Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Love Unexpected Ch. 2

The Recent Changes Confuse Jake


“Wakie, wakie, Jake.” The teen stretched stiffly and opened his eyes to find Marcus grinning at him from above. “Dad’s home, dinner is ready and Mom sent me.”

“Okay, I’ll be down in a minute.” He waited until Marcus had left the room before suffering through the ordeal of trying to rise from the bed without irritating his injuries. He changed his shirt, rinsed his face and went down to greet his uncle.

Avery Walker was in the kitchen drinking a beer when Jake strolled in. He was all long limbs and muscles like Marcus and about the same height with his son’s thick, dark hair. He owned an auto repair shop specializing in European cars and made a good living at it.

“Hey, kid,” Avery greeted him. “How’s lfe?”

Jake gave his favorite uncle a quick hug. “I’m surviving.”

Giving him the same kind of inspection Pat had leveled at him earlier, Avery grunted. “Uh-huh, well we’ll talk about that after dinner. I want to know what happened yesterday. Your mom was kind of sketchy, but I know her well enough that it must have been pretty bad.”

It was Jake’s turn to quietly grouse. His aunt and uncle deserved an honest explanation, and better for it to come from him than an outside source. His father’s cross-examination tactics embarrassed him but they had never liked the way George treated his wife and sons. The Walkers were kind people and would probably handle the fact that he was gay in a much more reasonable manner than he parents had, but that didn’t make telling them any easier.

Aunt Pat had prepared lemon-baked chicken, scalloped potatoes, peas and homemade biscuits for dinner, and the family tucked in hungrily. Jake appreciated the animated chatter around the table, so different from his own family’s sullen meals where he’d finish as quickly as possible before his father had a chance to lay into him. Jake relaxed and listened to them talk about their day and smiled happily. This could actually turn into a great summer.

Marcus and Jake bantered back and forth as they cleaned up dinner and loaded the dishwasher. Pat walked into the kitchen just as they finished up and gave Jake half a smile. He nodded at her decisively. It was time to get the unpleasant business taken care of.

“Marcus, would you excuse us for a minute?”

“Ah, damn!” He threw a dishtowel over the top edge of a cabinet door. “I’ll be in my bedroom while my cousin shares his big secret and you’re ready to tell me why he’s hiding out at our house.”

Jake stopped him with a hand on his bicep. “No, it’s fine, Aunt Pat. What I have to say concerns him too.”

The Walker family followed Jake out on the patio overlooking the terraced back yard. He felt anxious bringing everything out in the open, but more than that, he was afraid. He knew Pat and Avery would never judge him like his parents had done, but the thought that his cousin, his best friend in the world, might hate him for being gay almost made his dinner come back up.

Everyone grabbed a seat on the webbed patio furniture and settled with drinks. Looking across into their expectant faces, Jake took a big breath and wondered briefly if he could still hold it so long that he passed out like he’d done when he was a little kid and wanted an adult’s attention. But there was no help but to tell the truth and get it over with.

“I’m gay.”

For a count of two seconds there was dead silence. Marcus also had been holding his breath and released it in a whoosh. “Is that all?” he asked, screwing up his face in consternation. “I’ve known that for… well… forever.”

“Forever?” Jake’s strained voice held a light teasing note. “I’ve only known for four years.” He laughed, seeing the smiles all around and feeling the dark tension inside him dissipate. How silly that he’d ever doubted these people.

Avery nodded firmly to verify his trust. “You know we would never judge you, Jake. We love you.”

Jake felt his eyes welling up and looked down at his fingers twisting nervously in his lap. “Thanks, Uncle Avery.”

His sadness wasn’t lost on Pat. “Judging from your skittishness and also by your mom’s call this morning,” she offered, “it sounds as if you came out to them last night. Whatever possessed you to do that?”

“No, that’s just it,” Jake exclaimed. “I didn’t. I know my dad well enough that it would be suicide to tell him. He already found out. Someone sent him pictures of me with another student. A male student. We were… kissing.”

All three Walkers gasped, and Marcus looked furious.

“Who would do something like that?” he growled. He had a typical brotherly relationship when it came to his cousin. They could squabble and bicker at each other all they wanted but if an outsider messed with Jake he better be prepared to take on Marcus too.

“I don’t know.” Jake scrubbed his face with a hand. "I don’t have any enemies that I’m aware of. The big question is how some stranger would know where to send them.”

“And why,” Pat added. “They would have to be aware that you weren’t out at home. It couldn’t have been a stranger.”

“Someone’s idea of a sick joke, maybe,” he guessed uneasily. “Jealousy? Without knowing who, I can’t say why.”

“So this whole thing is about your father’s over-reaction last night?” Avery asked, taking Pat’s hand in his. “What did he do?”

Quickly, Jake ran through the story. By the time he finished, Pat was pale and Avery’s face was tight with rage. Marcus had crossed the patio and was sitting behind Jake on the lounger, leaning his head on his shoulder in sympathy.

“Let me see,” Avery said in an agitated voice. “I know he must have left bruises, so I want to see them.”

Jake gingerly lifted his t-shirt, showing off the bluish-purple marks the size of a grapefruit on his chest and stomach. He turned around to display the contusions on his lower back.

Pat gasped. “You should’ve filed assault charges,” she said sternly.

Jake considered the advice. “No, I just wanted out of there, and I didn’t want to get Mom in trouble.”

“Why are you sticking up for your mom, dude?” Marcus asked. “She sounds like she’s just as bad as him.”

“No.” Jake shook his head. “She helped me get away.”

**

Jake eyes had fluttered open at the sound of the second knock on his door. Sleep-muddled, his mind barely registered that even though it felt like minutes since the wee hours of his father’s inquisition, hours must have passed because it was daylight outside. Before he had a chance to consider the risk, he called out a tired, “It’s unlocked.”

Carolyn Nielsen popped her head in. “Good, you’re awake,” she said softly, an unhappy frown on her face. “Get dressed and come downstairs.” She shut the door quietly behind her.

Jake checked the time on his bedside clock- seven o’clock- and groaned. He groaned again when he went to stand up, his body protesting the sudden movement and flexion of injured muscle. As quickly as possible he followed his mother’s instructions, and when he presented himself to her in the kitchen she was just hanging up the telephone. His clothing from the night before was folded on the counter, and he flushed with shame remembering how he’d wet all over himself like an infant.

“Did you unpack yesterday?” His mom pushed a stray strand of graying hair behind her ear, looking very nervous.

Jake shook his head. “I didn’t exactly have time last night,” he returned with a scowl. Of course, she must already know that. Wasn’t she going to apologize for leaving him at George’s mercy? “Dad wouldn’t let me go to bed until after twelve, and I was too tired.”

She nodded distractedly.”Good. Your dad just left for work, and I made you a big breakfast. Sit and I’ll serve you.”

The reminder of food made his stomach grumble painfully. He hadn’t bothered with a snack on his way to bed, so fearful his father would make some excuse to drag him back into the living room for Round 2 of his torture. That meant no food since a quick airport lunch the day before in San Francisco. His mom set down a plate of eggs, bacon and toast before him.

“After you’re finished, I want you to put all the gear you brought up from school in your truck.” To his baffled look, she added, “I just got off the phone talking to your Aunt Pat. She and Uncle Avery are expecting you this afternoon. You will be spending the summer with them in Aleppo Park. You need to hurry and get on the road as soon as possible.”

Jake stared at his mother and forced a bite of eggs down past the lump in his throat. What, was she dumping him now?

“Don’t look at me like that,” Carolyn begged, tears filling her eyes. “I’m sorry about last night- sorry that I didn’t come to your defense. But you know what your father is like. When he’s in a rage, he’s unpredictable. This is the only way I know of to get you out of the line of fire. Otherwise, he’s going to make your life hell. For certain you will get more hurt than a few bruises.”

“But mom…”

She stepped up to him and hugged him gently. “Jake, honey, please. Just do this for me so I don’t have to worry about your safety. I don’t agree with how you… think, or who you’re with… but I still love you. Nothing will change that.”

Jake sighed. “Mom, I know, and I’m sorry too. I never meant for you to find out like this, but this is what I am. You need to get educated. It isn’t something I can change or dreamed up to piss off Dad or…”

She put up her hand to stop him. “Please, let it go for now. Give me a chance. I know I’m asking a lot and it will take time but I’ll try.”

Reaching into the pocket of her gray knit pants, she drew out a wad of money and set down beside his plate. “This is for you. There’s five hundred dollars here. Use it for gas or whatever you need until you find work in Orange County.”

A worried frown settled between Jake’s eyes. “What are you going to do? He’ll know you set this up.”

“Maybe not,” Carolyn tried to flash a bright smile. “I told your father I had appointments all day. He was going to put a lock on your bedroom door, but he was late for work and didn’t have time. He didn’t give me any instructions about keeping you here either. As far as he’s concerned, you ran off while no one was home.”

Jake got up from his chair and wrapped his arms around his mother. “Thanks, Mom. I love you. It’ll be alright, just watch.”

She cupped his cheek and a tear slipped down hers. “I hope so, honey. Now finish your breakfast. Get loaded and don’t waste any time. The sooner you’re on the road and out of the area, the better.”

**

“So I walked out,” Jake finished. “I left a goodbye note on the kitchen counter addressed to both my parents sarcastically thanking them for all their love and support and telling them I can’t live in a home where they don’t accept me for who I am. If I’m lucky, by including Mom in it, Dad won’t discover that she helped me.” He looked at the Walkers. “At some point, I’ll go back to get the rest of my gear, but I have no intention of living there ever again. As long as I can play, my baseball scholarship will get me through college. I hope I can find a job to help pay for the expenses the financial aid doesn’t cover, and I’ll move back into the dorm in August. I should be fine.”

