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The Seventeenth Summer (Ch 3)

A time for sun, surf and self-discovery . . .

By Mark 'Ponyboy' PetersPublished 6 months ago Updated 6 months ago 27 min read
Original image by Janan Lagerwall on

Chapter Three

They found Pat and Thomas down by the beach later that afternoon and suddenly their friends wanted to know everything they could find out about Jake, despite the fact they had scurried away at the first sighting of him earlier in the day. Nate and Danny were ready for them, however, as they knew that their families would be trying to extract as much information as they could.

It was Danny who came up with a plan to throw them off the scent, with a suggestion that they tell their friends Jake was actually a journalist from some high-powered city newspaper who had been sent off by his bosses to drive around Australia and find hidden holiday spots which could be used in a special feature they were going to run. Jake was to write the stories and send them in, along with some good photos.

The boys figured that by telling Pat and Thomas, for starters, it would quickly get back to their parents, then it would only be a matter of time before it was all around the town. Maybe then all the old foggies might just think a bit differently of Jake? Or would they?

By the time the boys had told Pat and Thomas all they could think of to tell, it was growing late, so it was time to head home. After farewelling his friends at the edge of town Danny trudged the short distance to his home. When he arrived there he found himself in for several surprises, the first of which was seeing the Kenworth prime mover belonging to his step-father, Brad Anderson, parked in their driveway. Danny had never met his real father, and Brad was the only father he had ever known, yet for some reason he could never think of the man as dad.

‘Oh, shit!’ was his first thought after seeing the truck, as he trudged up toward their tired old house, feeling every bit as tired himself. That wasn’t a good sign.

When he went inside he found his younger brother and sister watching some cartons on the family’s black and white television, but his parents were nowhere to be found. He knew where they would be, of course, which was quickly confirmed when he went to go into his room and found that the door to his parents’ room was closed, and muffled sounds were coming from behind it.

He knew what that meant and smiled to himself. After more than a week on the road there were certain things that Brad would have missed, and it was almost always the first order of business when he arrived home after these long trips. It also meant that with the old man now satisfied, he might be tired, but he would be in a better mood than he otherwise might have been, so maybe the shit pile that Danny thought he would find himself in, for the way he spoke to his mother the other night, might not be quite as deep as he had first thought it could be.

Still smiling to himself he crept into his room and dropped his belongings onto his bed, then crept back out again, trying not to imagine what was going on next door, but at the same time not being able to do anything but imagine just that when he heard the squeaking of bedsprings and the girlish giggle of his mother.

Thinking it best not to tempt fate, he decided to head back outside, where he felt sure he could find something to do that would help take his mind off what was happening inside the house.

He went down to the shed, where he knew there were some things he needed to pack away, after he had been rummaging around in there a few days earlier. He figured that would help him take his mind off things of a more carnal nature, but it was no use. The sounds that had been coming from his parents’ bedroom, coupled with the thoughts that he had been thinking all day while in the presence of both Nate and Jake, were simply too strong to keep things at bay, and pretty soon he found himself with a hand inside his shorts, giving the beast within a workout, as Nate had so eloquently put it.

It wasn’t long before he found himself focusing on one particular sight that had been burned into his memory today . . . that of Jake climbing out of his van and then walking towards their little group. He was seeing it now in slow motion. Jake was simply gorgeous. And that look he gave Danny when they had been talking about Jake being gay, and Danny saying it didn’t bother him . . . that was a real moment . . . like Jake could almost see right through him . . . and that remark about ‘if I show you mine, you show me yours?’ Just what was that about?

The more Danny thought about it, the more sense everything was starting to make for him. Jake had obviously picked up that he was gay too, and this both scared and excited Danny; exciting him to the point of no return. He quickly had to pull down the front of his shorts and with a loud grunt he released what had been building.

That felt so much better, but it was only moments later when he was plunged into the depths of despair.

‘Feel better now, son?’ a voice from behind him said.

Danny froze; with fear, with embarrassment, with humiliation. He was unable to move. One hand was still holding down the top of his shorts, while the other was still holding onto his rapidly softening penis. He could even feel his juices on his hand.

Fuck! How could he ever face his step-father again?

