Piano Forte

Chapter 34-Friendly Rivalry

CHAPTER 34    
FRIENDLY RIVALRY
 
MONDAY, JULY 7
 
<Austin and William>
 
“How are you feeling?” William asked Austin after they recovered from the alarm waking them up much too early in the morning.
 
“My butt feels a little sore, but otherwise I feel fine,” Austin replied.
 
“It will take a while for your butt to get in shape,” William grinned.
 
“How do you know? You haven’t done it yet.”
 
“I read things and guys like my old roomie Kevin or John tell me stuff. Especially since those gay boys wanted a piece of my virgin ass.” Austin wanted to tell William he wanted a piece of his virgin ass too, but elected to say nothing, at least for now. “What I meant was, do you feel sorry that, you know, you lost your virginity?”
 
“Well, I didn’t lose it to you, I lost it to Gary, as you know. And I wasn’t as sore when he did it.”
 
“That’s because size matters,” William smirked. He gave Austin a kiss on his left cheek.
 
“The only thing I feel bad about at all is that I lost my virginity to Gary instead of to you.”
 
“Don’t forget, Gary fucked you while I…”
 
“…while you made love to me. And yes, overall, I could tell the difference even if my ass wasn’t so sure.”
 
“I guess I probably should lose my butt virginity someday.”
 
“Serious? I thought you were going to protect your virgin ass like it was a bank vault or something?”
 
“I was, but I discovered somebody I want to lose it to.”
 
Austin placed his chin on his hand and tried to appear as innocent as he could. Considering the twelve-year-old redhead’s youngishness, it was an appearance that was easy for him to pull off. “Hmmf, I wonder who that could be?”
 
“It would be somebody who is a kick-ass pianist and I think is the cutest boy in camp.”
 
“Sounds like he could be a cool kid. Can I watch him do it.”
 
William wrapped his right arm around Austin’s naked body. Austin could feel his rock-hard cock digging into his leg. “You just about have to watch him do it?”
 
“I could feel, like really jealous, and go fuck Ned or somebody.”
 
“Ned’s a virgin. How do you know he will let you?”
 
“When I tell him that you’re letting some piano player who you think is cute become your first fuck, I’m sure he’ll feel sorry for me and let me do it.”
 
“Then I am going to have to save the poor little Canadian boy’s virginity.”
 
“How?”
 
“By putting a lock on your zipper.” Austin started giggling at the thought. “Or, let you take the place of the mystery dude and take my virginity instead.”
 
“Oh? Like when?”
 
William gave Austin another kiss, only he planted this on his lips. “I’d make this kiss longer, but we gotta get to breakfast so we’re going to have to stop this little game, fun as it is.”
 
“So, what you’re saying is that me taking your virginity is a game?”
 
“Oh, hell no, you taking my virginity is what you’re going to do tonight, although I have a feeling you figured that out a while ago.”
 
“I did and I was wondering how long it was going to take before you finally just told me to do it.”
 
“Tonight,” William said. “It will be virgin cock in virgin ass.”
 
“Well, that answers that question.”
 
“It’s the least I can do for tonight’s rival.”
 
Austin and William stepped into the shower and Austin turned on the water. “We’re not rivals, we’re performing musicians.”
 
“Wow listen to you. You sound so cool, calm, and mature.” Austin and William were both scheduled to perform at the evening recital. Austin was slated to play the third movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata and William would perform a Schubert Opus 90, Impromptu Number 2. “Think about us as friendly rivals just like I’ve been telling you. The only question is which one of us is going to be taking the bow when it’s announced who will be playing on Wednesday.”
 
“Well, duh, how about both of us?” Austin said as he washed William’s crack before pushing his middle finger into the hole. “I mean, that’s what I’ve been saying ever since you started this rivalry thing.”
 
“But if we both moved on to play on Wednesday, then we wouldn’t be rivals, we’d be equals.”
 
“And what of it? We’re both working with the same master teacher, we’re both good, so we both should kick serious ass.”
 
“There’s some pretty good musicians playing tonight.”
 
“Good for them,” Austin responded as he fucked William’s ass.
 
“Damn that feels good.”
 
“Not as good as us standing together on the stage tonight, so cut with the friendly rivals crap.”
 
“Consider it stopped. Now pull your head, I mean your finger, out of my ass so we can get going to breakfast. I’ll be totally serious now—I want us both up there on stage together in the worst way. And then both of us together tomorrow after we play the ‘Fandango.’”
 
“So why do you keep calling us rivals?” Austin asked as he pulled his finger out of his boyfriend’s ass.
 
“Friendly rivals, love. So friendly, we know we have to play better than we ever have before so we can be as good or better than our boyfriend. That’s what I mean by friendly. You inspire me to play better, Gramps inspires us both to play better, I try to inspire you to play better, and when it’s all over we’ll be so good everybody’s gonna be cheering and whistling.”
 
Austin planted a kiss on William’s lips as he noted that his boyfriend had a boner, courtesy of having his ass finger fucked. Austin turned off the shower and the boyfriends stepped out.
 
