Breakfast next morning was a leisurely enough affair as we had something to agree to. We rose early to give ourselves some time to speak before we went to work. The previous evening Gareth had asked me an honest question about the way we would treat each other and now was a good time to talk about it.
"When you asked me last night not to treat you the way that Susan did what exactly were you asking?" I asked as I brought his breakfast to the table and set it in front of him.
Like so many other men Gareth was carrying some amount of baggage that we would have to deal with. Myself? Well as a typical English queer my baggage was simply that I had led a life of shameless promiscuity but his was more complex. As a man who had been in a relationship with a woman for some years and had sired two sons he had a lot to work through settling into a gay partnership. His question last night was part of that.
In his heterosexual days Gareth had a more defined role in the relationship. When two blokes are together it is more complex as one has to adapt to a role that the other could just as easily assume. Sex between two men involves a more complex notion of consent. In our relationship it wasn't too difficult. I was happier to take it up the arse than he was and he was happier giving it to me. But beyond that, when we swapped roles briefly last night he had certainly enjoyed that as well. Hitherto Gareth had never taken the passive role with anybody and it seemed to have confused him a little bit.
"It's just a lot happened there and I don't want to go down that street again!" he replied.
Now that was the kind of answer that doesn't say very much.
"Think about it and we'll talk this evening!" I suggested.
All that day at the bank I thought about the way our relationship was changing. It was strangely exciting to be starting out on a relationship after the experiences we had shared together. In fact I was excited by the fact that this was new in a strange familiar way. When I first saw Gareth that day in the newsagents he attracted me sexually. All I wanted was to get him home and get him into bed with me. I had done this with more men than I could count. Shit! There were some blokes whose names I couldn't even remember! I wasn't making excuses for this, which was the way I was for several years. I was an ordinary promiscuous bloke with a huge sexual appetite and a life on the edge of the cheap and meaningless that so many queers live in.
My desire for anal sex was my driving passion and I realised when I subjected myself to Gareth's bizarre rituals that I would do anything to get a dick up my bum. Yes I was shallow, yes I was loose and yes I was cheap! But something new stirred in me when we parted after the row about James. With Gareth gone I felt empty! It wasn't the same as being shallow, cheap or loose -- I learned that loneliness is the experience of being away from somebody you love. I turned and caressed the ring he had bought me. I wondered was this what it was really like to be in love?
All morning I rehearsed for the conversation that we would have that evening. I wanted to tell him how much I loved him and wanted to be with him and near him all the time. The bank was paying me to think if only they knew what I spent the day thinking about I could have found myself at the local exchange or worse on the foreign exchange counter. I tried to concentrate on my job but I was too excited about what was stirring inside me. This time it wasn't sex it was Gareth as a person that was exciting me. I wondered was he thinking about me as well!
Five o'clock couldn't come soon enough! As soon as my day was over I grabbed my jacket and scurried off to catch the bus home. I knew he wouldn't be there before me and I wanted to have something cooking for him when he got in. Pasta would be easiest! When I reached the house I saw there was a light on inside. He had come home early to cook something for me. When I entered the kitchen I laughed. He was standing by the cooker wearing the shorts we had bought on Sunday.
He smiled back over his shoulder at me. Now I know we had agreed to speak together this evening but I wondered if he had something else on his mind.
"Nice shorts!" I whistled.
"They feel great against my bum!" he remarked, "why don't you grab a quick shower and put yours on and we'll have dinner by the time you're back!"
It sounded like a good idea. I went upstairs and thought about the way he looked in those shorts. This chap looked hot all the time but in shorts he looked superb. As I washed I felt a bit uneasy because we had agreed to talk and he was dressed quite frivolously. I wanted to speak seriously with him and confess that I thought I was in love with him. I stood out of the shower and dried myself. The steel blue shorts were lying on the bed. I picked them up and the nylon felt a bit rough and thought I would just get dressed and ask him to do the same. But as I thought I remembered that our roles were quite clear in this relationship. He was the leader and I followed. I changed my mind, pulled on the shorts and went down to join him in the kitchen.
Sitting to dinner was quite strange when both of us were dressed so scantily. I was a bit uncomfortable. He sensed this and asked me to relax.
"I thought we were going to speak to each other?" I said.
"Yes and tell each other the bare essential truth about ourselves!" he replied.
"Is that why we've no clothes on?"
"You're privates are covered!"
That was true but with his libido I wasn't that sure they would remain covered for long.
"We'll talk after dinner!" he said as he landed a plate of some Indian style muck in front of me.
We made small talk during the meal. I found it frustrating I wanted to talk about us and not what the day was like at work or what the lads in the warehouse thought of the weekend's football. But it wasn't too long before we had finished our meal and were ready to talk.
Gareth rose from the table and took my hand. He led me towards the door.
"What about the wash-up?" I asked (we were scruffy at times but the house was always clean)
"It can wait!"
He led me upstairs to the bedroom. I wasn't keen on sex because I wanted to talk. He pulled back the duvet and we sat into the bed together and he pulled the cover over us.
"If I speak are you going to interrupt?" he asked quietly.
"Not unless I have to!" I replied.
"No please!" he stated firmly, "I have been thinking about something I wanted to say all day and I want you to hear me through!"
"Go ahead then!"
"For what?" I asked.
"I thought you wouldn't interrupt!"
