Title: Spring Break
Author: Anne Higgins
Paring: Josh/Sam
Rating: NC17
Warnings: None
Archive: Yes, to this list's archives. All others, please ask.
Summary: How Josh and Sam met.
Notes:
1. To state the obvious, whenever writing in the fandom of a first-run series an idea is vulnerable to whatever each new episode reveals. "Somebody's Going. ..." gave a small glimpse of Sam's relationship with his father. This story does as well, but while it isn't completely contradictory, it is also far from a comfortable fit with the ep. I've opted not to revamp things and go with my first impressions of what sort of parents a brilliant, but often insecure man like Sam might have.
2. The first edition of "The Joy of Gay Sex" was published in 1977. As I don't have access to that edition, I have cheated and used the current one.
3. While there are differing opinions on Josh's age, I believe he is old enough for this story to take place about a year or so prior to AIDS awareness and the popularity of condoms to prevent the spread of STDs. There aren't any consequences to this in the lives of my Josh and Sam, but there aren't any condoms in use either.
4. I do not consider this a "prequel" to my first TWW story, "Commerce Report," but, my fickle muse allowing, the beginning of a different story line. Unfortunately, as in all the things I do these days, I cannot promise there will be more to come ... in which case, feel free to consider CR the sequel. :>
http://the-nesting-place.com/annehiggins.html
annehiggins@mindspring.com

Spring Break By Anne Higgins

The birthday card arrived six days late. Not even Hallmark had seemed to put much effort into it. A photograph of an elaborately decorated cake on the outside, 'Happy Birthday' printed on the inside. Impersonal. Like the signatures. Or rather the signature. 'Mother and Father' might have been meticulously written beneath the card's message, but Sam Seaborn could recognize the writing. No reason he shouldn't since his mother's secretary had signed every card Sam had ever received.

For years he had thought it was his mother's handwriting, then he'd happened to watch her sign a thank you note to someone who had given generously to one of the charities she chaired. Her secretary had handled the standard thank you cards to less worthy donators. It had been painfully obvious which signature matched the one on the cards he'd received over the years and in which priority category his mother had placed him.

Sometimes he wondered if the signature on the check he always found tucked inside the card actually came from the pen of his father or his father's accountant. Then again, the notion of his father allowing anyone besides himself access to the family fortune seemed unlikely. Control was the man's middle name. Well, not really, but Sam had always thought it should be.

The amount of the check almost made Sam whistle, and he was accustomed to impressive sums. Guilt money for the lateness of the card or an indirect acknowledgement of an important birthday? Sam would never know. He could ask, of course, but he wouldn't since asking would require a conversation with his father, something both of them went to great lengths to avoid.

No matter how a conversation began, it always came around to one central theme -- Sam was a disappointment. Both his parents believed it, so Sam guessed it must be true, although he'd never been able to figure out how they could know him well enough to decide one way or the other. He'd been packed off to boarding school the moment he was old enough. And not just any boarding school, but one on the opposite side of the country from the family's California domain.

Of course, it was a very exclusive, prestigious school guaranteed to prepare Sam for entry into the Ivy League university of his choice. None but the best and brightest need apply (which translated as no one without an old-money linage was welcome.) It was considered a wonderful honor to attend which had made his tears at being sent away a sign of ingratitude. And weakness. It was a favorite descriptor for him -- weak.

No one who had met his parents could ever wonder why he'd long ago given up going home for short holidays. Unfortunately, neither he nor his parents had any way to avoid his return during the summer. Those 'carefree' days were spent trying not to end up in the same room as one, or God forbid, both of his parents. When he failed, he found himself on the end of yet another lecture about what a trying son he was and had always been.

The pregnancy had been troublesome, the child too needy, the boy too soft, it went on and on and on. Yet he'd never gotten anything less than an 'A' or its equivalent in his life. He was well liked at school, and he kept himself fit. This was all seen as the expected and not at all a sign of achievement. The lack of anything else, however, was the distinct mark of an unworthy offspring.

Why wasn't he the quarterback or the captain of the lacrosse team? How did he expect any self-respecting father to admit his son's major extracurricular achievement was the post of recording secretary to the Gilbert & Sullivan club? "For God's sake, you aren't even the president!" his father would inevitably roar. *The* accusation would swiftly follow although the choice of derogatory term for his suspect-sexuality varied.

Never knowing how to respond, Sam had always kept silent and let his father rage until the elder Seaborn grew weary of the sport. In the last few years, Sam had even come to suspect his father might be right. While Sam appreciated beauty in any form and counted more than one girl among his friends, he'd yet to meet the girl who made his pulse race. All he had to do was hang around with the guys for five minutes to know this wasn't 'normal.'

On the other hand, a handsome boy didn't make him react either. He had many theories to explain this, but his favorite was blind terror. Hard to get ... um, hard, when the thought of it made his life flash before his eyes. Poor reflection on himself though it might be, Sam didn't think he could survive in the real world. Couldn't begin to imagine not being wealthy. After all, he was a weak disappointment. A lifetime of straight 'A's might say he had a measure of intelligence, but how clever could he be when he'd never managed to figure out a way to get his parents to love him? No, he couldn't make it on his own, and the best he could hope for if he allowed himself to have a homosexual thought would be disinheritance.

With that fear in mind he'd been careful to save what he could from the checks his father had sent him. It had seemed the sensible thing to do, but as he stood there holding the card in one hand and the check in the other the most unreasonable urge began to form. Spring break had started at the end of yesterday's classes. A week off he'd planned to spend in the school library reading whatever struck his fancy. It was his usual vacation routine -- at Christmas he'd read a great deal about road trips. He'd found it bemusing to know the best way to get from one place to another when he never went anywhere himself. Yet now he felt the need to ... go. Somewhere, anywhere.

