Be happy. " were the last words John heard from his lover. He sat on the bench with tears in his eyes and running down his cheeks. Through the tears he saw Steven walk away out of his life.
"Hi Boss." The voice startled John. "What's got you down?" John didn't reply. Kevin looked up to see Steven disappear over the sports field.
"It's not that queer fuck?!" Kevin sneered. John's sadness instantly turn to anger. Before he thought about it he had Kevin by the lapels.
"If you ever say anything bad about him or touch a hair on his head I'll separate your head from your body. Got it ?"
"Whoa slow down Johnny." Kevin replied.
"Don't call me Johnny!" John realized what he was doing and let Kevin go."Sorry." he sat back down
on the bench and started to cry again. Keven sat down beside him.
"I'll ask again. What's got you down?"
"You won't understand."
"Try me." Kevin said in an understanding voice that John had never heard from him. Then things got stranger. He felt an arm around his shoulder.
"John, you're my best mate. I'll kill whoever hurt you like this."
"Then I guess you'll have to kill your best mate." John sobbed. Kevin released the hug and gave him a strange look.
"Er, I don't understand." Kevin managed to get out.
"I just ran the one person I ever really loved out of my life." Kevin began to get a clue.
"You mean you and Carter were lovers?"
They walked into the pub and sat at a booth. Kevin went to the bar and ordered two pints. "Here you go mate."
"Thanks." John replied
"So talk Boss."
" I met Steven one day. I had heard the rumors about him. He asked me to his house for coffee."
" But you don't like coffee."
" Shut it." John said bothered." So we went to his house his parents were out. He made me some tea. He had photos of soccer players on his wall. I asked if he was a soccer fan. He said that he just liked the blokes. I found his teddy bear we started to wrestle for it I got aroused. He went to kiss me I freaked and ran away."
"So how did you become lovers?" Kevin asked.
"It was after the ball." A light went on in Kevin's head.
"So that's where you disappeared to."
"After Christina dropped me off I got pissed and went to Steven's house. The door was on the latch so I went in. I told him I had to use his loo, and I did have to. When I came out he look so beautiful I had to kiss him. A shock to both of us. He offered coffee. I said 'I don't like coffee' he said 'you don't like kissing either.' So I told him about the first time I almost made it with another bloke. He held me and it felt good.I kissed him and it felt good. We made love, really made love and it felt right. But I was scared and confused. He made it right.
"Wow", was all that Kevin could say.
"I stayed with him all that weekend. We made love and talked about made me breakfast in bed. God I finally knew what it was to be really in love. I told him if he ever told anyone it would be off."
"Well I guess today kinda ended it."
"Understatement. I need him back Kev."
"So why did you beat him up?"
"I was about to kiss him when you came in. I panicked then I did the worst thing I've ever I could think was how I wish I could hold him and make it better. I know he was talking to me in that speech. I pushed him to it."
"What about Christina?"
"It was a front. I didn't really love her. I just dated her to make me look good." They finished their beer then order another round. They talked a little more and left. John and Kevin walked side by side. John had his head down and his hands in his pocket.
"Well Boss I'll talk to you later." Kevin said as they got to his house.
"Hey Boss can I tell you something ?"
"I love you too. I always have but I didn't think I could tell you."
"Come here you lug." Kevin walked over John gave him a big hug and held him for a while. "I love you back. You're my best mate. But I'm still in love with Steven."
"I did not say I was in love with you." Kevin chuckled. John gave Kevin a peck on the cheek, he didn't flinch as John thought he would.
"Don't get used to that." John said. Then the night got as strange as the day had been. Kevin grabbed John and gave him a passionate gentle kiss. John was speechless. Kevin stood there with a shit-eating grin. John thought about the look on Steven's face the first time he kissed him and thought he must have the same expression.
"What was that about?" John said as he got his composure back.
"You looked like you needed one."
"Kev do you have something to tell me?"
The next morning Kevin went for his morning run. He found himself on Steven's street. He decided to knock up Steven. Mrs. Carter answered the door. She had a puzzled look on her face. She recalled Kevin from yesterday. "May I help you?"
" Yes ma'am. I'd like to speak to Steven,please. It's kinda important."
" I don't know if it would be a good idea."
" I promise I won't lay a hand on him or say anything to hurt him, Mrs. Carter."
" I'll call him. " Steven came to the door with a surprised look on his face to see Kevin.
" Grainger,what are you doing here?" he said annoyed.
" Carter, I've got to talk to you."
" What could you possibly have to talk to me about?"
" Come take a walk with me."
"What if someone sees us together? Wouldn't that jeopardize all you built these last years?"
"I deserve that Carter but things have changed now. Please?" Kevin begged. Steven was taken aback to see Kevin begging him. This must be important."I won't hurt you at the threats of being headless and ball less."
"Ok." Steven yelled into the house " I'll be back shortly Mum." Kevin and Steven walked down the block a ways before Kevin finally said something.
