© by The Lavender Quill, 2002
Warning: the following story contains graphic descriptions of male/male sex between consenting adults. If that sort of thing bothers you, or you are a minor, or it is illegal for you to read this type of content under the laws of your area, dont read any further.
This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual people or events is purely coincidental.
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Other work by The Lavender Quill can be found on the web at <http://lavenderquill.tripod.com/>.
Setting: Sacramento, California, 2002.
When I got to the construction site the next morning, Robby was already working. My uncle sent me to work with him again, saying we had to make up for lost time since he pulled me away to unload appliances the previous day. I think he was probably just being nice and letting me work with Robby whenever he didnt have anything else I absolutely had to do.
When I met up with Robby, he smiled at me impishly. I have a present for you, he said. He handed me a new pair of leather work-gloves. We both cracked up.
Is the present for me or for you? I asked, and we both laughed some more.
We started installing conduit again. We didnt have much more to do before we started running the cable. I had a visitor last night, I said. Not long after you left. I thought it was you coming back. Hoped it was. I told him about Sam.
I related Sams visit in as much detail as I could remember. When I finished we had to stop talking for a few minutes. A couple of electricians were stringing romex nearby. Robby looked thoughtful while we continued to work. Eventually the electricians moved far enough away that we could talk again.
Are you mad at me? I asked. After all, Id had sex with Sam only a few days before Id met Robby. I worried that he might be jealous, or perhaps might not believe I hadnt had sex with Sam again.
Hm? Uh, no, said Robby. I was just thinking. Im glad you didnt sleep with him, but you could have. I mean, Im not saying I think you should have. I know I would have felt jealous hurt, if you had. But we never really talked about other guys. Whether we should be monogamous or not.
It just wouldnt have felt right, I said. I wasnt really even tempted. You might be interested in four-ways, or playing the field, I teased, but I think I am sort of a naturally monogamous kind of guy. Or maybe Im just insecure. I dont think I could handle trying to date more than one guy at a time. I understand that you might need to go slow, but can I ask you not to mess around while we are dating? Just you and me, at least for now?
Robby smiled. Yeah. You and me. I like that. Then he sighed. Kevin, I may not be ready to profess my undying love for you for all time, but I promise I wont mess around on you. I want us to be together, its just He strained for words. This isnt easy for me. You seem to have your shit together, and I dont. You have a cool uncle that supports you, and I dont have anybody like that. Its making me crazy. I swear, Im gonna have an ulcer before my next birthday.
He was trying to make light of his anxieties, but I could see tears welling up in his eyes. I wish I could do something to help, I said. Im afraid if I tried to sing to you, it would only make things worse. I sing like a cow with a hernia.
He looked at me and smirked. Then he got serious again. Just hanging around you helps. Meeting you is the best thing that has happened to me in a long time.
I smiled at him, and we worked side by side in companionable silence for the rest of the morning. At lunch, we sat and ate with the rest of the crew. I dont think Robby wanted to call attention to our selves by sitting away from everyone else.
Before we went back to work for the afternoon, we went down to the panel room. It was turning out to be our safe hideout on the construction site. When I pulled him into my arms, I could feel how tense he was. I was about to ask if something was wrong, but he started to relax in my arms almost immediately. He rested his head on my shoulder and we started to sway a little where we stood. I started to get aroused, but I realized Robby needed the embrace on an emotional level, not sexual. I held him tight, and felt his shoulders shake. He sobbed silently on my shoulder for a moment. I didnt know what to do, so I just held him and continued to sway. His shoulders stopped shaking, and he sniffled. Eventually, I felt him take a deep breath and gather himself together again. It felt like I held him for hours, but really, it had only been a few minutes.
Thanks Kevin, he said. He stepped back and wiped his eyes.
I didnt know what brought on his tears, nor why, exactly, he was thanking me. I was just glad I could comfort him a little. I decided not to pry, so I took his hands in mine and kissed his forehead. You okay to go back to work for a while?
