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|The two weeks leading up to our trip were flying by. My Dad helped us get a room at The Venetian, so we were set with accommodations. None of us had ever been to Las Vegas, but knew we�d have fun. Justin wanted us to meet Zack before the trip, so he invited him over to train with us a few times before the trip.
The first time Zack came over, Mike and I had been working out for about a half hour before the two of them came into the gym. Even though Mike had stopped taking steroids, the effect was still with him and he was tipping the scales at more than 215 lbs. Zack and Justin walked in just as a shirtless Mike was cranking out rep after rep on the incline bench with 120 pound dumbbells. We were both concentrating so hard; we didn�t notice Zack and Justin come in. I helped Mike with the last two, but he was really grunting to them out. He dropped the weights and looked up at me with sweat just pouring off of him. �Damn that felt good Eric! I am so pumped!� Just then, Justin cleared his throat.
We looked over and saw Justin grinning ear to ear and Zack staring wide-eyed at Mike. �Hey guys! This is Zack! We came to work out with you.�
�Hey Zack! What�s up? I�m Eric.� I asked smiling at him. Mike wiped his face with a towel and greeted Zack similarly.
Zack couldn�t take his eyes off Mike. He now outweighed me by almost 25 pounds and Justin by 40. I definitely knew why Zack stared. Mike was huge. �Uh, hi guys.� Zack stuttered, �Um, how much do those dumbbells weigh?�
Mike smiled slyly at the gawking Zack. �They�re 120�s� why do you ask?�
�No way, bro! I only weigh 30 pounds more than that! That�s not possible!� He started walking toward us.
�You want to check it?� Mike said smiling at Zack. Zack shook his head and he started asking Mike how strong he was in various lifts.
While the two of them bantered back and forth, I had a good chance to look at Zack. For a 14-year-old kid, he was breathlessly good looking. He was about 5�7� I guessed � about three inches shorter than Justin, and from what he said, he was 150 lbs, which seemed right to me � maybe, I thought, he was a little heavier. He was wearing fairly baggy shorts and shirt, but I could still see that he had a great build. Of course I�d seen him from a distance at the bodybuilding contest, so I knew he had a nice body. But this was the first time I�d really gotten a good look at his face. While Mike, Justin and I were all pretty good-looking guys, Zack was nothing short of beautifully handsome. His short sandy-brown hair had been highlighted. His ice blue eyes telegraphed his energy in such a way that I knew he�d be fun to be around. When he smiled, dimples formed in his cheeks, and every feature on his face looked like it was sculpted perfect. I had to hand it to Justin, if Zack turned out to be a boyfriend; he was a damn hot one.
Zack had finished grilling Mike about how strong he was. In the process, Mike even hit a double bi pose for him, and that was greeted with more slack-jawed flattery. He finally stepped back a bit and smiled at Justin. �So this is your gay older brother and his boyfriend who are �kind of into bodybuilding�?� He laughed. �Justin, you didn�t tell me they were freaky big!� We all laughed and I think we were all eager to see how he�d react to training with Justin. While Mike and I were both bigger than Justin, he still held his own when it came to the amount of weight lifted.
The two of them were still in the clothes they�d worn to school. They started to get down to business. They both pulled their shirts off and then paused to admire each other. Apparently they hadn�t been in the same gym class, because it was clear that Zack had never seen Justin without a with a shirt, and Justin had never seen Zack close up. Mike and I watched with fascination as the two of them sized each other up. Zack had a perfect eight pac and tight muscles that were perfectly shaped. Honestly, I think if Michelangelo had known Zack, he would have told David to take a hike. Looking at Zack was like looking at an anatomy chart. He wasn�t freaky huge, but he was incredibly defined � perfect pecs, arms, legs, cute little bubble butt � Mike and I were hoping for Justin�s sake that he could be more than a friend to Justin.
As I watched their interaction, I realized Justin had made the same leap. In his brain he knew there was a good chance that Zack was straight, but his heart had already decided. Justin had a crush on Zack � it was completely obvious. Zack was obviously impressed with Justin too, but he was also a little overwhelmed by the three of us. In any normal group of 14 year olds, Zack would have been the alpha by far, but in our group, he was the little guy, and he wasn�t used to it.
