Mike and Danny: In Love
Note that these stories, including this one, are not an endorsement of unsafe sex. They take place many years before the appearance of AIDS and before it was standard practice to use condoms to reduce the risk of infection from sexually transmitted diseases. Remember always: that was then, this is now. Sex is precious, and so are life and health.
Ty had liked Marty from the start. There was something about himhis thoughtful face and the way it would break softly into a smile when something pleased him. But mostly, when Ty thought about it, it was the way he held himself so still, as if to keep in check a host of restless feelings inside.
Walking through the door with Mike the night of the storm, he'd looked around the lamp-lit kitchen, like an orphan or a runawaya little lost and hoping this was somewhere that would feel like home. It was only a fleeting expression that quickly vanished as he said hello and took them all in.
"I wonder if he knows he's queer," Rich had said to Ty when they talked about him later.
"What makes you think he is?"
"You can just tell."
"The way he looks at you."
Ty thought for a moment. "Like an orphan?"
Rich nodded. "You could put it that way."
"Is that what you saw when you met me?"
"Yeah, when I finally took a good look at you."
Ty shook his head, not sure he believed all this. "And you're right about this all the time?"
Rich laughed. "Damn near."
"Must have made it easy finding someoneyou knowlike yourself."
"Well, yeah, that too." Ty was still an innocent about the ways of the world. All he knew was Rich and the tumult of feelings that welled up in him sometimes when they were together.
"Knowing's not worth much if the other guy don't want you to know. He can take a swing at you."
"That ever happen to you?"
Rich studied him a moment, and then reached out his hand to touch his face. "Time or two," he said.
"Guess you got lucky with me."
Rich's dark eyes met his. "That ain't the word for it."
They had made love while Mike was gone at Tully's helping Marty with the cows.
It had started out as a game of checkerssomething to do until the power came back on and they could go back to watching TV. After Ty had won a game, Rich had walked onto the side porch, smoking a cigarette and looking out into the night, listening to the rain falling in the trees.
Ty had looked at him then in the soft glow of the lamplight from the kitchen, his angular shoulders under his tee shirt and his hips slung to the side as he stood in his bare feet, his weight on one leg. His jeans fit loosely around him, the frayed cuffs touching the floor.
Ty had walked up behind him, put his arms around his waist and said simply, "You are beautiful."
He felt Rich's hands touch his and press them into the firm muscle of his belly.
"You are a fuckin' miracle," Rich said, taking a last drag on his cigarette. "And I thought I didn't believe in miracles."
He pushed open the screen door with his foot and flipped the butt in a long arc into the grass, the ember glowing for a moment before the rain snuffed it out. Then he pushed Ty's hands down so they rested on the front of his jeans.
Under the denim, Ty could feel Rich's cock growing long and full. And they stood like this together for a while, Ty pressing his own cock hard against Rich's backside.
He slipped one hand under Rich's tee shirt, searching for his nipples, rubbing one and then the other with his thumb, and Rich had arched his back, sighing and letting his head fall backward against Ty's cheek.
Then Ty had pulled Rich's tee shirt off him so he could caress the naked skin of his chest and his belly, pushing his fingers under the waistband of his jeans to get a touch of the coils of curly hair inside.
Finally, he'd unbuttoned the waistband and pulled down the zipper, slipping his whole hand in to grasp his hard cock and pull it out. The feel of his erection had never stopped amazing him. Warm, almost hot, as he stroked it, the skin soft and smooth over what felt like hard muscle under it.
"Give me your hand," Rich said, pulling it from around his cock and lifting it toward his mouth, where Ty felt a slick of wet spit drop into his palm.
"Go to town," Rich said, bringing his hand back down to his hard-on.
And Ty began stroking him again, the saliva spreading between his fingers and Rich's cock getting harder.
A while later, when they heard Mike's truck pulling into the driveway, they were both naked, Rich lying in the porch hammock and Ty straddling him, his toes touching the floor on both sides.
"Ride me like a horse," Rich had said, laughing for a moment in the midst of it all. "A mustang."
"Giddyup," Ty said, laughing along with him.
