Growing Up

By Greg Bowden




It was a cold, damp Monday morning in April and I was a little bit frazzled. It was my day to stop at Winchell's for coffee and donuts and they'd been very busy. Jerry, the guy I shared an office with, and I had a deal where he stopped for the stuff on the even days of the month and I did it on the odd ones. Today was odd. To make it worse, they were out of those French things I'd had my mouth all set for and I'd had to settle for crullers. Then, at the office, one of the metal detectors in the lobby wasn't working so there was big crush of people trying to get through the other one.

When I finally got up to the office Jerry was sitting at his desk staring at a blank computer screen. He looked like hell.

"Jerry! What happened?"

He turned around and I could see one of his eyes was black and his cheek had an angry red scratch across it. His attempt at a smile failed miserably. "She threw me out," he said quietly. "She hit me with an ashtray and threw me out." He turned back to his computer.

"Here," I said, holding his coffee out to him. "You probably need this."

When he'd had some of his coffee he started to talk. He said that when he had gotten home the night before he'd found all his stuff piled in the hallway outside the apartment. When he tried to open the door he'd found the door-chain was hooked. Eva, the woman he was living with, was inside screaming at him to go away. He applied his shoulder to the door and forced it open, ripping half the door molding off he said, with a hint of a genuine smile.

It went downhill from there although Jerry emphasized that he never laid a hand on the woman. "It's just not my style," he said sadly. "Maybe it should be. She said I'm a fat, stinking, useless piece of shit and she wants no part of me."

I thought he was going to cry but he seemed to pull himself together, blew his nose and attempted a laugh. "So here I am, a fat, stinking, useless piece of shit, living in my car like all the other homeless guys in town. Fuck!"

Several people had looked in while Jerry was talking and I figured he was in no shape to get into an office-wide discussion of what had happened so I picked up my phone and called our boss. I told him both Jerry and I were taking the day off for a personal emergency. Then I got Jerry into his coat and hustled him outside.

His car was parked in the garage under the building. When we got to it I could clearly see that there was no room in it for me. Evidentially everything he owned was piled in that car. Since I live only a few blocks from the office I said I'd meet him at the gate to my building's garage.

When he got there I had him park in the space for an apartment I knew was empty. Up in my place I put the coffee on and asked him if he'd eaten. He nodded and said that he'd been to a McDonald's drive-thru a couple of times during the night.

"You spent the night in your car?"

He shrugged. "Where else was I supposed to go looking like this? Besides, I needed food."

What he needed now, it appeared to me, was a shower and some sleep. He agreed so while he was in the shower I made up the fold out sofa-sleeper in what I laughingly call my home office. He wandered in just as I was finishing.

"It's not the most comfortable bed in the world but it'll have to do," I said to him. Then I nodded at his nakedness. "You want to unpack something or do you sleep like that?"

He actually grinned, that funny, lopsided grin he sometimes had in the office. "Eva always made me wear my shorts and a tee shirt, even after..." He shook his head. "You mind if I..."

"Go for it, Jerry. It's the way I sleep." I couldn't resist: "Even after."

He gave me the finger and eased himself into the bed, his shoulder obviously giving him some trouble.

"You want to put something on that shoulder? That the one you hit the door with?"

He nodded. "Damn door. No, I'll tough it out." He turned serious. "Hey, thank you Kevin. You're a good officemate."

I gave him the plastic bag I'd filled with ice and wrapped in a towel. "Try to keep that on your eye, it'll help."

He slept until five. I was watching the early news when he came into the living room, still naked. "Uh, Kevin, I didn't want to get back into that stuff I wore all night." He grinned. "I guess I could run down to my car..."

"You know Jerry, I ought to make you do that." I looked him up and down. "But I think we're pretty much the same size so why don't you just wear something of mine?"

It turned out that we were almost exactly the same size, even to slippers. I gave him some sweat pants and stuff and went to make us a drink and refill the little ice pack. The ice had helped and his eye looked a lot better.

"So what now, Jerry," I said when we were settled in the living room with our drinks.

He shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know. Find a place to stay, I guess."

"You can stay here for a while if you want. The bed's probably not what you're used to but..."

"Hey, could I? Maybe even a week or two, until I figure out... Well, what I need to do?"

"You mean until you can find another woman to take you in?"

"No! I will not do that again, at least not until I've gotten to know her, until I know she wants me and not just my... Well, you know." He was silent for a bit, sipping at his drink, his eyes focused on something I couldn't see. Then, with a little laugh he said, "She caught me, yesterday morning..." He moved his fist up and down and then shrugged. "I guess that was the last straw."

"Jerking off? She caught you jerking off?"

He brightened. "Yeah. In the shower. I do that sometimes but this was the first time she caught me. She said it was nasty and dirty and told me never to do it again. It was even worse than the time she caught me peeing in the shower. She told me not to do that, either." He looked up at me. "Like she was my mother or something."

I gathered our drink glasses and went to the kitchen for refills. "That wouldn't be a problem here," I said, over my shoulder. "You can jerk off in the shower all you want. Just wash the results off the wall." I took the new drinks back to the living room. "And that's it? She threw you out for jerking off in the shower?"

"Well, she said," he emphasized the word `said,' as though it represented nothing but figments of her imagination, "she said I'd gotten fat and stank of cigarettes all the time."

"Uh oh, that could poise a problem." He looked up at me. "The cigarettes, I mean. If you're going to smoke you'll have to do it out on the balcony or down to the parking garage. Not in the apartment."

He laughed, but without much humor. "Not a problem. I quit yesterday. She didn't even give me time to tell her."

So, suddenly I had a roommate. I wondered how it'd work out, living together at work and at home.

It turned out that it worked well. Jerry was clean, neat and we had pretty much the same taste in music, movies and TV. We expanded our coffee and donut routine into the kitchen as well. On the odd days I dealt with dinner--sometimes by just taking us out-- and on the even ones Jerry, who was a surprisingly good cook, did his thing.

We even joined a gym and went every afternoon, after work. Jerry was determined to loose the pounds he'd put on living with Eva and I thought it a good idea to get some exercise myself; maybe even put on a little muscle.

One evening, a week after he'd moved in, Jerry was acting like a nervous, angry cat. When I asked him what was wrong, he looked down at the floor and quietly said, "I broke my promise."


He looked up and fairly shouted, "To myself. I broke my God damned promise to my God damned self!" He stiffened and took a deep breath, getting himself under control. Then, quietly and with no inflection, he said, "I promised myself that I'd never smoke another cigarette in my life." With that he seemed to crumble and sat heavily on the couch. "But I did. Today." He looked up at me. "Oh, Kevin, you don't know what it's like, wanting a cigarette so bad you think you'd kill for it. And then someone offers you one and you can't, you absolutely cannot say no."

For a moment there I thought he was going to cry. I headed it off. "Not true, Jerry. I do know what it's like. And I do know what it's like to break that promise to yourself." I smiled, trying to break the tension. "Made you dizzy, didn't it."

He nodded and then, after a beat or two, laughed. "Yeah, it made me dizzy. I had to sit down after the second drag. But..."

"How do I know? I've been there, Jerry. I was a pack-and-a-half-a-day man a couple of years ago. Then they put in that stupid rule that you couldn't smoke in the office and I shivered through most of the winter, pacing back and forth in front of the building with all the other smokers. That winter cured me, Jerry."

