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SUMMARY: The year is 1973 and Lane Bailey is a Teaching Fellow at Harvard University. A homosexual with ambivalent but often negative feelings about his sexuality, he also has a strong attraction to his brightest student, a Harvard junior named Paul. As graduation approaches, his conflicted feelings and despair grow and he tries to recall a time when he was not homosexual. That arouses powerful boyhood memories. What follows is a journey of self-discovery, one in which Lane eventually comes to a better understanding of himself and ends up learning much about life, love and sex in the process. Please note that italics are typically used to indicate what a character is thinking or saying to himself.
WARNING: This story is a work of adult fiction and intended for mature audiences only. Unless otherwise indicated, all of the characters in the story are fictional and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. While certain places described or mentioned in the story are real, liberties may have been taken with the truth to enhance the story. This story may describe, depict or otherwise include graphic portrayals of relationships between men and/or adolescent boys that are homosexual in nature. If you don’t like or approve of such discussions or it’s illegal for you to read such material, consider yourself warned. If you continue to read this story, you are asserting you are fully capable of understanding and legally consenting to reading a work of adult fiction.
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NOTES: Please check these notes every week. If there’s something I want to alert you to as I post each chapter, this is where I will I do so. April 18, 2016: Thanks for reading the story. If you enjoyed it and would like to see it continue, be sure to check out my post about how that could happen on April 21, 2016.
Later, after Bruce and I said our final good-byes, it started to rain. That provided some relief from the heat, but complicated my departure from home. Concerned about the roads, my parents tried to persuade me to stay and I had to spend time reassuring them everything would be fine.
Eventually they relented and I was able to leave, but as I drove through town the rain picked up in intensity and I began to wonder whether they might be right after all. For a moment I even considered stopping at Bruce’s place to wait out the storm.
Maybe he’ll invite you to spend the night, Lane.
Detouring out of my way, I drove by the house where he rented an apartment. The place was dark and by now it was pouring. Realizing he wasn’t home, I turned around and pointed the car toward Cambridge.
The long, winding, drive up the Mohawk Trail seemed more treacherous than usual because the roads were slick and the darkness and fog made seeing anything difficult. When I finally reached the top and began the long descent toward the Pioneer Valley, I was happy. It allowed me to focus my thoughts once again on my conversations with Bruce.
He had given me a lot to think about and sorting it out was elusive. I realized now Bruce had been the first boy I loved although I was pretty certain there was no sexual dimension to my love as well. That was certainly the case when I was ten and drawn to his charismatic personality, his skill as a baseball player, and his kindness.
It was a bit harder to be certain of the absence of sexual longing when I was fourteen. There was something going on inside me, no doubt about it. Some vague, imperfectly understood, sense of attraction; some longing to touch someone I was in awe of in the hope that would cure me of whatever affliction was ailing me and thus make everything better.
But it had yet to form fully into a sexual attraction; a desire to kiss, hug or touch him in some specifically sexual way. Perhaps things would have been different if the incident had taken place months later. But it would have been winter then. If I was at the lake at all in the winter, I would have been there by myself.
By then the long winter would have overtaken my soul in any event. It had finally dawned on me that I was attracted to other boys, sexually attracted to them; and I hated myself for that because it made me different at a time when I wanted to be the same as the rest of the boys.
The seeds of self-hatred had been planted and now they were growing within me. That was the only choice I had made. I had internalized the self-hatred that had consumed my life all these years. But I hadn’t chosen to be homosexual and would never understand why I was.
I had foolishly searched for some event or moment in time I could point to as the turning point; as if knowing would somehow allow me to change things.
It was a delusion. There was no specific event; no specific moment in time. It had been there lurking from the moment I was born waiting for the right time to reveal itself; that moment when adolescence kicked in and, like other boys, my thoughts turned to sex.
For many of us the initial focus was on other boys, the friends we were closest to. But then at some point things changed and most boys turned their attention to girls. It was impossible to know precisely how or why that happened, but that it happened there can be no doubt; at least for most of the boys it happened that way.
