I said, “As long as you’re nice to me, I promise they won’t be shared with anyone, other than the guys in this room!”
Zach grinned and asked, “Does being nice to you mean I get to sleep with you?”
I laughed at Zach.   “No, it doesn’t, but it does mean you can get out of bed and come down to breakfast.”
By this time Todd was awake and smiling at our exchange.  “Glenn, thank you for snapping some pics.   I want them for jerk off material when you go back to school tomorrow.”
Zach laughed.  “Well, in that case, we need to have some real jerk off material.”   He threw off the sheet covering he and Todd.   “Go ahead; take some pics of us now.”
Robbie laughed, as he came over to me.   “Aren’t they the two best looking guys in the whole world?!”
I had to agree, “Yes, Robbie, they are both great looking guys.”
I snapped a few more shots while Zach and Todd modeled for me.   I was getting pretty hard down below, watching them start a make-out session.   Robbie started whistling, as Zach and Todd were kissing and caressing each other.
Zach pulled back from kissing Todd and said, “I love you.   I hope Glenn’s pics will help us get through the next few months.”
Todd smiled up at this lover.  “I know it will because every weekend I’ll get to see the real thing.”
Zach agreed, “That’s true.   Let’s get dressed.”
They both got out of bed, sporting woodies.   Robbie laughed as they got in the shower together.   “We’d better tell Mom it will be awhile before they come down for breakfast.”
“You’re right, Robbie.   Let’s leave the lovebirds to clean each other up,” I said, taking Robbie’s hand and leading him back to the kitchen.
Robbie said, “Mom, it will be awhile before they come to breakfast.”
Mrs. Anderson smiled.  “That’s okay.   Why don’t you and Glenn get started?   Here are the pancakes.   There’s sausage and eggs to go with them.”
“Thanks, Mom,” Robbie said, as he served himself a stack of pancakes.
“Yes, thank you, Mrs. Anderson,” I said.
“You’re both welcome,” she responded, as she watched us go down on the delicious pancakes.
We’d just finished eating when Zach and Todd showed up in the kitchen.   “Good morning, boys,” Mrs. Anderson said, in greeting.
Zach and Todd replied in unison, “Good morning, Mom.”
Todd asked, “Have you had a chance to talk to my parents about the Arts High School?”
Mrs. Anderson answered, “Yes, we called them last night.   We’ll talk to all of you about what we’ve decided to do about Robbie’s school, after you’re done eating.”
Robbie helped clear the table and even washed up the dishes for his Mom.   Mrs. Anderson laughed at his eagerness to help this morning.  “Robbie, I’m not sure what’s gotten into you this morning.   Maybe we should talk about changing schools more often.”
The rest of us pitched in to help wipe down the tabletop and the counters.   Soon, we were seated in the Anderson’s front room, where Mr. Anderson was reading the paper.   He put the paper down, and looked around the room.  “Do we have everyone here?”
Mrs. Anderson replied, “Yes, dear.   I believe that we do.”
“Good,” he said, looking over at Todd.   “We talked with your parents last evening about your brother’s experience at the Arts High School.   We were very pleased to hear how well Adam is doing.   We’ve decided that, if Robbie gets accepted into the Arts High School, he can move down to Minneapolis.”
Robbie erupted in shouts of joy.   He literally ran across the room and gave his Dad a hug.   When Robbie released his Dad, Mr. Anderson continued, “Ben and Glenn, are you still willing to have Robbie as your roommate?”
We both nodded our heads, Ben said, “Yes, we are.”
“Good.   We think living in the dorms might be too much for Robbie to handle, right now.   However, we do want to go over some of the conditions Robbie must abide by, if he’s going to live with you guys.”
Robbie’s face fell at the mention of conditions.   Mrs. Anderson laughed.  “You didn’t think we’d just send you off without any rules or conditions, did you?”
Robbie’s face cleared.   “I guess not.”