Gary and John were waiting outside the shower as Austin and William came out. “Nice bone,” John commented when he noticed William’s erection. “Austin couldn’t help you out with that?”
 
“He’s the one who got me horny. He says he wants me ultra horny tonight.”
 
“Hey Austin, both of us aren’t butt virgins anymore,” Gary smirked.
 
“Cool. I’m guessing it was John who got you and not your brother,” Austin said.
 
“You got it. John wants to get the whole quartet.”
 
“He has less than a week to do it, and half the quartet are still virgins.”
 
“Are you sure about that?” Gary asked.
 
“Knowing Titus and Ned, yes. They aren’t ready yet. But I bet they talked about it last night and got off, but not by fucking.”
 
“You think it could have been sucking?” John asked.
 
“Ned is addicted to blow jobs, so I would say yes,” Gary said.
 
Austin suddenly realized that William was gone. “Have a good shower guys, I gotta get to breakfast. I’ve got a busy morning. And congratulations, Gary. You’ve lost all of your virginity in two days.”
 
“And loved every second of it,” Gary grinned.
 
 <Ned and Titus>
 
“Are you sorry we didn’t do it last night?” Ned asked Titus as they walked into the bathroom to shower.
 
“You mean am I sorry we didn’t…um…fuck?” Titus responded shyly.
 
“You don’t need to be all embarrassed about it, especially since it’s something you want to do, eh,” Ned giggled.
 
“If I wanted to do it, we would have done it last night.”
 
Titus got the shower going and he and Ned got to work washing themselves and each other. Unlike the suite William, Austin, and Gary roomed in, the other rooms in Ned’s suite were occupied. But that didn’t stop Ned from pushing his finger into Titus’s ass; nobody in the suite ever bothered anyone else’s shower. Ned found Titus’s button and got him to squeal. “Do you like?” Ned asked.
 
“I like finger, but I don’t want dick.”
 
Ned pulled his finger out of his friend’s ass. “You do mine.”
 
Titus obliged by putting one and then two fingers in Ned’s butt and started finger fucking him. “And, do you like?”
 
“I think I want to try your dick up there, but not now. We gotta get going.” Ned was disappointed that Titus agreed with him and pulled his finger out of Ned’s butt.
 
“We gotta find time to do it,” Ned said as they turned the shower off and started drying.
 
“Finger not dick,” Titus reiterated.
 
“Not even yours up my butt?”
 
Titus shook his head. “Not even that.”
 
Ned’s suitemates, Denny and George, caught Ned and Titus coming out of the shower. Not bothering anyone when they were IN the shower did not prevent anyone from making comments when their suitemates came out of the shower. “Nice bone, Titus,” Denny, who was thirteen and a violinist like Titus, said when he saw Titus’s erection.
 
“At least I know it works,” Titus responded, knowing it was a lame reply.
 
“Not until something comes out kiddo.”
 
“Aren’t you playing tonight?” Ned asked George.
 
“Yep, and I’m glad I don’t have to play the same night as Titus, cuz he’s really good.”
 
“Thanks. But William and Austin are both playing tonight.”
 
“Yeah, but they play the piano, so who cares.” But this was George’s last recital and he knew that if he wanted to play on the final weekend, this would be his last chance. “But even if they both get picked there’s two places left.” George knew he wasn’t one of the elite performers among the campers, but he also felt he was good enough to be a finalist.
 
The boys finished drying and went into Ned’s room to dress and get to breakfast. Like everyone else in camp, they had a busy day planned.
 
Ned and Titus came into the dining hall the same time as William and Austin. The grabbed their breakfasts and drinks and sat together.
 
“There’s gonna be a lot of our parents here the next couple of days,” Ned said. “Your mom is coming tonight, right Austin?”
 
“Her and my brother. And don’t tell my brother what William and I did last night, or he might decide to break William’s nose, or worse a finger.”
 
“Would he really do that?” William asked. He was half convinced it was true.
 
“No, James is a pussycat. But he might yell and scream and threaten stuff though,” Austin answered. “Mom took a week’s vacation; she and James will be staying all week.”
 
“Are they staying in a family room or in a dorm room?” Titus asked.
 
“In a hotel. Mom says one of those rooms is okay for a night, but no way she’s spending a week in a little room with no maid service.”
 
“My parents will be here, too,” Ned said. “They’re coming to listen to the Thursday and Friday performances, but they said they planned on coming on Wednesday, so they don’t have to rush down here from good old B.C. They’re staying in a hotel, too.”
 
Their conversation was interrupted by Gary and John walking up to their table carrying their breakfast trays. “Is it okay if we join you fine gentlemen for breakfast?” John asked. Austin and his group had taken an eight-person table, so there was plenty of room.
 
“We were saving it for people that have a little class,” William replied.  
 
“Good idea. This table could certainly use some.”
 
While John and William continued their verbal sparring, Austin patted the seat next to him and Gary sat in it. “The topic for those of us with any intelligence is whose parents are coming when,” Austin told him.
 
“Well, mine are coming tomorrow but they have to go back as soon as the recital is over,” Gary said.
 
“All the way back to Portland? And then they have to come back Sunday to pick you up?”
 
