"Hey Craig, you down there?" Matt Nelson called out as he started down the basement staircase.
"I'm in back, Matt," called out a strong masculine voice from the bottom of the stairs. "Come on down."
Quickly, the five-foot-eight teenager made his way down the stairs leading to the basement of the Longwood house. The room at the foot of the steps had been converted to a small apartment, complete with kitchenette and bath. It was exactly the kind of place Matt wished he had in his own house. It was the first time he had been down here. Previously Craig's parents had rented out the small room, but turned it over to Craig two weeks ago as a graduation present. He was still in the process of moving in.
"I'm in here, Matt," came the voice from the outer room.
As Matt stepped through the doorway, he could see that this half of the basement was much more like the one in his own house: rough, bare cement walls, exposed pipes, ceiling beams. Part of the basement had been converted to storage bins. The boiler and water heater took up another third. All the way in the back, near the outer door, were a weight bench and several rows of barbells. It was on that bench that he found his friend.
"I'll be with you in a few minutes."
Craig puffed as he lifted the heavy barbell as high as he could.
"I only have a few more sets and I'm done."
"No problem," Matt replied as he looked down on the muscular youth on the bench. "I guess I'm a little early, anyway."
Craig Harris, at eighteen, was six months older than Matt. He was also five inches taller and about twenty pounds heavier. Clad only in a thin pair of blue gym trunks, most of his tanned body was exposed to view. More than half the girls in their graduating class would've been willing to drop their pants in a minute if they were standing in Matt's place.
The younger teen took a moment to add up the weights on the barbell Craig was using, quickly deciding that it was far more than he could ever lift. It wasn't that the blonde-haired young man wasn't in good shape. In fact, he had been on the high school's baseball team. Matt had more of a lean, athletic build, while Craig had been working out with weights since his early teens and had played football for that long as well.
He watched his friend complete a few more sets and realized with a small shock that he was staring at the steams of sweat running down his well-developed chest and arms.
"Why don't I take a look at the computer while you finish up here?" Matt said as he began to turn away.
"Good idea," Craig said, as he paused for a moment with the heavy weight again fully extended at arm's length. "All the stuff my uncle sent over is piled up on my desk."
Back in the small apartment, Matt sat down on the computer, which had been set up on the desk and hit the on switch. It wasn't long before the screen came to life and filled with the old familiar windows 3.1 setup. The computer had been given to Craig by his uncle when he got a newer system. The computer wasn't the top of the line model that you'd find if you walked into any store today, but it was more than Craig needed. Matt was a firm believer that no one really needed all of that crap that was stuffed into computers nowadays — at least not for home use. He picked up the spec sheet and quickly ran it down: 33 MHz cpu, 8 Megs RAM, 540M hard drive. It was still a good machine, no matter what anyone said. It fact, the only reason Craig's uncle had gotten a new one was that the older machine had a problem with a lot of the new upgrades that he wanted to hook up. It was cheaper in the long run to just buy a new one.
The one upgrade that the young man was glad to see was the 28.8 bps modem that Craig's uncle had put in. The spec sheet said that it had originally come with a 2400 bps modem. Matt cringed at the thought of showing his friend how to get online at that speed. He quickly brought up the File Manager and checked what was in the hard drive.
"Over 300 Megs available," Matt thought, then smiled. "They did a good job of cleaning up the drive."
The last time he had volunteered to help a friend set up an old computer, the drive had been so crammed full of junk that it had taken him hours just to delete all of it. Since the main thing that Craig was interested in was getting online, Matt brought up the copy of Netscape that had been left. The account information in its memory still belonged to Craig's uncle, so Matt deleted it and entered the info for his own online account. Once Craig learned how to get around online, he'd call up TIAC and get his friend his own account.
"Now where did he put those notes?" he asked himself as he searched a desk filled with manuals and printed sheets. "Craig could learn a few things about organization."
Finally he spotted the folder he was looking for on the far edge of the desk. He reached out for it, but bumped the pile of papers and the folder fell behind the dresser, next to the desk.