"Really? And you never smoked again?"

"No. And like you, I made a promise to myself that I'd never touch another cigarette but it got to be too much." I laughed. "But I didn't just bum one. Oh no, I went out and bought a whole pack."

"And?" Jerry got up and went to stand at the window, staring out.

"And the first one made me sick. So I put it out and went back inside feeling like the king of virtue. My mistake? I didn't throw the pack away. I couldn't; it still had nineteen cigarettes in it. That afternoon the craving hit me again and I decided that it hadn't been as bad as all that so I went outside to have one more. Just one more."

"And? Come on, come on, get to the point."

I had to laugh. "Well, I stepped outside and was so focused on getting a cigarette out of the pack that I didn't see the bus coming."

He looked up sharply.

"No, I didn't get hit by the bus but I might as well have. The bus hit a big puddle of muddy slush and splashed it all over me. Me and the cigarettes. Soaked and useless. Both of us. So I threw the pack in a garbage can and came home to change. By the time I got here the craving had passed so I took a shower, rewarded my self and went back to work. Ever since then, when that horrible craving comes back--and it still does once in a while--I tell myself to wait and when it passes I get a reward."

Jerry scratched his head. "So what kind of reward do you get?"

I laughed. Was I really telling him all this? "I jerk off."

"That's your reward? You jerk off?" He thought for a moment. "Oh, my God, is that the only time you do it? When you crave a cigarette?"

"No, Jerry, not by a long shot. But it's really special at those times. I can't explain it but telling myself the craving will pass and when it does I'll get to have an orgasm just does it for me. At least it has for the past year and a half."

Jerry began to pace in front of the window, thinking. I left him to it and went into the kitchen and poured each of us a glass of wine. When I took them into the living room Jerry said, "Okay, makes sense. But how do you handle it at work. Surely you don't go into the men's room and..."

I took a sip of my wine. In for a penny, in for a dollar, I thought. "Yeah, I do. Only not the men's room you're thinking of. I go down to the fourth floor men's room, you know, the one across from the elevators. It's mostly women who work down there so the men's room is always empty. Go in a booth, lock the door, drop your pants and you've got a nice, quiet place to reward yourself for as long as you want. Or at least for as long as you can stay away from the eighteenth floor."

I could almost see the little wheels turning in Jerry's head. I also wondered if I should mention the hole between the booths and the guy who occasionally went in there and gave world class blow-jobs through it. I decided not to. After all, Jerry was a grown man and could probably take care of himself. Well, except where women were concerned.

The next afternoon at work I saw Jerry begin to fidget and the sound of his breathing changed. I walked over and put my hand on his shoulder. "It'll pass, Jerry. It'll pass. Just don't let yourself give in to it."

He took a deep breath and clenched and unclenched his fists for a moment. Then he relaxed, stood up and stretched. "Thanks, Kevin. That helped." He sat back down and fiddled with his keyboard.

"You okay, Jerry? Because if you are, I've got to take this report down to the boss. Knowing him, he won't let me go until he's read the damn thing."

"No, I'm fine, Kevin. Really."

I bent down and whispered in his ear. "Go reward yourself, Jerry. It'll help the next one to pass quicker." I picked up my report folder and went over to Mr. Grieb's office.

As it happened, Mr. Grieb wasn't in but I hung around with Sally, his secretary for a few minutes. When I got back to the office, with two cups of Sally's coffee, the best on the floor, Jerry wasn't there. I'd drunk both cups before he came back. He had an odd smile on his face--a look of total contentment. I made no comment and neither did he.

For the next week or so this got to be a twice a day ritual but then it began to taper off, first to once a day and then to a few times a week.

At the gym we both seemed to be doing the right thing. Jerry lost weight and I gained muscle. All in all, we were fairly happy men.

I wondered if it bothered Jerry that he wasn't dating that much. We'd both slipped into a comfortable--at least for me--life that was fairly full and as busy as we seemed to want. We did occasionally go out with someone but I always found the apartment kind of lonely when he was out. He must have felt the same way when I was out because he always waited up for me.

The day he ran into the fourth floor cock-sucker was one to remember. Well, not so much the day as the evening. We'd picked up Chinese take out after the gym and were putting it out on the table when Jerry asked me if I still got strong cravings for tobacco.

I had a pretty good idea where this was going but played along with it anyway. "No, not really. Maybe a little twinge if I'm with someone who smokes but that's pretty mild and passes almost before I notice it. Why?"

"No reason. I was just wondering." He picked up one of the chopsticks and studied it, not looking at me. "You ever go down to the, you know, to the fourth floor?"

"Yeah, once in a while. Hey, an orgasm is an orgasm and certainly puts a bright spot in the day."

"You ever run into anybody down there? Not one of our guys, but... anybody?"

I took the chopstick out of his hand and put it on the table. "You let him blow you?"

He looked up at me. "Well... Yeah. I mean, he seemed to want to do it and I thought, hell, he's on the other side of the wall. It's not like I had to look at him or anything. So, yeah, I... I put it through and let him swing on it."

I opened the beer. "Was it good?"

Jerry blushed. "Yeah. About the best I've ever had." He suddenly became animated. "And it was like I was doing him a favor, like I was doing something that felt good to him. God, if he only knew."

"He complement you on the size of your dick?"

Jerry looked a little confused. "Yeah. How'd you..." It finally sunk in. "You, too? I mean, he... he's sucked you off."

I poured the beer and got out the plates. "Several times. And complemented me on the size of my dick, too. He probably does that to all the guys although in your case..." I let that hang in the air while I sorted out the napkins, the soy sauce and the cookies.

A little later Jerry looked up from his plate and said, "You know, I feel sort of guilty about... well, about letting that guy..."

I put my chopsticks down and drank some of my beer. "Guilty because you let some guy suck your dick or guilty because you didn't do anything back?"

"No, not that. I mean..." He picked up his beer and thought for a bit. "You think maybe I was supposed to? Like maybe he wanted to put his through and..." He seemed to struggle some with the concept before he looked at me. "Did you? I mean, you didn't... Well, you know."

"No, Jerry, I didn't, and you shouldn't feel guilty because you didn't either. Look, you said the guy acted like he liked doing it. He probably did. Guys like that get something out of sucking another guy's cock. I don't know what it is but they have to get something. Otherwise they wouldn't do it."

"Maybe they do it because they figure the guy will do it back."

I ate the last piece of pork wonton, and looked at him. "You like getting your cock sucked, right?"

He nodded, wondering where this was going, perhaps a little afraid of where it was going.

"Enough so you would go around to different men's rooms and suck guys off in the hope that one of them might return the favor?"

He laughed. "No one does that, Kevin. That's..."

"Exactly. So our man on the other side of the wall doesn't need you to do anything but get hard. Sucking your cock is his reward."

Jerry shook his head. "I never thought about it like that before."

It was my turn to laugh. "I doubt that you ever thought about it before at all, Jerry. Neither did I until... Well, until this guy came along and blew me away. Now come on, it's your turn to do the dishes."



Life went on just as it had after that, with the exception that once or twice a week Jerry disappeared for a half hour or so and always seemed to come back with a silly grin on his face. That grin turned out to be infectious and it wasn't long before I made a couple of trips down to the fourth floor men's room myself. The guy wasn't always there but when he was, I came away with the same satisfied grin that Jerry had. The guy was good!

