Page navigation: [Author's Note 1] [Dealing with loss – Chapter One] [Author's Note 2]
This version of the chapter has been re-edited. Besides the change of formatting and some minor corrections I have also adjusted my writing style. The chapters are now going to be in HTML format and have a similar feel and style.
This story is about gay relationships and (at times in the future) gay sex. If you're not into reading that kind of thing, not old enough to do so, or it is illegal for you to do so in your region, please do not read any further.
This story is a complete work of fiction. The majority of places mentioned exist in real life. All characters are fictional and any correlation to anyone in real life is purely coincidental. All products and services that are copyrighted or trademarked belong to their respective owners.
The author does not intend to suggest or imply anything about any person, place, product, service or company that exists in the real world as well as the fictional one. Although popular technologies and other products are mentioned, a generalized term has been used in place where possible.
Comments and suggestions will always be greatly received and responded to – albeit slowly responded to – and you can get in touch by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org. My Yahoo! Group can be found at http://groups.yahoo.com/groups/JCstories/ and you can also visit the JCstories website.
Sam looked at the computer monitor and pressed enter. "There you go Sir, you're booked in for a sun-bed session the same time next week. Is there anything else I can do for you today Mr. Wise?"
Sam was hoping for a response along the lines of 'there is, but you don't seem to offer quickies here' because Mr. Wise was a real hot guy. Sam always took the time to watch him putting pressure on those muscles when he was weight-lifting.
Even though they were both 23 – one of the advantages of the job was knowing everyones names and birthdays – Sam hated having to read the memorized script to every single customer and call them Sir, Madam, Mr, Miss, etc.
Why couldn't it be a friendlier place to work where everyone called everyone by there first name and leave it at that?
"No, I think that's all Sam," Dan Wise responded, "although would you like to catch a movie and have dinner with me when you've finished your shift?"
"I've got to close up tonight and then get everything ready for the morning shift. By the time I'm finished I'll just want to go home and pass out. Sorry Mr. Wise, maybe some other time."
Dan gave Sam a warm smile, suggesting they do something at the weekend instead.
He knew Sam wasn't working and had caught him ogling him several times when he was working out in the past. No doubt a mutual attraction was there, and Dan hoped he could get to know Sam better.
At least outside the gym he would hear Sam call him by his name instead of Mr or Sir. Mister is for people in authority or ticking on credit card applications, and Sir is for older people. He was neither so hated being called them.
Damn, I like this guy. But I don't want to go through that pain ever again, thought Sam. I eventually tried after Jason, and met David.
How the fuck could the same shit happen twice to one person? Why did that person have to be me?
Sam looked down at the desk holding back a tear. Succeeding he looked back up at Mr. Wise. "I think I'm busy this weekend. I've not got my diary with me to check what plans I have."
Sam knew he was doing this to protect himself. If he didn't let anyone near him he wouldn't have to go through that again. He knew that if Jase and Dave were here, they'd disapprove of his actions and tell him to go and enjoy life.
He can't without them though. He doesn't even feel pleasure when he masturbates anymore and only does it so he's not walking around with a constant stiffy.
Dan had seen Sam trying not to cry and thought it had to do with Dave. He hadn't got much information from Dave the two years they'd worked out together, but enough had slipped out of Dave's mouth by accident to know there had been something between them.
Dan pushed himself too much in the gym and tried to get in the zone often, so he didn't have to think about not having a work-out partner anymore. He hated having to do it alone. Grabbing a pen off the desk and one of the leaflets he scribbled down his number.
"Look. Here's my number. When you've looked over your plans give me a call if you're free for a few hours." He held out his hand holding the leaflet and noticed Sam's reluctance to take it. After a few moments, Sam took it and Dan breathed a sigh of relief.
Dan knew he needed to say something else otherwise Sam would never call him. If he doesn't say something now Sam would throw his number straight into the bin when he leaves.
"There's a few really good movies out, and, I've not gotten around to seeing them yet. We could grab a burger or pizza afterwards."
With a sly grin he added, "I'd like to spend a couple of hours with you without being called Sir. I'm not even old enough to be called Sir!"
At this they both chuckled and Sam said he'd look at his plans and see if he had the time. They spent a few more minutes chatting before Dan left.
Looking at the leaflet Sam felt his gut wrenching. "I can't do this again, never again," he said aloud, throwing the leaflet in the waste paper bin. For Sam, to love was to feel hurt and pain. He felt that it was best not to go down that road in the first place.
He'd lied about not knowing if he had plans at the weekend. Every weekend for the last four months had been the same unless he was doing overtime.
