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Chapter 2

No sooner had Marcus suggested breakfast, then the lights came up full force. You could see everything: the good, the bad, and the desperate. Marcus chuckled, "I told you the vultures would start to circle! Let's grab breakfast."

I didn't know what he meant by vultures, until a guy walked past me and gave me a look. I wasn't sure what the look meant, but I saw desperation and maybe hunger. It was scary. I quickly followed Marcus out of the bar and to his car.

We went to an all-night diner. Booths lined the walls, stools along the counter, and stainless steel everywhere. The diner was packed especially for the late hour. The bar crowd was filling the place up. Marcus had obviously been there before; a harried looking waitress gave him a hug.

"Marcus honey, the last booth on the left is open. I'll be there in a sec to clean up. You have company does that mean the special?"

"Absolutely Carol. This is Tony; He could use some strong coffee too."

She cleaned the booth and delivered orange juice and my coffee. I clutched at the cup.

"The special is a large fretta. I hope you don't mind, but I can never eat one by myself. It's great to have someone to share it with. You still look like you have more to spill." Marcus leaned in. "Tell me what else is going on."

I looked at this person I just met. He was so genuinely concerned. I slumped in the booth. "Well, I have no place to live, my ex-fiancée and my parents are great friends so no chance of hiding this development from them, and I start classes in a couple of weeks with my attraction to my advisor fucking up my brain. Other than that you're pretty much up to speed." He just smiled at me.

The food was set down in front of us. I felt ravenous all of a sudden. I started in and I'm not sure I came up for air, I don't know if Marcus actually got any. Finally, the waitress picked up the plates and refilled my coffee.

"Now, ready or not, we are going back to my place. You need some sleep. You'll get about six hours and then we have to get ready for a picnic. We are going to the pride event later today."

"No... I can't do that. I need to figure out where I'm going to live. I need to get my stuff out of the apartment. I need to get ready to face the reality of my blown up life..." I was beginning to have a panic attack as I burst into tears again.

"Suck it up, buttercup. That shit will still be there on Sunday. Today you need to let loose and meet people who really are 'proud to be who they is,' to quote my friend Danni."

He dragged me out to his car, "We will come back and pick up your car tomorrow. Don't worry, it will be safe at the bar, and rest assured it won't be alone," he said, answering my questioning look.

After about twenty minutes of city streets, we got to his place. It was a condo overlooking a park. It looked from the outside like a factory that had been converted, the park built afterwards. I was surprised to find outside stairs leading to each level of the building. I followed Marcus to the second floor and the corner unit. As we walked into the entryway, I immediately felt at home. He led me on a quick tour. A rich forest green carpet covered the entrance hallway and the living room. The hallway walls had box-framed artwork. They looked like raised paper Navaho Indian scenes. I'd never seen anything like it before and immediately loved the effect. Further in, the hallway opened to a large living room area. The walls were a rich taupe. The bookshelves and tables had simple sculptures and lots of family pictures. Deep walnut brown leather couch, love seat, and recliner, were arranged to maximize conversation. I picked up one of the sculptures. It was two sexless figures entwined. The plaque simply said "Dancers". I set it down and glanced at all the photos.

The kitchen to the right had a stone tile floor and an island in the middle. The appliances were black and stainless steel; it was a great look in the large space. Tool caddies on the counter as well as clear canisters and pots and pans hung from a ceiling rack. It seemed to me like the kitchen of someone who loved to cook. Between the kitchen and the dining room, there was a small bar with another hanging rack full of different types of glasses.

Marcus then showed me the bedrooms. One had been converted to an office. A Bachelor of Arts degree dated 2005, and a Doctor of Law degree on the wall from Notre Dame University. I put Marcus at twenty-seven, five years older than me.

The bathroom sat between the two rooms, and had a huge shower area. The other bedroom had a king size bed, and a couple of dressers in a dark walnut finish. The carpet was a deep burgundy, the walls a dark grey. One wall had closet doors along the whole length, the others loaded with more pictures.

Back out to the living room, I looked out the large window to see the parking area and the edge of the park.

I just met this guy and somehow he had gotten me to open up about my whole life. And here I was at his place, and I felt safe.

"You get the bed; I have the couch. I'm not sure those long legs can fit on this piece of furniture, kiddo. Close the door, get comfy, and I'll see you in six hours. And no stewing about things. Don't think. Sleep."