A few of us were left standing alone because, whatever the process was, it never happened for us. We would watch as the rest of the boys moved on while we remained frozen in time; frozen in our sexual attractions.
There’s the mistake, Lane, I said to myself.
You’ve spent all this time focused on the past trying to understand something that’s inherently not understandable.
Bruce understands the futility of doing that. He’s dealing with it. He’s moved on.
You need to deal with it too.
In the distance I could see a car approaching rapidly from the other direction. Its high beams were on, blinding me.
I sensed it was moving too fast and moved as far as I could to my side of the road; and yet, even having done so and having blinked my lights, pounded the horn, and slammed on the brakes, it was a close call before he finally veered away and sped off in the direction from which I had come.
It was a very close thing indeed.
A couple hundred yards up the road I pulled off in a safe location and exited the car. On this side of the mountain, there was only a mist in the air but I was still shaking from what had just happened.
You could be dead now, Lane. Think about that.
Like everyone else, you take life for granted, but life is short; much too short to squander hoping for some reprieve, hoping for something to change or some chance to do everything over again.
There are no do-overs in life, Lane.
As I stood there in the darkness, I wondered whether I would ever be able to change; ever be able to overcome the feeling of being a failure I had experienced all these years.
“The only way to change is to change,” I whispered to the darkness and trees surrounding me and to the water flowing down from the heights into the small creek that would become larger with each passing mile and then empty into the Connecticut River.
“And you know what? Loving Bruce was a good thing because he’s a good person and I’ve tried to be just like him ever since I realized that. I try to treat people fairly. I work hard to be a good teacher.”
“Yes; I like Paul, but I never tried to seduce him; never tried to use my position of authority over him to benefit myself in any way. I’ve always tried to give him my best advice even if it wasn’t the advice that would have made things easier for me.”
“It’s not the same thing exactly, but I think I’ve treated Paul the same way Bruce treated me that day at the lake. I’ve never tried to take advantage of him and there’s nothing wrong with being attracted to him if I treat him fairly; honestly.”
“This is where it ends, Lane; right here on the Mohawk Trail. I’m not going to spend the rest of my life hating myself or living a lie. This is where it ends once and for all.”
Having explained myself to the night, the trees and the creek, I climbed back into my car. Pulling on to the road, I turned on the radio. The station was playing a new song by George Harrison that had recently been climbing the charts.
Now, for the first time, I focused on the words more than the voice I had always found so haunting.
Give me love
Give me love
Give me peace on earth
Give me light
Give me life
Keep me free from birth
Give me hope
Help me cope, with this heavy load
Trying to touch and reach you with,
heart and soul . . .
“Did something happen while you were home, Lane?” Paul asked casually as the two of us sat leaning against the wall watching the Red Sox play still another game on my tiny black-and-white television set.
We were sitting in my room on a Saturday evening not long after both of us returned to Cambridge. When I got back to town, the first thing I did was to stop by Mr. Bartley’s to see whether Paul was back. It turned out he was and we agreed he would come by to see me in my room at Wigglesworth Hall across the street after he finished work that day.
It had been a couple of weeks since then and Paul and I seemed to be spending more and more time together. His weekday job at The Coop selling various items of overpriced clothing featuring the Harvard logo to tourists determined to purchase some mementos of their visit to the campus was apparently not very taxing.
He was somewhat busier on Saturday, especially around the noon lunch hour, but even that wasn’t tiring him out. He had lots of energy, but not a lot of effective ways to burn it given his determined effort to save money for his last year at Harvard. So he ended up gravitating to my room most evenings and I was happy to spend the time with him because I enjoyed his company.
I had a car and we would often pile into it on Sunday and find our way to some local historical site he had never visited in his time on the east coast. We had toured Concord’s rude bridge on the first of those trips and he had been astonished and mildly amused at my ability to recite Emerson’s Concord Hymn from memory, especially its first and most famous verse:
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.