“It’s not that far. Maybe three hours or so since there won’t be much traffic. But it will be after midnight by the time they get home after I play.”
 
“Plus, they have to deal with the ferry first.”
 
“Not if they use the Narrows Bridge,” Gary pointed out.
 
“But they gotta go so far out of the way they might as well take the ferry.”
 
“Oh well, they’re the ones who have to get up in the morning, and I’m just plain happy they’re coming. The problems are theirs, but the reward is awesome.”
 
“They get to hear you play.”
 
“You got it,” Gary grinned.
 
By then John had sat down to eat. “Did you and John do it?” Ned asked Gary.
 
Gary and John both nodded and dug into their breakfasts.
 
“Awesome,” Titus said.
 
“But you’re not doing it, right?” Gary asked
 
“Right.”
 
“Hey, is James staying in the hotel with your mom or is he going to take advantage of the spare bed we have?” John asked Austin.
 
“I got no clue,” Austin said. “You’ll have to ask him.”
 
“Don’t you have a meeting with the youth orchestra dudes, today?” Gary asked Austin.
 
“I think it will be just one dude. Dr. Markham from the Tacoma Youth Symphony will be listening in the audience tonight, but I don’t know when we’ll be meeting. That’s up to Grampa Gene. It will probably be tomorrow.”
 
John commented on what Austin’s quartet friends had been thinking. Did calling Eugene Delacroix Grampa Gene mean Austin and William were married and shared the same grandfather? William answered that question for him. “What it means is that Austin likes calling him Grandpa Gene better than just plain Gene or Mr. Delacroix.”
 
“Exactly, it’s just what William told you,” Austin agreed when John asked him the question later. “My mom told me not to call adults by their first names, especially teachers or important adults like Grampa Gene. And calling him Mr. Delacroix is like, I’m not sure how to say it, but…”
 
“It’s too formal?”
 
“Yeah, that’s it—too formal.”
 
The group soon broke up to get back to their rooms and brush their teeth and head to their various workshops, practices, lessons, or heading for the gym or pool. Austin had Practice Room 6 reserved at nine, William had it at ten and both would be together in the media room rehearsing “Fandango” at eleven. Gene would be working with the boys at all three sessions and, after taking time off for lunch, he would be working with Gary in Practice Room 3 at one.
 
When Austin arrived at his practice room, the first thing he did was hang his CAUTION: NUDIST AT WORK sign on the door. He then stripped naked, sat at the piano, and started his warmups. Gene had told Austin he would come to the practice room after nine-thirty to hear a complete run-through of the “Moonlight” third movement.
 
Austin played the movement through once but wasn’t satisfied with it. He looked at the wall clock and decided he had time for a second run through. He set his elbows on his thighs, dropped his face into his hands, and closed his eyes for a couple of minutes in order to dial himself in. When he felt ready, he opened his eyes, sat himself properly on the bench, placed his hands in position, set a tempo in his head, and proceeded to play.
 
This time through was more like what Austin wanted, his hands flying, the wrong notes exorcised, the tempo on the mark, the sound perfect, the execution so full of performance and energy he could feel it racing through him, his erection signaling that the result was exactly what he had been striving for. Before he could react to what he had accomplished, he heard a pair of hands applauding. He turned and saw his Grampa Gene standing behind him. Austin had been so dialed in to his music he never heard his teacher enter the room.
 
“Bravo, Austin, Bravo! A fine performance. Louis would have been pleased.”
 
Austin was mortified. He was sitting naked on the piano bench, sporting a throbbing erection, and his master teacher Grampa was standing behind him seeing everything. Austin quickly covered his erection with hands.
 
“I’m sorry, Gramps, I thought you would knock and I you wouldn’t see me and well I guess you’ve seen everything and I’m sorry.” Austin stumbled through an apology that was almost as embarrassing as being caught naked and boned up.
 
“It’s all good. I will step out so you can dress. But before I go, I want you to know that when I was maybe a year or two older than you I was caught in a similar position by my teacher. As you can tell, I lived long enough to tell you about it,” Gene chuckled. He stepped out of the room and Austin quickly donned his underpants, shorts, and t-shirt.
 
Thoughts were roiling through Austin’s head. Fuck, I’m never gonna be able to look at him again. I don’t care who caught him doing what and where and when, I know it wasn’t something like this. He heard a knock at the door and wondered where that knock had been a few minutes ago. “Come in,” he called out even though he wanted to yell out, “Go away and don’t come back.”
 
Gene walked into the room, a serious look on his face. “Why didn’t you knock the first time,” Austin asked angrily. This was the first time Gene had seen the sweet-natured redhead in an adolescent snit.
 
“I could make out your playing through the door and I had to hear you,” Gene responded. Those doors don’t let much sound through. I wasn’t expecting to see what I saw, and I must apologize again for embarrassing you. What happened to that sign you liked to post when you stripped down?”
 
“What happened to it was that I hung it on the door. It goes on the doorknob, so it’s kind of hard to miss.”
 
“Oh my.” Gene muttered. He opened the door and looked at the empty knob. Austin looked over Gene’s shoulder and saw what his gramps saw, an empty doorknob.
 
