Will and John were married, with the surprise of Will's father being alive. At the reception, Drake ran into Oliver, or vise-versa, and Robby chatted with Matthew, John's brother. Monday, after the wedding, John and Will adopted Drake.
Jordan and Hall interviewed several candidates for the Chief of Operations, saving Jordan's cousin Kash for last. Jordan and Hal agreed that he was the best candidate for the position. Kash didn't come alone. He was in the process of adopting a son.
Kyle met with Devin French, and they had a friendly conversation.
Dave and Hal were barely able to contain their laughter as they watched their son, Oliver, pace the living room waiting for Drake to arrive. Lars was with Mama (or Grandmama as he called her) shopping.
Dave finally smiled at his son and told him, "You might as well sit down, he's not supposed to be here for at least another thirty minutes."
The surprise on Oliver's face as he heard this was priceless. "Is it that long? I was hoping he would get here early."
Hal called Oliver over and pulled him onto his lap. "I know you're excited, but pacing will not make him get here any sooner. If you like we can call John Luke and ask when they expect to get here."
"Would you do that? I guess I am a bit nervous. I mean, I like him... I really like him, and I hope he will like me as much."
Hal tapped his communicator and it connected with John Luke. He was on speaker and little did Oliver know that his parents had planned a little trick to be played on their eldest and newest son.
"Hello, John, it's Hal."
"Good morning, Captain; to what do I owe the pleasure of this call?"
"John, we're off duty, you don't need to call me Captain," Hal replied.
"I was just getting used to calling you that. Seriously though, what can I do for you. Will and I are about to leave for our honeymoon."
"Well, we have a boy here who is wondering when you will be dropping Drake off for his sleepover."
"Oh My! Was that today? He is out with his Grandpa Robert."
Oliver's eyes bugged out as he tried to speak, but no words would come.
Dave was literally biting his lip to keep himself from busting out laughing.
"Yes, that is today. Do you know where they went? Can you contact them?"
"Robert is manually driving one of his old cars that isn't equipped with automatic driving, and I know he will not answer his comm while doing so."
"Well," Hal veered, "can you leave a message with him to contact us?"
Oliver was looking almost heartbroken as the doorbell rang. In his dejected frame of mind, he totally ignored it. Dave got up and went to answer the door.
The next thing Oliver knew, he was being pulled off the couch by Drake.
Oliver was beside himself when he realized that his parents were playing a trick on him. After giving Drake a hug, he turned to his parents and said, "I'll get back at you for this! Drake, come on, let me show you my room. You and me will share a bed, if that's okay with you. Lars will be either sleeping with Dad and Papa or with Grandma."
Robert was standing behind the couch watching what transpired then said to Dave and Hal, "Thanks so much for taking care of Drake while the guys are on their honeymoon. My wife and I are going to take a little vacation of our own to get reacquainted."
Drake turned to Dave and Hal, "Yes, Thank you for letting me stay here. I was really looking forward to getting to know Oliver better since we will be in space together on the ship.
After shaking Robert's hand, Dave turned to Oliver and Drake. "You are very welcome. I know Oliver has been really excited about you staying with us while your parents are gone." To Oliver he said, "I hope our little prank on you wasn't too bad... but you will learn that we like to have fun with each other... and if you are able to think of something reasonable to do to 'get back' at us; bring it on!"
Oliver didn't reply, he simply took Drake's hand and led him up the stairs with Drake's duffel bag of clothes. Dave offered Robert something to drink.
"Normally, I would love to sit and chat, but I need to get back so we can all head to the shuttle port. I have sent to you both of our itineraries and you can always reach us on comm."
"Well," Dave averred, "have a good time and don't worry. Drake will have a great time."
After getting drinks and taking a seat in the Cafeteria, David Bowman and Eric Garcia looked at one another, neither speaking. After nearly a minute, a broad smile came to Dave's face, which caused one nearly identical on Garcia's.
"Well, Eric, you do know that I will be holding you totally responsible for causing me so much more work in the future. I was told that you were the one who put the word in Admiral Mirah's ear about reviving the 'Commodore' rank. But, seriously, I am honored that you felt as you did after our last meeting."
"Dave, when we met last at 'New Earth' I was leading a ship whose crew was on the verge of a total breakdown in discipline. There were two ways you could have dealt with the issue... and I am very thankful that you chose to help me regain control of my ship. You were able to show us not only how we were supposed to do our jobs, but you were also able to show us how we should do our jobs. As a result, officers and crewmen who would likely have been washed out at the first opportunity, developed into exceptional crew members."
"Well, I could tell you knew how to do the job, you just needed a push in the right direction. You made the mistake that many younger Command Officers make; you tried to be a friend to your subordinates over being their Commanding Officer. All I did was show you how to win their friendship because you were their Commanding Officer. I'm curious, how are things working with Denver French, Devin's cousin?"
"Denver has proven his worth as the Assistant Chief of Security. Lt. Commander Tomalok is putting in for a promotion and transfer, and I am seriously considering offering Denver the Chief of Tactical and Security position. If I do that, I will offer Lt. Sanders a promotion to Lt. Commander and make him Assistant Chief of both departments under Denver."
"Well, I am looking forward to getting the task force organized, and I will be expecting help from you in getting that done. I will let you know now that I plan on asking Admiral Mirah to name you as my second in command of the Task Force in addition to your remaining as Captain of the Endurance."
Eric was surprised at this announcement. "Dave, I will do my best to live up to the faith you are putting in me."
"There is one other thing, Eric," Dave began. "The SS Stephen William Hawking is in need of a new Captain."
"And you're wanting someone from my crew?"
Dave smiled, "What is your honest opinion of Commander Worsley?"
"I would hate to lose him, but I believe he will make a great Captain."
"Then you wouldn't be upset if we offered the position to him?" Dave questioned. "It'll be your choice whether you promote one of your officers to XO or take someone from the Academy."
Garcia argued, "Either way, I will have a void needing filled, either the XO or the position vacated by whoever I promote."
"We are aware; interview a few cadets, see how you like them and select one to fill the void, however you see fit."
With business out of the way, the two friends enjoyed some good-natured conversation for a time while they waited for Kyle and Devin French to finish their meeting.
Kyle couldn't help but remember his first ride with Bob Adams while he waited for Adams to appear in front of his house. Adams had been an ass waffle of the lowest order, but since he and the loadmaster had resolved their differences in a Martian ore mine, Kyle found him to be a surprisingly likeable person.
Kyle was alone in the house as he looked out of the picture window in the living room. His dad was at work and Alicia had not yet moved into the house. Koji had spent the night with Jason and would be spending one more night before returning home the next morning. Danny was at the spaceport training the new pilots.
Kyle saw an SUV turn into the driveway. He left the window, went out the front door and scurried to the SUV. He could see a boy sitting in the backseat and opened the left rear door. What he saw blew him away—the boy was absolutely gorgeous. He had thick, black hair down to his ears and collar and hanging across his forehead. His brown eyes were alert, looking Kyle over thoroughly.
Bob looked back and greeted Kyle. "Kyle, this is my son, Corey. Corey, meet Kyle Robinson."
Corey said hello in a surprisingly shy voice. Kyle sat in his seat and put out his hand, which Corey took, and the boys exchanged a limp handshake. Kyle wondered why Corey seemed so reserved. Everything he had heard from Bob made Corey out to be an aggressive, outgoing boy.
"Like I told you, Kyle, lunch will be ready when we get to our house. Corey's mom will start cooking up the bacon for the best BLTs in Vegas and her homemade potato salad is beyond amazing."
Kyle was interested in finding out how her sandwiches and salad compared to the best cook he knew, Randy Jenkins. Nobody could surpass his BLTA's made with fried shimmy bacon. He was also discovering that his mother-to-be was also a great cook.
The rest of the twenty-minute trip to the Adams' residence went by in silence. Bob was wondering if this meeting was a mistake. It was almost as if Corey was intimidated by the brown-haired boy next to him in the backseat. But that simply can't be, Bob thought, I have never seen him to be intimidated by an age peer.
