To recap the story so far, Devon is a sarcastic and witty college kid who finds himself on a space ship on an 18-year voyage to a new home planet after the destruction of earth. The mass majority of the passengers on Devon’s ship are guys from the boy’s college he attended. Being in this highly male population makes Devon slowly realize he’s gay, something that bothers him at first, but as he opens up to his closest friends he begins to worry less, and eventually the pieces begin to fall into place. He confides his sexuality to his best friend Patrick, who is very open and accepting of it. Devon asks Patrick to talk to his other best friend Reid, but that doesn’t seem to go so well. In the meantime, Devon and Charlie decide to become sex buddies and Devon and Conner become closer friends.

As life progresses on the ship and Devon grows more and more comfortable with his sexuality, he wonders what the future holds for everyone on board.

And that brings us up to chapter six. Enjoy!



Space Ship Boys

Chapter 6 – Fishes (or Mammals?) and Friendships




“So I still don’t get it. If the first probes were sent out over a hundred and fifty years ago, why don’t we have pictures yet?”

Charlie rolled his eyes and groaned, I banged my head on the table in frustration. We’d been trying to explain basic astrophysics to Jason for over an hour, and I was starting to regret bringing the topic up at all.

“Ok, let’s start over…again,” I say, giving the lesson another go. “There are seven possible settlement planets, right? But let’s just take the farthest one. It’s about four hundred light years from earth. So say we were sitting on earth and launched a probe that moved at exactly the speed of light. It would take four hundred years to get there, then it could take pictures and compile data and whatever and send them back to us, and that transmission would take four hundred years to get back because it’s moving at the speed of light. So if you sit on earth, you have to wait eight hundred years to find anything out. Get it?”

“Yeah, of course. But it’s not going to take us four hundred years to get there, they said it would be like nineteen at most,” Jason replies, his large green eyes stuck in a quizzical expression that makes him look constipated.

“And that’s what we’ve been trying to explain to you. Time slows down when you go really, really fast, so even though for us this trip seems to take nineteen years, outside more time is passing,” Charlie adds.

Jason sighed and looked just as confused as ever.

“Ok, here, try this,” I interject, “You know how when you hit fast forward on a vid and at first it goes twice as fast, then when you keep pushing the button five times, then ten, then twenty?”

“Yeah,” Jason replies uncertainly.

“So, when we move close to the speed of light like we are right now, it’s kind of like you’re holding a remote control and hitting fast forward the whole universe around you.” I point to a monitor across the cafeteria, “Like if a movie had been playing there and we hit fast forward as fast as it would go while we were talking, an hour would pass for us while like twenty hours would go by on screen.”

Jason seems to get my analogy to some extent, although it’s not the best explanation of relativity I could have come up with. “So in the rest of the galaxy time is moving like in fast forward?”

“Exactly,” Charlie replies, nodding at me gratefully for coming up with an example to get us over the hump of the relative time mindbender. “So we’ve been on this ship almost five months, right? But that’s five months to us. Outside the ship it’s been like everything is on fast forward, so out there it’s been about – what? – a hundred months. Like eight years.”

“Ok. So my parents will be like fifty now?”

“Uh, no,” Charlie answers, “Because they’re on EV2233 and going as fast as we are. All the ships are, so it’s been five months for everyone.”

I pick up the lesson, not wanting to get stuck on the physics again. “So anyway, that’s why we never received information about the planets back on earth. But now that we’re moving really fast and time around us is in ‘fast forward’, someday we’ll run into the information on its way back to earth, first for the closest planet, then the next one, and so on. Once we start getting that data, we can figure out which planet we can live on and go to just that one, but that’s why we’re visiting as many as seven along the way.”

“Well, I hope it’s the first one.”

Like Jason, we all hoped the first of the seven planets would make a good home for humanity. But even more, we hoped that at least one of the seven would be habitable at all. Charlie and I didn’t tell him they could all be duds, although being a smart kid he’ll figure that out soon enough.

His curiosity sated for now, Jason digs into his spaghetti, shoving big forkfuls into his mouth. It was my recipe, although a basic one, but since it was some of the first non-ration food being served since leaving it was pretty popular. Somehow seeing Jason cram three times as much as he should in his face is a far greater compliment that the praise I’d received from others.

Jason Castello was part of Charlie’s new function on the ship, and as such I was glad that he had found something to take his mind off the loss of earth and his family, although it did mean having to hang out with scrubs all the time. Although the majority of passengers on this ship had come from John Ducker Third Level University, there had been some activities on campus for the local middle schools the weekend we evacuated, and as such there were forty-seven ‘orphaned’ preteens on board, Jason being one of them. For some reason the guys on board had taken to calling them scrubs. I’m not sure where the nickname came from, but it got around quick and stuck. Seeing that none of their chaperones made it on board (they had ended up on the ship in town near the girls school), the kids had been left to run wild, until someone in the crew finally took the time to come up with a structured program for them.

And Charlie had been put in charge of that program and was now responsible for managing them – making sure they had jobs and went to school and stuff. At first that sounded really horrible – I thought he was going to have to be like a disciplinarian and put up with fifty bratty kids all the time, but he took on the challenge with optimism and spunk and became something like an adopted uncle to them all. He was the ‘cool older kid’, the first one that had really paid attention to them, so they were always hanging around now, particularly Jason, whose mussed black hair and big green anime eyes were becoming a regular feature at dinnertime. He wasn’t that bad – for a twelve year old. He asked a lot of questions, but at least he appreciated my cooking. Now that Jason had finished his dinner, Charlie tells him to scram, but in a nice way, and he shuffles off to wherever the scrubs hang out.

Five weeks had gone by since our 100 day party, and it had been an eventful time for all of us. Some stuff had been really good, and some not so much.