Yeah. Im fine now.
We went back up to the top floor. During the afternoon, Robby seemed lost in thought as we worked. We didnt talk much. By the end of the afternoon, we had finished the conduit. The next day, we could start the cable. We were cleaning up at the end of the day, and Robby turned to me.
Kevin, can we go someplace quiet to talk? he asked. I dont want to go to your apartment, and we sure cant go back to my parents house Not a restaurant He trailed off, apparently at a loss for ideas.
How about American River Parkway? I said. I know a few places where we can find a little privacy. The park runs along the American River for some twenty miles upstream from where it flows into the Sacramento River. There are trails and a variety of activity areas in the park, but there are some quiet places too. I was too young to get into bars, and if we werent going to go to my apartment, I liked the idea of being outdoors. It was a nice afternoon.
Sure, said Robby. That sounds good. He wouldnt say anything more about what he wanted to talk about.
We went down and sat around with the guys for our one beer. I could tell Robby wasnt into it. I was anxious to leave too. However, we didnt want to be conspicuous by leaving early together. We downed our beers as quickly as we could without calling attention to our selves, and left.
Robby followed me in his van. It took about twenty minutes to drive to where I wanted to go, an area of the park accessible through one of the local neighborhoods bordering the park. We parked our vehicles and walked down a ways closer to the river, and sat down under a tree. We were far enough from any trails that we should be completely alone.
For a while Robby just fidgeted. He picked at bits of grass. He was clearly nervous. Finally, I took his hand. Look, Robby, I said. I dont want you to have a nervous breakdown or something, okay? I thought about what Brian had said about coming out to my parents, and thought it might apply to Robby. Just spit it out. Worrying about how Ill react isnt going to make it easier, and neither of us will know how Ill react until you tell me whatever it is that is bothering you.
He looked me in the eye and sighed. He took his hand back and rolled on to his stomach. He picked at the grass again, but not with the nervous jerking motions from before. Do you sometimes wish you werent gay? he asked.
I used to. I guess I havent thought about it for a long time. When I was just discovering I liked boys, when I was like twelve or so, I wished I wasnt gay. But then I learned I cant really do anything about it. Being gay isnt something I choose to be or not to be. Its just the way I am. Now I just wish I didnt have to worry about how everyone else will react to it.
Yeah. Well, I still wish I wasnt, he said. I spent years trying to change, trying to resist, trying to be something else. Trying to be straight.
Ive read pretty much everything I can about it, Robby. Im as certain as I can be that you cant do anything to change being gay.
I think I understand that now. But I didnt for a long time. He rolled over on to his back and looked up into the branches of the tree. When I first realized I was sexually attracted to guys, I was horrified. As long as I can remember, the ministers at my church and the teachers at my schools have always taught us that being gay was an abomination against God. I thought that was ridiculous, but the way he said that, I could tell that he believed it to be true. I was a deeply religious boy. I couldnt believe it was happening to me. I prayed to God to take these evil desires away.
He glanced over at me, but I said nothing. I just looked at him in what I hoped was an encouraging way. He looked up into the branches again.
I became very what I guess you might call self destructive, said Robby. Not suicidal. That would have been as bad or worse in the eyes of God. I did want to die, but I could not take my own life. Instead I did things to hurt myself. The mechanic that took my virginity was only the first of my bad sexual experiences. His voice cracked a little, but he continued. I tried to avoid it, but when I did seek another guy, I sought men who would hurt me. Who would degrade me debase me. I thought if it hurt, if I was humiliated enough, the pain and degradation would cure me of my desires. Surely it would make more sense to have sex with girls than to be hurt and humiliated having sex with guys, right?
He rolled on to his side to face me. How horrible that must have been for him, I thought. I remembered how depressed I had been over the teasing I had received after coming out to a few people in high school, but Im sure it couldnt compare to what poor Robby must have gone through. I couldnt stop a tear from rolling down my cheek.