“That’s weird. I know I hung it there,” Austin said.
 
“I don’t feel quite as bad now.”
 
“I’m sorry I got mad, but I thought…”
 
“Don’t worry about it, son. I understand. And now I can say your playing was a wonderful mix of precision and beauty. Yes, Louis would be proud.”
 
“Who’s Louis?”
 
“I learned a few years ago that many of Beethoven’s friends and acquaintances referred to him as Louis instead of Ludwig.”
 
“Ahh,” Austin nodded. “Kind of like you get called Gene instead of Eugene.”
 
“The same idea. Your boyfriend prefers the formal William to the informal Bill, so it’s each to his own.”
 
“Tell me the story about you and your teacher.”
 
Gene grinned and told Austin that when he was a preteen and teen, he also liked practicing naked, often with the same result Austin got—”a flaming erection.”
 
“Only I didn’t have a sign that could disappear. I simply didn’t have one at all.  But everybody knew not to bother me in the den when I practiced. I was practicing at home when my teacher arrived a half-hour early. My brother, who is four years younger than me, let him into the house and told him I was in the den. He told me later that he thought my teacher was on time and didn’t know I was in the room naked.”
 
“Wow, this sounds kinda familiar,” Austin grinned.
 
“And so, he caught me in the altogether, erection and all. Mr. Anderson was not the most open minded individual and was not at all pleased by what he had walked in on. It took a couple of months for things to return to a semblance of normal. I think things will work out faster between us. To this day I think the only reason Mr. Anderson stuck with me was because I was his prize pupil. Truth be told, I was hoping I would get a new teacher out of the bargain.”
 
“How old were you then?”
 
“I was fourteen, which made Brady ten. He felt really bad about everything, but I knew it wasn’t his fault and forgave him right away.” And I continued to enjoy his occasional company in bed, Gene thought to himself.
 
“I can play it again, if you want me to,” Austin said.
 
“No need. If your performance this evening is anywhere near what I just heard, you’ll be hearing a loud ovation. William is going to be hard pressed to match you.”
 
“I think he’s going to do great tonight. William and I are going to be friendly rivals tonight.”
 
“That sound good to me,” Gene said. “Now, let’s see what happened to that sign of yours.”
 
They found the sign across the hall on the floor. Austin was worried somebody had played a trick on him and taken down the sign, but the evidence indicated it had been an accident. He remembered closing the door quickly and the force of the air moving across the sign had apparently blown it off the knob and across the hall. He vowed to tie it tighter to the doorknob next time.
 
Austin and Gene talked for a few minutes until William arrived. “Did my boyfriend kick ass with his Beethoven this morning?” he asked.
 
“In my opinion he was on top of his game,” Gene said. “He can give you his opinion.”
 
“I kicked ass,” Austin grinned, “even if we had a little…um…incident happen.”
 
“Like what?”
 
Austin told him. The story had William laughing so hard he had tears in his eyes. “Damn, I’m never gonna get my Schubert down if I keep laughing like this.”
 
“Don’t worry, Gramps will get you straightened out, Willy. Now I gotta go to my workshop.”
 
“Willy?” William asked after Austin left.
 
“I think there’s a story there,” Gene chuckled.
 
“I wouldn’t be surprised,” William said between chuckles.
 
<Ned and Titus>
 
Ned and Titus were walking to their workshop together. It was the same one Austin was heading for—their last composing and transcription workshop. They each had to play something they had written. Ned, who had done a lot of music writing before camp, had transcribed one of his own little flute works for Titus. He liked it and said it was so playable it was almost like it was written for violin.
 
Titus transcribed a few bars of the Mozart violin sonata he would be performing on Tuesday, for flute. He and Ned agreed it wasn’t a very good job, but writing music was not Titus’s forte. Still, Ned was able to play it and planned to do a perfect job of it in the workshop.
 
As they turned the corner into the hall where the classroom was located, they ran into Jordan Davis who was on his way to the media room. Ned looked for a place to hide, but finding none, he gave the teen a little wave.
 
“Hey, Ned,” Jordan responded. “Who’s your buddy?”
 
“I’m Titus,” Titus said. “And you’re Jordan?”
 
“You’ve got that right.” Jordan could sense Ned’s uneasiness. “And, Ned, I know there’s just a few days of camp left, but I just want you to know you don’t have to feel bad about what happened between us. You got horny, you got scared, and don’t think that hasn’t happened to me in my life.” He held out his right fist. “Is it cool between us?”
 
Ned bumped the older boy’s fist. “Yeah, it’s cool and thanks.”
 
“Are you playing in any of the finals?”
 
“Yeah, I’m playing Thursday and Friday.”
 
“And I’m playing Thursday, but I’m playing tomorrow, too,” Titus added.
 
“Then you might get to play one of the finals nights more than once,” Jordan grinned. “Anyway, I’ll be recording all of the finals plus Wednesday’s recital, but Lindy is doing tonight and tomorrow’s recital.” Wednesday was when the Monday and Tuesday finalists would play for the finals. Lindy was Lindy Moore, a music school student, who helped Jordan with some of the evening recording. “I’ll see you guys then. I gotta get to work.” Jordan turned and resumed his trek to the media room.
 