When they arrived at Corey's home, Bob Adam's wife, Ellie, was at the door to greet Kyle. Once again, he was surprised. For some reason, he had expected Corey to have a surly mother; a person somewhat like Bob had seemed when he first met him, and how Corey seemed to be right now. Instead, he was greeted by a smiling, outgoing lady who was genuinely pleased to meet Kyle.
Ellie Adams eyed Kyle from head to toe and said, "Corey's been talking about you ever since he learned about how you were the same age as him and a big hero. He couldn't wait for today to come so he could meet you." Her big surprise was that Corey was so much bigger and mature physically than the "hero" was.
"Mom," Corey mumbled with obvious embarrassment. He wasn't the only one who was embarrassed; Kyle had his problems taking the praise that was being heaped on him by Corey's parents. He wondered if that was what Corey's problem was, that he was being made to feel like he was second rate. Kyle could remember having those feelings back in his Prep School days and understood what Corey could be feeling.
Kyle was partly right about the cause of Corey's attitude. What he didn't know was that Corey was somewhat disappointed. Like his mother he was amazed that he was bigger than Kyle by four or five inches and at least ten pounds. To Corey, Kyle looked younger than twelve. He certainly didn't look very strong in any way; he looked more like the kids he picked on in school than the so-called hero he was supposed to be.
"Lunch will be ready in about twenty minutes. Why don't you show Kyle your room, Corey?" Ellie could see the disappointment written on her son's face and saw that Kyle was very uncomfortable. She hoped that if the boys had a few minutes alone together things could be straightened out between them.
"Whatever, Mom," Corey said sullenly. He looked over at Kyle. "Follow me."
"This is my room," Corey said gruffly as he closed the door behind him "You probably think all my stuff is dumb since you have the real thing, but I don't care." Kyle said nothing as he took in the usual computer and speakers and video screen. He also saw posters of spaceships as well as models hanging from the ceiling and parked on his desk and shelving. There was no doubt that Corey was into space and spaceships. Kyle saw that he had his opening to try to get Corey to loosen up.
But first, he had to assert himself by using what he had learned in leadership training, and from his experience as a senior officer on the Sooloo. That and the knowledge he received from observing Dave were the ingredients that made him who he was.
One thing Kyle had learned was to get right to the point and not bullshit around. Corey had put him on the spot, wanting an opinion that he could slice into.
"So, what's bugging you today?" Kyle asked in a calm, reasoned voice.
"Nothing," Corey barked back. Kyle's response was nowhere near what Corey had expected; he had been ready to see the smaller boy back down and cower. "Nothing is bugging me, so mind your own fucking business!"
Corey waited for Kyle to blow a fuse and give him an excuse to drag his sorry ass out of the bedroom. Instead his outburst was met with silence. Kyle stood quietly in front of Corey and looked at him with an air of calmness and quiet confidence. It was a look that made Corey nervous; he wanted Kyle to create an argument, a fight, a scene where he would come out on top and put the so-called hero in his place.
Corey blinked first. "So, say something, or are you too scared to?"
"You're the one who invited me here," Kyle replied with infuriating calmness, his soprano boy's voice somehow sounding deeper and more forceful than it actually was. Kyle had long ago gotten over the inferiority complex he felt because his voice had yet to drop. "That makes me your guest, and as a guest I expect to be treated with respect by my host. Now, I'm going to ask you one last time, what's bugging you? So, you either quit bullshitting me by acting like you're some kind of tough ass waffle and apologize to me and tell me what the fuck is going on, or I'll go ask your dad to take me home."
Corey stepped up to Kyle and looked down into his eyes, ready to say he was not going to take any kind of shit in his own bedroom when he saw the look of fire in Kyle's eyes. Those eyes were not the eyes of some wimpy little dork—they were without any doubt the eyes of a boy who was a senior officer on a starship, who had twice saved that starship, and who was a decorated hero. Corey backed away from the intimidating presence that was Kyle Robinson, swearing that those eyes had somehow picked up a tint of red.
Realizing he had just been stared down in his own bedroom by a skinny boy who had to look up at him, Corey didn't know how to react, so he backed away and plopped his ass down on his bed as if he'd find the answer there. Once again, Kyle didn't move. Corey was going to make his decision on whether to stay or go for him and until that happened, he was going to have to deal with Kyle standing in his bedroom.
For all his outer calmness, Kyle was quaking internally. He knew that if Corey really wanted to, he could call his bluff and probably beat the shit out of him. But, after dealing with the Devin Frenches, the Dick Heads, and the A. Holes of the world, and other, lesser, problems, he had learned that by calmly standing his ground he could project authority. The big thing he didn't have going for him in Corey's bedroom was the authority of his rank, which was a factor in dealing with the problems of his position. But he was certain that Corey Adams was a bully who had little heart for a fight of wills, which was a fight that Kyle was convinced he would win.
Once again, Corey blinked first. "I... I'm... I'm sorry. It's just that I... well... I thought you weren't you." Kyle could hear the confusion in Corey's voice and read the confusion on his face. His instincts told him that the time had come for him to quit being the intimidator and start being the new friend.
Kyle walked to Corey's bed, which made the bigger boy flinch. When Kyle sat next to him, Corey could see the fire had left Kyle's face and he was back to being cool and calm. Kyle then surprised Corey yet again by putting his arms around his host's shoulder. "Apology accepted. So, tell me how it is that I was not me, because when I woke up this morning and looked in the mirror, I could swear that I was me."
As much as he didn't want to, Corey flashed a smile. "I thought you were going to be this big, hunky dude who could beat the shit out of anybody who got in his way, and then you got into the backseat of the car with me, and you were this little skinny guy like the ones I pick on sometimes." Corey stopped as he realized what he had just said. "Sorry, I shouldn't have said that about picking on guys, but I don't do it much and I, shit, look, I was pissed because you weren't you and..."
Kyle squeezed Corey's shoulder and said quietly, "I am me, just like you are you. Your dad said you saw the video that Bill... um... Admiral Mirah sent, so you know what I looked like."
"You looked bigger in the video." Corey placed his head against the smaller boy's shoulder. He'd never been held like that by anyone except his parents, and it had been a long time since his dad had hugged him. Corey was beginning to like the hero sitting on his bed with him.
"Dave, my captain on the Sooloo, tells me when I get down on myself because I think I look like I'm twelve going on ten, that a person doesn't need a big body to be a big person. That comes from the inside."
"You look twelve to me, just not a big twelve," Corey said honestly.
"You sound like Dave. He says I'm not looking closely enough in the mirror if I think I look that young. I guess he sees what he sees, but what I see in the mirror is a little guy with a squeaky voice."
Corey surprised himself by draping his right arm around Kyle's shoulder. "I like what we're doing, it feels good holding each other like this." He paused a moment wondered if he really wanted to say what he was about to say next. Then he decided he trusted this boy who went from staring him down to holding him like they were real friends. "Sometimes I hate myself because I'm not good at anything."
"Boys, lunch is ready!" came Ellie's voice from the end of the hall.
"I guess this talk will have to be continued after lunch," Kyle grinned. "It's going to be even better after we eat your mom's good lunch." Before the boys let go of each other, Kyle whispered, "I liked what we did, too."
"Did you boys get to know each other better?" Ellie asked as the boys dug into their lunches.
"They must have, I didn't hear any falling bodies," Bob commented. He looked at his son and said, "I got the impression that Kyle disappointed you in some way, son."
"Kinda," Corey replied. "But I can tell you right now that if I was in trouble," he looked straight at Kyle, "I would feel totally and completely and absolutely safe with Commander Kyle Robinson having my back."
Kyle nodded his approval and Corey swore he could make out the hint of a grin. Corey meant everything he said and was eager to finish lunch so he could talk to Kyle about what was really on his mind.