Ill spare you the depths of my depravity, said Robby. It didnt work. I loved it. Not the humiliation, really. But the sex, definitely. He turned away from me again. No matter how much it hurt, my desire never wavered for more than a few days. A week at most. I had sex with some pretty disgusting guys. Guys older than my father who thought they were teaching me the ropes. Literally. Robby shuddered. One guy wanted to burn my nipple with his cigarette while he fucked me, but I didnt let him. I finally realized that was going too far. Or maybe I just couldnt think of a way to explain the damage to my parents.
He looked up at me again. Tears flowed freely down my face now. Do you want me to stop? he asked. Am I disgusting you?
No. It just hurts to imagine going through all that. I know you arent like that Robby.
He looked at me for a moment, and then continued. In retrospect, what amazes me is that I managed to keep it from my family. I hid it well. I kept up my grades at school. My dad wanted me to go back east to a Pentecostal College. With my grades, I probably could have gotten accepted, but I knew I couldnt handle that. I signed up for a technical college instead. My parents were pleased enough. It was a lucrative field. At the same time, I secretly found an ex-gay ministry. Ever hear of that?
Umm. No, I said. I had stopped crying by then.
They claim they can cure homosexuality through prayer. Seventy percent success rate, they said. There are churches like that all over the country. Even a few live-in facilities. I found a church out in Fair Oaks. Fair Oaks is a suburb east of Sacramento. I went to church with my family on Sunday mornings, and then drove out to Fair Oaks to attended another service with the ex-gay ministry in the afternoons. They matched me with a prayer partner. We met twice a week to pray together. My parents thought I was doing homework. My first prayer partner only lasted three weeks before he hit on me. He wanted to suck my cock. I prayed for strength, and turned him in to the ministry. They booted him out of the program. I felt sort of guilty. I thought maybe I had lead my prayer partner on. For a while I just went to the services on Sunday afternoons. A lot of guys got booted out of the program. It was like a revolving door, but I didnt really pay attention to that. I was determined to make it work. After a couple months I asked for another prayer partner, and was matched with a guy named Herbert. Herb. Robby smiled and sat up.
Yeah, Herb. Probably Herby when he was younger, but that was a long, long time ago. He laughed. I really thought it was going to work. I had no attraction to him at all. He introduced me to his niece, Suzan. Suzan and I started dating. We dated for over six months. Herb and I prayed twice a week. I never touched Suzan, not even a kiss. She just thought I was being a good Christian. Respecting her virginity or whatever. I almost had myself convinced I could get it up if we got married. I never managed to gather enough nerve to propose to her though. Maybe subconsciously I knew it was a lost cause. Robby twisted his fingers in the grass. It all started coming apart a couple months before I finished my technical school. Herb started to hit on me. It was disgusting. He was, like, fifty or something for Christs sake. But I didnt turn him in. We just prayed harder. It was no use. Finally, I let him suck my cock. We were both desperate. It had been more than a year since Id had sex with a guy. I practically choked him.
I could well imagine. We both laughed. Then Robby sighed. I let him do it twice more, then I turned him in too. They thought I was a hero. I felt like a bastard. I was utterly guilt ridden for giving in to him, for forsaking God again. And I felt like shit for turning Herb in. He wasnt doing anything I wasnt willing to let him do, you know? He got booted too. A lot of guys got booted out of the program. The ex-gay ministrys claim of seventy percent success was totally bullshit. By then I realized it wasnt curing me at all. It was just making me repress my desires for men, not redirect them to women. After a few weeks, they matched me with another prayer partner. They should start a dating service. It would be far more successful than their conversion rate. This guy was about my age. He was gorgeous. On our third prayer meeting, we answered each others prayers. I let him fuck me. It had been so long, and neither of us had any condoms or lube or anything. I didnt care. I let him do it anyway, right in the bathroom of the church. Thankfully, he wasnt all that big, and it didnt hurt as much as some of the other guys Id been with. I bailed out of the program after that. We both did. He moved to San Francisco a couple of weeks later.