He'd spend all morning in bed and at around two would quench his thirst with some water and grab the big bag of crisps and multi-pack of chocolates he'd bought that Friday, returning to his room and siting at the computer. He'd munch the snacks until they were gone, browsing the Internet to pass time.
After Sam closed the shop and the last of the customers had left, he decided to check his e-mails before doing the rest of the chores. The real reason he still did this job was because it was where he and Dave had met three years ago.
Despite the memories around him every day, he wasn't able to go through with quitting. Sure the memories were there, sometimes right in front of him - in his minds eye - and he'd be unable to concentrate on anything.
But he persevered because of a deep down feeling. If he was ever to face up to the past and overcome his emotions the best place to do it would be somewhere surrounded by so many memories – even the bad ones.
He was scrolling through his e-mails not bothering to read any of them until one caught him off guard. It was from someone he hadn't heard from for months. "This had better fucking not be bad news," Sam seethed.
He clicked message marked as important with the header 'you need to know this'.
"Hey Sam hon. Look, I know I treated you like shit at the end and am still beating myself up about it. As someone once said in the Matrix, It was never meant to be.
"I'm truly sorry for what I put you through and don't even like it here in the States. If I could turn back time I'd have quit my job and never accepted the transfer but you wouldn't let me. I've thought about coming back home during the summer to catch up on things but I won't go through with it.
"No matter how much I still need you in my life, leaving a second time will only hurt more than the first. When I was alone in bed last night I had a crazy thought of paying to have a mold of your whole body taken and having a silicone you in bed next to me. Alas it wouldn't be the same, even if it did have space for a hot water bottle inside it wouldn't be the same as having your warm flesh next to mine.
"I shouldn't have ended things the way I did and I wish there was a way to make up for it. I hope you don't hate me for sending you this e-mail but I needed to tell you there are some of us out there with the same feelings as you. I guess I marked this as urgent because I needed you to know that. If you're as much of a wreck as I am then the link at the bottom to a support board may help.
"I've become so ingrained in other peoples problems I'm one of the most active moderators. Look. You need to start having some fun in your life again and stop moping around. If you ever need to chat you know I'm here and always will be, although it might be uncomfortable talking about stuff with me of all people.
"I know life has treated you like shit and I blame myself for most of it. If you do meet someone that takes your fancy don't let those of us in your past hold you back. You will find someone again and there's a good chance he won't disappear off the face of the Earth like we did.
"I don't need to say who the other half of we is and am sorry if I just upset you even more. But you once told me what Jason said, and although I've never known him, I know he spoke a lot of truth and cares a lot about you. We want you to move on with your life.
"Go to the movies or have an evening out at that pizza place when you find someone you like. You might even find someone you love that will never hurt you again and will even protect you from all the pain and anguish in your life. Anyway, enough of my gibbering, the link to the forum follows and we may even end up helping each other through it.
"Love you and always will, more than I ever showed, Dave."
Sam stared at the screen crying. How the fuck does he know what Jase would say to me if he saw me like this? I know it's the truth though, he would tell me to get on with my life and keep him in my memories.
Sam left the e-mail in his in-box and shut the system down. He cleaned the rest of the gym and started emptying all the bins into one of the commercial rubbish sacks. When he got to the bin in reception he took the bag and was about to throw it in with the rest when he saw the leaflet on top.
Go to the movies or have an evening out at that pizza place when you find someone you like, echoed in his mind. Had Dan spoken to Dave? Or did he just say that like his regular self?
"There's no way I can bring it up at work so should just call him to find out. Slip into the conversation somewhere whether he's spoken to Dave recently," Sam said, grabbing the leaflet out of the bin and shoving it into his trouser pocket. He finished off tidying up the place and left to walk home.
Sam opened the door to his three-bedroom semi, kicked off his shoes, sat on the sofa and started flicking through the channels.
"Over five hundred fucking channels and the only shit that's on is either someone making someones house look ugly with excessive amounts of plywood, someone attempting to make something edible with a few ingredients, some gay guys trying to make a straight guy have some style, and a load of other shit. Why do I even pay for this?" Sam said after going through all the channels twice.
"I know why I pay for this." He pulled up the menu showing the programs he recorded earlier. Selecting the latest episode of Stargate SG-1 and pressing the select button, Sam grabbed a beer out of the mini-fridge next to the sofa.
Yes he lived in a rather cozy house, he couldn't bring himself to move out. Jason had left everything to him, and had said in his will that he wanted Sam to use however much of the insurance policy was needed to fully pay up the mortgage.