"It's about Johnny. He loves you very much. I feel it's my fault he did that to you. I need to apologize."
" Slow down Grainger. Let me get this straight. You are apologizing for Johnny?"
" No for me . John would kill me if he knew I was talking to you about this."
" Why are you talking to me about this?"
" Johnny told everything last night from the afternoon coffee to the night of the ball to yesterday."
" And you're still this calm?" Steven's head was reeling. Kevin leaned over and pecked Steven on the cheek.
" I'm dodgy too."
" But... you ... me" Steven was at a loss for words.
" You see the only reason I picked on you was my gaydar went off. I was afraid I'd lose John as a mate if I told him. I also love him very much. If I had said something maybe he would have been my lover. Anyway to throw him off the scent I picked on you. When you made that speech I got jealous because you did something I don't think I ever could do. Once I found out about you & Johnny I felt like the world was lifted off my shoulders. But that's not why I'm here. Johnny needs you before he comes completely unglued. I think you should ring him up."
" I can't do that." Steven replied " If I do he will have to come completely out."
" If he told me don't you think he's well on the way?"
" You got a point. Does John know about you?"
" He now had reason to suspect. ``'' Why?"
" It might have something to do with a passionate kiss I gave him last night. But don't worry that was all. I'm no competition for you. Listen Steven. May I call you Steven?" he nodded yes "I want to be your friend because you mean that much to John and he's my best mate. " Call him." Kevin said in a most sincere voice "I gotta finish me run."
Steven stood there his whole world spinning wilder than ever. "What have I done?."
"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.
"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."
"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.
"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."
"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.'"
When Kevin got home he found a note that said his family would be out of town until Monday night. He quickly picked up the phone to call Bryan.
"Hi baby," Bryan answered, "what's up?"
"I am. The folks are out until Monday night."
"I'll be there in fifteen minutes."
"I can't wait to be careful love."
"I will. Keep it warm for me Kev. ``I love you."
"For you alone. I love you back, Bry."
Bryan's parents traveled a lot so Kevin got to spend a lot of nights at Bryan's house. He was excited with the thought that Bryan was going to be spending the night in his bed for a change. Kevin was in a state of euphoria he'd never felt before. He was happy about John and Steven getting back together. He told Steven earlier that he never felt right picking on him because he knew that he himself was also gay. But he had to keep up his front. In turn Steven told him he had heard about the softer side of Kevin Grainger. Steven added that he liked it much better. From the outside seeing Kevin and Steven getting on so well seemed a sure sign of armageddon. They had become true close friends in just one day. This friendship please John to no end. He did not have to worry about Steven's safety from that aspect. Kevin was thinking back on all that afternoon the Basingstoke Four walked and talked sometime to their lovers sometimes to the others. Kevin was amazed at Steven after they talked. He said he wished he had gotten to know Steven instead of beating on him. Since they were in the same year Steven and Kevin made a deal with each other. Kevin would be the muscle and Steven would be the brain. Steve would tutor Kevin. Kevin would be Steven's bodyguard.
Kevin was sitting on the couch watching a football game when the doorbell rang. He went to the door knowing it was Bryan. He opened the door "Hello mate."
"I'm just a mate now?" Bryan joked
"Of course not, love," he kissed Bryan, "come on in. I'm watching a football game."
"Cool." Kevin sat back down on the couch. Bryan sat close to him. Kevin leaned into Bryan's chest. Bryan put his arm around Kevin. They watched the rest of the game like that content and at peace. After the game was over Kevin turned and gave Bryan a long kiss. Bryan took his cue and followed Kevin to his bedroom.
The next morning Kevin was awakened by the phone. He reached over Bryan to answer it. "Hello?"
"Hey Kev what up?"
"Hi Dave, not me, long night." he said sleepily.
"What's this buzz about you, the boss, and Carter?"
"You left out one Faircloth." Kevin added still half asleep. "I'll make some coffee come on over and I'll tell you about it first hand."
"Okay I'll be there shortly." Dave hung up the phone
"Shake your ass babe. We have an early coming out session." Kevin whispered into Bryan's ear.
"Do we have to?"
"Yes, it's Dave he's caught wind of the mall yesterday. He's a good mate we won't have a problems but I think he should hear it from me." Bryan pulled Kevin down for a kiss. "I'm gonna make coffee."
"I'm up." Bryan moaned
Kevin went into the kitchen to start the coffee. He was thinking how calm Dave sounded on the phone. How funny he thought Dave was the only straight one of the "School Gang".The coffee was almost done when the doorbell rang. Kevin went to answer it.
"Hi mate." Dave spoke.
"Hi. come on in. come into the kitchen."
"Bry, the coffee's done." Kevin yelled. He turned back to Dave. "How do you like yours?"
"Black two sugars." Bryan made his way to the kitchen. He didn't know the score, so he didn't let on.
"Bryan my, mate Dave." Bryan gave Dave a firm handshake.