Other parts of our lives were good, too. Neither one of us seemed to date very often but I, for one, didn't miss it all that much. Jerry didn't seem to either. He said he'd lost a lot of his desire for tobacco and the gym was doing him a world of good. Me, too. My pec's filled out and my butt became firmer and filled out my slacks the way the designer had intended them to be filled out.

But life has a way of throwing you the occasional, unexpected curve, just to show you who's boss and to keep you humble. Mine was a whopper.

Jerry was in some sort of meeting and I had nothing to do that really needed to be done. Besides that, I was horny. So I went down to the fourth floor.

As luck would have it, the place was empty. I thought `Oh, what the hell I'm here anyway,' and went into a booth to jerk off. I was really getting into it when someone came in and went into the other booth. About two seconds later a half hard dick came through the hole. It hung there for just a moment and then began to stretch and rise up.

To this day, I don't know why I did it. Maybe it was just simple curiosity, or maybe it was just the fact that it was there, waiting. More likely it was the whispered "Please?" that came from the other side of the wall. Whatever it was, it made me reach out and take that dick in my hand. I was surprised at how warm and smooth it was as I let my fingers trace up the shaft and feel the flare of the head through its covering of skin.

All the time, of course, part of my brain was screaming at me to stop, let go of that thing, pull up my pants and run like hell. But another part was telling me to put it in my mouth and find out, once and for all, why a man would do that for another man. It was the whispered, "Come on, please?" that decided me.

I took it in slowly, wondering if I was doing it right. I guess I was because the man on the other side of the wall groaned and whispered, "Oh, yeah!" I tried to figure out what he tasted like but I kept loosing track of the thought. Then I think I lost track of thought altogether and just felt. The feeling was wonderful and it scared the shit out of me!

I was caught me by surprise when he came. The bigger surprise was when I came too, right along with him. I hadn't touched myself the whole time but there I was in the throes of an orgasm, shooting cum all over myself while he was shooting it in my mouth. His was salty but tasted sweet, too. Mine was mainly messy.

When it was over I held him in my mouth until he pulled it back through the wall. I watched through the hole as he wiped it off and put it back in his pants. Then he left. I wondered if the other guy, the one who'd done me a few times, had felt empty like this when I'd left.

I pulled myself together, wiped the cum off my shirt as best I could and washed my hands. I decided to go home and change before going back upstairs. I think actually I just didn't want to think about anything for a while, except what I'd just done and what had just happened to me.

But that was not to be.

When I left the men's room, the first thing I saw was Jerry with that self satisfied grin on his face, waiting for the elevator. My impulse was to run but Jerry handled it like the professional he is.

"Kevin," he said, looking me up and down. "You need a clean shirt? I've..."

"No, it's all right Jerry. I'm going home to change. I'll see you later." I bolted for the stairs and then I did run. I made it through the lobby and out the door without seeing anyone I knew.

I couldn't get the image of that dick out of my mind and the taste of it was still strong in my mouth. I thought to myself that it was very handsome, thick and well shaped, with a smooth foreskin that I had to push back with my lips. I mentally compared it to my dick and decided that it was better looking. I wondered how long it would take him before he could do it again.

It happens to everybody, I think, that sometimes you get so fixated on something that you don't see any of the detail around it. This was one of those times for me. It wasn't until I was in the apartment and pulling off my cum soaked shirt that it finally came to me that the big, handsome, responsive dick I had just sucked off in the men's room belonged to Jerry Davis. Jerry, the man I lived with, the man I worked with, the man, for God's sake, that I showered with every day at the gym. And now I'd sucked him off. And he knew it. He knew it was me.

I looked at my options and found that I didn't have any. I couldn't just move away and never see him again and a new identity would take too long. Suicide was too messy. No, there was only one course of action open to me: brazen it out. Pretend it never happened. If those guys in Congress could do it, so could I.

It actually went pretty well. Jerry was working at his computer and merely looked up, smiled and said "Hi," just like nothing had happened. My darkest worry was what might happen at the gym but again, nothing. We went, we changed standing next to each other, and went out to sweat. At six, our normal time to hit the showers, he was right there, standing under the head next to me. I couldn't look him in the eye but I had to look at his dick. He caught me but I pretended that never happened either.

Then, when we were dressed, he said, "Come on Kevin. You need a drink."

We went to Herman's and sat at one of the tables in back. When the waiter came around Jerry ordered double Scotches for us both; we talked about the project at work while we waited. When the drinks had been served Jerry lifted his and said, "To Kevin. You are very good at what you do. Thank you." He touched his glass to mine.

I downed a good half of my drink in one gulp. Jerry signaled the waiter for another round and we sat in silence, sipping our drinks, until the new ones were served. Then, when the waiter had gone, I lifted my drink and said, "Honest to God, Jerry, I've never done anything like that before in my life. I..."

Jerry smiled and cut me off. "Then you must be a natural at it because you're a hell of a lot better than that other guy."

I stared at the tabletop and quietly said, "I don't know what came over me. Why I did it. It just seemed like, I don't know, I guess like I... I had to." I looked up and caught his eye. "Don't hate me for it, Jerry. Don't think I'm a..." It suddenly occurred to me that maybe I was.

"Hey, don't worry about it." He patted me on the shoulder. "And why would I hate you? I'm your best friend and it doesn't matter to me what you do." He drank some of his Scotch. "Now," he said, giving me that lopsided grin of his, "you want to get blind drunk and brood about it or do you want a good steak dinner and a slow walk home? Talking about it is optional."

That broke the tension and made me smile. "The steak, I think. Very rare with fries on the side. And maybe some red wine. I think I've had enough Scotch for the night."

"All good choices, Kevin. Come on, I know just the place." He caught the waiter and gave him some money. Then he lead me down the street a couple of blocks to a place called Just Steak. Jerry was greeted like a long lost friend and we were shown to a quiet, out of the way table. Jerry ordered red wine and the waiter asked him if he wanted his usual. Jerry simply nodded.

"They sort of know me here," he said when the waiter had gone. "I used to come here a lot, you know, when I was dating."

When the wine was served--and it was very good wine--he ordered steak and fries for both of us. He also ordered a plate of cold shrimp, "Something to work on while the guys in back work on the steaks," he told the waiter. The shrimp appeared as if by magic.

"Dig in, Kevin," he said, "you've had a busy day."

I first thought he was referring to what happened in the men's room but then he added, "You aced that presentation this afternoon. I guess I helped a little bit but you, you did all the real work." The similarity of the two afternoon events was not lost on me.

We sipped our wine until the steaks came and talked about the presentation and the project we'd probably have after our boss talked to his boss. Then we mostly ate. I hadn't realized how hungry I actually was. Eating also gave me time to think and by the time the remains were being cleared I knew I had to talk to him. As much for me to figure out what was going on, as for him.

On the walk home I tried to organize my thoughts but it was a fairly useless exercise. Once we were home, changed into sweats and tee shirts and sitting across from each other, it all just tumbled out. Jerry, bless his heart, listened, refilled our wine glasses and listened some more.

When I'd run dry he nodded. Then, out of nowhere, he asked the one question I had ignored, suppressed and edited out of everything: "Yeah, but would you do it again?"