In a letter, he also said a lot about what Sam should do to move on with his life if the worse came to the worse. One of the things said was that Sam should get some lodgers to help with the bills. Even if he could manage to pay the bills he should still rent the rooms out so didn't become a recluse living on his own.
Sam couldn't bring himself to having anyone live with him, although he did get around to asking Dave to move in. Now the place was empty with possessions and memories of him and Jason, and him and Dave.
Dave had said it would cost too much time, money and hassle to ship all his stuff over to the US so they agreed Sam would keep it – all of it. Apparently a way of saying goodbye is, "Here's everything I own. Keep what you want and throw away the rest."
How can you throw something out with the trash that belonged to someone you loved with every cell in your body?
Musing on this thought he grinned shouting, "You get someone to come around with a tonne of ply, and allow them to make ghastly changes to the decor, throwing crap out, and then walking you in with your eyes closed!"
If he was that person and opened his eyes and Jason's guitar wasn't sitting in it's stand in the corner he would have screamed so loud the sound techies would have had so much trouble getting the spike below the red, they would have either silenced that part or cut it (there would have been a lot of "beeps" and "bleeps" interspersed after that as well).
He dusted it with love every week, but didn't over do it. It still has Jase's fingerprints on the neck and pretty much everywhere else on it. That guitar had been in it's stand since the last time Jase had played it. It was still plugged into the amp and the fluorescent lead was still attached. Sure the amplifier was turned off, but in five years it had never been touched by anyone.
Reaching into his pocket he pulled out the Being a gym instructor has huge benefits, apply today! leaflet with Dan's number on it. Grabbing the DECT phone he dialed the number and waited for an answer.
"Hello Dan Wise speaking."
"Hi Mr. Wise. Just phoning about the offer you made earlier Sir." Sam heard a rush of air down the phone. "Sorry, didn't realize you were out in that bad weather. I'll call you back later."
"I'm at home, and that air was not the wind outside. You called me Mr. Wise and Sir in the same fucking sentence. You know how much I hate that. Call me Dan, call me Daniel. Hell, call me Danny or DW or even Miss Fuckilicious, just don't call me sir or mister, OK? Have you checked your plans?"
Although Sam could hear slight anger in the tone, it was also filled with laughter and slight banter. Sam knew he had the whole weekend free, but wanted to get it over with as soon as possible.
If there was a connection at all, he'd find out before the movie started. If there was nothing at the slightest by the evening at least he'd be able to tell himself he tried. Sam apologized, telling Dan he finished early on Friday and had the whole evening free. He turned the TV down a bit finding it hard to concentrate on the phone-call.
"So you want to catch a movie? You prefer Maccy D's or Pizza Hut?"
The voice in Sam's head said Go to the movies or have an evening out at that pizza place when you find someone you like.. He had to find out now if this was a set-up. He needed to know if Dave had spoken to Dan about any of this.
How? Well, he's gay and is therefore pretty good at tact when he wants. "Yeah, sure. Pizza sounds good."
Dan agreed to pick Sam up from work when he finished on Friday. He hadn't been prepared for Sam to ask if he'd spoken to Dave recently.
"Yeah we phone each other pretty much every day. We talk about how he's doing in his job and the usual football stuff, and pretty much shoot the shit. I miss him spotting for me, but I guess everyone has to follow their dreams whilst they can. There is one subject he won't ever talk about though, and avidly avoids speaking anything about it, no matter how much I try, he won't."
"And what subject might that be? The weather?" Sam laughed. At least he now knew that Dave hadn't set this whole thing up.
"Oh no! He loves talking about how it's always sunny there and sometimes misses the good old English rain!" Dan started stuttering. "He, never talks about, you two. From the bits and pieces, I guess you both used to go out. Don't even know, if I came to the wrong conclusion; since I know pretty much nothing, but I did pick up on a few things that slipped out."
"Yeah we went out for a while. You could say we were an item at one point but I guess it was never meant to be. He don't even ask how I am?"
"Well I usually say something like I saw you at the gym today. He'd ask how you are and I'd say you seemed alright. He'd then say good and change the subject as fast as he can. It seems as if talking about you would upset or anger him or something."
"Could be a bit of both. I get the same way. At least I seem to be able to talk about him."
"True. Look I'll let you go cos it sounds like you're getting to the best bit of that SG-1 episode. Before you ask, I saw it earlier and love Stargate. I never go without my dose of Jack and Teal'c. I guess I'll see you Friday then if I don't see you at the gym before then."
Wow, he likes SG-1 too. At least there's something we've got in common other than the gym. Sam grinned thinking about the gym, knowing how to end the call.
"Yep, see ya Friday if not before. See you around Mr. Wise!"