‘It’s okay, Dan,’ the man said behind him. ‘We all need to do it. It’s even good to do it.’

Danny was shaking like a leaf. He wanted to run. He wanted to cry. He wanted to scream. But all he could do was stand there with his eyes closed, afraid to even look at Brad.

‘Just clean yourself up, mate, then come up to the back verandah. I think it’s time I bought you your first beer. I also think there’s a few things we need to talk about.’

Then he was gone.

He could hear his step-father’s retreating footsteps . . . and was that? Was he chuckling to himself? What the fuck was with that?

After a short while he finally managed to recover some of his senses. There was a rag on one of the benches, which he used to wipe down his manhood and his still trembling hand then he pulled up his shorts, leaving his t-shirt hanging out, so that it might cover up any tell-tale leakage.

The last thing he wanted to do right now was face Brad, but he knew it would be futile trying to avoid him. It was going to be awkward . . . it was going to be beyond awkward . . . but there was no getting around that, he knew, so after wiping the tears from his eyes, using the sleeves of his t-shirt, he took a chance and looked out the shed door, while making sure he kept himself out of sight.

His step-father was sitting on the verandah at the back of the house, sipping on a can of beer. There was another can sitting on a small table between the seats. Brad wanted a chat, and he suspected that he knew what it would be about.

For a few moments more Danny took some deep breaths, hoping that would steady his nerves, but when he held a hand up in front of his face he could still see it trembling.

‘Fuck it!’ he quietly, but forcefully, said. Then, after taking another deep breath he took the plunge and walked out of the shed and headed for the house, all the while keeping his head down, unable to bring himself to look at his step-dad.

‘Danny, my man!’ Brad said, while holding out the can of beer, as Danny climbed the steps and crossed the verandah. ‘Damn, it looks like you’re just about all grown up now.’

Danny certainly didn’t feel grown up. And if the old man thought that giving him a can of beer was going to make a difference he was going to be sadly disappointed.

‘Thanks,’ Danny mumbled, as he took the beer and sat down, still without even having looked at Brad.

‘You don’t have to be embarrassed, mate. That’s all just a part of growing up. Every guy that was ever born does it.’

‘But . . .’ Danny somehow managed to say, before cutting himself short.

‘But what? You think that you’re the first person to ever get caught doing it by one of his parents?’ Brad laughed. ‘Shit mate, you’ve still got a bit to learn. Go on, open your beer and have a drink with your old man . . . you deserve it.’

Reluctantly Danny obeyed, first pulling the tab from the top of the can, then raising the can to his lips and tasting a small mouthful of the cold liquid it contained.

It wasn’t the first time he had ever tasted beer, but it was the first time that his step-father had ever offered him a can. He had decided long ago that he hated the taste of it and he would never be a beer drinker, which he knew would be yet another thing that Brad would eventually be disappointed in him about, but for the sake of trying to keep his father happy right now he felt he didn’t have a choice to do anything but swallow it.

As the cold liquid slid down his throat he couldn’t help but grimace.

‘There you go,’ he heard Brad say. ‘That’ll put some hair on your chest!’

Danny certainly hoped not . . . he liked his chest just the way it was.

The two of them sat there in silence for a few moments more, each seemingly lost in their own thoughts, but eventually it was Brad who broke the deadlock.

‘You know, son, I don’t think we ever had that birds and bees talk that most parents have with their kids.’

‘No, sir.’

‘Do you think we need to? I mean, you’ve obviously figured out what that thing is for . . .’ he chuckled.

‘No, sir. I think I’m all good,’ Danny hurriedly answered, hoping to God that this conversation didn’t go any further. Nervously he swallowed another mouthful of beer. This one didn’t taste any better than the first.

‘That’s good. It’s a bit of a relief actually . . . talking about this kind of stuff was never something I thought I’d be good at . . . that’s probably why I haven’t said anything before today.’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘And as for what I saw out there in the shed . . .’

Oh, God, Danny thought!

‘You probably don’t want to hear about the time I caught your Uncle Mike doing that either, do you?’

‘No. Not really,’ Danny answered.

‘Nah, I didn’t think so,’ Brad said, chuckling, before taking another swallow from the can of beer he was holding.