Mr. Anderson said, “First, no boyfriends sleeping over night.   Second, you must be in by 9 PM every night except on weekends, when you must be in the house by 12 midnight.   Third, you must listen to what Ben and Glenn tell you to do around the house.   That means you must do your fair share of the household chores.”
Robbie listened carefully to his father as he listed off the rules he had to abide by while living with us.   He said, “That’s no different than living here at home.   I can manage those.   Anything else?”
Mrs. Anderson spoke, “Yes, you must maintain at least a B average.   If you don’t maintain a B average, we’ll have to reconsider our decision to send you to the Arts High School.”
Robbie was sobered somewhat by that.   “I think I can do that, but I may need some tutoring in the harder subjects, like math.”   He looked over at Ben and me.  “Maybe Ben and Glenn can help me study when I get stuck.”
Ben said, “Yes, I’m willing to tutor you in math.   Glenn hates math and doesn’t do very well in it; but he can help you in the music department.”
Robbie smiled.   “I know Glenn can help me improve my technique.   When will we know if I’ve been accepted?”
Mrs. Anderson replied, “We won’t know until later in the week.   Todd’s parents gave us the links to the forms we needed to fill out and submit.   We took care of that this morning.   Your Dad will call the school the first thing in the morning to make sure they received your application, and to find out if there’s anything else we need to do.”
Zach’s cell phone rang.   He fished it out of his pocket and answered it.   He said, “It’s Mark.   He wants us to come over to his house to go swimming in his indoor pool.   Are you guys up for that?”
We all nodded our agreement.   He told Mark we’d be over in little while.
Mrs. Anderson said, “Ben and Glenn, Zach and Robbie can lend you one of their swimming trunks.   I’m sure they have something that will fit you.”
Zach laughed.  “Yes, I’m sure we do.   I’ve got a whole drawer full of swim shorts.   Come on, guys.   Let’s go get our stuff.”
We followed Zach back to his room, while Robbie stayed behind to thank his parents for agreeing to send him to the Arts High School.   Robbie soon joined us, dressed in his Speedo swimsuit.   We whistled at him.  
“Robbie, if you keep dressing like that you won’t be a virgin for long!” I exclaimed, after giving him the once over.
Robbie just grinned even more. “Do you think it looks good on me?”
Zach slapped his brother on the back.  “Yes, he thinks you look good in that swimming suit.   He just said so.   You’re good looking, but not as good looking as me!”   Zach laughed, as Robbie tried to grab him in a head lock.   They wrestled for a minute, before Robbie said, “I give.   You’re still stronger than me, but I’m the better looking one.”
Zach let his brother go.   “Let’s ask Ben and Glenn what they think.”  
Robbie looked over at us.  “Okay, guys, who’s the best looking between me and Zach?”
Ben and I looked at each other before I said, “Zach, do you have a Speedo swimsuit you could put on so we can have a fair comparison?”
Zach grinned.  “I sure do.   I’ll put it on real quick.”  Zach peeled off his board shorts and underwear.   He pulled out a bright blue Speedo swimsuit from his dresser drawer and pulled it on.   I loved watching him!   Zach said, “Okay, I’m ready.”
Ben said, “Alright!   Take your places everybody!   The judges will sit on Zach’s bed while the contestants come in from the hallway, walk across the room and stand here in front of the judges.   You have to hold a muscleman pose to show off your physique.   Then, walk back out of the room.   Then, the next one will come in and do the same.   Then, you two will have to wait while the judges decide who is the best looking in their Speedo swimsuit.”
Zach and Robbie laughed.   Robbie guffawed, “It’s almost like a swimsuit competition!”
Zach punched him the shoulder.  “That’s exactly what it is!  Now you go first!”
Zach left the room while Robbie strutted his stuff for the judges.    He walked in as Ben had directed, held a muscleman pose and then returned to the bedroom door where Zach waited his turn.  Zach did the same.
Ben called out, “Okay, guys, you have to close the door so we can decide.”  