“Have you thought about trying one more time to suck him?” Titus asked Ned.
 
“Yeah, but I’d only do it if you were with me,” Ned replied.
 
“Why, to protect you from the big bad teenager?”
 
“I dunno. I would just want you there.”
 
“Well, let me think about it.” Titus wondered if his thinking giving him a boner meant he wanted to do it or if it just meant it sounded sexy and gave him a boner. 
 
Austin wrote an original piano work for the class. It was the only instrument he understood although he could toot a couple of tunes on the flute. It was only a couple of minutes long (the pieces had a strict time limit on them), but he thought it was tuneful. William, who played it on the electric piano and made suggestions, liked that it had one passage with some showy finger work.
 
“Just be happy that this is camp and not school. The composing classes in school are hard fuckers,” William had said. “Writing a two- or three-minute composition is easy.”
 
“Well, guess what? Camp workshops aren’t supposed to be hard. The hard stuff is for performing—the rest is a fun way to learn stuff,” Austin reminded him.
 
“And once again my boyfriend reminds me that he is smarter than I am.”
 
The class went well. Everyone had a short original piece of transcription to play. Some of the campers had written their composition for an instrument different from their own and had picked someone to play the piece for them. Others, like Austin, played a piece they had written to play on their usual instrument. Every piece was applauded and received positive comments.
 
“You are a very intelligent and talented group of campers,” the instructor told them. None of the campers argued with her.
 
<William>
 
For the first time in months, William was enjoying piano lessons. Instead of the autocratic teaching methods of his father or the perceived mediocrity of Dr. Boardman, he was receiving a regular dose of the brilliance and openness of his gramps. While he often received a stray lesson or suggestion from Eugene, this was the first time that William had been meeting regularly with his grandfather since he was eleven.
 
“I thought the word impromptu meant something like off the cuff,” William said after playing his Schubert Impromptu from beginning to end for the third time.
 
“It does,” Gene answered, “but don’t let the title fool you. As you’ve discovered, Schubert’s Impromptus are amazingly well-structured works and difficult to play properly. The story I heard goes that Schubert wasn’t quite sure what genre he had written. Were they all part of a sonata? Probably not, but then what were they? He sent them to his publisher and told him to just publish them one at a time and call them what he wanted—and thus the Impromptus were born because Schubert wasn’t sure of what he had. And coming back to you, my dear grandson, you’re handling this Impromptu quite well.”
 
“I want to try some of the others as soon as camp is over, and I have the time to just play. I hope you will help me with them.”
 
“Of course, I will. It is good to hear you becoming enthused about the piano again.”
 
“Between you and Austin, I can’t help it,” William chuckled.
 
“And what about the guitar?”
 
“Hey, I gotta have something for a hobby, right?”
 
“Austin told me you two are going to be friendly rivals tonight.”
 
“We both want to see who can generate the loudest applause.”
 
Gene grinned and said, “After listening to you both this morning, I have a feeling the campers and staff are going to be in for a special treat tonight.”
 
“Well, I want to play this through one more time using your suggestion to see if I can give them something just a little bit better to cheer.”
 
“You really love the little guy, don’t you?”
 
“Gramps, I’ve never felt like this about anybody. I don’t know what it is or what he did or anything, I just know I think about him all the time and I feel so good when he’s around me, even when we argue.”
 
“You guys argue? Really? I would never have imagined.”
 
“Yeah, but we kiss and make up in a hurry. I’ve had to say I’m sorry to him more than I’ve ever done to anybody in my whole life.”
 
“You seem to be admitting what I’ve observed for the past few days—young Austin is good for you.”
 
William nodded. “I just hope I’m good for him, too.”
 
“Oh, you are, son. You are better for him than you think.”
 
<William and Austin>
 
William and Austin stripped to their underpants—gray and red striped boxers for William and gray briefs with dark blue trim for Austin. Jordan set himself so he could ogle the sexy pair while recording their practice work. When the old man who was their teacher entered the room, he put them right to work.
 
“We might be friendly rivals tonight, but we’re going to be a team tomorrow,” Austin reminded William and Gene.
 
Cole Davis arrived just as Austin and William finished their warmup. Jordan wished Cole would take his pants off as well because he thought the college freshman was very sexy. In fact, he had a secret crush on Cole when Cole was still a student at the Academy.
 
Gene had William and Austin play the “Fandango” from beginning to end and then he and Cole did some fine tuning. Their pupils played various passages on request until Gene and Cole set them loose again. All four agreed it was their best run-through ever. Jordan thought it would have been even better if the two campers had been completely naked.
 
It was agreed that William and Austin should do a run-through on their own tomorrow to help them feel comfortable in playing without their teachers looking over their shoulders. Jordan was sorry they would not be playing in the media room, until he remembered that he was off for the entire day so he wouldn’t be able to see whether they were going to practice naked.
 
