The Puget Posse

Chapter 44-Be My Valentine

Welcome back. Valentine’s Day and Presidents’ Day bring fun to the Posse. They also have some serious moments as they work to chip away at Jeremiah’s power. But the best thing that happened may have been Mark slipping something into Ellis’s hand.
 
Thanks to those of you who have emailed me. Emails are always appreciated—they are the payment I receive for writing.
 
 
 
CHAPTER 44    
BE MY VALENTINE
 
Fifth graders are sometimes described as being in a dormant stage of development, although some of them are tumbling headlong into puberty. But for most the changes in their bodies are slowed, their minds are somewhat concrete in their outlooks, and sex was a curiosity, not a hormone-driven obsession. Quite often, however, the nine, ten, and younger eleven year olds would leave the impression they hadn’t read the child development texts or, if they had, they simply chose to ignore them. The minds and bodies of the five boys in the Posse, as well as other fifth graders at the Puget Academy, were often a far cry from dormant.
 
That said, the time from early January to early spring seemed to pass quietly. As often happens when the weather is bad and the holidays are gone, there are few outside distractions to school and the happenings in the academic environment. Concentration levels were higher, the quality of work was better, deportment was improved, and life seemed to be routine and, at times, boring.
 
But even with the high drama on the shelf for awhile, the path for Posse members and their peers was not a steady journey. It was still a journey that had its highs and lows, even if these ups and downs were less frequent and the peaks and valleys less pronounced. Some of these crests and dips are worth exploring as the Posse makes its way to spring and the launch of their Operation Bullfrog offensive.
 
<Friday, February 8>
 
Mark waited impatiently for Ellis to enter the classroom. He had tucked the envelope inside his shirt and was anxious to present it to his friend. The rest of the Posse, plus Posse deputies Will and Paul, knew he had it. All five of the Posse members had their eyes trained on the classroom door. With less than five minutes until the bell, they needed Ellis to show his face soon.
 
After what seemed like forever, the petite blond came through the door. Mark got out of his seat and dashed over to Ellis, herding him back out into the hall. While the entire Posse wanted to see Ellis’s reaction, they agreed that it would be best if they didn’t create a big scene.
 
Mark grabbed Ellis’s arm telling him to go to the boys’ room with him.
 
“We might be late for class,” Ellis protested, somewhat shocked by Mark’s aggressiveness.
 
“Then we’ll do detention.” Mark started to pull Ellis along.
 
“Okay, okay, you can let me go. I’m coming.”
 
Mark dropped his hold and the two scooted into the bathroom. It was empty as everyone was scurrying to get to class on time. Ellis said nothing as they stood at the center of the room. Mark pulled up his polo shirt, revealing the waistband of his boxers, his smooth belly, and a long white envelope barely tucked under his belt. He yanked it out and handed it to Ellis.
 
Ellis looked at what was in his hand as if it wasn’t real. He was certain that what was happening was a dream and he was deathly afraid he would wake up.
 
“Well?” Mark asked.
 
His answer was a high pitched scream, accompanied by a mile-wide smile and a hug that almost broke Mark’s ribs. He had no idea the skinny little blond was so strong.
 
“I’m free,” Ellis whispered. Even though he didn’t want them to, tears of happiness came flooding out, running down his cheeks, threatening to soak his shirt. Still holding on to Mark as tightly as he could, he sobbed on his shoulder, soaking Mark’s shirt. “I love you, Mark. I’ll do anything for you, I mean anything you want, anything…anything…anything, forever and ever.”
 
Mark gently moved Ellis’s head back and looked straight into his eyes. “You don’t need to do anything for me. My name isn’t Jeremiah. You’re my friend and don’t you ever forget that,” Mark told him as seriously as he’d ever told anybody anything. The his impish grin lit up his face. “Now we can move Operation Bullfrog along and kick some serious ass.”
 
The bell rang but neither boy moved. Ellis didn’t want to let Mark go, and Mark didn’t want him to let go. Their emotions flooded the cold environs of the lavatory with warmth. The little blond finally let go of the bigger boy. “We’re going to get lunch detention,” Ellis said.
 
“Do you care?” Mark asked.
 
Ellis ripped open the envelope, grabbed the memory card, and stuffed it into his pocket. “Nope,” he grinned.
 
When the duo entered the classroom, Mr. Jackson glared of them. “Nice of you two to come back to class.” He knew both of them had been in the classroom just before the bell, even if Ellis had been there for just a few seconds. “May I ask what the big emergency was?”
 
“Sure, go ahead and ask.”
 
Mr. Jackson ignored Mark’s impertinence. “Lunch detention for both of you.”
 
“We’ll be there,” Mark said as he and Ellis took their desks. Mr. Jackson had a surprised look on his face. Neither of the twins accepted detention without some kind of remark, no matter how at fault they were.  But Mark didn’t care because Ellis would be there with him and for the first time in what seemed like forever, Ellis was happy. For Mark doing detention was more than worth it.
 
When Ellis got home after school, he stuck the memory card in his computer to make sure Jeremiah didn't use some form of magic to switch the cards, not that his marks on the label weren't a giveaway. He scrolled to the last picture on the card, gleefully clicked on delete, and watched the hated picture disappear into cyberspace. Ellis grinned. He truly enjoyed being free. 
 

<Sunday, February 10>

 
Ryan and Lois asked their son, Misha, to sit with them for a talk after dinner. Misha tended to be leery of serious talks. Even with all of the things that were going right in his life, the fear of being rejected by his parents and sent away still resided in him. After all, his biological parents had abandoned him. He was sure it could happen to him again.
 
When they finished eating dinner, he helped clear the table and fill the dishwasher. Ryan and Lois took care of getting the kitchen cleaned. When they were finished, the family sat on the couch with Misha sitting between his parents.
 
“You’ve done very well in school, son,” Ryan told him. “Your mother and I are very proud of you.”
 
Misha wondered if the praise was a prelude to bad news. He wanted to feel good about it, but he wondered if there was some kind of trick involved. “Thank you,” he said demurely, deciding he had to say something.
 
The chatter went on a bit longer until Lois dropped the bombshell Misha had been waiting on. “Your father and I are going to go away for a few days, again. We plan to visit Las Vegas this weekend. We will be gone for three nights,” she said as she stroked his short, brown hair.
 
Misha’s response was succinct. “No.”
 
“No?” Ryan asked.
 
“You can’t go.”
 
“We’ve done it before.”
 
“I didn’t like it.” While Misha could be extremely patient when dealing with his friends, his patience often didn’t extend to his own life.
 
“Dr. Barrett has told you often that it is good for you to learn some independence by being away from us for a day or two,” Lois said.
 
“Dr. Barrett is wrong. I don’t want to be left alone.”
 