Pat had already pulled Jake into an ample hug by the time he finished speaking, his chin quivering bravely as he fought tears. Her concern was just too much to bear, and he broke down in sobs.

It’s all right, Jacobaby,” she crooned, soothing her hand over his curls. “You have a home here as long as you need one. I can’t believe my sister would…”

“Don’t blame her, Aunt Pat,” Jake insisted in a cotton-muffled voice. “She’s as afraid of him as I am. I know she doesn’t like me being gay, but she’ll come around. It was just a shock, and she did her best.”

Pat harrumphed, not believing a word of his rationalization. She couldn’t fathom a sister so spineless to allow George to mistreat his own son like this. “If you say so.”

**

The next morning Jake listened soberly as his aunt explained the flurry of telephone activity since he had retired the night before. First of all, Avery had already received a heated call from George to report Jake missing. He played his role as concerned uncle and expressed anxiety about the disappearance but didn’t know if he was believed. Carolyn then phoned Pat as soon as George departed for work. He was, as predicted, furious that Jake had slipped through his grasp, but the boy’s quick thinking with the note had done the trick. George was none the wiser about Carolyn’s assistance in helping him leave. However, when he set his mind to something, he wasn’t easily put off, and he didn’t care how long it took, he was going to locate Jake and get this settled his way. After all, his son couldn’t stay in hiding forever. College would begin again in August, and maybe three months would teach the boy some humility and deference as long as he wasn’t carrying on in an ungodly way. George’s words, not hers.

Marcus and Jake spent several hours unpacking and getting him moved into his new bedroom. Next up was setting him up on the Walker’s cell phone plan because, as Avery explained it, if George knew who to wheedle, locating his son through the technology wouldn’t be difficult at all. Jake’s data and contacts were all uploaded into a new sim chip, and his uncle warned him about calling friends in Madera if he wasn’t sure he could trust them. Not that he was a minor who could be legally returned home, but why take unnecessary chances?

“Ready to hit the breaks?” Marcus raised his eyebrows at Jake. It was mid-afternoon, but Pat said they were going to have pizza ordered in and could postpone dinner if they wanted to surf awhile. “I thought we’d go down to Onofre for a couple hours. The conditions aren’t ideal. It’s only two footers and probably lots of soup, but you’ll appreciate safe and sane until you get used to it again.”

Jake shrugged, his face falling. “No board.” Surfing with Marcus when they were young teens had been the only way to spend the summer, and he missed the ocean dreadfully when he moved to Madera.

Marcus smirked and led Jake to the garage. Unfolding a ladder, he climbed into the rafters and began rooting around and creating space. The long silver-clothed nose of a board bag began to dip down from above. “Grab it, Jake.”

Jake’s eyes widened in joyful surprise. “Is that… is that my…? Omigod, Marc! You were supposed to sell it on Craig's List.”

After making sure that Jake had the surfboard completely in hand Marcus descended and skipped the last two rungs in a quick hop. “Uh… did I ever send you the money for it, doofus?”

Jake was too excited to answer. Softly he set the bag down on the cement and unzipped it eagerly. His four-fin custom Kies Noserider, all eight feet of her in swirls of lemon, deep navy and ocean blue, lay before him. He reverently touched the glossy finish. “I can’t believe she’s still here,” he breathed.

“Yeah, well, I couldn’t sell her,” Marcus explained in embarrassment, running his fingers through his dark, floppy hair. “It would’ve been too much like a death in the family, ya know? Maybe part of me always thought you’d move back and you would need your stick. I still have your shortie wetsuit too.”

Jake jumped up and threw his arms around his cousin. “Thanks.” He pumped his fist and yelled, “So stoked! Let’s go.”

An hour later they were slowly making their way down the cliffs to the shore, boards, wetsuits and towels in hand. It was only 3:45 but the haze was beginning to filter in, and a chilly breeze kicked up sand. Once on the flat, Marcus guided Jake to group of five young people strewn about on blankets in various positions of relaxation. “Hiya, Marc,” someone in the crowd called out.

There was a loud gasp. “Hey, it’s the curly twin,” a familiar voice echoed. Jake focused on the speaker and broke into a wide grin at the familiar reference.

“I’ll be damned,” Jake hooted. “Noah O’Brien!”

The lanky strawberry blonde bounced to his feet and lunged at Jake with enthusiasm. They had been friends back in the day when Jake was a freshman at Aleppo Park High School and Marcus and Noah were sophomores. Noah had typical Irish coloring with pale blue eyes and creamy skin that would burn, not tan, under the daily worship of the hot rays of the sun, even with copious amounts of sunscreen. But with the advent of summer still a month away, he hadn’t a chance to pink up yet.

“Fuck, Jake, it’s been far too long. I can’t believe you’re back. And you still have your old board too.”

Jake’s smile made his dimple deepen. “Marcus was supposed to sell it for me but refused on sentimental grounds. So here I am, armed and ready to hit the hollows and prove I haven’t lost my style.”

Marcus and Noah made introductions to the other four young people watching them with curiosity.

Luis Gonzalez, like Marcus and Noah, was twenty with thick hair in a braid down his back, black with blood-red streaks. Quiet, the kind of guy who didn’t speak out of turn. Spencer Caldwell and his sister, Sage, were nineteen-year-old twins, tall, slender and blonde with energy to spare and always finishing each other’s sentences. The youngest person present was Sage’s tiny best friend, Kelsey Burns, a recently graduated high school senior with light brown hair that was long enough to sit on. She reminded Jake of every cheerleader cliché possible and was the only one who didn’t return his smile when he was introduced to everyone.

Marcus stripped down to soft shorts so he could prepare his body for his wetsuit. Jake saw his aunt had been right. His cousin did have a nicely inked tribal tat on his back, a sepia and black image of a stretching bobcat male with lots of detail about the face. “That’s awesome,” Jake declared and gave him a thumb’s up.

“Thanks.” He looked out into the gray-green waves as he unrolled his wetsuit over his lubed torso. “How is it out there?”

“There’s an onshore flow, so it’s pretty messy,” Luis offered, disparaging the weak surf conditions.

“Inconsistent and soft,” Noah added, snuggling into Sage who was his girlfriend.

Marcus looked at Jake for direction, and he lifted his shoulders in a shrug, his round eyes sparkling. “I don’t care. It’s been so long, even if we can’t do more than paddle out to the line and sit, I’ll be happy. We have all summer for better conditions.”

Noah agreed to join them, and the three young men drifted side by side on their longboards, rising with the swells but not catching much of anything except up with each others’ lives. When Noah asked Jake about his plans, Marcus shot Jake a searching look, prompting a deep sigh from the younger man and a shake of his head.

“I’m just visiting for the summer.” Jake had kept an A-shirt on under his wetsuit to hide the bruises and avoid questions. “Being an adult has some privileges, including not having to go home if I don’t want to.”

Noah, who, like the rest of the neighborhood children, remembered being afraid of Jake’s father when the Nielsens lived nearby, tried to hide his realization that Jake wasn’t telling the whole truth about his sudden appearance in Aleppo Park. He had always felt sorry for Jake and his brothers over having George for a father because he seemed to go out of his way to demean them in public.

“If Marc gets tired of you, you can crash at my house,” he smiled. “Deal?”

“Deal!” They slapped fingers in a low-five pledge.

“You need to face facts, Jake,” Marcus stated, flicking a strand of seaweed off his board. “Madera has nothing on southern Cal. It’s the beaches...”

“…Bitches,” Noah and Jake joined in together, and they all laughed. That had been their tagline for as long as they could remember when they ran into people who hadn’t grown up in Orange County and wanted to know why they put up with the traffic, bad air quality and everyone living on top of each other.

The look between the cousins hadn’t been lost on Noah. “Why are you really here?”

“Let’s save it for another time.” Jake cast his sights behind him at a forming wave that looked as if it was going to develop a clean barrel, the first decent one all afternoon. “Mine,” he sang out as he began to paddle.

**

“Tell me again why I should go to a pool party,” Jake implored Marcus sitting side by side on the floral couch in the family room. It was 4:15 pm on Friday and they were discussing what to do with their evening.

“Because you’ll have fun. Because even though you met some of the gang yesterday you didn’t meet all my friends. Because it’s better than sitting around watching a DVD or playing video games on a weekend.”

Jake pulled a face, unwilling to admit that Marcus was right on all counts.

“Besides, it’s at Dylan’s house, and his parties are always beast.” Marcus had mentioned Dylan Moore, his best friend from high school, and how much Jake would like him. “He’s great, dude, really. You two go to the same university.”

A cloud of doubt flitted across Jake’s face. “You’re not setting me up with this guy, are you? Like on a date? I’m perfectly capable of finding someone on my own. If I even wanted to. Which I don’t. Not right now, not after…”

Marcus leaned over and clapped a hand over Jake’s mouth, laughing. “Goddamn, Jake, would you listen to yourself? You whine like a little girl. I’m not setting you up. For one thing, Dylan is straight; for another I wouldn’t know the first thing about fixing you up with someone on a gay date.”

“It’s the same thing as a regular date except between two guys.” He cleared his throat. “So this is exactly what it looks like?

“It’s a party,” Marcus repeated. “Beer, burgers and swimming. If we get wasted, no problem, we can crash there.”

“If you get wasted,” Jake corrected him, “I’ll drive you home.”

The older boy gave Jake an odd glance. “Oh yeah, I forgot that you don’t drink.”