He'd been invited by two separate groups to go on the inevitable trek to Florida. He'd even considered it and had spent hours gathering all the information he could on the route and possible destinations. His enthusiasm had been dampened by the 'you are so weird' looks he'd gotten when he'd talked about his discoveries. The look had quickly been followed by a reminder that the purpose of the trip was not to sight see or relax, but to overindulge in booze, babes and beaches. He'd backed out altogether when the usual indifferent card and check had failed to show up on his birthday.

Sam had spent the last week with his stomach in knots. Should he call and tell his parents the card hadn't arrived? Or had he been cut off now that he was no longer legally his parents' responsibility? He'd decided either way would have led to a great deal of yelling about his expectations and had opted against calling. The sick swell of relief he'd felt at the sight of the card in his mail slot had had as much to do with having no need to change his decision as discovering he hadn't been cut off. Yet.

All the adrenaline and fear of the last week continued to dance through his nerves, and his hand tightened on the check. He needed to escape, to do something others his age did even if booze and babes held no real appeal to him.

Almost against his will, his wrist turned to let him see his watch. He had enough time to get to the bank before Saturday hours ended. But he had to decide now.

For a few moments fear and common sense threatened to win the day, but some inner voice whispered about an adventure of self-discovery. Could he make it in the real world? What was the truth about his suspect-sexuality? This was his chance to find out. Despite the fact he knew his parents would not approve of his going, it was the knowledge that staying at school would be further proof of his weakness in their eyes which tipped the scales.

His heart pounding, Sam snatched up his jacket and checkbook, then headed for the door.

*

Josh Lyman couldn't help but wonder what moronic impulse had compelled him to agree to this madness. He stood in the bathroom doorway, surveying the sprawl of humanity in the room and decided he must have been suffering from sleep deprivation.

"Come with us," his friends had urged. One last blast before the end of law school.

"Go, have fun," his mother had said. In a few weeks he'd graduate and enter the real world.

"Don't miss out," his father had advised. Once Josh graduated he'd be taking the next step in the future he'd planned for himself -- a job as a Congressional aid. "Your last chance to be an unknown face in a crowd, son. After June, you'll have to watch every step you make."

His father's words of wisdom had swayed him despite the lure of crashing in an empty dorm and sleeping the week away. Anonymity before life began in the goldfish bowl. Even if it would be years before he would really be in a position where a reporter gave a damn about his character.

Yes, anonymity had sounded good, but this was ridiculous. Too keep expenses down Josh and seven of his friends had crammed themselves into a room meant for no more than four. Suitcases, sleeping bags and discarded clothing covered every inch of the floor, leaving Josh weak at the notion of picking his way back over to where he'd dumped his own belongings. By the end of the day, several girls would be added to the mix.

After two nights of such a crunch, sleeping on the beach had definite appeal. Especially since he hadn't hit it off with the gal he'd picked up last night and really didn't feel like setting his sites on a new conquest. He figured such thoughts amounted to blasphemy in this bastion of testosterone, but hey, it was his vacation, too.

He'd read himself right in the beginning -- all he wanted to do was sleep for a week. Instead he'd been crammed into a car -- he was certain his back would never be the same again -- stuffed into a corner of an overcrowded room and now he found himself bored out of his mind with the evening's agenda.

His first choice at recreation thwarted by too much noise and a lack of room to comfortably stretch out, he decided he was damned well going to find something more interesting to do for choice number two.

Calling an all purpose, "Catch you guys later," over his shoulder, Josh headed downstairs while considering his options. By the time he reached the lobby he'd decided they were sadly limited. He'd spent enough time on the beach during the day. Movies were out as there was nothing playing he wanted to see, besides, who came all the way to Florida to see a movie? Then again, how much sense did it make to come all the way to Florida to pick up a girl? Yale had many lovely ladies. He paused at that thought. Yes, many lovely ladies on campus. And in Washington, D.C. His father's words about anonymity flickered through his mind again.

Yes, he should do something he could not do at school or after graduation. It had been a long time since he'd been with another guy. Not since high school and nothing heavy even then. Mutual jerk off sessions and other kid-stuff a guy into self-delusion could say didn't have anything to do with bisexual urges. Josh wasn't such a man. He knew himself well enough to know he liked men as well as women. Men were simply inconvenient for the future he had planned so he'd made it a policy to focus exclusively on women. But if this was his last chance to enjoy the forbidden. ...

His mind made up, he approached a bellhop who had struck Josh as someone who might know where one could find the 'forbidden' in this town. Twenty minutes later, he got out of a cab in front of a disco. He stood there watching pulsing neon lights for almost as long as the drive had taken and watched while he tried to work up his courage to enter.

Did he really want to do this? He was young and not experienced enough to know what he was doing. A whole host of ways he could get into more trouble than he could handle occurred to him. A smart man would hail another cab and head back to the hotel. Ah, yes, the hotel. Where a mass of humanity would soon be writhing on the floor of his room. The image decided him, and taking a deep breath to steady his nerves, he walked inside.

Loud, flashy and, despite the early hour, already filling with smoke, the place could have been any disco Josh had ever encountered. Except the bodies gyrating through various mating dances were all male. Josh swallowed, his throat feeling very dry. It hadn't occurred to him he might have to dance. Sex with a guy was one thing, but dancing. ...

Needing a drink, he headed for the bar. A fresh face in a place frequented by locals, he drew a measure of attention and had to turn down two offers to dance and one proposition by the time he reached the dubious safety of the highly polished bar. Wrapping his hands around the cold bottle set in front of him, he stared at the array of liquor displayed behind the bartender and concentrated on calming down. His heart was pounding and he could feel the trickle of sweat making itself slowly down the length of his spine. He had the distinct feeling 'scared to death' was not the image he wanted to give off in this place.