He looked at me again. I think he was checking to see how I was taking his story. I knew he was carrying a lot of emotional baggage, but I had no idea of how unhappy and conflicted he was until then.
That almost sounds like a cult or something, I said.
In a way it was, I guess. I was worse than ever after that. I felt like a complete failure. I buried my self in homework to finish off my tech school. Then I buried myself in starting the business. I hadnt been going to Jeremys parties the whole time I was in the ex-gay ministry thing. I started going to those again. I was feeling worse about myself than ever. Some of those guys are so hot. If Id had any brains at all, I would have hooked up with Max, or even Jeremy, or really any of those guys except Alex.
Robby gazed down toward the river with sort of a detached look. Alex is a manipulative bastard. Just what I was looking for. Ive always despised him. He thinks it is a competition about our cock size, but I really dont care about that at all. I just hate how he treats people. He treated me worse than all of them, but I didnt care about that either. I taunted him and let him chase me for two months before I let him take me home with him. He practically raped me, but you cant rape the willing. He wasnt even going to use a condom, but I insulted him. I told him I didnt want any diseases he probably picked up from all the slutty boys he whored around with. I accused him of having AIDS, Herpes, Syphilis, Hepatitis, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, anything else I could think of. God he was pissed. He wore a condom, but he was brutal. Im not really sure which of us is bigger, but it doesnt matter. It hurt like hell. That was the first time someone actually made me bleed from my ass from being fucked. I could barely walk back out to my van afterward.
Robby was silent for a couple of minutes. He continued to stare blankly toward the river. I didnt say anything. What was there to say?
A week later, I went back to him again. I told him what a lousy fuck he was. We screamed at each other. I kissed him hard on the neck and gave him a big hickey, and that really pissed him off. He got out a condom before I started on a tirade about his diseased cock again, but he barely used any lube at all, just enough so he wouldnt hurt his cock stuffing it in my ass. He was even more vicious than before. I told him Id had better fucks by guys with dicks half his sizewhich was true. He twisted my armreally wrenched on it. I heard a pop, and I couldnt move my arm any more. He had dislocated my shoulder. God that hurt! I screamed and cried. He didnt even slow down. When he was done fucking me, he laughed. He laughed. The bastard wouldnt even drive me to the hospital. I had to drive myself. My shoulder was swollen up like a fucking basketball. I had no idea a dislocated shoulder could hurt so much.
Jesus Christ, Robby! No wonder he had reacted so badly when Alex confronted us at the party.
You wanna know the really sick part? I still got my rocks off. Can you believe it? I dont understand that at all. He sighed. So anyway, at the hospital, they X-rayed my shoulder. They said there was no permanent damage, and popped it back in place. They put it in a sling and I went home a couple hours later with some really good pain pills. I told the hospital and my parents that I tripped carrying some heavy equipment.
He was silent again for a while. Why did you let him get away with that, Robby? I asked.
Finally he turned and looked at me again. I told you I was being self destructive. Not only did I let him get away with it, I almost went back to him again for more. But I knew that if he was capable of dislocating my arm and laughing about it, he might be capable of much worse. He is very sadistic.
Robby looked away from me again. I was beginning to notice that he couldnt look at me when he was having a hard time saying something. When he was ashamed.
It finally sank in that I couldnt keep going on like that. Sooner or later I was going to really get hurt bad. Or catch AIDS or something. I thought of going to a psychologist or some sort of counselor, but where was I going to get the money? What would I tell my parents? He took a deep breath.
I know maybe its hard for you to understand since you arent very religious, but I also realized I had to come to some understanding in my relationship with God. I had been trying for years to think of what I had done to deserve Gods punishment. I felt like God had abandoned me. Yet I didnt believe any less; I just didnt understand why this was happening to me. I decided that maybe being gay was wrong, but letting people hurt me wanting people to hurt me, had to be worse. He turned to look at me again. I knew I had to change something, but I didnt know what to do. I couldnt talk to my parents, or to my minister. After Alex, I was afraid to be any where near anyone who associated with him. I was afraid to talk to Nirasha or Jeremy or any of those guys.