“Correction.” Jake had a faraway look in his eyes. “I drink. I just don’t get drunk, not anymore. There’s a big difference.”

“Yeah, well,” Marcus said quietly, shifting in the cushion to get more comfortable. “I know there’s a story there, and you don’t have to tell me right now, but some day I want to hear it.”

Jake shrugged. “It isn’t a secret, Marc. I learned the hard way that too much beer can lead to traveling down some roads that were better off avoided.”

“Oh no, you aren’t getting off that easy. I want deets, Jake.” Marcus smirked. “The deep pervy secrets that lurk beneath your newfound sobriety.”

“Whatever.”

“So you’ll go with me to Dylan’s?”

“I don’t have a choice do I?”

“No, you truly don’t because I will torture you until you say ‘yes’.”

“Like you don’t already.”

The sun was still well above the horizon two hours later when Marcus and Jake stepped out of the truck in front of a long ranch-style bungalow of stucco and brick. Skirting a low post and rail fence, they padded across the green front lawn to a side-yard gate. “Hello…” Marcus called out to what sounded like silence from the other side.

“Come through,” a woman’s voice answered. “It’s unlocked.”

Stepping stones led the way to a big split level back yard with a wide patio, including a complete outdoor kitchen in navy blue tile, encircling a rectangular pool. Traversing a short flight of steps took you down to the lower section consisting of a basketball half-court, lawn and flower beds edged by fruit trees and another, smaller patio surrounding a firepit. Several young men, including Noah, were idly passing a basketball back and forth and greeted the newcomers. Others stood chatting and sunbathing at the far end of the span of shimmering blue water.

Marcus guided Jake over to a trim woman in a loud floral sundress pulling plastic cups and paper plates from one of a cabinet next to the sink. Her pale blond hair was cut very short around her youthful tanned face, and her blue eyes twinkled. He leaned over and gave her a tight hug. “Hi, Mrs. Moore.”

“Marcus,” she squeaked. “It’s been too long.” She peered around him at Jake. “And who is this dashing young man?”

Jake blushed at the compliment as his cousin introduced them. She grasped his hand in both of hers with a strength that belied her size. “It’s good to meet you, Jake. I’ve heard a lot about you over the years.”

“Good stuff, I hope,” he murmured, looking sideways at Marcus.

“The best.” Her laugh was musical.

Marcus glanced casually around the back yard. “Where’s Dylan?”

“He went to a training meeting at the rec center and should be back in about fifteen minutes.” To the boys she explained how her only son had a summer job at the city pool teaching swimming in the mornings and filling in as a lifeguard as needed.

More teenagers were arriving, and Marcus took Jake around to make acquaintances. He watched Spencer, Sage and Kelsey tumble through the gate in one unit. They bounded up to them in excitement, and Sage squealed greetings all around and passed out hugs. She found Noah on the basketball court, and Jake, Spencer and Marcus offered their services to Mrs. Moore. She quickly had them separating and rinsing lettuce leaves and up cutting tomatoes and onion for the hamburgers.

A few minutes later they were joined by a very tall, slim man with the papery dark skin and sandy hair that had obviously seen a lot of sun and wind. He gave Mrs. Moore a kiss on the cheek and in a quiet, apologetic voice announced that he’d forgotten to stop for ice on the way home. “No problem, Mr. M.,” Spencer offered. “We can get it for you.”

Marcus asked Jake if he wanted to go, but he thought it would be rude if all three of them bailed on helping and declined. Spencer grabbed up his keys and they disappeared around the side of the house. A few minutes later the vegetables were arranged neatly on a platter and Mrs. Moore thanked Jake for his assistance. He gave her a fleeting smile and, feeling a little lost, gazed around him at a yard full of kids he barely knew. It was a position he didn’t find himself in a lot. He was bashful enough that walking up and talking to near-strangers made him very uncomfortable.

He moved over to the edge of the pool where the cool blue waters beckoned him. He would have loved to jump in except for two small problems. Nobody else was swimming, and it was so close to dinner, he wasn’t sure if he should even ask. This was a new social situation where he didn’t know the rules. He fell into daydreaming and wishing he’d told Marcus to go to the party on his own. Jake could have happily hung with his aunt and uncle for a couple of hours.

He vaguely felt a presence approach him from behind and to the left, but he was too lost in his thoughts to let it register.

“Hi, you’re Jake, right?” a languid, well-modulated voice greeted him. He nodded, knowing he should pull his head out of his thoughts and at least appear to be interested in the male who was speaking to him.

“I heard Marcus’s cousin was spending the summer, but even not knowing that, you’d be easy to recognize. You look so much like him, it’s uncanny.” Still staring into the shimmery depths of the pool, Jake laughed. “Yes, well I get that a lot. Thanks.”

The person moved directly in front of him and a hand shot out to bump his fist. “Dylan Moore.”

“Jake Nielsen.”

He completed the tactile greeting and lifted his gaze from long bare feet up a set of tanned, well-formed calves topped by turquoise board shorts and framed by the sleek abs and hairless chest of a swimmer. Above a chiseled jaw and dazzling white teeth, past the perfectly sloped nose he saw a head topped with very pale blonde hair in a retro cut. Then adjusting his angle down a few inches Jake stared into the prettiest set of deep blue eyes he’d ever seen.

Jake gasped for breath as his world spun in crazy circles, and he felt lightheaded. One beat, two beats, his heart contracted painfully and he fought the blush staining his cheeks.

There was only explanation for the way he felt.

I’m in love.

(To be continued...)


Friday, August 24, 2012

A Love Unexpected Ch. 1

Jake Is Trying To Understand



Jake Nielsen wearily transferred his right foot from the accelerator of his midnight blue Ford Ranger pick-up to the brake pedal as he nudged off the I-5 freeway at the Avenida Vista Hermosa exit in San Clemente. At three o’clock on a late-May afternoon, the freeway was typically jam-packed so he was surprised nobody followed him down the ramp. He took advantage of the quiet stretch to remove his sunglasses at the stop and run the back of his wrist across his darkly-fringed, jade eyes, mopping sweat and grit away in one slow swipe. He was beyond grateful to have nearly arrived at his destination, seeing as it was the farthest he’d ever driven alone. But desperation made you do crazy, inexplicable things.

Although Jake had not been on this connecting road since visiting the area two years before, he immediately recognized his surroundings. He knew the ocean was to his right. A small shopping center with the expected fast food shops was in the opposite direction. It had been a grueling seven-hour drive south without stopping once except for gas, and after the drama of the past twenty-four he was hungry and dog-tired.

The elation and relief of being near journey’s end rushed through him like a cooling wind and spurred him on to ignore the temptation of a quick burger stop. Thank god he only a few miles of city streets to travel before he reached the security of his aunt and uncle’s house. While the journey wasn’t any longer than normal in the scope of real distance, Jake had spent most of the first fifty miles of the trip nervously peering into his rearview mirror. At least at this point he didn’t have to worry about being followed, and his body nearly went limp at knowing he’d made a successful escape.

Jake could hardly believe that just the day before he had left his southern California university- Cal State Long Beach, an hour northwest of here, to be exact- to fly to San Francisco and catch a Continental flight into the Fresno Air Terminal only to immediately turn around and drive back in the opposite direction. Damn his father, that homophobic…

Jake still wasn’t sure how the man found out about Miguel, his college boyfriend, from 275 miles away. Okay, make that ex-boyfriend. It wasn’t only because of that one ugly, drunken incident when he was in 12th grade that he wasn’t out in his hometown. No, he’d always feared the worst from his parents due to his mother’s passivity and the comments George Nielsen had made about gays over Jake’s entire adolescence, and they certainly hadn’t proven him wrong in his perceptions. He had waited until he was safely away from home during his freshman year at the university before sticking a toe out of the proverbial closet, and even that was a cautious toe.

Miguel was a sexy enough guy, a sensual ball of dancing, brown-skinned energy. He was also a great kisser, but the physical attraction was all they had between them. They never really clicked, not in the way that would eventually equal long-term. Had it not been so close to the end of the term, maybe the two of them might have found a way around the obstacles rather than mutually deciding to part company at the hugs and making-out stage of their relationship. They weighed the costs and decided it was better not to risk their friendship on what might never be and end up despising each other for it.

“Stop it,” Jake told himself out loud, easing into traffic going east towards the coastal hills. He shook his long bangs out of his eyes and sighed. It did no good to keep flooding his mind with images of events that were weeks past changing.

He spent the next forty minutes navigating according to memory and his GPS system, concentrating on pulling towards the right at the wide ‘V’ turn and following the signs toward Aleppo Park, his aunt and uncle’s community. Typical of upper-class Orange County, the small downtown was a conglomeration of civic buildings and upscale shops in a cookie-cutter hacienda theme that all but screamed of the city council’s power to enforce conformity. The Macy’s shopping center was framed by an upscale bowling alley at one end and a multiplex theater on the other, and strip malls were strung between irrigated greenbelts. He passed his old high school, recently renovated and now painted a rosy bisque, and an occasional well-maintained playground near residential areas with lot sizes considerably larger than the average So-Cal postage stamp size.

He easily found Avenida Vista al Mar, his destination at the top of the hill in its scenic cul de sac, and smiled to himself to notice that the familiar Mediterranean style two-story had not changed at all. Large and lived in, full of laughter, it was swirls of terra cotta stucco and slump stone around leaded windows, a formal entry with its tall front door and elegant living in four bedrooms and three baths. To Jake, this was home, his real home, a reassuring sight after moving to the city of Madera in central California with his family when he was fifteen.

