The Man from Swift Current
© 2011 Russ Nielsen
All Rights Reserved




Chapter 67: Zach and Todd

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

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

Mrs. Anderson met us at the front door and said, “Go freshen up boys, and meet us in the backyard.    Mark and Zach, we’ve invited all of your high school buddies over for a party.”

Mark and Zach looked at each other and did a high-five.   Zach gave his mom a hug, “Thanks, Mom.   You’re the best.”

We quickly did as she asked.   About 20 minutes later, we had changed our clothes and were ready to join the party.   Zach and Mark started introducing me and Ben to their friends.   Of course, most of them were former teammates from their high school hockey team.   After a while, Ben and I grabbed a plate of food and made our way over to a table to eat.  

I said, “Ben, look over there.”   I nodded across the yard to where Robbie stood with a couple of the guys.

Ben looked then smiled, “I think our little Robbie is being a big flirt!”

I laughed, “And it looks like it worked.   Robbie is heading back this way with one of them.”

Robbie had a megawatt smile on his face and was practically skipping as he crossed the lawn toward us with a very handsome blond guy in tow.   The closer they got, the more I could see that Robbie had found someone who looks like a Norse God.   It was all I could do not to drool!   Talk about a Thor look alike!

Robbie said, “Ben and Glenn, this is Todd Ingram.   He’s one of Zach’s friends from a neighboring high school.”

Todd smiled as he shook my hand, “Nice to meet you, Glenn.”   His huge hand drowned mine.

He turned and shook Ben’s hand, “Ben, I think we’ve met before.”

Ben smiled, “Yes, we met last year when I visited Zach for the holidays.”

Todd nodded his head, “Yes, now I remember.   Glenn, Robbie was telling me that you have suggested that he attend an arts high school.”

“Yes, I thought it might be better for Robbie,” I said, looking over at Robbie, who was smiling from ear to ear.

Todd said, “My little brother, Adam, is attending the Arts High School in Minneapolis.   He lives in the dorms there.   Mom and Dad weren’t sure about it at first, but Adam is doing so well, that they have become big believers in the special programs they have there for gifted music students.”

“Do you think your parents could convince mine to let me go?” Robbie asked.

Todd shook his head, “I don’t think so.   Your Mom and Dad don’t seem to be the type of people who are easily swayed once they’ve made up their minds.”

“Maybe you could suggest that they talk to your parents about the program,” Robbie said, hopefully.

“I’ll agree to try that,” Todd said.   “Where did your brother go?”

Robbie looked at Todd with a serious expression.  “Are you two going to get back together?”

Todd’s face grew somber.  “Yes, Robbie, I want to get back together; but I don’t know if Zach has found someone else since he’s been away at the university.”

Robbie said, “Zach hasn’t been the same since you two broke up.   I never understood what happened between you guys.   Zach won’t even talk to me about it.”

Todd looked over at us and asked, “Do you mind if I join you two?”

Ben smiled, “Sure.   Hey, Robbie, would you mind getting Todd some snacks and a soda?”   Todd sat down at our table, leaving Robbie standing.

Robbie started to object when I asked, “Please, Robbie?”

Robbie, seeing that he would appear childish if he didn’t, decided to do as we asked him.    “Okay, but I want to know everything you guys talk about while I’m gone.”

As Robbie left, Ben asked, “Do you really want to be with Zach?”

Todd’s voice trembled with emotion, as he replied, “Yes, Ben, I love him.   We broke up last year when Zach left for school.   He said he didn’t want to have a long distance relationship.   He said the best thing for both of us was to have our freedom to date other people.”

I put my arm around his shoulders, “Todd, don’t give up hope.”

Robbie reappeared with two plates piled high with all kinds of snack food.  He placed them on the table along with two cans of soda.   Robbie took a seat on the opposite side of Todd.

Todd said, “Thanks, Robbie.”

Robbie responded, “No problem!   So, how do we get you and Zach back together?”

Todd shrugged and reached for his soda, “I don’t know, Robbie.   I’ve tried to think of what I could do that would get Zach to talk to me.   He avoids me every time he comes to town.   When your Mom called me, I was totally surprised.   I don’t think Zach knew your Mom and Dad were planning this party, and I’m absolutely certain he didn’t know that I was going to be here!”

I looked around the yard for Zach.   I saw him standing next to his Dad, talking animatedly with one of his former teammates, who we met earlier.