"So you're the last of the `school gang` I haven't met."
"So what up Kev?"
"Well Dave, Bryan is not just a mate he's my boyfriend." Kevin grinned Dave stood speechless for a moment.
"So it's true Johnny and Carter are lovers too ?"
"Ain't it a ripper?" Kevin chuckled. "Here's the kicker. Steven and I are best mates now. He's such a great bloke. I wished I hadn't picked on him and got to know him better instead."
"Whoa slow down Kev. You're telling me Steven Carter, your sworn enemy, is now your best mate? How did this come about?" Kevin told Dave about talking to John after prize day, talking to Steven yesterday morning, and the infamous Basingstoke Four luncheon and walk afterward. Needless to say, Dave was floored by the information."
"So how long have you and Bryan been dating?" Dave asked slowly
"Almost a year. " Bryan answered as he walked over and gave Kevin a kiss on the neck.
"Wow, neither you nor Johnny could tell me?"
"We're jocks and everybody knows jocks aren't queer." Kevin and Bryan both laughed.
"Hey I'm cool with it. I'm just hurt you didn't share with me." Dave said.
"Look Dave We're gonna get Steven and go to check on John. He was going to tell his folks last night. You want to come along? I know it'd mean a lot to him if you were there."
"Okay I'm in."
"I'll call to see if Steve is ready." Kevin dialed Steven's number.
"Hello Mrs. Carter, this Is Kevin is Steven in?"
"Hi Kev. How goes it?" Steven asked.
"Great the folks are away until tomorrow night and Bryan stayed the night."
"Cool, have fun?"
"What do you think pillock? Have you heard from Johnny?"
"Yeah. It didn't go too well. We still going over?"
"Yep are you ready? We're just about to leave."
"Yes I am." Steven replied.
"By the way Dave's here he's going with us."
"That's great John will like that. John said his folks were going to London for the day."
"Okay We're on the way. Love ya Stevie."
"Love ya back Kev." Dave's jaw dropped at hearing that.
"Let's go guys." Kevin said. It was another beautiful day so they walked. Kevin knocked on the door.
"Hi Mrs. Carter."
"Hi Kevin, Steve just about ready. come in. You two have made fast friends after being enemies for so long."
"I know wasted time Steve's a great bloke. I Really like him. Oh Sorry Mrs. Carter this is my boyfriend Bryan and you know Dave. they both said Hi
"That speech really woke up a lot of people. I'm glad you decided to do right by Steven."
"I'll be defending him from now on." Kevin said proudly.
"Thanks." Mrs. Carter said as Steven came down the stairs.
"You guys ready?" Steven asked.
"Yeah." Kevin said as he came over to give Steve an embrace.
When they got to John's house Steven rang the doorbell. John opened the door. "Hi sweetheart." and planted a kiss on Steven. "Hi Kev, Bry."
"Hi Boss." Dave said
Blushing John said "Hi Dave, Oops,I guess I'm out now. Come on in."
"Yeah Kev told me all about the last two days. Like I told him I'm cool with it. Just hurt you didn't tell me."
"I had to tell myself first Dave."
"So how'd it go last night Boss?" Kevin asked.
"Not good. Dad tried to understand. Mum hasn't spoke to me since. I did find out I have a gay uncle. I never met him. He's been excommunicated from the family . Dad says he's going to try to find him. Dad said he's not happy I lied about the weekend Steve stayed here. He did say if Steven made me truly happy he'd be welcome here anytime." John grabbed Steven and put his arms around him."And he makes me very happy."
"So you blokes fancy a swim?"
"We didn't bring any trunks." Kevin said
"So. No one can see the pool unless they're on the grounds."
"I'm in." Steven and Bryan said at the same time.
" Me too." Said Dave. Everyone was in the pool except Kevin. Who came running from the house dived in and swam two laps of the pool. Everyone except Bryan looked on in shock.
"I thought you said he couldn't swim." Steven whispered to John.
"That's what he told me." John whispered back.
"Okay Kev the Basingstoke Four hold no secrets back." Steven shouted. "I thought you couldn't swim?"
"When you date a swimmer you learn." Kevin grinned then kissed Bryan on the neck as he came up behind him. The boys swam, played chicken fights, splashed each other, and tried to dunk each other. the pool was filled with laughter. After they tired, Kevin spoke up. "I'm hungry."
"So am I." Steven agreed.
"So why don't I order some pizzas?" John suggested.
"Sounds great." They all agreed. John picked up his mobile and called to order three large pizzas.
"They'll be here in 45 minutes." Told the gang. They dried themselves and got dressed. They went in to the lounge and started to watch a video. The pizzas came they ate and finished watching the video. When the movie was over Dave said he had to leave. John walked him to the door.
"Thanks for coming. You don't know what it ment to me." Dave leaned in and gave John a hug.
"Take care, Boss." then he walked off.