He and Justin decided to train back and biceps. Mike and I watched the two of them as we continued our own workout. Zack was great. His form was perfect, his intensity was through the roof and he had a great sense of humor. He was amazed by the weights Justin could lift, but he didn�t go on too much about it. By the end of the workout, he was pushing Justin like they�d working out together for months.
They finished their workout about the same time Mike and I finished ours. I had been a little surprised that Zack hadn�t recognized me from the bodybuilding contest, but then I figured I wouldn�t have known him if Justin hadn�t pointed him out. I walked over to him and said, �hey Zack, let�s see what you�ve got!� I hit a side bicep pose and he followed suit. He looked over and laughed a bit as he noticed that Mike and Justin were sitting back watching us. I switched to a back lat spread, and again he followed me. We went through six poses ending with a most muscular facing Mike and Justin.
We were covered with sweat by the time we stopped. We grinned at each other and then looked over at Mike and Justin. �Well?� I said.
�Well what?� Mike said looking puzzled. Justin was confused too, but Zack knew what I was talking about.
�Who won? You didn�t think we were just flexing for the fun of it, did you?� He said trying to sound angry.
�Oh, um right.� Mike said, looking at Justin. �Zack � definitely Zack! Not even close!� I stared at them in amazement. I knew they were kidding, but I wanted play along.
�No way! You two must be blind!� With that I fell over backwards onto the mat where we were standing.
Zack walked over and looked down at me. �Yep!� he grinned. �The bigger they are the harder they fall. Don�t take it too hard Eric! This happens with me all the time.� He was bending over me and slapped my face lightly as he told me not to take it too hard.
I looked up at his grinning face. I thought about grabbing him and wrestling him down, but that was Justin�s turf, not mine. �OK pretty boy. Just to show you I don�t have any hard feelings, you wanna have dinner with us?�
�Sure.� He said as he extended his hand out to help me up. �I want to find out all the secrets about how you three apes got so big.� Justin and I took the comment in stride, but as I looked over at Mike, I saw that he wasn�t smiling. He didn�t like the thought of Zack knowing �all� his secrets, but he also didn�t like lying to the kid. It was a dilemma of steroids that would come back to haunt Mike from time to time. He didn�t want to go around telling everyone that he�d done them, but he didn�t like taking the credit for getting as big as he�d gotten naturally.
In any event, this wasn�t the time to tell Zack. We didn�t know him well enough for that. As the four of us walked into the house, I told Justin that he and Zack could use the bathroom in the guest suite to clean up. He looked at my a bit oddly at first and then smiled. �Right, thanks Eric. It�s over here Zack!� and off they went together.
Mike and I walked toward the stairway and up to my room. �What do you think?� Mike grinned at me.
�He�s really cool!� I said excitedly, �and damn good looking too. Looks to me like Justin has already fallen for him.�
�Sure does. I hope it works out for him. I�d hate to see him get hurt.� Mike had that big brother look of concern. �Zack seems like fun, I�m sure J-boy will find a way to make it good with him.�
We got cleaned up and headed back down stairs. Justin was just walking into the kitchen as we got there. �Where�s Zack?� I asked, surprised to see Justin by himself.
�Oh, I tied him up and left him in the bedroom.� Justin grinned. I smirked a bit at him as he continued, �He�s just getting out of the shower. We don�t shower together like you two� yet.� He added the last bit after a brief pause. He was trying his best not break out in a huge grin, but it was no use, he couldn�t hide his enthusiasm. He glanced back toward the guestroom to make sure the door was still closed. �Isn�t he cool!?!� he whispered, just loud enough for Mike and me to hear.
I was digging steaks out of the refrigerator, but I could honestly hear him smiling, he was so happy. �He�s great, J-boy, Eric and I both really like him.� Mike said sincerely.
Justin looked back over his shoulder again, �He�s pretty fucking cute too, huh?� he whispered again.
I stuck my head over the top of the refrigerator door, �He�s REALLY cute, J-boy! Totally!� Just then the door to the guestroom opened and Zack emerged.
He walked into the kitchen and flashed his million-dollar smile. �You weren�t talking about me, were you?� He laughed as he climbed onto a bar stool next to Justin. Justin�s face turned bright red supplying Zack with all the answer he needed.
