By Julien Gregg
Edited By Rob Hawes

Author's Note: This story does not endorse a way of life. It merely describes one. The reader is left to form his or her own conclusion and make their own choices. The characters in this story do not practice safe sex. I can't urge my readers enough to always be safe. Life is precious. Why chance it?

Chapter Sixteen:

"What happened?" cried their mother when Ian walked through the door and she got a look at his face.

"We had a little run in with Alex," said Sebastian softly. "He and some of his friends decided to give Ian a hard time. Alex had already hit him by the time I got there."

"Alex?" she asked. "But he's supposed to be at Gary's."

"Well he was at the mall with a bunch of friends," replied Sebastian. "Gary was one of them."

At that moment Alex walked through the front door. They all turned to look at him and their mother gasped again. She looked from Alex to Ian and back and then shook her head. Alex wasted no time though. He started yelling as soon as she looked away from him.

"They attacked me at the mall, Mom," he said, pointing his finger at Ian.

"Well that's just not what happened at all," she said. "Sebastian has already told me what happened."

"He hit me," said Alex, pointing at Sebastian.

"He was protecting me," Ian mumbled, and Alex glared at him.

"This is all his fault," he spat. "If he hadn't come back then none of this would be happening. I had to listen to the talk at school all day."

"Alex Keller," gasped his mother. "You will not speak that way about your brother!"

"He's no brother of mine," he spat. "My brother died almost eleven years ago. I don't know who this is."

It was just bad luck that their father happened to walk through the front door just as Alex started talking. He stood behind Alex so the boy didn't see him. Ian's eyes grew large as his tirade continued. He couldn't believe the hatred in his brother's voice.

"Let him move in with the faggots," he hissed. "I don't want to live in the same house with him. If he stays then I'll run away!"

"Alex, that's quite enough," their father said calmly, but Alex flinched at the sound of his voice. "I've had all I'm going to put up with from you. Ian is your brother and our son. If you can't accept that then stay away from him. I got a call from a security guard at the mall about you and your friends trying to attack Ian. I heard all about Sebastian coming to his aid and about what you said to them.

"No son of mine will act this way," he continued. "I want you to go upstairs and stay in your room until I come up to talk to you. If you try to leave I'll call the police and you can spend the night with Youth Services. Now get out of my sight."

It was all said in a calm and even tone but that just made it all the more horrible. Ian didn't want to come between his family like that. He didn't understand why Alex had to be so hateful. It just didn't make any sense. He thought that maybe he should move out. He couldn't wait to go to college now. He wouldn't stay home. Not with Alex.

"I hate you, Ian," Alex said through clenched teeth as he walked out of the room.

Sebastian excused himself after Daryl had thanked him for looking out for Ian. Then Ian was alone with his parents for a few minutes. His father told him that he loved him and that everything was going to be all right, but Ian didn't believe him. He believed that his father loved him. The man had proven that fact already. He didn't believe that anything was ever going to be all right with the family though. Not with Alex acting the way he was.

"Come on in the dining room, Ian," said his mother sadly. "I'm making supper."

"Thank you, but I'm not hungry," he said softly. "We ate at the mall."

Without another word he went downstairs to his room feeling more alone than he ever had in his life. He wished that things could have been different. It would have been cool if he and Alex had been close. He wondered if they would have been if Thomas Harvey Schultz hadn't taken him when he was five years old. He wondered what else would be different if that one event hadn't taken place.

The next morning Alex wasn't at the table. He didn't even see him much at school. Thankfully when he did see him Alex never even looked his way. It went on that way all through February and into March. By the beginning of April the other students had stopped staring at him entirely. They still talked a bit from time to time but his continued presence among the most popular boys in school stopped a lot of the talk as well.

Andy still wouldn't even look at him but he was starting to get used to that too. It was sad and it hurt but he supposed Andy hadn't been a real friend after all. Then he saw Andy walking around school with Erica Evans and everyone said they were a couple. That actually pissed Ian off a little bit but he did his best not to let it show. He must have succeeded because no one said anything. He just stopped paying any attention to Andy.

He was suddenly too busy to worry about Andy or Alex. His classes went into overdrive as they inched their way to the end of the year and he was getting excited about graduation along with Carl and Sebastian. Football season ended and he was never found without either Carl or Sebastian. Life got back to normal for him, or as normal as it had been in Bryarwood. He was happy about that.

About that time Alex started to get into trouble frequently with his friends. They were suspended from school at the beginning of April and things got tense around the house again. He was grounded and spent nearly all of his time in his room. Ian was thankful for that, but he wondered just what was going through his brother's head. The two hadn't said one word to each other since the incident in the mall back in January and as far as Ian was concerned they never would again. He wondered if Alex felt the same way. He'd said that it wasn't over. Ian wondered if he should be worried about when it would be over.