I looked him straight in the eye. "Honest to God? I think I probably would. Just to see... I don't know what, but something."

Jerry seemed very serious about all this but I could see his seriousness beginning to crack around the edges. The corners of his mouth seemed to want to curl upward and his eyes sparkled. He coughed and said, "With someone different or..."

Sometimes I'm pretty dense but this time I got the message. "I'd rather with... well, with someone who knows why I'm doing it. And there's only one guy in the world right now who knows that."

The grin broke through and his whole body seemed to relax. "Kevin? Name the time and the place and I'll be there. No judgment, no games, no nothing but whatever you want to do. And it stays with me. No one ever needs to know unless you want them to."

I got up and pulled him into a hug. "Jerry, you're the best friend a guy ever had. Thank you for that." Before things could become awkward, I let him go and said, "But not now, not tonight. I have a lot of thinking to do Jerry, before I... Well, you know."

So we went to bed, he in his room, I in mine.

Surprisingly, I slept very well. I guess the wheels in my head were still turning pretty fast but I didn't know it. All I knew was that when I woke I felt great and ready to do whatever needed to be done. And I thought what needed to be done was going to turn out to be something of an adventure.

Jerry was very patient and didn't say a word that day. Neither did I until around two, when we were both taking a break, leaning back in our chairs and drinking coffee. I looked at him and said, "Shall we pick up some Chinese food after the gym?" I grinned at him. "We don't want a heavy meal before... Well, you know."

His eyes brightened and that lopsided grin broke out on his face. "Tonight? Really?"

"Unless you want to put it off for a while."

He snorted and shook his head. "Not me!" But then he turned serious. "But what about you? Are you sure about this? Now?"

"Look, Jerry. I need to get on with my life and I can't if I don't know what kind of life it is. No, I think the time is right. In fact..." I stood up so Jerry could see that I was hard. "I may want it more than you do."

"I don't think so, Kevin." He grinned and stood up so I could see that he was hard too, "No, I really don't think so."

The rest of the afternoon dragged by slowly but it was finally quitting time. We went to the gym and when we changed in the locker room I saw that he was pretty much under control. I worked myself hard, that afternoon. Weights, resistance machines and a long run. I was covered with sweat when I finished but I felt great.

The showers, I guess, were a little too much for Jerry. Almost as soon as he got under the hot water he began to stretch out and thicken until he had a full erection. One of the guys came into the showers and grinned at Jerry. "I guess somebody's going to make someone happy tonight, huh?"

Jerry flexed his dick and it snapped up and hit his stomach. "I hope so," he said. "I sure don't want to waste this on my own right hand."

The guy laughed and began to soap up. As he did his dick lengthened and began to thicken, proving the theory that erections are catching.

Dressed, we went up to Daddy Wong's and bought enough food for four of us. Jerry said he sometimes got hungry after. He didn't say after what but I guess he didn't have to. I wondered how I was going to react. After.

We didn't eat much of the food and put most of it in the refrigerator. When that chore was complete we stood awkwardly in the living room for a moment until I said, "My room."



We pulled the covers back on the bed and then looked at each other, wondering how to begin. After a moment Jerry pulled his shirt off then I did the same. "Can we keep the lights on?" I asked. "I want to... see."

"How about we leave the bathroom lights on and the door open. That should let you see, uh, whatever it is you want to see. Okay?"

I nodded, pulled my socks off and stood by my side of the bed, embarrassed because I was already hard. Jerry looked over at me, smiled, and said, "Well, here we go." He hooked his thumbs in his waistband and shoved his pants down. Then he climbed onto the bed and laid on his back, his dick pointing at the light fixture on the ceiling. I pushed my pants down and climbed in next to him.

He turned to me and said, "You wondering how to begin?" I nodded.

"Well, since we're both guys we don't really need that whole soft music and whispered talk thing. So, I guess you just kind of crawl down between my legs and do it." He smiled at me. "Whatever you want. And don't worry. I'll tell you if I like it or not and how to maybe make it better, if that's possible." He reached out and laid his hand on my cheek. "But you make it good for yourself, first."

He pushed a leg against me, I climbed over it and he spread them, giving me room to explore. I leaned in and looked closely at him, at his dick and his balls. His dick was standing straight up, all by itself, his foreskin pulled back just a little way. His balls hung down, resting on the bed. I reached down and felt my own balls. They felt as big as his looked but didn't hang down at all like his did. Mine were always pulled up tight under my dick.

My hand was shaking as I reached out and closed my fingers around his dick. As I did he grunted and thrust up, my hand pulling his foreskin back as it moved down the shaft. I moved so my head was only an inch or two from his dick and then I blew on it. He groaned and said, "Oh, yeah, Kevin. You're doing fine. Just fine."

I licked across the head which made him groan again and that made me do it again. Then, finally, I took the head in my mouth, holding it's wide flair with my lips, and running my tongue over it. Jerry thrust up again and I took in more of it.

"Don't try to take too much of it, Kevin." He laughed. "I know I'm sort of big and a lot of people can't take in very much of it." I pushed down and felt his head against the opening to my throat and then pushed a little bit more, until I thought I might gag. I stopped and held it there.

"Of course," Jerry said with a little groan, "those people were women. You..." I managed to take in another inch or so of him. "You are something else. Oh, God that's good."

I backed off, afraid I was going to choke. I crouched there for a while, playing with the head of his dick with my tongue, until my muscles began to cramp. Then I pulled off and raised my head. "Jerry, could you scoot up on the bed some, so I can lie down?"

"Sure, Kevin. Like this?" He pulled himself up and tucked a pillow behind his head. Then he took my head between his hands and said softly, "You're good at this, Kevin. I don't know what you're feeling but I'm kind of in heaven. Thank you."

I stretched out on the bed, between his legs, and found that I was hard. I reached under myself and pulled my dick up where it wasn't so cramped. It felt good when I touched it.

I took the head of his dick back in my mouth and wondered just what I was feeling. The first thing that occurred to me was his taste. It was like clean skin with a tiny hint of salt and musk and something else that I thought maybe was just him. I ran my tongue along the V groove on the underside of the head and he sucked in his breath and tasted saltier. I finally figured out that he let go with a little shot of pre-cum every time I did that.

Then I took hold of his balls and he almost came off the bed with a loud, `Oh, yeah!"

I looked up at him. "You like that, Jerry?"

"Yeah. My balls are very sensitive, maybe more than my dick even. When you touch them it sends me into orbit."

I looked down at them and then took them in my hand. Jerry moaned and jerked a little. When I lifted them up and ran my tongue over them Jerry sucked his breath in and then let it out in a long sigh. I hefted them for a few seconds, feeling their weight and then sucked one of them into my mouth. After a little experimentation I found that I could get both of them in my mouth if I moved one to the back with my tongue and then sucked the other one in. While I was experimenting Jerry was alternately moaning and cursing, telling me I was doing something right.

I let them out and licked up his sack to the base of his dick and then up the dick to the head. When I went down on it I found that I could take nearly all of him--all but the last couple of inches, where it flared out into a thick root.

"Kevin? Oh, God, Kevin, I'm going to come."

I pulled back. If he was going to come I wanted to taste it, know, at the time it happened, what he tasted like. I held just the head of his dick in my mouth, not moving, and his breathing began to even out and then I felt his thighs begin to relax.

