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The Seventeenth Summer (Ch 6)

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

By Mark 'Ponyboy' PetersPublished 2 years ago Updated about a year ago 14 min read
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Original image by Janan Lagerwall on Unsplash.com https://unsplash.com/photos/8NuDsZegIpQ

Chapter Six

When Danny had finished telling Jake everything that had happened in the last twenty-four hours, from his finding his step-father at home when he got there himself yesterday, to his being caught in the shed, then to what had happened today when he had arrived home, he could see a frown etched across the forehead of his new friend.

‘I can’t believe it,’ Jake eventually said.

‘But I’m telling the truth,’ Danny quickly blurted out.

‘Oh, mate, I believe you . . . I just can’t believe how any father could do . . . that! What the fuck was he thinking?’

‘He’s not my father, he’s my step-father, and I don’t think he was thinking,’ Danny replied. ‘The look on his face when he finally stopped, it was like . . . it was like he was in a trance or something. I’ve never seen him like it before.’

‘But you say that every time he comes home from a trip on the road he’s okay for a while, then goes funny?’

‘Yeah. I’m sure that once him and mum . . . well . . . you know . . . it puts him in a good mood, but then he gets a few beers into him and it’s all downhill from there, until he’s ready to hit the road again.’

‘And has he ever touched you before, like he tried to do this morning?’

‘No, not like that. Sure, I’ve had the strap across my bare bum plenty of times . . . what kid doesn’t . . . but he’s never tried anything else, at least not with me.’

‘Hmmm . . .’

‘Do you think he might be . . . you know . . . like us?’

‘I really don’t know, mate. I do know that some truck drivers don’t mind a bit of . . . errr . . . action with other guys . . . after all, it’s a fairly lonely life they lead . . . so I guess it’s possible that he might be one that could do that. But like I said, I really don’t know that for sure.’

‘It’s just so . . . I don’t know . . . so fucking crazy!’

‘I know, mate. I know.’

For a while nothing more was said, as they both finished off their drinks, while contemplating the crazy world in which they seemed to be living.

‘I feel like going into town and saying something to the bastard!’ Jake eventually said.

‘No, please don’t!’ pleaded Danny. ‘That would only make things worse!’

‘You’re probably right . . . but still, he shouldn’t be allowed to get away with things like that.’

‘Yeah. I know he’s the only father figure I’ve ever had and all that, and I’m supposed to love him, but can’t. I need to stand up to him . . . tell him that he can’t do that sort of shit. I’m not going to say anything to mum, but I am going to tell him that if he ever tries it again, or if he ever touches my brother, I’ll go straight to the cops!’

‘Do you think that’ll put the wind up him?’

‘I fucking hope so! I can’t think of anything else I can do.’

‘I know it’s not easy being sixteen and having to deal with stuff like this, but you’re a good guy, Danny, and I’m sure whatever you do will be the right thing.’

‘That’s easy for you to say.’

‘True, but even after only knowing you for a short time, I think I understand you. You remind me a lot of me a few years ago,’ Jake responded, as he reached up and placed a hand on Danny’s shoulder, while massaging him just a little as he did so. ‘Guys like us sometimes need to make our own way in life, because there are people out there who will do everything they can to take advantage of us or get in our way.’

‘Thank you,’ Danny replied, before placing a hand over Jake’s.

It was moments like these that Danny was beginning to appreciate, even after having only known Jake for a short while. He sensed early on that there was something different about him, at least compared to other guys he knew, and it wasn’t just that he was gay. It was more than that, it was something deep down, something within his soul, Danny thought.

Slowly the two of them leaned into each other. There was nothing tentative about the kiss this time around. They both knew what to do, and what to expect. When their lips met it was a beautiful moment. Unrushed, and without any expectation other than for the two of them to connect with each other and share the feelings of attraction that seemed to be rapidly developing between them.