And then, having quickly memorized the thing himself, we took turns much of the rest of the day surprising one another by bursting into verse at totally inappropriate times.
Paul had done it first. Sitting in my car at a stop light in downtown Concord, the windows down, he had turned to the car to our right and recited the verse to the startled occupants of that vehicle. Doing that sent both of us into spasms of laughter and in search of even more wildly inappropriate moments to recite the poem.
It was silly and stupid, but lots of fun and both of us enjoyed the day. It didn’t stop there, however. Soon enough both of us were looking for still other opportunities to prank one another with Emerson’s words; over lunch or in response to a question about the weather or as we emerged from the T after a trip into Boston.
People would eye us strangely and that was precisely the reaction we sought as it would bring on still another round of laughter.
With each passing week we ventured a bit further from Boston in search of some obscure historical site hardly anyone visited. The drives gave us a chance to talk and we did a lot of that. In the process we learned a great deal about one another, including things both obscure and ridiculous; like how Paul had worried as a boy that he was destined for Hell because he had stepped on a worm accidentally.
We were on our own pretty much because hardly anyone we knew was around Cambridge that summer. Anderson seemed to be the primary exception. We had run into him one day as we returned from Fenway Park after I had splurged and bought us tickets in the right field bleachers.
The seats weren’t nearly as good as those Professor Jeffords had given me, but the crowd was rowdier and it was only with the greatest difficulty I had somehow persuaded Paul to sit down and not recite Emerson’s words during the seventh inning stretch.
The Red Sox won that day and we were in a good mood as we emerged from the Harvard Square station.
“Well, well, look at what we have here,” Anderson said when we bumped into him. “Cambridge’s version of Batman and Robin; I’ve been told the two of you have been spending a lot of time together this summer.”
“And just how is the boy wonder doing?” he added, turning to Paul.
“Or perhaps I should ask who the boy wonder is doing?” he continued, looking at me.
I recall being puzzled. Anderson seemed to be suggesting there was something sexual between me and Paul, which wasn’t the case.
“Still as obnoxious as ever, Anderson,” I said. “Why am I not surprised? Are you headed into Boston to find a friend because you don’t have any in Cambridge?”
“Fuck off, asshole,” he responded angrily, hastening down the stairs toward the train.
I had touched a nerve, but didn’t regret it.
“What was that all about?” I asked, turning to Paul.
“I’ll tell you later,” he responded.
Except for that one run in with Anderson, it had been much like this for weeks between Paul and me. If anything, my own work was even less taxing than his. That left plenty of time for us to spend together.
And now, relieved of any compulsion to worry about the nature of our relationship, whether I was behaving appropriately, and all the rest of the questions I had spent time worrying about the previous year, I was having the time of my life.
It was the best summer I could recall having in a very long time.
I wasn’t even thinking of Paul in a consciously sexual way anymore. I had squashed any lingering suspicions he might be homosexual; and even if I was wrong about that, knowing I would be off to Washington in a matter of weeks while he remained in Cambridge put any idea of a sexual relationship out of the question.
It wasn’t just the geographic distance that would separate us soon enough that made any relationship other than friendship impossible. There was also a chronological difference between us as well, just as there had been between Bruce and myself.
Bruce had wisely understood we were at different places in time even if we were sharing the same space together momentarily. He had known he would be leaving North Adams soon to spend years on the minor league circuit and that had made him behave in a way that was appropriate toward me.
I felt like it was a model perfectly suited for my relationship with Paul. Still, I was surprised when he posed the question that Saturday evening.
“Did something happen while you were home, Lane?”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” he replied. “These last few weeks it just seems like something has changed about you. I mean, I’ve always admired and respected you; and the more I got to know you, the more I liked you as well. But, now, I dunno. These days you seem so much more relaxed and confident; even happier I would say.”
It was nice to hear that because it confirmed I had changed in some ways, but I tried to deflect his question nonetheless.