“Has he spoken to you tonight?” I asked, already knowing the answer.

Todd shook his head in the negative.   “Every time I start to approach him, he finds some way of avoiding me.”   Todd’s face reflected the pain he felt at Zach’s rejection of him.

Ben asked, “How long were you two together?”

Todd responded, “We met during our senior year in high school.   We had quite a dust up on the ice that night during the game between our two schools.   After the game, Zach saw me in the parking lot and approached me.   I thought he was going to give me a hard time about the game, but he took me totally by surprise when he asked me to go out with him.   We started dating, and it wasn’t long before we were spending most of our nights together.   I fell for Zach in a big way.   I think it scared Zach, because he started to distance himself from me before we graduated.   He broke off our relationship on graduation night, saying he didn’t want a long distance relationship.”

“You see, I’m on a full-ride scholarship at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and Zach is on a full-ride scholarship at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.   I made the team at Twin Cities, but I didn’t get a scholarship.   My parents can’t afford to pay for my college education; so I had to take the full-ride scholarship at Duluth.   Zach was really upset at me, because he wanted me to room with him in Minneapolis.   Then he told me we were finished.”

“I tried to explain why I took the scholarship at Duluth, but he wouldn’t listen to me.   He insisted that I didn’t really love him.   He couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t let him help me with tuition and books.”   Todd’s voice broke with the intensity of the emotions he was feeling.

Todd paused as he tried to regain his composure.   “I don’t want to be a burden to anyone, and especially not to my boyfriend.   I couldn’t let him pay for my college education.   It felt all wrong to me.   I didn’t want our relationship to become a sex for pay situation.   Was I wrong to tell Zach I wouldn’t accept his money?” Todd asked, looking for confirmation that he’d done the right thing.

We all looked at each other, before Ben answered, “It depends on the type of relationship you had with Zach.   You would need to have a high degree of trust in your partner that would allow you to let him pay for your college, and not feel it to be an imposition on him.”

Todd said, “I don’t think we had that trust.   I know that at first, we were mostly interested in having sex.   As my feelings for him changed, I tried to talk with Zach about our relationship; but he always would change the subject.”

I said, “It sounds like you two still have a lot of things to work out.”

Robbie grinned and said, “If things don’t work out between you two, I want to be your boyfriend!”   Robbie reached over to take Todd’s hand.

Todd laughed, “You’re incorrigible, Robbie!   You’ve already spent most of the evening flirting with me!”

“Good!   Maybe Zach will notice, and decide to do something about it!” Robbie said.   He leaned over and kissed Todd on the lips.  

I looked over to see Zach watching us.  “Robbie, your brother is watching you.”

“Good!   Let him watch as I put the moves on his ex-boyfriend!” Robbie exclaimed, laughing, as he stood up, pulling Todd to his feet, and led him over to where Zach was standing.

Ben and I followed, wondering what Robbie was going to do.   What little we knew of Robbie, we were sure it would be something to see!   We didn’t have long to wait!

Robbie put his arm around Todd’s waist and said, “Zach, if you don’t want Todd as your boyfriend, do you mind if I date Todd?”

We waited to hear Zach’s response.   Zach’s expression went from surprised to anger.   “Before I answer that question, Robbie, will you let me talk to Todd?”

Robbie grinned, “Yes, you can talk to Todd, since you asked.”  Robbie’s expression hardened and his voice took on an edge that took me by surprise.   “Maybe next time you’ll try talking things out with Todd, instead of avoiding him like he has some kind of disease.   You’ve been avoiding him for over a year now, and I’m tired of watching you mess up a good thing.   I like Todd a lot, and I think he’s good for you.   I want Todd to be a part of my life, even if he’s not part of yours.   So, please talk to him, and either settle your differences, or admit you’re both too immature to work things out; so I can work at convincing Todd that not all the Anderson boys are too stupid to recognize when they’ve found the perfect guy!”

To say that we were stunned by what Robbie had to say would be an understatement.   It took Zach a few minutes to decide how to react to what Robbie said.   He reached out for Todd’s hand.  “Todd, let’s go inside where we can talk in private.”

When they had disappeared inside the house, Robbie looked at me and Ben, “Did I do the right thing?”

Ben laughed, “I think you did, but are you really sure about wanting Todd to be your boyfriend?”

