Rating: NC-17
Pairing(s): Original characters
Any original characters in the stories listed here are all  © purkledragon (nom de plume). Any likeness to anyone actually alive, dead or otherwise is a figment of your imagination.

Thereís always that first time for everything isnít there. Your first day at school--nervous and scared wondering who all the other kids were, who the strange lady at the front of the room was, and when your mother was going to come and take you home away from that strange place.

Your first car--mine was a 1965 Ford Mustang Convertible, candy apple red. I bought it my senior year of high school. Took me forever to save up for it, but damn it was worth it. One of the first times I remember people looking at me not as the kid to steal homework or test answers from, but because I was the one with the hot car.

My first kiss was from Melissa something or other; I canít remember her last name now. Every boy at PS 37 had a crush on her including, so I thought, myself. She smelt like baby power and roses, the combination that a girl who was not yet old enough to wear real perfume always seemed to smell like. The one thing that still stands out in my mind is how she tasted like cherry Chap Stick. Iíd always hated that stuff, still do. Her lips had that waxy, over glossed feel to them as she quickly pressed them to mine.

It was by no means a real kiss; unless you count the kind of thing fourth graders of that day did, real kissing. It was an ďI caught you at tag, so now you have to kiss meĒ kiss; one the girls gave the boys theyíd chased around the playground all recess and finally caught with the last few minutes ticking down before they had to go in, kiss. We never let them know it, but most of the time, we let them catch us.
We werenít stupid, hell we wanted to know what all the fuss was about as much as they did.

I was kind of flattered she had chosen me for this occasion although I wasnít very impressed with the whole thing afterwards. The quick pressing of our lips together to make the loud smacking sound signaling her so-called victory over me, thatís all it was. I didnít care, wasnít sure what was supposed to happen but I knew it didnít when she kissed me. It wasnít until years later that I finally found out how it was supposed to feel, and by then everything had changed, I had changed, or more correctly I had awakened.

I think all fathers worry about their sons, especially ones who look like I do. Canít say I was ever the perfect example of the human male. A little too tall, too thin and just too awkward; some kids have awkward moments or periods--mine lasted years. Oh the girls thought I was cute enough I guess, never heard any complaints. Never heard any compliments either. Too shy and quiet, too pale for my own good as I didnít see any reason to go out and play sports as they were never my thing. My hair was too long, too dark, and too messy. My eyes were too close, or maybe too far apart, my nose was too big and my ears stuck out at odd angles if I bowed down to pressure and cut my hair short enough for my father. Maybe he saw it before I knew what there was to know. Just maybe he knew there was a reason to worry about his only son.

The summer I turned seventeen was spent like any other. My parents sent me every year to visit my grandparentsí farm in Florida. Oh yes, the joys of summer in Florida: the heat, the humidity, the rain, and the bugs. However, that year there was one more; a true joy in reality that went by the name of Jared Taylor.

He was twenty-one and working during the summer for my grandfather, helping out on the farm. The work was hard, it was hot and backbreaking; everyday I would be right there with him, doing everything I could to stay as close as possible to the nearest thing to perfection Iíd ever seen. With blond hair and green eyes, he was taller than I but where I was still too gangly he was graceful.

I would catch myself watching him in unguarded moments after the humidity had gotten to the point we were both soaked through, our shirts long before tossed in a heap to the side. The way the sweat would glisten in the sunlight as it glided down his chest and back. I found myself wondering one day how he would react if I followed up on the insane urge I had to trace the sweat path with my tongue, licking the salty liquid from his skin. There were moments when it seemed I forgot how to breathe, as I watched him.

It was then I realized there was something so completely different and wrong with me. Iíd heard the words before, seen the way the other boys in school treated anyone they felt was that way. Was that what I was? I didnít know, didnít know anything but the way I felt every time Jared came close to me, the odd flurry of knots that appeared suddenly in my stomach when I looked at him. I didnít know how to deal with anything like that, how he would respond to the idea. There was no way I felt I could let him know, terrified he would leave when he found out and then Iíd never see him again. That night, when I took my shower before going to bed, I did something I hadnít since I arrived at my grandparentsí--the hand gliding over my body no longer mine, his name upon my lips.