Oh, Robby, I said. I dont think Nirasha or Max like Alex much. Max sure seemed to know when to step in to help when we were at the party. I think you could talk to them if you wanted to.
Maybe so. I didnt think I could six months ago.
Did you do you hate yourself so much? I asked. I didnt want to offend him, but I wanted to understand.
I was having a hard time reconciling Robby as I thought I knew him and Robby as he described himself. Part of it was his appearance. He looked so innocent, so sweet. Despite his experiences, he looked like a virginor what I thought a virgin would look like, if you could tell by appearances. On a deeper level it was even harder to reconcile. He was so nice to me. He kissed like an angel. He sang to me. He combed my hair. Our lovemaking had been passionate at times, but never rough. I could see getting a bit wilder than we had been, but I couldnt imagine letting somebody hurt me.
No, said Robby. That is too much of a blanket statement too black and white. Despite the fact that I could never come out to my family, I love them and they love me. Im proud that I got good grades in school, that I was able to start up a business that is doing well. It was just one small part of me I hated. That is why I tried so desperately to change. If I could change that one part, I thought, I would be happy. If I could only stop being attracted to boys. I was punishing myself for that attraction.
So what changed? You dont seem like that now. At least not to me.
I couldnt think of anyone I could talk to, so I started reading about self-destructive behavior on the internet. There is a ton of information out there. I read some books too. I began to learn what I was doing to myself. I I decided to stop. I mean its more complicated than that, but that is the simple version. I decided that I had to change the way I was living and especially change the type of guys I seek out.
Why me, then? I asked.
I dont know. Dumb luck? Fate? Maybe just a matter of timing when we met. I stopped going out completely after Alex. I decided it was too dangerous to see anyone until I got myself together. Ive spent most of the last six months trying to accept that I cant change, and that its okay. Trying to believe that being gay doesnt mean Im an abomination against God. I had to learn to accept myself and stop punishing myself.
He smiled at me. When I met you, said Robby, I could tell right away that you had the hots for me. You werent part of my circle of friends. You seemed nice. I decided I was ready to try to meet someone that wouldnt hurt me. That wasnt abusive. I took a chance on you. And here we are.
He seemed to be done talking. His story complete.
I was at a loss. I didnt know what to do or what to say. I didnt know what Robby wanted or needed from me. He had returned to his the position hed been in when he started, sitting cross legged in on the ground, looking down, picking at the grass.
Youve never talked about this with anyone else, have you? I asked.
I was both moved that he was willing to tell me about it, and overwhelmed because I had no idea what to do with this information. I scooted closer to him. Nobody else was around. Robby, can I hold you?
I dont want your pity, Kevin.
Oh, come on, Robby. You cant tell me a story like that and not expect me to feel sad for you. I placed a hand gently on his shoulder. Im glad you told me. I feel like I understand you better. Like we can be closer now. If you dont want me to hold you, tell me what I can do.
He sighed and leaned in to me. Sorry. Holding me sounds good. I was just being a jerk. I wrapped my arms around him. He was still looking at the ground, and I gently kissed the back of his neck. Im a lot better than I was, he continued, but I dont think Im completely normal. Youre so nice to me, and Im still not used to relating to a a lover that way. I dont entirely trust my own feelings yet.
He slid down sideways and rested his head in my lap. We sat that way for a couple of minutes. Then he rolled over and looked up at me. I rested one hand on his chest. Kevin, he said, I think maybe I love you too, but how would I know? Ive not had a particularly good history in picking men. Its hard for me to accept that this might be the real thing.
I dont think you are as bad a judge of character as you think, I said. He looked at me questioningly. I mean, yeah, you were being self destructive, but you were finding the type of guys that you were looking for. That whole thing with Alex sounds like a nightmare, but did you really expect him to be any different?
No, said Robby.
No, I repeated. It was a crazy thing to do, but it wasnt like you went with him expecting he was going to be good for you.