<Lunch>
 
The Master Quartet along with William and John sat together in the dining hall. Carlos was on the other side of the dining hall sitting with Natasha Havel, the girl he had been trying to fuck since camp started. He knew he didn’t have much time left and since neither of them was a virgin, he couldn’t figure out why the process was so long and difficult.
 
“Poor Carlos,” Titus said. “He wants to lay her so bad. She’s all he can think about when he jerks off at night. Or when I jerk him off which has been happening a lot.”
 
“He should be thinking about you, Titus,” John said. “You’re so cute, plus you at least jerk him off, which I bet is more than she does.”
 
“I sucked him once, too.”
 
“Whoa, I didn’t know that,” Austin said.
 
“It was just a couple of days ago,” Titus said. He was a bit embarrassed by the affair and Ned was the only person he had told about it.
 
“Did you swallow?” John asked.
 
Titus flushed and nodded. “Aww, our little Titus is growing up,” William sniffed with a grin, causing Titus to turn even redder.
 
“When is your mom showing up?” Gary asked Austin.
 
“Sometime this afternoon,” Austin replied. “James is supposed to text me progress reports.”
 
“I would so love to spend a night or two with your brother,” John said.
 
“So, ask him.”
 
“What about you Ned? Could you handle the two of us being in bed together with you in the room?”
 
“Well, it might be a way for me to suck a new teenager’s cock. So, yeah, if I can do more than watch.”
 
“Horn dog,” Titus smirked.
 
“Like you’re one to talk after sucking Carlos.”
 
“Hey, maybe James might want to shack up with William,” Austin grinned.
 
“More like he might want to beat me up after he learns what we did last night…”
 
“…and what we’re going to do tonight,” Austin finished.
 
“Whoa, you’re going to let Austin do you-know-what to you?” Gary asked.
 
“That’s the plan,” William replied.
 
The topic shifted from sex to music. William thought about how Austin hadn’t told him what the recital piece Gene had suggested for the Seattle Youth Music Festival was going to be. We’ve been thinking too much about sex and this week’s music, to think that far ahead, he thought. So, he asked Austin what the work was going to be.
 
“He wants me to play Beethoven’s ‘Waldstein’ Sonata—all three movements,” Austin revealed.
 
“Holy crap! That piece is mega-hard,” William said.
 
“Just like your dick gets,” Austin giggled. “Have you played it?”
 
“Yeah, but not very well. I only did it because Gramps told me to play it when I was twelve, like you.”
 
“Well, he told me to watch a video of this kid named George Harliono who was like ten or so playing it on a street piano in a train station in London.”
 
“Have you watched it?”
 
“Yeah. It looks hard just watching it. But I didn’t see a missed note. I mean, he’s just this little kid in glasses and he’s playing hard stuff like that.”
 
“Oh, a kid with glasses,” Gary said. He pulled off his glasses, squinted at his friends, and placed them back on his nose. “Well, since I’m a little kid who wears glasses, I guess I’m off to a good start. Mr. D is going to give me my piece for the Festival today. I bet it will be hard.”
 
“I bet it will be Bach,” Austin said.
 
“You do? Why?”
 
“Because you dissed him and said he was boring,” Austin giggled.
 
“Well, he IS boring,” Gary insisted.
 
“All I can say is I know how Gramps thinks, so have fun learning your Bach,” William said.
 
“When are you going to start with the Beethoven?” John asked Austin.
 
“Not until next week after I get home. I’ve got enough to work on during the last week of camp,” Austin said.
 
“I’ll say. You are playing more shit than anybody in the finals. They might as well advertise it as the Austin Richards recital. And I bet you’ll be there for one more with the Beethoven you’re playing tonight.”
 
William placed his arm around Austin’s shoulder. “Let’s see. He has the Granados, the Mozart trio, then him and Ned will be playing the flute and piano piece. I bet the Beethoven is one of the best four tonight and then he plays with me tomorrow. You should sell tickets and get paid for all the entertaining.”
 
“It’s all about the Master Quartet,” Austin said. “Right now, I’m playing three works, Ned’s playing two, with Gary working with Gramps, he’ll win playing Scott Joplin tomorrow, and Titus is going to kick ass with his Mozart tomorrow. And let’s not forget William’s playing one and it might go up to three.”
 
“I gotta go guys. I’m meeting with Mr. D in ten,” Gary said.
 
“I think you should call him Professor D,” William grinned.
 
“And you probably want me to bow down to him, too.”
 
“Why not? After all, he’s the guy who’s going to get you to like Bach. My dad tried, my teachers tried, and they couldn’t do it. But my Gramps is the one who showed me how knowing Bach opens the doors to great music.” William looked at Austin. “Austin, what do you think of Bach.”
 
“Mr. Fielding told me when I was little that if I could play Bach, I could understand how music works and it would help me learn how to play all the notes, so they sound right. Gramps hasn’t come out and said it, but he keeps hinting at it and when he does, I usually know what he’s talking about.”
 
“There you have it, Gary. Now it’s your turn,” William said as Gary walked away with his empty tray. “You watch,” he told the rest of the table. “Before camp is over, the dude is gonna to tell us how much learning to play Bach is helping him.”
 
“I second that,” Austin said. Titus, Ned, and John nodded their heads in agreement.
 