"Corey was right, this is a great BLT," Kyle told Ellie. If it had been cooked with shimmy bacon, it would be a perfect BLT. Kyle diplomatically kept that thought to himself. But he didn't have to keep anything to himself when he praised the potato salad. It was so amazing he was certain that Randy Jenkins would love to have Ellie Adams' secret recipe. "And this potato salad, WOW! Randy Jenkins, the executive cook on the Sooloo, is a really good friend of mine. I am sure he would love having the recipe for cooking it."
Ellie's face lit up. "Really? You mean my potato salad might end up being served in outer space?"
"Not might. Once Randy gets a taste of this, I have to say it WILL be served in outer space."
"I would be happy to give it to him."
Kyle gave Ellie his phone number and email address. "Send it to me the way that's best for you and I'll get it to Randy. And don't worry about Corey getting my information, because I'm going to give it to him as soon as we get back to his room."
"You trust him that much, do you?" Bob asked. Kyle could see the hurt on Corey's face after his father asked the question.
"Yes, I do," Kyle replied. "He's somebody I would want on my side."
"You know he has some history as a bully, right?" Kyle saw Corey slouch down in his seat like he wanted to disappear under the table.
"Yep, he told me. What I haven't told him yet, is that I do, too."
"You beat up little kids?" Corey asked in amazement.
"There are other ways to be a bully than slugging it out."
"Then how did you become a senior officer in the Explorer Program?" Bob asked.
"I had a lot to learn in a short time." Kyle took the last bite of his lunch and saw that Corey had finished as well. "Let's go back to your room and see if I can help you," he told his new friend.
"There's blackberry cobbler for dessert," Ellie told them as they started to rise.
"Can we take ours to my room?" Corey asked. "I want to get started learning things in a short time, too."
"I'll get you each a dish of cobbler," Ellie said. She returned soon, the boys thanked her and took off for Corey's room.
"That Kyle is an interesting boy," Ellie said after the boys left. "They went into Corey's room with Corey in one of his moods and his dislike of the boy he couldn't wait to meet was obvious. Twenty minutes later, they come back out and it's like Corey had just made the best friend of his entire life."
"Kyle certainly is interesting. Every time I've seen him, it's been like a new layer of personality has been revealed. Let's see what happens now."
When they entered the bedroom, Corey sat on his bed while Kyle took a seat in the desk chair. Corey patted the bed with his right hand and signaled Kyle to sit there. "Please," he added just in case.
Kyle moved to Corey's bed and both boys leaned back against the wall. "When I got all mad and shit, what I wanted was you to help me with something. When I thought you were nothing but a nerdy dork, one of the reasons I got mad was because I thought you weren't going to be able to help me."
"I'll do my best to help you with whatever you need," Kyle responded.
"I guess you kind of figured out I like space things, like rockets and spaceships and shit like that."
"I think your room totally kicks ass. You have to love just walking in here."
"I do. I just wish I had some better friends to walk in with me."
"I probably can't help you there."
"I think you already did. I've got to quit being an ass... what did you call me?"
"An ass waffle."
"It's an old twentieth century insult I learned from a book I read. So now, I like using it and have found there are a few others who do, too."
"Well, anyway, the help I really want is this. You know Dad works on spaceships, and I wanted to, too. Just go into space and do a job. But after learning about you, I kinda realized that what I want to be is better than my dad is. I want to be like you are. I don't mean a hero, but somebody who actually helps fly the ships in space."
"What do you want to know?"
"Can somebody still get into the Explorer Program?"
"Yeah, if you go to the Prep School or the Academy and take the right classes. But there's no guarantees. The ships are all coming back for a retrofit with new equipment, but when they leave, they might not come back for a couple of years or so. Or some of them might. All twenty ships have been called back, but two of them still haven't replied, so they won't get back here for months." Kyle didn't mention that a lot of people were worried that those two ships might never come back.
"I don't have really good grades. They're like mostly C's with some D's and maybe a B or two since fifth grade. But I haven't flunked anything. My dad would kill me if I did."
"Are they like that because you have learning problems or because you don't put your best effort into them?"
"You sure don't fart around do you? You get right to what's going on." Corey scooted over a couple of inches so that their legs touched. Corey was pleased that Kyle didn't pull away. For some reason, touching Kyle gave him a boner. "Anyway, my teachers all say I'm pretty smart, but I don't apply myself. That's their words exactly. So, I probably couldn't even get into the Prep School, could I?"
"I had just okay grades in school, too. Except for math, I didn't care about much of it. My dad got me into Prep School and helped me stay in by helping get me out of trouble, which was a lot."
"Yeah, but my dad isn't an admiral who can get me out into space."
"My dad didn't get me into space, in fact, he didn't want to me to go. I had to do it on my own, and the guy who helped me more than anybody was Commander Hanson, who was my Astrogation teacher. The man saved me, I can never thank him enough. I was a kid with hardly any friends, who didn't give much of a shit, and who suddenly realized he wanted into the Explorer Program. Of all the boys who got into the program, I bet I was in the bottom ten percent. But without the help of my dad and with the help of a top-notch teacher turning me around, I got where I wanted to go and more."
Corey's leg placed more pressure against Kyle's leg. Kyle didn't pull away, but he didn't return it, either.
"Corey, if I can get through what I got through and end up where I am, anybody with half a brain can do it. There's no reason that if you work hard between now and this summer you can't get in, if you lay a little groundwork."
"Like what? Please, tell me." Corey was almost begging. "I'll do anything."
"What you need to do is meet Commander Hanson, and that is something I can set up for you. Commander Hanson will not only tell you if you have a chance to get in, he will help you make any chance you have even better."
"Will you set that up for me? Please?"
"I'll get started on it. It might take a week or two for me to get a meeting set up."
Corey wrapped his arms around Kyle and squeezed him hard. Kyle saw Corey was fighting back tears, and knew they were tears of happiness.
"Is it true that everybody in the program is gay?"
"Nope. It seems almost true on the Sooloo for some reason, but I'd bet on most ships it's maybe 7-10 who are gay. But, when you've got a lot of horny boys locked up together on a spaceship with nowhere to go, well, horny boys are horny boys and there's a lot of sex between guys even if they aren't gay."
"Wow, I've never done anything with a guy. I've messed around with a girl who thinks I'm cute, but it was just kissing and playing with tits."
"If you know how to jerk off, and I know you do because you're twelve, you can mess around with a guy."
"Can you show me?" Corey asked shyly.
Kyle knew that it took a lot of courage for Corey to ask that and that he would have to turn him down gently. Corey had turned him on from the moment he saw him in the backseat of the car. He had become rock hard when they hugged on the bed, and Corey's leg had made him hard again. Right now, with Corey draped on him, Kyle wanted to kiss him in the worst way. But to do anything right now would be to take advantage of how he turned Corey around before lunch. In Kyle's mind. It would be more like an officer taking advantage of a crewman rather than like one equal friend wanting to learn something about sex.
"Right now, it would be a good idea if I didn't"
"You're gay, though, right?"
"I am. And I think you're really cute and really hot. But it just doesn't seem right to me. At least, not right now. I kind of pushed you around some before lunch and it wouldn't be right for me to, you know, mess around any, especially with you being a rookie and all."
"But maybe some other time?"
Kyle detected Corey's disappointment and was tempted to change his mind. "Maybe if we become more equal as friends. No promises. But I want you to know this has nothing to do with my not liking you and I won't shut the door on it." What he didn't tell Corey, and wouldn't tell him unless the sexual situation changed, was that he and Danny had agreed that playing around with non-Sooloo boys would be okay as long as they told each other about it. Danny added to that by saying his trainees were off limits.
The boys left Corey's room with a good understanding of each other—at least as good an understanding as two pubescent boys could have. In Kyle's case he had become a good reader of people and understood far more about Corey than Corey did about him.
They told Corey's parents about their after-lunch chat, up until sex was discussed. Kyle said he would talk to Commander Hanson and get back to them. "I have no doubt Commander Hanson will be happy to talk to Corey, the only question is when."
Kyle rode home with Bob and Corey. While he was feeling good about what he had accomplished with Corey, he was also feeling somewhat confused about the sexual situation and what Corey had asked. He knew he would have to talk to Danny about it.