Jake gently pushed Danny backwards, laying him back on the mattress as the two of them stretched out, with Danny on his back and Jake propped up on an elbow, leaning over him as the kiss continued, all the while tugging at the bottom of Danny’s t-shirt and running his hand across Danny’s smooth stomach. Jake was moving slowly, not wanting to surprise his inexperienced companion with something beyond his experience, but occasionally he would venture just beneath the elastic of Danny’s shorts with the tips of his fingers, which would elicit a soft moan from the lips of his young friend each time he did so.

‘That feels so good,’ Danny whispered.

‘Babe, I’ve barely begun,’ Jake chuckled, but instead of continuing he leaned back and looked down at Danny, while letting his hand roam under the boy’s t-shirt.

‘What’s wrong?’ Danny asked. ‘Why did you stop?’

‘Nothing wrong, mate. Nothing at all. I just wanted to look at you. I wanted to remember you like this, all pure and virginal, because if we continue it won’t be very long before you’re not like that any more!’

‘And is that such a bad thing?’ Jake asked, grinning.

‘Not at all . . . but . . . but before we go down that path I just want us both to be sure of what we are doing.’

‘I don’t think I understand! Don’t you like me?’

Jake smiled down at him.

‘Oh, Danny. It’s not that. I certainly do like you . . . I like you a great deal . . . and I can even see us having a future together at some point, if that’s what you want.’

‘But?’

‘But, you’re only sixteen. I’m twenty. If we were caught having sex now we could both wind up in some serious shit. You’d end up in a boys’ home of some sort . . . but it would be even worse for me . . .’

‘So, by that do you mean jail?’

‘Yeah. I do.’

‘I don’t want that for either of us. So, what do we do then? I want to spend time with you . . . I want you to teach me everything, but I don’t want you to get in trouble because of me.’

‘And I would love nothing more than to give you everything you want! There is so much I want to show you, but I guess we’ll just have to take it easy, for a little while a least, and see how things develop between us first.’

Danny looked up at him and smiled. ‘I guess I can’t ask for much more than that then, can I?’

‘No, I don’t think you can,’ Jake replied, before leaning in and kissing Danny once more.

When they were done the two of them fell back against the mattress, gazing up at the canvas ceiling above them, where they stayed for quite a while, with their hands intertwined between their bodies.

Eventually it was Danny who broke the silence.

‘You know, there was something else that was good that happened today,’ he said.

‘Yeah? What was that?’

‘You finally got Nate to loosen up a little,’ Danny chuckled. ‘And all it took was fifty bucks!’

He looked across at Jake and saw him smiling.

‘So, he said yes, huh?’ Jake said. ‘And how about you?’

‘Oh, I think you already knew what my answer was going to be.’

Jake could only smile at him.

It was after dark when Danny finally made it home. He had wanted to stay with Jake, but Jake had insisted that he go. It was a hard thing to do, especially when the burgeoning desire between the two of them was so obvious, but in the end Danny saw reason, realising that it wouldn’t do either of them any good being caught together, as everyone would no doubt jump to the wrong conclusion anyhow.

Cautiously Danny pushed his bike past his father’s truck, then down the driveway at the side of the house. The lights were on inside the house, and when he passed the side window of the kitchen he could see his mother and siblings sitting at the kitchen table. There was no sign of his father, and that only served to send another shiver through Danny.

As quietly as he could he crossed the back yard and headed for the shed, where he pushed his bike inside, propping it against the wall where it was usually stored. It was dark inside, but thanks to the light spilling out across the back yard from the back verandah there was just enough to see by.

For a long time he just stood there, wondering what he should do next, his heart beating so loudly that he could hear it thumping in his chest and ringing in his ears. He didn’t hear anyone approaching and he jumped suddenly when a figure appeared in the shed doorway.

‘Danny!’ the voice said.

‘Stay away from me!’ Danny replied, after quickly re-gathering his thoughts. He glanced around to see if he could find something to defend himself with, should the need arise, but it was too dark to make anything out. He still had one hand on the frame of his bike; maybe he could throw that if he needed to?