Ryan and Lois were surprised at Misha’s obstinacy. He usually took things in a calm, patient fashion. But they were somewhat pleased to see him standing up for himself.
 
“We aren’t leaving you alone. You will be staying with a friend for the weekend,” Lois said.
 
“I don’t want to stay at Ben’s house.” While Misha still liked Ben, he and the older boy had drifted apart. Misha had bonded with his peers at the Puget Academy, while at the same time the age difference between him and Ben seemed more pronounced. Misha’s parents understood where he was coming from. His classmates had replaced Ben when he talked about friends. They were certain, however, that there was no animosity between the two boys.
 
“You won’t be staying with Ben. You will be spending the weekend at your friend Patrick’s house,” Lois told him. She immediately saw her son’s gloomy face brighten up. His sad eyes went from downcast to bright and shiny.
 
“Patrick? For all three nights?”
 
“All three,” Ryan said. “Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.”
 
“Oh, I can’t wait. Patrick is my best friend.”
 
To Ryan, it seemed his son was suffering from a case of puppy love.
 
“But you’ll still call me, right?” Misa was sure that Patrick was now his best friend, and he might even be more than a best friend. But his true attachment was still with his parents.
 
“Of course we’ll call you,” Lois said.
 
“Why can’t you just take me with you?”
 
“Because you need to be away from us sometimes to help you grow up.”
 
“And you need a vacation from me, right?” The question startled Ryan and Lois until they saw a hint of his sly grin showing.
 
Scott ruffled his hair. “Which brings us to announcement number two.”
 
The grin vanished quickly and Misha’s look of concern returned. “Another announcement?”
 
“Yes, sir. We’re going to the opening series of the Mariners in Anaheim.”
 
Misha mumbled something in Russian. Lois gave him her displeased mother look. “Misha, remember everything you say is for all of us.”
 
“I am sorry, but I am liking baseball and wonder why I can’t go.”
 
Ryan hugged Misha tightly to his chest. “Oh, Misha, my lovely son. That trip is for all of us, for the entire week.”
 
Another mood shift overtook the young boy as once again his eyes glistened with delight. He reached up to his dad and kissed him on both cheeks. “You are the best daddy ever.” He scooted to the other side of the couch and kissed his mother lightly on the lips. “You are the best mommy ever.” The family meeting was over, ending on a positive note for everyone.
 
Misha slept soundly in his own bed on Sunday night. He needed his bear, Nikki, to help him sleep on Monday. On Tuesday, he tossed and turned, but he was determined to show his parents he could be an independent boy. Nikki wasn’t helping him to sleep, so he tried masturbating, using an instinct that boys seemed to understand—masturbation can relax the body and mind and can bring on sleep. Patrick was the chief source of his fantasy. Wednesday night surprised him as he fell asleep as soon as his head hit his pillow, his thoughts on the red envelope in his backpack.
 
When he climbed into bed on Thursday, he knew what was going to happen. He was so certain that he left his boxers on. After fifteen minutes of staring wide-eyed at the dark ceiling, he tucked Nikki under his arm and ambled to his parents’ room. As if anticipating his arrival, they left a space between them on the bed. He set Nikki at the foot of the bed and crawled under the covers. He kissed his mother’s cheek and then his father’s cheek, closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep, confident that on that night he was loved and cared for by his mommy and daddy.  
 

<Thursday, February 14>

 
“I can’t wait until the student council isn’t totally stupid and fifth graders can really vote,” Matthew said on the morning bus. “How come everybody but fifth graders get to have a Valentine’s Day dance tomorrow night and we get a dumb after school party?”
 
The only business the student council had been allowed to carry out had been helping with the planning for the Valentine’s Day party. And even then, the council itself did next to nothing as Jeremiah appointed his own cronies to do the planning.
 
“We at least get out of class for most of the afternoon,” Patrick said, trying to look at the bright side.
 
“And girls will be there,” Jeremiah kicked in. He was sitting in the seat behind Will and Matthew.
 
Matthew shot down the urge to say, “Like anybody asked your opinion,” but it wasn’t easy. They were only a couple of weeks into this part of Operation Bullfrog, which meant treating Jeremiah, Alden, Tony, and their buddies like they were human. The thought of it made Matthew want to puke. Actually being nice to Jeremiah was almost a fate worse than death.
 
“Girls will be nice,” Will said, easing the tension some. Mark heard the exchange and wanted to puke as badly as Matthew did. He was also sorry that the Posse was taking the patience route. Things would be much simpler if he and Matthew simply kicked the shit out of Jeremiah and Alden and ended all of the crap that was going on. He knew that Ellis would appreciate it, even if he was free now.
 
“I wish girls weren’t there,” Patrick confided to Mark. “They scare me.”
 
“Just remember you’re smarter than they are, but if you don’t let them know that then everything is cool with them. If you’re lucky, one of them might let you kiss her.” Patrick wanted to say that he’d rather kiss Misha, but decided it was better to say nothing.
 
The subject of kissing had Mark thinking back to the previous Saturday night. Michelle and Megan had their friends Sandy and Violet over for a slumber party. The twins had gotten a couple of feels in with Violet not long ago, but this was the first time they’d met Sandy.
 
“Are you guys going to put makeup and panties on again?” Violet asked the twins in the rec room.
 
“No way,” Matthew said emphatically. “We never got to do anything but watch all you dumb girls do nothing.”
 
“You got to suck my boobs. And you…um…like, jerked off.”
 
“We don’t need lipstick and panties to jerk off,” Mark said. “We just need to have a boner and be naked.” He started to unbuckle his pants, knowing it would get a rise out of one or both of his sisters.
 
“Mom, make the Things go to their room,” Michelle yelled out. “They’re bugging us.”
 
“We have every right to be here,” Mark yelled. “We live here, too.”
 
Kristy entered the room and asked everybody to settle down. “You girls have televisions in your rooms. You can always go there.”
 
“Yeah,” Matthew said. “When we have somebody spend the night, we’ll go to our room and stay out of your way.”
 
“Do you promise?” Michelle asked.
 
“Cross my heart and hope to turn into a fly,” Mark replied.
 
“Turn into a fly?” Kristy asked.
 
“Yeah, who wants to hope to die? Flies like to buzz people, so if I’m a fly I can still bug the M&Ms.”
 
“Okay, if you promise we’ll go upstairs, but only this once. But you two better do the same thing.”
 
“We will, but just once like you.”
 
Kristy walked away, amazed how easy that had been. She wished all of their battles were settled as quickly. What she didn’t understand is that both sets of twins had given in because they wanted to mess around sexually with their friends. She also didn’t notice that Mark’s pants were unzipped, exposing his bulging green boxers.
 