He guessed his best course of action was to find someone and get the heck out of here before the place filled up for the night. Probably gave him two hours tops to make enough of a connection to be reasonably certain the guy wasn't an axe murderer out to add a whole different sort of notch to his bed post. Unfortunately, he had no great familiarity with the differences between a crazed killer and a guy desperate to get off.

The next man who approached him grinned too much. Sure sign of instability. After him came a blond with what looked suspiciously like a twitch. Uh uh. Too much jewelry - probably out to rob, not lay anyone he lured outside - disqualified the second blond. And no way in the world was Mrs. Lyman's little boy going to do it with a guy who had a tattoo.

He waited for the next man's approach, his mind already racing for some all-purpose reason to turn whoever it might be down, when it occurred to him he'd been sitting there with his beer for a good five minutes since the last proposition. He looked around and frowned. It seemed he'd gone through all the unattached males in this early evening crowd. Now what did he do?

A lull in the music let him hear "No, thank you, I don't dance" come from the other end of the bar. He looked up to see Tattoo Guy shrug, then walk away, his departure giving Josh a look at the speaker. A young man sat on the far stool, his head down, shoulders hunched, while his entire being seemed concentrated on a bottle of beer. The same brand Josh was drinking. Although shredding the label versus drinking the beer seemed to be more the other guy's idea of a fun.

A mere five seconds ago, Josh would have said it was impossible for anyone to be more afraid than he was, but the kid made him seem like a bastion of courage. Poor guy practically vibrated with terror.

That terror went up another notch as Jewelry Guy approached, proving the kid wasn't as oblivious to his surroundings as it looked. The music had started up again, so Josh couldn't hear a word, but he saw large eyes widen as the kid took in Jewelry Guy's appearance. Even if he couldn't make out the distinct movement of lips saying "no," Josh could tell the answer to whatever had been suggested was negative. Only the guy didn't move away.

Josh felt a twinge of ego. Jewelry Guy certainly hadn't taken Josh's rejection badly, but the man seemed headed down the 'won't take no for an answer' road with his newest object of affection. How the kid's eyes got even wider, Josh didn't know, but he found himself on his feet and moving toward the mini-drama unfolding before him.

Not that Josh had the slightest notion of what to do. Jewelry Guy was all muscle, and Josh had no desire to spend the rest of his vacation in a hospital. What was it the hero always did in the movies? His mind raced through a dozen lame plots, added the fact he'd turned everyone down with a vague 'I'm waiting on someone,' and settled on a likely possibility.

Opting against the more antagonistic approach of wedging himself between the kid and his would be seducer, Josh made for the stool on the other side of the 'damsel' in distress. "There you are," he said, settling onto the stool. "I didn't notice you with all this crazy lighting." The kid looked at him with a bewildered edge to his terror. Josh gave Jewelry Guy a benign look. "Hey, if I'd known you were a friend of Dave's, I would have invited you to have a beer with me while I waited."

Jewelry Guy gave him a long look, then turned and walked away without a word.

"Thank you, God." Josh caught hold of 'Dave's' elbow and urged him to his feet. "Come on, let's get out of here before you start a riot."

"But -" The kid sputtered in confusion, but didn't do anything to resist Josh's rush for the front door.

Once outside, Josh released his hold and collapsed back against the nearest wall. "Oh, man, I think my life just flashed before my eyes." It took a moment to register the kid hadn't taken off the moment he'd let go. Intending to introduce himself, Josh straightened and got his first really good look at the kid's face. This was not a guy. This was a pretty child. "Holy, shit!" he exploded, "What the hell were you doing in there?"

The bluest eyes Josh had ever seen widened again. "I ... I was curious and -"

"Curious? Curious! That guy would have eaten you alive if I hadn't gotten you out of there!" The fact he could have faced a similar fate was labeled inconvenient and shoved to the back of Josh's mind.

"Thank you for that, but I really don't' think it gives you the right to -"

"Come on!" Josh snapped, stalking away from the disco. The further he got the child away from here the better.

"Wha-? Where are we going?"

Where indeed? Josh looked around and saw the perfect place to take a damned fool and talk some sense into him. The irony of it even appealed to his warped sense of humor. "Dairy Queen."

A brisk march up the street and within minutes Josh found himself sitting in a booth scowling at a child sipping happily away at a strawberry milkshake. "Do your parents know where you are?" He demanded.

The blue eyes fixed on him. "Hello, I'm Sam Seaborn," the child said, holding out his hand. "Who are you?"

"Josh Lyman," he answered by reflex about a split second before he thought keeping his name secret might have been a good idea. He'd have to work on his timing.

"A pleasure to meet you, Josh," Sam said shaking his hand.

"Parents."

"I'm eighteen."

Josh snorted.

Sam pulled out his wallet, then handed Josh his driver's license.

Josh looked at the date of birth and scowled. "Eighteen and eight days."

"Still legal."

"If this is real," Josh retorted, but try as he might he couldn't find anything about the license to prove otherwise.

"It is." Sam took back his identification, then returned his attention to his milkshake.

Josh watched him suck on the straw and part of his anatomy stirred with interest. Oh, hell. He scowled at Sam again, then turned his focus to devouring his hot fudge sundae. "So you're not a runaway?" he asked without looking up.

"No, just on spring break."

"From?"

"Brackenridge."

Impressive. "Headed for Yale or Harvard?"

"Princeton. You?"

"Finished with Harvard; almost through with Yale."

"I might go there for law school," he said, not clarifying which 'there' he meant.

"That's what I'm in."

"Law school?"

He nodded. Josh was never certain how it happened. One moment he'd been sitting in a gay disco trying to get picked up while desperately trying to avoid getting picked up; the next he was exchanging life stories with someone he probably shouldn't have even given his real name. He quickly found he did not want the evening to end, but couldn't think of what to say when they went back outside.