I shut the door. I was just going to lie down for a second and close my eyes. The next thing I knew it was noon and Marcus was singing in the shower. Badly, I should add. For some reason, it made me smile.

I took stock of myself lying there in bed. I was gay, it was time to finally accept this reality. I knew I'd still struggle a little bit with accepting myself, but I felt in a surprisingly good place. Talking to Marcus had made a huge difference. He didn't fit most of the stereotypes I carried in my head. I didn't know much about him, but I knew he had made me feel comfortable and had let me talk it all out. I was in a complete stranger's house, but he had gotten me to open up about my life in a way I never had before. He seemed so genuine, I felt like I could trust him.

The water stopped. He knocked on the wall.

"Ok, buttercup, up and at 'em. Your backpack is in the bathroom... you have thirty minutes to shower and primp. Let's get going."

He walked into the bedroom wearing just a towel. Damn, he was fine. He had a nice dusting of hair on his chest, firm pecs, and well-defined arms, complete with that vein along his bicep. Of course, like always, he had that warm smile. I shook my head and hit the bathroom. I tried to make myself look presentable, but it was hopeless. My eyes were bloodshot from all the tears I had cried, and the bags under them wouldn't go away. The only clothes I had were wrinkled from being stuffed in my backpack or dirty. Shit, I thought to myself, I can't go out looking like this.

"Marcus, are you sure about this? I look like I've been crying for days. I have nothing to wear. I can't go out in public like this..." I walked from the bathroom a little downcast.

"And there's my little queen come out to play..."

"What the hell do you mean, queen?" I demanded, immediately feeling rage swell within me.

"Geez, relax. I'm just kidding with you. You need to take it down a notch, or it's going to be a long day. You are going to get called fag, queen, boyfriend and any number of things today that you would otherwise take offense to. Don't take any of it seriously. You're going to meet all kinds of people. Folks who couldn't be more different from each other and from what you may be expecting. And they won't judge you because you're gay... they might give you shit about those shorts, but..." His eyes twinkled as he teased me.

I sat back on the bed, on the verge of tears again. "I can't do this. I'm going to make an ass of myself. They are all going to hate me."

"Don't make me say it again...suck it up, buttercup... We have to go pick up Scott and head out."

Scott was a friend of Marcus I had met the previous night. Marcus explained to me, as we drove a few blocks over to Scott's place, that he and Scott dated briefly. They ended up friends. He warned me Scott might be little gruff, but he really was a good guy. We got to his place about one. He shook my hand through the window and jumped into the back seat.

"So, is this last night's trick still hanging around?"

"Scott behave... you met Tony last night. He was the one who ran headlong into me. He's had a rough couple of days and needed an ear."

"The kid with the dear in the headlights look, I remember... Doing any better today, Tony?"

I disliked Scott almost instantly. I figured I would just go with the flow today, but I couldn't see just backing down. I was a little snotty when I said, "Yeah. I am doing a little better. Your boy was very good last night..."

Scott sat there with his mouth open, as Marcus burst out laughing. "Watch out for this one Scotty... Apparently, he doesn't take any shit. Tony, you're going to do just fine."

We crossed town in about thirty minutes. As we drove into the state park, there was an explosion of color. Everything from flags to umbrellas, tents, and even clothes covered in rainbow colors signifying pride. One side of the parking lot, there were two huge tents with hundreds of people walking around. On the other side, a stage and some food vendors were set up. In the distance, there were volleyball nets and basketball courts.

I looked around trying to understand what I was seeing. I saw so many people. At first, I wasn't sure what to think.

"Deep breath, buttercup. It's a lot to take in all at once. It's about to get really interesting."

We found a spot to park and started to get out of the car. Suddenly, we had company. She was dressed in a halter top and short skirt. The little bit of five o'clock shadow and stubble on the chest, clued me in to the fact she was a he.

"Ok ladies. Marcus, Scott, it's good to see you," They walked around the car and she planted kisses on them both. Holding Scott at arm's length, she noticed me. "And who's the looker? I haven't seen him before. I would remember him."

"Danni, this is Tony. I think he's a little overwhelmed right now. Be nice."

"Tony, I'm Danni. Come here and give me a hug baby."

I looked at Marcus, and he just nodded his head and smiled.

"That's right I won't bite, not unless you ask me to. Now c'mon and give Auntie Danni some love."