“If you take your thing out I’ll scream for mom,” Megan said.
 
“Take it out,” Violet told him. Sandy, who was an immature twelve-year-old girl with a flat chest and bald pussy, sat transfixed by the sexual banter, not to mention a boy sitting in the room with his pants open and his underwear showing.
 
Michelle, Megan, and Sandy left the rec room, but Violet hung back. She walked over to the chair and squeezed into it next to Mark, who scrunched up tightly. Two adults would never fit in that space, but the eleven and twelve-year-olds just managed.
 
Violet put her hand on Mark’s exposed boxers and squeezed his preteen hard-on. Mark let out an involuntary yelp that became an even louder one when her hand went inside the slit in his boxers and squeezed his cock skin-to-skin. She leaned into him and kissed him on the lips. He knew exactly what to do and opened his mouth to let her in as she rubbed his very excited erection. Matthew quickly became a lookout, but he mostly kept his eyes on his brother and Violet. The two exchanged tongue and spit, their lips locked tight, the tweens moaning inside each other’s mouth.
 
Mark’s hand moved up under Violet’s shirt to squeeze her right breast, but he got hung-up on her bra. Before he could do anything about the situation, Michelle came back to the room.
 
“Are you coming Vio…?” She stopped and surveyed the scene. “Mark, what are you doing to my friend?”
 
“I’m not doing nothing,” he protested. “She came over and sat next to me.”
 
“Like I’m supposed to believe that.”
 
“Believe what you want to, but it’s true. What do you think, I dragged her into this chair like some caveman?”
 
“And put your penis away.” His hard-on was now poking out of his boxers and pants. “You can’t let mom see it sticking up like that. You really owe me now.” She looked at Violet. “I wish I never had little brothers.”
 
“I knew we should have sold her and Megan on E-Bay,” Mark told Matthew.
 
Violet started to follow Michelle out and then stopped. “You really kiss good. I mean really good. You’ve practiced.”
 
“Yep,” Mark said proudly.
 
“That was one of the best kisses I ever had…and your cock is nice, too.”
 
“Violet, come on,” Michelle implored.
 
“I’ll talk to her and help you out with your thing later,” Violet said as she left. Sadly, for Mark, Michelle must have gotten her way, since he and Violet were not able to continue making out that night.
 
The bus turning onto the tree-lined street to the school brought Mark back to reality. He had a boner, but so what? Patrick had seen him boned up lots of times. He’d adjust things getting off of the bus if he was still hard. He was hoping that he could take the kissing skills that Violet liked and use it on a girl at the party that afternoon. That would at least make not having a Friday night dance almost worthwhile.
 
After lunch the girls were brought from the Annie Fuller Day School to the Puget Academy. The party was held in the old gym. There was food, music, games, along with shyness, intermingling, and, for some, the wish that the teachers and chaperones weren’t looking.
 
Madison and her clique of girls sought out the Posse boys. They’d been talking about them ever since the Halloween party and had vowed to link up with them. Their hope was that at least one of them could sneak a kiss. Their fantasies had all of them getting kisses, but they knew it would be difficult enough for just one of them to be kissed.
 
Madison’s clique consisted of Madison, Naomi, Page, Carla, and Zoe. While Zoe had been at the Halloween party, she didn’t become a part of Madison’s group until afterwards. Madison had flirted with the twins at the party, while Naomi chased Misha, Paige had her eyes set on Patrick, and Carla was taken by Neville and his British accent. Zoe was excited to learn that one of the twins was available.
 
“They are so fine,” Madison confided to Zoe. “I don’t remember which one is which, but we’ll just each take one and see who we end up with.”
 
As for the Posse, the twins and Neville were interested in the girls and were pleased to see the entire group approaching them. Misha and Patrick had each hoped that the girls would ignore them. While Neville was interested in Carla, he was also shy around girls, except for the girl he would never see again, his old babysitter, Kathy.
 
Patrick and Misha were friendly with Paige and Naomi. They sat in a circle of chairs with them, eating snacks and drinking punch. For the most part, they let the girls chatter away and tried not to appear too bored. Mark and Matthew seriously flirted with Madison and Zoe. Madison latched on to Mark, who she pegged as the alpha male of the Posse—or she would have had she known what an alpha male was.
 
“Have you ever kissed a girl?” Madison asked Mark, who was pleased at her lack of shyness.
 
“Of course I have. I’m eleven, so I better have some experience,” Mark said. “Have you kissed a boy?”
 
“I’m almost eleven,” she said as if to show she was on even ground with Mark. “I’ve kissed a couple of boys.”
 
“Have you Frenched?”
 
“Maybe.”
 
“Well, I have lots of times, and with a lot of different girls.” Mark didn’t bother to mention that two of the girls he’d kissed were his sisters, and that he had more experience kissing boys than he did kissing girls.
 
“I wish they’d let us kiss here at the party,” Madison sighed.
 
“I bet we can try.”
 
“How?”
 
“Well, the bleachers are pulled out, which means there is space under them.” There were bleachers on only one side of the old gym. They didn’t have many rows, which left minimal headroom to anyone going under them. “If you go around that way,” he said pointing to the west end of the bleachers, “you get to a hallway that goes to the boys’ locker room.”
 
“I can’t go in there.”
 
“They only use the bathroom—the showers don’t work. Only the showers in the new gym work. And there’s a girl’s bathroom on the left side of the hall.”
 
“You can’t go in there.”
 
Mark decided that even for a girl she was dumb, but in the end she was girl, which did give her a couple of bonus points. “We won’t go into the bathrooms. We just go in that direction to make people think that’s where we’re going, but we sneak in under the bleachers.”
 
“Won’t we get caught?”
 
“Not if we’re sneaky. And Matthew can watch out for teachers and everybody, right Matthew?”
 
Matthew and Zoe had been listening to Mark with great interest. “Whatever you say, bro. But then, you have to help me and Zoe, right Zoe?”
 
“I’ve never kissed anybody before,” Zoe whined.
 
“Well, you will today,” Matthew grinned.
 
“For real?” Zoe grabbed onto his arm and gave Matthew a look that was supposed to melt a man’s heart, but made the preteen boy wonder just what he was getting himself into.
 
“Wait for a minute or so, then follow me,” Mark told Madison. He hoped that Madison would just give him a kiss and skip the goofy look.
 
Mark left the circle of chairs and walked around the end of the bleachers. He checked to see if anybody was watching him. Feeling safe, he ducked in under the bleachers and waited for Madison. He barely had any headroom, and, as was often the case with girls and boys of their age, Madison was a bit taller than he was.
 
He saw her legs come around the corner and the rest of her quickly came into sight. “Madison, in here,” he hissed. “Make sure nobody is looking.”
 