This time Sam came to his rescue. "There's a theater a few miles from here that features old movies."

"Oh? What's playing?" he asked, conveniently forgetting he hadn't come all the way to Florida to see a movie, let alone one he could catch on the late show.

"'Casablanca.' I never got around to seeing it."

Josh frowned. "Well, I'd say it was high time such a serious gap in your cultural education was addressed."

Sam beamed, and Josh had the distinct feeling he was in trouble.

Oh, yes, definitely in trouble, he decided when he found Sam holding his hand half-way through the film. He couldn't help but smile when Sam sniffled during the 'hill of beans' speech and his gut told him no truer words had ever been spoken than, '... this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.'

He was still holding Sam's hand when they emerged from the theater. What did he do now? Legal or not, the kid was too young for him. ... wasn't he? God, if only his eyes weren't so blue. Josh took a deep breath, told himself to do the right thing and said, "Well, I should-"

"No!" Sam said, tightening his grip on Josh's hand. The marquee gave off enough light to see a blush color his cheeks, and he suddenly seemed to find something fascinating about the sidewalk. "I mean, we're supposed to. ... Umm, don't you want to? ..."

The misery in the kid's voice got to Josh in a way his looks never could have. His hand cupped Sam's chin and tilted his head back so he could see those beautiful eyes. "Yes, I want to, but I'm sharing a room with half the population of Yale."

Sam brightened. "I have a room."

Josh sighed. "Sam, I'm sure you think your roommates would be discrete, but I can't risk-"

"I don't have any roommates."

What? Josh frowned, certain he'd misheard. "You have a room of your own?"

Sam nodded.

His frown deepened. "But you said you decided to drive down here at the last minute."

"Yesterday," Sam said with another nod, then he smiled. "If you do a little research and are willing to stay an hour's drive from the beach, it can be done."

Josh knew he must have been staring at Sam as if the kid were from Mars. "A room by yourself?" At this point the very notion was so close to Josh's idea of paradise that having one this side of the Pearly Gates was almost beyond his comprehension. He had the sneaking suspicion his next line should have been something akin to 'get thee behind me, Satan,' but instead he said, "Prove it."

Sam smiled in triumph while Josh resisted the temptation to point out he'd not agreed to anything but his willingness to be shown paradise -- which, at least at this point in time, was defined by a naked floor, not a naked kid. It was when he saw Sam's car that he had to concede he'd been well and thoroughly seduced. "This is yours?" he weakly asked for confirmation as he stared with lust-filled eyes.

"Until the end of the week," Sam answered with another beaming smile. "I thought I should rent a big car in case I had to sleep in it."

Josh almost whimpered. A Lincoln Towncar. Room enough to stretch out. No twisted back, no cramped legs. In that moment, he knew if it were possible, he'd marry the clever boy life had thrust in his path. "Take me, I'm yours," he muttered in near awe.

"Okay," Sam agreed happily and got into the car.

Josh climbed into the passenger seat, then settled into the leather upholstery with a sigh of bliss.

The next thing he knew, Sam touched his arm and said, "We're here."

Huh? "Oh, man, I must have dozed off," he said, his voice thick with the remnants of a soul-satisfying nap. He glanced around and discovered they were parked in a small lot behind what had to be the Florida version of a quaint bed and breakfast. A soft bed, a warm breakfast instead of leftover munchies -- Josh's mouth watered at the thought.

"You coming?" Sam asked appearing outside of Josh's car door. Apparently he'd lost track of things while lost in a reverent haze.

"Sure," he answered, scrambling out of the car. "Did I mention I was a Fulbright Scholar?"

Sam gave him a curious look obviously searching for some sense of relevance. "Yes," he said in a tone indicating he'd failed to find any.

"Good, I'd hate to think you were judging my intelligence on this evening alone."

A grin answered him, then the mouth opened to impart some wonderful words of wisdom. Instead, Sam seemed to think better of it and snapped his jaw closed.

Josh frowned. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing. You ready to go inside?"

"Not until you tell me what's wrong."

"Really, nothing. I was just going to make a bad joke."

"I'm known the world over for my wonderful sense of humor. Let's hear it."

"But-" His head had dropped, and if the light weren't so dim Josh would have bet he would see a blush coloring the kid's face. For some reason he must have thought Josh wouldn't react well. Utter nonsense since Josh was all too aware of how much he'd set himself up.

He gave Sam a gentle nudge. "Hey, think of it as a test."

"A test?" he asked, peeking up at Josh.

"Yeah. Anyone without a sense of humor could be an axe murderer."

"Oh, okay." He took a deep breath as if pulling in courage. "I was going to say I'm really not trying to find a genius to father my child."

Josh smiled. Probably would have laughed if it had been delivered at the right time. "In that case, lead me to your bastion of solitude. ... But if you were looking for a genius, just remember -"

"You're a Fulbright Scholar."

"Right."

Sam led him inside, up the back staircase, then unlocked the first door on the right. Josh couldn't tell if this were simply the easiest way to reach the room or if Sam had taken to heart Josh's comment about discretion, but either way, from what Josh could tell, they made it inside the room without anyone seeing them.

Appreciating at least the illusion of the effort, Josh opened his mouth to thank him, but Sam flipped on the lights and the words were lost. The room wasn't large by any standards, but its lack of teeming humanity made it seem huge. A king-sized bed decorated with a colorful patchwork quilt called to him, and he flopped onto a firm, but not too firm mattress. Bliss, he decided and sighed gratefully.

"Should I leave the two of you alone?"

He propped himself up on his elbows and regarded the kid watching him with such blatant amusement. Obviously, Sam did not appreciate how draining the twilight days of law school could be. Josh opted to forgive this tragic lack of empathy and gave Sam a long assessing look. "Oh, I think there might be room for you, too."