Robbie considered the question for a moment.  “Yes and No.   Yes, I want Todd as my boyfriend.    And, no, I don’t want Todd as boyfriend if Zach doesn’t approve, because if things did work out for us, I want Zach to be comfortable around us.”

About an hour later, we were gathered around the snack food table, as we chatted about our day on the lake.   I looked up and saw the patio door open, and Zach came out leading Todd by the hand.

I said, nodding toward the house, “I think we’ll know pretty soon which way things fell out between Zach and Todd.” 

Todd was smiling, as was Zach.   They came up to us, and Zach said, “Robbie, thank you for making me talk to Todd.   We still love each other, but we have a lot of things to work out.   To answer your question, yes, I do mind if you date Todd!”

Todd laughed, “Robbie, thank you so much for what you’ve done for us tonight.”

Robbie asked, “Do I at least get a hug and kiss for all my hard work?”

Todd looked at Zach who nodded, “Sure!”

Robbie hugged Todd and then gave him a kiss on the lips.  “Todd, I’m serious about wanting you as part of our family; so you’d better work things out with Zach.”

Todd saluted Robbie and said, “Yes, sir!”

Robbie laughed, “You are such a clown, Todd!”

Zach grinned, “I think you have him beat in that category, Robbie!   Come here, little brother!”

Zach took Robbie in his arms and gave him a bear hug.   “Thank you for helping me to see what an idiot I’ve been.”

Robbie replied, “Isn’t that what little brothers do?   You know, help their big brothers with their humility!”

“Don’t be a smart ass!” Zach said, laughing at his little brother, as he cuffed him up the side of the head.   “Don’t forget I’m still your ‘big’ brother.”

Mrs. Anderson came over to where we were standing and asked, “Am I to assume that you two are back together?”   She was smiling at Todd and Zach.

“Yes, Mom, we’re back together.   We still have a lot of things to work out between us, but I think we’ll make it,” Zach answered, putting his arm around Todd’s waist and pulling him close to him.

Todd’s smile lit up his face like fireworks on a summer evening!   “Thank you for inviting me over tonight, Mom.   It gave us the opportunity we needed to at least talk to each other.  Between you and Robbie, you’ve made me very happy!”

We spent the rest of the evening playing volleyball, and getting to know Todd.

Rick had a bad feeling that things weren’t going right when his friend, Sam, didn’t return to the barracks last night.  He woke up this morning to find his friend’s bed hadn’t been slept in.   He got up and took care of his body’s needs, and decided to turn on his computer.   He searched for it, but didn’t find it immediately.   Rick began to panic, then, he saw something poking out from under Sam’s mattress.   He reached down and lifted up the mattress, and found his laptop had been wedged between the mattress and the slats that held it up.   He opened it up and turned it on.   He waited for a few minutes for it to boot up.   When nothing happened, he decided to remove the battery and then put it back to see if that would solve the problem.

Again, the computer wouldn’t boot up.   Rick thought to himself, “I wonder why Sam hid my computer under his mattress?   What was he doing with my laptop in the first place?   I knew I had to watch Sam, but I didn’t think he’d mess with my laptop after I yelled at him for violating my privacy when he erased my text messages on my cell phone.”

Rick had just finished getting dressed in his fatigues when the door to the barracks opened, and two marines entered the barracks.   Both of them wore armbands marked “MP.”    Seeing the rank on their uniforms, Rick saluted them smartly.

Sgt. Riehle said, “At ease, marine.   Have you seen Corporal Meyers?”

“No, sir,” Rick responded.  

“Is this his bunk and his belongings?” Sgt. Riehle asked, as he pointed to Sam’s bunk.

“Yes, sir,” Rick replied.

The two MPs searched Sam’s bunk, then, began looking through Sam’s personal belongings.   Rick waited in silence, as the search continued.

Sgt. Riehle handed Sam’s laptop to Corporal Saunders, “We’ll need to scan that for any information about Corporal Meyers’ activities.”   He turned to Rick and asked, “Do you know what has happened to Corporal Meyers?”

“No, sir,” Rick said, an uneasy feeling coming over him.

“Corporal Meyers was found dead this morning.   His body was found under a tarp in the back of one of the supply trucks,” Sgt. Riehle said, watching Rick’s face closely, to see his reaction.

Rick tried hard to control his expression, but failed as the tears started running down his cheeks.   His only friend in the compound was dead!  