“Maybe it’s you, Paul,” I said. “Maybe that visit back home to Oregon did wonders for you; got you back in touch with nature and away from all the foolishness and pretentiousness back here in Cambridge. Did you ever consider that? That it’s you that’s changed, not me?”
“No; that’s not it,” he responded immediately, dismissing the notion. “I mean, sure, it was good to go home; to stay up late at night having fun with my friends and then sleep in late the following morning knowing I had nothing to do.”
“Don’t get me wrong,” he continued. “That was great and the truth is I have changed in some ways. Being home gave me time to think about some things I’ve been avoiding thinking about. I came back east rested and relaxed and determined to be honest with people from now on.”
“That’s why Anderson was so nasty last weekend when we ran into him. I told him something that made him angry. I knew it would, but it’s not like we were ever really friends in the first place.”
“What did you tell him?’ I asked, curious.
“I’ll answer your question if you’ll answer mine,” he replied, grinning. “The point is that I’m still the same Paul in many ways; the same shy person who has trouble making friends and worries too much about too many things.”
“Why’s that, Paul?” I asked. “What does someone so young, so popular with your classmates, and so well liked by your teachers have to worry about?”
“That it’s all built on a foundation of sand,” he replied, softly.
His answer surprised me.
“Would you like to elaborate on that?” I asked.
“No,” he replied.
“But I would like you to stop evading my question,” he added, a grin spreading across his face. “I’ve never run across anyone quite so adept as you at evading questions you don’t want to answer.”
“Is that so?” I said, sticking my tongue out at him in an effort to lighten the mood. “Do you know what I have to say to that?”
“By the rude bridge that arched the span . . .”
“Stop,” he said, bursting into laughter.
I had made him smile, but he knew exactly what I was doing.
“You see?” he said. “There you go again; not answering the question but raising one of your own and then trying to prank me into giving up.”
“But not tonight, Lane,” he added. “Tonight I’m not going to let you off the hook. I need an answer as to why you’re suddenly so much more relaxed and confident. It could be any answer. I’m not picky.”
“You could tell me someone in your family died while you were home and you’ve inherited a million dollars and don’t have to work anymore. You could tell me Senator Kennedy called and wants you to join his staff when you get to Washington. You could even tell me you met some old flame while you were home and made mad, passionate, love the entire time.”
“But I need some answer.”
We didn’t make mad, passionate, love, Paul, but I guess I did run into an old flame while I was home and that did make all the difference for me.
“Ah, well, you see; now you’re on to me,” I replied, playing along with him. “It wasn’t Senator Kennedy who called. It was Jackie Kennedy. She was in North Adams while I was home and we spent two weeks having tête-à-têtes every day over lunch and dinner. I told her I was madly in love and must have her, but she dismissed me as a very foolish young man, someone much too silly for someone like her.”
“Well Jackie made a mistake then,” Paul responded, picking up on my words; “a big mistake. I would have never made a mistake like that if it had been the two of us having those tête-à-têtes.”
I had been joking, of course, but the tone of his voice made it clear Paul was serious; even if I wanted to be mistaken about that, he made it impossible by turning and staring directly into my eyes from where he was sitting on the bed next to me.
The whole thing flustered me. I didn’t know what to say, just that I needed to say something, anything really, to defuse the situation.
“Uh, well, I’ll have to remember to tell Jackie that the next time I see her,” I finally responded, turning my head away from him and staring across the room.
By now the room had fallen silent and I felt awkward.
“In any event, I’m thirsty,” I said, turning back to Paul and pretending I had missed the point. “Would you like something; I have some bottled water and cold Pepsis in the refrigerator?”
“Yes; I would like something,” Paul responded. “I would like to know why you keep ignoring what I’m telling you, Lane. I’ve told everyone else I know in Cambridge because I’m tired of lying, but for some reason you keep pushing me away whenever I try to tell you.”
“I don’t understand,” I replied, confused. “How have I been pushing you away?”