Sam blushed, and for the first time the lighting was bright enough for Josh to get the full effect. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. He sat up, then held out his hand. "Come here."

The blush deepened, but Sam obeyed. His hand trembled as he reached out and took Josh's. Frightened, but his blue eyes sparkled with desire -- somehow the sight of him made Josh think he'd have been a lot safer with a potential ax murderer.

Ignoring the inner alarm bells, he drew Sam into a kiss. Tentative at first, then deeper. Sam tensed in his arms when Josh pushed his tongue between soft lips, but he relaxed a second later, his body warm and pliant in Josh's arms. Pliant, that is, except for the hard shaft trying to bore a hole in his stomach.

It almost startled Josh. This kid had inspired a mix of emotions in Josh -- trepidation, affection, protectiveness, curiosity -- but any lust had been a lingering tease, not a burning need. It was like Sam had seduced everything but Josh's dick. Now, his anatomy literally perked up and took notice of the proceedings. He groaned into Sam's mouth and tumbled the trim body down beside him on the bed.

Two pairs of hands pulled and pushed at clothing enough to get them bare from chest to groin. Needing contact and friction, Josh maneuvered Sam beneath him while he continued to devour one hell of a delectable mouth. Taste of him could make a man want to give up breathing, but Josh had no intention of suffocating when there was so much delicious skin to touch, to taste. Then again, given the ache in his groin, he wasn't going to last much longer. Certainly not long enough to find the strength to abandon Sam's mouth.

Their groins slick with pre-come, Josh began to thrust his cock against Sam's. His body aching for completion, he moved faster and harder, finally breaking away from their kissing to get more leverage.

Sam groaned loudly, then shuddered in release, the warm flow of his seed between them enough to tease Josh over the end as well.

He had to bite his lip not to scream as his muscles contracted, shuddered loose, then failed, sending him sprawling over Sam. The tiny part of him not trying to dissolve into a pile of jelly expected a squawk of protest, but arms and legs wrapped around him, pulling him close. Should say something or make the maximum effort and lift his head long enough to smile down at the virgin he'd just deflowered. But Sam was too warm and Josh was too tired. He fell asleep pillowed against and surrounded by an almost-child he'd met a few short hours ago. Nothing had ever seemed so right. Trouble, kid was definitely trouble. ...

*

The muted light of the morning sun seeping through drawn curtains woke Sam. To his delight, long limbs still held him close to his ... lover. Sam smiled as the word entered his thoughts. He had a lover. He did not allow himself to think beyond the word. He knew all too well he was young, and Josh had clearly been uneasy about bedding him. If he allowed himself to put too much significance into the situation, he'd end up spoiling what he wanted to be something he could look back on with a happy smile. The only way to do that was to keep things light. Even if he wanted. ... No.

Odds were good Josh would vanish soon after waking. Wanting to delay that moment for as long as possible, Sam lay quietly within his cocoon of Josh. He didn't even shift around enough to get a look at the bedside clock to find out what time it was. It didn't matter. Until eyes opened and filled with dismay, he had a lover. Someone who wanted him. Wanted him enough to not let him go during a long night's sleep. Whatever happened nothing could take these warm, lazy moments away from him.

A knight in shining armor had come to his rescue in his time of need. He smiled liking the analogy, unconcerned it cast him in the role of the damsel in distress. He had been. In distress. Not a damsel. He wondered if a damsel might have another day, even the rest of the week with this knight, then chided himself for letting his mind drift toward even wistful regret.

There was nothing to regret. He had his answers now. He was a homosexual. Or was he? He hadn't been aroused by any of the other men in the disco. He'd been too scared, and he was willing to bet he'd have been scared of Josh, too, if the man had simply approached him. But he'd known Josh would be his first the moment he'd thrown a fit about Sam's youthful appearance. Was he a homosexual then or a knightosexual?

He frowned hoping it was the former. It could prove damned inconvenient if it turned out he couldn't get it up unless someone rescued him from some form of jeopardy. He supposed he was quite capable of coming up with a variety of situations requiring rescue, but he would eventually lose patience with himself and end up some lonely old celibate. All the more reason to memorize the man holding him. The man he loved.

The notion of falling in love at first sight was so patently absurd, he refused to give it much import. Even if it was true. He must simply be one of those people who managed to fall in love at the drop of a hat. It stood to reason a psyche scarred by indifferent parents would develop into such a needy person. He was fine with that. As long as he was aware of his short comings, he could keep himself from sinking to pathetic depths.

Perhaps he should declare himself a Joshosexual and refrain from any future encounters? Like the wolf and the swan, Sam Seaborn mated for life. Or was this his way of chickening out of facing a future in which his father discovered he was not only a homosexual, but a practicing one? Hmm, obviously the morning after was not a good time to make decisions. He'd think for a few days, do some research, then decide.

"There's smoke coming out of your ears."

Ah, his beloved's voice. And the beginning of the end. Sam smiled, refusing to acknowledge the pang in his heart. "Morning." He wanted a good morning kiss, but settled for giving Josh a hug, then slipped out of the embrace and the bed as smoothly as entangled limbs and sticky skin would allow. He glanced at the clock. "If we hurry, you'll have time for that breakfast you were dreaming about last night," he said, then darted into the bathroom to prevent Josh from saying something along the lines of he really should be going. It might be prolonging the agony, but Sam wanted a few more hours with him.

He got into the shower intent on doing a fast clean up - they really did have to hurry if they wanted to make breakfast - but the hot water flowing over him tried to seduce him into slowing down. Couldn't allow it. Josh would probably be gone when he finished even if he did do a quick wash and rinse, but maybe bacon and pancakes had more allure than escaping Sam's clutches.

The far end of the shower curtain jerked open, making Sam jump. He might have fallen, but arms snaked around him keeping him upright. "Let's try this again," Josh said. "Good morning."