<Gary>
 
Gene reviewed the warmup and finger exercise regimen he had been showing Gary. Gary stumbled through much of it, but he was getting a better idea of what was expected and showed a lot of improvement from his first time through. Gene had given him a booklet that had the entire procedure written out for Gary to use after camp was over.
 
“I assume you still want to work with me when you come up to Seattle for the Festival.”
 
“Yes sir,” Gary said. His formal manner was much different from the boy who loved to clown around and joke with his peers, as well as enjoy as much sex with them as he could. Gene had seen Gary the clown, so he knew the boy wasn’t always so businesslike. Still, if someone had told him that the studious looking bespectacled twelve-year-old had not only lost his virginity at camp but had taken Austin’s virginity he would not have believed it. 
 
Gary was behaving as his parents had coached him to behave on formal occasions, and he considered being taught by one of the greatest pianists in the world to be a formal occasion. His mother had given him a long lecture on proper deportment around his celebrity teacher and he didn’t want to let her down.
 
After Gary finished warming up, he was not surprised by what happened next. When Gene placed a Bach scorebook on the piano’s desk Gary knew it was time for him to accept the inevitable and put his effort into “boring old Bach.”
 
He recognized the Prelude and Fugue Number One from Book 1 of “The Well-Tempered Clavier.” It was slow and quiet and boring and, well, beautiful. Gene played it through. Well, it sounds simple enough, Gary thought. I should get this real quick. What Gary quickly discovered as he started to work on it was how complicated simple could be. The Prelude evolved from being work to being WORK.
 
 As their hour came to a close, Gene sat on the bench to give another demonstration. “That was slow and melodic,” he told Gary. “Now we get into fast and finger busting.” He then played the Prelude and Fugue Number 15 from Book 1. Holy crap, Gary thought, how am I ever going to learn to play that?
 
Gene could read the fear on Gary’s face. “Don’t look so worried, son,” Gene told him. “Yes, it’s hard. But, as I told you when I offered to teach you, you have an untapped talent on the keyboard, and this is not beyond your abilities. Between what we do here, what we accomplish after you get home through video lessons and maybe a visit down to Portland by your humble teacher, and putting the final touches on it when you come north for the Festival, you are going to be the master of this.”
 
While Gene could tell that Gary wasn’t as talented or as quick to learn new things as Austin and William, he was without question in the upper percentile of musicianship. He had agile fingers, a quick mind, and had been given a solid background in music by his parents and his teachers. He meant it when he told Gary he was capable of playing both Preludes and playing them well.
 
Gary had enough of a music background to see that once he looked closely at Bach there was much more to his music than he had imagined. His teachers had him playing some Bach, as did more beginning pianists, but it was simpler, and they never showed him how all the parts worked together. In one sitting with the Professor he had learned so much about the great master he wanted to learn more. One thing for sure was that Bach was not boring.
 
<James and William>
 
Austin’s mother and brother arrived at the Bainbridge Academy just before dinner. Thanks to James’s text, Austin knew when and where to meet them. Austin and his family would be having dinner in the meeting room in the Dining Hall. William would be eating there with his father, mother, and grandfather. Austin would be meeting William’s mother for the first time.
 
Because William and Austin were roommates, the families sat at a large table together. Austin knew that William’s parents were unaware of the fact that their relationship stretched far beyond being boyfriends and was determined to give nothing away.
 
Austin was surprised when James sat next to William. Whether accidently or by design, there was an empty chair to either side of the pair. Austin knew that his brother and his boyfriend didn’t like each other; sitting together was the last thing he expected them to do. Gene, who was aware of the poor relationship, hoped the gesture by Austin’s brother might help ease the tension between the two teens who were so important in Austin’s life.
 
“Do you have a couple of minutes to talk after we’re done eating?” James asked William quietly after they exchanged somewhat cool greetings.
 
“I’m performing tonight and after dinner I don’t want to talk to anybody, and I mean anybody,” William replied.
 
“Except for your little…”
 
William knew exactly where James was going. “Not talking to anybody really does mean anybody, and my little roommate knows that. And as you know, he’s playing tonight, too. I bet he won’t talk to you either.”
 
“He’s my brother, and he will talk,” James said confidently.
 
“I think you’ll find out differently.” William’s momentary surprise at James’s sitting next to him was turning into anger and resentment. Anger at James’s arrogance regarding his relationship with Austin and resentment at James taking his mind away from his upcoming performance. He was ready to pick up his tray, walk out of the room, and eat elsewhere, but he was certain doing that would hurt Austin’s feelings, which was something he did not want to do.
 
Both Austin and Gene could see the bad feelings between William and James coming to the surface. Gene was worried that William would blow a gasket and walk out. It was something that would not be out of character. William surprised them, however.
 
“I’m willing to talk after the recital during evening snack time,” William offered. He couldn’t believe what he had just suggested.
 
“I can live with that,” James retorted. “But you have to tell me if you…”
 
“Yes or no is all I want.”
 
James glared at William and then caved. “Then my answer is yes.” Without question, William had the dominant personality of the two.
 