"I can't believe he trusted you with his key card," Corey marveled as Kyle opened the door to Commander Hanson's office.
"Why wouldn't he?"
"You're just a kid, like me."
Kyle knew that Corey was an intelligent boy, so his unwillingness to accept Kyle as more than "just a kid" had to be more a matter of stubbornness than a matter of smarts. "You seem to keep forgetting that I might be twelve, but I am a Commander in Space Fleet and a senior officer on a starship."
"Sorry. I keep forgetting. I mean, I think how a teacher would look at me. There's no way I'd get the key to his office. I mean, no fucking way."
"Just remember, when Commander Hanson first knew me, there was no fucking way he would trust me either. And, truth be told, I really didn't care whether or not he would trust me. But that man believed in me and showed me who I could be."
"I just hope I can get a chance to have somebody believe in me, too. I mean, my dad believes in me, but it's like different with him. I don't think he believes I can do better than be a punk."
Kyle thought about how Bob Adams changed his attitude regarding himself and said, "Oh, I think he believed you could do better. But maybe he believed you didn't WANT to do better." Kyle realized the two of them were still standing. He told Corey to sit in the chair to the teacher's desk and then took the chair in front of the desk.
"Commander Hanson should be here in a few minutes," Kyle said. "I'll introduce you to him and then let the two of you get to know each other."
"You're going to leave me alone with him?"
"He quit eating students for lunch years ago," Kyle grinned.
"Sorry. I'm just nervous is all, him being a teacher and an officer and everything." He looked up at Kyle. "I know you're an officer, but it's just different with him being a teacher who could help me to come here like I've been dreaming."
"And that's why you need to just talk to him and…"
Kyle was interrupted by Commander Hanson entering the office. Corey hesitated, but when he saw Kyle stand up, he quickly followed Kyle's lead and stood up as well.
"Good morning, Kyle," Commander Hanson greeted the boys in his usual, friendly manner.
"Good morning, Commander Hanson." When Kyle picked up the key card from his former teacher, he said he would be more formal than what was normal between them. It would set an example for what was expected from Corey. "I would like for you to meet my friend, Corey Adams."
Corey glowed at hearing an important boy like Kyle Robinson referring to him as his friend. He held out his hand and Commander Hanson took it as the boy and the educator exchanged a firm handshake.
"I am pleased to meet you... Sir," Corey said, using the manners his mother had taught him, but he rarely used, along with adding the word "Sir" at Kyle's request. It was the first time in his life he had ever called a teacher "Sir."
"The pleasure is mine," Hanson responded. He sat behind his desk and bade Corey to retake his seat. He knew that Kyle would be leaving.
Kyle made that fact official by telling Corey he would leave him in the "... good hands of Commander Hanson. He'll call me when you're finished. In the meantime, I have a book to begin while I wait."
"Book? How antiquated," Commander Hanson said with a sly smile.
"They still work," Kyle retorted as he left the office, closing the door behind him, knowing the conference needed to be private.
"Well, Mr. Adams," Commander Hanson began, "I see you are inquiring into what you need to accomplish in order to become a cadet in the Explorer Program at the Space Academy this fall."
Hanson picked up a file. "You did a fine job stating your reasons in your application, but I would love to hear you give me a quick summary."
"Well... um... my father works in space and I have wanted to do what he did since I can remember. I even thought about doing more, but I never thought I was good enough since I never did that good in school. And then I met Kyle and saw what even a kid can do. I told Kyle I wanted to be better than my dad and go to the space school. And Kyle told me I had to believe I was good enough, to be better than I was, and I could do whatever I wanted to do. He said I had to work for it." Corey stopped, worried that he had rambled on too long and blown everything.
"With the permission of your parents I have your school test records and grades. They confirm what Kyle has told me about you; that you are a very bright individual who is what I often call terminally lazy."
"I don't quite understand what that means," Corey confessed.
"It means you're happy to do enough to get by, and by getting by you feel like you've succeeded, and you have lost the desire to do better, which means your drive to succeed had died. You become happy not to fail, even though to attain new heights, you have to be willing to fail at times."
"How can you get better if you fail... um... Sir?"
"You get better because success is built from being willing to fail at times and to learn from those failures. If you take risks, sometimes you fail, and if you don't take risks, you become happy and, as I said before, terminally lazy."
"My dad gets mad at me if I fail."
"Does he get mad at you because you failed or because you didn't give your best effort and that was why you failed?"
Corey looked sheepish and muttered under his breath, "Because I didn't try."
"You don't have to be afraid to tell me the truth, Son. Now, say that again so I can hear you."
"He gets mad because I didn't try my hardest."
"Being able to admit that is a good start on what you will need to do to become a cadet here by the start of the next school year."
The conversation then bounced between Commander Hanson and Corey. Commander Hanson told Corey what was expected of the cadets at the Academy and in the Explorer Program, and what would be expected specifically of him in order to gain admission. In return Corey told Commander what he wanted and, more importantly, that he was willing to work his "ass off" to do it. Hanson was beginning to like the kid; he was another lost tween wanting to find himself. He was John Hanson's favorite kind of student.
After a half hour of talking, Hanson laid out a plan for Corey. "The way things stand today, there is no way you can accomplish what is necessary to enter the Academy and the Explorer Program by fall." He smiled and held up his right hand when he saw Corey's face drop in disappointment. "Don't get yourself down—remember, I said 'the way things stand today'. When you hear something like that what should you ask?"
Corey sat quietly, wondering what to say. He was afraid to give a wrong answer and silence seemed his best option. But then he remembered Commander Hanson telling him about being a risk taker and said, "I guess I would ask how I could make things stand different." He desperately hoped that was the right answer.
Hanson looked directly into Corey's eyes and, in a commanding voice, asked, "You guess?"
Corey wondered where that question came from, then had another memory hit him—the memory of Kyle talking to the teacher with total confidence. He thought about the way he talked to his teachers or to his dad when he was in a sassy mood and understood that was going too far.
He took a deep breath and decided to do his best Kyle Robinson imitation. "What I should do is ask, 'what do I need to change so I can get into the Academy this fall?'" Then he decided to go a step further. "The way things stand today isn't good enough. I want to go past that and make it the best I can."
"Excellent answer," Hanson said. "And here is my answer to that question." Commander Hanson then went on to lay out a program for Corey. The first part was a tutoring program. "I have a tutor in mind for you who is a cadet at the Academy. He is sixteen and a top student."
"Is he in the Explorer Program?"
"He elected not to be. He has other ambitions, which is true of a large number of our cadets." Hanson went on to say they would meet two evenings a week and that Corey would also need to attend a Saturday class for local students as well as Academy and Prep School students geared to improve study skills and to review areas of general knowledge that had to be thoroughly mastered by students starting the upper middle school grades.
"The Prep School operates the class, but it is open to all students in the area. It meets every other Saturday for four hours." Hanson then went on to tell Corey what would be required of him as far as grades, behavior in his classes, as well what he needed to accomplish in the Prep School class.
He closed off by placing a contract he had prepared in front of Corey. "Read it and sign it. It lays out everything that is expected of you, your parents, and me. You will notice I have signed it. Make sure you read what I am expected to do so you can hold me accountable, just like I will do for you. Your parents have some responsibilities to sign for as well. I guarantee you that if all parties fulfill the contract, you will be sitting in a class as a cadet at the Space Academy come September."
"What about the Explorer Program?" Corey asked.
"We will get into that this spring of this school year. Getting into the Explorer Program will mean you're participating in a full summer session, but right now the idea is getting you up to snuff so you can succeed as a seventh grader currently in your school."
"I am going to succeed," Corey promised with a confidence he actually felt. His dream hadn't been rudely shut down. Instead, he had been shown the steps he needed to take to follow that dream. It suddenly occurred to him that for the first time in his life he wouldn't be able to blame his failures on somebody else. He was going to be responsible for his success, which he expressed to Commander Hanson. "I plan on being totally responsible for my success."
