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" Johnny?"
"Steven, God I thought I'd never hear from you again. I've been wanting to call you since you left the sports field. I.."
"Slow down Johnny." Steven said "Let me talk. I had a very interesting visitor this morning."
"If he did anything to..."
"Wait Johnny," Steve interrupted. "he came to plead your case. Maybe I didn't give you enough credit. I mean it took bollocks to come out to him first. He would have been my last choice."
"Yeah, but you know the strangest thing is I think he made a pass at me. He was like a complete stranger to me last night."
"I think he did make a pass at you. He asked me to take a walk in public with him. Then he asked me to be his friend and kissed me on the cheek. " Steve told of his bizarre morning.
"Boy that speech must was more powerful than I thought. If it outed Kevin. No telling who's next?" John joked.
"Maybe you?" Steve snapped backed.
"Stevie can we grab lunch somewhere? I'd like to see you." John asked
"You sure you want to be seen in public with me?"
"With you and only you. One step at a time. It's the only way I can prove how deep my love for you really goes." Steven was reeling again. I've got to stop making speeches he thought to himself.
"Okay where?"
"How about the mall food court at 12:30 ?" John asked
"I love you Steven Carter." Steven did not answer for a second
"I'll see you at 12:30." He hung up the phone.

When Steven got to the mall he saw John smoking and pacing back and forth. "Steven!" John said immediately engulfing Steven in his arms and holding him tight. Tears started to roll down John's cheeks. Steve held John loosely. John did not care who saw this . Being a Saturday, there were a lot of people from school at the mall and quite a few were staring at the couple. John let go. "Sorry Steven."
"It's okay, Johnny . But I think we've made a bit of a scene."
"I don't care. I love you and I don't care who knows. Do you want me to shout it out hear, now ?"
"God, Johnny what's gotten into you?"
"You. Come on." They got a booth. "What do you want Stevie.?"
"You, But I settle for a burger and chips and a Coke."
"I'll have the same." John said to the waitress. " Steve I want to apologize to you again. I really do love you."
"I know John. I still love you too, but I'm still angry with you. Well, not as angry after that greeting. Have you told your parents about that weekend?"
" Not yet. I wanted to make sure you would you be in my life to make it worth the hell I'm going to get from them. Before this weekend is over I'm going to come out to them. Tonight."
"Good start."
"What else do you want from me?" John asked.
"I just want you to feel we have a normal relationship. Not to be afraid of what others may think. You are the same person you were before I made that bloody speech. The only difference now is that you have a notorious boyfriend." Steven said with a wicked smile. John laughed for the first time in a while, it felt good. "You see if everyone knows there's nothing to hide. They'll get over it."
"That's easy for you to say. Everyone expects me to be Mr. Perfect."
" Geez, I didn't see a halo anywhere." Steven quipped.
"I'll say it again: I don't care as long as I don't lose you."
"You won't Johnny; I love you."
John grabbed Steven's hand and held it across the table. Just then Kevin walked up with a grin from ear to ear. "Hi boss. Hi Steve. I see you've kissed and made up."
"Made up." Steven said. John leaned over the table, grabbed Steven by the collar, and gave him a big kiss.
"Now kissed." John smiled.
"Way to go Johnny!" Kevin cheered.
"Sit down. Kev, what's up with you?" John asked.
"You mean your boyfriend over there didn't tell you?"
"Tell me what?"
"Let's see how'd you put it I'm dodgy."
"But you were so hard on Steven." John was puzzled.
"I was afraid of what you and Dave might think. After our talk last night I thought you would get it. But you were well out of it. I had to talk to Steve there first because made me come to terms with who I really was. Then after I found out about you and Steven I decided to get you back together. I was going to suggest we all hook up after you two got things settled. I didn't expect to see you together so soon or here."
"Yeah well, Im lost without Steven in my life. But that won't happen again." John noticed he was still holding Steven hand.
"Kevin have you told your parents yet?" Steve asked.
"I'm trying to figure out when and how. I do want to tell them." Kevin replied. Steven was seeing the softer side of Kevin that Jessica had talked about that night at the ball.
"Hey Kev, Got a boyfriend?" John teased.
"As a matter of yes I do." Both Steven and John's Eyes widened.
"Who?" They said in unison.
"You'll see he's gonna meet me here shortly." Kevin said. A tall young man about 18 with a swimmer's build, long red hair to his shoulders, emerald green eyes walked over to the booth. He leaned over and kissed Kevin.
"Hi babe."
"Hello love." Kevin replied. "Excuse my manners. Bryan Faircloth meet my best mate John Dixon and his boyfriend Steven Carter." John recognized Bryan from a swim meet with a school on the other side of town.
"Good to meet you Bryan." Steven said "Join us." Steven got up and moved over to the side with John. Kevin and Bryan settled in on the other side. Steven grabbed John's hand. Bryan put his arm around Kevin.
"Wow boss, a lot different from our last double date." Kevin chuckled.
"You know John, Kev is always talking about you. He called me last night so excited I thought he would float off into space. He told me about the whole day and night. Quite a day. I'm glad to finally meet you."
"How long have you guys been dating?" Steven asked. Keven couldn't wait to answer.
"A year come 12 June."
"You wanker you kept it from me that long." John laughed.
"You kept Steven a secret from me?"
"Fair enough." John said.
"You know I'd had a few ideas about you two but I blew them off. I guess I should trust my gaydar more." Kevin said. John looked at Steven and smiled.
"Kevin's got a boyfriend, Wow. Stevie don't make any more speeches anytime soon. My heart can't take it." John said. They all laughed. After eating both couples walked out into the mall holding hands. There were lots of stares. None of the four noticed. Steve recognized a familiar redhead walking toward him smiling wildly.
"You dog." and gave Steven a big hug.
"Mark." Steven said
"You didn't think you could tell Me!" Then Mark noticed the company he was with. "Hey Dixon, Grainger."
" Mark, this is Bryan, Kevin's boyfriend." Steven said
"Did you bring the whole athletic department out with you?" Mark joked.
"Shut it Mark we're all still in shock. Steven replied.
"Dixon you better take care of my best mate."
"You don't have to worry Watkins and it's John."
"Okay call me Mark. Steve call me tonight."
"You bet."
"Later." Mark waved as he walked off.
"What do you want to do now?" Kevin asked.
"How about the cinema?" Bryan suggested.
"It's so nice out. How about a walk." John said.
"Sounds cool." Kevin and Bryan agreed
"I'd like that." Steven said.
They found themselves in the park. John and Steven were still holding hands. Bryan had his arm around Kevin's shoulder. Kevin had his arm around Bryan's waist. "They look good together." John observed.
"So do we." Steven replied. They found a grassy spot in the sun and sat down. Steven sat between John's legs his back to John's chest. John put his arm around Steven's waist. Kevin sat with his back against a tree. Bryan laid his head in Kevin's lap. Kevin ran his fingers through the red locks.
"We're going to have to stick together guys." Steven broke the silence "You know safety in numbers."
"I'm not afraid." Kevin said.
"Well the way I see it," Bryan spoke "we have got us an alternative family unit."
"Here, here." John chimed in.
"So," Steven started, "I hereby dub us 'The Basingstoke Four.'"