Back in the lounge Steven said "I've got a bit of homework to finish before tomorrow. It's been a great weekend."
"Come on. We can make it better." Steven followed John up to his bedroom. They fell on the bed in a long kiss.
"What about the guys downstairs?" Steven asked.
"They know what to do they're big boys." John laughed. When they were finished John turned to Steven and said "I've missed you so much. Don't ever leave me."
"You're the one going away. I will never leave you again." Steven promised. "Well I really have to go Johnny."
"Okay do you want me to pick you up in the morning?" John asked.
"You sure you're ready to tackle school?"
"Hell, Stevie, those who haven't heard about the mall will by the end of the day anyway. So why not beat them to it."
"Okay,who are you, where's my John Dixon, and what have you done with?" Steven joked.
"A very lovely person opened his life and showed him the true meaning of love." Then he brought Steven close to him and gave him a light kiss on the nose. They got dressed, walked back downstairs. They found Bryan and Kevin asleep on the couch in each other's arms. "Look Steve, I'll see you in the morning. Call me before you go to sleep. ``I love you." Then John kissed him again.
"I love you more." Steven walked home.
John woke Kevin and Bryan up. Bryan said he had to get back to the other side of town. "Thanks Johnny it was a wicked time."
"Yeah Boss I had fun too." Kevin walked over and gave John a hug. He and Bryan walked off holding hands."When did Steve leave?"
"I guess while we were asleep." Bryan answered. "Kev what do you think you would be like if I hadn't seduced you?"
"You seduced me? I wanted you from the first time I laid eyes on you. But to answer your question. I'd probably be a wild bloke bullying everyone smaller than me. Since my last victim, Steven has become my mate. I guess I'll be a pussycat." They arrived at Kevin's house.
"Coming in?" Kevin asked
"If I do I'd wouldn't leave and I'd be late for school tomorrow."
"I love you Bry."
"I love you Kevin Grainger. They kissed and Kevin went into the house.
Steven heard the honking of John's car horn. He ran down the stairs. "Bye Mum, Dad."
"Hi baby." John leaned over and kissed Steven.
"Hi Johnny." He shut the car door and took John's hand. They didn't talk much on the way to school. They just held hands. When they got to the parking lot Steven noticed a look on John's face that said he was having second thoughts.
"You're going to be fine. You got me, Kev, and Dave behind you."
"Hi boss." Kevin said as he walked toward the car. He leaned into the window and kissed Steven on the cheek. "Hey Stevie."
"Hi Kev." He blushed a little.
"Hey he's mine." John joked.
"Yeah, but who's going to take care of him while you're at Oxford?" Kevin respond.
"Cut it out guys." Steven said.
The three of them walked to the front stoops laughing and joking. John stopped. He noticed everyone was staring at them. "Fuck'em." Kevin said. Steven took John's hand.
"I'm okay, Stevie." He did not try to pull his hand from Steven's. Then the crowd began to applaud and cheer. John looked as if he was going to pass out. Steven just smiled. Kevin put his arm around. Steven's shoulder. The crowd went silent in shock at what had just happened. They followed the trio into the halls.
"I'll see you two at lunch." John said as he looked around to see who was looking. He gave Steven a peck on the cheek. "I love you" he whispered.
"Back at ya."
"He's all yours Kev."
"Aye, boss." Kevin saluted. Kevin and Steven walked down the halls talking and laughing as if they were old friends. Everyone they passed did a double take, sworn enemies laughing together. Kevin dropped off Steven at his first class. "Wait for me. I'll walk you to your next class. Oh yeah, thank you Stevie."
"For what Kev?"
"For making me truly happy."
"I didn't do that. You did that yourself."
"You helped a lot,Stevie."
"Stevie?!" a voice from behind them laughed. Kevin raised his fist in attack mode then he saw it was Mark.
"Sorry Mark, I'm a little protective of Steve these days.I thought someone needed an ass-kicking. Bye Steve, Mark." Kevin left for his class.
"Wow, Steve I can't believe Grainger is taking up for you now."
"He says it's his self imposed penitence all the times he picked on me."
"People are talking about how weird it is to see you two as friends." Mark said.
"Good maybe they'll leave Johnny alone."
"So, how was your weekend Steve?"
"Well, it started out like shit Friday by Sunday night I was in heaven. How about yours?"
"Cool, I hope you don't mind but I told Wendy and Jess what you told me. I thought they should hear it from me or you before they picked it up from the rumor mill."
"Thanks Mark. Jess knew first anyway. How did she take the news about Kevin?"
"She said that about the time you said he started dating Bryan was about the time he became a jerk to her. She still can't believe you two are friends now."
"Speak of the devil." Steven said. "Hi Jess."
"Mr. Carter are you corrupting the whole of the athletic department?"
"No just the star. The other followed suit." They both broke out in laughter."
"Wow, you and the jerk friends."
"Yeah that's a story you've got to hear first hand." Steven grinned wickedly.