“You just have been,” he replied. “I tried to tell you that Friday evening I came by your room in Conant. I tried to tell you that night you had the wedding rehearsal for your friends and then came down to talk to me at Winthrop. I tried to tell you after that first Red Sox game we went to. And I’ve been trying to tell you these last couple of weeks by spending every free moment I have with you.”
“But no matter what I do, you ignore me. What do I have to do, Lane? Put it in words like I have with Anderson and everyone else? Tell you I’m homosexual? I am, you know. Isn’t it obvious by now? Do I have to tell you I think you’re homosexual as well? I can’t say for sure, but I’m pretty certain you are.”
“I’m attracted to you, Lane; I’m attracted to you partly because you’re a smart person, a kind person, and the type of person I want to be like. But mostly that’s just a polite cover for the fact that I’m sexually attracted to you.”
Having said that, he stood up, walked across the room, and closed the door I had taken to leaving open in the evening so the students I was proctoring would feel free to pop in if they wanted. Then he walked back over toward me.
“Stand up,” he commanded.
Not knowing what else to do, I stood up and stared at him, his face just inches away from mine now.
“Are you attracted to me, Lane?” he asked, staring into my eyes.
I tried to turn my face away from his, but he reached over with his hand and prevented me from doing that.
“Uh, well . . . uh . . . I am, Paul,” I said; “and, um, that’s why I don’t think . . .”
Before I could even get the words out of my mouth he leaned in and kissed me on the lips. It was a gentle kiss, a chaste kiss; not one designed to arouse or excite.
By now I had closed my eyes, not wanting to acknowledge I knew what he was doing. But even so I knew, as did Paul. Suddenly my knees began shaking and I found it difficult to breath. My heart was pounding. I didn’t know what to do, what to say.
Wrapping his arms around me, Paul pulled me closer to him. He was hugging me now, running his hands up and down my back; smiling at me and trying to reassure me in the process. Then he pressed his lips against mine again, this time more forcefully.
This was a more passionate kiss, one designed to arouse, and it had the intended effect. Pressing his body against mine, Paul forced me down on to the bed and crawled on top of me. By now his hands were everywhere; exploring, touching, caressing, stimulating.
A part of me wanted more, wanted to give in; and yet somehow I managed to wrestle myself free from his grasp.
“Stop,” I pleaded.
“Why?” he challenged.
“I don’t think . . .”
“You don’t think what, Lane?” he asked, interrupting. “You don’t think you’re enjoying this?”
“No; it’s not that, Paul,” I said. “It’s . . . it’s . . .”
“It’s what?” he asked.
“I don’t know whether this is right,” I replied. “You’re very young and I’m your teacher and, uh . . . .”
“You were my teacher, Lane,” he said. “You’re not even a student here anymore, just a summer school employee. If you like me, why do you always end up pushing me away? It’s very frustrating, Lane.”
“I’m not pushing you away,” I replied. “I’m just not sure this is the right thing to do knowing I’ll be leaving for Washington at the end of the summer and you’ll be staying on for your senior year.”
“What difference does that make?” he asked. “It’s not like Washington is on some other planet you know. We can talk on the phone; write each other. I’m sure we’ll have opportunities to see one another during the course of the year.”
“I don’t know,” I said. “That would be asking a lot of you, don’t you think? To try to carry on a long distance relationship when there are so many better possibilities for you?”
“What possibilities?” he asked.
“I’m not sure exactly, but we’re not the only people in the world like this after all. What about Tim Reardon? He seems like a very nice young man.”
“He is,” Paul responded. “But I don’t feel the same way about Tim as I do about you, Lane. Look, I don’t know why I’m attracted to you. Does anyone ever know? If you’re telling me you don’t feel the same way about me, I’ll stop. I’ll be disappointed, but I’ll stop.”
“In fact, I can leave now if that’s what you want,” he added. “But I’m an adult, Lane, not some young boy you need to protect; not someone you have to make decisions for. I can make my own decisions about what I want. Can you?”
I just stood there looking at him. I wasn’t sure what to say.