Sgt. Riehle, seeing the emotions displayed on Rick’s face, said, “You may sit down, marine.   I want you to tell me everything you know about Corporal Meyers.”

Rick sat down and wiped the tears from his face, as he began to tell the MPs about Sam.   Sgt. Riehle listened carefully; as Corporal Saunders took notes.  

When Rick had finished speaking, Sgt. Riehle asked, “Do you know of anyone who might have had a reason to kill Corporal Meyers?”

Rick responded, “No, sir.   Sam was always the one who pulled people together.   I don’t know of anyone Sam had made angry.”

Sgt. Riehle said, “We’ve already interviewed several of your companions this morning.   They’ve pretty much said the same things you have.   They mentioned that a group of you played poker in the evenings.   Are you sure that something didn’t happen last night during the poker game that angered someone?”

Rick thought for a moment, “No, I don’t remember anything out of the ordinary.   It was the usual group of us, having a good time and enjoying each other’s company.”

Sgt. Riehle decided to ask one more question, to see Rick’s reaction, “Did you know that Corporal Meyers was gay?”

Rick’s astonishment showed on his face, “No, sir, I didn’t know that.   He told me about his brother being gay, but never hinted at being gay, himself.”

Rick thought to himself, “Wow!   No wonder Sam was acting so different around me.   I misinterpreted Sam’s actions entirely!   I thought he was just trying to protect me; but, in reality, he was trying to get closer to me!”   Then the realization hit Rick that the MPs were looking for someone who knew Sam was gay.   What if they asked him whether or not he was gay?

Sgt. Riehle said, “That’s all the questions I have for now.   We may need to ask you more questions, as we continue our investigation.”

The two MPs left the barracks.   Rick was still sitting on his bunk, trying to process the facts that Sam was dead and that he was gay, when Chip entered the barracks.   Chip came over and sat down across from Rick on Sam’s bunk.  

Chip asked, “Have you heard about what happened to Sam?”

“Yes, the MPs were just here, looking through Sam’s stuff.   They took his laptop with them,” Rick answered.

Chip asked, “Did they tell you how he died?”

“No,” Rick said shaking his head.

Chip shuddered as said, “I found him naked, in the back of a supply truck this morning, as I was getting the truck ready.”  

Chip started crying.   Rick got up and sat beside Chip, putting his arms around him.

Chip continued, “He was chained to the floor and he was beaten pretty badly…”

Chip couldn’t continue due to the sobs that wracked his body.   Rick held him close until he recovered.   Chip asked, “Why would anyone do something like that?”

Rick said, “I don’t know, Chip.   It’s bad enough being here, without having to worry about your fellow soldiers turning on you.   Sgt. Riehle said Sam was gay.   Do you think Sam tried to hit on someone and they got angry?”

Chip pulled back from Rick.   “You’re not serious are you?   Sam wasn’t gay!   I’m sure of that.”

Rick stood up, “They said he was gay.   I don’t know how they knew that.  Let’s go to the mess hall.  I’m starving.   Have you had breakfast?”

Chip looked up at Rick from where he sat on Sam’s bunk.  “Yes, I’ve eaten already, but I could do with a cup of coffee.”

The two left the barracks and headed to the mess hall.   They passed a contingent of MPs headed in the opposite direction.   They turned to see where they were headed.   The MPs entered Rick’s barracks.  

Rick asked, “I bet they’re going to turn the barracks upside down for clues to who killed Sam.”

Chip nodded his head, “I bet you’re right.”

Keith and Kerry were just leaving campus after meeting with their counselors to make sure they were on track with the classes they needed, when they stopped, surprised at seeing Peyton leaning against Keith’s Mustang in the parking lot where they’d left it.  

They looked at each other before Keith took Kerry’s hand, “Let’s see what he wants.”

Kerry asked, “You don’t think he’ll try to do something stupid, do you?”

Keith said, “I hope not, but we are in the open, and there are a lot of people walking around right now.”

They approached Peyton, who smiled at them.   “Hello, Keith.   I bet you didn’t expect to see me!”

“Hello, Peyton.   You’re right.   I didn’t expect to see you,” Keith responded.

“Aren’t you going to introduce me?” Peyton said, smirking at Keith’s reaction.

Keith said, “This is my wife, Kerry.   Kerry, this is Rick’s cousin, Peyton.”

Kerry didn’t extend her hand, but acknowledged the introduction, “Hello, Peyton.”