Then they were all planning for the Senior Trip. That year the entire senior class was going to Six Flags Over Great America, and everyone was talking about how much fun they would have. The class would board buses on Thursday morning and return on Sunday. Permission slips and fee sheets were passed out to each senior two weeks before the trip was planned.

Ian was sure he wouldn't be allowed to go, but he took the forms and followed Sebastian and Carl to lunch that day. Everyone was talking about Six Flags and Ian got caught up in the excitement in spite of himself. He was laughing and planning with his friends all through lunch. Once the bell sounded and they were all moving off to their separate classes the reality that he wouldn't be allowed to go settled in on him again and he found himself really disappointed.

He said nothing about the trip at supper that night as he sat across the table from Alex. He tried to put it out of his mind as he ate. As soon as supper was over he went downstairs. He'd stopped spending any large amounts of time on the ground floor of the house and never went to the second floor for any reason. He was sitting on the couch in the family room when Sebastian came down the stairs.

"Hey," he said, smiling at his friend.

"So what'd they say?" Sebastian asked, coming around the couch to sit beside him.

"I didn't ask them," he replied. "I know they won't let me go so I decided not to even bother."

"Oh, come on, Ian!" cried Sebastian with a huge grin on his face. "I'm sure they'll let you go. It's the senior trip!"

"I don't know," he replied, but Sebastian grabbed him by the hand and tugged him up the stairs. His mother and father were in the living room.

"Hello, boys," said Daryl with a smile. "What's up?"

"Ian is afraid to ask you guys about something," said Sebastian. "I told him he has to ask."

"What's up, Ian?" asked his father as they sat down on the couch.

"Well the senior trip has been announced," he said slowly. "Permission slips and forms were handed out today."

"Well, where are the forms?" asked his mother.

"In my bag downstairs," he replied. "I told Sebastian that you guys probably wouldn't let me go so I didn't ask."

"Why wouldn't we let you go?" asked his father.

"Well we'd be gone from Thursday to Sunday," he said slowly.

"I don't see a problem," said his father.

"Are you going, Sebastian?" asked his mother.

"I am if I can get the time off," replied Sebastian, smiling at Daryl.

"Of course you can have the time off," laughed Daryl. "And Ian will be going with you. Go and get the forms, son."

And then they were really excited. Over the course of the next two weeks each of his friends wanted to plan some part of the trip with him. It wasn't until he actually read the forms that he learned that when they arrived on Thursday they would be going straight to The Art Institute Of Chicago. Friday they would spend the day at the Brookfield Zoo and the evening at Navy Pier. Saturday they would spend the entire day at Six Flags and return to the hotel as soon as the park closed for the night. They would be returning to Bryarwood Sunday morning. They were expected to return by two o'clock Sunday afternoon.

Fees were paid that Friday and hotel reservations were made by the school. Ian was shocked to learn that he would be rooming with Andy Morlin on the trip. He didn't know if he liked that idea or not. He wasn't sure he wanted to spend his time in the hotel room with Andy in silence. He decided that there was no way out of it and he just let it go. He was too excited over being allowed to go to really worry much about Andy.

Then Andy surprised him on Monday by talking to him as if nothing had ever happened all day long. He returned to the lunch table with the group and everything was as it had been before Ian had gone to Illinois for the trial. When Andy asked him to study with him after school Ian agreed but wondered what was going on.

"I'm not gay, Ian," Andy said as soon as they were at his house.

"All right," Ian replied. "I thought we were going to study."

"We will," said Andy. "I just wanted to explain a few things to you."

"All right," Ian repeated.

"What happened between us was great, Ian," he said. "I liked it a lot and it confused me for a while. I'm sorry for being such a shit to you after the news about what went on in court came out. I swear I was just scared of being around you because I thought that liking you sucking my dick was making me gay."

"Andy I don't care if you're gay or not," Ian said. "I thought we were friends, but you made me wonder about that after you stopped talking to me. You don't have to worry about being gay at all. I don't care about that. I don't want to have anything sexual to do with you anymore. I'm not trying to be rude or hurt your feelings. It just messed things up between us and I don't want that to happen again."

"So we're still friends?" he asked.

"We're friends," Ian replied. "Now let's do our homework."

And they did their homework in silence. When they were finished Ian asked Andy to drive him home. He told him that he had to get some things done before the trip so Andy didn't question his wanting to leave so soon. In truth he was afraid that if they sat on the couch together Andy would hold his hand. He didn't think he could handle that just after their conversation.