I took another inch of him in and let my tongue play around that V groove, rubbing lightly along it. His breathing became suddenly more rapid and his thighs tensed so I stopped, letting him just be in my mouth.

When he relaxed I started in again. I did that five times and Jerry went from telling me he was going to come, to asking me to make him come to begging me to let him come. When he finally did come he was all over the bed, moaning, groaning, and cursing. It was all I could do to keep him in my mouth.

When he stopped shooting I held him in my mouth, stroked my dick a couple of times and came. My orgasm was explosive and Jerry let me hold him in my mouth through all of it. Then I pulled off of him, crawled up the bed and went to sleep next to him.

I woke around three and found him still in my bed, his arm thrown over my shoulders. I felt the way I had when I was a boy and my dad threw his arm over my shoulders the same way and told me I was a good kid. I went back to sleep, a happy man.

There was no awkwardness in the morning. When the alarm went off, Jerry got out of bed, picked up his clothes, said good morning to me and went to his bathroom. He had a morning erection but didn't try to hide it or show it off; it just was.

The day was a repeat of the one before, including Jerry getting hard in the shower at the gym. It was Friday so we went to Clyde's Burger Basket--a much nicer place than it sounds, believe me--and had martinis and hamburgers for dinner. When we got home all it took was a look between us to bring Jerry into my bed again.

In the morning Jerry asked if he could use my shower and I said sure and offered him my razor. He took the offer.

After breakfast we went over to the park and watched the kids play basketball. We went to a movie in the afternoon and had macaroni and cheese and sausages for dinner, a specialty of mine and comfort food for Jerry. When we went to bed it seemed the most natural thing in the world for Jerry to sleep with me. Well, the sleep part was later but you get the idea.

Over the next couple of weeks Jerry slowly moved his clothes into my closet and we began to share stuff in the bathroom.

Often at night I'd wake up to find his arm thrown across my shoulders or my head nestled in the crook of his arm. I was very comfortable and I thought that if this was what being "that way" was all about, it was fine with me.

A few weeks after we began sleeping together it turned cold and I'd wake up in the morning to find Jerry snuggled up behind me, one arm thrown over my chest. I found I loved the feel of his chest hair against my back and when I felt his dick ridding along my ass, I liked that, too.

One Saturday morning I woke up and found Jerry tight against me, his fingers splayed out on my belly and his erection tucked into my crack, slowly humping me. His breathing was slow and regular and I thought he was still asleep. Then he nuzzled me and slid his other arm under my neck and laid his hand on my chest.

We lay that way for a while before Jerry said, very quietly, "You mind? I mean being held like this and me... You know."

"If you listen very carefully, Jerry, you'll hear me purring."

A little later the hand on my chest moved and the fingers found one of my nipples and began touching it. It was electrifying. A low groan escaped me and I found myself pushing back on him. Then he moved his hand from my belly and pulled my ass cheeks further apart so his dick was riding across my sphincter. Then he put the hand on my other nipple and gently squeezed. I'd never felt anything as pleasurable as what he was doing.

He kissed the back of my neck. "This... This okay, Kevin?"

I nodded, unsure I could speak coherently. Then, through the haze of pleasure it finally came to me what he was doing, what he wanted. I thought about the night before and how big he'd felt in my mouth. I didn't think I could do it. I didn't think anyone could do it.

It was as though he was reading my mind. "It takes time, Kevin. But it's Saturday and we have lots of time." One hand went from my nipple to my belly and stroked the soft hair there, soothing me, lulling me almost into a hypnotic state. And all the time the length of his dick was very slowly moving across my sphincter, calming it and exciting it at the same time.

He kissed the back of my neck again. "We only go as far as you want to go," he said, quietly, so quietly I had to strain to hear him. "If this is all, then this is all. If you want more, then you'll have more. Now relax, Kevin. Let yourself go and just feel all the nice things there are to feel.

His erection slowly moving across my sphincter felt like nothing I'd ever felt and suddenly I had a great urge. "Jerry? I... I've got to go to the bathroom."

He rolled over and lifted the covers. "Man's gotta go, man's gotta go," he said with a grin. Then, more seriously: "You coming back?"

I took hold of his erection; I couldn't close my fingers around it. "Yes."

In the bathroom I took care of my needs and then washed myself carefully. I doubted this thing would come to fruition but I washed anyway. Back in the bedroom Jerry was standing beside the bed, his erection noticeably wilted. He tousled my hair and quietly said, "Wait for me."

I got into the bed and turned on my side, just as I'd been before and waited. It wasn't long before Jerry crawled in behind me. "You sure, Kevin?"

"I don't know how far this can go, but yeah, I'm willing to try."

He settled in behind me, pulling my ass cheeks apart and laying his dick between them. He wasn't quite hard yet but that took only a moment. He'd coated his dick with something very slick and it slid easily along the valley and over my sphincter.

"I put some lube on it, to make it easier. Okay?" His arm went under my neck and his fingers found my nipple, squeezing it gently. I groaned and some small part of my brain wondered how I could have missed the pleasure my nipples could bring. The rest of me didn't care; I was floating on that pleasure.

With his other hand he was slowly stroking my belly and that brought unexpected pleasure too. He kissed the back of my neck and whispered, "Relax, Kevin. Let go and let me take you there. Let yourself open to me. You can do it and you want to do it. Let it happen."

I felt like I was falling, my whole body becoming jelly, becoming what he wanted. He'd stopped stroking along my ass and I could feel the head of his dick at my sphincter, pressing against it with a very light pressure. I knew I couldn't do it but still, I willed myself to open and pressed back against him.

Both hands were on my nipples now, squeezing harder than before, raising the level of the pleasure. "Take a couple of very deep breaths," he whispered. "Then push, like in the bathroom."

I did that and felt myself begin to open to him. I did it again and very slowly the head of his dick came into me. As the wide flair of the head slipped past my sphincter I was suddenly engulfed in fire. Not just my ass but my whole body was burning with a pain like none I'd ever felt before. I bit hard on the pillow to keep from crying out.

His fingers tightened on my nipples and he whispered, "Which is stronger, the pain or the pleasure?"

I didn't know. I didn't care. Then he let my nipples go and put his hand on my belly, moving it lightly over me. My nipples seemed to expand when he let go but the pleasure in them never stopped. He kissed me on the back of the neck and said, "Which is it?"

It was the pleasure but I couldn't tell him. I was still biting down on the pillow. Then, gradually, the fire began to go out. First in my legs and chest, then in the rest of my body, leaving it only in my ass. Even there it began to fade, only to be replaced by something else, some pleasure that I'd never felt before. It wasn't long before the pleasure replaced the pain completely; still Jerry hadn't moved except for his hand, slowly petting my belly.

I pushed back, taking a little bit more of him into me.

"Slow, Kevin, slow. Maybe even not all of it, just what you want. What you can take."

I nodded although I wasn't sure he could see me do it. I still couldn't speak but now it was from the pleasure. I pushed back again, taking more of him. Jerry's fingers went back to my nipples and I knew I was going to take it all.

When I felt his wiry hair against my ass I stopped and waited.

"My God, you're wonderful Kevin. But don't move, please don't..."