"Good morning," Sam answered, his voice a near squeak from surprise and swift arousal.

A kiss rewarded him, then another. A hand grasped his cock while another moved his own hand to his lover's cock and. ... He pretty much lost track of things from there.

When he recovered his sense of time and place, Sam found his body felt heavy and his knees wanted to collapse. Fortunately, Josh had a good hold on him, although he suspected they were doing some mutual propping up. He nuzzled his face into Josh's neck and murmured, "We'll miss breakfast."

"So we'll get an early lunch," Josh answered around nibbles on Sam's ear.

Sam blushed. It seemed he was breakfast, but while his spirit was more than willing, his flesh was sated. At least for the moment. "Um, Josh."

"Quiet, I'm planning."

"Planning what?"

"Where I'm going to take you sight seeing."

"Oh." For a moment Sam wondered if he should be insulted his lover wasn't plotting how to keep him naked and in bed. Then he remembered his pre-vacation research and brightened. "NASA's not far from here."

*

Trouble. Big trouble.

Josh glanced at the kid sitting in the passenger seat happily reading away on a book about the history of NASA A kid in a toy store had nothing on Sam in the NASA gift shop. Eyes shining, skin flushed with excitement, he'd looked all too much like he did after he climaxed for Josh's peace of mind. Feeling weak in the knees Josh had bought him a blue hat which happened to match those shining eyes.

The effort had almost gotten him kissed senseless, but Sam had visibly restrained himself, put on the hat, then bought half a dozen of the geekiest books he could find. Josh didn't think there could possibly be anything in them the kid didn't already know, but he supposed the pictures must be nice.

He suppressed the urge to sigh and concentrated on driving. When he'd woke up this morning, he'd been determined to salvage a cheap one-night stand out of this mess and make a fast exit. Sam had popped that bubble with a brave smile. Josh's heart had absolutely melted at the sight of it. Been no way in hell he wasn't going to follow when the kid fled to the bathroom.

Plans revising from one-night stand to day of hot sex, he'd climbed into the shower and lost himself in a haze of Samness. The return of reason informed him he would not survive a day in bed with his sanity intact, but he couldn't imagine leaving Sam. Day of hot sex became a day playing tourist. A very informative day.

The amount of information stored away in the kid's brain astounded him. Josh had listened dumbfounded while Sam told him all about every other thingamajig they encountered. He'd told Sam he was scary, but he'd beamed as if it were the greatest compliment he'd ever received. Took Josh a few minutes to figure out all that glowing came from the fact he was actually listening to Sam. He guessed the usual response was to do a bad job of pretending to listen or a quick excuse and run. Apparently no one else had ever appreciated the combination of passion, knowledge and a gift with words. World was full of morons. No two ways about it.

Unfortunately, his display of outrage over this slight coupled with is attentiveness had earned him a look which translated in his hyperactive brain as 'Sam loves me.' Nonsense. They'd known each other for less than 24 hours. Love was a non-possibility. Not to mention absurd. But he couldn't shake the suspicion Sam not only loved him, but that he had fallen for the kid as well.

Obviously he'd lost his mind, and the only hope of salvation he had was to escape the clutches of this enchanter. Such was his plan when he'd aimed the car in the direction of his hotel instead of Sam's bed and breakfast. It remained the plan even as he turned into the hotel parking lot.

Unfortunately, he looked at Sam. The book had been abandoned in favor of a careful study of Josh's face and the return of the heartbreakingly brave smile. No, don't fall for it again. Must be strong. He opened his mouth to say his polite goodbyes, but his tongue had other ideas. "I'll just go grab my things, then we can get some dinner." Huh????

The sun came up in a bight blue blaze, and Sam visibly checked himself from throwing himself into Josh's arms. "Okay," he whispered, then grinned.

Okay, so they were in love. It happened on vacations. They'd get over it. "Wait here," he said, then took the car keys with him to make certain.

Josh reached the zoo his friends called a room in record time. He found himself blessing the crowded conditions which had kept him from unpacking. A few things to grab from the bathroom, a suitcase to snap shut and he was all packed. With a smirk he told his friends he'd found better company to keep and he'd see them back at the dorm in a week. He fled in a hail of insults and attaboy-claps on the back.

He was halfway across the lobby when he noticed Sam talking to the same bellhop who'd given Josh instructions on how to find the gay disco. Groaning inwardly, he continued on to the car. The last thing he wanted to do tonight was go club hopping. But if that was what Sam wanted. ... Well, it didn't take a Fulbright Scholar to know saying no to him was going to be a big problem.

Resigned, he threw his bag into the car, then sat down on the trunk to wait for his absent lover.

Sam trotted up a minute later, a small, sheepish smile on his face. "Sorry. I needed some information and I thought I could get it from the concierge."

"But that guy looked like he he'd know it."

Sam nodded.

"Did he?"

Another nod.

He wondered if the bellhop were some plant from the Gay Merchants Association or something. He was so flamingly obvious and approachable it made life a heck of a lot less embarrassing. He pulled out the keys and held them up. "Well, since you know where we're going, you'd better drive."

Words to regret as thirty minutes later, Sam led him, not into some club, but into a bookstore of a type Josh hadn't really known existed. "Sam," he muttered while considering dying from embarrassment. Further words failed him as he caught sight of the magazine racks. Hey, he might not be into denial about his sexuality, but this was overkill! As soon as he found his voice, he was going to give this oversexed child a piece of his mind, and. ...

"Ah, here it is," Sam announced in triumph, coming to an abrupt halt near the back.

Josh was afraid to ask. Before he could overcome his base cowardice, Sam lifted a book off the shelves that made Josh's eyes pop out of his head. "'The Joy of Gay Sex'?" he squeaked.

Sam nodded. "I need to know what I'm doing." He said it with a shy downturn of the head which was no doubt an attempt to signal this was all for Josh's benefit.