Madison looked over her shoulder and then ducked in under the bleachers. Mark liked that she had to duck since that put her face level with his. “We have to be quick,” he told her. He liked that idea, because he could just head right in and kiss her. Plus, he wouldn’t have to worry about her getting all dreamy looking like Zoe had been.
 
They placed their faces right up against each other. Mark put his arms awkwardly around her and placed his lips on hers. His cock immediately shot to attention. He pressed his lips harder against hers and tried pushing his tongue between her lips. He had no intention of wasting his time with preliminaries.
 
When she stubbornly kept her lips closed he pulled back and said, “You gotta open your mouth and let my tongue in. That’s what Frenching is all about.”
 
“I was scared, and it’s all dirty down here.”
 
“Nothing to be scared of, I won’t bite you. My mouth will keep the dirt out.”
 
He tried again and this time she opened her mouth and let his tongue shoot in. She played with it some, but made no attempt to move hers into Mark’s mouth. So, he stopped again and instructed her on what to do. She could get lessons from Patrick on kissing, he thought, and he’s only nine. He decided that what she really needed to do was practice with some of her girlfriends.
 
This time they locked lips. He pulled her tightly to him and they traded tongues, their teeth occasionally clashing. Madison was as flat chested as Mark was, but he didn’t care. She was a girl and he was kissing her.
 
Mark let his right hand rest on her chest. He rubbed her, thinking that feeling Madison up while kissing her felt really sexy. He wished she’d touch his groin—his hard cocklet was begging to be touched. He let go of the girl and started reaching up under her blouse, feeling her soft, warm skin, pleased he didn’t have to deal with a bra. He found her right nipple and rubbed it with his finger as she emulated him, untucking his shirt, reaching up under it.
 
Madison’s hand moved up his torso. She was sexually turned on for one of the few times in her young life and she loved the feeling. Mark unzipped his pants. “You can put your hand inside there if you want,” he told her.
 
She ignored his plea. Instead she had the thought that sucking on Mark’s lip sounded sexier than putting her hand in his pants, which sounded gross. Her move turned out not to be sexy at all as she ended up biting him. It was just a nip, but Mark decided to make it a major injury. He brought his arm to his mouth and moaned, bringing words of sympathy from Madison.
 
“Oh, Mark, I’m so sorry I hurt you. I didn’t mean to. Are you okay?”
 
“I think I’m bleeding,” Mark said through his hand. He could barely taste a trickle of blood, but he had Madison thinking there was a gusher of blood spouting in his mouth.
 
Before she could say anything, Matthew poked his head inside the space. “You guys better leave. Mr. J looks like he’s on the way.
 
The two children slipped out from under the bleachers, looking a bit haggard. “Are you still bleeding?” Madison asked. Mark nodded and grunted into his hand, which was still covering his mouth. “I’ll go get some paper towels.” She took off through the entry way to the corridor and the bathroom just as Mr. Jackson came around the bleachers.
 
“Just what kind of mischief are the two of you up to?” he asked the twins, knowing there was virtually no way the two of them were standing next to the bleachers thinking about being good. In the teacher’s mind the brothers had to be plotting something.
 
“Nothing, Mr. J,” Mark said, his hand now removed from his mouth. “I was just coming back from the can.”
 
“Yeah, and I was just heading there,” Matthew said, putting on his best air of innocence and purity, an act Mr. Jackson didn’t buy for a second, especially considering the disheveled state of Mark’s polo shirt.
 
“Just make sure you mind your manners around our guests,” Mr. Jackson said. “And you may want to zip up your pants.”
 
Mark grinned without embarrassment and zipped up. “Guess I was in a hurry to piss and run and forgot to zip,” he said.
 
“Mr. Kirkwood!” the teacher yelled.  Mark giggled and hustled back to the chairs where his friends were sitting.
 
Mark put his hand back to his mouth. “I’m bleeding. Madison bit me when we kissed.”
 
Before anybody could react, Madison appeared with a small bundle of paper towels. “Are you still bleeding?” she asked with concern. Mark grunted into his hand as he gave a positive shake to his head. “Let me see it.” Mark opened his mouth. “I don’t see any blood,” she said.
 
Mark was about to say he swallowed most of it when Patrick piped in. “It is a well-known fact that the tongue and the mouth are the fastest healing parts of the body.”
 
“Yep, Patrick is right,” Mark said, thankful he had the ever-knowing Patrick as his friend and fellow Posse member.
 
“Does it still hurt?” Madison asked.
 
“Yeah, it hurts a lot.”
 
“I am really sorry. What we were doing was so fun. I’ll make it up to you, I promise.”
 
Mark grinned and grabbed her hand. It looked like there could be a lot of perks to be had when you got a girl to feel sorry for you.
 
The last hour of the party was a bit more routine. There were various games going on that had been set up by some of the parents, with help from a group of students appointed by the fifth grade president—Jeremiah. The rest of the council, which consisted of Matthew, Patrick, Ellis, and Misha, wanted to make up the committee, but Jeremiah insisted on appointing his cronies.  
 
“He wouldn’t even let us vote on anything,” Matthew told Mark after Jeremiah’s arbitrary decision the week before.
 
“Where was Mr. V? Couldn’t he stop Jeremiah?”
 
“He wasn’t in the room is all I know. Everybody is really mad about it, but Jeremiah said because he was the president he could make his own committee and that Mr. Vargas said he could.”
 
“Did you guys check out the constitution?”
 
“Yep. I don’t understand everything it said, but there was something about an at the dock committee and how the president could put one together.”
 
“The term is ad hoc,” Patrick told them.
 
“That is just wrong,” Mark said. “He can’t have his friends running everything.”
 
After the party ended, the cleanup committee went to work. Those in the know didn’t miss the fact that Jeremiah had put Matthew, his sergeant-at-arms, in charge of that committee.
 
That night Mark enjoyed an exquisite blow job from his brother. “You’re really good at this. I got so horny with Madison I need to get off bad. I wanted her to touch my dick, but she wouldn’t do it.” It didn’t take him long to unload two watery shots of cum into Matthew’s mouth.
 
“Zoe is nice, but she was afraid to even touch my hand,” Matthew said, enjoying the taste of his brother’s immature load. He was surprised by how much he’d grown to enjoy the flavor.
 
“If their moms didn’t look at our texts, I’d tell Madison that her and Zoe need to practice kissing…and other stuff…on each other.” Mark then rolled over and sucked Matthew to a fairly quick orgasm—still dry.
 
The Kirkwood family would be leaving for their condo and a weekend ski trip early the next morning. The twins were hoping to meet some kids on the slopes—they didn’t care what age they were. They were sure they’d meet somebody during the time they spent at the ski school. The social twins were always ready to meet new friends.
 