Aunt Pat was bustling down the sidewalk before Jake had even turned off the ignition. He had a definite soft spot for the woman who was like a second mother to him. All kindness and warmth in a slightly pudgy body, her dark hair was only a little bit gray at the temples and held up in a high ponytail by a neon green tie. She liked bright colors and today was wearing bulky knee-length shorts in lime and a green and yellow t-shirt in an all-over design of peace signs. She was free-spirited and demonstrative in everything she did.

“Jacobaby”, she shouted out in her strident guffaw of a voice that was so different from his mother’s meek near-whisper. Alighting from the truck, he squirmed inwardly before turning to her with a smile.

“I’m going to be twenty in eight months,” he lovingly scolded, reaching around to hug her. “Don’t you think it’s time to stop calling me that ridiculous nickname?”

She tsked at him, her eyes snapping in fun. “I don’t care if you’re nineteen or forty-nine, mister. You’ll always be ‘Jacobaby’ to me. Unless you prefer Jakey.”

He smiled softly and shook his head, knowing that Patricia Walker had the power to embarrass him faster than almost any human on earth and would enjoy it immensely.

Pat held him back from her and scrutinized him carefully. Jake’s band t-shirt and blue jeans were in good enough condition. His streaked, unruly brown hair curled to his shoulders in a relaxed style that framed his oval face, accented his high cheekbones and smoothed out his pointed chin. She noticed in the two years since his last visit that he’d shot up a couple inches to just short of six feet, his shoulders had broadened and there was no trace of the child left in his hard, sculpted torso and lean limbs. His father had never invested in orthodontics to close the slight gap between his front teeth, but no matter. As his aunt she might be unambiguously prejudiced, but it was clear that Jacob Nielsen had grown into his body with striking good fortune in the looks department.

He blushed slightly under her intense stare and all of a sudden was glad that the tender spot on his jaw hadn’t darkened into a noticeable bruise. He heard the screen door slam up the yard and a rebel yell.

“Jake, my man!”

Jake swiveled in Pat’s grasp and looked over at his cousin, grinning at the taller counterpart. Marcus was a year older and at least twenty pounds heavier but no one could miss the kinship. Passed down from their mothers who were siblings, the boys shared their thick-lashed green eyes, full lips in a Cupid’s bow mouth and an identical dimple in each right cheek.

Marcus bounded towards him in bare feet that didn’t seem to mind the hot concrete, slapping fingers and bumping fists before pulling him into a one-armed man hug. “Hey, Cuz, it’s good to see ya.”

Jake at once noticed the new set of gauges in Marcus’ ears, now at a half-inch. “Stellar,” he pronounced. “Are they new?”

Aunt Pat rolled her eyes. “Maybe he’ll show off his tribal tattoo on his back later. All the kids around here are into body mods.”

“Are you here for the summer, Jake?” Marcus was trying for a none-too-subtle change of subject. “Sweet!”

For a moment a cloud passed over Jake’s eyes that nobody else could see behind the shades, and then he blinked it away and grinned gamely. “Sucks to be you, Marc. We’ll see how sweet it is in mid-August when I’m borrowing your clothes and you’re sick of me killing at video games.”

“Or trying to steal my girlfriend?” Marcus nudged him softly in the gut with an elbow.

Jake gulped silently, pinned a smile on his face and hoped his voice didn’t quiver too much. “Yeah, that too.”

Pat snickered and rolled her eyes again. “What girlfriend?”

Half an hour later, Pat had shooed the offers of assistance with dinner away and suggested that Jake grab a short nap since he looked as if he was on his last leg. Marcus helped unload his truck of everything that Jake had dragged home from college and showed him to the recently aired out spare bedroom down the hall from his own. Truly exhausted from only six hours of sleep the night before and looking forward to stretching out for awhile, Jake asked for a raincheck when Marcus volunteered help in unpacking.

“I’ll be back to get your lazy ass up in time for dinner,” he said as he closed the bedroom door.

Jake sank into the comfortably firm double bed and stared moodily out the window, watching the branches of the shamal ash tree in the front yard shift in the light breeze. He tried to relax but he was so keyed up he could only lay there as the events of the past seven days rolled through him. For only being Wednesday, it had certainly been one fucked up week.

**

Finals at the university, which he’d been dreading, turned out to be the least of his worries. Nor was packing out his dorm room and hastily renting space in a storage facility all that bad, even considering he had no transportation and had to beg help from his roommate’s brother. The shocker had come when he flew home to the confusing greetings by his parents, or lack thereof, once he exited the plane.

No enthusiastic hugs of welcome home after the four long months since he returned to Long Beach in January. He’d worked diligently to make the Dean’s List and expected something, a smile, a pat on the back or word of praise. Instead, George was distant and colder than usual and his mother, Carolyn, looked anxious, her mouth pursed up as if she was going to burst into tears. The half-hour trip from the airport was nerve-wracking as his parents sat silently in the front seat and gave him no clue as to what they were so angry over. He gave up after three “What’s wrong?”s, but he knew it had to be bad.

Even so, Jake was totally unprepared for the cyclone of rage he walked into once he passed the threshold of the front door, and his father whirled on him with a punch to the torso that sent him tumbling to the floor hunched over in pain.

“What was that for?” he demanded, his abs trying to absorb the strike. He refused to break down and cry even though it felt like fire going through his gut and he was winded. His father was a tall, beefy man, and he was almost afraid to get to his feet, sensing that maybe he was safer sprawled on the foyer tile.

“I didn’t send you to college to become a cocksucker,” George roared at him, spit flying and his face bulging red with rage. Carolyn, his mother, stood shaking and crying next to the dining room door, her head turned away in shame.

Jake felt like telling his father that he hadn’t sent him to college, his baseball scholarship did, but knew it would only make matters worse. At the same time a million unsettling notions were flying through his head and he frantically grasped at memories of his latest email or telephone call home which might have given him away. Nothing came immediately to mind.

George took his silence for defiance and dragged him roughly up by his elbow.

“What’s his name?”

“Whose name?” Jake gasped, trying to twist out of the iron grip.

“The faggot you’ve been fucking at Long Beach that turned you queer.”

Turned him queer? Jake’s mouth dropped open in shock. “That’s not how it… I haven’t slept with anyone.”

That earned him a solid punch in the jaw and he fell back. The blow wasn’t really bruising; just enough to show his father meant business. His mother’s mild protest was instantly silenced by George’s bellow. “I want the truth. Who is he?”

Jake tried again. “I don’t know who you’re talking about.”

“You’re not only a sissy boy, you’re a liar.”

“I don’t have a boyfriend,” he shouted, standing tall despite his fear.

“Watch him,” his father snarled at Carolyn, and he disappeared into his downstairs office under the stairs. When he returned seconds later it was with two sheets of paper in his hands. He shoved them at Jake.

“If you’re so innocent, boy, explain these.”

For the second time in less than a minute, Jake’s mouth hung loose. The pages showed photographs of him and Miguel in front of the social studies building at the university. Hugging, kissing, laughing- each of the eight pictures showed intimacy between the boys that was hard to dismiss. The light blazing in Jake’s eyes had been captured in remarkable detail and made it obvious that the lithe dancer in his arms was special to him. But they couldn’t be any more recent than early April; he and Miguel had broken up right after Spring Break.

Jake’s blood froze in his veins, and he thought his heart would stop, his chest hurt so badly. He was afraid to look at his dad.

“I will ask you one more time,” George spat. “Who is this fairy you’re fagging around with?”

“I’m not…” It was a weak protest considering the photos, but how to explain that all he and Miguel had ever done was kiss, and they weren’t even together anymore? Not that it would make all that much difference to his father. He noticed out of the corner of his eye how he was balling up his fist and drawing his arm back for another punch, and he quickly raised his own hands in defense. “Stop hitting me, Dad.”

“Leave Jake alone,” Carolyn managed to squeak out. “Surely we can handle this in a civilized way.”

The next thing he knew, he was being propelled into the formal living room and thrown hard into the loveseat. His head bounced painfully against the gray and plum floral-papered wall.

Drawing himself up with the authority of the hard-nosed factory supervisor he was, George pointed at him. “You are going to tell me the truth, and you’re not leaving this room until you do.”

He began to shoot questions at Jake, one after the other in a rapid-fire interrogation, demanding to know everything about his time at the university. “Who is this faggot?”

“Using that word makes you sound ignorant,” Jake countered. “And why is his identity so important?”

Another cuff, this one to the side of his head, and Jake saw stars for a minute. “Your mom and me didn’t raise you this way,” his father answered in a low voice that was almost more frightening than his screech. “That means someone taught you this unnatural attraction to men.”

Jake almost replied that there was nothing unnatural about it but decided it was seriously time to shut up before his father drew blood or broke something. “Nobody taught me. I’ve been this way since I was fifteen.”

He saw his father’s face tighten. “So does that mean…”

“It means, Dad, that I’ve never done anything with anybody.” Jake pointed at the pictures. “It was just a couple kisses in fun. That’s all. We’re friends.”

“Friends, huh? You look like a lot more than friends,” George replied, narrowing his eyes. “It’s the intent that matters. You’re an outrage- an abomination before God. Having sexual relations with other men will send you to hell.”

No more so than slapping your wife and kids around, Jake thought to himself, or lying on your income taxes or palming the occasional pack of gum at the grocery store. In fact, much less than any of them. And since when had his dad become such a religious zealot? The hypocrite hadn’t darkened the door of a church in years.

The celebratory dinner Carolyn prepared for Jake was soon forgotten. His mother left the room to dispose of the food and refused to look at either of them, and there went the only barrier between him and his father's rage. He felt a little of himself die inside.