‘I . . . I’m sorry . . .’ Brad said. ‘I don’t know what came over me!’

‘That’s not good enough!’ Danny said forcefully, suddenly feeling the courage begin to rise inside him. ‘Is that what you do out on the road . . . go after guys like that . . . I’ve heard stories about truck drivers that do that! Do you?’

‘What?’ his step-father almost squeaked.

‘You heard me! Are you queer, or gay, or whatever it is that they call it these days? I don’t care if you are . . . but if you ever touch me again, or if you ever touch Peter like that, I promise you I’ll be going to see old Sarge Bailey quicker than you can say blow me! Do you understand me?’

‘I . . . I . . . don’t . . .’ Brad almost whispered, as he slumped back against the doorway.

‘I’m not going to tell mum, if that’s what you’re worried about, but so long as I live here, you just remember what I said. I mean it! You treat us all right! Do you hear me?’

‘Y-yes,’ his step-father softly replied.

The man’s response struck Danny as being quite odd. He wasn’t sure where his own inner voice had come from, but he certainly hadn’t expected him to surrender quite so meekly, which only made him think that he was indeed guilty of those things of which Danny had accused him. Danny felt a little bad that he had stooped to that level, especially given his own recent discoveries about himself, but he soon reconciled that there was a difference between somebody just discovering they might be gay and beginning to explore those feelings, and somebody who was gay and trying to force themselves upon someone else . . . especially when the someone else involved was his own step-son.

Fuck! What had the old man been thinking?

Moments later he saw the shadow move once more, as if he was leaving the doorway, only to then stop and turn back.

‘Your mother has been worried about you all day,’ his father said, but with the voice of a shattered man. ‘She has your dinner ready, so I suggest you go and have it.’

‘Right,’ Danny replied, and then his step-father was gone.

As he waited a few minutes he thought about what had happened and what had been said. He didn’t want to hate the man, but he had definitely crossed the line. Provided he behaved himself from now on, however, that was all that Danny would worry about. He felt sure that Brad would carry on with his job, coming and going as he always had, and maybe he would even get himself some action out on the road while he was doing so, but now that the new ground rules had been laid for life at home, Danny was going to make sure that his step-father obeyed them to the letter; at least while Danny was still living here. Maybe later their relationship might stand a chance of being repaired, but there would need to be a lot of fence mending done before that could happen, he thought.

After waiting a few minutes, giving himself time to stop shaking and compose himself, Danny finally left the cover of the shed. Nervously he looked around, as if expecting someone to jump from the shadows again, but no monsters came, so he crossed the back yard and headed for the verandah.

No sooner had his feet hit the weathered boards than the back door was flung upon, with his mother appearing in the doorway, looking worried.

‘Where have you been?’ she asked.

‘Hi, mum. I’ve been with Nate.’

‘All day?’

‘No, not all of it . . . I was up at the lighthouse drawing for a while this afternoon.’

‘Have you seen your father?’

He really hated it when she referred to Brad as being Danny’s father.

‘He’s not my father.’

‘He’s the only father you have!’

‘Whatever.’

‘Have you seen him?’ his mother demanded.

‘Yes.’

‘And?’

‘And what?’ he asked, somewhat defensively.

‘Did you two sort out whatever it was that you had been arguing about?’

‘Wh-what did he say?’ suddenly feeling like a rabbit caught in the headlights.

‘He said it was nothing . . .’

‘Well, that’s what it was then . . .’

For a long time she stood there with her arms crossed in front of her, studying him, as if she was trying to see through his lies, but eventually she simply stepped aside and gave him room to enter the kitchen.

‘Go have a wash. I’ll get your dinner from the oven for you.’

‘Thanks, mum.’

In the days that followed Danny saw little of Brad, which suited him just fine, and when he came home one afternoon to find the Kenworth no longer parked in the driveway it felt as if a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders.