Danny did the same, although it was more of a sip than a swallow. This stuff was tasting worse with every drop.

‘Anyhow, that’s not really what I wanted to talk to you about.’

Danny glanced across at the man, finding himself being studied carefully.

‘W-w-what do you mean?’

‘Your mother was telling me about this new guy that was hanging around in town, that you and your friends have been seen talking to.’

Danny said nothing. He swallowed hard. He just knew that something was coming, so he waited for Brad to continue.

‘Apparently you got a bit worked up the other night . . . do you want to tell me what that was all about? There’s probably not much I can do about it now . . . and even if I thought you deserved the old strap or something as punishment you’re just about big enough to be able to knock me down now anyhow, so what would be the point.’

Danny could only look away as he tried to give himself a few moments to gather his thoughts, before then looking down at the can he was holding in his hands.

‘I . . . I . . . I’m sorry I yelled at mum, b-b-but I didn’t think it was right . . . what everyone was saying about Jake,’ Danny said.


‘Yeah, mum and all her friends . . . she tried telling me they all thought he was a homo and on drugs . . . and they hadn’t even met him . . .’

‘So, you were defending him?’

‘Well . . . somebody had to . . . it just wasn’t right.’

‘But were they right? I mean, you’ve met him, and you even know his name, so do you think he’s like that?’

‘N-no,’ Danny replied, while hoping like hell that his father didn’t pick up on his hesitation.

‘I see. So what is he like then?’

‘He’s okay. He seems nice, but we’ve really only talked to him a few times. He likes painting and drawing too, he was telling me about it when he saw my sketchbook today when he said hello to us. I let him have a look through it and he liked my drawings.’

‘I see.’

For a few moments they remained silent, each taking another sip of beer as they thought things over. Danny was still trying to figure out the change that had come over Brad, because on any other day the punishment for what he had done would usually be the leather strap he kept in the bedroom, or something worse. Maybe he was waiting for later, Danny thought.

It was right at this moment when Danny received the final surprise of the afternoon. While they were still on the back verandah talking, they had heard the phone ring inside. They heard Danny’s mother answer it, and then spend some time chatting away to whomever it was, before finally she hung up.

Moments later the squeaky screen door was pushed open and she appeared on the verandah.

‘Oh, there you both are!’ she said. ‘Dan, you didn’t tell me that your friend Jake worked for a newspaper!’ she added.

‘Nate and me only found that out today,’ he answered, somewhat defensively. At the same time he was quite chuffed that their piece of deliberate misinformation had made it back to them so quickly. Maybe their little plan just might work after all. ‘He’s on some assignment apparently, writing travel articles and taking photos, so that’s why he’s camping out and laying low . . . so he could be just like a normal person, instead of having people all try and impress him with stuff so the stories would sound better. He told us all about it. Even showed us his camera gear and stuff.’

It had taken him and Nate a while to perfect their story, and the more he heard it the more convinced he was beginning to feel that it would work. He reckoned they had better fill Jake in on it tomorrow, just in case someone asked him about it on one of his trips into town.

‘Well, I have to admit that sounds quite important. Maybe everyone was wrong about him after all?’

‘See, that’s what I was trying to tell you, mum,’ Danny said, and as he and Brad exchanged glances, which was followed by a wink from his old man.

Danny couldn’t get out of the house quick enough the next morning, just in case Brad changed his mind about any punishment for his words of the other day. He needed to talk to Nate as soon as he could and tell him about what his mother had said after the phone call the previous evening. Everything else that had happened, however, he would definitely keep to himself.

After throwing a couple of his sketch pads into a backpack, along with some snacks and a towel – because who wouldn’t go to the beach and at least take a swim – he headed out to the shed to find his bike. The tyres needed some air, so he quickly pumped them up, then jumped on and rode out of the yard, listening to Brad still snoring as he rode past his parents’ bedroom window, while smiling to himself.

He had never in all his life been as embarrassed as he had been yesterday afternoon, after having been caught in the shed in the act of jerking off, but at least nothing more had been said about that, so he figured things would die down. He was still a little concerned about the story he and Nate had concocted surrounding Jake, however, and so he was quite keen to get out to the camp site so that they could give Jake a heads-up, just in case.