The sun set at 8:07 and night fell quickly thereafter. Jake shivered in his thin t-shirt and cargo shorts, either from fear or the cold, and perched in miserable discomfort when nobody moved to close up the house. His father continued to grill and harangue him on the immorality of his lifestyle and where it would lead him. “Dad, I need to use the bathroom,” Jake pleaded. The urge to pee had been creeping up on him for awhile but he was almost afraid to ask.

“Then tell me what I want to know.” George cursed the legions of faggots and cocksuckers who had “gotten to Jake” and refused to listen to Jake’s protests that he was not on intimate terms with Miguel, his dorm-mate or anyone else at the college. Instead he spoke of making choices and turning his life around or his parents would find someone to do it for him. Maybe one of those gay conversion camps…

While desperate to remain calm on the outside, Jake cringed inwardly and began to wonder how badly his father would beat him if he made a break for the door. Gay conversion camp? His father would do it; of that he had no doubt. For over eight hours without letup he ranted about the pictures and Miguel’s identity. Once, Jake almost succumbed to the pressure and revealed details before pulling back into himself. George continued to slap at him and taunt him with cruel nicknames until it became a blur in Jake’s mind.

But despite threats, he refused to budge. The interrogation had been going around in circles for what felt like forever, and he was exhausted. Maybe he was getting punch-drunk. His latest request to know who had sent the photos was met with another numbing slug to the chest that came out of nowhere and sent him flying off his seat, followed by a hard kick to his kidney area. With a moan, his bladder let go and he lay sobbing in humiliation on the floor, drenched in his own urine.

“You’re pathetic and weak and no son of mine,” his father growled harshly. It was midnight and George deliberately stepped over his recumbent form. “Clean up. Go to bed. I’ll talk to you tomorrow night after work. This isn’t over by any means.”

Jake waited until he knew his father wouldn’t return before stumbling into the shower and stripping down. He soaped himself twice, feeling thoroughly soiled. Dumping his urine-soaked shorts, t-shirt and briefs in the washing machine with the towels he’d used to clean the living room carpet he started a wash-load. Only then did he go to bed.

Feeling like a trapped animal, Jake tried to discern a way to protect himself from his father’s wrath and knew it was useless. He’d seen the same behavior before, directed at his two older brothers, albeit for very different reasons. But it didn’t change the fact that David and Adam would never return home, not even to visit their mom. There would be no let-up in the abuse until Jake was completely broken. Tears fell like rain onto his pillow, and he stuffed his fist in his mouth to muffle his sobs. Crying, as he’d been taught from an early age, was for sissy boys. He finally dropped off into an uneasy sleep.

(To be continued...)


Monday, August 20, 2012

To Give You An Idea....

... of what I will be thinking about when I begin writing my new series, A Love Unexpected, these are very similar to the images of the boys I have playing through my head.

On the left is Diego Boneta as Jake Nielsen. On the right is Randy Wayne as Dylan Moore.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Stripped.Down. Ch. 2

This is the second half of my story entitled Stripped.Down. Enjoy.

In the past ten months you have let me share more of myself with you than most people know of me in the entire twenty-four years of my life. I mean, there’s the easy stuff, like my name- Brian Marshall, and the fact that I’m a cop who has been employed by the Tripton Valley Police Department for the past four years as an officer. You know I love my work, I’m dedicated to my job and I’m on the fast track to advancement. You tell me time and again I’m a damn good officer, and you get angry every time I have my doubts. But when I’m working a particularly bad case that is getting to me, I can count on coming home to your loving arms and soothing words.

You have encouraged me to be more comfortable in my skin, to not worry about being judged for being gay. You say there will always be small-minded people around to rain on my parade and try to turn our love into something ugly. The good Catholic in you says that God is love and cares about all His children; the one who believes in a more liberal interpretation assures me that this means both straight and gay, and who are we to go against God’s will? The only thing that matters is my self-respect and not hurting others. With your help I’m loosening up; maybe not quickly or to everyone, but I’m making progress.

We talked about how and when we knew we were different. You said that when you were twelve you were attracted to a good-looking, male, twenty-ish counselor at a summer camp, and by your mid-teens you came out to your family. Your father already suspected, and there was never any question of holding back their love for you. Your whole family is like that, joyful and affirming.

On the other hand, I figured out the whole gay thing when I was thirteen. I was the quiet kid in the gym room, so nervous over what seeing a naked penis might do to my own that I used to stand in front of my corner locker, staring at the tile walls while I dressed, racing to leave as quickly as possible. I spent my adolescence in denial of my sexuality, going out with the occasional token girlfriend and fumbling at sex, knowing my family would never approve, much less support, the idea that I was secretly in love with my best friend, Aleck. It wasn’t until I moved away from home that I was even moderately comfortable with my sexuality.

Law enforcement lies deep in the bloodlines of my family, and in their heads, cops are supposed to be strong, virile and undeniably heterosexual. We were raised on testosterone and hiding who I am is a necessary evil. My brothers tease me constantly about my sad-sack love life and, when I’m home, try to set me up with girlfriends. No thanks! When questioned about marriage, I tell my parents that my career keeps me too busy for any kind of relationship and besides, being the wife of a cop is a rough deal I wouldn’t want to put any woman through, not even in our sleepy little borough where there’s hardly any crime.

I wish I could be honest and tell them that I am already in a committed gay relationship. I am mindlessly, gloriously, head-over-heels in love with you, Shaun Rory O’Shea. And you are the sexy, thirty year old owner of a gay bar in Tripton Valley named O’Shea’s, which is where I met you almost two years ago. We’ve been together for nearly ten months, and I would give anything to have enough courage to take you home to meet my family. Never have I felt such contentment and peace, such completion. You, my Irish prince, rock my world and have made me totally happy for the first time in my life.

You are the most handsome man in the universe and you don’t even realize it. Just over six feet tall, with a neat, wiry build, you do not have a spare ounce of fat on you which is unusual, seeing as how you like- no, make that worship- beer. You only serve the best in O’Shea’s. You have chiseled good looks with a wide forehead, strong jaw, very white teeth and a hawk nose that fits neatly between your high cheekbones. Your beautifully alive face is framed with curly dark brown hair that is a bit long on the neck and perfect ears. What you do to a pair of jeans can definitely turn me on without even looking at you.

It still makes me blush and smile to myself when I remember that rainy October Monday night almost a year ago. I had come in late and you were serving me beer and trying to interest me in polite conversation. I’d become acquainted with you through the bar twelve months before and had been secretly attracted to you for over six. When you spoke to me that night you were suddenly shy. You asked if I was seeing anyone. The facts of my former boyfriend were no secret; Thaddeus had abused me in so many ways and broken off our affair three months prior. But there had been nobody since him, and I really hated to discuss him because all of the shame and disgust I felt. But on that night I finally opened up and said I was available, scared out of my mind because you were kind and decent and I wanted you to like me.

All of a sudden you touched my wrist with your strong, warm fingers. I looked up into your green eyes and saw such desire it took my breath away. O’Shea’s and all its customers, ambiance and noise just sort of drifted off behind us, and it was you and me holding hands, feeling such a charge I could barely breathe. I’m not usually one to fall into bed on a first date, but as we discussed, this couldn’t be a true first when we knew each other so well and I had been drinking in your bar regularly for nine months.

You told me that you were instantly smitten the very first night I made my appearance at the bar. I guess it was just good karma that brought me into your place; I had never even been in a gay bar before, and the only reason I was there was to interrogate an informant about a potential burglary out of sight of his fellow gang members. But you, Shaun, the master of coolness, bided your time and waited for the perfect moment before stating your intentions, and it was the most endearing thing to know how much you cared about me. How honored I was that you had waited for me to fall in love with you.

That first night of sex with you in your apartment was one of the most wondrous nights of my life. Being older and more experienced, I expected you to be demanding because that was how sex was with Thaddeus. But no; while you took command in a way that made me realize you would always be boss in the bedroom, you were patient and gentle with me. That’s not to say it wasn’t the best, most satisfying sex I’d ever had. Your long, deep kisses, the way your hands swept over my sweating, aching body, how tenderly you took my cock in your mouth to suckle me into heaven. I swear, I saw stars when I finally climaxed. But the best part was the way you didn’t force me to do anything I wasn’t ready for. I felt protected and nurtured in your arms as we slept.

This was not the first time I have been protected by you. I know a little secret that I will share at some point- I guess maybe if the subject of bikers ever comes up between us, and I can just stick it in there quickly. You probably don’t want to embarrass me, but I am mortified enough by what I did. All learned in hindsight, by the way, when a few of the bar patrons asked about my drunken behavior on a certain August night last year.

That was the same day that I discovered one of my best friends on the force was being investigated by internal affairs over a supposed sexual assault, and he’s a good guy who would never, ever entertain the idea of trading his authority for sex. At the time, it looked like the woman had a good case against him, circumstantial though it was, until it was determined that she made it all up. But his exoneration came later. On that night I was in a bad way and my feet found the path to your bar on their own. I don’t fully remember walking in. I guess I got drunk. Lay me out, pissed up and langers, incredibly drunk. I was a man on a mission to blot everything out.

I started with beer and then switched to whiskey which I never drink because I don’t even like it, Irish though I may be. I don’t recall the four big bikers coming in. I didn’t see them staring at me hungrily or know that one of them followed me out the door when I decided to go home. What I do remember is waking up in my apartment the next morning in bed with my clothes on feeling as if my head was going to split in two and not remembering how I got there. I was told later that you and two others in the bar, friends of yours, rescued me from what would’ve most likely been a nonconsensual sexual assault. You asked the cute couple in their ‘30s to make sure me and my truck made it safely home. Some day when I get the courage up to discuss it, I will thank you.