Perhaps the best news was that the intership communication net was up and running, and in the ensuing weeks we got data from other vessels. Some were still offline, like we had been, so there were holes in the network. We ended up in caravan behind a megaship from San Diego – one of the massive vessels designed to evacuate millions of people in one ship – and they almost immediately sent us a complete census list from all the ships that had reported in. My parents were actually on the San Diego ship, and there was a sense of immense relief when I saw their names on the roster, next to each appearing a nine letter moniker: onusasapX and devweRokc. I knew that each passenger was allowed to attach a nine letter string to their name when filling out the census – someday there’d be more elaborate messages sent back and forth, but for now this was all we were allowed because of data constraints. It took me a minute to figure out their message until I rearranged them and the meaning became clear: “Devon, we are ok, contact us as soon as possible. Love mom and dad.” I have to admit, tears welled in my eyes a little when I figured that out, and I quickly added my own nine letter message to my name on the census – iokcu18lvD. They may or may not like the ‘see you in eighteen years’ part, but they knew my weird sense of humor so I figured it would do, and besides, the ‘love Devon’ was really all they would be looking for.

Of course, having communications up had its down side. We learned that several ships had been lost in the egress - a megaship from Dallas with two million on board had exploded in the upper atmosphere upon liftoff, shooting debris back down to earth and taking out four smaller vessels. At least twenty on board our ship had relatives lost in that accident. The business of getting three billion people off the planet over the course of ten hours was not a simple thing.

And then there was a lot of just not knowing. At least a quarter of the vessels in caravan were out of communication still, so for those who hadn’t found their friends and family on a list there was still hope, but it was a nervous sickening hope to be sure. Charlie had had a bit of a rough time, he knew his family lived well outside an evacuation zone, and although he’d spent the last several months grieving over the loss of his parents and three brothers, once the names started coming through the computer system it hit him pretty hard. He spent a week being drunk and disorderly, during which time I covered for him at work and spent my afternoons trying to get him out of bed. I was starting to think he was about to completely fall apart, but then one day he got up on time, showered off the muck, went to work, and things kind of returned to normal with him. He was still prone to moodiness and drinking too much, but he didn’t seem self destructive anymore.

Shortly after the com system came online, we had an election on board, and that’s when things began to feel like they were really returning to normal. Each ship was instructed to elect a governmental council as well as a mayor, the function being to handle civilian affairs during the voyage. Stupid Steve Caine had almost immediately thrown his hat in the ring – well, he wouldn’t be the first ex-convict to run for office. I have to admit, he did have a bit of a following still – guys who were fed up with ration food and the crappy shit detail assignments. As long as humans have experimented with democracy, being hungry and unhappy has always made a minority of the population willing to listen to the nut jobs. I didn’t follow the annoying politics of the ship too closely, but I was a little worried Steven would be elected.

But then Eden Stranton was ‘drafted’ to run. He protested at first, stating that he didn’t really want to be mayor of anything, but a small group of ardent supporters forced him into it. Coming off his success in fixing the com system and adding to that his popularity from school, he was a pretty unbeatable opponent. He would have won anyway, but he slammed the final nail in Steven’s political coffin when he announced a plan to create a janitorial force to take on a lot of the shit detail work, and that the force would be comprised of those on probation following time served in the brig. So his platform was to make his opponent scrub toilets instead of the voters, and needless to say that resulted in a landslide victory.

Like I said, I wasn’t too interested in politics, but I will admit that I went up to Conner’s flat more than once to ask Eden about his ideas. Usually I became really interested in governmental theory when he was doing things like brushing his teeth shirtless after a shower or stretching before running. Funny how that worked.

And while that was going on, I’d finished my training classes and now had a full time job on the ship. I now worked directly under the purser in managing the food stores. It was a cool job, really. I still spent four hours a day in the cafeteria cooking and serving, but my job was becoming more about what would be for dinner four months from now. I had to work closely with the farm unit to plan crop yields, and then I had to work with the medical unit to make sure we were able to maintain a healthy diet on the ship. It was a lot of work, and entailed a lot of stuff I’d taken for granted on earth, but it was a fun job.

One of the perks was that I got to spend more time with Conner, who I selected as my nutritional advisor. He helped me set up a system to make sure our meals had the correct balance of amino acids and vitamins, which was helpful since I was mostly concerned with what tasted good. I was appreciating his friendship more than ever, and as a result of our time together talking about health we ended up making a gym schedule for ourselves and working out together. It worked out well, our work schedules both started a little late in the day, so we were able to go down to bottomside in the mornings when it wasn’t so crowded.

Bottomside was the recreational area of the ship, and as the name suggest, it sat on the very lowest decks and was accessible via the elevators in the commons lobby. Like a lot of the decks in the ‘southern’ part of the ship, gravity pulled towards ‘true north’, so the areas here were all essentially upside down. However, the elevators flipped imperceptibly on their way so you didn’t really notice you’d changed direction, although it was sometimes dizzying to look up at the ceiling and consider that it was the bottom hull of the ship.

The best space in bottomside was the football (some call it soccer) field. Well, it could be used for anything, but football was the sport of choice on this ship, and this main space in the bottomside facility was a sight to behold. The football stadium held a full-sized field, along with stands capable of seating a thousand. The curved hull of the ship sat a hundred feet overhead, and where most of the ship is lit with standard conduit lighting, the ceiling of the field is coated in a special material that produces a simulated blue sky. Watching a game here, it’s not hard to pretend you’re on earth on a sunny spring day.

Opposite the field is a series of tiered mezzanines extending from the curved wall and overlooking the stadium. These five floors house the gym facilities and contain all the weight lifting machines, treadmills, etc that we need to stay fit and healthy. Conner and I had started lifting weights here, which I grumbled about at first, but then one morning I noticed that my biceps were a tiny bit larger. Like they went from 4.00 inches to 4.01 inches, but it was enough to totally psych me up and from then on he didn’t have to goad me anymore.

But mostly we like playing a game we’d invented in the racquetball court. We tried to turn off the gravity one afternoon to see how that was, but we couldn’t figure out how to set it for weightless. Instead, we managed to set all the floors as gravitational down simultaneously, which turned out to be kind of fun. The thing with gravitational planes on this ship is that once you were grounded to one, that would remain ‘down’ for you as long as you stayed connected. So if I set both the floor and the wall in front of me to be down, I could stand on the floor and touch the wall all day long and nothing would happen. But if I touched the wall and then jumped off the floor so that my body was completely out of contact with it, I’d repolarize and the wall would become ‘down’ for me. In this case, I’d go tumbling face-first into the new floor, which was something to avoid. It was confusing at first, especially in areas where the floor and ceiling were both used as floors to conserve space, but we’d quickly figured out that it’s pretty sweet in racquetball. We hadn’t quite developed official rules yet, but it was awesome to go running after a ball and end up walking up a wall, or to have Conner launch a ball at me from the ceiling.

