As a 24th birthday present back in September of 1989 the Universe saw fit to give me a job as a photographer at a small daily newspaper. Regardless of the size of the paper, it was a great stepping stone. I'll never forget the man who helped me deal with all the changes I was going through.

I had wondered if Blaise was gay from the first time we met. But, sometimes you couldn't be sure. Several years older than me, in the first few weeks he took a special interest in me. When I thought about it too hard, I wondered if that might mean something. But, I always banished that speculation, choosing to see the best in the situation.

I was young and had just moved to a small Southern city hours from home for a new job. I had no friends outside of my new acquaintances at work. And, I knew nothing about my new surroundings. Blaise made it his mission to make sure I felt comfortable and welcome.

My colleagues in the newsroom were nice enough. We had plenty in common and a couple people were closer to my age. But, they were always busy with the job and we all had different schedules, making it hard to socialize outside of work.

My new friend was the manager of the Classifieds Department. So, he had a fairly regular eight-to-five life. The only catch, if you can call it that, was that he was a good 15 years older than me. But, I couldn't deny he was fun to be around and I liked having a new friend.

By December, my new job was going well. I was fitting in and my boss was always happy with my work, especially some of the artsy shots I brought in. But, whenever I was in the office with nothing to do I usually could be found in Blaise's office talking and laughing. We were going to lunch together about once a week or so as my schedule allowed. He was quickly becoming the closest friend I had here or anywhere.

Every other week or so during the school year, I had darkroom duty to process the film shot by the other two photographers at high school games. Sometimes all three of us were shooting. Once in a while, Blaise also stayed late to catch up on something. There always were dead spots during the night when I would be just sitting around waiting for games to end and film to arrive. Of course, I did that sitting around in Blaise's office talking, often about personal stuff.

Eventually, he mentioned that I looked exactly like his first boyfriend in high school who died in a car wreck at 17. That's why he had always been very taken with me. I wasn't sure if I should be flattered, or sad, or what. To be honest, it was a little weird being the object of desire for another man. I really had only fleetingly entertained the thought that he might be gay until that admission. Being straight myself, I didn't quite know what to do with the implications of his admission.

"I just thought you should know," he said, seeming embarassed as if he'd said something wrong. "It doesn't mean - ."

"It's fine," I assured him. "I'm glad you feel like you can be honest with me. We're friends, right?"

He smiled at that. As his face brightened his whole demeanor changed. It felt like a cloud had lifted.

"Yes," he said. "We are."

At lunch the following Monday Blaise said he had another confession to make.

"I never really have to work late," he said leaning across the table at the pizza place across from the newspaper office. "I just find things to do so I can be in the office when you have darkroom duty."

I looked down sheepishly, a bit embarrassed. I could feel my cheeks get hotter as they reddened. I smiled without meaning to.

"That's - sweet," I finally said. "Thank you."

For the next few weeks nothing more was said about Blaise's feelings. But, I made sure to avoid saying or doing anything that might be mistaken for either an invitation or a means of taking advantage of my friend's emotions. Eventually, I never really thought about it. Blaise was just a good friend, something like the older brother I never had. And, he really was becoming the best friend I'd ever had. But, when Christmas came around it was obvious he still thought of me differently.

At some point in our constant conversation, I apparently had mentioned a couple lenses I needed. And, since the paper was so small, we had to use our own equipment. I had maxed out two credit cards to get the bare minimum Nikon kit I felt like I needed to get the job done. But, it was only the bare minimum.

We were only a five-day daily, which meant that we published a daily paper Monday through Friday with no Saturday or Sunday edition. It was the first time I'd heard of that kind of schedule. But, it meant we all got weekends off unless there was some event to cover. And, that year, Christmas was on Monday. So, we all had a three-day weekend. That was a very unusual holiday in the newspaper business. I planned to head down to my parents house by lunchtime on Christmas. But, I had nothing going on the rest of the weekend.

He asked me about getting together over the weekend for our own Christmas dinner. I told him to name a time. I was his for the weekend.

We met at the pizza place where we often had lunch Saturday night. Since it was right across from the office, it was very popular with the staff both for lunch and for beers after work. Blaise brought a bag in. I eyed it skeptically.