That sex could be funny like this had come as a big surprisenot long after his discovery of passion itself, the feeling of being lifted with someone else right into the stratosphere. The dead serious book he'd read from the seminary library had said nothing about this. All about Christian duty and God's will, it had neglected to mention what sex was surely intended to bean intense, mind-altering experience.
"Mike's back," Ty had said, looking out through the porch screens.
"Aw, hell," Rich said, not ready for it to be over.
They had both comeit was something that never took long unless they let itand Ty could feel Rich still firmly inside him.
When the truck stopped in front of the house, they heard two doors open and Mike talking as he got out.
"He's got someone with him," Ty said.
"Shit," Rich said, his body suddenly jerking into motion under Ty.
They had tumbled out of the hammock and grabbed their clothes from the floor, Rich hurrying to the bathroom to wash Ty's cum off his chest. When Mike and Marty walked in, Ty was sitting at the kitchen table where he and Rich had been playing checkers.
The next day, while Rich was working on his motorcycle, Ty had been pleased when Marty showed up again. There as he came walking from his truck was that lost and hopeful look in his eyes, and Ty wanted more than anything to make him feel at home with them.
In the pool, Marty had seemed happy. When he smiled and laughed, Ty decided that he must be keeping no secrets from himself, and he was learning that he was safe here. It was simply a matter of time until he started talking about it all, knowing that there was nothing he needed to hide.
But it didn't work out that way. He'd been wrong, and maybe Rich had been right. All along, Marty had not understood.
"He doesn't have a clue," Rich had said then, as Marty hurried to his truck, stopping only once when he got through the gate to pick up a shoe he had dropped. The two of them had watched from the pool as he gunned the truck's engine, spinning his tires and kicking up dust and gravel stones as he took off, never looking back at them.
"Why'd you talk to him like that?" Ty had said.
"I dunno. So unfriendly. You even said not to come to the party."
"I only told him to think twice," Rich said, still hugging him in the pool.
He began to wonder whether Rich had done the right thing. The two of them had sat up late that night watching TV, but he couldn't keep his mind on it, his memory drifting to the look on Marty's face before he jumped out of the pool and ran off.
And after Rich had finally fallen asleep in bed, Ty had lain awake much of the night, unable to get Marty out of his mind. There had been a time when Ty would have reacted in the same waynot ready to accept the truth about himself.
But the kindness of Mike, who never lost patience with him, had helped him find his way through his own fears and confusion. It wasn't right to treat Marty the way they had.
The next day he got up early and found Mike in the kitchen, cooking up eggs and bacon while he finished a big bowl of Wheaties. Sitting at the table, he told Mike what had happened and everything he'd been thinking.
Mike had simply listened as he ate, getting up to pour himself more coffee, his work shirt still unbuttoned and hanging out of his jeans, his stocking feet padding softly on the linoleum. His face was unshaven, and he looked a little tired from the long days he'd put in.
"So you think you should be doing something?" Mike finally said.
"That's what I'm asking you, Mike."
Mike shrugged. "I can't say I really know Marty. Maybe it was a mistake bringing him here that night."
"No, Mike," Ty said, and he was thinking of how lost he'd been until he'd found Mike and Dannyand most of all Rich. "I think he really needs us. All of us."
Mike sat back in his chair and studied his coffee cup. "You know, sometimes the best thing is to do nothing at all," he said.
"I know that, but I can't do nothing."
"Then you do what you have to do," Mike said, as if everything were that simple.
So later that morning, Ty had driven his car over to Tully's place, hoping he'd catch Marty there still milking the cows. He parked his Rambler next to Marty's truck and walked into the barn, where he found him washing the milking machines, his sleeves rolled up as he scrubbed the disassembled parts in a deep sink full of soap suds.
"Morning," Ty said.
"Morning." Marty's voice was level and steady, and he didn't stop working.
It was like church canvassing in a way, showing up at someone's door and not knowing whether they'd be polite or rude to you. He'd often been left standing on the front step, the door suddenly closing in his face when people found out who he was and what he wanted.
"Rejection sometimes is your only friend," someone had told him once.