One afternoon, the day after a slight ankle sprain (yes, there were dangers to six-wall ball, as we now called it), I decided to surprise Conner and asked him to bring a swimsuit with him after work. He laughed at me and told me he didn’t have a suit – it wasn’t like he’d packed to go to the Bahamas when we left earth. Har-de-har. I replied that he could wear whatever he wanted – boxers, undies or nothing at all, just to meet me in area W4, which he did.

Working for the purser, I had access to all the farm areas, including the wet farms. Area W4 was a massive space – basically an endless warehouse that held a gigantic saline water tank. And I mean gigantic – it’s thousands of feet long, taking up almost an entire floor on the ship. You entered the room to a little platform overlooking a large expanse of water – when lit it would be crystal blue, but it was now dark since we’d come after work and the ship had the room set to ‘night’. You could barely see the other end of the room in the dim light, but you could make out the sound of the water slapping the opposite walls in the familiar whoosh-whoosh sound of oceanic waves. There were pools on the ship – all kinds, but I told Conner that none of them were like swimming in here.

He was uncertain at first, but then as I stripped down to my ‘suit’ (my tightie-whities, I hadn’t packed swimwear either), Conner followed along. Ok, ok, so here’s the truth. While I really did want to go swimming, yes, this was also an opportunity to check Conner out. I admit it. As he stripped off next to me on the small metal platform, I snuck a pretty good look. Conner was a nice looking guy, as I’ve said before. Wide smile, white teeth, nice long arms and legs. I was happy to see the rest of him lived up to the promise. He had really well defined shoulders and a strong, lean chest. No six pack, but his torso was long and sexy. Dang, too bad we were just friends. Seeing Conner riled me a little, and I made a note to call Charlie later to relive some of the testosterone.

When he’d stripped to his boxers (royal blue and plain), I jumped in, treading water. Conner took a little coaxing, then followed me in, yelping a little a when he hit the water. Yep, it’s set to oceanic standard, about 15 degrees Celsius, not exactly a ‘heated’ pool.

We swam around for a bit – the near end of the tank is only five feet deep or so, and although I enjoy the salt water on my lips and against my skin, I call to Conner to swim out with me over the ledge where it’s deeper (quite a lot deeper, actually). We get about fifty feet out when I turn to tread water. Conner starts telling me how great this is – swimming in this big open space, when all of sudden he goes totally silent. Then, unexpectedly, he screeches and leaps up in the water towards me, grabbing my waist. I appreciate the nearly nude physical contact with the guy, or at least I would have if he hadn’t almost drowned me – he pulls my head slightly below the surface and I swallow a big gulp of the briny water.

“Holy crap, Devon! There’s something in here with us!” he exclaims, still clamped to my waist. I sputter and cough, trying to respond and push him off at the same time. In retrospect I should have stuck my hand in his boxers to see what was in there (I don’t think he’d have noticed), but at the time I was trying not to go under.

“Jeez, cough, cough Conner. Get, cough, off. It’s just Beau.” I laughed. I expected my surprise to be, well, surprising, but maybe not this much.

“Beau?” He looks uncertainly around him at the dark water.

“Yeah,” I reply, steadying Conner and getting my breath back. I slap the water in front of me hard three times and wait a second. I’m rewarded by a huge grey head emerging right in front of me. I pet the large slick snout in front of me.

“What. Is. That?” Conner whispers tersely.

“I told you, it’s Beau. He’s one of the minke whales.”

“And what the hell is he doing in here?” Conner asks. I can guess why he freaked out. Of the twelve whales in this tank, Beau was the only one that was all that interested in people, and usually when he met someone new he liked to swim up under you and graze your feet.

“Swimming, I would think. Where’d you expect him to hang out, the library?” I joke. “Computer! Lower tank lights! Level five!” I yell up into the room. The ship responds by turning on the lights at the bottom of the pool at half brightness. While it’s not enough to make the water crystal clear, or to light the whole room, a luminescence rises up from the deep tank waters to reveal several large black shapes swimming below and around us. The larger shapes are the other whales, who typically ignore me and like to dive deep when people are around. You can also spot schools of small fish swimming here and there – a lot of anchovies, Beau’s favorite snack – but also tuna and yellowtail and some other farm stock fish.

It’s a beautiful sight, particularly the graceful whales swimming deep below us, and Conner calms down. “Wow. That’s really cool,” he says, then slaps me on the shoulder, “But you could have told me we were diving into an aquarium!”

“Surprise.”

Beau dives down for a moment, then comes back up, blowing Conner playfully in the face from the two spouts on top his head. He likes to do that, although this affection is a little salty for my tastes. I know what it means, though – he’s bored. I motion Conner over, and we swim along Beau’s body to his sickle-shaped dorsal fin, which sits about three-quarters of the way back on his twenty-two foot body. “Here, grab on and take a deep breath. He wants to play,” I tell Conner, who obeys and grabs hold.

I slap the water, indicating that we’ve latched on to the rigid fin, and Beau responds by immediately diving, pumping his powerful tail to carry us through the talk at increasing speeds. This would be better with the goggles, which I forgot on the platform, but the water is clear enough with the lights so that as we go deeper we can make out the other whales swimming in the depths. They’re all Baleen Whales - five are Northern Minke Whales like Beau, then there are three Bryde’s Whales and three huge Gray Whales. Beau swims by two of the greys – the females – who look somehow regal and stern, like two wizened old women who are a little annoyed that their neighborhood has been invaded by rowdy kids. It’s a silent world, quiet and blue and cold, foreign but atrociously beautiful.

Beau can dive for twenty minutes at a time, but he seems to know we can’t and takes up back to the surface. The tank is deep, and my ears pop along the way. “Wow, that was awesome!” Conner exclaims as we swim back to the shallower ledge. Beau follows us, and I know what he wants. There’s a control panel in the water on a little island, and I swim over and push some buttons on the console. There’s a whoosh from out in the pool and some bubbles surface noisily. “Whale snacks.” I explain.