“Okay,” he finally said, shrugging his shoulders. “I’ll leave.”
Standing up, he started to walk toward the door.
“Please don’t leave, Paul,” I said, pleading with him. “I want you to stay. I do like you. I just don’t know what to do.”
Turning around, Paul walked over to me.
“Stop fighting it,” Paul said. “That’s what you need to do. I thought something had changed while you were away, but now I’m not certain about that.”
Suddenly I realized he was right. I was allowing myself to slip back into my old ways and I needed to stop.
“You’re right,” I said. “I do want this.”
Standing up, I pushed Paul against the wall and started kissing him. I wanted him to know just how attracted to him I was and for the two of us to seal what I hoped would be a lifetime friendship no matter what else happened.
Paul responded immediately. If anything, he intensified his efforts. And knowing this was the moment I had been waiting for all my life, I responded to his intensified efforts by returning them in kind.
I became an eager participant; clawing at his body, trying to find some way to rip off his shirt. He moved back slightly providing just enough clearance for me to do that.
Oh, God, I thought, staring at his chest for a moment.
It was a stunningly beautiful male chest; smooth, firm, and hairless, with two beautiful nipples that were beckoning me.
I placed my mouth on one of them and began nibbling it ever so gently. He shuddered and then stepped back, allowing me to begin better exploring his chest with my lips and tongue.
At some point I found myself tugging at the shorts he was wearing.
“These pants have to go,” I said.
Paul smiled and allowed me to strip them off. Within a moment his briefs were off as well and the thing they concealed was pointing directly at me.
“Time for me to return the favor,” he said, moving quickly to strip off my clothes as well.
Now both of us were completely naked and I was the aggressor, Paul having yielded the role to me so that I could pleasure his body. And then, finally, inexorably, I was on my knees and my lips were where both of us wanted them to be.
Paul maneuvered us on to the bed, leaned back and allowed me to move up and down; to kiss and play with the tip, then to move down again and beneath to those twin factories working overtime to produce what would be needed to make the evening perfect for us.
And then, finally, completely aroused and stimulated, Paul moved to position himself over my body. Wrapping my legs around his waist, I slid them as high as I could and pulled him closer to me.
Paul reached over and retrieved the shorts I had pulled off. Reaching into the pocket, he found what he was looking for. He slid off the top, applied some to his hand, and then to me as well.
“I’ve wanted this so long,” he whispered; “so long, Lane.”
“Me too,” I responded.”
Then he pressed forward between the twin peaks and found what he was seeking. A moment later he slid inside me; slowly, gently and much to his delight.
“Yes . . . oh, yeah . . . that felt so good!”
“Tell me about it,” I added, whimpering.
He smiled down at me.
“More, Paul,” I pleaded. “I need more of you inside me.”
Locked together firmly, he pressed forward and then retreated, moving deeper and deeper inside with each new thrust. He did this repeatedly until the pleasure overwhelmed me and I found myself moaning; softly at first, then louder.
Hearing me moan, his movements became swifter, harder, and deeper. And then he was all the way there, touching something that made my body shudder and begin shaking as wave after wave of pleasure coursed through it.
I was groaning now, repeating the same words over and over again.
“Oh, god; oh, god; oh, god;” I couldn’t stop repeating the words as one wave of pleasure crested and gave way to another, more powerful still, and then still another; wave after wave of pleasure.
Paul’s rapid thrusting slowed momentarily. He pulled back one final time, then pressed forward as hard as he could.
“Yes . . . yes . . . ohhh, YES!”
I could feel him exploding inside me again and again and didn’t want it to end. Instinctively, I tightened and held him firmly in place.
“Oh, god,” he moaned even as the last precious drops became part of me.
Collapsing on top of me, I could hear our hearts pounding in rhythm.
It was my first time, his first time as well I would later learn.
It was what both of us had been longing for, hungering for.
It was the beginning of an extraordinary evening, a loving evening, not the end.
It was perfect.
End of Part I
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