While he'd been in a whirl of confusion the whole way there, he found a calm suddenly settling inside him. This would be whatever it was going to be no matter what. Now that he'd shown up at the door, it was all out of his hands.
"I've been thinking about you," he said, deciding that just stating a fact was the best way to start.
Marty didn't respond.
"We could have been a little more friendly yesterday," Ty said, aware thatthough it was still the truthhe was already choosing his words carefully.
Marty still didn't respond.
"I just want to apologize," Ty said.
"No need for that," Marty said, not looking at him.
"We weren't thinking."
"Like I said" Marty looked over at him now. "There's no need."
"OK then," Ty said, realizing that he was already running out of things to say. "We still want you to come over Saturday night."
Marty put down the scrub brush he'd been using and stood with both hands on the edge of the sink.
"You two have sex with each other?" he said, the look on his face now like someone trying to fathom the impossible.
Ty, who'd never had to answer a question like this before, was speechless for a moment. "When you really love someone," he finally said, and the answer when it came to him had all the clarity of the truth that it was, "it's what you do."
Marty shook his head and looked away.
"I was like you once," Ty went on. "I couldn't believe thatnot with another man, no matter how much you loved him."
He couldn't tell if the look on Marty's face was one of scorn or disbelief.
"But it happensit happens in this worldand it's supposed to happen," Ty said.
The words as he spoke them were tightening his throat, and he could feel the beginnings of tears in his eyes. It did not matter anymore what Marty thought about him or what he was saying. The truth was what it was, and it couldn't be denied. Not anymore.
He thought of how it felt to press against Rich's naked back, arms embracing him as they stood on the side porch that night, listening to the rain.
"And it's wonderful," he said, almost to himself. "Wonderful."
Marty went back to scrubbing. For him, the conversation seemed to be over.
"Don't expect me Saturday. I won't be there," he said.
"OK," Ty said. "But if you change your mind" He didn't finish the sentence. Instead, after a moment he said, "So long," and went out the door to his car.
Mike had been right. Sometimes the best thing is to do nothing.
On Saturday, Rich and Ty went into town for a keg of Budweiser, ice, big bags of chips and pretzels, cole slaw and potato salad, steaks for the grill, a bag of charcoal, a stack of plastic cups, and the rest of what they needed for the party. Ty went to a Hallmark store at the new mall and came out with streamers and balloons.
"Kinda girly, don't you think?" Rich said, like he was trying not to laugh. "It's a bunch of men drinking beer, not a baby shower."
"Eat me," Ty said, using one of Rich's pet expressions.
"Right here or you wanna wait till we get home?" Rich said and laughed. They were in the parking lot, sitting in the front seat of Ty's car.
"I have a choice?"
"I love it when you get pissed," Rich said and laughed again. "It's so fuckin' out of character."
Sometimes, like this, it felt like the two of them were complete opposites. All they had in common were an unexplainable affection for each other and the inability to keep their hands to themselves.
Rich was already reaching over to him to slip his fingers between his legs. "I'm serious. Anybody ever gone down on you in your car?"
Ty remembered the night in the park and the stranger who emerged from the bushes and got in with him.
"Somebody tried once," he said.
"Cop showed up."
"Fuck, you're kidding."
"Fuck, I'm not." Ty still felt odd talking like this. He wondered if he'd ever use four-letter words without sounding like someone just practicing how to say them. Meanwhile, they tripped off Rich's tongue with the ease and grace of a psalm from the King James bible.
"He bust you?"
"Gave me a warning."
Rich shook his head, his hand still on Ty's leg. "Tell you what I think. You still got a blowjob coming," and he gave Ty a sly grin.
"Not here, if that's what you've got in mind."
"Yeah, right here." Rich was now pawing with both hands at his crotch.
"Aw, c'mon," Ty said, turning on the ignition and starting the car. "There's people around."
Rich reached with one hand to the ignition and switched it off.
"No, you're gonna get your cock sucked, and you're gonna like it," he said.
"What if somebody sees us?"
But there was no stopping Rich, who had enough strength in his hands to break bones, if not crush rock. Ty sighed and let Rich have his way, opening his pants and getting his hand into his shorts before taking a quick look around through the car windows and then diving down into his lap.