Beau dives deep, and Conner steps up to the ledge where the tank goes from five to a hundred feet deep. I stay back, knowing what comes next. Without warning, Beau shoots up out of the pool a few dozen feet from Conner, his entire body emerging from the water as he twists in the air. All four tons of him slams back into the pool, enveloping Conner in a huge splash. The wave reaches me and I ride it towards the platform. I laugh at the sputtering Conner as I climb the steel ladder out of the pool. Beau has swum to the depths to retrieve his snack, and the splashing we hear around the tank indicates the other whales have come in for food as well.

As we leave, Conner slips back into his clothes, his wet body soaking them immediately, but I decide to remain undressed and just carry my kit in a bundle under my arm. I like the way my briefs cling to my compact body, it’s almost like walking around nude and I can’t help but shake my sexy little Devon butt a little. Conner doesn’t say anything about my undress, and as we head through the hallways we pass several guys, who glance at me but don’t seem to find it odd that I’m wet and traversing the ship in my skivvies.

The next day we resume our regular gym schedule, although Conner does agree to go with me to see Beau once in a while, although he never quite forgives me for not telling him there was an enormous affectionate aquatic mammal in the pool before he dove in. Whoops.

So on that front, things had been going great. Conner and I were better friends than ever. But part of the reason things had been so good with him was probably because things with Reid and Patrick were going terribly. Or at least with Reid they were.

After the party, Reid had become increasingly distant, which pissed me off. Sure we were on opposite shifts, which meant I was always still at work when he got off, so we were bound not to have a lot of time together, but he didn’t have to avoid me. When I was serving in the cafeteria he’d go to another line or grab something cold and leave. We’d say hi to each other now and then, but we didn’t really hang out. He was always asleep when I got home at night (he worked pretty early), and then he was always gone when I got up. That wouldn’t have been so bad, but one morning after a game of six-wall with Conner I’d spotted him across the gym working out with Chris and Peter. So they’d replaced me as gym buddies. For some reason that hurt my feelings more than anything.

But as time passed, I went from freaking out about what Reid would think if I were gay to not caring what he thought about anything. What he thought about having a gay friend became irrelevant – mostly I just wished he’d have the nerve to talk to me to my face. And yet, there was always a pang of regret when I thought about it. I kind of missed him. It was kind of stupid to lose a friend over this.

This was something Patrick had spent weeks reiterating to me. He was annoyed at me because of the way things turned out – he kept reminding me that I had promised no weirdness and that this felt beyond weird. He also conveyed his conversation with Reid in full detail, swearing that he’d politely brought up the subject that I might be gay and that Reid had smiled and been fine with it. He swore this was an invitation for me to broach the subject with Reid, but I pointed to the ensuing behavior and insisted that everything after the party indicated that Reid was done with me. Which hurt, but was fine.

And although Patrick was annoyed about the rift between Reid and me, he knew when to shut up about it. Besides, I told him, I found it far more fun to fill him in on all the other, sexier details of my life. In the ensuing weeks after my night with Charlie, he became something of a confidant. I’d tell him everything, and he’d usually have good advice. He always listened in his dispassionate Patrick manner and make observations as scientifically as he could, even though every once in a while I’d catch him rolling his eyes at my more outrageous statements. Despite the occasional sarcasm and wry comment, though, I had a newfound appreciation for Patrick, and the openness he showed on the night I talked to him made me trust him, and as a result we grew a lot closer. He really helped me out when Charlie was in his funk – it was his advice for me to be supportive and not pushy, and in the end that worked out well.

And to make sure that Patrick and I always had something to talk about, Charlie and I continued our adventures together.

Not at first, of course. Charlie’s week-long funk had interfered with us following up on our after-party fun, and most of that week was spent looking in on him and making sure he ate something. Then he snapped out of it and went back to a normal schedule, which meant that he started sleeping in his assigned room rather than the secret flat he’d done up. We still hung out a lot – I made sure of it so I could watch him in case he started to get depressed again, but I wasn’t going to initiate anything sexual since he seemed kind of fragile; and when two weeks went by without him showing any sign that he was interested, I figured that our agreement to be bed buddies was trumped by the more important and impactful situation with his family. And I was more than happy to be the kind of friend who helped him through that.

But then things changed.

ii

xes

We’d been working in one of the farm areas – a large room dedicated to grasses – wheat, barley, etc. Charlie wasn’t assigned to any duties there, but his shifts always ended a couple of hours before mine and I could usually count on him to show up and help me out at the end of the day. This was one of the boring farms, it was always devoid of people since all that needed to be done was a visual assessment of each bed daily. Everyone liked hanging out in the garden farms, where there were always plants to be pruned and picked and tended. Here you just watched the grass grow, then it was harvested, then it grew back.

Charlie had been doing what he usually did when I was checking the grass farm – he wandered around aimlessly, looked at the ceiling, laid on a bench, ran his hands over the young wheat. He’d often circle the room, which in this case meant climbing the gravity stairs on one end and walking around on the ceiling, which was in fact used as another floor and covered with barley. Occasionally he’d sneak to the spot directly over me and toss a wad of dirt or something at me from overhead. I was always absorbed in my readings, and this usually shocked me, to his delight. Sometimes we chit-chatted while I made notes on each bed’s progress, other times we just hung out in the same general area, both of us feeling more comfortable whenever we were within close proximity.

One day I was absorbed in trying to figure out why a certain bed always had a 14% smaller yield than the others when Charlie snuck up behind me and unexpectedly wrapped his arms around my waist. I flinched at the unexpected contact, then relaxed. He didn’t need to say anything for me to understand that he was thanking me for being there for him. I don’t know how I knew this, but we’d grown close enough that I could read it in his body language. After a moment hugging me tightly, he slipped his hands up under my shirt and began caressing my chest and stomach, and although he still didn’t say anything, I also instantly understood the meaning behind this. I turned and smiled at him and he smiled back. He had a shaft of hay between his teeth, and with his moppy brown hair and deep dark eyes it made him look like the epitomic all-American farm boy.