It didn't fool Josh for a second. The little shit had figured out they'd already run through Josh's entire repertoire of gay sex tricks. He blushed mightily at the loss of his 'experienced older man' image, resisted the temptation to launch into a long list of things he could do if Sam where a tall, leggy blonde with boobs out to here and followed the insufferable information groupie to the cash register.

Once free of the shop, Josh stalked over to the car, pointedly going to the passenger's side.

Sam took the hint, unlocked the door for him, then went to the driver's side. As soon as they were both in the car, Josh snatched up the book. He might be embarrassed to death, but he was also curious as hell. A quick check of the table of contents made him smirk. "Alphabetical listings," he observed and quickly thumbed to the subject that seemed tailor- made for this impromptu shopping expedition. He cleared his throat, then read, "There are many ways to heighten sensations during sex play. One old favorite is an occasional slap on the ass. ..."

"Josh?"

"Hmm?"

"Are you mad at me?"

He really did want to make the kid squirm for a while, but he couldn't do it. "No, but you could have warned me."

"Sorry. ... Did you want to spank me?"

Shit! The horrible feeling Sam would let him do whatever he wanted swept through him. Too much power, too fast. Time to slow things down. "Um, there are nineteen other letters before the S's. Maybe we should start with A."

"Okay. You could read to me while I drive."

He nodded, flipped to the front of the book, then nearly choked when he saw the first subject - Anus. Okay, so they'd start with the B's. "Guess what," he said, his voice sort of quivering with laughter and mortification. "Turns out the United States is the blow-job capital of the world."

"Oh."

"Yeah, oh."

*

Five Days Later

Sam finished brushing his teeth, then straightened up and looked at himself in the mirror. "You can do this," he whispered and noted it was difficult to give oneself a convincing pep-talk when trying not to be overheard by the man in the next room. Nevertheless, he *could* do this.

Far from stupid, he'd noticed almost immediately that Josh had problems with denying him things. And Sam wanted this. He knew Josh did, too, even if the stubborn bastard seemed intent on doing what he erroneously thought was best for Sam. Well, tonight that changed.

Deliberately ignoring the robe hanging on the back of the door, he marched into the bedroom stark naked and planted himself firmly within Josh's line of sight.

Josh, who was inattentively re-reading "The Joy of Gay Sex" for the third time looked up from where he was sprawled on the bed and sighed. "You know there are sexier sights than you standing there glaring at me like you're Eisenhower and I'm the beach at Normandy."

A picture of Eisenhower surveying his troops while wearing nothing but his general's hat flashed into Sam's mind. He dismissed it as one of the absurd quirks of his psyche and fixed Josh with a steely-eyed gaze.

"Damn. You're going to be difficult about this, aren't you?"

Sam nodded.

"Pout?"

Nod.

"Sulk?"

Nod.

"Bury me under a mountain of facts no reasonable person should ever want to know?"

Nod.

"Get all wide-eyed and teary on me?"

Nod.

"Shit."

Sam didn't know if that was a pet name or a curse, but decided it wasn't information he needed. "Give up?"

"Insufferable, little. ... Oh, all right."

Triumphant, Sam grinned, then scrambled over and into the bed. He opted against telling Josh it was very unwise to reward his behavior by immediately taking him into a snuggling embrace.

"I still don't think-"

Sam cut him off by snatching up the tube on the bedside table, then dropping it into Josh's hand.

"First the mouse ears, now this," Josh grumbled, but took the lid off the tube.

Sam sneaked a glance at the Mickey Mouse ears hat sitting on the dresser next to his NASA cap, but deemed it unwise to grin again. He'd bought the book - not that Josh had ever actually let him get his hands on it - wanting to start with the A's.

Josh wouldn't hear of it and had skipped over to blow jobs. They'd spent a wonderful evening perfecting their techniques, but Sam wanted more. His desire for more got him a trip to Disney World and a photo of Josh in the mouse ears. It had lured Josh away from the lazy sunny climes of Florida and into the car for a long leisurely drive back up the coast as Sam did his best to visit all the places he'd read about. Basically, it had ensured Josh did everything he wanted. Except what he wanted.

Well, tomorrow they'd arrive at Yale and Josh would walk out of his life. Not something Sam would allow until he'd gotten exactly what he wanted. "What do I do?" he asked softly, seething internally that he didn't know because Josh had hogged the book.

"Sleep in another room would be good," Josh said, taking the sting out of the sour grapes by nuzzling Sam's neck.

"Uh huh."

"Damn," came the highly insincere answer. "I guess you'd better shift over onto your side."

Sam obeyed.

"Facing away from me."

Sam glared at him, then shifted over onto his other side. He forgave Josh as the man's warmth cuddled up against his back.

Between neck nuzzles he said, "I'm going to do some poking. Don't be a stubborn shit and tell me if something is too much or too fast."

"'kay." The too-quick agreement didn't even convince himself.

"Sam, promise you won't let me hurt you or I'm sleeping in the bath tub."

Damn. "All right, I promise."

"Good boy."

"Arf."

"Not tonight, this is a better position for your first time."

"Ha h- Ah!" He yelped as a slick finger slipped down between the crack of his ass.

"Oh, we're off to a great start. Sam, you're not ready for this."

"Am, too. You just startled me," he insisted, darkly certain Josh had touched him without warning to prove his completely lame point. "Get on with it."

"Sam. ..."

"Tears, Josh."

"I should have left you in Georgia."

Sam smirked at the far wall and did not yelp as the finger moved low enough to brush against his opening. His heart began to beat faster, and he pushed his hips backwards to prove precisely how ready for this he was.

"Oh, no. We go slow or we don't do this. Tears or no tears."

Killjoy, but Sam knew when to admit defeat. "All right. We go slow."