All I could think was...Fuck me... what the hell had I gotten myself into. I opened my arms and she gave me a hug and peck on the cheek. She whispered in my ear, "Relax and be yourself. Marcus is an awesome person to have on your side. Be open and you'll be great."

"Ok, Danni. Let Tony go. You're scaring the boy." Marcus was laughing as Danni let go.

"Have fun you guys, I'll see you for the show at dusk. I have lots of primping to do, including shaving this damn chest again. I really should just get those laser treatments. It sure would save time." At the time, I wasn't sure what you would call that walk. Looking back I'd have to say Danni sashayed off.

"Who was that?" I asked.

Scott piped in. "That was Danni, and if she freaks you out, this is going to be a long ass day."

"Back off, Scott. Why don't you go find the rest of the guys?" Marcus's eyes flashed. Scott walked away shaking his head.

"Don't let him get to you. He seems to forget he spent over an hour trying to screw up the courage to even get out of the car his first time here. It's a lot to take in, and you are already working on accepting the new you. You are doing fine, just be yourself. Walk around for a little while. Explore, we will be over by the volleyball net when you want to find us. Just keep an open mind."

I walked around. I met some Dykes on Bikes, then got felt up by a guy dressed in leather from head to toe. The zipper on the mask was closed, so he never spoke to me even as I bolted away. I walked under one of the tents and found different booths of arts and crafts. I could tell one of the artists must have been one of Marcus' favorites, I recognized the style from the work in his apartment. The figures were entwined but seemingly sexless. They seemed male in form to me, but the Dykes on Bikes might disagree. Besides sculptures, there were textiles and paintings and work in so many different media. I could have spent hours just staring at the beautiful photographs. One of the painters was busy working on a new piece, and it was interesting to watch her work. She had taken a famous quote and painted fantastical scenes around the words. I loved some of the smaller works she had on display and snatched up a card, hoping to check out her work when I had more time.

In the other tent, there was a booth with all kinds of safe sex pamphlets and free condoms. The next booth had all different kinds of literature about coming out, and information about PFLAG. The guy behind the table handed me one titled, Coming out to your parents, dos and don'ts. "It's not really a how to manual. It's actually very funny." He introduced himself, "I'm Jared, and most of this stuff is crap. Here's my card. The bookstore has real information if you are ever curious."

"Thanks, I appreciate the advice."

I walked around for a few more minutes and decided to head towards Marcus and his friends.

On my way to the volleyball courts, this cute guy walked up and introduced himself. I was a little surprised, but decided to go with the flow.

"Hey, I'm Brian. Is this your first "rainbow" picnic?"

I was a little self conscious about my sweaty palms as I shook his out stretched hand. "How could you tell?"

"I remember having that same look on my face for days after my first time. So, we got ourselves a virgin here."

"No, I mean yeah, what?"

He laughed. I flashed back to Jen's laugh when that girl passed out in my lap, it was just as warm. I bet I had the same expression on my face too. "Very funny." I couldn't help but grin at him.

"You still haven't told me your name, or is it top secret?'

"Sorry, I'm Tony."

"Well Tony, it's a pleasure."

Brian walked around with me. He was slightly shorter than me. He looked toned and fit with blond hair and hazel eyes. I was guessing he was my age. He said he came out during his freshman year in college. Now recently graduated and with a job at an accounting firm, he was fun to just hang with. I laughed a ton. Brian paid for a couple of burgers and sodas. We sat at a picnic table as we ate and chatted.

Finally, we made it over to the volleyball court and Marcus's gang. I introduced Brian to Marcus. He threw the names out of a few of the guys he was playing with; I was never going to remember any of them. I just smiled and nodded my head. Marcus went back to playing. I asked Brian if he wanted to play. We got stuck on different teams.

During the game, I got set up perfectly and sent a spike right at Brian. He missed as it hit him hard in the chest. He got up slowly, but grinned in my direction. My team gave me high fives and a few pats on the ass. I couldn't help but smile.

The light of the day was fading and everyone was getting excited for the show.

"Will you sit with me?" Brian asked quietly.

"Ok, that would be fun."

I had never been to a drag show before and didn't have a clue. The first performer came out and I was stunned. She was beautiful, in this periwinkle floor length gown.... She lip-synced to Brittany Spears and was amazing.

Next up--Danni. She was wearing a denim blouse and a red plaid flannel skirt. She performed Patsy Kline's "I Fall to Pieces". During each chorus, she'd drop an arm or a leg or a breast. I was laughing so hard I was crying. He got huge applause after the act; I think I clapped the loudest. When it quieted down, Brian asked if I wanted to go for a walk.