I guess the part of my life that I’m most grateful for is how you have helped me deal with the ruins of Thaddeus. Even though he’s been out of my life for a year and I’ve put a lot of his bullshit behind me, sometimes thoughts him still makes my guts crawl. I don’t know what I saw in him in the first place; I can only put it down to my deep need and acting on animal attraction with no brain activity involved. I think I was flattered that he noticed me at all since he was ten years older and so suave and worldly. Thaddeus just moved into my life and took over, and it humiliates me that I let him.

We began seeing each other early that May, and at first it was good. Quiet dinners in out-of-the-way restaurants, the 1940’s noire films we viewed or going to baseball games, he seemed pleased with me. And the sex was fine, although a bit rough. Then he got into all this crazy, demeaning sub-dom shit, wanting to put me in handcuffs and collars, and no thanks. The more I resisted, the more angry Thaddeus became, and he began to mistreat me.

You, my beloved Shaun, guessed with fair accuracy that he was abusive and leaving bruises on me under my clothing. Nothing made him happy, I couldn’t gauge his behavior and lived in fear of his wrath. The most degrading part was being a cop, knowing I was a victim of domestic violence and feeling too humiliated and afraid to say anything about it. It embarrassed everyone when he wanted to take our private arguments and turn them into public drama in your bar. The screaming and name-calling, the way he made your other patrons hate us; I just wanted him to go away. I know you went to him privately and told him to back off and stay away from the bar, so he broke up with me. If he hadn’t, I have no idea where I’d be now.

When you and I got together, you suggested that maybe I should see a therapist and talk about Thaddeus. I was a little reluctant at first, but in the long run, it made sense. I am working through my problems, and they include more than just the emotional mess he made of me. Being gay, my family’s expectations and how I will someday need to drum up the courage to introduce you to my parents and acknowledge what I am. I go to bed each night with a smile, grateful that you love me and only want what’s best for me.

I love how proud you are of me. I know you secretly worry about my line of work on a daily basis and always tell me to ‘be safe’ when I leave. You hate the danger I constantly face, but you would never ask me to give up being a cop just to make you feel better. We both know the risks, and I say a prayer at the beginning of each shift that I will stay out of harm's way and soon enough be in your warm arms again.

I love how worthy you make me feel by not hiding our relationship. The bar patrons all know that we’re living together. Giving up my apartment was nothing compared to the bliss of waking up every morning in your embrace. Just a few weeks ago you took me home to meet your family- your third-generation Irish parents and your brother, sister and sister-in-law who is looking forward to the upcoming return of Casey, her husband and your brother, from overseas. They have all accepted you for yourself and me for being your boyfriend. They’re so welcoming towards me, so grateful that you and I are together. I heard how happy you are and all the small stories you had shared with them about me before we connected. This is real, this is my future with you, and the trust and love we share is beyond words.

Okay, so today is special for us. It’s a beautiful, warm August day, perfect to be outdoors. I convinced you to hire your friend Jeremy and his cousin, Porter, to run the bar so we can have the afternoon alone, and I said we’re going on a picnic in the National Forest. But that’s not the whole story.

****


“Ready to leave?” you ask. We are standing next to my truck, and it’s a few minutes after 11:30. The food and picnic supplies are inside two backpacks tied down in the bed. The plan is that we will drive to the trailhead, park and hike up into the trees.

I nod yes, staring at you while I mentally go over the list. You look like a god with your dark hair, still damp from your recent shower, shimmering in the sunlight, and your golden skin stretching over the strong muscles in your arms and neck. I can’t see your intense green eyes under your Ray-Bans, but I know they’re smiling because I hear the amusement in your voice. Flicking a quick glance at your crotch, I’m thankful to be wearing sunglasses too, and the way your cargo shorts wrap around your hips and ass, oh, don’t get me started.

I drive because our true destination is a secret. Today we’re going a little farther into the hills than we usually do because I don’t want to run into a lot of people. Actually, I’m hoping we don’t run into anyone. But I’ve hiked this particular trail before, and I know places we can safely leave the beaten path. Places where nobody else goes and the protection of trees in a shroud of vines, ivy and leaf litter invite us. I am assured that we will not be interrupted.

When we don’t make the turn for our usual picnic location, you shoot me a look. “Are you lost, Brian?”

I smile. “I thought we’d go somewhere different this time. Try something new.”

You shrug and look out the window. I sit up a little higher in the driver’s seat, feeling the crotch of my jeans become a little tight and hoping you don’t notice. I struggle to put neutral thoughts into my brain.

We follow another twenty miles up the road, passing less traffic as we drive. I recognize the next turn as the one I want, and the truck revs up to climb higher into the incline. Fifteen minutes later I pull far off to the side of the road and park. You are now giving me completely mystified glances, but all I do is smile back. We climb out and I grab the backpacks, throwing one playfully at you. The temperature is perfect here- cooler than at home, less humid and no sign of rain.

“Follow me,” I command, setting off at a quick clip up the trail. We both are fit, so keeping up isn’t a problem for either of us. I am familiarizing myself with my surroundings until I recognize the spot where we will veer off. You have said nothing the entire hike, just gazed around at the pristine wilderness where we seem to be the only people for miles. You have a speculative look on your face, and maybe you’re beginning to figure out my intentions. It’s not like we haven’t discussed this as a dream of mine several times in the recent past.

We walk in silence for another mile. “Where are we going?” you finally ask, curiosity getting the best of you. “It seems like we’re in the middle of nowhere.”

I laugh. “We’re here, Shaun.” I lead you over to the place I’ve pre-chosen. Here is a very shady, green clearing in the middle of the forest where the tumbled trees and their overgrowth have created a soft carpet and walls to shield us from anyone who might accidentally stumble upon us. But nobody else is around.

I take a large blanket from my backpack, and you help me spread it in the leafy shade. Out of the backpacks comes our lunch: fried chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, croissants and a bottle of Chardonnay. For dessert, I bought pound cake with whipped cream and chocolate-dipped strawberries from our local bakery.

It’s a gorgeous day, a perfect time to spend with you, my lover. I watch as you bend over the corner of the blanket to anchor it down, and I’m looking at your beautiful jean-clad ass. I can’t wait until later when that ass is going to be naked under mine.

We begin to eat, and the food is delicious. I compliment you on the chicken; it’s moist and the spices you use in the coating is a supposed family secret which you listed about four months ago, but I’ve forgotten. You praise my choice of wine and how well it goes with the food. We talk about my work on the police force and how I’ve come out to several of the other officers on my shift. They’re cool guys, and I didn’t detect a single snicker amongst them. You tell me about some repairs you need to make to the bar. We talk about the Cincinnati Reds, whom we root for, and their last baseball game.

Our lunch is finished, and you are lying on the blanket staring up at the oaken tree canopy and clear blue sky. I give you a big grin as I settle beside you. I turn on my side, rolling into you to rest my head on your shoulder.

“I love you so much, Shaun,” I whisper, reaching across you with my arm to grasp you around the waist.

You push my blonde hair off my forehead and kiss it. “I love you too, Brian. You make me so happy.”

In response I pull you over so you are facing me, and I look up into your bright eyes. They twinkle at me, but in the background lust shines. I grasp your head to pull your mouth towards me, and now you’re the one leaning over me, your chest pinning me to the blanket. You run one hand through my hair and put the other under my ass, dragging me into you. Your lips descend on mine, and in one quick move our tongues are dueling with each other as we suck and savor. I can taste the wine from our lunch and I groan into your open mouth.

You break the kiss, panting. “Why are we here, Brian?” you ask, lightly running your fingers through my hair.

“Someone I know works too hard.” I stroke your jaw with the backs of my fingers, smiling as you lean into them but hoping you’ll take my words seriously. “Almost every day from four p.m. ‘til after two in the morning you tend bar. You usually take one night off, and I see the exhaustion in your face and feel it in your body. You love what you do, and I’m not complaining, not at all. But I worry that you’re going to work yourself to death.”

“I love the work,” you reply somberly and sigh. “I love the people who show up night after night, well at least, most of them. People like Jeremy and Porter, who have become good friends. But you’re right, there are some afternoons I wish I had a regular job that I could just leave.”

“Maybe when Casey gets back?” I hint, wanting to dispense the doom and gloom. Casey is in Afghanistan and scheduled to return from active duty in two months. A Master Sergeant in the Marine Corps, he will be leaving after fourteen years of service. You are damned proud of him as you should be, but I see the deep worry you have for his being over there fighting terrorists, and you’re scared that Casey won’t make it home in one piece.

“Maybe,” you muse almost to yourself. Your face brightens and you stare at me. “Of course, if not for the bar, we would never have met, Brian. And that would be a tragedy in itself.”

I giggle at you. “And that brings up the second reason for the picnic. I wanted to spend time in complete privacy outside on a pretty day with the man I love.”

“This sounds an awful lot like a sexy fuck fantasy somebody told me recently.” You stare down at me and get this mischievous gleam in your eye, punching me in the shoulder. “Hey, I think that somebody was you.”

In response, I sit up and pull our dessert out of the pack and your eyes light up. You love strawberries almost as much as you love beer. I open the transparent plastic container and get a fork, deciding that I want to be the one to feed you. But a touch of naughtiness has gotten hold of me. I spear a plump, juicy berry and dip it in the sweet cream, but instead of placing it in your open mouth, I bite into the end and secure it in my teeth.