"Shit," he muttered as he got up out of the chair to retrieve it.
Matt had to pull the bureau out a little to reach down and behind it. He spotted the folder resting next to a pile of magazines that must have fallen down there earlier on.
"Craig really has to learn how to pick up," Matt laughed, as he grabbed both the folder and the books, pulling them up.
Dropping the four magazines onto the nearby bed, the red-shirted young man was about to turn his attention back to the computer when the title of one periodical caught his eye.
"Fuck!" he exclaimed loudly, before he could check himself. He quickly looked over his shoulder to see whether his friend had heard him.
After a few seconds Matt turned his attention back to the magazine. The banner on the top read "Hombre." Underneath it was a picture of a well-developed Hispanic man wearing only a pair of cut-off jeans. Flipping through the pages of the book, Matt saw that it was filled with similar pictures of men. Only they weren't wearing any jeans. They weren't wearing anything else, for that matter.
"Damn," he whispered to himself, ever conscious of his friend's presence in the outer room.
Matt quickly picked up the second book. It was called "Ebony and Ivory." Unlike the first magazine, this one had much more than nude shots. The men in this book were black and white and they were engaged in various sexual activities. He stopped on one page in particular that showed a young white teen, who couldn't be more than eighteen years old, kneeling in front of a muscular black man in his forties. The young man had his mouth wrapped firmly around the older man's cock.
Fueled by curiosity, he turned to another publication called "Young Men In Lust." Unlike the other two books, this had no articles. It was filled, instead, with glossy pictures of teenaged boys having sex with each other. All of the boys in the book looked to be about his and Craig's age. In fact, there was a picture of a young man taking a cock up his ass that Matt thought looked a little like him. So much, in fact, that the picture, following all the others, had given him a hard-on. He was about to see what the last book was about when he heard steps behind him.
"How are you making out, buddy?" Craig asked as he stepped into the room, drying his face with a small towel. "Got it all ready to..."
The tall, dark-haired athlete stopped in mid-word as he looked at his friend sitting on the bed and spotted the magazine spread open to a two-page centerfold. The picture was of two guys in a tight embrace, sharing a hard kiss while at the same time playing with each other's cock.
"Where did you get those... ?" Craig asked in a slow, hesitant voice.
"I found them behind the dresser," Matt explained, a little ashamed to have been found looking at them. "One of the folders fell behind there and I had to move it to pick it up."
The color seemed to fade from Craig's face, despite the tan he had been working on since the beginning of the Summer. The look on his face was one few people had ever seen, one of utter devastation. In one brief catastrophic moment, his entire aura of self-confidence was gone.
"I suppose you're wondering what I'm doing with magazines like that?" he asked in a defeated voice.
"What you're doing... ?" Matt repeated. "You mean, these are yours?"
"Whose did you think they were?" Craig asked in return, cursing himself for not thinking. He might've be able to explain them away if he hadn't said anything.
"I thought they might've belonged to the guy who was renting this place from your parents. The way they were wedged in against the wall, I figured he'd dropped them there and forgot them when he moved out."
"Oh shit, shit, shit," Craig muttered as he realized that Matt hadn't made what he thought was the obvious connection — that the books were his.
"Are you really into stuff like this?" Matt finally asked.
Craig took a few deep breaths. Deep down, he knew that some day it might come out. But not, he had hoped, for a long, long time. How were people going to react when they found out that Craig Harris, high school jock, rumored to have screwed half the girls on the cheerleader squad, was instead a cock-sucking faggot?
"Matt, I don't really know how to explain this," he began. "I guess maybe I should've told you, but I..."
"Craig." His younger friend cut him off. "It's okay."
Craig just looked at him in confusion.
"Hey pal, you're my friend," Matt said with a smile. "Nothings going to change that."
"Shit, Matt. You don't know how glad it makes me feel to hear you say that!" the taller teen said.
.... There is more of this story ...