There was a small spring at the back of my grandparentsí farm; Iíd swam in it for years relishing in the cold crisp water after a long day in the Florida sun. One particularly hot day, my grandmother reminded me of it when she brought us our lunch. It was when she asked me if I thought my swim trunks from the year before would still fit or if I need new ones. Actually I had already bought a new pair, having brought them with me for the summer--I had just forgotten them with other things upon my mind. In the midday heat, the idea of jumping into the cold depths of Kowechobe Springs sounded like the perfect plan. Jared agreed and once we finished up with the list of jobs my grandmother had us doing, we changed clothing before heading off, walking in the direction of the spring.

The path had grown over with nonuse in the past year, but I could find it with my eyes closed. The familiar blackberry bushes still lined the way, thorns scratching at our feet as we walked past and I stopped to pick a handful before we continued. When we came to the clearing our towels dropped to the ground far enough away to stay dry. Jared walked to the edge, timidly attempting to step into the water. I laughed at him--thatís not the way to get into a spring. Stepping and walking into the water will take you forever, the icy chill keeping you from moving further.

I climbed one of the large limestone rocks that always seemed to be unearthed when you dug into the ground, making sure it was still steady after so long. Standing with my feet curling off the side of the rock, I looked over at Jared, smiled at him, and jumped. My dive wasnít perfect, although my head did hit the spring first.

The overwhelming shock as I came in contact with the water went straight through my body, quenching several overheated limbs. Several small fish dashed around, agitated at my disturbance of their world; I watched as they swam moving out of my way through the crystal clear water. I twisted around and made a rapid accent, having forgotten how far down the spring was, and that a good dive would put you in dire straights if you were out of practice with deep breathing.

As I broke through the surface, my head tilted back to wash the hair away from my face I could hear Jaredís laughter as he called me a few less than polite names. He finally joined me, realizing that I was correct. Oh the water was still as cold as a bitch, the stable 69 degree year round temperature feeling like freezing with the surround temperatures reaching the low hundreds, but you had to go in quickly or you wouldnít go in at all. I had to move quickly out of the way as he jumped in near me splashing the water back into my face.

We swam around for a little while, laps across the spring, while good for you are apt to wear you out quickly, the cold water making it harder to breathe freely. There were the boyish moments, swimming around each other in attempts to sneak behind and cause a splash war. Once as he came up behind me I would have sworn I felt his hand slide across my cloth-covered ass. I was wrong, I knew it was more than likely one of the less than fearful fish swimming around whatever was in its way; but still, it was a nice thought that got me through my shower that night.

We continued visiting the spring every day or so after work, or in the case of Sundays, after church. One day we went earlier than normal, my grandparents having left telling us to enjoy the day. The sun hadnít risen too long before--it was just past nine and the clearing held on to the lingering morning chill even though the humidity had started to climb. The first dive into the water wasnít so bad; it was the surfacing that kills you on a cold morning. The water in a spring is constant, itís the air temperature surrounding it that makes the difference, and when itís cold around the spring you freeze your ass off coming out of the water. We swam around for a while trying to warm up, making the blood flow throughout our bodies. In the end it didnít work; we climbed out of the water, grabbing our towels to dry off and warm up in the process.

I sat on one of the rocks by the waterís edge wishing the sun were higher in the sky, shivering and missing the usual heat we complained about when Jared made a comment about my lips being the same shade of blue as my eyes. Quite a few things were blue at that moment, the least of which were my eyes and so I laughed. Or rather I would have if it hadnít been for the warm flush that spread though my body when I felt his lips on mine. To say I was startled would be an understatement. There I was, finally doing something I had been dreaming about, okay maybe I hadnít thought about kissing Jared per say but still, and all I could do was thank God he didnít taste like Chap Stick. After the initial shock wore off, all I could think of was never doing anything but kissing him.

Now donít think this was a first in too many ways, it wasnít my first real kiss--after Melissa Iíd done more than my fair share of trying to find out just what it really should have been like; it just was the first time Iíd ever been kissed by another guy. I wasnít entirely sure what either of us expected; I know I didnít expect to part my lips as I felt his tongue glide across them. It wasnít the whole fairy tale magic, fireworks blazing thing. He tasted somewhat of toothpaste which made me glad I still brushed my teeth after breakfast as well, and yet there was something happening as he pulled me closer, his fingers clinching in the tangled wet mess that was my hair. My hand imitated his, winding tightly within his hair--I had wanted to touch those blond locks since the first night he resided in my dreams.