He stepped closer to me and tugged my shirt up over my head, the air in the room was hot and smelled of dirt and plants – the environment here was set to late summer, and it was a little over 30 degrees. So having my shirt off was refreshing, since I was sweating profusely anyway. He reached out and tugged on my nipple a little, and all the sexual energy we shared came rushing back. Still, I was a little worried about his mental state.

“Are you sure about this?” I ask, letting him continue to pet my chest.

“Oh yeah,” he replies, “That is, as long as you’re still gay and we’re still friends stuck on a space ship with six thousand guys.”

“Uh, yeah, I think all of those things are still true…”

“Good,” he replies, smiling one of the first true smiles I’d seen on him in weeks. And then he doesn’t waste any time at all – reaching out and grabbing my belt strap and pulling me close to him. He kisses me deeply, our first real kiss, or at least our first passionate kiss. It’s sheer electricity, his tongue slipping between my lips to explore my mouth. We both smell a little from being in the heat – not bad, but tangy and manly. His shirt is damp with sweat, and as we make out I revel in the feel of the fabric rubbing against my bare chest. But I want more contact, and I reach out to pull his shirt over his head, reluctant to part my lips from his for even a second, trying to coordinate our kisses with the clumsy fumbling of my fingers.

He helps, and as soon as he’s topless I pull him into me, our tongues reuniting in his mouth in salty wet triumph. His body is glistening with sweat also, and when I pull us together, stomach to stomach, chest to chest, our slick skin slides together – I can feel his heart throbbing deeply against my chest, and I think about the hot boy standing in front of me, thoughts that instantly inflate every erectable inch of my teenage body.

This is a hurried and desperate tumble – Charlie later tells me he hadn’t even beat off during his funk, and I admit to him I only did it once - most of my free time had been spent worrying about him. Now that this was over, both of our bodies cried for release, and there was none of the tender exploration we had played with that first night together. Charlie frantically unbuttons my pants and pushes them to the floor, I start to do the same to him when he presses me against the wheat bed a little too hard and I lose balance and fall backwards. It’s not a long fall – the beds sit a couple of feet off the floor, and now I’m lying in the wheat, looking up at the horny boy about to pounce.

Charlie has a mischievous gleam in his eye, one he reserves for his most roguish moments and one that I find intensely arousing. He quickly pulls down his jeans, revealing a pair of tight blue plaid briefs with a steer motif on the crotch. I almost ask him where he gets his underwear, but before I can phrase the question he leaps down onto me, his weight both a little painful and a little erotic. And then we’re kissing again, our brief-clad crotches rubbing together. I can feel the defined thickness of his shaft against mine, each time he humps me our erections roll over one another and waves of pleasure rush over my body.

The kissing isn’t something we’d done before, and not something I’d have thought Charlie would be in to, but he seems aggressively ravenous for my mouth, his prickly chin scraping my cheek now and then pleasurably. I grunt into his mouth, and he grunts back at me, laughing a little. I’m content to go on kissing, but Charlie clearly isn’t. He reaches down between us and hastily pushes my briefs down my thighs. My boner springs happily free and I feel the scratchy wheat under my now-bare ass. I go to reach into his underwear but he shakes his head and moves my hand up over my head, pinning it there with his left hand, which is also supporting his weight.

He pushes his own briefs down, although they only slip halfway down his butt because of the weird position we’re lying in, my legs dangling off the wheat bed and him lying on top of me. Still, it’s enough so that his seven inch erection pops out, pink and wet and clearly ready for fun. Charlie lowers himself so that our cocks line up; he grabs both in his free hand, forming a fist around the meaty shafts. The feel of his cock against mine is electric, the feel of his hand around me is electric and the feel of his body grinding against me is electric. It’s almost more than I can take even before he starts doing anything.

He begins thrusting back and forth, copious amounts of precum instantly coating both of our boners. I let out a whimper as pleasure spreads through my body and overcomes my senses, which encourages him to go faster. This is hot and heavy, and I sense from his glazed look that his body needs a fast release. I notice an odd sensation from between my legs and realize that it’s Charlie’s balls rubbing against mine in time with his thrusts. For some reason, the image of our scrotums gliding over one another is almost more powerfully erotic than anything, and I feel myself tipping over the edge.

“Ung, ung,” I grunt in time with Charlie pushing against me, “I’m almost there.”

“Good,” he smiles back devilishly. The sensations below my waist change – Charlie begins rubbing the heads of our dicks in circles around each other, a pool of precum allowing them to glide effortlessly against one another. It’s too much for me and I feel my balls contract. My hips involuntarily buck, almost throwing Charlie off me, but he manages to stay on as my orgasm begins.

My first shot fills Charlie’s fist with a white glob of cum, and I screech in pleasure. He sits back and strokes me through the rest of the orgasm with his left hand, his right hand now furiously beating his own shaft. He grunts and a stream of cum shoots out with tremendous force, landing in my hair and on my forehead. Four more spurts spray my chest, and I reach up to grab the last few dribbles in my hand. Charlie pants and gasps and collapses back onto me before rolling over to lie next to me.

“Been storing up?” I ask, looking at him with a strand of semen hanging off my bangs. He blushes furiously, then we’re both laughing, lying naked together, me covered in our cum.

That’s how sex with Charlie started back up.

The next time, I took the opportunity to instigate things. We were hanging out in the unoccupied room in section 24, which we started doing most nights after work. Usually Charlie came up here to drink, and usually I accompanied him to try and get him to do something else. Two nights after our garden encounter we were both in the room catching up on some work, me going over protein schedules and him trying to figure out how to get all forty-seven scrubs in for scanning over a two day period.

He was lying face down on the bunk, shirtless, and with his nose deep in a notebook. I’d been staring at him for the past several minutes, having become quite bored thinking about soy. From my vantage point on the couch I could take a quiet moment to look him over, not that he’d mind if he knew I was staring, there was just something endearing about watching the half naked boy reading without him knowing. I was intrigued by the brown skin of his back, and the way an indentation ran in a line up the center, and the manner in which his square shoulders flexed and moved when he turned the page of his book. I was particularly intrigued with the way his jeans sat low on his hips, revealing a white band of elastic that was also low enough on his waist to provide the tiniest tantalizing glimpse of the v-shaped flesh that led southward into the crease of his butt.