"We never discussed gifts," I said. "If I had known - ."

"You weren't supposed to know," he stopped me. "I got you something because I wanted to get you something, not because I wanted something in return.

"But, I can't wait for you to open it."

I looked in the bag and stopped breathing. All I saw at first was a Nikon box. I couldn't tell what it was yet. But I knew it was going to be very expensive.

Once I pulled the box out, I realized Blaise had spent several hundred dollars on one of the fast, prime lenses I'd been drooling over for years.

"How - ." I literally was speechless. I felt my face redden. I looked up at his face and blinked. My eyes were actually welling up. This was an amazing gift.

He smiled broadly. I had to clear my throat and swallow hard before I could speak.

"I can't accept this," I finally said. "You shouldn't have done this. This is too much."

"I wanted to give you something I knew you'd like," he said. "The only things you've ever said anything about wanting is camera equipment. Did I get the right thing? I tried to pay attention when you were talking about it. But, I don't know anything about it."

"It's exactly the right thing." I still was close to crying.

"Now you have to tell me what I can get you."

"I've got a pretty good idea how much you make," he said. "I wouldn't accept a gift from you."

"There has to be something I can get you or do for you."

"Nope. Being my friend is the most valuable thing in the world."

"Oh, come on. There must be something."

We argued for several minutes like children. Finally, I tried a different attack.

"If you had magic lamp, the sky's the limit, what would you want?" I asked. "I mean, you're right I can't afford much. But you can give me an idea. We've never really talked about fantasies and deepest desires, anyway."

"Fantasies? Oh, don't open that can of worms."

"But, seriously, what would you want if you could have anything?" I asked. "What's your Christmas wish?"

He actually stopped this time and thought for a minute.

"I'm afraid to say," he finally replied. "It might have an effect on our friendship."

"I doubt you could say much that would mess up our friendship."

"You just don't know." His eyes were wide. His head was shaking.

"Tell me." Now my eyes were wide.

"I want to see you naked."

Suddenly, there was no air in the room. All sound went silent. Everything was motionless.

"Well, that's something," I said quietly without making a move myself.

"See, I told you."

"No. I just - . I don't think I've ever heard anyone actually say that to me. I definitely have never heard it from a man."

"I knew it," he said. "I should have kept my mouth shut."

"No, no, no. I tell you what," I said. Blaise looked worried. "Let me think about it over the weekend. And, we'll have this discussion again next week. How's that? Can you wait until Tuesday?"

Of course, this was all I could think about over the holiday. Finally, I figured it couldn't hurt. And I had been naked in front of guys before in school locker rooms. What was the worst that could happen? He might laugh. And, then it would be over.

I happened to drive by the office on the way home from my parents' house Monday evening and saw Blaise's truck parked out front.

"What are you doing here?" I asked. He'd heard someone enter the building and seemed a little surprised but happy that it was me.

He said he wanted to catch up on some things before a hectic Tuesday showed up.

Trying to be as nonchalant as I could I told him I would do it.

"I'll pay you money," he came back quickly. His eyes were wide. He had obviously been thinking about his request as much as I had been.

"I - . I just said I'd do it. What -?"

"I just feel like I'm asking a lot of you," he explained. "I mean, I - ."

"OK. Whatever you want to do. Just tell me when."

"What are you doing now?"

"Apparently, rushing home to take a shower and then meeting you at your house?"

"Perfect." Suddenly, he was almost giddy with excitement, though he thought he was hiding it.

"I'll meet you back here in a little while," I said. "Is that - ."

"Perfect!"

I rushed home to take a shower and put on clean clothes. I didn't know what to expect. But, I didn't want to smell or anything when I stripped for Blaise.

My thoughts raced as I headed back to the office less than 20 minutes later so I could follow Blaise home. I had no idea where he lived.

"OK," I thought. "I'm about to strip for him. No big deal. I could do that." Besides, he said he would pay me. Don't judge me; times were tough and I was making just above poverty level. Besides, people have no problem paying women in strip clubs, or men for that matter. There weren't any male strip clubs anywhere in the state that I knew of. But, once in a while Chippendales toured through.