"Leave out the totally. The other signees of the contract will be there for you and will play a part in your success, not to mention Noah M. Miller, your tutor, who will also sign the contract."
That ended the session. Corey felt like he had been run through a meat grinder while at the same time he felt a rush of confidence and hope like he had never felt before. He was ready to perform.
Hanson called Kyle back in. When Kyle entered the office, Corey told him about what had happened and about signing a contract.
"Oh yeah, a contract. I had to sign one of those when I was not performing in Commander Hanson's class," Kyle recollected. "Trust me, you do not want to get called on the carpet for not fulfilling your part of the deal."
"I'm going to do my best," Corey promised once again.
As Kyle and Corey prepared to leave, Hanson asked Kyle what he was reading. "Foundation, by Isaac Asimov."
"Whoa, talk about antiquity," Hanson commented. "That is a classic and the start of the greatest science fiction series ever written, even after all these decades."
"Dad said I would love it. He's right, I am loving it. Have you read it?"
"Twice," Hanson grinned.
Kyle and Corey left Commander Hanson's office as two friends who were gaining an understanding of each other. Kyle was rooting for Corey to become a cadet, while Corey was certain he would attain that goal and beyond. He wanted to be like the boy walking next to him and, like he had told Commander Hanson, he was ready to work his ass off to get there.
As Darla brought out the cake, Juro thought, You can tell Ben didn't decorate it, but he didn't say anything. Darla apologized, "I'm not a cake decorator, so I am sorry if it's not good."
"Grandma, it looks perfect because I can see your love," Juro claimed. "That is all that matters. And you used my favorite color, too. Tomo likes purple."
"You are so sweet," Darla gave Juro a hug. "I put the candles close, so you should be able to blow them out in one breath."
Juro thought, If this was a few centuries ago, I might have lit them in one breath, but no one has seen a Darastixian breathe fire in a long time. He took a breath and blew out the candles. He smiled until the candles started reigniting.
Connor teased, "You didn't even get one candle out, what's wrong with you?"
Juro blew the candles out again, but watched them reignite again, one at a time. Juro blew them out a third time, and as they started to flicker back to life, he asked, "What gives?"
Everyone but Tomo, Jinzo and Juro were chuckling. Jinzo surmised, "Opsola, I believe they used trick candles. You blow them out and they relight themselves. It is meant as a joke."
Juro looked at the candles and blew one out. When it relit, he started to laugh. "It is kinda funny if the person doesn't expect it. Can I take some back on the ship?"
"Who are you planning to use them on?"
"Sukotto's birthday is in April, or Jordan will be sixteen four days after."
"If you get Sukotto, you might not be able to get Jordan," Tom Kohl advised.
It was a little over a week after Corey's meeting with Commander Hanson when Corey's mother dropped him off at the Robinson home just after school late on a Friday afternoon. Corey and Kyle had wanted to discuss what Corey had learned in his meeting with the Space Academy teacher, but school obligations for Corey and numerous commitments for Kyle made it difficult to schedule a time they could meet. But their schedules meshed better that weekend than they ever imagined.
Kyle greeted Corey at the front door and waved to Corey's mother, who was stopped at the curb. She waved back and pulled away from the curb once she saw her son enter the house toting his gym bag.
"Your mom looks after you pretty close," Kyle observed as the boys entered the spacious living room.
"She likes to treat me like a baby, which I know makes my dad mad," Corey responded. "But this time it worked out pretty good." Corey was referring to the fact that he would be spending the night with Kyle and Danny. His father was on an ore carrier run to Mars while his mother was going to visit her sister for the weekend in Henderson. "It's not like I can't take care of myself for a weekend, I mean I am twelve, so you know what I can do. But I don't mind how it worked because we can have our talk and just get to know each other. Plus, I get to meet your husband and son, which sounds weirder than weird, even if we both know it's not."
Corey looked around the house and said, "Damn, this place is like a rich person's house. I mean it's huge—just look at this living room. And you got a pool outside and everything."
"I know it looks that way, but my dad isn't really rich, not that he's poor either. I mean it's a nice house, but it's not a mansion. We both know what the real rich people's houses are like."
"And this is where you grew up?"
"From the time I was four. Danny lived two blocks up Roosevelt and two houses to the right on Reagan. His parents sold that house just after the Sooloo was launched."
"Those street names kind of give away why this area is called the Executive Estates. The streets all seem to be named for United States Presidents, if I remember my ancient history right."
"Not bad for somebody who says he doesn't do well in school. When I was a kid, I wondered if my dad bought this house here because he was an Admiral, which I thought was like an executive. I had no clue about United States Presidents back then."
Corey sniffed the air. "Something sure smells good."
"That would be Alicia's cooking. I better quit yakking and introduce you to her, or she might cut me off from the dinner table," Kyle said as he led Corey to the kitchen.
"For real?" Corey looked surprised.
"Maybe not that bad, but she would have no problem criticizing my manners, but in a nice way."
They entered the kitchen to find Alicia placing her garlic bread into the oven. She looked up to see Kyle and Corey. After shutting the door, she rose and smiled at the boys.
"Mom, I want you to meet my friend Corey. Corey, this is my soon-to-be-mom, Alicia." Even though Alicia was not officially Kyle's mother, he liked calling her mom. He wanted to be in the habit of doing so after she married his dad, plus she was already so much like a mother to him it seemed natural. And maybe the most important reason was because, as the relaunch day for the Sooloo drew closer, he soon wouldn't have much opportunity to call her mom.
"Pleased to meet you, um... Miss Alicia." Corey took a few steps toward Alicia and held out his hand for a handshake. Alicia took it, and then surprised him by giving him a hug.
"It is so nice to have a friend of Kyle visit us," Alicia gushed after releasing the astounded boy. Kyle had told her Corey's story, so she knew the friendship was essentially a budding friendship between the two boys, with Danny soon to have a part in the relationship. "I hope you like spaghetti and meatballs along with garlic bread."
"I love it," Corey grinned.
"Anything we can do to help?" Kyle asked.
"Setting the dining room table for five would be a great help." Koji was off visiting friends and wouldn't be home until the next afternoon.
"Do I need to put out the wine glasses for you and Dad?"
"Put them out for everybody." Corey raised his eyebrows when he heard that. "We'll all be having sparkling cider." He then lowered them.
"Sounds good. Come on Corey, I'll show you what to do." As they left the kitchen Kyle thought about how Corey had once again surprised him by not only showing great manners around Alicia, but in how he recovered when he realized he didn't know her last name. Kyle knew that was his mistake and would have to apologize to Corey for forgetting to tell him her last name. He obviously knew it wasn't Robinson. For the kind of bullying, rowdy boy he appeared to be, Corey had been very smooth around Alicia, even accepting her hug without any kind of protest. Kyle could see a lot of potential in Corey Adams, both as a person and as a friend.
After setting the table, Kyle led Corey upstairs and showed him the guest room. Corey set his gym bag on the immaculately made king bed and followed Kyle to his and Danny's room.
"Whoa, did you have a king bed when you lived here?" Corey asked.
"Yeah, not that I needed a big bed like that. Even when Danny overnighted with me, we slept all cuddled up. And we sure don't need that big bed now, either. We still cuddle up whenever we sleep." Not to mention all of the other stuff we do in this bed, Kyle thought. "Sometimes Koji sleeps with us. There is still plenty of room for three boys."
Corey wondered if there was enough room for three twelve-year-old boys, even with one being big for his age like he was. He wasn't sure how big Danny was, but from what Kyle said he estimated he was bigger than Kyle (who looked small for his age), but not by much.
"The space posters and the mobiles were all in my room when I left home for Prep School. Dad left things the way they were then, which really wasn't all that long ago, although it seems like a zillion years ago."
"How long before Danny and your dad come home?" Corey asked.
"Not long, a half-hour maybe. They'll be coming together in Dad's car."
"Do we have time to talk?"
"About how your plan is going?"
"Yeah, and some other stuff, but the plan first."
"Then let's get to it." Kyle sat on the bed, his back against the headboard; he placed a pillow behind him. He patted the space to his right and placed a pillow there. Corey took the hint and sat next to Kyle.