And being a teenager, that’s about all it took to get my motor running. I thought about his low jeans, and how if they slipped down another couple of inches his ass would be half exposed. Another couple of inches lower than that and he’d be practically naked. And then maybe he’d want me to be naked with him.

Ever so slowly, I got up from the couch, not making even the tiniest sound. Charlie loved to sneak up on me, and I figured this was my chance for some turnabout. I was in sock feet and sweats, which made my silent maneuvering easier than it would have been in shoes. Still, I took a full minute to traverse the six steps to the bed. It helped that Charlie was really engrossed in his work – he took his new job seriously, which was great, but if I had anything to say about it he was about to take an unscheduled break.

Moving as slowly as possible, I came up alongside him and realized I hadn’t really planned this surprise too well. I wasn’t sure exactly what to do now. I could pounce on him, which would be fun I suppose, but somehow a little anticlimactic. Or maybe too climactic. Then I spotted that all-alluring crease of flesh on his lower back and decided on a plan of action.

Barely daring to breath, I lowered my face to his back. I considered that maybe he knew I was hovering – once I was within a few inches I’m sure he could have felt my body heat near him if he’d been paying attention – but he seemed so engrossed in his work that I was pretty sure he was unaware I was here.

I reached out with my tongue and ever so gently licked at the spongy flesh there. He tasted clean and refreshing – we’d both showered a little earlier – but still a little salty and distinguishably ‘Charlie’. If I had surprised him he didn’t show it dramatically – he kept on reading his notebook, although I could tell by his posture and the way his muscles shivered that he definitely felt what I was doing.

He didn’t say anything, though, and I was happy to play along. I could have used my fingers to explore, but I liked the taste of him, and I wanted more. I ran my tongue up his back, deeply inhaling the scent of soap and clean skin. Charlie was a skinny guy, but he had some muscles, and I liked the way the lower parts of his lats felt meaty and warm against my mouth. I nipped at him playfully, gently biting into the muscle there. Still he didn’t move or say anything, although the shivers I felt against my cheek told me he was enjoying what I was doing.

It was a bit of a stretch to hold this position, so in one fluid motion I swung my left leg up and over him to straddle him from behind. I fit against him like our bodies were made for one another, the cotton of our sweats rustling as our pants rubbed against one another. I had a gigantic boner by now, and judging by the way it slid so naturally into the crevice between Charlie’s cheeks, I figured he could feel it even through the two pairs of pants and underwear we had on. In case he didn’t, I thrust back and forth a couple of times, enjoying the sensation of my head sliding against the cotton fabric of my underpants.

Lowering myself against him, I moved my oral exploration on to his neck, sucking a little at the skin there and enjoying the damp scent of his hair. My fingers ran down his smooth sides, and he lifted his body a little, which I took as a sign to begin exploring his chest with my fingers. It was hard to steady myself in this position, but I discovered that I was more than capable to distribute the weight so I could caress his chest with both hands while still licking at his neck with my tongue. I nip at his ear a little, which I knew was particularly sensitive, and he gasps slightly. I guess I won the quiet game, or at least this adult version of it.

“Bored, are we?” Charlie chuckles, while at the same time grunting in approval at my ministrations.

“Not at all,” I exhale directly in his ear, taking the sensitive lobe between my teeth, “I have my own Charlie to play with, how could I ever get bored?”

He laughs and lets me go back to sucking his ear. I’ve unconsciously continued thrusting against him, and am fully hard, slipping around in my pants. It hardly seems fair for me to be having all the fun, so I move a hand down into Charlie’s jeans. He’s still lying flat on the bed, and I’m on top of him, so it’s a tight fit, but I am easily able to navigate the distance and find what I’m looking for. As expected, he’s also completely hard and ready to go.

I discover that each time I thrust against him it pressed his hips downward and causes his shaft to slide forward against my hand. I make a fist, and although this is an utterly bizarre sexual position, I continue humping the increasingly aroused Charlie from behind, him humping my hand in return. I’d love to get fully naked with him, but each thrust takes me further into sexual lust and it feels increasingly too good to stop. Charlie must agree because he grunts more and more audibly with each thrust.

After only a couple of moments I’m taken completely by surprise. I didn’t think I could come just rubbing against all this fabric, but that’s exactly what happens.

“Erg, oh god, OH GOD,” I exclaim, my load ejecting into the crotch of my tightie-whities. I hump Charlie mercilessly, using his ass as the perfect cushion against which to ejaculate. His body is hot and sensual under me; lost in my orgasm I reach down and suck aggressively on his neck, biting him a little harshly until he yelps pleasurably. As I recover, I begin fisting Charlie faster than before. He’s clearly aroused by my orgasm, and is making the sharp panting noises that I know mean he’s deep in boy heat. But this isn’t the best position to get off in, at least not for him (clearly it was for me), and I begin to lose feeling in my hand.

So I roll off him, reveling in the sharp pangs of pleasure emanating from my overly sensitive crotch as I move around. Charlie rolls onto his back, smiling, but his eyes also glazed over with sex. I quickly unbutton his fly and tug on his underwear, allowing his erection to spring free. I begin pumping him using the method that works the fastest on me. He’s slick with precum, and the shaft slides easily between my fingers.

“You know…gasp…Devon…Ugh, I’m really…ugh…glad we decided…oh god…to become…ugh…sex buddies…” he pants and moans as I pump his rock hard erection.

“Me too,” I reply, smiling up at the red-faced Charlie. It doesn’t take him long to get there, and after a few more seconds he unloads in my hand, on his chest and all over the bed. Man, the guy can shoot a full load, that’s for sure. He looks as hot as ever, his chest covered with several globs of his sticky white semen.

Seeing that, and knowing I caused it, put me right back into heat. I wanted to get off again, but suddenly I was a little bashful. Maybe under other circumstances I would have waited until later, but somehow sitting next to a cum-covered Charlie with his dick softening in my fingers, I was able to overcome my shyness.

“Uh, seconds.” I explain, sitting up on my knees and unzipping my fly.