And then, without missing a beat, William changed the topic to playing the guitar and the two not so friendly rivals were chatting like long lost buddies. Austin and Gene, not to mention Austin’s mother and William’s father, noticed the change of atmosphere between the two teens. William’s mother had been unaware of the tension at the other end of the table; she had been too busy chatting with Austin’s mother.
 
Austin started out of the dining room when James stopped him. “We really need to talk about William,” his brother said.
 
“Well, for now just stuff it. I’ll talk later, when I feel like it.”
 
James shook his head as he watched his normally sweet, who had always been willing to talk to him about anything, brother hurry away. More than ever he felt William was the wrong choice as a friend, let alone as a boyfriend.     
 
<Performance Time>
 
William drew the opening performance. He received the requisite warm applause when he stepped onto the stage. He bowed, sat at the piano, adjusted the bench, placed his hands in position over the keyboard, and commenced something he had always found difficult, if not impossible, to do: he put the romance into a Romantic piece of music. He played the Shubert Impromptu not only from his mind, displaying the precision for which he was noted, but also from his heart, treating the keys as more than things to be pressed but as parts of an instrument that had become an extension of himself. He played not only with exceptional musicianship but with love.
 
He finished the lively yet emotionally touching Impromptu to thunderous applause, cheers, and whistling.  William and the piano had been a single instrument. William’s father, David, couldn’t believe he had just listened to his son play. The clean playing was his, of course, but the emotion generated had to have come from somebody else.
 
Gene was not surprised by what he had heard. Yes, the clean playing and precise finger work were symbolic of his grandson’s work. And he knew exactly where William’s romantic flair had come from—he had heard it building both in William’s practice and in his previous performance. The source of that important ingredient in William’s musicianship was the twelve-year-old redhead seated next to Gene at the table—Austin Richards.
 
Austin was the third performer after break. He went through his rituals and sat at the piano with his minds and hands ready to play the third movement of Beethoven’s Sonata Number 14, the “Moonlight.”—his rendering of the work was dynamic. His fingers moved as if on their own, and like his lover’s, his performance was a combination of precision, technical brilliance, and energetic, yet controlled sound. He, too, received a spontaneous eruption of applause and cheers when he removed his fingers from the keyboard following the final note.
 
It came as no surprise or shock to anyone when William and Austin were named two of the four finalists. John also made the finals, playing a Brahms Violin Scherzo with Dr. Boardman as his accompanist. John was happy to have qualified, but unlike most campers qualifying for the finals was not a big deal. He was happy to be at camp, meeting new people, having sex, becoming better on the violin. He had no ambition to be a solo performer; his goal was to make the school orchestra as an incoming freshman and to gain a seat in the Eugene Youth Symphony. He felt his time at camp had been valuable and was looking forward to getting home to his sexy little brother, to his cousin Mikey, who was like a boyfriend, and to finding more cocks for him to suck.
 
After Mr. Shepherd dismissed the campers, Austin and William sought out their families. Both received effusive praise and pats on the back, along with the pat on the ass Austin received from James. Gene called Austin and William aside. He knew William was familiar with the directors and   introduced Austin to Dr. Byers and Dr. Markham, directors of the Seattle Youth Symphony and Tacoma Youth Symphony, respectively. Austin was surprised to see Dr. Byers, thinking the Seattle director was going to be out of town, but then thought that maybe he got his days mixed up.
 
The directors praised both boys for their very artistic performances and looked forward to sitting down and talking with them. After some conferencing with the boys’ parents, it was decided a lunch meeting at a restaurant on Wednesday could be fit in. Austin was delighted when they picked Alfred’s Fish House as the venue.
 
“What does everyone have planned now?” Gene asked.
 
“I’m going to take James to snack time where we can talk over some things.” I hope he means talk and not fight, Austin thought.
 
Austin chimed in next. “I’m going to meet with my bros in the Master Quartet to eat snacks and chat, and then eat some more snacks and chat some more, and then eat…”
 
“I think we got the picture, Austin,” Valerie, his mother, laughed.
 
“Well, I just wanted to make sure everybody got it straight,” Austin grinned.
 
“Speaking of James, where is James?” William asked.
 
“He left to the dining hall with John,” Gary said. Gary had been hanging a couple of rows down the aisle waiting to go to the dining hall with Austin. “He said he would meet William and sit with him when you guys got there. He wanted to talk to John first.”
 
Probably to set up sex between them, William thought. He liked what was developing between John and James—it made James seem more human. 
 
“Ready to go?” William asked Austin.
 
The boys started toward the exit. Austin looked up at William. “How do think our friendly rivalry came out?” he asked.
 
“I think it came out draw. We both rocked the place.”
 
Austin stretched his hand out and was pleased when William took it. The two lovers left the auditorium hand-in-hand, giving each other a loving look that said, Somebody might not like what we’re doing right now, but fuck ‘em!
 
David Delacroix caught sight of the two as they clasped hands just before going out the door. He turned around and barked, “Holding hands? They were holding hands? Oh, hell no. That is not acceptable. William is going home tonight—as in right now.” He turned back around and started for the door.
 
Next: Friends and Family