Before tension could build over Zack�s question, I asked how everyone wanted his steak cooked. The one good thing about not having my parents around all that much was that both Mike and I had become pretty good cooks. Since his trouble with him Mom, she�d been talking to him less and less, and he�d started spending more and more time at my house. My parents had pretty much adopted him as their own. He�d even started referring to my Mom as �Mom�. She loved it, of course. As Mike threw some potatoes in the oven to bake, I asked Justin to go turn on the grill. We had a nice barbeque out by the pool. It was too cold to go swimming, but it was still nice to go hang out back by the pool area.
Justin headed out toward the pool area, and to my amazement, Zack didn�t follow. Instead, he stayed and starting making conversation with Mike and me. He started asking a lot about our diets including how much protein we ate and how many meals we had each day and what our totally calorie intake was. He didn�t seem surprised at all that we knew the answers to his questions and he seemed to have a good idea about why we ate what we did. As we talked he started staring at me. Finally he asked, �Eric, do I know you from somewhere?�
I laughed, saying, �It�s about time you figured it out. I was in the same bodybuilding contest that you entered. I was a light heavyweight. You were in a very tough middleweight class.� You could almost see the light bulb over his head.
�Oh yeah! You got second place, right?� Before I could answer a sly smile crossed his face. �I liked how you almost had a dance routine rather than a posing routine!� His smile told me that he meant it as a good-natured comment, but he�d definitely managed to zing me pretty good. I was definitely a little touchy about my routine. Zack clearly had a great ability to sense emotions. He used it well too; Zack was clearly nobody�s fool.
Justin came back in and told us that grill was on. We chatted for a while waiting for the grill to get hot. Mike and I cooked while the four of us chatted. The two of us occasionally exchanged a look that confirmed our amazement with Zack. He was immediately comfortable with us, and we definitely liked him. We approved of Justin�s choice, 100%.
We ate dinner, and afterwards Zack had to go. Mike offered to take him home, and I was completely shocked when Justin offered to stay and help me clean up. I told him he didn�t have to, but I think he wanted Mike and Zack to spend a little time alone together. As the two of them left, it became clear that Justin wanted to spend some time with me too.
We watched Mike and Zack leave, and then headed back to the pile of dishes. Justin sat down on a bar stool and was about to start asking me questions. �Um, excuse me mutant boy, but if you stayed to help me clean up, that�s exactly what you are going to do.� He smiled at being called mutant boy again. It had been a while since I�d used that name for him. He came around to my side of the counter and started loading dishes into the dishwasher.
�Eric, I can�t believe I feel this way about him already. Isn�t he fucking incredible?� There was a tone to Justin�s voice that gave it all away. He was in love, sure it was infatuation, he didn�t know Zack well enough to really be in love, but I knew what infatuation was, I�d felt it for Mike. There really wasn�t any use trying to council patience, but I felt I had to try.
�So I thought you didn�t know if he was gay?�
�I don�t, but look at how well he gets along with all of us. I mean I told him about you and Mike and he really seems to like you guys.� His voice trailed off with disappointment. I thought hard about what I�d say next to him. I had a little more experience than he did, but not much.
�You know, J-boy - how sometimes your lifting, and you look at a weight that you know you can�t lift, but you will yourself to make it happen?� I looked at him trying to figure if the analogy was going to sink in. He nodded. �Well, it works with weights, but not with people. You can�t will Zack to be what you want him to be. Trying will only push him away. You know what I mean?� Justin�s face dropped and he nodded soberly.
�J-boy�.� I could feel his pain at the thought that Zack might not really be his soul mate. �All I�m saying is that you need to see Zack as the amazing thing he is. He obviously likes you and loves to work out with you and respects the hell out of you. Be happy with that for now and let him show you what he wants. After all, you�re bringing him into your world. You�re asking him to hang out with the three of us. He should get to make some choices too. You have to let him.�
Justin looked over at me and smiled. �Pretty profound for a guy who�s elbow deep in dishes.� I took a great big glob of suds and pushed them right in his face. �Pletha!� He spit the soap out. �Just because you give me some good advice doesn�t mean I won�t kick your ass!� And with that the two of us were wrestling on the kitchen floor. We laughed as we exchanged holds, but finally I found myself on my back unable to move.
�OK, J-boy. I give.� I said smiling at him.
�You damn right you do!� He smiled back. �I love you Eric!� He said as we kissed. There was a different passion between us. I could tell he now thought of me more like he thought of Mike. It was honestly incredible. We had a newfound respect for each other; I was his confidant about his romance. A roll, I was definitely ready to accept.
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