“Ok,” Charlie replies, not moving from his position of post-coital bliss. Clearly he’s not shy either. I fist my newly freed shaft as fast as I can - I’m lubricated with the deliciously slimy load that I’d shot into my underpants. It only takes about twenty seconds before I’m shooting again, and while I might like to add my load to that on Charlie’s chest, I decide to be more polite and come in my free hand. “Cool,” Charlie says as I finish and collapse panting next to him on the bed.

And the weeks progressed like that, Charlie sometimes jumping me and sometimes me jumping Charlie, usually with a jumping one way or the other happening once a day.

Eventually I noticed that something odd had happened. About the twentieth time or so we were together, I realized that Charlie had been right from the very beginning, and although our coupling was bringing us closer as friends, I wasn’t becoming more romantically attracted to him, or him to me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved his body close to mine and I loved his smell and taste, and man did I love making him come. But despite all the things I loved about him, I didn’t love him. Well, I did, but as a friend.

This manifested itself several ways. For one thing, I noticed that our play centered more and more on getting off, and less on kissing or cuddling. While we took to sleeping in Charlie’s flat in the unoccupied section, and on most of these nights we’d tumble two or three times, afterwards I’d usually slip off into the other bed in the room. Sometimes we’d sleep in the same bunk, but not usually. At first I wondered if this should bother me, if there was something wrong with not falling in love with Charlie. I mean, it’s what he wanted and what I kind of thought would happen, but he was an important friend to me so I decided to talk to him about it one night after a particularly memorable experiment with a banana peel.

We were lying in bed together, a rather disgruntled Charlie trying to get all the goopy brown remnants of my failed experiment off his chest, when I decided to bring it up.

“Hey, can I talk to you about something?” I ask, reaching over and swirling a somewhat disgusting puddle of pureed banana and cum on Charlie’s chest. He kind of huffs at me, I can tell he’s not really angry, but the banana sex wasn’t as enjoyable as one might have thought.

“As long as it isn’t about doing it with lemons or onions or something like that next time. I’m never going to get all this gunk off me. Gross.”

I reach over the bed and grab a sock, putting it on my hand like a mitten and running it down Charlie’s chest. It scoops up all the grosser bits but leaves a big dirty brown streak of oxidized fruit, making him look like some circus freak with a huge birth mark on his chest. “No, it’s not about that. It’s about us.”

“Uh-oh.”

“Nothing like that. I wanted to talk about falling in love.”

“UH-OH,” Charlie says more emphatically, shifting uncomfortably around. Good lord, what is it with guys and the l-word?

“No, no, nothing like that. Don’t get your undies in a bunch.” He wasn’t wearing undies, as I should know, lying here naked next to him and playing a little with his flaccid penis as a kind of apology for the messy sex. “The thing is, I’m not falling in love with you, which I know is what you wanted, but I kind of wonder about that. I mean, is it normal for us to have sex and not develop romantic feelings for each other? It seems like it may be kind of weird.”

“How so? I mean, friends have sex all the time. Our situation is a little different, granted, but I don’t think it’s odd that we like being together.” I chuckle. Given the highly pornographic picture the two of us paint in this position, ‘being together’ seems like an overly tame way to describe our activities.

“Yeah, I know,” I reply. I’m having trouble figuring out how to phrase exactly what I’m trying to express, so I roll over on my back and look at the ceiling. It doesn’t help, but after a few seconds I start talking anyway. “It’s just, I always thought when I started having regular sex with someone I’d eventually fall in love with them and there would be, um, I don’t know, fireworks or a spark or something. Maybe it’s because we’re just friends that hasn’t happened. Or maybe because I’m gay and you’re straight. Or maybe what I imagined, that whole being in love thing, doesn’t really exist at all and I’ll never feel that way about anyone. I guess that’s what I’m really worried about, more than us screwing around being weird. What if I never fall in love with anyone?”

Charlie looks deeply at me, his big brown eyes full of concern. “Look, Devon, here’s the deal. First of all, and I thought about talking about this before but it’s a kind of weird subject to just bring up, but you don’t have to call me straight. I mean, I’m lying here naked in a pool of your semen after having just let you fist-fuck me with a piece of fruit. I think we can safely say that I’m bi-sexual, or maybe even gay. I don’t really know which yet.

“If we’d never left earth, maybe you and I would never have gotten together and I’d have met some hot girl and fallen in love. Who knows, maybe I’d never have experimented with guys. But I did, and guess what? I discovered that I like having sex with you. I mean, I LOOOOOVE having sex with you. It’s great. Awesome. You make me see stars every time I come. And sometimes at night I find myself humping my pillow thinking of that sexy little white tummy of yours, or the way your ass looks in your little white undies.”

I start to blush furiously at the compliments.

“So you’ve taught me something about myself. I’m at least bi, and I know that our experience together has made me that way for the rest of my life. It might even make me never want to go back to girls. Who knows? I’d say right now I’m probably, hmm, 71% gay? Something like that. And that’s all because of you.

“As for the whole falling in love thing, that’s something I’ve been thinking about too. Sometimes I worry that us being together like this is great for me but not good for you. I mean, us becoming closer friends and us having sex saved my life, you know that? I’ve never talked about this with anyone, but for a while there, I was thinking about, you know…”

He trails off, but he doesn’t have to expand on what ‘you know’ means. Charlie was clearly prone to depression, or at least moodiness, and one of the reasons I’d insisted on searching for him that night he disappeared several weeks ago was because I half expected to find him unconscious somewhere with an empty bottle of pills.

“Charlie, look man, if anything like that ever happened, it would kill me, I don’t know what I’d…”

He presses his forefinger to my lips, it smells like banana and despite the serious discussion I have to smile a little. “Shh, all that’s over now. I promise. Because of you. You being my friend, and us being together like this. I want to say this to you, and it’s a little hard. I want you to understand that when we say that we’re not boyfriends, that’s all about romantic love. That we don’t seem to have, and it’s good we feel the same. I was worried maybe one of us would develop romantic feelings, and that might be a mess. But we haven’t, and that’s ok. As far as the love friends feel for one another, well, Devon, in that way I love you as much as a person can, you are the most important friend I’ve ever had, and I want you to know that I will be yours forever and ever. You saved me. In that way, yes, I guess I fell in love with you a little, as a friend.”