Peyton looked Kerry over like he was undressing her with his eyes.  “You managed to do pretty well for yourself, Keith.   Too bad my cousin didn’t do the same.   Speaking of my dearest cousin, where is he?”

Keith answered, “We don’t know.   We haven’t seen him since school let out last spring.”

Peyton laughed, “That’s funny.   I thought you two were the best of friends.   Surely he’s kept in contact with you.”

Keith replied, “You’d think that, but I swear, we haven’t heard from him in over three months.”

Peyton eyes narrowed, “What about that other sinner who he’s been having sex with all this time.   Where is he?”

Keith said, “I don’t know.   Glenn went back to Canada, and hasn’t called us since he left.”

“Do you mean to tell me that they aren’t together anymore?” Peyton asked suspiciously.

Keith said, “No, they aren’t living together, if that’s what you’re asking.”

Peyton smiled, “Good for Rick.   Maybe he’s finally come to his senses.   But that doesn’t change the fact that he’s the reason I spent time in the pen.   If he does contact you, you can pass on this message from me – payback’s a bitch!”

Keith said, “I’ll warn him about you, if that’s what you want.”

Peyton’s laugh sent chills up and down Keith’s spine.   “Yes, Keith, warn him that I’m out for revenge, and I WILL find him, believe me!”

Peyton walked over to Kerry and put his hand under her chin, “Yes, Keith, you did very well.   Be grateful, Kerry, that you met the straight cousin before you met the gay one.”    He dropped his hand to his side and turned to Keith.   “You’d better hope that faggot of a cousin of yours stays put in Canada.   I’ve not forgotten about him, either.”

Keith and Kerry watched Peyton’s retreating back, before Keith wrapped his arms around Kerry.   “Don’t worry, Kerry.   We’ll do everything we need, to keep Rick and Glenn safe from the likes of Peyton.”

They climbed in Keith’s Mustang and headed back to their condo, where they called Grandpa Scarborough, to let him know about their encounter with Peyton.   Then, they called Keith’s parents and related to them what had happened.  

Keith said, “It’s a good thing Glenn and Rick are going to be gone until next summer.   Maybe by then, Peyton will have moved on to something else.”

Kerry asked, “Do you really think Peyton will just forget about it?”

Keith responded, “No.   I was just trying to be positive.   I’m pretty certain that Peyton won’t forget.”

I woke up wondering where I was.   I rolled over and found that Robbie had spent last night with me, just like he had the night before.   I smiled, as my eyes took in his angelic face.   Robbie never ceased to amaze me!   He was so immature in many ways, but very mature in others.   I still marveled at how he managed to get Zach and Todd to talk to each other.   Zach had invited Todd to stay overnight so they could talk some more.   That thought made me laugh.   I know they did more than just talk last night.   The noise coming from Zach’s room in the middle of the night confirmed that fact!

My thoughts moved to Rick.   I wondered what was going on with him.   I hadn’t posted anything on my blog for a couple of days now.   Rick hadn’t called me, either.   I had to fight the urge to jump out of bed that minute and call my guy!   I missed Rick terribly!   Again, I looked over at the sleeping boy next to me.   How little did Robbie know how much of a temptation he is for me.  For him to spend the night in my bed was a supreme test of my self control!

As I continued deep in thought, Robbie’s eyes opened and he smiled impishly at me.   “I’m sorry, Glenn.   Zach and Todd woke me up in the middle of the night, and I couldn’t get back to sleep; so I came and climbed in bed with you, again.”

“That’s okay, Robbie.   I heard them going at it last night, too; but I don’t remember you coming to bed with me,” I said, looking at Robbie.

“It was about 3:30 in the morning when I came in here.   You were snoring!”   Robbie exclaimed.   “You must be really getting old, since you snore to loud!”

After I got over my surprise at his statement, I said, “I know I don’t snore, you young pup.”

Robbie laughed, “But I had you going there for a minute!”

“Yes, you did; and just for that, I’m going to subject you to some tickle torture!” I exclaimed.   I leaned over and started tickling Robbie, who started giggling uncontrollably.   After a bit, Robbie said, “Stop!   I give!”

I relented and got out of bed.   “Let’s get dressed.   I’m hungry.”

Robbie got out of bed and joined me in the bathroom as we relieved ourselves.   Robbie asked, “Can I take a shower with you?”