Your eyes open wide, looking at the red juicy piece of fruit in my mouth, and you move in for a bite. Then I take one. Back and forth we share the strawberries and cake in this fashion, laughing at each other. We slurp the juice and lick it off each others’ chins, until all that’s left is a giant glob of whipped cream in the plastic. I work the fork underneath it and place it on my tongue, and you have such a hot look about you that I want to melt. I pull your mouth down to mine, and we are sharing the creamy sweetness back and forth on our tongues, eating and kissing at the same time. I am tingling all over.

When we’re done, you come up gasping for air. “I think you’re trying to seduce me.”

“You talk too much,” I husk against your mouth. “But seduction works for me.” And with that I pull you into a fluid embrace where our tongues dart and slide against each other and your heat envelopes me to send a strong pulse of desire straight to my brain… and to my hardening cock.

I stroke your face, hairline to jaw, paying particular attention to the outer folds of your ear where you are very sensitive. As I move in to bite your earlobe, my other hand reaches down to squeeze your crotch, and yes, you are hardening, just as I expected. You moan into my lips.

I reach between our bodies and begin to undo the buttons on your shirt, working blind, my fingers sliding down the placket until I feel your shirt falling open. I work the fabric back and off your strong shoulders just as you reach for me and lift my t-shirt over my head. Next up is your white sleeveless tee, and we get tangled up in clothes and hands. You laugh sheepishly.

I rise to my knees and unsnap my shorts, pushing them down with my boxers where I can remove them easily after I sit back down. You have watched my every move, and you eyes darken dramatically, fully knowing my plans for us. I reach over to tug at your shorts, and you allow me to slide them down your legs. We are both naked in this green, secluded clearing with birds chirping around us and not another person in sight.

On knees, we come together for a long, sensual kiss, and I reach down to massage your dick. You gasp when my fingers make contact. As I pull your cock into complete hardness, I use my other hand to roam your strong, beautiful body, grazing over your scratchy jaw and moving down your arm to lightly rub the knuckles. I tease your nipples with my hand, twisting them hard into small pebbles while you moan into my mouth.

Your own hands have begun to wander and you cup my ass to draw me closer. You reach around and find my erect cock, but only use it as a guide to slide down to cup my balls. You are letting them slide through your fingers as you massage the sac gently, and it feels so good. Hands and cocks make contact between us, and I love the familiar ache for you. I rotate my hips, trying to drive myself firmer into your hands. Being in the open air with its tingle of discovery only excites me more.

I gently push you down on your back into the blanket as I begin to move down your body with my lips. I still your hands and place them at your side because this is about pleasing you. Beginning on your forehead, I kiss every inch of your face, sliding down cheek and floating over your eyelids. I nibble on your earlobe and the cord of your neck where it meets your shoulder, and I hear you gasp.

My palms pave the way in the strokes you like, flat caresses against your shoulder and chest muscles that make you groan. I love the soft skin of your nipples, and my lips work them into rosy hardness, knowing it drives you crazy. I nip at them, and you arch your back towards me. When you reach for your cock, I firmly take you hand and push it back down on the blanket. “Don’t, Shaun,” I tell you decisively. “Only I get to touch you.” Looking at me with heated, lust-dazed eyes, you smile wordlessly at the unusual way I am taking command of you.

My tongue darts into the valleys between your defined muscles on your torso and I lick downwards, laving into your navel and forcing small cries of pleasure from you. I move down to your thighs to kiss the sensitive skin there as I bury my face between your legs, smelling the fusion of your musky scent and your sweat. My hair lies across your groin, the blond of it in contrast to your dark brown bush, and you thrust upwards in heightened arousal. You grasp me by the back of my head and try to pull my mouth onto your dick, and I chuckle.

“Patience, baby,” I grunt at you, almost as turned on as you are. I resume my kisses as they flutter over your right hip and down your leg on the outside, traversing the ankle and working back up the inner thigh, just to do the same thing on the other side. You are moaning and twisting in deep need now, your cock hard and dark red, leaking precum in a string that connects to your stomach. “Oh please, Brian,” you beg. “Please suck me.”

I rise up and smile at you, flashing my dimples because you tell me it’s sexy and you love the bright light in my pale blue eyes when we make love. You grin back, knowing what I’m going to do next; I’m about to make all your dreams come true.

I center myself over your groin and extend my tongue to lap the salty-sweet precum off your skin. I will never get tired of your taste. Next I blow a cooling breath over the damp skin, and goose bumps break out all over you. Stroking your straining cock with my hand, I lift it and my lips slowly encircle the domed head as I stare into your eyes. They roll backwards and your body jerks at the sensation of my tongue swirling over the firm top of your delicious cock.

I am gentle in the use of my teeth, but you love how I scrape them lightly across the spongy crown and nibble down the back, following the thick purple vein. My lips suckle on the ridge between head and shaft, and you begin to tremble as my tongue stimulates the raw nerves underneath. You are whimpering deep in your throat. This is the signal to me that you are almost on sensory overload, and it won’t be long before you cum.

Your hips and thighs are jumping with each stroke of my tongue, and I take your shaft in my hand and begin to pump it. Letting my saliva drip down your cock, I suck deeply and pull the head into my throat. You love this, how I can deep throat you without gagging, and your groin thrusts into my mouth.

Sucking and licking, I bob up and down on you, and your cock feels so good in my mouth. Hard and soft both, like silky steel, I am addicted to it. I could spend hours playing with you, pleasing you and keeping you on edge, just micro-seconds from climax, but today there isn’t enough time.

I can tell by your cries that you are getting close, nearly out of your mind with the need to cum, as your head rolls on the blanket and your fingers flex and fist the fabric. I am ecstatic over your enjoyment- how it’s my mouth wrapped around your cock and we satisfy each other out of love.

I wrap my hand around your balls, rolling them in my palm, and you groan hard. “Brian,” you gasp out as a sheen of sweat slicks your body, “almost… there, love. That’s… so good.” Your hand finds my head, fingers winding into my hair, and you frantically hold me in place.

I renew my efforts, pulling the head of your cock in deeply so my throat muscles can massage it, and I feel your body tense. Your balls are pulling up from the sac into your body, and your dick briefly swells. I suck on you firmly now, base to tip, hollowing my cheeks to create an intense vacuum in my mouth and prepare to receive your sweet essence. Without any conscious thought on your part, you are fucking my mouth; your hips punch automatically skyward, and with a cry, you come undone. Your cum vaults through your hard cock, spurting into my mouth in ropes to coat my tongue and throat as I swallow and swallow again.

And then your body begins to relax, and you let your hand fall off my hair to your side. Your dick softens, and with a plop, I let it fall out of my mouth. Lying down next to you as you smile tiredly, I interweave my fingers with yours. We don’t really need to say anything, our thoughts comingle, and your loving green eyes tell me that you are content and satisfied.

My dick has not softened; watching you cum is always a huge turn-on for me, and your hand reaches down to stroke me. You lean into me, flattening me on my back as you kiss me hard, your tongue swiping between my lips to take control of my mouth. My arms reach up to grasp you around shoulders and neck, pulling you closer to me so that we lay in a passionate embrace. You are kissing me and rubbing your hands across the hard planes of my body, fingers outlining the contours of my muscles, and I shiver at your touch.

Your hands find their way to my chest, and you pull at my sensitive nipples. My mouth can’t sustain the kiss under the intense way you make me gasp, and I close my eyes. Lips and gentle bites replace fingers, and I moan as I feel my nipples turn into hard, reddened nubs. They are hard-wired straight to my dick which flutters and lifts off my abdomen, drops of precum spreading on my skin.

“Shaun,” I hiss, “oh babe, please.”

You laugh evilly and move down my sternum to suck the skin around my navel into your mouth as your tongue bathes it, and I feel your teeth biting me hard enough to leave a ring. It is so sexy, and my body squirms beneath the tight hold you have of my hips and thighs. Your fingers delve into the pool of precum above me pubic hair, lifting it off me, and I hear you suck it from your fingers. I groan again, needing your lips on my cock, needing the sweet release you will give me.

You take half of my dick into your warm mouth as your lips suck from mid-shaft to the tip and your tongue strokes all the sensitive places you know about. I gasp as my slit feels the heavy suction, drawing more of my essence from it, but already I am lost in the way you draw your mouth further down on my member and begin to dip up and down over it. I feel the caressing taps of your tongue along the ridge, licking on the cap like a mother cat bathes a kitten, and my groin writhes.

The next time your mouth sinks to my base, you have all of my cock in your mouth. Over the last couple of months you have worked on your gag reflex and I can feel all of me inside you. You suck on me hard and deep, your lips are gentle on the head but nudge deep sensations there, and your tongue plays with me, circling my cock like a cobra. You make lights flash before my eyes and weaken me like a baby.

Muscles bunching and flexing, I begin to thrust into your mouth, and you eagerly take me to the root. “That’s right, Brian,” you say around my hard cock. “Fuck my mouth.”

Your words cause vibrations that rip through me, and my head rolls back in deep arousal. I feel like I’m floating in some desperate place that jars my senses as my pelvis snaps back and forth driving towards the end. Already I can feel the twitches that announce the arrival of my orgasm; they relentlessly build inside me like a volcano about to erupt.

I buck higher and faster into your mouth, seeking the crest, frantic for it. The oncoming bliss sends me into our own private world. I can hear myself whimpering but I have tuned out every other sound of the outdoors, and it’s only me and you. I feel the tightening in my groin, the way my balls pull hard up inside me, and I groan your name. “Shaun… oh, Shaun!”