And that's they way it was between them for the rest of the week. On the following Monday his father helped him fill out his college applications and then promised to mail them the next day. Ian went back to preparing for the trip and trying to keep his grades up. He studied with Sebastian and Carl almost every afternoon. The days that Andy wanted him to study with him Ian insisted that they study at the Keller house. When they were done he sat as far from Andy while they watched a movie as possible.

He noticed that Andy looked kind of sad for a while, but he decided that it had to have something to do with the fact that Erica wasn't spending so much time with him anymore. They were rarely ever seen together at school and the talk was that she had broken up with him. Ian didn't care. He felt sorry for Andy that his relationship didn't work out, but other than that he had no feelings about it.

Wednesday night Sebastian and Carl spent the night. Daryl was going to drive them to the school at five the next morning in the van and the boys got to bed pretty early. Alex had made his presence known to them a few times while they were upstairs and he'd even commented on how nice it would be to go on the trip at supper. They paid him no attention though and in the end the boy just went back up to his room and left them alone.

The next morning they ate a quick breakfast and then headed out for the school. All of the seniors that were going on the trip were crowding around in the parking lot. Actual school buses wouldn't arrive until just before seven so they had a little time. It was almost five and that was the scheduled departure time. Seven charter buses were parked in front of the school and everyone was getting their bags checked and tagged to go under the bus they'd be riding on.

Ian was unsettled to learn that he had to sit with his roommate for the ride to Chicago. Andy smiled at him as they sat in their seat and the two talked about how much fun they planned to have for a while. Then the early morning wake up call finally got to Ian. He put his head back and went to sleep. He slept almost all the way to Chicago. The bus didn't stop even once before they were in the city limits and then it pulled into the hotel parking lot.

Everyone got off the buses and claimed their bags. Then one of the six teachers called names to get each group together before heading inside the hotel to check in. Ian and Andy were among the first group with Paul Tate, Ryan Jackson, Jason Oliver, Sebastian and Carl. They got their room keys and headed to the elevator after being told by Mr. Fullson that they were to put their bags in their rooms and return to the lobby to meet up with the group. They were going to get breakfast as a group.

After a McDonald's breakfast they headed over to the museum and wandered around looking at all of the exhibits. Ian liked the paintings and sculptures for the most part but he didn't think the museum was all that great. He stuck with Sebastian and Carl mostly with Andy trailing after them until it was time to meet in the parking lot for lunch. Lunch was a brown bag containing peanut butter sandwiches and chips with plastic juice bottles filled with watered down juice. Then they were back on the bus and headed for the hotel again.

While quite a few from his group went with Mr. Fullson to one of the Chicago malls Ian took a nap. He was just getting out of the bed when Andy and the group returned. It was about a half hour before supper time and he was starving. Supper was to be had in the hotel restaurant. They took the place over at five and ordered what they could afford. Ian's parents had given him two hundred and fifty dollars for the trip and at first he'd thought it was too much. When he saw the price of the food he thought he understood why they'd insisted he take that much money.

When they returned to their rooms that night Ian let Andy take the first shower but then was uncomfortable when Andy came out of the bathroom naked, using his towel to rub dry his hair. When he was finished he just hung the towel over his shoulders and sat on the end of the second bed, going through is bag. Ian tried not to pay attention to him and went into the bathroom to take his shower. Seeing Andy naked had gotten to him though. He masturbated quickly in the shower before washing his body. He came out a few minutes later in a pair of boxers and climbed into his own bed, turning his back on Andy. Thankfully he fell asleep almost instantly.

When the wake-up call came in Ian sat up and stretched with a yawn. Andy hopped out of bed still naked as the day he was born and hard as a rock. Ian tried not to look at the boy before he disappeared behind the bathroom door. Was Andy trying to drive him crazy? He couldn't decide if Andy was just being Andy or if he knew the effect that seeing him naked would have.

Deciding that it didn't matter he got up and got dressed. When Andy came back out of the bathroom a considerable amount softer in the dick department Ian went into the bathroom and closed the door. He made sure his hair was relatively in place, used the toilet and washed his hands. By the time he came back out of the bathroom Andy was dressed.

They said good morning to each other with Andy smiling rather smugly, Ian thought. Then they were out of the room and joining the others in the hall. Ian made it a point to catch up with Sebastian and Carl as they headed for the elevator. They laughed and joked about stupid things and Ian put Andy's nakedness out of his mind.

After another McDonald's breakfast they headed for the zoo. Ian had a blast at the zoo but stayed with Sebastian and Carl even after Andy joined the group. They went from exhibit to exhibit spending a little time looking at the animals and then settled in the food court for lunch. They went to see a few shows in the zoo and then it was time to meet the entire group in the parking lot for pizza before boarding the buses once again and heading for the pier. Andy sat beside him, but they didn't say anything to each other.

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