He was quiet for what seemed like a long time but was probably only a minute or so. Then: "I'm going to come. I can't stop it, Kevin. I can't." I felt him go rigid and swell inside me. Then I felt the first shot. And the second and the third. Then I lost track because I was coming too and reality had turned all screwy.

It was a long time before he spoke. "Kevin? You okay?"

I squeezed down on his dick and he groaned. "Yeah," I said. "I'm just waiting for... I want to feel you go soft."

He laughed. "Kevin, that's not going to happen anytime soon, not where I am. Not with the hot, wet silk of your ass wrapped around my dick."

I pulled forward a little and then pushed back, just to see if I could. It felt wonderful and I guess it felt the same way to him because he let out another groan.

Then he did it, pulling back a little and then pushing in, until I felt his hair against my ass again. "Is it okay, Kevin? I mean, can we... You know, can we do it?"

I had to grin. I'd never heard him speak so delicately. "You mean can you fuck me ?" I chuckled. "I didn't go through all that just to have you pull it out."

"Oh, God, Kevin. You're so good to me. Are you sure?"

I was sure and it turned out to be wonderful. There was more pleasure in it than I ever could have guessed and Jerry knew exactly how to make the most of that pleasure. He was slow, gentle, loving. And he took a long time doing it and right after he came he took me in hand and jerked me off. That was something I hadn't expected.

So he showed me the joys of fucking--more accurately, of getting fucked. And Jerry was a master of it and took me places I never dreamed existed much less places I'd be able to go. We did it a lot that winter, mostly on weekends so we'd have time to, as Jerry put it, "Do it as it ought to be done." On weeknights I sucked him off and after that first time fucking me, he always jerked me off afterward.



Other good things happened to us as well. For one thing, based on our project, we each got a very substantial raise. Our boss cast about for another, equally challenging, project but after a week and a half they couldn't come up with anything so we proposed our own and it was accepted by management.

Both of us became much better and more adventurous cooks and we ate very well. We still went out a lot, often at Just Steak or Clyde's Burger Basket. We also bought season tickets to see the local basketball team. We'd both given up dating, although we never talked about it. I guess we were just comfortable with each other and we certainly didn't need to date for sex. I occasionally wondered if it bothered Jerry that his constant sex partner was another man but he seemed happy enough with it. He once told me that he was having more, and better, sex than he'd ever had in his life. I took that to be a complement.

Then, of course, Life threw another curve and this time it hit both of us squarely between the eyes.

It was a Sunday morning in late spring. We'd both done our thing in the bathroom and were back in bed, with Jerry inside me. He'd said he wanted to try a different position, just to see how it was. He'd read somewhere that it might bring me even more pleasure. I doubted that was possible but we tried it anyway.

He put me on my back with my knees on his shoulders and it actually did make a difference, especially when he came into me. He was able to slide his whole dick slowly into me without a pause and there wasn't the slightest twinge of pain as he did it. I somehow felt more filled with him than I ever had before.

I let my legs move apart and slip over his arms and down his flank until they stopped just above his buttocks. He hunched over until his face was just over mine and his belly was rubbing against my dick.

I could always tell when he was close the coming and when he was, I looked up into his eyes. He smiled at me, leaned down and kissed me on the mouth. Our tongues flirted with each other and his, of course, won. He licked my lips and when my mouth opened he invaded it as only he could. Then, on that last inward thrust, he said, "My God, I love you Kevin."

I watched his face as he came. "I love you too, Jerry. I think I have for a long time." Then I began coming, my orgasm stretching out longer than it ever had before. He brought his face back down to mine and kissed me again.

Afterward, after we'd cleaned ourselves and remade the bed, we went out to the kitchen and he poured orange juice for both of us. Then he went to the cupboard and poured a healthy slug of vodka into the juice. He handed me mine and in a low, calm voice he said, "I can't do this anymore, Kevin."

"What can't..."

"I can't be gay." He looked at me, his eyes fierce with emotion. "I just can't. I won't. I'm straight and I have to..."

The sentence kind of hung in the air and I figured he'd say he had to have sex with women or something. But no, it couldn't be that simple.

"I have to leave. I can't live this way and I have to go." He tossed back most of his drink and said, "Now."

He took his keys off the rack by the back door and then turned to me. "I'm sorry Kevin, I'm truly sorry. But I can't." He opened the door and was gone. Just like that.

I wandered into the bedroom and stood for a long time, staring at the bed, at what I'd come to think of as our bed. Then I went into the living room and sat in the wingchair, where I always sat, to think.

I looked around the room and I saw Jerry everywhere, from his book lying open on the coffee table to the little stack of CD's he'd bought but hadn't had a chance to listen to. It crossed my mind to gather up his things and put them out in the hallway, the way Eva had done. But she had wanted to be rid of him and I wanted him to come back. The words we'd whispered this morning kept running through my head. I love you. How many times had I said I love you before? When I thought about it the answer came to me: none. I'd said them to my mom, I guess, and even once or twice to my dad but I couldn't recall ever saying them to anyone else, not even in the heat of passion. I wondered how many times Jerry had said them.

I stared blankly at the couch where Jerry usually sat, willing him to be there. I don't know what else I did, I think perhaps nothing but when I looked at the clock it was just past five and Jerry still wasn't sitting in his accustomed place on the couch.

I thought about getting drunk but then thought what if he comes back. I don't want to be drunk when he comes back. So I turned on the news and stared at the TV the same way I'd stared at the couch. After a while I turned it off, went into the bedroom, undressed and got into bed. There was nothing else left to do.

I don't know how much I slept but enough so that it was the alarm that woke me. I was a little disoriented because I was on the wrong side of the bed and Jerry wasn't there. Then it all came back to me.

I'm not sure how I did it but I went through the motions of showering and dressing and then I went to work. There was no point in doing anything else. Besides, I'd see him there. I thought maybe we could work something out. Shows you what I know.

I stopped at Winchell's and bought coffee and donuts for us but of course he wasn't in the office. I gave the donuts to the mail guy because the very idea of them made me sick to my stomach. Around ten, Sally, Mr. Grieb's secretary, came in and said Jerry had called in sick. She gave me an odd look and asked me if I was okay. I said I was. What else could I say? "No, I'm dying inside?"

I made it through the day. I even went to the gym, hoping he might be there but of course he wasn't. I made good use of the machines and was exhausted when I quit. Somehow it felt better.

I went home and found his things gone. None of his clothes were left in our closet, his few books, his CD's and his DVD's were gone, leaving holes in the symmetry of the bookcase. I decided that it was okay to get drunk now; I was pretty sure he wasn't coming back.

I went into the kitchen and poured a big slug of scotch into a glass. I'd drunk about half of it when I saw the note on the counter by the stove. It said, "I'm sorry," and was signed with a lower case "j," complete with a dot over it.

I finished my scotch and poured another. This time I put some ice in it, just to prove that Jerry hadn't taken all of my civility with him. I watched the news, drank some more scotch and went to bed. I guess maybe it was the scotch that did it, or maybe I was just too weak to hold it back anymore. Whatever it was, I started to cry. I hadn't cried since I was twelve years old but that night I made up for it.

When the alarm went off I had to pee so bad that I actually got out of bed. Standing at the toilet I had to laugh. See? Score another one for my civility.