From that point, Ty was torn between the intense pleasure of Rich's mouth on his cock and the terror of being seeneven observed from a surveillance camera somewhere, and he looked around for one pointed their way from high on a lamp post or a wall.
The excitement made him go hard and soft and hard again in seconds. His eyes would fall closed and then they'd fly open again as he kept scanning the parking lot around them for shoppers on footor security guards running toward them from all directions.
"If I get busted this time," he said. "I'm really gonna be fucked." And for once the word sounded exactly like someone who'd used it so many times he owned it.
Rich just kept it up and said nothing, stroking the inside of his thigh and humming once in a while like he was enjoying every minute.
Suddenly Ty gripped the steering wheel and after a moment of frozen time felt himself starting to come.
"Ahhh," he cried out, clamping his teeth shut to keep the sound inside him. "Ahhh," the sound escaped from him again. And then his eyes went shut and stayed shut, as wave upon wave burst from between his legs.
Finally, he sank back into the seat, gasping, and when he opened his eyes there was Rich grinning at him.
"How was that?" he said.
By the time Danny got home, late in the afternoon, everybody was there waiting for himMike, of course, Rich and Ty. And Ted and Ed had driven over from Hastings.
They gathered at the front gate as Danny got out of his Camaro, with a big smile, and wrapped his arms around Mike, who hugged him long and hard, while the rest of them cheered and clapped. As he came through the gate, Mike's arm still around him, they slapped him on the back and the butt and cheered some more. Someone handed him a beer.
Of all of them, Ty knew Danny the least and hung back while Danny said hi to everyone else. Finally, when his eye fell on Ty he came over to him and shook his hand.
"Looks like you're part of the clan now," Danny said.
"Oh, I don't know about that," Ty said, embarrassed to be included, like the youngest kid in a family of brothersand always the last to get chosen for a team.
"Mike told me about you," Danny said, and Ty flushed with even more embarrassment, that the two of them would have taken the time to talk about him.
"I love Mike," Ty said, suddenly filling with feelings and losing all control of them. "He's the best friend I've ever had."
Rich walked up to them then and slipped his arm around Ty's shoulders. "We gonna get to see your movie, Danny?" he said.
"It's just an old documentary. Nothing exciting at all."
"Who the fuck cares? You made it. We want to see it."
"OK, soon as I scare up a 16-millimeter projector."
Ed, who was listening, said, "You're the director, right?" He had been in the pool and was standing there, wet hair, sideburns and walrus mustache, buck naked.
"Yeah, I guess so."
"You can tell me," Ed said with a sly grin. "Did you fuck any of the stars?"
Danny laughed and said no, he wasn't that kind of director.
"Did they fuck each other?"
"No, it wasn't that kind of film."
"Hell, here I thought that's what people did on those movie sets." He tried to look disappointed. "Didn't you?" he said to Ted, who was walking by with a beer and a paper plate of food.
"Don't pay attention to him," Ted said to them. "He's just wants to stand here and show off his dick."
"Big dick you meant to say," Ed said
He put a hand on Ted's shoulder to keep him from walking away and helped himself to some chips from Ted's plate.
Mike had now joined them. "Phone call for you," he said to Danny.
Danny looked puzzled.
"Didn't say who it was," Mike said.
Danny turned and went inside the house.
Mike looked now at Ty and Rich, gave them a smile and said, "Thanks, you two. It's been a nice surprise."
"Anything for you, Mike, you know that," Rich said, and he let go of Ty to give Mike a mighty hug.
Then Ty put his arms around them both.
Evening light lingered in the trees, and the mosquitoes came out. The clouds of smoke from the grill discouraged some of them, but the house was too hot to escape to, and the only thing to do was strip down and get into the pool, where there were citronella candles burning on the deck, most of them staying lighted if they didn't get splashed with water.
It was an experience unlike anything Ty had ever known. All around him were men like himselfthe world somehow tipped upside downand he was not the minority of one he'd always felt himself to be.