"How about lunch?" Jess asked.
"Sorry booked with my boyfriend and my bodyguard."
"Yes your ex."
"Oh from beating you up to protecting you."
Meanwhile Kevin caught up with Dave. "Dave."
"Did you have fun at the boss' yesterday."
"Yeah wicked and so were you." said Dave.
Kevin laughed. "So how do you like Bryan?"
"He's great. Steve thinks you guys are a beautiful couple. I think you look great together."
"I love him so Dave. More than anyone I've ever loved before." Kevin confessed.
"I can tell you're the old Kevin I knew a couple of years ago. I like him a lot better."
"So do I." Kevin said. "You going to join us for lunch?"
"Why not I may as well be the fag hag." They both chuckled.
At lunchtime they all met at the cafeteria. They got their lunch and went out on the lawn to eat. John sat close Steve. Dave and Kevin sat across from them.
"Damage reports?" Kevin asked.
"None here Kev." Steven replied. "Just a ton of questions."
"Ditto." Said John.
"Mr. Dixon, how did you respond?" Steven asked.
"With the truth. I told everyone you seduced me, took advantage of me, and made me your sex slave." Everyone howled with laughter. Steven leaned over and kissed John.
"I am so proud of you." Steven stated.
" I was called to the headmaster's office." John added.
"What happened boss?" Kevin inquired.
"He asked if I thought it was a good idea for the head boy to be seen in public with a person of `Carter's character`. I told him I would hope so and that I would be proud to be seen with you. He asked me why. I told him that you were a wonderful person and I was in love with you. He turned pale as a ghost. He said it was too late in the year to replace me as headboy. Then he asked me to be a little more discreet. I told him how discretion almost loss you. Then I asked if he had heard a word of you speech. Or if he was more worried about his school's reputation than his actual students. And with that he dropped the subject."
"My Johnny's all grown up ." Steven faked a sniffle. John punched at Steven.
" Sorry sir you are not allowed to touch this man in a violent manner or I will have to intervene." They all broke into laughter again. The lunch bell rang. John hugged Steven
"See you after school. I love you so much. Steve."
"Love you back Johnny."
"Come on Steve." Kevin said.
"Yes sir." Steven answered. "How are you set for final exams, Kev?"
"Literature is a bitch. I think Trig is okay. So I guess Lit and History could use some work."
"Okay be at my house at four this afternoon." Steven ordered.
"Great Steve, you're the best." Steven stopped at his classroom Kevin sneaked him a peck on the cheek. "See you after class. "
Kevin got to his next class, he could think of was his family. His new one and his real one. He thought how much he loved the others of the Basingstoke Four. Then he thought about how his mom, dad and brother was going to take his coming out. He knew his dad would would blow a gasket. His mum would think it was her fault. And his brother wouldn't care one way or the other. Summer was coming. John would be spending more time with with Steven. He could spend more time with Bryan. His thoughts kept returning to Steven. His love for Steven was growing by the minute. He could not keep him off his mind. He was in love with Bryan. He really loved him. But Steven was truly something very special. He loved Johnny too. He knew John and Steven were mad about each other. He would not do anything to break them apart. The biology teacher rambled on. Kevin could not concentrate. When the bell rang Kevin was the first out of the door. Steven was waiting outside his classroom door when Kevin walked up.
"Steve you might add biology to the list." Kevin sounded troubled. "May I walk you home after school? I need to talk to you."
"Johnny was suppose to drive me. Since it's you I don't think he will mind."
"Great. Well here you are. I'll see you after school."
After school everyone met at John's car.
"Hi Steve, Kev." He kissed Steven.
"Johnny, Kev's going to walk me home. I think he's got something heavy to talk about. You don't mind do you?"
"Hell no, you got a lot of work with that bloke before you refine him."
"Thanks boss. ``I love you." Kevin said.
"Love you too Kev. Come here Stevie." John held Steven close to him. "You know I love you. Call me tonight."
"You bet. I love you back." With that he and Kevin walked off."
"So what's bothering you Kevie." Steven asked.
"I don't know. Today in bio all I could think about was you. Well the Basingstoke Four, you and my family. I think everything that's happened this weekend has come crashing down on me."
"What do you mean?"
"Well Steve I can't get you out of my mind. I find everytime I see you, talk to you, or just think about you I feel more love for you. I mean not in a sexual way. I don't know what I mean. I guess it's like a respect or admiration. I want to be with you, and talk with you all the time. I'm confused because I love Johnny too. What really scares me is that I might actually fall in love with you someday. I would never do anything to hurt either of you. God knows I don't want to lose Bryan. He's my whole world. I really love him Steven. I've never felt so many emotions in all my life."
"Kevin I love you too in a special way. I feel something in my heart I've never felt for a friend before. Mark has always been there so I my love for him is automatic or old hat. You have given me a new feeling. It's a love I can't explain either. Like you said it isn't sexual. May I tell you something I've never told anyone."