Since I was upright I figured the easiest thing to do was go to work. At Winchell's I realized I was very hungry so I bought two of those big cinnamon rolls. I also bought two crullers for the mail guy because he'd been so delighted with them the day before and because he hadn't said anything about Jerry not being there. Small favors are often the biggest favors.

At the office Sally came in and wanted to know what was going on. I said I had no idea what she was talking about. She told me that Jerry had been in that morning to see Mr. Grieb. After he left Mr. Grieb had asked her to call Personnel and post his job. Jerry was being transferred to the Financial Group on the twenty-fifth floor.

I told her the truth: I'd had no idea he was looking for a transfer. She gave me a long look and said, "Listen, Kevin. If there's anything I can do, you just let me know. If you need to talk or a shoulder to cry on." Then she left. My only thought was to wonder if everyone knew. And what it was that they knew.

The rest of the day, and actually the rest of the week, went along quietly. Several people stuck their heads in the office to say they'd heard about Jerry's transfer and wondered who the new person was going to be. I told them they knew as much as I did. Perhaps more.

The weekend was rough but I made it through it with minimal damage. I spent a lot of time just walking around, pretending I was window shopping but actually just putting one foot in front of the other, my mind pretty much a blank.

Work was better. I was doing both my job and Jerry's and that left me no time to brood. I was surprised on Thursday when the mail guy asked me out for a drink after work. "Well," I thought, "even if he is a kid, he'll be better company than an empty apartment." I accepted.

We met in the lobby and I hardly recognized him. He'd slicked down his hair--which usually looked like a hedgehog sleeping on his head--and put on a tie. When I went to shake hands with him I realized I hadn't any idea what his name was.

"Ed," he said when I asked. "Ed Gardner."

Ed took me to a place he knew, several blocks over from the office, where he proceeded to order us very dry martinis, up. The bartender, who seemed to know the boy, looked at me and then asked to see some ID. The boy produced a card from his wallet, the bartender looked at it and nodded.

When the drinks came Ed touched his glass to mine and said, "I guess it's pretty hard right now, Mr. D. but when things are... better, maybe we, I mean you and me, maybe we could get together?"

I'm dense, I know, and not very knowledgeable in the ways of the world, so I really didn't get what this kid was suggesting, not until I found his leg pressed against mine and his hand on my thigh.

"Ed, how old are you?"


I caught and held his eye.

"Okay, nineteen but I'll be twenty in a couple of months."

I laughed. "Ed, I'm thirty-one. Twelve years older than you are."

He turned and looked at me, studying my face and then letting his eyes slip down across my chest. "Maybe. But you're hot, Mr. D. Hot. Lots of the guys think so, and I..." He hung his head. "Well, I thought, what with Mr. Williams out of the picture and all, maybe I could... Well, maybe I could sort of cheer you up."

I was stunned. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry to or run for my life. What I did do is get off the barstool and pull him off of his. Then I took him into a bear hug and held him tightly against me, from my chest to my crotch.

"That is about the kindest, most thoughtful thing that has ever been said to me," I said, letting him push the lump in his crotch against mine. "But I'm afraid I'm off limits just now and maybe always will be. And those other guys? Tell them they haven't got a chance. If it was going to be anyone, it'd be you." I kissed him lightly on the mouth and helped him back up on his stool. "You want another drink?"

He did so I ordered gin and tonics instead of martinis. I wanted him to get home safely. Me I didn't care about just then.

But I did get home safely and after a dinner of scrambled eggs and stale toast I went to bed and for the first time since Jerry left, went right to sleep.



When I took the donuts in the next day I told Ed he got only one because I didn't want my eye candy to get fat.

Around three, Sam, who ran the Mail Department, came into the office and said, "You and I are having drinks tonight after work. I'll pick you up here." He was gone before I could protest that I had to go to the gym.

He came to get me a little after five. "Really, Sam, I can't. I have to get in my gym time."

Sam laughed and poked me in the belly. "You won't go completely soft if you skip a day. Now come on."

We went to Mom's, a place I'd not been before. Sam said they specialized in very good liquor to get you drunk and very good antipasto to keep you sober.

When we were settled at a small table with martinis and an antipasto plate, Sam looked at me and said, "Now what's this about, you getting my mail staff all riled up?"

I laughed. "Word gets around, doesn't it."

"Yeah," he said, "Especially since I'm one of the guys who doesn't stand a chance because of Ed."


"Of course I am. Everybody knows that. Especially the mail boys, to whom I'm very unavailable."

"Then what's going on Sam? Why the sudden come-on from Ed?"

Sam sampled some salami and pronounced it good. "Well, after you and Jerry broke up, some of the guys thought you might be fair game. Especially Ed who's had the hots for you since he started work here. But you know what? Ed, for all his callow youth, has an actual set of ethics. You were taken and he respected that. Then you weren't taken and... Well, you know the rest."

I fleetingly wondered what Jerry would make of all this. "So who are the `lots of guys' who think I'm hot?" I laughed. "I just can't think of myself as hot!"

Sam raised an eyebrow. "Well, you are, Kevin. There are a number of us who'd like to get in your pants." He turned serious. "But it's too early, isn't it? Jerry's been gone, what? A week? More importantly, is he coming back?"

"No, I don't think so." I finished my drink and signaled the waiter for another. "If the truth be known, he was never there."

"Now what the hell does that mean?"

"Look, Sam. Jerry's straight. Hell, I was straight when Jerry and I started living together. We never had anything to break up."

Sam shook his head. "Then a lot of people sure dropped the ball on this one. Including me. Really? I would have sworn you guys were a couple. This is not going to make Ed's day." Then he blushed, which I thought was rather charming. "And I hope you aren't offended that some of us thought you were gay. I mean, you guys worked in the same office, you lived together, you did a lot of stuff together. Can you see how we may have gotten the wrong impression?"

I laughed. "You don't know the half of it, Sam. But yes, I can see how you might have gotten that impression. And the truth is, at the age of thirty, I began to realize that I was... Well, that I might be gay." I don't know why, but I went on to tell Sam the whole story. Maybe I just needed to talk to someone and Sam was conveniently there to listen. When I got to the part about the fantastic cock-sucker in the fourth floor men's room he laughed.

"Yeah, that was Al. He's not there anymore."

"He was one of your guys?"

"No, but all my guys knew him and several of them visited him pretty regularly."

"I never saw anyone..."

"You wouldn't have. Al had a private office down on five and we delivered mail there occasionally. The guys kept a chart so no one got to go down there twice in a row. Delivering mail to Al was something of a perk."

When I finished my story, Sam was quiet for a long time. Then he ordered pesto pasta for both of us along with a bottle of wine.

"So you guys were having sex? And you thought you were straight? Man, that's a pretty big fiction to try and maintain. How in hell did you manage it?"

I laughed. "I didn't. I realized pretty quick that I was enjoying what we were doing much more than anything I'd ever done with a woman. More importantly, I realized that I had an emotional stake in what we were doing." I shrugged. "Jerry was able to keep the two separate. At least until last week."

Sam didn't say anything until after the pasta and wine were served. Then he looked me squarely in the eye and said, "So now you're gay? You like guys? Sex with guys?"

"I don't know. I've only had sex with one guy. Well, and what's his name, the forth floor cock-sucker."