"Be good boy or I'll cancel," Dan groaned.
"I'm ever so sorry Sir! I'll be good I promise. Please don't cancel on me!" Sam pleaded, although it was obvious he was still joking.
"Ho hum. I guess you at least know how to annoy the hell out of me. I'll see you later."
The days seemed to whirl passed for Sam and he was getting anxious about Friday. He'd even taken Dave's advice and started using the message board website and started talking about his feelings and asking for advice.
Although Dave had left some replies, most were after at least twenty others. Sam guessed Dave was trying to help but at the same time not be in his face and stay back. Most of what Dave said had already been said by others so he was merely agreeing with other posts.
Sam did talk about him and Dan going out Friday. Dave had told him in a private message that Dan was a genuine, lovable guy, and that they had quite a lot in common and should go for it. Sam felt better at that and soon came the end of his Friday shift.
Sam and Dan were hoping that the drive to the cinema would be uneventful and quick. They soon realized that life doesn't always work out the way we want.
They were behind a woman driver that appeared to be the extreme definition of bad – nothing new there Sam and Dan had laughed together. She kept indicating for turns but never took them.
After about two miles of this Dan glanced to his left from the drivers seat and looked at Sam. "It looks as if she is indicating every time there is a bend in the road, even if it is just a small curve."
Sam looked over at Dan and burst out laughing. "There is no fucking way anyone indicates to go around a bend. Think about how hard it is to navigate a roundabout because no-one indicates. Even the majority of those that do end up almost causing a crash because they almost miss their exit."
Both cars had their headlights on since it was early February, and dusk always hits early afternoon in the British winter. Dan kept testing his breaks after they went through puddles and was glad it had finally stopped raining.
After another ten minutes behind this car Sam had a serious look on his face. Without taking his eyes off this woman navigating a 10 degree curve in the road, he said, "She must have some serious mental problem. She is indicating to go around bends!"
"I've never seen anything like this. If only I had a camera on me."
"Oh fuck, we're coming up to a roundabout. I sure wish you had your camera too!"
They both stared in anticipation giggling. There wasn't much traffic, and both lanes into the roundabout were clear, but this woman drove in the middle of both lanes. She slammed on her brakes and her car came skidding to an abrupt stop before reaching the roundabout.
"What the fuck!?" Sam screamed as Dan's car came screeching to a stop, millimeters from clipping the woman's car. "She's lost it. She is a complete nut-case. If I didn't think she was a mental patient that had just been released from hospital because they thought she was no longer a risk to the public I'd ask her what the fuck was going on."
Sam felt a chill. He looked over noticing Dan had got out of the car. "Hey, where are you going?"
Dan grinned at Sam. "Well, I was curious so I thought I'd ask the escapee from the asylum what the fuck was going on and why she thought she was in a fit state to drive."
Sam smiled back and responded in just as much jest, "Be careful. She might be armed with a syringe."
Sam watched Dan as he started talking to the woman driver. He was listening with intent, but unable to make anything out. He could see that Dan had a clear expression of disbelief. After a couple of minutes he saw Dan's expression change hearing, "How the fuck did you manage to pass your driving test then?!"
After watching Dan talk for a few more minutes – it seemed he was trying to reassure her so she wasn't blocking the road – Dan returned to the vehicle and the car in front drove off pretty quickly.
After Dan buckled his seat belt he looked over at Sam's eager face of anticipation wanting the news. "So what's her fucking story then?"
"Well, after a few minutes of talking to her I feel pretty sorry for her."
"Why? Was she drunk? Just broke up with someone? What? Spill it!"
"OK. But you wouldn't believe this if you hadn't just witnessed her driving." Dan regretted he hadn't filmed it, pondering asking the council if he could have a copy of the CCTV footage. "She was indicating and stopped because, she, doesn't like cars to be on either side of her and gets scared when she needs to turn left."
Sam was astonished. "Turning left is one of the easiest things to do! Turning right is probably harder because you've got traffic coming at you, but turning left, God! If she hates turning left how the fuck did she pass her driving test then?"
"My own exact words," Dan grinned. "She said the test didn't involve turning left at all. Maybe the examiner knew her fear and was scared of a crash. Anyway, she's got a sat-nav that is programmed to avoid left turns and she indicates when it announces to follow slight curves in the road. She does emergency stops at roundabouts because someone always goes up to her to boost her courage so she can navigate the roundabout. Damn I wish I had my camera."
"Did she say which way she was going?"
"She said she was on her way to work. Unfortunately it's near the cinema. Didn't ask where she worked though."
"At least we know which way to go at the roundabout then," Sam said.