"Wow, I get to sit on your big fancy bed? Why not the couch downstairs?"
"Because this is the best place to chill out except on the patio and most importantly, this is totally private."
Corey sat next to Kyle and reviewed what he had agreed to in Commander Hanson's office. He said he would be starting with his tutor, Noah, on Tuesday, after school. "Then I start my first Saturday Prep School class next Saturday. I am going to do everything I can to get into Prep School in the fall. My mom and dad are both behind me." Corey looked over to Kyle. "You've been so much help to me, and you didn't even have to do it. You're a super awesome dude, Kyle."
"You're not bad yourself, Corey. I thought it was more than worth spending my time helping you."
Like he had when Kyle visited his house, Corey sidled over toward Kyle until their bodies touched. Kyle had the same reaction to Corey's action, which was to do nothing.
Corey stretched his legs out on the bed, touching the full length of Kyle's legs, saying nothing. Kyle could see Corey was nervous. He placed his arms around his new friend's shoulder and squeezed. He had learned enough about Corey to know not to pressure Corey; he would say what he needed to say in his own time.
"I came out to my dad before he left," Corey finally said quietly. He leaned his head against Kyle's shoulder—Kyle could see how tense he was. Kyle gave his shoulder a harder squeeze and then loosened up, signaling Corey that he was listening. Corey's mind went to the conversation with his dad the week before, right after they had finished dinner. He had told his dad he had something important to tell him and decided not to mess around. He was going to do like he did in school; just say what was on his mind.
"So, what do you want to talk about, son?"
The long stretch of silence that had followed stretched on like an eternity for him. He prepared himself for a giant blowup, wondering if his worst fears would be realized and he would be kicked out of his home.
"What made you decide that?"
"I never decided it. I just am."
"You know, son, if you had told me just a few weeks ago you wouldn't have liked the results one bit. I would have drilled you a new asshole, and that would have been for starters. But, guess what?"
"What?" Corey asked much more meekly than he had intended.
"If a little sissy looking gay boy like Kyle Robinson can become not only an important officer on a starship, but also a hero more than once, then what does that mean for a big hunk of a boy like my son?"
"I dunno, what does it mean?"
"Don't beat around the bush. You started this out with a big set of balls, now finish with the same."
"Um, I think it might mean that I could end up being better than him."
"It sure as hell gives you a reason to get into that school and put all of your best effort into it. It means that instead of bullying little twerps and being a lazy bastard, you can work to go kick some serious rear end. It means you could go out and make your mother and your old man proud."
"I told you when we talked about the school that I was going to try to do my best."
"There is a saying we use out in space that comes from some wise guy alien in an ancient movie. 'Do or do not. There is no try.'" For the first time in what seemed like ages, Bob Adams put his arm around his son in a loving, fatherly hug and squeezed him, "The moral is, don't try—just do it."
Tears dripped down Corey's cheeks. "I... I... I thought you were going to hate me when I said I was gay."
"I was tempted. Then I remembered your little friend who is really a big boy who taught me how I needed to love my son no matter what." He gave another squeeze. "I love you son. No matter what, remember that I love you, because I'm sure somewhere along the line I can find reasons for yelling at you."
"You always have," Corey giggle. "But I love you too, dad. Thanks for loving me and not hating me."
"Like I said, I could yell at you again sometime, but trust me son, I could never hate you."
Corey shook his head when he finished relating his talk with his father. "It was weird," Corey went on. "I thought he was going to hate me, I mean really totally hate me. You know he used to talk about gays."
"Yes, I do," Kyle told him.
"And now he tells me he was proud of me and that I should learn from you so I can kick ass and be better than you, which he said won't be easy. He really likes you, and I know he sure didn't the first time he saw you."
"I hope you do kick my ass," Kyle expressed.
"You do, for real? Why?"
Kyle scooted in closer to Corey. With his right arm around Corey's shoulder, they touched from their armpits to their ankles. Even though he didn't want it to happen, his cock was hard and pushing up on his sweats. He knew Corey couldn't help but notice it, but there wasn't much he could do about it but stay quiet and not call attention to his excited state.
"Because if you kick my ass," Kyle finally answered, "it means you've been kicking ass every day to get better and better. And if you do that, who knows where you'll end up."
Corey nodded. He hadn't been used to receiving as much praise as had been heaped on him the last few days. In many ways it embarrassed him, especially when it came from someone like Kyle Robinson. To top off his discomfort, he also was sporting an erection, which his pants barely hid. He looked over at Kyle, wondering if he noticed it; that was when he saw the bulge in Kyle's sweats.
Unlike Kyle, he decided to call attention to what was happening to him. "I've got a boner," he said hoarsely.
"I noticed," Kyle responded. He pointed to his bulge, not that Corey could have missed the fact.
"I guess it means I'm really gay."
"Boys our age get boners no matter what. And we are touching and hugging each other and, hey, what boy is not gonna get hard?"
Corey took a deep breath and took a courageous step. "But I want to do more than just touch and be hard. I want to know what two guys can do with each other. I want to know about sex."
"You've never done anything with a guy?"
After another deep breath, Corey admitted that because he had been scared, he hid the truth. "Me and my friend Mitch have jerked off together, but that's all. He's straight and has a girlfriend."
"I thought you had a girlfriend, too."
"I do, but that was for... like... show. I mean, we've kissed, but Mitch and Cathy have done everything but the nasty. They've been naked in bed; I haven't come close to that. But really, if you did something right now with me, what would you do? Hell, what would we do?"
"First I'd open up your pants and release that monster you've got in there." Kyle reached over to the button on Corey's pants, knowing that this was something he and Danny had talked about—the fact that Corey might want to discover more about himself. He opened the button and pulled the zipper down, opening Corey's pants and revealing a pair of black briefs. He placed his hand on Corey's belly, impressed by the hardness of his abs.
Corey placed his left hand on Kyles abdomen, surprised at its firmness. Kyle might look soft, Corey thought, but he wasn't. His abs were solid, which wasn't really surprising since Kyle had been an athlete at the Prep School—a quick, little basketball player who could play circles around the big boy from what Corey had read.
There was a knock on the bedroom door. Corey squeaked in shock and withdrew his hand from Kyle, but Kyle left his hand on Corey's belly.
"Be calm," Kyle told Corey. "It's okay."
The door opened and Danny stepped in, dressed in his duty uniform. He looked at his husband and Corey side by side on the bed, their bodies touching, at Corey's wide open pants and black underwear, and at Kyle's hand resting on Corey's abdomen.
"My oh my, aren't we both cozy," Danny chuckled. "Did I disturb something important?"
"Kind of," Kyle grinned. "Corey wanted to know what gay boys did together in bed and I was showing him that they start by undressing, or by undressing each other."
"Looking at the big thing in his undies, it looks like you were being a good teacher."
Corey was getting even harder as he watched Danny strip off his uniform until he was down to black socks and gray briefs. Danny tossed the uniform in a clothes hamper. "That needs a good washing, and I need a good shower."
Danny walked over to the bed and held out his right hand. "Hey, Corey, I'm Danny, if you haven't guessed already."
Corey shook his hand. "Hi, Danny. Glad to meet you."
"I'm heading into the shower," Danny announced as he backed away from the bed. He could see that Kyle was as excited as Corey.
Danny pulled off his briefs, revealing his still flaccid penis. When he saw Danny naked, Corey thought he was going to faint. Danny had a whole patch of pubic hair, more than the scraggly things he had, and for sure more than what Mitch had, which was none. His balls were hanging, but as far as Corey could see, they were hairless. Corey was impressed with Danny's physique. He was bigger than Kyle, with broader shoulders and developing pecs and abs. Corey's cock was so hard, it was pushing up the waistband of his briefs.
"Don't get too nasty with each other," Danny said over his shoulder as he went into the bathroom, his athletic ass wiggling suggestively.
"Was that for real? I thought for sure he would be mad."