It was OK to hear a joke told that only a queer man would understand, let alone find funny. He hadn't even known there were those kinds of jokes. And there were the constant reminders that men were free to touch and give each other friendly glanceslooking into each other's eyes for longer than a couple seconds at a time.
He'd even been surprised when he realized how the other men took an interest in him, not for his intelligence or his personalityneither of which were his particular strengths anywaybut for his looks.
"Got yourself a real cute one there," Ed said to Rich once, loud enough for Ty to hear.
"Ain't he, though," Rich said looking at Ty and smiling. "Best part is he don't know it." He reached over to pull Ty to him then, and Ty felt himself go beet red. As Ed winked at them, he guessed what Ed was picturingthe two of them naked together and having sex.
It wasn't like this hadn't occurred to him about the other men there, but now as he looked around at them, he saw each as one of a pair and began imagining them that waylocked in a sexual embrace that bonded them into one.
Having so recently discovered sex himself, he wanted to know what it was like for them, but then realized he would surely never know. He couldn't begin to describe what went on in his own soul as he made love with Rich. Anyway, it was what sex with someone had to bethe ecstasy of being so close there were no words for it.
It was, he'd discovered, not what he'd been led to expect at all. Like the Creator who had created it, sex was a mysterylike peace and most other good things, it passed all understanding.
After the steaks had been grilled and they'd eaten until no one could eat anymore, they'd moved the beer keg in its tub of ice to the edge of the pool, and all of them had got in the water. There, after some splashing around, they had settled into their pairs and let themselves be absorbed by the glow from the candles, the sound of crickets in the grass, and the darkness that surrounded them.
Rich held him, their naked bodies touching under the water. He had slipped one hand between Rich's legs and was softly stroking him there, tracing the length of his thigh with his fingers and then finding his testicles, holding them as Rich's cock filled and lay across the back of his hand.
He looked at the other men, naked together, and sensed that their hands, too, were touching and caressing each other under the surface of the water. Most of all, he was curious about Mike and Danny, for as much as he'd come to love Rich, the man his heart still felt drawn to was Mike.
He kept glancing over to Mike, who rested against the side of the pool with one arm around Danny and a smile on his face. It was a look of complete contentment. Ty felt he was finally seeing the man he'd come to know since that winter day he'd first arrived at the door, canvassing for the church.
This was the man who sat that day with his cup of coffee at the kitchen table, the man he found more than once out working on his tractor, disking a cornfield for planting or cutting hay, the man who met him one rainy noon for lunch at the Farmer's Daughter Café. Most of all, the man who had held him in his strong and loving arms that day when his world had fallen apartthe man he'd gone to because there'd been no one else.
And here the man was, complete, with Danny by his side. The only thing that would make it more complete would be seeing the two of them going off together into the house to their bedroom which before the night was over, they surely would.
Mike's dog Rusty let out a woof, and they realized that someone was pulling off the road and into Mike's driveway. It was a pickup, its headlamps lighting up the row of vehicles parked along the yard fence before it headed into a spot next to them. The lights illuminated the yard for a moment and then went out as soon as the truck's engine was turned off.
Mike looked over at Rich and Ty. "Did you invite someone else?"
"I can't tell who it is," Rich said, and Ty felt his body move away from under him. "Guess I should go find out."
Rich got out of the pool, pulling himself from the water to sit on the edge of the deck, then getting to his feet. He went down the ladder a few steps, then jumped the rest of the way into the grass and walked away across the lawn, his naked body dimly lighted by a faint glow from inside the house.
The cab light popped on for a moment as the driver got out, and there was the sound of a man's voice talking quietly to Rich as they met at the fence.
Danny had twisted around in Mike's arms and was peering over at them. "I thought I knew who it was, but it's not them."
Then Rich and the other man were coming back toward the pool, their voices growing closer.
"You eat?" Rich was saying. "We got plenty food in the kitchen. Help yourself. I'll get you a beer."
Then the two of them reached the pool, and Ty could see who it was.
"Hey, everybody," Rich called out. "Make room for one more."
It was Marty. He had come after all.
Continued . . .
© 2007 Rock Lane Cooper