"Al." He looked off into space and ate his pasta for a while. Then he said, "You know what? You need to experience the other side of gay life. I mean, you've already seen what it's like, being in a relationship. Now you should experience the gay side of gay life."

I hadn't any idea what he was talking about and said so.

"You know, go out and have sex with a bunch of guys. Be the party boy. God knows you're pretty enough to be the life of the party."

I said I didn't think I was ready for that just then. I wasn't ready for much of anything.

He let me pay the dinner bill and, as we were leaving the restaurant, he said, "Kevin? When you're through with Ed, can I be next?" He said it with a smile but I knew he meant it.

Things went along okay for the next four or five weeks. Mr. Grieb tried to move a couple of people into my office but none of them worked out. A good looking girl lasted the longest, a week.

I had dinner with Sam a few times and he never failed to encourage me to try the gay--the wild--side of life. One night he suggested I go to Palm Springs and for some reason that caught my attention. So I said, "If I go to Palm Springs, will you stop harping on this?"

He nodded. "But only if you stay where I tell you to."

I let it ride until one morning when Mr. Grieb came into the office carrying a couple of cups of Sally's coffee. He made himself comfortable sitting on the empty desk--the desk that used to be Jerry's--and told me that upstairs they seemed to be having a little trouble. He tried to look very businesslike but I could tell he was enjoying telling the story.

It seemed that Jerry wasn't producing the way they'd thought he would. He was leaving early a lot and taking a lot of time off, none of which added up to stellar performance. Then he looked squarely at me and said, "You seem to have the opposite problem, Kevin. You don't take any time off, but still... Well, you aren't giving us as much as you did once."

He hopped down off the desk and put a hand on my shoulder. "I think it's about time you took some time off. A week or two. Pull yourself together so you can get back to what you're supposed to be doing." He squeezed my shoulder, emphasizing the whole speech. "Perhaps next week. What do you think?"

What could I think? I said I'd see to it.

I called the travel department and made arrangements to fly out to Palm Springs on Saturday, coming back the following Saturday. Then I called Sam.

Palm Springs in May is hot! And there I was, in a flannel shirt, undershirt, black jeans and boots. I knew I was going to have to do some shopping. But at least the place I was going to stay had two pools and I'd bought three new bathing suits just for this trip.

I never wore one of them for more than five minutes. The place Sam had sent me turned out to be exclusively gay, exclusively male and clothing optional. That is to say, no one ever wore anything at the place. I was a little unsure about it at first but adapted remarkably rapidly.

That first day I did wear one of my new bathing suits but I felt so out of place I discarded it after only a few minutes.

The guys staying there turned out to be friendly, non-judgmental and a lot of fun. There were all kinds of guys, old, young, muscular, fat, black, white, and yellow and every one of them was friendly. It turned out to be a wonderful week.

There were a couple of hitches, though. Laying on the sundeck on the second day a good looking guy came over to me and asked if he could blow me. I didn't know what to say so I said yeah, he could. He moved my legs apart, crawled up between them and took my dick in his mouth. I was hard in an instant and what he did felt good but I knew I'd never be able to come. He worked on me for a half hour or so before he got up, kissed me and said, "I guess you need to rest a little longer. Maybe later, huh?" Then he was gone.

The third night was worse. I couldn't sleep and about two or so I went out to lie by the pool. There were a bunch of guys out there, all of them having sex in one way or another. A guy came up to me and began fondling my dick which got hard immediately. Then he unrolled a condom on it and sat, taking it into him. Again, it felt okay--and I stayed hard--but that's all it was, okay. He rode me for a while and then I turned him over and rode him. I guess it was pretty good for him--he came twice--but didn't do much for me. The truth is, my hand brought me more pleasure than his ass could.

That was all the sex I had there, but I came home with a marvelous, dark tan. I thought about lying to Sam but in the end told him the truth. He said I was hopeless. He also said not to forget: After Ed, him.

It was only a few weeks after that--in early July--that life threw me the ultimate curve.

It was Friday, after work, and I went to the gym just like I always do. I changed and went out on the floor for a long workout, first the cardio run and then the strength training machines. After an hour and a half I figured I'd done enough and was tired enough to sleep the night through.

I was a little disappointed that I was alone in the showers. I really like looking at some of the good looking, buff guys. But I wasn't alone for long.

"Hi, Kevin."

It was Jerry, naked and looking better than I remembered. He just stood there, looking at me. Then I saw that he was starting to puff up. By the time I thought to say, "Hi, Jerry," he was hard, bigger and thicker than I remembered.

He looked down at his dick, looked up at me, looked down at his dick again and said, "Shit!" Then he walked over and put his hand on my shoulder. "Can we have dinner, Kevin? Please?"

I nodded and he left, going back into the locker room.

By the time I went into the locker room, he was dressed and leaning against the bank of lockers opposite ours. He stood there the whole time I was getting dressed, not saying a word, not smiling, just looking at me. It should have been creepy but it wasn't. It was Jerry.

When I was dressed we left without a word and went to Clyde's. He ordered martinis for us and it wasn't until they were served and we'd touched glasses that he spoke to me.

"I've missed you, Kevin. Missed you so much." Then he began to cry, not making a sound, the only evidence being the tears running down his cheeks.

I took my napkin and wiped the tears off his cheeks, and waited.

"I'm impotent," he said very quietly, taking the napkin out of my hand and blowing his nose.

"You didn't look that way to me, back there in the gym," I said.

He wiped his cheeks and blew his nose again before swallowing the rest of his drink. "With women," he said. "Maybe with other guys, I don't know. Not with you."

I caught the waiter and ordered another round. Jerry was silent until the new drinks were put in front of us. Then it came out, like a torrent he could no longer contain.

After he'd left he went to a woman he knew and asked to spend the night. She took him into her bed but he couldn't do anything. He'd thought it was just because he was upset. But it wasn't. He couldn't perform with any of the women he'd tried it with over the next months. Eventually he'd given up.

The curious thing, at least to him, was that he could masturbate with great pleasure. When he realized that he always masturbated to images of me and what we'd done in bed, he'd stopped. Then he started dreaming about dying.

He ordered more drinks and I asked for burgers and fries, too.

It was dreaming about dying that finally drove him to find help. The woman he went to--he couldn't bring himself to go to a man--not only listened to him, but she made him listen to himself. It took a month or so of seeing her every other day but he finally came to realize that what mattered was that he was capable of love. He was able to love and even if it was another man he loved, it was still love.

We ate our burgers in silence, each of us lost in our own thoughts.

When we'd had our fill I looked at him and asked point blank: "Are you gay, Jerry?"

He held my eyes. "I don't know. I truly don't know." He paused and picked up a French fry. After studying it a moment he put it down on his plate. "But I do know two things: I love you and I've hurt you terribly." I thought he might start to cry again but he didn't. He held my eyes and said, "I'm sorry for that, Kevin. I think I've thrown away something very valuable."

I stood and nodded at the bartender. He nodded back; he knew I was good for the dinner. Then I held my hand out. "Come on, Jerry. Let's go home and see if we can find it again."

He took my hand and intertwined his fingers with mine. When we were outside the restaurant he turned to me and said, "Really? Home?"

"Yes, Jerry. Home. Where you and I belong."

He kissed me, right there on a busy street and we held hands all the way home.


Comments always appreciated.

Greg Bowden