At some point, one of us backed away, breathless and wanting. As I looked up at him, Jared chuckled slightly, running his thumb over my now warmer lips explaining that I had my color back. Then he muttered an apology, turned and walked quickly back up the path leaving me. My head was spinning out of control and there was a growing need in the pit of my stomach that cried out with the absolute unfairness of it all. Now I had three choices at that moment, as far as I could tell. First, I could have chased after him like some lovesick schoolgirl. Secondly, I could have jumped back in the spring letting the water cool down my overheated mind and body. Or I could take care of the most pressing of problem I was suffering.

The second was out straight away--it was too damn cold to go through that again so soon. The first was soon out as well as I was not so desperate to chase after someone who apparently didnít want to be around me. That left me with one option. I was a teenaged boy, what did you expect me to do while I sat there confused, hard, burning with desire for something I didnít completely understand and yet cold deep inside from rejection? This time I didnít have to completely imagine Jaredís touch, having felt it for myself. The remembered feel of his hand within my hair, his lips, and tongue as they danced with mine set me off quickly. I still ended up diving into the spring before heading back to the house.

We didnít talk about what had happened, didnít have a chance to as he wasnít there when I got back. His stuff was still in his room so I knew he hadnít left for good, not yet; but even later, we never got around to speaking about what had or hadnít happened. We didnít go back to the spring for the rest of the week either. I would still glance at him when he was too busy to notice, and once or twice caught him wistfully looking my way. I returned several times to the spring myself but it wasnít the same; Jared always had an excuse of some sort to keep away. On some level it felt as if I had imagined the whole thing but I knew better.

It was bound to happen one day, we would be alone again; who knew it would come so soon? I had been working on something in the back acreage when I decided it was getting too late to do anything else. It was too far to walk back to the house to change and return. No one would come around anyway, so I thought IĎd be safe enough. Peeling off the clothes Iíd worn while working, I set them down far enough from the waterís edge to keep dry before diving in. Now even on a normal occasion a dive into seventy degree water is not pleasant, but at least thereís something between your skin and the water--itís not much but itís there. I really donít recommend skinny-dipping in it, however when you donít have a choice, itíll do. The laps I did had warmed me up pretty quickly after the quick cool down and as I swam back to the other side I noticed him standing there, watching me. Needless to say, I was surprised and a bit put out.

Kowechobe Springs is one of those crystal clear, pristine water areas you hear about sometimes on the news. When thereís been a good winter and the northern snow has melted down to flow throughout the south so that the water table is high, the water cycles pretty damn well. That year it was perfect; therefore, you could see all the way down to the bottom of the spring without missing a thing, so the distance between my head and the area where my trunks should have been werenít hard to miss. I turned around and swam back the other way once again, ignoring him. I didnít see any reason I should have to play nice if he wasnít going to.

A few minutes later I had further proof that he wasnít intending to play fair with me as a loud splash was heard breaking the normal daytime silence. I looked around trying to find him through the water; however I was too far away from the other side of the spring for me to be able to see everything. Swimming back to the other side, I reached the edge and climbed out. He had left a towel by my clothes and I used it quickly, drying off before reaching for my pants. I grabbed the rest of my stuff then turned to walk back up the now nearly worn down path we had used so many times, and he was standing there in front of me, water dripping from his hair.

My heart stopped for a moment, he must have been there for some time watching me; I didnít hear him come up the path nor get out of the water. I could feel my face flush, heat spreading through out, realizing Jared had seen me in my complete state of undress. Lifting the bundle I carried in front of me like a shield to hide behind, I asked him what he wanted and watched as he gave me a strange little smile. It was rather encouraging actually, and at the same time that knot was reforming in the pit of my stomach.

We stood there looking at each other for who knows how long, before I decided he wasnít going to answer me. I wasnít going to stand there all day waiting on him. I moved to walk past him when he grabbed my arm stopping me in my tracks. He asked me then what I might do if he kissed me again.