As Thompsonville was a relatively small place the boys usually tended to walk quite a bit, rather than bike. That was also, at least in part, because neither Pat nor Thomas owned a bike, but today they wouldn’t be seeing those friends, and so their bikes would definitely be needed to ride the few miles out of town to Hidden Beach.

When he arrived at Nate’s he found him still having breakfast, but it didn’t take long for his friend to scoff that down, then after checking the tyres on Nate’s bike, they set off, following the road out of town on a beautiful clear morning.

‘So, what sort of mood was your old man in when he arrived home?’ Nate asked him as they passed the sign at the edge of town.

‘Okay, I guess. We ended up sitting on the back verandah talking, and he even gave me a beer.’

‘For real? I wish my old man would let me have a beer every now and then.’

‘What for? It tastes like crap!’ Danny answered, with a laugh.

‘Says you!’

‘Yeah, well, the old man says it’s an acquired taste . . . so maybe you’ve already acquired it?’

‘Maybe,’ Nate agreed. ‘Was anything said about Jake?’

‘Yeah, he wanted to know what happened when me and mum had words the other night. I expected to get a strap across my bum, but he said I was probably big enough to be able to knock him down these days anyhow. Instead he asked what happened and why I got uppity, and when I explained my side of the story he seemed to understand.’

Danny had told his best friend about what was said between him and his mother, so Nate already knew what that was about. What he couldn’t, or wouldn’t, fill him in on was everything else that had happened last night.

They turned onto Beachside Lane and Danny stood up on his pedals and started pedaling faster, fishtailing through the loose gravel on the edge of the road and calling out to Nate to catch up, which he quickly did. With the sun on their faces and the wind blowing their hair back, they felt like free men, setting off on an adventure, where they would be able to do whatever they pleased and answer to no one. They were both laughing as they rode along, trying to swerve in front of each other, or shower the other with gravel. They both felt that this was going to be an awesome day.

The picnic area for Hidden Beach was almost at the end of Beachside Lane, with a short road turning off and leading through some scrub, opening out onto a large car park which looked down over the beach. There were a number of covered picnic tables, as well as a barbeque area, toilets, and a basic set of outdoor showers not far away, where beachgoers could wash away the salt water after swimming in the bay.

Almost all of the local kids had come out here from time to time, whether for the swimming or for family outings, or for any number of other activities . . . although those were mostly after dark.

When the boys rode into the car park this morning it was almost empty. The only sign off life they could see was Jake’s campsite set up as far away from the entrance as possible, with his panel van parked amongst some spindly looking trees and with two surf boards leaning against it. They could also see a tarpaulin hanging over a rope that was strung between two trees, which they thought would give Nate at least a bit of shelter, but apart from that it was a primitive set up.

They rode across the car park, expecting Jake to hear them and come out and greet them, but when they reached the camp site and came to a stop, there was still no sign of him.

‘Are you there, Jake? It’s Danny and Nate,’ Danny called out.

There was no answer, but they figured Jake wouldn’t be too far away, seeing as his car and all his stuff was still here. Nate dropped his bike and began looking around, while Danny ventured a peek beneath the tarpaulin at where Jake was obviously camping.

Moments later he heard Nate say, ‘There he is.’

Danny joined him as Nate pointed toward the beach, and they watched as Jake walked up between the low dunes, with a towel slung over his shoulder. When he looked up and saw them he waved, which they returned, however it wasn’t until he was much closer that they realised that the towel was the only thing he was wearing.

‘Fuckin’ hell . . . he’s got nothing on!’ Nate squawked.

Danny couldn’t say anything, as suddenly his mouth had gone dry and his guts were squirming. He also couldn’t take his eyes off Jake as he continued coming toward them. He had never seen a sight that was so breathtaking.

When Jake joined them a few minutes later Nate was looking everywhere but at him, while Danny was studying Jake more closely than ever, and his uncircumcised manhood which was hanging loosely between his thighs and swinging from side to side with each step he took.

‘Hey boys. I’m glad you could make it,’ Jake said. ‘Sorry if my appearance is a shock to you. Just give me a sec and I’ll pull on some shorts.’

‘That’d be good,’ suggested Nate as their new friend passed between them, heading for his shelter.