The brothers snuggled and were quickly asleep. The fact that they’d enjoyed an afternoon flirting with girls, followed by an evening of giving each other a blow job and sleeping naked together didn’t seem incongruous to them at all.
 

<Friday, February 15>

 
There were few things that could persuade Patrick to set his alarm on a day off from school. Friday was the first day of the four-day President’s Day weekend, but Patrick had dutifully set his alarm for eight the next morning—after all, Misha would be arriving by nine. He ended up not needing it; he was up eating breakfast with Grannana and his father at seven.  
 
“My, oh my, you are an early bird this morning,” Maxine said as Patrick started on his eggs. “Is there a worm in your future, perhaps?” she asked, unaware of the double meaning of her question.
 
Maxine’s question almost caused Patrick to spit out his mouthful of eggs. “I am an early Wombat, Grannana, and there is a big juicy worm in my future,” he giggled once he was able to swallow.
 
Brian gave his son a knowing look. There wasn’t much question that Patrick had been influenced by the education he had received from his Uncle Roy. Nor was there any doubt in his mind that he’d shown Misha what he knew. There was also no question in Brian’s mind that his son was afflicted with a case of puppy love.
 
“I would certainly like to know what is so funny about what I said,” Maxine said, which got both Brian and Patrick to roaring with laughter.
 
By the time Misha was due to arrive, Patrick was showered and dressed in sweats and a long Sounders t-shirt that stretched almost to his knees. He sat in the living room, anticipating the arrival of his friend. He saw an SUV turn into the driveway and had the front door open before the vehicle had come to a stop. Patrick wished he had put his slippers on; the sidewalk was wet with rain and he was in his stocking feet.
 
Misha hopped out of the backseat and seemed to make it all the way to the front door of the house in one bound. The two boys danced a little jig around each other and exchanged a big hug. There was no doubt they were overjoyed to be together, even though they had been together in school the day before.
 
Ryan pulled Misha’s bicycle out of the back of the SUV. He asked Misha to help get the rest of his things. Patrick started to follow, but Misha told him to keep his feet dry. Misha returned with Nikki and his overnight bag, while Lois brought a pillow and a sleeping bag. Misha had reminded her he didn’t need those when he’d spent the night there before, but she insisted, saying that spending three nights was different than spending one. Ryan grabbed Misha’s bicycle helmet out of the back and followed his family to the house.
 
Maxine came from her room to join the throng. Deli followed her, his sniffing, pawing, and barking adding to the chaos. “This is Maxine, my great-grandmother,” Patrick told Lois and Ryan. “We all call her Grannana.” Because they had helped Brian and Patrick when Maxine had had her kidney stone attack, they were fully aware of who she was.
 
The greetings and introductions were followed by good-bye hugs and kisses, the usual parental reminders to behave, and a round of thanks for taking Misha in for the weekend. When the SUV finally pulled out of the driveway, Patrick could see that Misha was a little sad. “Let’s go to my room,” he implored.
 
“Not until the two of you have a morning cup of hot chocolate,” Maxine told the boys. “Master Misha looks a bit down, and hot chocolate has been known to buoy the spirits.”
 
They didn’t argue and sat at the kitchen table, their legs swinging back and forth as she set two steaming cups of cocoa in front of them, along with a couple of chocolate chip cookies. Maxine was big on snacks for little boys, especially in the form of cookies.
 
“You have the nicest Grannana in the world,” Misha told Patrick, who beamed because he knew it was true. “Where is T-Bone?” he asked, referring to Patrick’s other dog.
 
“I don’t know. Sleeping somewhere, I guess. Deli is Grannana’s pet, that’s why he came out with her. T-Bone belongs to dad and me and is probably napping with Ramses.” Ramses was the gray tomcat who ran the household, at least in his own mind. “T-Bone and Ramses are both pretty lazy sometimes.” He giggled and added, “Or maybe all of the time.”
 
“I was surprised you are wearing sweats. I thought you did not dress much at your house,” Misha said.
 
“I wanted to go out to meet you, so I had to be dressed or Grannana might end up brooming me.”
 
“Do you think we can dress in just our underwear?”
 
“Grannana said it would be okay soon, but not now. We could even be naked if we want, but just don’t go running around with…um…you know…um…erections.” As soon as Patrick said the word erection the boys burst into a fit of giggles. Misha knew the story of Matthew’s brooming when he made the mistake of running naked with an erection.
 
“You have never run around the house with an erection?”
 
“Sure, but I live here, so nobody cares.”
 
“That all sounds very strange and makes very little sense.”
 
“They aren’t my rules.”
 
The boys finished their snacks, put their cups and plates away, and finally made it to Patrick’s bedroom. Patrick looked under his bed and saw Ramses soundly asleep. He figured correctly that T-Bone was probably asleep in his dad’s room.
 
“I’m glad you brought Nikki,” Patrick said as he stood back up.
 
“I thought you would think me baby since I am eleven,” Misha said, fracturing his syntax a bit because he felt a momentary flash of embarrassment. Misha and Patrick had already discussed his bear; as a result, its presence was not a complete surprise.
 
“No way. Nikki is a very cool bear. He can keep Wally company.” Wally was Patrick’s stuffed wombat.
 
“I should find me a stuffed wolverine,” Misha said.
 
“Or change your name to Bear.”
 
“No, I think Wolverine is the right animal name for me.”
 
“I think so, too.”
 
The first things the boys did was strip to their underwear. “I have another long shirt,” Patrick told Misha. “If you wear it you can take your underpants off and run around the house with a boner.” That put the boys into another fit of giggling. They were soon down to wearing just a long t-shirt that covered their privates, and socks.
 
They could have just as easily worn nothing and sported boners because, other than for taking a pee, they didn’t leave Patrick’s room until lunch. The two boys came out for their toasted cheese sandwiches and soup, wearing what little they’d worn all morning. Maxine wasn’t fooled by the long shirts; she knew there was nothing but bare boy underneath them.
 
Since the rain had let up, the boys dressed and rode their bikes. Patrick showed Misha around his neighborhood. They stayed within the boundaries that Patrick’s father had set for him. There were two stops within those boundaries that Patrick wanted to make.
 
The first stop was the little mini-mart on the arterial to the east of his house. Patrick told Misha to bring some money since the store had a great selection of candies and other treats. Candy was not kept in either household; the only way the boys could take care of the needs of their sweet tooth was to buy candy on the sly. Misha agreed that the selection was outstanding.
 
The other stop was to introduce Misha to his friend Ian. While the two had seen each other at Wild Waves back in the fall, they’d never really been introduced. Patrick called Grannana and told her where he was after which the boys spent an hour playing with Ian’s toy soldiers. Misha didn’t think it was as much fun as Risk; he wasn’t really into toys.
 