I don’t know what my body is doing; I just feel throbbing that begins in my center and pours out to every cell of my body in waves of pleasure. Cum races through my cock to spasm into the beautiful wet warmth of your open mouth. I am gasping for air, covered in sweat, my hips arcing high over the blanket. Tears of thankfulness of being with you scald the back of my eyes; I can’t even find the words to express how I feel about you.

You have swallowed every drop of my cum, and as I regain the sense of here and now, you kiss me, sharing the taste with me. Weakly I put my arms around your neck and we hold each other. I settle down from my very intense peak to rest my head against your shoulder as you murmur endearments into my ear. How much you adore me, how much this day has meant to you and all the little things we say to build our relationship into the quiet strength it is.

You roll me over to my side and spoon into me from behind. At any other time in our love-making, depending on the hour, this would signal either arising to get on with our day or pulling each other closer to sleep. But, under the close care of my therapist, I have been doing a lot of healing and putting ideas into perspective. What happened between me and Thaddeus is in the past, and I know I’m completely ready to take steps into our tomorrow.

“I want you, Shaun,” I say thickly. “I need you to make love to me.”

You lift your head to gaze down at me and touch my face gently. “Are you sure, Brian? I don’t want to hurt or frighten you. You don’t have to do this to please me.”

“No, I’m okay. I trust you and need this for us.”

“Oh, love. I promise I’ll be gentle.” You hug me hard, looking like you’re going to cry. You appears so happy that I’m prepared, totally at ease, to take this next step for us.

Yeah, go figure. You and I have been together for ten months, and in all that time we never consummated our union. As awesome as I know you would be and as patient as you have waited, Thaddeus was so physically and emotionally abusive that I have shied away from love-making. Being vulnerable in the face of domestic cruelty sets up the worst kind of trust issues, ones that weren’t easily healed, and I had too many emotional scars. I love you in that you never pressed for more than I could handle, nor expected it would be easy for me to deal with, never expressed disappointment in my lack of willingness. I’m ready now. I want you to make love to me because I have faith and adore you, and I know you love me. You would never, ever hurt me.

“How do you want to do this, Brian?” You are leaving the position to me, and I gulp a little, hoping I don’t look panicky. I am a bottom, you are a top, but I know there is no way I’m ready to do this from the back yet. For now, I need control, and I smile at you, comfortable that you’ll allow me to have it.

I lean over to grab my pack and remove lube from a small pocket. I accidentally knock a condom out as I pull my hand away, and when you see it, you laugh, making me blush. I only brought it in case you insisted on using one, but we’ve been monogamously together for ten months. There is nothing for us to worry about.

“Are you sure,” you ask, concern for me radiating off you. You aren’t talking about the condom.

In response, I hand you the lube. I roll closer to you and stare darkly into your eyes. “Need you, Shaun.”

You use your hands on my ass to separate the cheeks, smoothing the way. You uncap the tube and squirt it on your fingers, rubbing them together to warm it up. You touch my puckered hole and begin to rub it in, your eyes never leaving my face. Oh, the way you touch me feels magnificent, and I groan. My rosebud contracts against your touch as you gently insert a finger. I wince slightly at the unfamiliar burn, and you pull out right away, scared that you’ve hurt me.

“I won’t break, baby,” I tell you, reaching for your semi-hard dick. I stroke it softly, smiling as you eagerly respond to my hand because I know what turns you on. “Please, Shaun.”

You nod at me. I feel you add more lube and re-introduce your middle finger into my ass, and I push back against you to greet the stretching. You twist your finger, and I feel the zing as you rub against my prostate, and I moan. “More,” I beg you, and a second finger goes in, doing the same. My ass is clenching at your fingers and they feel so good inside. You add the third digit, and I break out in a sweat. I am so ready for you to fuck me.

You lay down face-up on the blanket, your erection bobbing over your abdomen and dripping precum. I kneel over you and grab that perfect cock, smearing the precum over my hole. My entire body is focused on what I’m about to do, and I want to sink down on you in one long move, but it’s been awhile. Gently seating myself, I lower my body on to you and gasp as the head of your dick pops inside the muscular ring of my ass. I feel mild pain but it isn’t anything like I expected. My mind is free, free of concern, done with my guilt. I am thinking about how you rock my world. There is no thought of my ex as I groan into the ecstasy I know is ahead of me.

By slow inches I lower myself on you. My ass is relaxed, but I see your stomach muscles tense, and your eyes are closed, breaths shallow and fast. You are already lost in the moment, and you wiggle underneath me in anticipation. “Oh Brian,” you moan. “You feel so good around me.”

I sink onto your shaft, letting gravity pull me down and without pain. Just fullness and stretching, allowing my emotions to take me into the heights, knowing we are one person, connected. My balls are against your dark pubic hair, my cock still hard and pushing forward against your stomach. Looking down, it is one of the most erotic sights I’ve ever seen, and my shoulders bunch forward as I lean in for a long kiss. “I love you, baby,” I husk against your lips earnestly.

“Love you too, Brian. More than ever.” You sigh, and I begin to move above you.

Pushing up on my knees I pull upwards until just the head of your penis is inside me and then reverse the action slowly, deeply. “Oh my love,” you groan. “Just like that.” Your hips punch up to meet my ass, and we rock together.

Your hands reach up and tweak my nipples hard, swirling the pads of your fingers into the firm nubs to make me jump. But despite the small pinch of pain I want this, and I lean into you to let you scrape your fingernails and pull on them mercilessly. In just a few minutes they are like pebbles, rosy and swollen. My body feels like it will erupt in flames.

I set up a sliding rhythm that instantly ratchets up the pleasure. Twisting so that you are stabbing my sweet spot, my hips are undulating on your cock, my head lolling forward and low sounds coming from my open lips. “Oh, Shaun,” I moan. God, you feel so good inside me. I can instinctually sense you are staring at me with intense, aroused eyes, sharing my passion, enjoying how much into the physical sensations I’m allowing myself to fall.

“Faster, love,” you command me softly, your groans turning into deep growls as you try to pound into my ass. Your hands center on my hips, fingers digging into my muscles and lifting me. Our bodies are slick with sweat, and it runs off me in rivulets, joining with your own to pool on the flat planes of your body until it overflows and slides into the blanket. Your breathing is hitched, shallow and panting, eyes closed, face scrunched up in the effort to let me finish first and knowing I will pull you into your own climax.

You blindly reach out to take my cock into your hands, lubing your fingers on the precum that is dripping on you. You begin to stroke me in careful squeezes, massaging the head and down the back to the flared edge. I see flashes before my eyes; I am so close, and I cry out, moving up and down on you in desperate tremors I can’t control. Then you roll my balls in your fingers, and I’m lost and found.

“Shaun, yes… yes… yes,” I scream out into the open air as I feel my balls retract almost painfully and my cum boiling, needing to find an exit. “Been… so long… babe!” I shoot across your abdomen and chest five times in diminishing ropes of semen, each one accompanied by a deep groan. I feel drained in a good way.

My ass is clenching your dick forcefully, and you writhe under me, your muscles twitching. “Oh, my love!” Your face tenses, and I feel your cock inside me swell minutely as your orgasm begins. You are swept upward in bucking trembles and you cum inside my ass. Hot seed spews high inside my bowels, and I fall forward to gather you into my arms. You are still cumming weakly inside me, filling me, as I kiss you hard on the lips.

“I love you, Shaun.” I raise you up with my arm, stroking your damp hair and nuzzling your neck. “I love you so fucking much.”

“Love you too, Brian,” you answer quietly, throwing an arm over my shoulder and leaning back on the other one. “ Clasped together, my cum squishing between our bodies, we allow ourselves to fall into the calming afterglow of making love. I can feel your own cum dripping from my ass, but I don’t care. Our coupling was sweet and intimate, a testimony of our dedication to each other. I am peaceful and sated.

I feel exalted. I have finally done away with all the bad memories of my past and being hurt and mistreated by a man who wasn’t worthy of me, and my future is you, Shaun, the patient, loving man lying with me.

Quietly we sit for a few more minutes, not speaking, just lightly kissing each others’ lips. Your dick becomes limp and regretfully falls out of me and sinks back into your pubic hair. I grab a towel from the pack and clean us up as best I can, but we’ll need a shower when we arrive home, and we laugh. We sort out our clothes and begin to redress, stopping every so often to share a kiss or hug. You gather the remnants of our lunch and put them into the pack to hike out our trash and leave the site as clean as we found it. We fold the blanket, and I stuff it inside my bag. Hand in hand, making for a second check to assure we didn’t forget anything, we hike down to my truck. I still feel your cum leaking from my ass, and you laugh jokingly at the funny way I walk.

On the way back to Tripton Valley I sneak covert glances at you as you doze against the back of the seat. I am fully certain we love each other to distraction, and we will be partners for life. We make up two halves of a whole. But sometimes I do wonder if you have any idea what you mean to me, how strongly I feel our bond. You are my life, Shaun O’Shea.

You are what I imagine bird flight must be like, the warm sunshine on feathers, the cool soaring of the wind currents in my face, wheeling free high in the sky with perfect vision. I guess it’s hard to explain exactly without sounding weird. When we make love you take me easily to the highest peaks in that slow, teasing way of yours that builds layer upon layer of desire inside me. You know what arouses me and how to pull me into the most agonized delights until you guide me through a climax so intense I don’t even feel part of this earth for a minute or two. You make me believe I’m beautiful and courageous and smart, but I can do the stupidest things and you forgive me. You let me be human. You let me be myself.

I am so in love with you, and you with me. We suit each other perfectly. I know nothing can come between us, and everything is right in our world. I have you, and that will always be enough.

The End

© 2011 by Janelle Caves