Instead of answering his question, I gave him the “look” as Rick calls it.   Robbie laughed, “Okay, I knew the answer before I asked the question.  I’ll go to my room and take a shower in my own bathroom.”

Robbie left the bathroom, and I heard the bedroom door open and shut, as I jumped in the shower.   A short while later, we were in the kitchen with Mrs. Anderson, who was making pancakes, when Robbie asked, “Mom have you and Dad decided whether or not I can go to Minneapolis?”

Mrs. Anderson stopped flipping pancakes for a moment, and replied, “Yes, we’ve made our decision.   You’ll have to wait until after breakfast to find out what we decided to do, because we want to talk it over with all of you.”

Robbie smiled over at me.  “Cool.   Can I wake up Zach and Todd?”

Mrs. Anderson laughed at her son’s request.  “I think you should let Glenn do that.   If I know your brother, he’ll throw you in the shower for waking him up too early.”

Robbie laughed, “You’re right, Mom.   Come on Glenn.   Let’s see if the sleepy heads are awake.”

We opened Zach’s bedroom door to find them still asleep in each other’s arms.   I signaled too Robbie to be quiet, while I returned to my room and grabbed my camera.   I barely snapped off a couple shots when Zach’s eyes opened.   I kept taking pics until he realized what I was doing.

“Glenn those pics had better not find their way onto the internet!” Zach exclaimed, shaking his fist at me.

Robbie and I laughed.    I said, “As long as you’re nice to me, I promise they won’t be shared with anyone, other than the guys in this room!”

Zach grinned, “Does being nice to you mean that I get to sleep with you?”

I laughed at Zach, “No, it doesn’t, but it does mean you can get out of bed and come down to breakfast.”

By this time Todd was awake and smiling at our exchange.  “Glenn, thank you for snapping some pics.   I want them for jerk off material when you go back to school tomorrow.”

Zach laughed, “Well, in that case, we need to have some real jerk off material.”   He threw off the sheet that covered he and Todd.   “Go ahead; take some pics of us now.”

Robbie laughed, as he came over to me.   “Aren’t they the two best looking guys in the whole world?!”

I had to agree, “Yes, Robbie, they are both great looking guys.”

I snapped a few more shots while Zach and Todd modeled for me.   I was getting pretty hard down below, watching them start a make-out session.   Robbie started whistling, as Zach and Todd were kissing and caressing each other.

Zach pulled back from kissing Todd and said, “I love you.   I hope Glenn’s pics will help us get through the next few months.”

Todd smiled up at this lover, “I know it will because every weekend I’ll get to see the real thing.”

Zach agreed, “That’s true.   Let’s get dressed.”

They both got out of bed, sporting woodies.   Robbie laughed as they got in the shower together.   “We’d better tell Mom it will be awhile before they come down for breakfast.”

“You’re right, Robbie.   Let’s leave the lovebirds to clean each other up,” I said, taking Robbie’s hand and leading him back to the kitchen.

Robbie said, “Mom, it will be awhile before they come to breakfast.”

Mrs. Anderson smiled.  “That’s okay.   Why don’t you and Glenn get started?   Here are the pancakes.   There’s sausage and eggs to go with them.”

“Thanks, Mom,” Robbie said, as he served himself a stack of pancakes.

“Yes, thank you, Mrs. Anderson,” I said.

“You’re both welcome,” she responded, as she watched us go down on the delicious pancakes.

We’d just finished eating when Zach and Todd showed up in the kitchen.   “Good morning, boys,” Mrs. Anderson said, in greeting.

Zach and Todd replied in unison, “Good morning, Mom.”

Todd asked, “Have you had a chance to talk to my parents about the Arts High School?”

Mrs. Anderson answered, “Yes, we called them last night.   We’ll talk to all of you about what we’ve decided to do about Robbie’s school, after you’re done eating.”

Robbie helped clear the table and even washed up the dishes for his Mom.   Mrs. Anderson laughed at his eagerness to help this morning.  “Robbie, I’m not sure what’s gotten into you this morning.   Maybe we should talk about changing schools more often.”

The rest of us pitched in to help wipe down the tabletop and the counters.   Soon, we were seated in the Anderson’s front room, where Mr. Anderson was reading the paper.   He put the paper down, and looked around the room.  “Do we have everyone here?”

Mrs. Anderson replied, “Yes, dear.   I believe that we do.”