They rode directly to Patrick’s house from Ian’s. The rest of the day was spent playing, eating, watching television with Brian and Maxine, and being silly young boys.
 
One special thing happened just before dinner. The boys had been in their underwear since they returned from Ian’s house. Misha was surprised how comfortable he felt around Brian and Grannana in just his boxers and a t-shirt. Patrick was wearing briefs and one of his long shirts. Patrick told Misha not to worry about Grannana’s grousing; it only meant something if she got the broom out.
 
Misha was sitting on Patrick’s bed, his legs spread so that Patrick, who was sitting on his desk chair, could look up his boxers and see the bottom of his scrotum. He wanted to look up those smooth thighs forever, but he also wanted to give Misha something he’d been putting off all day. He reached into the top drawer of his desk, pulled out a red envelope with “Wolverine” printed on it, and handed it to Misha.
 
“I know it’s a day late,” Patrick said with unaccustomed shyness. “But I wanted to give it to you here and not at school.”
 
 Misha grinned and thanked Patrick. He set the envelope on the bed and got up.
 
“Didn’t you like it?” Patrick asked, somewhat mortified. “You haven’t even opened it.”
 
Misha dug into his bag and pulled out a red envelope with “Wombat” printed on it and set it on Patrick’s lap. The use of their Posse animal nicknames showed how much they had been thinking alike.  After Misha sat on the bed, they ripped open their envelopes like they revealed an Academy Award winner.
 
They each had a Valentine inside. Along with the usual drawings, hearts, and sappy sayings they had written virtually the same thing. “Be My Valentine” with a string of hearts and X’s and O’s drawn in.
 
Patrick looked at Misha with a look of worship and the look was returned. He then sat next to Misha on the bed and gave him a kiss on his lips. They both sat back and gazed at each other wonderingly, not sure if there should be more at this point. They didn’t get to press the point because Grannana called them to dinner before they could do more.
 
The evening seemed to fly by. The boys played Risk with Brian, who won the game. He had to work hard to beat the rapidly improving pair. After the game the boys hit a wall while watching TV. They were out of gas. Patrick briefly fell asleep on the couch, his head leaning up against Misha’s shoulder. Brian thought the scene looked sweet, but woke Patrick so he and Misha could get ready for bed.
 
Patrick was barely functional and Misha was close to conking out. Brian helped the youngsters get ready. They undressed and climbed into Patrick’s bed, neither one caring that Brian was watching them. Nor did they care that he knew they were going to sleep together in the nude. They just wanted to sleep and were out before Brian could turn off the light. Brian couldn’t help but admire Misha’s athletic body. There was no doubt the boy was going to be real looker, if he wasn’t already.
 
The next day Brian took Patrick and Misha into Seattle for their first visit to the Experience Music Project at the Seattle Center, with lunch following. While the boys thought the design of the building was funky, they enjoyed the exhibits and the music that came with them. They had lunch at one of the seafood houses along the waterfront. It was another long, fulfilling day.
 
This time Patrick and Misha headed for bed early, but it wasn’t for the purpose of sleeping. They told Brian to wait until they were under the covers before he came into the room to tuck them in. They seemed to think that if Patrick’s father didn’t actually see them get into the bed naked, he wouldn’t know they were naked. Brian couldn’t help but smile at their twisted logic.
 
As soon as Brian left, Misha and Patrick traded a short kiss, and then went directly into a longer one, and finally just kept their lips and tongues locked together as long as they could. They had traded a few light kisses during the past two days, but this was the first time they’d gotten serious. Had they been farther into puberty, or in Patrick’s case into puberty at all, the story might have been different. While they liked the sexual feelings they had for each other, they weren’t driven by them—at least not yet.
 
Just as they placed their little boy cocks together they heard the phone ring. Brian knocked on the door, telling Misha it was his mother. His parents were calling a lot as promised; this was their fifth phone call since they’d left for Las Vegas.
 
“Tell her that I am asleep,” Misha said. He couldn’t believe that he did not want to talk to his parents on the phone. He’d been looking forward to every phone call up until that moment.
 
“Since we both know you’re not asleep you can talk to her for a moment. Do you want to come out to answer it, or shall I bring the handset in to you?”
 
“I’ll come out.” Misha rose out of bed, turned on the light, grabbed the t-shirt he’d thrown on the desk chair, and left the room. Brian saw him come out and noticed the tent in the shirt right where a boy’s cock should be. He smiled inwardly, wondering if his son was equally excited. No wonder Misha didn’t want to talk to his mother, Brian thought with a grin.
 
Misha talked, listened, told his parents he loved them, wished them good luck, hung up, and returned to Patrick’s room. Brian watched Misha’s tent vanish during the course of the phone call. He wondered if Grannana had noticed anything.
 
Misha peeled off the shirt before he even got to Patrick’s bedroom. He walked in naked, threw the shirt back on the chair, and surprised Patrick by going under the covers headfirst. He surprised his friend even more by placing his lips around his still hard cock. Patrick squealed in surprise and delight as Misha rubbed his small, hairless scrotum while he sucked his cocklet.
 
“Misha, that feels so good,” he whispered.
 
Misha didn’t answer, he just kept sucking. Patrick pulled the bedcovers away, exposing their smooth boy bodies to the dim light in the room. He watched as his best friend gave him pleasure.
 
The overwhelming feelings going through his body and brain shut out all rational thought—his young mind lost all focus as his body trembled. It was then for the first time that he noticed how close Misha’s boner was to his mouth. It was close enough that if he moved his head slightly he’d be able to lick it. He shifted just a bit and licked the purple head that peered through Misha’s foreskin.
 
Misha lifted his head, leaving a ribbon of salvia between his lips and Patrick’s erection. “Suck on it,” he whispered. He once again enveloped Patrick’s three inches in his mouth. Patrick shifted some again, and put his mouth around Misha’s throbbing pubescent erection.
 
They were now engaged in doing a sixty-nine. It all seemed so natural and right to the young boys.
 
Patrick pushed his little cock into Misha’s mouth, while Misha drove his longer, thicker one into Patrick’s, fucking the younger boy’s mouth as he sucked him off. Their moans, groans, squawks, and squeals were muffled by what they had in their mouths, which was probably a good thing. Even with the distance between the bedroom and the living room, and even with the television on, the two young boys did not yet have the self-control needed to keep them from crying out at a loud, high-pitched, volume as they enjoyed their intense orgasms.
 
They lay quietly for over five minutes, neither letting go of the other’s penis. It was as if they wanted the image to be totally emblazoned into their memory banks to make sure the moment lasted forever.
 