It was only fear that had him reacting like that, but still, he didn’t like it. He knew that he just couldn’t wait for the man to hit the road once more, and when he finally did just that, it was a huge relief, as that meant no more treading on eggshells or having to check around corners to see if Brad was there, waiting to pounce.

Who he did see quite a bit of in those days, however, was Jake. Sometimes when he was with his friends in town they would hear the familiar, throaty burble of the motor, as Jake cruised in, always taking a park in the same car park where he had first met the boys. The van always seemed to attract attention, but Danny and Nate both noticed that the original scowls of the locals now seemed to have been replaced by smiles and even an occasional, ‘Hello.’

Nobody except Jake understood the high-fives that Danny and Nate would give each other, or the inexplicable bouts of giggles that would arise when one of the more respectable members of the community who had originally looked down their noses at Jake would smile and greet him cordially.

The boys also took every opportunity to ride out to the campsite at Hidden Beach, where they all spent time swimming or talking, or drawing or painting. Whenever Jake and Danny pulled out the sketch books or paints, however, Nate knew that this was their time, and while he sometimes hung around and watched them at work, he usually wandered off on his own; either back down to the beach, or sometimes even heading back into town, where he would meet up with their other friends. He knew that Jake was helping Danny with something he was passionate about and he had no desire to get in the way of his best friend learning from Jake.

It was during these times without Nate when Danny and Jake were able to continue to explore their deepening feelings for each other, all the while knowing that taking any steps toward a more physical relationship could get one or both of them in a great deal of trouble should their liaison be discovered. For this reason they deliberately refrained from crossing that line, which certainly took some doing, especially for Danny. Every shy glance or look that passed between them, every gentle touch they shared, the occasional kiss, each hug, would leave Danny’s head spinning and heart thumping, teasing him, daring him to go further. He had never felt like this about anything or anyone before and with each visit to Jakes campsite he left there only wanting more.

At around this time the first questions were also being asked by Danny’s friends as to just what he might be doing spending so much time with that stranger, but these were soon silenced when Nate would defend his friend, telling those questioning him that he knew exactly what they were doing, having seen them working side by side, and furthermore, he was amazed at what they were both producing.

That seemed to satisfy the inquisitors for the moment, but even Nate had to admit that sometimes he found himself wondering.

The subject of the offer of fifty dollars came up on the very next visit after it had been suggested, but Jake said he needed to think about just what it was that he wanted to produce and would let them know when the time was right.

‘Well, does he want to do it, or doesn’t he?’ Nate asked Danny, with more than just a note of exasperation in his voice, as they rode back into town late one afternoon.

‘Of course he does! I mean, what queer guy wouldn’t want to see you naked?’ Danny teased his friend, giving him a playful push as they rode side by side, causing Nate to veer away, before managing to straighten back up.

‘Hey . . . it’s you, too, don’t forget!’ Nate responded.

‘True, but I know a little about what it takes to think up a subject and compose an image, and I know it can take a little while to get the picture you want just right in your head, long before you ever pick up a pencil or brush.’

‘You’re full of shit!’

‘Maybe,’ Danny grinned.

‘So, when do you think he’ll do it?’

‘I don’t know.’

‘Well, how about we surprise him?’ Nate suggested.

‘What?’

‘He wants us both to do it . . . so how about we both strip off when we go out there next . . . see if we can’t get him in the mood or something!’

‘Nate, are you sure you’re not queer?’ Danny teased.

‘Man, I just want that fifty bucks! And before I get cold feet and change my fucking mind!’

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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 . . . https://books2read.com/u/mg1dyv

Thank you for your support! :)

Young Adult
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About the Creator

Mark 'Ponyboy' Peters

Aussie, Queer & Country

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

W: https://ponyboysplace.wordpress.com/vocal-media-index/

E: [email protected]

https://www.facebook.com/mark.p.peters/

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