“Good,” he said, looking over at Todd.   “We talked with your parents last evening about your brother’s experience at the Arts High School.   We were very pleased to hear how well Adam is doing.   We’ve decided that, if Robbie gets accepted into the Arts High School, he can move down to Minneapolis.”

Robbie erupted in shouts of joy.   He literally ran across the room and gave his Dad a hug.   When Robbie released his Dad, Mr. Anderson continued, “Ben and Glenn, are you still willing to have Robbie as your roommate?”

We both nodded our heads, Ben said, “Yes, we are.”

“Good.   We think that living in the dorms might be too much for Robbie to handle, right now.   However, we do want to go over some of the conditions Robbie must abide by, if he’s going to live with you guys.”

Robbie’s face fell at the mention of conditions.   Mrs. Anderson laughed, “You didn’t think we’d just send you off without any rules or conditions, did you?”

Robbie’s face cleared, “I guess not.”

Mr. Anderson said, “First, no boyfriends sleeping over night.   Second, you must be in by 9 PM every night except on weekends, when you must be in the house by 12 midnight.   Third, you must listen to what Ben and Glenn tell you to do around the house.   That means you must do your fair share of the household chores.”

Robbie listened carefully to his father as he listed off the rules he had to abide by while living with us.   He said, “That’s no different than living here at home.   I can manage those.   Anything else?”

Mrs. Anderson spoke, “Yes, you must maintain at least a B average.   If you don’t maintain a B average, we’ll have to reconsider our decision to send you to the Arts High School.”

Robbie was sobered somewhat by that.   “I think I can do that, but I may need some tutoring in the harder subjects, like math.”   He looked over at Ben and me.  “Maybe Ben and Glenn can help me study when I get stuck.”

Ben said, “Yes, I’m willing to tutor you in math.   Glenn hates math and doesn’t do very well in it; but he can help you in the music department.”

Robbie smiled, “I know Glenn can help me improve my technique.   When will we know if I’ve been accepted?”

Mrs. Anderson replied, “We won’t know until later in the week.   Todd’s parents gave us the links to the forms we needed to fill out and submit.   We took care of that this morning.   Your Dad will call the school the first thing in the morning to make sure they received your application, and to find out if there’s anything else we need to do.”

Zach’s cell phone rang.   He fished it out of his pocket and answered it.   He said, “It’s Mark.   He wants us to come over to his house to go swimming in his indoor pool.   Are you guys up for that?”

We all nodded our agreement.   He told Mark we’d be over in little while.

Mrs. Anderson said, “Ben and Glenn, Zach and Robbie can lend you one of their swimming trunks.   I’m sure they have something that will fit you.”

Zach laughed, “Yes, I’m sure we do.   I’ve got a whole drawer full of swim shorts.   Come on, guys.   Let’s go get our stuff.”

We followed Zach back to his room, while Robbie stayed behind to thank his parents for agreeing to send him to the Arts High School.   Robbie soon joined us, dressed in his Speedo swimsuit.   We whistled at him.  

“Robbie, if you keep dressing like that you won’t be a virgin for long!” I exclaimed, after giving him the once over.

Robbie just grinned even more, “Do you think it looks good on me?”

Zach slapped his brother on the back.  “Yes, he thinks you look good in that swimming suit.   He just said so.   You’re good looking, but not as good looking as me!”   Zach laughed, as Robbie tried to grab him in a head lock.   They wrestled for a minute, before Robbie said, “I give.   You’re still stronger than me, but I’m the better looking one.”

Zach let his brother go.   “Let’s ask Ben and Glenn what they think.”  

Robbie looked over at us.  “Okay, guys, who’s the best looking between me and Zach?”

Ben and I looked at each other before I said, “Zach, do you have a Speedo swimsuit you could put on so we can have a fair comparison?”

Zach grinned, “I sure do.   I’ll put it on real quick.”  Zach peeled off his board shorts and underwear.   He pulled out a bright blue Speedo swimsuit from his dresser drawer and pulled it on.   I loved watching him!   Zach said, “Okay, I’m ready.”

Ben said, “Alright!   Take your places everybody!   The judges will sit on Zach’s bed while the contestants come in from the hallway, walk across the room and stand here in front of the judges.   You have to hold a muscleman pose to show off your physique.   Then, walk back out of the room.   Then, the next one will come in and do the same.   Then, you two will have to wait while the judges decide who is the best looking in their Speedo swimsuit.”