I didnt want someone to be good for me then.
What do you want now?
He looked up at me for a moment. His doe eyes were melting my heart. I think I want someone to help me make the one part of me I hated into something I can love.
I knew then that I loved him. Despite his internal turmoil, despite some of the crazy things hed done, I knew that in his soul he was a beautiful person, even if he didnt know it himself yet.
I bent down and kissed him softly on the lips. He sighed and parted his lips. Yet another new kind of kiss. This was a soft nurturing kiss. I poured my love for him into the kiss, wanting him to feel how much I loved him. I kept my hand right over his heart, hoping somehow that he could feel that connection too.
We kissed for a long time. When our lips finally parted I opened my eyes again and looked down at his face. His cheeks were wet with tears. Are you okay? I asked.
He smiled at me. Yes. Im just happy I found you.
Im glad you decided to take a chance on me.
We sat silently for a time. Then he stood up and reached down for my hand. Come on. Enough of my sad story for one night. Its getting late. Its gonna be dark soon. He was right. I had lost track of time, and didnt realize how long wed been there.
I took his hand and let him pull me up. He looked truly cheerful for the first time that day. Yeah. Im starving, too. Lets go find something to eat.
We walked hand in hand through the trees until we got within earshot of other people. I probably would have been willing to hold him all the way back to his van, but I knew he wasnt ready to let anyone see us doing something like that yet. Maybe I wasnt really either. Maybe I was just feeling in love and feeling brave.
When we got back to our vehicles, Robby followed me again in his van. I could see him in my rear view mirror, talking on his cellular phone. Probably his parents, I guessed. They probably expected him home hours ago.
I found a Teriyaki restaurant that looked appealing when we reached a main road. We ate bowls of teriyaki chicken and rice in silence. I was pretty good with chopsticks for a white boy, but Robby was pretty awkward. We giggled at his attempts to eat with them. Finally, he relented and finished with a plastic fork.
When we were done, we walked back out to his van.
I gotta get home, said Robby. Im sorry.
Tomorrow we can call and check on our HIV tests.
Oh, yeah. Id nearly forgotten. Maybe we can use your cell phone and call during lunch?
No way, stud boy, said Robby. If one of us ends up positive, Im gonna freak out. Im not taking that chance in the middle of a construction site.
Oh, right. I didnt think of that. Its not gonna happen though. Im sure were both fine. Youre not worried are you?
Im sure were both negative, too. But I still worry anyway until I hear them say it. Lets go over to your apartment and call right after work, okay?
Yeah, I said, Thats a better idea.
He got in his van and rolled the window down. I leaned on the door and we stared into each others eyes for a minute. I wished I could kiss him. I wished he could come home with me. I knew that he wished he could too.
You sure youre okay? I asked. It had been a very emotional evening.
Yep, said Robby. It was hard to get that all out, but now that I did, Im glad.
Im glad you did too. I know that had to be tough.
He reached forward and started the ignition.
Robby, I said, barely loud enough for him to hear me over the idling engine. I love you. He looked down at his lap. You know that, dont you? I saw him nod his head slightly. I glanced around; no one was looking our way and it was fully dark by then. I grabbed Robby gently by the chin and forced him to look at me. I know its hard for you to hear this, but I had to tell you: I love you Robby, with all my heart.
A single tear welled up and ran down his cheek.
I knew he couldnt say anything. Its okay, I said. I know youre not there yet. I released his chin. Ill see you in the morning. I smiled what Im sure was a dopey grin at him, and turned and walked to my truck.
On the drive home, I reflected on what a romantic guy I am. Declaring my love for Robby in a cheap teriyaki restaurant parking lot. And I didnt even kiss him. Jeez. Im such a moron, I thought. I was happy anyway. I was in love, and despite the circumstances, I had told him so, and I was glad.
Emotionally drained, I went to bed almost immediately as soon as I got home, and slept soundly till my alarm woke me up in the morning.
(To be continued.)