Danny wanted to say things looked just fine as they were, but he knew that just wouldn’t do. Instead he continued to watch Jake as he walked past them, while trying not to be too obvious as his eyes now settled on the firm, tanned globes of Jake’s bum before he disappeared beneath his canvas shelter.

Even Nate was having a good look, he noticed, which at least made Danny feel like he was a little less of a freak, but still, he knew that he would need to be careful.

With Jake out of sight the two boys looked at each other. Nate raised his eyebrows, then pulled a face at Danny, before silently mouthing the words, ‘What the hell!’

Danny just shrugged. He didn’t say anything . . . he knew he couldn’t, lest he might give away the feelings of excitement which were now coursing through him. He was just thankful that his t-shirt was hanging loose in front of his own groin, hopefully covering up any evidence of what he knew would be a dead giveaway as to just how he was feeling right now.

When Jake emerged a few moments later, he was wearing the same denim shorts he’d been wearing on the day when they had first met, which seemed like a lifetime ago now. Danny glanced down at the bulge outlined beneath the taut fabric. He wondered if Jake did this deliberately, showing off his assets like this, or if he just didn’t care. A quick glance at Nate and Danny could see that he had noticed also, but he was finding it difficult to read his best friend’s reaction.

‘So, I hope you lads didn’t cop any flack over being seen with me yesterday?’ Jake asked them.

‘No,’ Nate answered.

‘No, everything was fine,’ Danny added. ‘But . . .’

Jake looked directly at him. ‘But what?’

‘Well, we kind of told a little white lie about you,’ Nate answered.

‘About me?’ Jake asked, a frown creasing his forehead.

‘Yeah . . . everyone was still talking about you like you’re a . . . I don’t know . . . some kind of monster or something,’ Danny added. ‘So we decided they should know you’re an okay guy and that you’re not some hobo or pervert just passing through.’

Jake was looking a little worried.

‘Okay boys, we better sit down . . . I’m not sure if making up stories about me is such a good idea.’

Without saying another word Jake headed for his canvas home and sat down on the bedroll in which he slept. It was a mattress and some blankets, along with a pillow, sitting on a piece of canvas that was a couple of feet bigger all round than the mattress. The boys had seen these often. When it was time to move on it was simply a matter of folding the sides and ends in, rolling it up and tying a couple of ropes around it, then you were ready to go.

Danny and Nate simply sat on the ground, cross legged, with Danny dropping his backpack beside him.

‘We kind of told our friends, you know, Pat and Thomas, that you were working for a newspaper,’ Nate began.

‘Yeah, and you were writing travel articles about great places to stay up and down the coast that were cheap and welcomed campers and stuff,’ Danny added. ‘And you were taking photos of the places to go in the articles and wanting to meet the locals and stuff, but you didn’t really want people to know . . .’

‘Yeah, so that you wouldn’t be treated special, or different, and you could write about the places just as you saw them,’ continued Nate.

As the boys added their embellishments, and their laying of the trap with their two friends, clearly excited by their invention, Jake’s frown began to change to a smile, and when they eventually finished he was chuckling quietly to himself.

‘So, do you think it worked?’ he asked them.

‘Hell, that’s the best part. When me and mt step-dad were having a beer on the back verandah last night . . .’

‘Wait, your dad lets you drink beer with him?’ Jake enquired.

‘It was the first time . . . he said he thought I was getting grown up enough now . . . anyhow, there was a phone call while we were talking . . . it was one of mum’s friends, who was telling her what she had heard about you, which would have had to come from Pat and Thomas. Now even my mum thinks you must be an okay guy!’ Danny boasted.

As Jake shook his head in amazement the two boys grinned at him.

‘Well boys, what can I say? I’m almost speechless.’

‘You just wait ‘til the next time you go into town . . . I bet a whole heap of people will treat you different,’ Nate suggested.

‘Maybe I should take my camera and a notepad and at least pretend I’m writing something?’ Jake wondered aloud.

‘Well, it sure wouldn’t hurt,’ mused Danny.

‘No, mate. I guess it wouldn’t.’

‘Hey, maybe you could really write something and send it and some photos to some magazine or something . . . don’t they pay for stories?’