Kyle could see the confusion on Corey's face. "Danny and I thought there might be a chance you could ask about being gay and then both of us getting horny. Danny's cool with what we were doing, but only within the limits we set."
"What were those limits you were talking about?" Corey asked.
"Getting naked. Jerking off together, or jerking each other off, or both. Talking about blow jobs, but not doing it."
"How can I learn from just talking about it?"
"You'd be surprised," Kyle grinned. "It's not rocket science."
"Boys, dinner in fifteen," came Alicia's voice from the top of the stairs. Kyle relayed the message to Danny, who yelled back his thanks.
"I guess we have time for none of the above," Corey said somewhat sadly. "I am so horny I could scream."
Kyle's hand hovered over Corey's open pants. "Do you mind?"
"Yeah, you can touch it. Mitch never did—nobody ever has but me."
Kyle placed his hand on Corey's briefs, fondling his hard cock through the cloth. With all that had just happened, Corey was running on a hair trigger. Danny came out of the bathroom, sporting a hard-on and drying his hair at the same time. Kyle moved his hand inside of Corey's undies.
Kyle touched Corey's erection skin on skin. It was all too much as Corey flooded his briefs and covered Kyle's hand with his watery cum. Corey moaned. He was both elated and embarrassed about what had just happened.
"That was quick," he breathed.
"So?" Danny asked. "It just means you passed lesson one on sex with another boy."
When the three boys came down for dinner, Corey had come down from his sexual high and felt relaxed. Kyle and Danny were both still semi-hard, but not so their pants revealed much.
Dinner went by routinely as the spaghetti and sauce was served. Digestive juices took over from sexual hormones. Kyle and Danny went soft and ate like the growing pubescent boys they were.
Greg asked the boys how their days went, worked to keep Corey, who was obviously intimidated at sitting with a real admiral, involved in the conversation, and by the time dessert was served, the guest was fully relaxed.
The evening was spent playing the ancient but still viable game of Scrabble and watching basketball on the giant TV screen. Corey was leery of playing smart people like Kyle, Danny, and Admiral Greg, but he showed he had a way with words and spelling, which were a strength of his at school. He finished second to Kyle, finishing two points ahead of Danny.
Alicia had left after dinner for her apartment, which she would be giving up when the lease ended at the end of the month. Her son, Ronald, should be there after meeting for the day with members of the refit team. Ronald would be moving into the Admiral's house with his mother after the wedding, which would be the next weekend. He would be staying in the guest room until he returned to duty on the Victorious.
That night, after saying good night to Greg, who retired to his bedroom, the boys sat in the living room and talked about what being in the Explorer Program was like. Danny told Corey about his job overseeing the training of the fighter pilots was like. "Just when I think we're finally finished, I find out we have more to do. But I'm loving it."
They finished by discussing Corey's quick orgasm at the hand of Kyle, making sure he didn't feel embarrassed by shooting his wad so fast. "It's happened to Danny and me both at some time. When you're horny, you're horny," Kyle told him. "But, when you can, doing it the second time right after you shoot can be pretty awesome."
The tired boys soon went upstairs. They agreed they were too tired of lessons, which wasn't entirely true. Corey took care of his second time as he lay on top of the covers of his bed, while Danny and Kyle dry humped to unleash their pent-up horniness.
The Robinson house had four bedrooms, one on the ground floor and three upstairs. The downstairs room was the master bedroom. Danny and Kyle shared one of the upstairs rooms, one of them was Koji's, and the third one was the guest room. Danny and Kyle had their own bathroom and shower, but the other two rooms shared a bathroom situated between them. Since Koji was spending the night at friends, Corey had full use of the shared bathroom. He enjoyed his hot shower and looked forward to seeing the hot boys in the bedroom across the hall. Seeing Danny naked had been a big turn on then and just thinking about it now was a turn on. Corey thought those feelings were more proof that he was gay.
After showering, Corey pulled a pair of blue briefs with red trim out of his gym bag. As he pulled them on, he heard a knock at the door. He knew it had to be either Kyle or Danny. "Enter," he called out.
It was Kyle, who was wearing as little as Corey. Corey looked over Kyle’s smooth, slender torso. While Kyle looked skinny, he wasn't. His torso generated strength, even though it was not very muscular.
"Good morning, Corey," Kyle said as he entered the room. "I like how you're dressed," he grinned.
"You don't look bad yourself."
"Dad and Danny are fixing up pancakes for breakfast. Alicia and Ronald will get here at lunch. They're busy getting Alicia's apartment cleaned so she doesn't have to worry about it this week."
"So, she and your dad are getting married next Saturday, right?"
"You got it. She's all in a tizzy over the wedding being a success and everything going perfectly. Dad keeps reminding her that except for inviting the guests and setting up the seating, the Space Fleet social staff will be taking care of just about everything, but she still runs around in circles worrying. Dad says my mother was the same way and we just need to live with it."
"My dad says the same thing. He thought it was a good thing Mom did the worrying when him and Mom got married because he really didn't give a shit about the details. He was ready for the honeymoon."
"Dad and Mom, which is what I'm trying to call Alicia all the time, aren't doing their honeymoon until all of us kids are back in space and relaunched. I think that's a good thing since it gives everybody less to worry about."
"Where are they going?"
"To Nepal for a hiking trip."
Corey shook his head. "Who goes hiking on a honeymoon?"
"You just met them, yesterday," Kyle chuckled. "Hey, the temp should be getting to 24c (75˚ F) this afternoon."
"I know, that's about 7c (12˚ F) above average."
"That means the pool will be open. And before you squawk about not having swim shorts, Danny and I will be skinny dipping."
"Excellent. I'm in." Corey paused for a moment and then asked, "What about Ronald?"
"I don't know. I guess we'll find out when he gets here."
"Shouldn't somebody warn him?"
"Alicia... um... I mean, Mom, said she'd let him know the deal."
"It's cool that she doesn't mind."
"Even cooler that my DAD doesn't mind, even if he'll probably be dressed in some shorty swim trunks and look good in them."
"Yeah, the dude looks like he is in shape," Corey agreed.
The three boys were dressed in t-shirts and sweats for a breakfast of pancakes, bacon and a fresh fruit plate. Danny flipped the pancakes, while Greg fried the bacon and put the fruit plates together. Kyle and Danny took care of the cleanup, leaving Corey to talk to Greg.
At first, the fact that Greg was an Admiral was intimidating for Corey, but when he found out that Greg was genuinely interested in his plan to do everything required to enter the Prep School in the fall, he relaxed and discussed his failures and successes. He found Greg to be very supporting and wondered just what it was that Kyle had done to fall out of favor with his father. Kyle had not told Corey the story of Danny being tossed out of the house stark naked when they were ten years old because Greg had found them naked and being sexual on Kyle's bed.
After Danny and Kyle finished, they joined Corey and Greg in the living room. "Your friend Corey has been telling me his plans for entering the Prep School in the fall."
"And maybe the Explorer Program," Kyle added.
"Yeah, I want to get into space before I'm old," Corey agreed, causing Greg to break out in laughter. He had forgotten how wonderful it was to share time with Kyle and his friends. He wanted to regret his decisions that brought that to an end, but he knew that would be futile. What he had to do was live in the moment and enjoy what he had in his house that day. The boys joined into the laughter, making the moment even more special.
"What do you boys have planned for the day?" Greg asked.
"Danny and Corey want to get to know each other better, so we're just going to sit back and talk and wait for lunch," Kyle replied.
"Which reminds me, what's for lunch?" Danny asked.
"You boys just had breakfast," Greg pointed out.
"But by the time lunchtime comes, we're going to need lunch."
"Lunch will be simple. Hot dogs and potato salad, which Alicia will be bringing. Also, at lunch, you'll have your chance to get to know Ronald."
"Funny how he's been home for a week and Kyle and I haven't met him yet," Danny observed.
"He's been busy learning about how the retrofit will work. He didn't shuttle down until Wednesday night. It's going to be… will be great to really get to know my new brother," Kyle said.
"And my new brother-in-law," Danny added.
"After lunch, it should be warm enough to hit the pool," Kyle said.