"Shoot my Friend."
"I'd always thought you were gay. I kinda liked you. But you were such a jerk. I saw the way you would look at Johnny. I thought you were so cute."
"Damn, you mean I could've been your lover?"
"If you had played your cards right possibly. But that's a long lost ghost. Strange and funny how time played a trick on us. Kevin started to cry.
"Kev what's wrong? They came to a bus stop. They sat down on the bench. Kevin was still sobbing uncontrollably. Steven held him to his chest much as he had John that night of the ball. He stroked Kevin's head until the sobs subsided.
"I'm sorry Steven, I was thinking of all the time I spent hurting you. I could have been loving you."
"It's okay Kev I've forgiven you. We love each other now. That's what's important."
"You see what a great bloke you are. John is so lucky. I could never deserve a bloke like you."
"Hey, Bryan's a great guy."
"I know and I love him so. That's why I don't know what to make of these feelings for you."
"We're friends Kev. That's all we can be. Look we got enough on us right now. I can't handle breaking two other people's hearts. Johnny would not survive it. The Basingstoke Four would explode into nothing. I know you could not hurt Bryan that way. My feelings for you and your feelings for me cannot be acted on. We both have relationships with strong possibilities. Let's put this out of our minds. We can do it. Come on I'll fix some tea so we can get to studying."
"Thanks Steve. You're my hero. You know how to make things right." Steven drew Kevin into a hug. He held him tight. Then kissed him lightly on the lips.
"One for luck." Steve said. They walked on to Steven's house.
When Kevin got home his family had returned from their trip. Kevin was glad to see everyone. They were about to have evening tea. He sat with his family to eat.
"Kevin how was your weekend?" his father asked.
"Wicked, I've got so much to tell you. I wanted to tell you after prize day, but my mates grabbed me and I didn't get home until after you left. Which turned out for the best because it gave me more time to sort things out in my head."
"Kevin, what are you babbling about?" his dad asked.
"Well you know that bloke Steven Carter. The one who made the speech?"
"I wish you wouldn't use that word but any way. When he said that there were more parents out there with gay sons. He was talking to you. Mum, Dad, Kyle I'm gay."
"Kevin that's not fucking funny. I will not have a gay son." His dad said.
"Would anyone like more meat?" his mom asked trying to change the subject.
"You have no choice in the matter Dad, I am what I am. Steven is now one of my best mates. He showed me not to be ashamed of what I really am. The funny and sad part is I used to beat up on him because deep in my heart I knew he was gay. I thought it would keep people from finding out I was gay."
"Kevin I don't want to hear anymore of this queer shit go to your room. Now!" Kevin knew he'd better obey his dad before he turned violent.
Kyle came into the bedroom a few minutes later.
"Kev." was all he could say. He went to his big brother and held him for a long time. "I love you big brother. I am so very proud of you. I was hoping this day would come for a long time."
"What do you know about being gay Kyle?"
"Kev., I'm your little brother I know you better than anyone. I know about you and Bryan. I have for a long time. I was wondering when you were gonna come clean with me."
"What do you know? You're a fifteen year old brat."
"Sixteen next month. How old were you when you started dating Bryan?"
"Sixteen." Kevin gave in.
"So why can't I know something about it?" Kyle asked. "So tell me about your new mate Steven."
"Well you heard his speech."
"Yes I did. But what did that have to do with you and Steven becoming mates?"
"I knew Stevie was talking to me. I was still being mean to him after the speech. A few minutes later I went looking for the boss. I found him on a bench by the track; crying. I asked him what was wrong. He only said that he had just run off the only person he had truly loved. I looked up. I saw Steven walking over the horizon. I called him queer. Before I got the word out of my mouth John had me by the collar about to take my head off. I realized John was gay and he had just broken up with Steven. I talked him into going with me to get a pint or two. He told me the whole story of he and Steven."
"Saturday morning I went to talk Steven into giving John another chance. John was coming unglued. He did even realize I came out to him. the night before. I apologize for picking on him and told him I was dodgy too. I promised him from that time on I would be his protector. I guess Steven called Johnny. Bry and I had a lunch date at the mall. When I got to the mall I happened upon John and Steven holding hands. They had made up. Bry joined us. We went for a walk and that's about where we are now. Hey Kyle can I tell you something?"
"Shoot big brother."
"I love Steven. I wish I had been his friend instead of his enemy. He said I could have been his lover if I hadn't been such a jerk. I really love him I always had but I was too afraid to approach him." Kevin started to cry again. Kyle once again held his brother who was in pain. "Everytime I think about how bad I was to Steven I start to cry. Forgive me."
"I don't need to forgive you." Kyle started. "If Steven has forgiven you then the only one left is yourself. You have to forgive yourself, Kev."