Finally, Misha stirred and turned himself around so that his head was even with Patrick’s. He kissed his friend lightly on the lips, a kiss that soon became a frenzied one. Patrick and Misha clung to each other and kissed until they felt sapped of all their energy.
 
“That was so awesome, Misha.”
 
“It was the best, the best ever,” which is what he’d said the first time the two of them had had sex. For Misha, that just meant sex with Patrick  just keep getting better.
 
They were in bed with each other and wrapped around each other and falling asleep with each other. Maybe it was puppy love, just as their fathers thought. Maybe it was more—maybe it was less. It didn’t matter to the two of them. All they were sure of was that they each had the best friend in the world in his arms.
 
The next morning, except for eating breakfast, Patrick and Misha didn’t bother wearing any clothes except for socks. It was winter, after all, and even in the toasty warm house toes had a tendency to get cold. While it wasn’t a sexual day, it was a sexy day. Brian, of course, loved watching the young boys strut around nude, and Maxine said, “Boys will be boys,” and left it at that.
 
“How about you two boys get showered,” Maxine said a little after noon. “Your Uncle Ted is going to fix us a nice supper and show us his new apartment.” Ted was a good cook, having learned the art from his mother when he was a boy.
 
“We should shower together,” Patrick said on the way to his bedroom. Misha gave him no argument. All they had to do was peel off their socks, set the water, and get wet and soapy. They washed each other thoroughly enough to sprout erections. Like their nude morning, the shower was erotic, but not sexual. Their first shower together was relatively tame, but tame showers would not always be the case with the two of them.
 
The dinner was delicious. Patrick told Misha that Ted and Rolando, his boyfriend, would probably perv on them—especially Rolando. That ended up being the case, and Rolando took advantage of the small apartment to set up opportunities for contact with Misha and Patrick. Misha didn’t mind much, even the time Rolando slowly brushed his crotch by “accident” and momentarily fondled his small ball sac.
 
Patrick did mind. When Rolando’s hand came to rest on his thigh while they ate, Patrick whispered, “I’ll tell,” in his ear. Rolando backed off quickly. Brian saw the little exchange and had a good idea of what it was about. Good for you, Patrick, good for you, he thought when Rolando’s arm shifted away from his son. Brian was going to step in if needed, but he was more than pleased to see Patrick stand up for himself. He hadn’t seen Rolando fondle Misha, or he would have stepped in. Ted had seen it, wishing it was him fondling the handsome young Russian boy.
 
That night the boys once again retired early. They talked about Rolando and Misha mentioned being fondled. Patrick said that Rolando would have touched his balls, too, if he hadn’t stopped him.
 
The boys talked about the Valentine’s Day party at school and how Naomi had been flirting with Misha, and Paige had been flirting with Patrick. They agreed both girls were dumb and they would much rather have been sitting alone with each other.
 
They kissed some, petted each other some, and fondled each other. But they were tired, Patrick in particular. And for nine-year-old Patrick, hormonal drive of adolescence was not yet in full swing. Misha was petting Patrick’s smooth, taut belly when he noticed his friend had fallen asleep.
 
Misha turned on his side to fall asleep, but he couldn’t get comfortable. He hadn’t received a good-night call from his parents. They’d last called around six. As much as he was perturbed by them calling at bedtime the night before, he was even more disconcerted about their not calling.
 
He saw Nikki and Wally next to each other on Patrick’s dresser. He left the bed and brought Nikki back with him, wrapping his arms around the soft, stuffed bear. He made sure to keep body contact with Patrick at the same time. He still couldn’t fall asleep.
 
Finally, he got up and wandered into the hall, carrying Nikki with him. When he got to the end, he opened the door to Brian’s bedroom and walked in. Misha’s abandonment issues were kicking in and he was looking for the reassurance of an adult. His feelings for Patrick could not yet take the place of the security the close presence of an adult gave him when he felt this way. He hadn’t bothered to put anything on and was naked. In the dark, he saw where there was room for him in Brian’s bed. He set Nikki down on the foot of the bed and went under the blankets close to Patrick’s father.
 
Brian was a light sleeper and was awake even before Misha had come into his bed. Like his son, Brian slept naked. Misha’s parents had told Brian about Misha’s abandonment issues and that he might come into Brian’s bed after everyone had gone to sleep. Brian had even worn boxers to bed the first two nights in case he should get a visitor. But after two nights he thought Patrick had taken care of whatever issues Misha had, not understanding the boy’s desperate need for the reassurances of an adult—even if that just meant being in the presence of one.
 
He felt Misha’s warm, naked body against him. He placed his arm across the boy’s smooth shoulder. Misha let out a little whimper. He had exactly what he needed and fell instantly to sleep with Brian following minutes later.
 
When Brian woke up in the morning, Misha was gone. He was surprised the boy hadn’t awakened him when he left. He was also pleased that Patrick would be waking up with his friend still in his bed.
 
Misha’s parents called at eight, apologetic about missing their phone call the night before. They assured Misha it was not intentional. They would be leaving for the airport in an hour and would be home soon. Misha was happy and was eager to see his parents again.
 
The weekend had been a success on many levels. Misha and Patrick learned something about each other sexually and bonded even closer personally. Patrick learned he could fend off unwanted advances. Misha met a new friend in Ian. And Brian learned that Misha trusted him enough to come into his bed naked, knowing he was safe. That also told Brian a lot about himself, considering his attraction to boys of Misha’s age. He took Misha’s trust seriously and made sure to be worthy of it. He also made a mental note to wear boxers to bed the next time Misha stayed overnight.
 

<Thursday, February 28>    

 
The time from the four-day Presidents’ Day break until the end of the month was a quiet one, which didn’t mean nothing happened. The boys of the Posse and their friends, not to mention their enemies, were busy.
 
Neville was a bit upset when he finished second to Patrick for the highest grades in the class. He was put out coming in behind not only a scholarship boy, but a boy who was a year younger. The only saving grace was that he genuinely liked Patrick.
 
His sex life during the two weeks was quiet, consisting of one session of trading hand jobs with Dylan and some jerk off sessions. The jerk off sessions were becoming more and more frequent as he approached puberty. Some of his jerk off fantasies involved Dylan and Evan. He’d seen Evan in sexual situations, but he hadn’t messed around with him. He thought about Cody as well, but Cody and Dylan had drifted apart and Neville hadn’t seen him around for awhile. Paul popped into his head once when Neville focused on him and Curt jerking off at the cock challenge.
 
While it bothered Neville some to be fantasizing about those boys, he told himself it was because he’d messed around with them or watched them mess around. Fantasizing about Mark, Matthew, Misha and Patrick was something different. Maybe he thought about them in his sexual fantasies because he saw so much of them every day. When one of them popped into his head, he’d focus on Carla from the Annie Fuller School, the teenaged Kathy, or even on his cousin Vicky. As much as he tried to think about girls like that when he masturbated, his mind kept returning to boys.
 