I walked into Blaise's office just as he was getting up. I got the feeling he was just sitting there waiting to hear me come in. He drove a lifted four-wheel-drive Chevy pick-up that was completely out of character. But he loved it. I followed in my 10-year-old Jeep Cherokee. It was big, too. But it was great for getting me to places a photojournalist needed to go.

He ushered me into his living room through a side door from his carport. It was a very large room, even for a living room. He offered me a seat and disappeared for a minute. When he returned he had two beers. I think there was some small talk about work, or Christmas, or something. I don't remember. My mind still was racing, my heart pumping. Then, I do remember him asking if I was ready to go to his bedroom.

I kind of preferred to stay in the living room. But he really wanted to do it in the bedroom. Besides, he said, the living room had large picture windows. The neighbors might see. He was almost whining.

"OK. Sure," I finally said. I mean, one room was as good as another.

He lay on his stomach across his bed his hands holding his head up much like a teenage girl and I stood at one corner in dim lamp light. I had thought about wearing layers so I could stretch this out. But, I decided I should wear a button-down and my usual jeans that wouldn't take too long to remove.

I started unbuttoning my shirt just as I would if I were at home. As it spread open and my chest was revealed, Blaise let out an audible grunt. Something about that calmed my nerves ever so slightly.

"Slow down," he ordered. "Let me enjoy this."

"I don't know how to strip for anybody," I said. "I'm just taking my clothes off like I normally do."

"Well, do it slower."

I got another approving grunt as I pulled my shirt out of my jeans, and short moan when I pulled it off completely.

I wasn't a body builder by any means. But I had been lifting weights for the last few years and had started seeing some noticeable gains. I was starting to build a little vascularity in my forearms and it was visible even in my button-downs when I flexed my biceps or took a deep breath. My chest had a reasonable covering of red hair and what Blaise called a "goody trail" heading down into the jeans I was now unbuttoning.

I was mostly concentrating on what I was doing. But, occasionally I would look up to see Blaise's excited face staring at my body. His face turned quizzical when I unzipped my jeans to reveal white cotton fabric. I think he thought I was wearing run-of-the-mill white briefs.

"Oooh," is what I heard when I pushed my jeans down to reveal I was wearing white bikinis.

When I straightened up from pulling my jeans off my feet he gasped so loudly I thought he might hyperventilate.

"Oh, God," he said. I looked down to see that his eyes were locked on to my now half-hard dick pushing against my thin underwear. It pushed the fabric so far away from my body that nearly half of my red pubic curls were visible. I was getting harder and harder the farther I went. I was a little surprised. But, it really was a turn-on to have someone waiting with baited breath for every inch of revealed skin.

"I knew you were a fire-crotch," he said.

I stopped there and put my hands on my hips. I could just tell they were shaking a little. I hoped it wasn't noticeable to Blaise. He stared lustfully, longingly at the last part of me hidden behind fabric. It was just a foot or so away from his face.

"Is that enough?" I asked.

"What?" His head shot up to my face. "No! Let me see it! You can't stop now! I can already tell it's beautiful!"

"How can you tell anything about it? You haven't seen it yet."

"That curve, the way it's fighting to get out of its cage. I can even see that big vein on top and the ridge of the head.

"Get that thing out of there!"

I pushed my underwear down so hard and fast my cock sprang out at Blaise like a jack-in-the-box.

"Oh! My! God!" He actually jumped.

I saw his hand start to move toward it apparently under its own control. He quickly pulled it back as if he was afraid of touching something hot.

"Can I," he croaked. "Can I touch it?"

"I'm not sure I'm ready for - ."

"Please! Just let me rub it a little," he pleaded. "I've got to know how smooth and soft your skin is."

I wasn't sure. I mean, having a another man look at me, even in a sexual manner was one thing. Touching was something else entirely.

"I'll give you money," he countered my unspoken objections.

Actually, I wasn't sure about the financial aspect, anyway. We hadn't set anything in stone. But, am I a stripper now? If I let him do anything, does that make me a prostitute? And, where was the whole "gift" aspect of this? What kind of gift is it if I take money for it?