A thousand things ran through my mind as I recalled the last time, wanting nothing more than to continue where we had left off. To vocalize these thoughts however, was impossible--even now I donít think I know the words I wanted to say. There was nothing I could say and so I acted instead, reaching toward him with my free hand and pulling him closer I kissed him. I was tired of everything, the way I felt, and not knowing what to do about it, the confusion that threatened to overwhelm me every time I looked at or thought about Jared, and the sense of helplessness that seemed to follow. I knew the one time I had felt anything close to good was when he kissed me the first time; I wanted that again. I didnít know if he was going through the same thing or not, if he felt that way about me and I didnít care; but, if he could explain it, help me through it, thatís what I wanted.

He let go of my arm bringing his up to encircle me, pulling me closer as our tongues mapped out each otherís mouths. It was right where I wanted to be at that moment, drinking in the presence of another who wanted to be there as much as I. At least one of us received an answer to our questions and we probably would have answered more if we hadnít heard the bell my grandmother used to call us home. We ran back up the path, racing toward the house.

Everyday thereafter, we returned again to spending hours at the spring. We had all the time in the world to figure out what it was we were doing so it seemed and we took every chance to do so. Most of our time was still just spent together doing the same things we had done before, but there was always the added time taken to learn the intricacies of each other.

We must have spent hours alone just kissing. IĎd go to bed every night missing the feel of his mouth on mine. I still have a weak spot for someone that kisses well. If you can find someone that kisses well enough to make you forget wanting to do anything else--keep them, theyíre going to be amazing with everything else. If they canít kiss, they arenít worth the time.

There was the first time Jared actually touched me--not one of my proudest moments in my life, but things like that happen. It was complete and utter embarrassment from the start, but there we were dripping wet and freezing our Asses off when he reached out to me. It wasnít the same as when we kissed; his hands started rubbing down my chest and sides, replacing lost body heat with a new fire that burned me from the inside out. Good Southern Baptist boy I was, I knew I was going to burn in Hell forever for that, but weíd been taught we were pretty much going to anyway--might as well enjoy the ride on the way.

It didnít take long before we both had shed our wet clothing, soaking up each otherís heat and the sunís rays. Just the touch of his hands on my skin, the feel of his body as my hands slid over him copying his every move, was enough to make my head spin. Every stroke as his fingers glided across my body sent waves of pleasure throughout. His hands moved lower briefly and gently not quite touching my cock. The slight, dizzying caress was lost on me as everything exploded--my entire world crashed around me in overwhelming bliss. Every night I had sent myself off to sleep working on this exact fantasy and the end had come too soon.

How my grandparents never figured us out I donít know--we were together every moment of the day. I learned quite a lot that summer and developed a very nice tan, considering the fact my clothing was off as much as on during that time. Things couldnít have been better for me as the days pasted, until I realized just how late we were into summer that year. It was coming quickly to the day we would both leave, going back to our normal lives far away from Florida, the spring and each other. We never spoke of it, preferring to enjoy what we had at the time but I know both of us were paying closer attention to the days as they passed.

One night, when there was only a week left of summer we set out with blankets and a basket of food to watch a meteor shower, or at least thatís what we told my grandparents. For a while we did nothing but watch the late summer sky as we picked at the food--it wasnít what really held our interest.

Most of the night after those first moments is lost in a blur. I still remember the night; itís just that some of the details are gone misplaced by romanticized whimsy. I remember the shared taste of wine; the bittersweet flavor that lingered upon our lips between desperate gasps for air and each other. The ache from touching and being touched, wanting more and yet still aware of the boundaries that hadnít been crossed at that point.

My head was spinning, this time from the cheap wine Iíd overindulged in most of the night, and my entire body was warm as was Jaredís. But it was so nice lying there, especially when he moved over me. One moment spent gazing at the sky disappeared in the blink of an eye; instead of getting lost in the overheard shower, we were lost in each other. Every moment we had spent together had lead up to that night; our hands knew every intimate spot of the otherís body and quickly went to them. Light touches, ghosting over exposed skin--skin exposed to each other and pale moonlight.

His every touch burned me, leaving a lasting impression forever in my memory. I can still feel his hands as they slid across the muscles in my chest and downward. My stomach fluttered as we both finished slipping excess clothing off each other. For long moments we just laid there, taking in the sight. Weíd seen each other in similar states, but we both knew that time was different. It was that difference I craved had waited for since--well I wasnít sure how long. It was defiantly a first, first time.

Jaredís gentle touch, so unexpected from someone who had spent the summer working outdoors on a farm, messaged and loosed up the few knots in my armor. No matter how much I wanted it, I was till nervous as hell. But his hands, damn, and the way he distracted me with his oh so talented mouth as he worked on loosening that last remaining barrier.