Charlie’s words are hushed and sincere, and I can tell that he means ever bit. I don’t know if it was the impact of the words or because I wasn’t expecting this outpouring of emotion or my more feminine gay qualities coming out, but as he put his hand on my chest and pledged his eternal friendship to me I kind of lost it and began to cry, which makes his eyes water a little too.

“Sorry,” I sputter, “that’s a little intense, you know? I love you as a friend too, and you saved me in a way. I didn’t really know I was gay before you, and when I started to suspect it I was consumed by all this fear and worry. Somehow, as soon as we got together that all seemed better. I feel like, I don’t know. I feel like it’s ok now if people know.”

“Yeah? You mean like tell people, or just let them find out?”

“I think just tell them. Well, I already told Patrick, but that’s not quite the same as being open about it to the whole ship.” Suddenly I realize that outing myself might out Charlie too, and that my decision affects him. “I mean, I won’t tell them about you and me. Or maybe you and me stop spending time together before I’m open. Or maybe I don’t tell them if you don’t want people to think you are too. We’re together a lot. If all of a sudden I’m a gay boy, they’ll think you are too, and I don’t want…arg, well, that would be a mess…what I mean is that…”

Charlie stops my stuttering, “Hey, look, you need to do what you need to do. This is your decision, and don’t worry about me. Because of you I’m alive and breathing, and if the cost of that is a few sniggers in the hallway I’ll deal with it. But there’s something else.”

“Yeah?” I shift again so that I am facing him, my head propped on my hand. As I shift my package slides over and across my leg and tickles a little. I look down at Charlie and see that his is lying seductively across his leg too.

“The thing is, hmm..how do I put it? When you talk about never falling in love, that worries me. I mean, you are a hot guy, Devon Chasen, and you need to realize that. You totally deserve to have someone that makes you feel fireworks and sparks and all that. And I am sure that you will find that someday, and someday soon. I just want to make sure that I’m not getting in the way. You need to be young and in love, and sometimes I worry that if you spend all your time with me you’re sacrificing that chance. Not that I want to give this up,” he grabs my penis lightly and I smile at him, “but I also don’t want to, erm, hold it back. You know?”

“I guess. It’s not like the ship is teeming with boyfriend material, and we’ve just been fooling around for a month, so I haven’t felt like this is stopping me. I don’t think you need to be that concerned.”

“But I am, and this may be weird, but that’s one of the reason I suggested the jerk off club idea. You know, get five or six open-minded guys together and see what happens? In part, maybe that would help you find someone maybe you could love. And in part, it’s because I know that although you’re happy here in a friend’s bed instead of a lover’s, some day I’m going to have to set you free, and when that time comes I’d kind of like to still, well, you know, have someone to have sex with.” Charlie blushes. I’m not sure why, the idea he’d have ongoing sexual needs seemed a lot less embarrassing that the banana thing, and I’d come up with that.

“So what you’re saying is that if watching six hot guys wank off is the price you have to pay to help me find a boyfriend…” I say in a somewhat mocking voice, trailing off and waiving my arms dramatically.

“Wellllll, like I said, it’s not totally altruistic,” he replies.

“Yeah, I’ve got your number, Barrett, don’t think that I don’t.” He laughs, as he usually does when I call him by his last name.

I think about it for a second. Charlie had brought up the idea of trying to get together a wank off club after our first (mutual) night together. At the time, it had seemed a little rude to bring up the idea of group shenanigans right after our first time, but since we were just having sex as friends I’d understood. And the idea did sound appealing in a way, assuming it didn’t backfire and get us beaten up. And yes, I’d thought about it once or twice since he mentioned it, usually with a resulting erection in my bunk.

It only takes me a brief moment to think about it, and in the end I tell Charlie I’m on board. Maybe he’s right, maybe this will be a good way to find the gay guys on board and someday locate that eventual boyfriend. Or at least find Charlie some other sex buddies. He smiles at me and we promise to talk about it in the morning, rolling over to go to sleep.

Usually this is the part of the evening where I’d slink off to the other bed, and maybe it was that I felt bad that the banana idea had been such a bust, or maybe it was that Charlie had just confessed his eternal love for me, albeit as a friend (ok, so it was almost assuredly the latter), but suddenly I was totally overcome by a sense of endearment to the guy. Our talk tonight had brought a lot of stuff up – a lot of good stuff – and I couldn’t help but feel that this was going to change our friendship forever. In many ways we’d grown closer, but we’d done that by acknowledging that someday soon we might need to grow apart a little. It was both a happy and a sad moment in our friendship, a friendship I now saw had this intense love burning right below the surface. And it was my newfound discovery of this love, and the realization how important it was to me, that sent a massive surge of emotions through my body. I was happy and young and alive, and all at once completely buzzed on this feeling. It was past bedtime, but there was no way I was going to sleep on this high.

“Hey, Charlie, one more thing,” I whisper.

“Yeah?” he asks, still on his side with his back to me.

I reach over and aggressively tug his shoulder, pulling him onto his back. He yelps a little in surprise, probably wondering what the hell I was doing and possibly thinking I’d gone insane. But I hadn’t. I was drunk on my feelings for this boy, this wonderful friend, and I was coming into my own as a young gay man, and dammit, if I’m gay then that’s what I am and that’s what I’m going to be.

Before Charlie can say anything, I move my face down to his still naked crotch and take his flaccid penis into my mouth. I’d never done this before – not even nearly – although he’d sucked me the one time. Somehow, I’d avoided anything more than humping and heavy petting, but now I needed to express myself and my homosexuality, and this tender act was my method of choice.

“Urg,” a surprised Charlie manages to get out as I roll his stiffening cock around with my tongue. It’s not the best blow job I’ll ever give and I don’t keep it in my mouth for the finale, but when Charlie comes he comes hard, and he clearly enjoys it. He goes to jerk me off, but I don’t let him. “That one’s for being a friend,” I tell him before we pull the covers over us and fall into a deep and peaceful sleep.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                            Back        Forum Discussion        Next