Zach and Robbie laughed.   Robbie guffawed, “It’s almost like a swimsuit competition!”

Zach punched him the shoulder, “That’s exactly what it is!  Now you go first!”

Zach left the room while Robbie strutted his stuff for the judges.    He walked in as Ben had directed, held a muscleman pose and then returned to the bedroom door where Zach waited his turn.  Zach did the same.

Ben called out, “Okay, guys, you have to close the door so we can decide.”  

Zach pulled the door closed.   Ben looked at me and Todd, and said, “I think it’s a tie, because each of them looks great in a Speedo swimsuit, but in different ways.   What do you guys think?”

Todd said, “I think Zach is definitely the better male specimen, but Robbie isn’t far behind him.”

“I think they are both extremely hot, and I wouldn’t mind having sex with either one of them.   As you said, Ben, they are both good looking, but in different ways.   I think we should declare it a tie vote for first place,” I said, smiling.  

Todd looked from me to Ben, “I guess I’m being out voted.   I will yield to the majority opinion.   A tie for first place it is then!”   Todd laughed, “I guess I’m a little biased in my opinion, because Zach is my lover!”

Ben stood up from the bed and walked over to the door.   “Come in, and we’ll tell you who won.”

Zach said to Robbie, “We already know who won don’t we, Robbie?”

Robbie laughed.  “Yes, we do….me!”

They came in and stood in front of us, as Ben announced the winners, “The judges have decided that it’s a tie for first place.   Each of you is very good looking, and despite the differences in your physiques, we had a difficult time determining who was the best looking.   As a result, we decided that you both deserve to win!”

Zach and Robbie laughed and high-fived each other when they heard the results.   Zach said, “Okay, Robbie, I think we can say that the Anderson boys have what it takes to win any Speedo swimsuit contest!”

Robbie agreed, “Yes, it’s true!   Hey!  Do you guys have Speedos, too?”

“Yes, I brought mine,” I said.

Ben said, “I’ve got mine as well.”

Todd replied, “No, I don’t have anything, since I wasn’t planning to stay overnight.”

Zach moved over to his dresser and pulled out another Speedo swimsuit and threw it to his partner, “There you go.   Try those on.”

Todd quickly stripped out of his clothes and pulled on the Speedos.   Todd grinned, “They fit just fine.”

Zach whistled, “They sure do!”   Zach took Todd in his arms and kissed him, grabbing Todd’s perfect bubble butt.

When they finished kissing, Todd said, “If you kiss my like that, we won’t make it to Mark’s house to go swimming.”

Zach laughed and said, “We could join them later, if you want to play some more.”

Todd grinned from ear to ear, “I would like that.   Guys would you mind going ahead without us?”

Robbie laughed, “We’ll tell Mark that you’ll be late.”

Ben and I left the two lovebirds, and made our way to our own rooms to change.   Robbie followed me into my room to watch me change.

Robbie said, “I love watching you.   I think you’re the best looking guy I’ve ever met.”

I looked up from pulling on my Speedo swimsuit and grinned.  “Robbie, you make me feel wonderful when you say that.   I’ll have to remember to call you when I’m feeling down, so you can cheer me up!   Let’s go swimming!”

Ben met us in the hallway.   Robbie volunteered to drive us over to Mark’s house.   We pulled up to a very beautiful home with a circular driveway.   Robbie parked directly in front of the door.  

Mark came out to greet us.  “Welcome to my home.   Where are Zach and Todd?”

Robbie responded, “They will be a little late.   Something came up that they had to take care of immediately!”

Mark laughed, “I’m sure that something had to do with them staying in bed!”

Robbie nodded and said, “It sure did!”

“I’m happy for them.   Follow me and we’ll get in the pool,” Mark said.

We followed Mark through the house to the enclosed pool in the back yard.   The pool was fantastic!   We enjoyed ourselves playing around and just relaxing.   Zach and Todd eventually showed up.   I sat in one of the lounge chairs, watching the rest of the guys goofing around in the water.   I thought to myself, “I’m so fortunate to have found such good friends.  The only thing missing from this perfect scene is my boyfriend.   I can’t help but remember Rick in his Speedo swimsuit as he felt me up in the pool at our condo.   It was an indoor pool, much like this one.   I really miss my guy!   I think I’ll call him tonight, to see if he’s okay.”

Prev To be continued . . .