Zach pulled the door closed.   Ben looked at me and Todd, and said, “I think it’s a tie, because each of them looks great in a Speedo swimsuit, but in different ways.   What do you guys think?”
Todd said, “I think Zach is definitely the better male specimen, but Robbie isn’t far behind him.”
“I think they are both extremely hot, and I wouldn’t mind having sex with either one of them.   As you said, Ben, they are both good looking, but in different ways.   I think we should declare it a tie vote for first place,” I said, smiling.  
Todd looked from me to Ben and said, “I guess I’m being out voted.   I will yield to the majority opinion.   A tie for first place it is then!”   Todd laughed, “I guess I’m a little biased in my opinion, because Zach is my lover!”
Ben stood up from the bed and walked over to the door.   “Come in, and we’ll tell you who won.”
Zach said to Robbie, “We already know who won don’t we, Robbie?”
Robbie laughed.  “Yes, we do….me!”
They came in and stood in front of us, as Ben announced the winners, “The judges have decided that it’s a tie for first place.   Each of you is very good looking, and despite the differences in your physiques, we had a difficult time determining who was the best looking.   As a result, we decided that you both deserve to win!”
Zach and Robbie laughed and high-fived each other when they heard the results.   Zach said, “Okay, Robbie, I think we can say the Anderson boys have what it takes to win any Speedo swimsuit contest!”
Robbie agreed, “Yes, it’s true!   Hey!  Do you guys have Speedos, too?”
“Yes, I brought mine,” I said.
Ben said, “I’ve got mine as well.”
Todd replied, “No, I don’t have anything, since I wasn’t planning to stay overnight.”
Zach moved over to his dresser and pulled out another Speedo swimsuit and threw it to his partner.  “There you go.   Try those on.”
Todd quickly stripped out of his clothes and pulled on the Speedos.   Todd grinned. “They fit just fine.”
Zach whistled, “They sure do!”   Zach took Todd in his arms and kissed him, grabbing Todd’s perfect bubble butt.
When they finished kissing, Todd said, “If you kiss my like that, we won’t make it to Mark’s house to go swimming.”
Zach laughed and said, “We could join them later, if you want to play some more.”
Todd grinned from ear to ear.  “I would like that.   Guys would you mind going ahead without us?”
Robbie laughed.   “We’ll tell Mark that you’ll be late.”
Ben and I left the two lovebirds, and made our way to our own rooms to change.   Robbie followed me into my room to watch me change.
Robbie said, “I love watching you.   I think you’re the best looking guy I’ve ever met.”
I looked up from pulling on my Speedo swimsuit and grinned.  “Robbie, you make me feel wonderful when you say that.   I’ll have to remember to call you when I’m feeling down, so you can cheer me up!   Let’s go swimming!”
Ben met us in the hallway.   Robbie volunteered to drive us over to Mark’s house.   We pulled up to a very beautiful home with a circular driveway.   Robbie parked directly in front of the door.  
Mark came out to greet us.  “Welcome to my home.   Where are Zach and Todd?”
Robbie responded, “They will be a little late.   Something came up that they had to take care of immediately!”
Mark laughed.  “I’m sure that something had to do with them staying in bed!”
Robbie nodded and said, “It sure did!”
“I’m happy for them.   Follow me and we’ll get in the pool,” Mark said.
We followed Mark through the house to the enclosed pool in the back yard.   The pool was fantastic!   We enjoyed ourselves playing around and just relaxing.   Zach and Todd eventually showed up.   I sat in one of the lounge chairs, watching the rest of the guys goofing around in the water.   I thought to myself, “I’m so fortunate to have found such good friends.  The only thing missing from this perfect scene is my boyfriend.   I can’t help but remember Rick in his Speedo swimsuit as he felt me up in the pool at our condo.   It was an indoor pool, much like this one.   I really miss my guy!   I think I’ll call him tonight, to see if he’s okay.”