"I know Kyle. The scary part is I think I'm in love with Steven Carter. He says he loves me too. The thing is we are both in relationships. Mine is more solid than his but that's beside the point. We both have these feelings. We don't know what to do with them. Neither one of us wants to hurt our partners. John is my best mate I can't tell him I'm in love with his boyfriend. At this point in time it would kill him. Steven and I have decided not to act on our feelings. We made a deal. He's going to tutor me through finals. In return I will be his bodyguard."
"That sounds great Kev. I guess I can tell you now that I have a boyfriend too." Kyle smiled.
"Wow Dad's gonna really have a cow. Both sons dodgy." Kevin had a wicked grin on his face. He grabbed Kyle in a big embrace and kissed him. "Look Kyle let him get over me first then I'll help you tell them. If nothing else we can get a place together somewhere. Then our lovers can come over anytime. Oh, by the way, who is your boyfriend?"
"Jeremy, who else."
"I should have known you two are inseparable. Do you love him?
"What do you think pillock?"
"Boy this week has been too much."
"So Kev do you want to double date some time?"
"Hell we can triple date. Steve and Johnny , You and Jeremy, and Bryan and me."
"Sounds great Kev."
"You know I wonder if the Basingstoke four can expand."
"The what?" Kyle asked.
"The Basingstoke Four; John, Steven, Bryan, and I. It's a name Steven thought up. Because we are sort of an alternate family, a support system for each other."
"That would be great to be a part of something like that."
"I'm sure you would be welcome. I've got to call Stevie. I told him I would let him know how it went with Mum and Dad."
Kevin dialed the phone. "Hello Mrs. Carter this is Kevin. Is Steven in?"
"Hi Kev. What's up?"
"Do you think we could expand the Basingstoke Four to six?"
"I'm lost Kev."
"Well my little brother is dodgy too and he has a boyfriend."
"Ripper isn't it Kyle just told me."
"How did it go with the folks?"
"Like I thought, My dad sent me to my room. My mom tried to change the subject. My brother came out to me."
"You thought you brother would come out to you?"
"No, silly you know what I mean." Kevin and Steven laughed.
"But That's all? " Steven asked.
"Yeah I went to my room took keep Dad from getting violent."
"Did you talk to Bryan yet?"
"No, I'm still reeling about Kyle. I needed a more settling voice."
"Why thank you Mr. Grainger."
"Steve can we meet tonight?"
"Hold on I'll check." Steven asked permission.
"Yes Kev where do you want to meet.?"
"How about the Burger King?"
"Okay see you in about ten minutes."
"I love you Steven."
"I love you too Kevin."
Steven met Kevin outside the restaurant they didn't go in. Kevin gave Steven a big hug and a light kiss. Steven drew Kevin back in for a more passionate kiss. He did not realize Kyle was with Kevin.
"Wow!" was all Kevin could say.
"I'm not but I should be. Steven meet my little brother Kyle."
"Oops." Steven blushed. "He's not so little Kevin."
"It's okay Steven. I think I know how much my brother loves you."
"What's he talking about Kevie?"
"I told him I was in love with you."
"I'm in love with you too Kev. What can we do? I don't want Johnny to hate us."
"Steven who do you love more?" Kyle asked.
"I know Johnny needs me. I've been wanting Kevin since I first laid eyes on him."
"That could be lust Steven." Kyle pointed out.
"I've wanted to love Steven for so long Kyle."
"Is it worth losing Bryan Big Brother? Do you really Want to throw away a whole year for something you don't really know about? What about John? Could you live with yourself if you started to date your best mate's lover?"
"No Kyle I couldn't. We've already talked about this Steve and I we know it wouldn't be right. but I don't think I can be happy with out Steven beside me anymore." Kevin turned to Steven, we need to talk to Johnny."
"Let's wait until school is out. This can wait we've waited this long. There's no need to upset him before exams." Steven said.
School had been out a week. Steven was working with his dad at the camera shop. Kevin got on with Linda's brother at a garage. Bryan went with his parents to America. Kyle and Jeremy worked at a grocery store. Johnny took it easy. Kevin had lost interest in Bryan they broke up before he left for America.
Steven called Kevin, "I think we should have that talk with Johnny"
"Yes I think so too."
They met at the mall. John got their usual booth. The gang gathered.
Steven started. " John, Kevin and I have to talk to you."
"Boss, you know you are my best mate and I love you with all my heart."
"Johnny, I love you also. Well here goes." Steven sighed. "Kevin and I are in love with each other.
"Excuse me!" John exclaimed.
"Look boss we haven't done anything."
"It's just that we have these feelings for each other that we can't explain." Steven said.
"I've always had feelings for Steven." Kevin added.
"Well you had a hell of a way of showing it Grainger." John only used Kevin's surname when he was angry with him.
"I was afraid of what you and David would say. I picked on him to keep hide the fact that I was gay."
"Johnny I too have had feelings for Kevin before I met you. He was such a jerk. I knew he was gay all along. If he had come out before. I think I would have gone for him."