As my friend was staring at me, I realized that, not only was I still growing larger and stiffer, I also was becoming pretty horny. I found that I needed some kind of release. I caught myself. Blaise had only mentioned touching, not doing anything that would end with me cumming. Deep down I knew that's where this was going to go. I was about to receive my first handjob - or more - by a man. But, who better than my best friend.

"Should I just stand here?" I asked, offering my approval.

"Oh, don't move." His hand moved out toward me again. To reiterate my approval I took a step toward the bed. My thighs were against it now. I was as close to Blaise as I could get.

His fingertips found my skin first and he just slid them up and down the stiff shaft for a few seconds. Finally they traced the shape of my glans. He rotated his hand to slide under my shaft. When his fingers found my balls his thumb wrapped over my cock and he slid back to the head. The sensation was electrifying. He stroked me like this for a couple minutes. He seemed fascinated, awed by my sex.

He moved down to assess my balls hanging loose before him. He rolled them around in his hand, between his fingers. He cupped them in his palm. His fingers encircled my sac where it left my groin and he stroked downward adding a slight pull as he did so.

He spent minutes just on my balls before returning to my now throbbing cock. His fingers wrapped around it again and he was pulling and stroking it over and over.

He stopped suddenly when a drop of pre-cum made an appearance. He placed the tip of his forefinger on it and began rubbing it over my glans. The feeling was amazing.

I was breathing heavy now and sweat was running down my chest and back.

"It's beautiful." He finally spoke. Until then the sound of my breathing seemed deafening. "And, it's big! You're very well-endowed! And, a beautiful shape! Just amazing! This should make someone very happy."

"Is it making you happy?" I barely croaked out, making a mental note of the fact he called me "big."

"Are you kidding? This is amazing!" he exclaimed.

He stopped talking lost again in his exploration. His hand had never stopped moving.

When more pre-cum oozed out he looked up at my face, my cock still in his hand.

"Let me take care of you. You need it. And, I really want to watch you cum."

"Please," was all I said between ragged breaths.

Blaise disappeared and returned a few seconds later with lube, a towel, and a wet wash cloth.

Once he started really working on me, it took only a few minutes to finish me. His long "prep" time had me aching to explode. To my young cock he was a master, a virtuoso playing a symphony on skin. I'd never felt anything like this, even at my own hands.

He apparently felt my cum building just as I did and cupped his hands over my glans, still moving them in a rolling motion that had my body convulsing even before my semen hit his hands. My thighs trembled against the bed as my hips and abs thrust forward into his hands. I had to grab one of his shoulders to steady myself.

When I finally opened my eyes Blaise was staring into my face, his eyes smiling. His hands still cupped over my cock. It didn't look like a single drop of my cum had escaped his hands. He stood and left the room. I turned and sat on the bed, weak and spent. When he returned, Blaise picked up the wash cloth and asked if he could clean me up.

There didn't seem to be anything to clean up. But, I let him wipe over my dick and balls with the wash cloth. His touch with the wash cloth was just as tender and gentle as it had been earlier. This time he was taking special care of my extra sensitivity. Then he sat beside me on the bed and used the towel to dry the sweat on my chest and back. I got the impression he was shaking a little.

"Wow," I finally said quietly as my breathing returned to normal. My heart still was pounding in my chest and I felt shaky all over.

"Do you want another beer?" he asked. His hand was on my bare back.

I thought for a moment. Some part of me wanted to just get dressed and leave. But, there was something else that wanted to stay.

"Sure," I said.

"I'll meet you in the living room," he said. He even sounded nervous, worried.

I only pulled on my underwear and jeans in his room. I grabbed my other clothes and headed to the living room.

Blaise was waiting on a long couch along one wall. I stopped at a smaller love seat and set my clothes down. When I slid on my shirt and started buttoning it, Blaise brought my beer over to me.

He remained in front of me as I pushed my shirt into my jeans.

"Are we - ," he asked timidly as I sat down to put on my socks and shoes.

"We're good," I said, looking up at him. "This was just so different. I'm still light-headed.

"I just hope you liked your Christmas wish."

He finally smiled.

"It was perfect!"

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