His biggest issue, however, was Ellis. Ellis entered his fantasies completely uninvited. One time Neville jerked off with the image of him and Ellis naked in his bedroom. They had boners. Ellis was on the floor painting Neville’s toenails bright red before giving Neville a blow job. What really disturbed Neville was that he made no attempt to replace Ellis with a new fantasy. He stayed with Ellis all of the way to orgasm. Neville was so upset by his fantasy, he didn’t jerk off for two days.
 
One wonders what Neville would have thought if he knew Ellis fantasized about him during his jerk off sessions. He even thought about Neville the one night he spent with Barry and Dax at Dax’s house. Ellis watched as Barry and Dax got high on weed.  He then let the older boys each fuck him twice while they moved on to Jack Daniels and got totally shit-faced. Dax’s parents had left him alone for the weekend, and Ellis had lied to his mother about where he’d be spending the night. He had no desire to get fucked up—all he wanted was to get fucked.
 
The twins had a great Presidents’ Day weekend skiing. They met some other kids on the beginner’s slopes. They spent time with three of them, two boys and a girl, in the ski lodge warming up on hot cocoa and heated scones. They saw each other frequently. Their relationship was one of passing friends, and nothing was said about sex. They were all under age thirteen and not sure if the subject should be broached. All but one of the boys was sexually active in some way, however. That boy was ten and very naïve—masturbation was still foreign to him.
 
The twins had an impossible time being sexual at the condo—there simply wasn’t the needed privacy. Of course they did some grabbing and fondling of each other and carried on sexual banter with their sisters about giving up some kisses, but nothing happened between anybody. They made up for it after getting home with nightly shared blow jobs. Michelle and Megan remained hard to get, but the two girls were beginning to see their brothers as sexual creatures.
 
After the weekend, the players on the Bobcats, along with two pickup players from the other intramural basketball teams, played two games against other schools. The Bobcats had earned the privilege by winning the fifth grade championship. They won both games and had two more games left to play in March.
 
Patrick and Misha hadn’t been able to spend another night together, but they were inseparable at school and were able to spend some after school time together. Mark and Matthew kidded them about being the other set of twins on the Posse, something Neville took umbrage at since it made him feel like an outsider. Misha jerked off almost every day, always thinking about Patrick in his fantasies.
 
Patrick didn’t jerk off nearly as much, but when he did, Misha was the subject of his fantasies. He did mess around with Ian the weekend after President’s Day, however. The two boys didn’t do much since they didn’t have much time alone. They pulled down their pants and undies and sat on Patrick’s bed Saturday afternoon jerking each other off.
 
Patrick told Misha about that later during a phone call. He was worried Misha would be mad at him, but his friend was cool with it. The boys at the orphanage had sex with many partners. Misha remembered that even when he and Nikki were almost like boyfriends, they both played around with other boys. Nikki never pretended like he owned Misha’s body, and Misha took the same attitude with Patrick.
 
Jeremiah got naked with a girl for the first time. His friend Allison was allowed to spend the afternoon alone and invited Jeremiah to her house. The two didn’t do anything but look at each other and exchange some chaste kisses, but Jeremiah’s little penis had never been harder. He couldn’t wait to do it again. He wanted to ask Alden what else they could do other than kiss, but he was afraid Alden would think he was stupid. It was bad enough that Alden knew he had a little dick.
 
Will may have been the most sexually active boy outside of the twins. He spent a great deal of time in bed with his brother Gary. But his biggest moment was having Paul invite him to his house to discuss. “school business”. That ended up being business conducted naked in bed with shared blow jobs. Will got himself coated in Paul’s sperm and managed to swallow his share as well. Paul brought up the subject of fucking, but Will wasn’t ready to talk about it yet. But, between his brother, his brother’s friends, and Paul, Will couldn’t help but think doing it wasn’t far in the future.
 
After school started, the political side of the Posse got busy. Patrick, as vice-president, chaired the fifth grade senate meetings. One of the things discussed in the last senate session was whether Jeremiah had the power to appoint a committee on his own like he had for the Valentine’s dance. The boys checked the constitution for help, not for the first time.
 
“Whoever wrote that constitution doesn’t know how to write,” Mark complained. “That thing is a bugger to read.”
 
“Maybe it’s easier for the eighth graders,” Vic, the second representative from Mr. Jackson’s class said. “My father and I read it together, and even he said that part was hard to figure out. I guess he can do it, but he has to ask us guys in the senate first.”
 
“Well, he never asked me,” Mark complained.
 
“Yeah, but he hates you,” Wayne Russell, a representative from Mr. Nash’s class said.
 
“Did he ask anybody else in here?” Mark asked.
 
Patrick finally banged his gavel like Mr. Vargas had told him to do if the discussion started getting out of hand. “Mark has the floor,” he said in a high-pitched voice that didn’t have an authoritative ring to it, yet seemed to carry across the meeting room with authority.
 
“Thank you, Mr. President,” Mark said as he had been instructed.
 
The discussion ended with Mark saying they should ask Mr. Vargas why he let Jeremiah get away with violating the constitution. Mr. Vargas got up from his chair in the back of the room.
 
“Did any of you actually read the part of the constitution when Jeremiah formed his committee?”  Four hands went up, including Patrick’s. “So why didn’t you say anything then?”
 
“Because I read the part that said he could do it,” Patrick said.
 
“You only read the first part then, correct?”
 
The four all mumbled a yes.
 
“Perhaps what you have here is a lesson in being more thorough. I would have stopped Jeremiah if he had done something in violation of school rules or school policy. But in this case, I thought maybe this would be a good lesson for you. If you’re going to participate in government, you will need to be vigilant and meticulous. You may all look up those words.”
 
The last part of the meeting was taken up with the senate members saying what they wanted on the agenda for their first official meeting. Misha, the fifth grade secretary, wrote everything down diligently and neatly. Miss Dawkins, one of the teacher assistants, would type up his notes. Misha wanted to make sure they were neat and organized so she wouldn’t have to ask him about what he had written.
 
And so it is that children of fifth grade age are often considered to be in a dormant stage, even if they can often be energetic and full of surprises. They can be impulsive as well as patient.
 
The patience of The Puget Posse and its three deputies was in evidence as they let Operation Bullfrog simmer. Their inquiry into Jeremiah’s methods in creating his party committee was a message that they were watching Jeremiah and it wouldn’t be as easy for him to get away with his shenanigans in the future. It was a warning shot across the bow, so to speak. The real war was still a couple of months from being declared.
 
Next: Fifth Grade March