Crying out in desire, begging for full completion I watched as he ripped open the foil packet and deftly rolled the sheath down before covering it in the same cool gel he had used to bring me nearest to tears. His eyes as he looked down at me held nothing but concern--it still warms me to remember that. Only in that look was the question ever asked and in my own did I answer. I wanted it--him.

There was that first moment where Iím not sure, but I would swear I lost some form of consciousness. Even the careful and thorough preparations he had performed upon me were not enough to relax entirely the whole of my soul. I know I forgot to breathe, as his voice cleared through the fog my head had fallen into, reminding me of the urgent need. At the first my eyes had shut tight, only opening again with the reflexive panting my body required. I suppose it would sound romantic to say when my eyes opened my gaze was filled with stars streaking across the sky--of course we had gone out during a meteor shower so the reality was, there were streaks across the sky, I just happened to see them.

Neither of us lasted very long after those first moments, it was too much for me and now that I know of such things--it was obviously too much for him to handle as well. It wasnít all star streaks and butterflies. It was--hell I canít even describe it now all these years later. It hurt. It was nothing I had been lead to expect. It was terribly cruel. And it was wonderfully perfect. Romantic sentimentalist, thatís me. We lay the rest of the night, watching the shower and returning to other activities--if my grandparents noticed the particular difficulty I had moving the next day they never said anything.

Itís sad really; we never had a chance after that night to sneak off alone, but then again we did all our talking before, during and after. When it was time to leave as the summer ended, we did as all do--exchanging addresses, phone numbers and other contact methods. I donít think either of us truly expected the other to keep in touch. You just donít do that, now do you? We did though. He wrote me several times, I wrote back. We spoke by phone a few times as well. But honestly, he was in college and I was just some silly high school kid he had broken in--that and he was a few thousand miles away making any real relationship impossible.

Iíve often wondered what ever became of Jared. He wanted to become a doctor, helping underprivileged people in small backwater towns kind of like the one where the farm was. Iím pretty sure he moved on, not so sure I have though.

Every year, toward the end of summer, or what used to pass for the end of summer around here, I return to my grandparentís farm--mine now since they both died years ago. Kowechobe Springs is still flowing fast and freezing, the path still barely trampled except under my own feet. Wistfully at night I come out to sit on the same limestone bounder we once shared, staring up at the stars that you can only see out here, away from all the city lights. I still remember the taste of his lips--or was that the wine we drank so freely that night? Who knows? Iíve had other lovers since then, some better, some not. But Jared will always hold that special place in my heart. Maybe, just maybe by coming out here IĎm remembering that even more. And maybe one day, the path will be trampled by other feet than mine as it once was. I can only believe.

Authorís Notes: This story was originally conceived after listening to the song Strawberry Wine, sung by Deanna Carter. Itís such a sad and wistful song, and youíre left wondering as she sings--ď Is it really him or the loss of my innocence, I've been missing so much.Ē

Dedicated to those who are left wondering the same thing and to my friends who encouraged me to write this even if it wasnít what they were used to seeing from me.

Strawberry Wine
Deanna Carter
(Matraca Berg, Gary Harrison)

He was working through college on my grandpa's farm.
I was thirsting for knowledge and he had a car.
I was caught somewhere between a woman and a child.
When one restless summer we found love growing wild.
On the banks of the river on a well beaten path.
It's funny how those memories they last.

Like strawberry wine and seventeen.
The hot July moon saw everything.
My first taste of love oh bittersweet.
Green on the vine.
Like strawberry wine.

I still remember when thirty was old.
And my biggest fear was September when he had to go.
A few cards and letters and one long distance call.
We drifted away like the leaves in the fall.
But year after year I come back to this place.
Just to remember the taste.

Of strawberry wine and seventeen.
The hot July moon saw everything.
My first taste of love oh bittersweet.
Green on the vine.
Like strawberry wine.

The fields have grown over now.
Years since they've seen the plow.
There's nothing time hasn't touched.
Is it really him or the loss of my innocence,
I've been missing so much.

Like strawberry wine and seventeen.
The hot July moon saw everything.
My first taste of love oh bittersweet.
Green on the vine.
Like strawberry wine.