"I was thinking today that I'm not very good at this gay thing! All day I was thinking about what a shit I was to you in the beginning because I didn't know what I was doing. You see I read all the stuff about men having sex and all the stories and movies I went through were the same. There was one bloke getting it and the other giving it but there was nothing emotional between them! Can you ever forgive me for treating you the way I did?"
I nodded and hummed.
"Why are you so understanding? I don't understand you at all Mark!"
"May I speak?" I asked.
"Because for the first time in my life I am having a relationship with somebody I love more than somebody I fancy!"
"What's that supposed to mean?" he looked at me with a quizzical look.
I smiled. "It's supposed to mean that I love you!"
"After all the abuse and domination you think I believe that?"
That comment stung! All day I had been building up to saying this and he didn't believe me at all. I was devastated and wanted to get up and out of the bed, throw a brick (or something else heavy) at him and tell him to fuck off. But I couldn't!
I looked at him and I know he must have seen the hurt in my face. I didn't know what to say, where to look or what to do. But he saw the look and understood.
"Fuck me!" he said quietly, "you really mean that don't you?"
I nodded and he grabbed me in a strong hug.
"Can two blokes really love each other the way a man can love a woman?" he asked with his voice breaking. There were signs of emotion in the guy that I had never seen before!
"Not in porno flicks!" I said quietly.
"We're not in a porno flick!" he replied.
"No! We're in each other's arms!"
His lips sought mine and we kissed deeply and passionately. Our hands caressed each other's backs and we held each other tightly as we embraced together entwined on the bed.
"Want to make love?" I asked hopefully.
"No! I want to lie here beside you and hold your hand!"
Gareth placed his left arm over my shoulder and I moved my right behind his back. His right hand held my left and we lay in silence beside each other wallowing in the gentle warmth of the other's body. We simply lay there in total peace and tranquillity. Neither of us had any idea of what was going on in the other's mind but who cared? It was almost impossible to believe that in a few short months we had travelled together through lust and self-gratification to bizarre and torrid practices, through separation and loneliness to where we were now. Two blokes; one discovering his sexual prowess and the other taming his, lying together on a Monday evening oblivious to the world around us as we began to learn how to love each other!
As I lay there I thought about how this relationship was beginning to work out. For all the mistakes we had made we had denied one thing. We were attracted to each other and liked being together. Lying here beside him I knew that I wanted to make something real and lasting out of what we were building together. I snuggled in closer to him. As I was on his right side I couldn't feel his heart in his chest but we could swap sides of the bed tomorrow. They say a true friend is somebody you can be silent with. I wondered was he finding it as easy as I did to be quiet! I think he must have because he fell asleep and began to snore gently.
I caressed his lower back as I lay beside him. He groaned a bit.
"Want to make love?" he muttered.
"No!" I replied, "I just want to lie here forever beside you!"
"If you change your mind wake me!" and he settled back to sleep.
I don't know what time I nodded off but when the alarm woke us at seven we had been together in that bed for twelve hours. We had slept most of them!
"Make me another promise!" he said at breakfast.
"What's it this time?" I asked.
"If ever you're annoyed with me tell me first and we'll discuss it later!"
"You mean don't fight with you if you act like an arsehole?"
"But every couple has rows!" I protested.
"And they destroy their relationships because of them!"
"Maybe they refine them!"
I looked at him with some bemusement. I wondered what theory he was about to inflict on me now.
"When you ring a complaints desk the person never knows what you're talking about right?"
"And you get annoyed because of their stupidity?"
"Sometimes I do yeah!"
"Because they didn't know what the problem was and you did?"
I stopped; I could see where this was leading. I nodded.
"There could be all sorts of problems in their minds and only one in yours and that leaves them at a disadvantage doesn't it?"
"I suppose it does!"
"So when there's a problem between us I would prefer that we mention it to each other first and then we can discuss it sensibly later!"
Okay! That made sense! I agreed but was a bit cautious about this. Sometimes you have to have fights to define your positions and feelings, sometimes you have them just because you're frustrated, sometimes you have them because you're at your wits end and sometimes you have them because the other person started it. Agreeing not to fight could be the rock we would perish on but I agreed to try it. I didn't believe that it would work but there was no point fighting about that.
"Susan always fought with me!" he explained quietly.
There was no need to say anything else. Gareth wanted a relationship that was non-confrontational and during the day I realised that non-confrontational isn't the same as not challenging each other and is no less honest that any other way of living together.
"No need to explain!" I replied.
"Thanks Mark!" and he gave me a hug.
"Come on! We don't want to be late for work!"
"And when we get home I want a big blowjob!" he laughed.
I licked my lips seductively.
"But I'll be wearing my Leeds shorts!" he added.
I looked at him, smiled and shook my head, "you're one kinky fucker Gareth Smith! One kinky fucker!"
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I could stop here and leave the rest to your imaginations. The story has reached late 1996 and Gareth and mark are still together almost six years later! If I send in the next two chapters they simply describe sex in a soccer kit and tell the story of how Gareth ended up getting custody of his sons in 1999 and the strain that this placed on the relationship.
I have a story about a gay black teenager out to get revenge on white men for England's role in US slavery!
I have a story about a teenager near London with an attraction to older men and a lot of angst.
If you're sick of Mark and Gareth I will start posting these chapter by chapter... Readers' call!