Josh rewarded him with several neck nibbles, then somewhere along the way the finger slipped inside Sam. As curiosity had compelled him to do this much to himself on more than one occasion, Sam merely acknowledged the entry with a soft sigh. Although the KY felt ... slicker than the lotion Sam had used.

The second finger made him tense up for a moment, but drawing in a deep breath of Josh-scented air, relaxed him again. He paid for the one tense second with what seemed like hours of Josh stretching him. He was about to growl he was loose enough for a train to penetrate him when a third finger pushing inside shut him up. Slow was good, he decided and let himself stop anticipating what was to come, focusing instead on the sensations the preparation caused.

His cock hardened as Josh probed him. He loved the intimacy of it, the press of Josh against him, the gentle rocking motion of each trust of fingers. Oh, yes, he could come from this. "Josh," he whispered.

Josh leaned up, kissed him on the mouth, then withdrew his fingers. "Ready?"

"Um hmm."

Hands grasped his hips, holding him steady, then the crown of Josh's cock pressed against his anus. "Mmm."

Lips pressed to the back of his neck, and the entry began. Slow, easy. With infinite patience Josh moved, then froze every time Sam gave the slightest sign he needed a moment to adjust. Oh, God, he was so completely head-over-heels in love with this man. The only pain he felt was the one in his heart at knowing it would all end tomorrow. He had to bite his lip to stop himself from whispering words of love, then Josh was completely inside him.

"How do you feel?"

Whole. Complete. Finished. "I like it. You?"

"So hot, and tight." He kissed him again. "Only thing better is your smile."

What? The last had been whispered so softly. Had he heard it right? "Josh?"

"Hang on, kid," Josh said, wrapping his arms around Sam. "We're going for a ride."

A slow glide in and out. Taking. Claiming. Possessing. Wanting. Him. Maybe even lost in the moment enough to love him back. At least a little. Glorious. He was so high emotionally, Sam almost didn't react when Josh shifted his angle and sent physical sparks bursting through Sam's body. "Josh!"

"Found it," Josh murmured, obviously pleased with himself.

"It?"

"Talk about it later. Shut up and feel."

He did.

*

Sam pulled the rental car up in front of Josh's dorm. He kept both hands on the wheel and stared straight ahead. He wondered if a brave smile would do him any good. Josh seemed to have a weakness for them. But no, that was Vacation Josh, and he'd stopped existing the moment they'd driven onto campus. He really shouldn't feel so sad. He had his answers. He could get along on his own, even if he had managed to find a way to break his heart. And he was definitely a Joshosexual. It was all he'd wanted out of the stupid trip - answers. He shouldn't be sitting here complaining because he didn't like all of them.

"Sam."

Be fair. Make it easy on him. Time to mourn later. He forced himself to look at Josh, to give him a genuine smile born from all the wonderful memories he owned thanks to this man. "I had a wonderful time."

"So did I." They couldn't kiss goodbye. Sam knew that, but it hurt when Josh didn't even clasp his hand before getting out of the car. "I'll call you."

The dreaded words were a dagger in his heart. Josh didn't even have his phone number. "That'd be great."

Josh gave him a smile, grabbed his bag out of the back seat - no doubt placed there instead of the trunk to increase the ease of his escape - then walked up the path to the front door. He didn't even look back.

"I love you," Sam said when he knew Josh couldn't possibly hear him. "I love you."

*

Josh endured eighteen hours of hell. They'd come back the night before classes began again. Thank God for that. He hadn't slept, but he was disciplined enough to concentrate on his professors. It was the only respite he got.

Otherwise his thoughts filled with Sam. How he looked. The sound of his laughter. The feel of his skin. ... No, summer love. Nothing more. Okay, so it was two months too soon for summer anything, but he'd always been advanced for his age.

It meant nothing. It would fade. A few good memories would linger. That was all. It meant nothing. That line of reasoning got him through the night and to his classes, but by the time he got back to the dorm, he'd given it up as a lame ass idea.

Okay, so it meant a hell of a lot. Probably wouldn't fade if he lived to be 112. But, damnit, Sam was a man. He didn't fit with Josh's carefully planned future. He was inconvenient at best. Wouldn't work. Sam was too young, too. Couldn't possibly really know what he wanted. Hell, Josh could say the same of himself. Marriage wasn't on his schedule until he hit his mid-thirties.

Too young. Too male. Too beautiful. Too wonderful. Oh, hell.

He made it through dinner, which he barely touched, before he cracked. He never could remember consciously making the decision, but suddenly he found himself on the phone to the Brackenridge operator. His brain gave one last violent squeal of protest, demanding he hang up the phone as the dorm phone began to ring.

A voice he didn't recognize answered with the name of the dorm.

"Sam Seaborn, please."

"Just a minute."

Hang up. Hang up. Hang up.

"I'm sorry, but Sam's not feeling well enough to come to the phone."

Josh Lyman, you are one lousy shit. Bet you made him cry. "Tell him it's Josh. Please."

"Um, sure. Hang on."

The little voice in his head wisely kept its trap shut.

"Josh?" a wonderfully familiar voice asked.

"Yeah," he said, grinning like a fool at the walls of his room. Oh, he had it bad. "I forgot to tell you something yesterday."

"What?"

"I love you."

"Oh. ... Really?"

"Yeah."

"Me, too."

"Good."

"Josh?"

"Yeah?"

"What do we do now?"

"Beats the hell out of me, kid. But we'll think of something. How about we start by meeting this weekend?" It would wreck his schedule, but what the hell. He'd just write up a new one. "Maybe we can explore the Cs."

Sam laughed. A beautiful sound Josh would rather die than face the thought of never hearing it again. "C, D, E and F."

He smiled. "Maybe we could even make alphabet soup."

"That could take more than a weekend."

"I hope so, my love. I hope so."

End


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