"I need a drink." John walked to the bar and got three pints and a shot of whiskey. He gave Kevin and Syeven a pint and downed his shot .
"Is this how you repay my friendship Grainger? Mr. Carter, do you know the hell you've put me through. Now you tell me you're in love with my best friend?"
"No Johnny, it's not like that. I can't turn my back on you; and I won't. We've agreed to put our feelings out of our minds. We had to talk to you." Steven sobbed
"How can I trust you. What's to stop you from doing something while I'm away?"
"Because I love you more Johnny." Steven said.
"And you're my best mate Boss I won't betray you that trust of a friend." Kevin answered. "We wanted you to know how we felt. We both love you."
"Johnny, do you think I would ask you to be honest with everyone If I wasn't honest with you?"
"Yes Steven I trust you. It's that bloke over there I don't trust." Kevin had a horrified look on his face. John grinned then took the both of them under each arm. "Hey if I love you both it's only logical that you would have feelings for each other."
Just then Kyle walked up.
"Kyle do you know about these two?" John asked. "What do you think?"
"I love my big brother.I told him if he pursued Steven I would not approve but I would stand beside his decision."
"Good that's what a brother should do." John said
"Kevin can I trust you with Steven while I'm away?"
"I don't know if he is a bit cuter, but you're a better kisser."
"Promise?" John asked.
"Promise." John kissed Steven on the cheek. Steven realized what he was about to give up.
"Kevin I love you but look what I got." Steven said. He went over to Kevin and kissed him on the cheek.
"Boss I'm sorry. Will you forgive me?" John hugged Kevin and kissed him.
"If it didn't work out with Steven and me. Would you make him happy Kev?" John asked
"You bet your ass I would."
" Then I am bowing out. I want Steve to be the happiest he could be. I'm so fucked up I'd only make him cazier. I know you can make him happy. He deserves that more than anyone I know."
"But I love you Johnny." Steven started to cry.
"Look Steven I'm going to be off to Oxford soon. You need someone to be with, close by. Kevin I know you better than anyone accept Kyle here. I can see you really love Steven. This is your second warning you hurt him I'll take your head off. I think it would be great for you two to be together."
Kevin and Steven were looking at each other speechless with tears in their eyes. "Boss I couldn't."
"Kev. you have my blessings. Don't fight me on this." Kevin and Steven engulfed John in a group hug both crying in disbelief.
"Don't just stand there Kevin Give your lover a kiss." John chuckled Kevin did.
Chapter 8: Epilouge
Five Years Later
There is a gathering at the park where this all began.
Steven and Kevin had moved in together after graduation. Steven is working for the local paper. Kevin has his own is now in his last year of law school. Kyle is a computer analyst. A few months after John had moved to Oxford Kyle ran away from home to escape the abuse of his father. He moved in with John. A friendship developed then a romance. Which brings us to today.
"Dearly beloved we gather in this place to join these two couples together in a lifelong journey of love." the Vicar said. "John you may begin."
"I, John Dixon, promise Kyle Grainger to love you, to honour you and forever be by your side down the road of life." John placed a ring on Kyle's finger.
"I, Kyle Grainger, promise John Dixon to love you, to honour you, and to be by your side for the rest of our lives." Kyle placed the ring on John's finger
"I, Steven Carter, promise Kevin Grainger to love you for the rest of my life. You are my sun in my life even on rainy days. I will walk by your side forever as your life mate." Steven placed a ring on Kevin's finger
"I, Kevin Grainger, promise Steven Carter to always love you when times are good and bad. I will always be by your side for as long as I live to forever be your life mate." Kevin placed a ring on Steven's finger. John had a jeweler design four identical bands with " The Basingstoke Four" engraved on the inside.
"I hereby declare you life mates. You may kiss your mate. Ladies and Gentlemen I present to you Misters John and Kyle Dixon-Granger and Misters Kevin and Steven Carter-Grainger."
The crowd erupted into applause and hugged Kevin and gave him a kiss " I love you big brother. Congratulations."
"I love you too. We did it I'm so happy."Kevin replied.
John hugged Kevin." I love you Kev. I knew you'd make him happy. Thank you for bringing Kyle into my life."
"Thanks Boss for giving me Steven. I love you so much."
Kyle hugged and kissed Steven. "Look at those two. We got two great husbands." Kyle whispered.
"Yeah we do. Love you. John will make you very happy. I know." Steven whispered back.
Then Steven turned to John. John and Steven looked into each others eyes. They started to cry. John grabbed Steven and kissed him."You know I never stopped loving you." Steven said.
"Nor I you. Does Kevin make you truly happy?"
"Yes Johnny he does. Thank you. I love you." They kissed again.
Linda, Mark, Wendy, Dave, Jess, Steven's parents and John's parents who were all in attendance, came up to congratulate them.
John and Steven had secretly purchased a duplex in town so the Basingstoke Four could always be together. It was a real surprise to Kyle and Kevin. It had gotten as real as it could get.