Dan buckled his seat belt and approached the roundabout. As they got on the roundabout, they both shouted in unison at the top of their lungs, "Left!"
Other than the usual queue to get popcorn and their drinks – after all, queuing is one of Britain's favorite pastimes – they sat down in their seats and the rest of the showing was pretty uneventful. Dan was surprised that he enjoyed sitting through the two and a half hour movie with Sam.
They already had a few things in common. Both preferred sweet popcorn and Pepsi Max. They also both liked sitting direct center. The right distance from the front so they could see the screen without hurting their eyes, and the exact middle so they felt the full force of the bass and experience the best surround-sound experience.
After the credits they went back outside and went to the pizza place a few shops down. After queuing – Brits can never get enough of queuing, they queue everywhere – a waitress asked them if it was a table for two.
Sam and Dan grimaced as she asked this and then she realized how she must have looked asking that. "Don't worry," she grinned patting them both on the shoulders, "I'm a much better waitress than I am a driver!"
They both smiled at that and sat down after asking for a couple of drinks. They both ordered soft drinks because Dan wouldn't get in a car with any alcohol in his system, and Sam didn't drink much - he couldn't handle it that well.
Things seemed to be going well and they even wanted the same pizza – Hawaiian – as it was their favorite. They shot the breeze chatting and getting to know each other better and they both enjoyed their ice-cream even though one scoop did seem a bit unfair for the price.
Just after they split the bill and left towards Dan's car Dan stopped dead in his tracks. "Shit! I fucking missed Stargate. What if I missed an important episode! I'm never home when it's repeated."
Sam looked at Dan knowingly, thinking how much similar his reaction would have been. "Don't you have the set up with the hard-drive recorder?"
"Na man, I've been meaning to get them to install it but sitting at home from seven in the morning until eight at night waiting for an engineer to come around just isn't an option. Why do you?"
"Yep. I've got some beer at home and there was one thing I had to do before I left for work today."
"Please, please, please, please tell me you recorded SG-1!"
Sam grinned watching Dan get on his knees in the car park, begging for an answer. "Yes. Yes I recorded it. Now can you stop begging like a dog for it's bone and drive us home?"
Dan jumped up and gave Sam a hug and jumped in the car. Sam jumped in the passenger seat and watched as Dan hit the gas to get back to Sam's as quick as possible without breaking the limit and getting flashed by those pesky speed cameras all over the place.
When they got through the front door Sam pointed to the living room and told Dan where the mini-fridge was. "I'll be back in a mo. I need to take a slash and change out of my work clothes. Make yourself comfortable if you want."
Dan agreed and told him to hurry up because he couldn't wait to see his favorite program of all time.
Sam grinned thinking him and Dan were such big kids over something as simple as a TV program.
After taking a piss, Sam brushed his teeth and picked out his lounging-about clothes – tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt. He stripped down to his boxers and then started posing into his full length mirror.
Yeah, he had a decent body, six-pack and all, with shoulder length blond hair, and hazel eyes. Whilst admiring himself he grinned realizing just how much he and Dan had in common.
Sure it was strange having someone over, but he knew how much he'd hate himself if he turned down such an avid Stargate fan.
The fact they had spent the whole evening submerged in talking and listening to every facet of each other's lives was cool.
Sam had had a niggling feeling all evening that seemed to be trying to tell him something, and he'd finally realized what it was. They had been talking about each other so much, Jase and Dave had never been mentioned.
"I should talk to Dan about them later," Sam mused as he put on his t-shirt.
Just then he heard a familiar sound from the living room which sent a chill up his spine. Without realizing that he was still in just a pair of boxer-shorts and a t-shirt he ran out the room and sprinted down the stairs.
Please say it's just the television. Please, it's just the TV! That sound is coming from the fucking TV! It has to be! It has to be!
He rounded the corner just as Dan had finished tuning the Fender. He froze in the doorway seeing Dan sitting on the couch with a beer on the coffee table and Jase's guitar in his arms.
Sam was speechless. His mouth was dry. He felt like every cell within him had just exploded and was dead. As Dan started rubbing his palm up and down the neck of the guitar he needed to say something but couldn't. He was numb and unable to move or say anything.
Just then he realized Dan had said something and had missed it. He looked at Dan's face and heard, "I said you've got a nice guitar. You never said you played." His fingers went onto the frets - no thought needed - as he was about to play a song.
Sam wanted to shout and tell Dan to get the fuck out and never to go to the gym again but couldn't move. He should have told Dan about Jase, he should have, but he didn't. When the fuck will he be out of this comatose state?
To be continued...
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