"You should let Ronnie know, so he can bring his swim trunks," Greg suggested.
"Ronnie? I've only heard him called Ronald."
"I have a feeling you and Danny... and Corey will be calling him Ronnie by dinner time."
"I'll call him whatever he wants to be called. And about swimming, I told Alicia about it before she left. Ronald probably won't need them anyway." Kyle decided to let Ronald give his okay to calling him Ronnie.
"I should have guessed," Greg chuckled.
Kyle and Danny stayed in the living room with Corey, answering his questions about how Prep School worked, what the Explorer Program was like, and what traveling in space and living on a starship was like. Before they knew it, the time was eleven and stomachs were beginning to think of growling.
Danny was about to boot up a space battle video game when Alicia and Ronald arrived. Alicia was carrying a box of potato salad while Ronald had the hot dogs.
Kyle and Danny stood up as soon as they entered the room. Corey quickly followed their lead. What they saw was a beautiful African American boy.
Ronald was a tall fourteen-year-old, standing at just under six feet. His hair was cut short, his dark face was smooth, his brown eyes sparkled, and his bearing was that of an officer. But what stood out most was his brilliant smile, which lit up the room.
Introductions were made by Alicia and handshakes were exchanged. Ronald surprised Danny and Kyle by giving them each a big hug, followed by a hug for Greg. "I have to hug you guys; you're part of my new family." When he saw Corey standing alone, he walked over and wrapped his arms around him as well. "My family's friends deserve a hug, too," he let everyone know. Kyle couldn't help but love his outgoing brother from the start. He was obviously a special person and the qualities that had made him a senior officer were showing themselves without his even trying to impress anyone.
The time before lunch, lunch and the half-hour after lunch were spent in lively conversation. One thing everybody learned right away was that Ronald's family and friends called him Ronnie and that was what he expected everyone in the room to call him, "even the admiral."
"Mom said something about nude swimming," Ronnie commented. "Is that true?" Ronnie asked as the topic of going out to the pool was broached by Kyle.
"It's true," Danny grinned.
"We have a nude swimming afternoon on the Victorious, so it's not like I haven't skinny dipped. Funny thing is, it wasn't one of the gay guys who suggested it, it was First Officer Benson, who has dipped his wick into more than one pussy."
"How many gays do you have on the Victorious?" Kyle asked.
"Seven who admit to it, two of whom are married and boringly monogamous. An entire crew if you count who beds down with who," Ronnie laughed. "Including Cliff Benson, the stud-in-chief, who is an animal in bed, by the way." Kyle loved the sound of Ronnie's laugh. He was loving everything he was learning about his new brother.
"You know that from experience?" Danny asked.
"Oh, hell yes. Not that I'm gay, but I'm about as bi as they come, with maybe a leaning over to the gay side. And the dude is packing a good 20.3 cm (8")."
"Which I take it you've done what you can with it?"
"You name it, we've done it. He fills me nicely, at either end. I figured I can tell you guys this because not only are you gay, but we're about to become relatives." Ronnie looked over at Corey who had been almost invisible. "Oops, sorry, Corey. If you're not gay and this isn't your thing, I truly apologize."
"I'm gay, but this is all new to me." Corey was soaking everything in. He had never heard so much gay sex talk in his life, even with Danny and Kyle the night before. He was so hard he couldn't stand it.
"Corey just came out," Kyle explained.
"And you're how old?" Ronnie asked Corey.
"A good time to learn about sex, especially if you ever end up on an Explorer ship. They should have a Sex in Space 101 class at the Academy. I didn't know squat about sex with guys when I shipped out on the Victorious. I'd been putting my efforts into the girls."
"It's sunny and warm, so let's go outside and take advantage of it," Kyle implored.
The four boys stepped out onto the pool deck. Corey was about to ask where they should go to undress when Danny gave him the answer by stripping naked. Kyle and Ronnie followed suit. Corey was happy to see that Kyle had an erection and didn't mind showing it off. He was worried what the other three would think when they saw his.
Ronnie's semi-hard cock shot instantly into an impressive 15.2 cm (6").
The boys jumped quickly into the heated pool and started wrestling, splashing, groping, humping, and laughing. While they all enjoyed the sexuality of the skinny dip, nobody dumped their load, although Corey and Danny both came close.
"It looks like Ronnie is fitting right in with Kyle and Danny," Greg observed as he and Alicia sat in the sunroom and looked out on the deck.
"Not to mention, Corey," Alicia replied. "None of them seem to be easily embarrassed. I've never seen Ronnie like this. He was always a lady's man before shipping out to space."
The boys felt comfortable with themselves but did their best not to display their wares to the parents whom they had seen in the sunroom. Ronnie was especially careful since he did not want his mother to see him with an erection. Corey was worried about adults seeing him, too, while Kyle and Danny had already been naked around Greg and Alicia without it being an issue.
As the boys started to become waterlogged, Kyle said they could hit the hot tub, or he could crank up the sauna. They liked the idea of drying out and of being behind walls, so Kyle got out of the pool and set the sauna, which was on the opposite side of the deck from the house.
Even though Kyle didn't turn the temperature up full, the boys still worked up a sweat. They also agreed that their contact in the pool had made them horny. The result was Corey enjoying his first circle jerk as his hair trigger had him shooting within a couple of minutes, and he then slowed down and enjoyed himself as he watched his three new friends take care of their business.
When the boys exited the sauna, Koji, Jason, Jonas and Jay Rivers were in the pool being supervised by his Grandpa Admiral. The boys were naked, sporting their usual hardons, while Greg was wearing a pair of Space Fleet issue swim shorts.
Kyle introduced Koji to Ronnie and Corey. Ronnie gave his soon-to-be nephew a loving hug, noting the boy's little erection, but saying nothing about it. He figured Koji was too young for it to be any kind of a sexual reaction. He had a lot to learn about his new nephew.
"Don't mind, Koji," Danny told Ronnie. "He happens to be a walking hardon."
"Daddy Danny, you get them too," Koji protested.
"Yeah, but not 24/7," Danny chuckled.
The family (plus Corey, Jason, Jonas and Jay) ate dinner out at one of the casino buffets. Greg and Alicia agreed that was the perfect place to feed a flock of young adolescent boys (plus Koji).
The evening was spent playing games, watching a Global Basketball League game between Sydney and Moscow, and socializing. When it came time for bed, the boys had made their arrangements.
Koji, Jason, Jonas and Jay would be sleeping in Koji's bed, Corey would be sleeping with Kyle in Kyle and Danny's room, while Danny slept with Ronnie in the guest room, which would soon become Ronnie's room.
Koji, Jason, Jonas and Jay reprised the fun they'd had the night before. Ronnie learned that Danny was wilder than Cliff Benson in bed, although they didn't do anything more than dry hump and have oral sex for two cums apiece. Kyle gave Corey lessons on satisfying his partner with his hands. And Greg and Alicia took care of their needs. It was a satisfying night for everybody.
The warm weather of the day before had left. Kyle sat in the sunroom. Corey had been picked up by his mother an hour after breakfast. When his mother asked him how his weekend had gone, he said it had been one of the greatest weekends of his life, a statement he could back up without having to get into the sexual angle.
Ronnie went back to the apartment with his mother. He would be moving into the guest room at Greg's house on Tuesday. He had been sleeping on a pullout couch in the living room of the apartment. Moving into the house would give him more space, plus privacy, not to mention access to his soon-to-be brothers.
Koji was in the family room playing with Danny, Jason, Jonas and Jay.
Kyle thought about how the weekend had gone. While he thought there might be a little sexual experimenting with Corey, he didn't expect the weekend to be as wild as it became. He was pleased that Ronnie was willing to play sexually; he was going to be a great brother, and not just because he was a good-looking, sexy dude. He was a fantastically nice person. Kyle had quickly learned over the weekend what brotherly love was about. Ronnie's bright eyes, his incredible smile, and an engaging personality were proof. He couldn't help but like, no... love, the boy who would officially be his brother in six more days.