‘Let’s just not get too carried away with this whole grand plan of yours,’ Jake replied, but even as he said that he was thinking that it actually wasn’t such a bad idea.

As they sat in the shade of the canvas the boys looked around them at what Jake had with him. There was a fold up table, on which there sat a wash basin. There was also a fold up chair, an ice cooler and a metal trunk, currently closed. On the ground there was another piece of canvas being used as a ground sheet.

‘So this is all you travel about with?’ Nate asked, quite curious about the life of a well-to-do vagabond.

‘Pretty much,’ Jake replied. ‘I keep all my other gear locked in the car . . . my cameras and my paints and paintings and supplies. When I’m ready to move on I just pack it all up and away I go.’

‘And what happens if there are storms and stuff and it’s really wet?’ Danny enquired.

‘Sometimes then I cheat and find a caravan park, or even stay in a cheap hotel . . . there’s plenty of both of them all along the coast . . . or sometimes I even stay with friends I meet.’

‘What kind of friends?’ asked Nate.

‘Just friends,’ Jake replied. He didn’t want to tell the boys that they were people he sometimes met who were willing to share their bed for a night or two. They might be okay with him being gay, but these two guys were still only young and no matter how accepting they might be, learning the intimate details of guys meeting and having sex with strangers might be a bit much for them to handle just yet, he thought.

He studied Nate as he had answered him and had a feeling, from his expression, that the boy had a pretty fair idea, anyhow, of what he meant. About Danny, he wasn’t quite sure just yet. He didn’t think that Danny was quite as worldly as his friend, but he also thought that of the two of them it was Danny who was the more curious and the one who would be most likely to understand and even accept his way of life.

‘So, can we see your van?’ Nate asked next, deftly changing the subject.

‘Sure,’ replied Jake. ‘I promised you guys I’d show you some paintings.’

‘He’s the one interested in all the arty-farty stuff,’ Nate scoffed, while cocking a thumb toward Danny. ‘I just want to check out the motor . . . it just sounds so hot when you’re cruising up man street. . .’

‘So, you’re a petrol-head, huh?’

‘Maybe. I do like playing around with motors and stuff . . . . maybe I’ll be a mechanic after I finish school.’

‘That’s a good trade to have . . . people will always need mechanics. What about you Danny? What do you want to do when you leave school?’ Jake asked as he got to his feet.

‘I . . . I haven’t really thought about it much yet,’ Danny replied.

‘Well, I guess you have a little while yet before you really need to think about that too seriously . . .’

‘Yeah, I suppose so.’

‘All right then boys, how about we check out the van, and if you behave yourselves I might even give you a beer.’

‘Beer? Errr . . . no thanks, I’ll be fine,’ replied Danny.

‘What? I thought you said your dad let you drink it?’

‘He gave me one, sure . . . but I didn’t say I liked it, did I?’

‘I’ll have one, though,’ Nate eagerly added.

Jake smiled at him. ‘Of course, you will. It’s on one condition, though.’

‘You name it.’

‘You don’t ever tell anyone I gave it to you . . . the last thing I would want is to get in trouble for corrupting a minor.’

‘I think you’ll be safe,’ Danny interjected. ‘He’s already about as corrupt as they come!’

‘And what are you? Mr Goody Two Shoes?’ spat Nate.

‘Oh, I’ll bet young Danny here has all sorts of secrets that you don’t know about yet, Nate. Don’t you know it’s always the quiet ones you have to worry about,’ Jake chuckled.

‘Never mind his secrets,’ Nate replied. ‘I could tell you enough stories about my mate Danny that would fill a book.’

‘Well, I hope that one day I’ll get to read that one!’

Suddenly Danny felt his cheeks flush as his two companions looked at him. He would get Nate back later; the last thing he would want would be for Jake to find out just what he was like. He really wanted to impress Jake, not have him think that he was some twelve-year-old school kid!




This story will be updated with a new chapter each week, but if you don't want to wait that long you can always purchase the completed novel as an e-book, here . . .

Thank you for your support! :)

Young Adult

About the Creator

Mark 'Ponyboy' Peters

Aussie, Queer & Country

LGBT themed fiction with an Aussie flavour, reviews, observations and real life LGBT histories.


E: [email protected]

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