We got just out of range of the lights; he grabbed me and kissed me. It was brilliant. My first kiss from another guy, I just beamed at him. We went in for another kiss. He began to rub my back. It felt like a high school kid on a first date. We walked a little further, holding hands. I was melting into the kisses.

Suddenly, he grabbed my ass and turned me around. He went in for another kiss from behind, and then he moved his hand down the front of my shorts. I froze. I knew I wasn't ready for this. Making out was fun, but this was way too much, way too fast.

"Brian, please don't. I'm not ready for that yet."

"Relax Tony, we are just having some fun... Your cock says it's more than ready."

"No please, Brian, I don't want this right now, not right here."

"Ok, I get it... but we're just having a little fun," as he moved his hand he spun me around for another kiss.

"No, please stop."

"I think you heard him the first time." Marcus said in a steely voice.

"Go away, this is none of your business."

"That's where you are fucking wrong. Tony is my friend and that makes it my business. Back off NOW!" Marcus boomed.

"Go away, we are just having a little fun."

"Look at him, does he look like he's having fun?"

The tears were streaming down my face. Brian got a look of pure horror on his face, "Oh my god, I'm so sorry. I thought you were getting into this too. I never meant to upset you. I'm so sorry.

"Oh Tony, please forgive me. I forgot this was all so new to you." Brian burst into tears. "Please, Oh God. I'm so sorry."

Marcus broke in, "Look Brian, here's my phone. Put your number into it. If Tony decides to call you, super. But don't hold your breath. Tony, it's time to call it a night. We need to get home. It's going to be a crazy day tomorrow."

Brian gave Marcus his phone back. I couldn't look at him. I just followed behind Marcus to the car. Scott had disappeared

"Tony, I hope you can forgive me. I never meant to upset you. I hope you'll call me. But I understand if you don't." Brian was still following us.

Marcus spun, "Good night Brian."

We found the car. I was quiet on the ride home. Marcus just left me alone for a while. Finally I said, "Marcus, thanks. You have done more for me in 24 hours than anyone, ever. But I'll be ok, it was just too fast and way too public. How did you know?"

"Scott had already headed out. I went looking for you, it was time to go home."

"Thanks. You know I was having a really good day. I won't ever forget that picnic..."

"I'm glad. I was hoping for that."

I spent the night at his condo again. I insisted he sleep in his own bed. He insisted on sleeping on the couch. I slept like a log. He was up cooking when I woke. I grinned as he said, "What, breakfast is my favorite meal. Sit and eat. Your French toast is going to get cold.

"I got the paper, the apartment section is on the top. I also called my friend George. He has an efficiency that just opened in his building. We can take a look at it later. How much stuff do we need to get out of the old place?" Marcus joined me at the table.

And there it was, reality slapping me in the face. I took a deep breath and swallowed. I surprised myself by not breaking down. Marcus smiled at me, "There you go. You'll be fine, buttercup."

The morning passed in a blur. Marcus must have driven me to six different apartments. Nothing seemed right. Either they were too far from campus, too expensive, or just plain nasty.

Finally, we found a place, George's efficiency. It was furnished and ready for me to move in. It was large for an efficiency. The bed was a queen size and took up most of the room. But there was space for my desk and a small bookcase. I needed sheets and blankets for the bed so we made a quick trip to a store. I found some white towels, a bathroom set, and replenished my toiletries too. I was set until I could really go shopping.

Marcus and I rescued my car from the bar parking lot. With help from a couple of his friends, I was moved in by nine o'clock that night. I was relieved; Jen was nowhere to be seen during the entire move. I'm not sure what I would have said to her. I would have to deal with her at some point, but thankfully not tonight.

"Thanks Marcus, I'm not sure what I would have done without you this weekend. I will never forget everything that happened and how much you've helped me. Could we get together for dinner next weekend? I'm not sure how the week will unfold, but by the weekend I should be ready to go."

"That would be great, but let me cook for you. I have this awesome kitchen I rarely get to use. I insist, and you know I don't like to take no for an answer." He smiled and ruffed up my hair.

I agreed, but insisted I bring the wine or whatever. I gave Marcus a hug and shooed him away. I crashed in the new place almost instantly...

Monday, I was back at work with Dr. Miller. I walked right up to him and put my hand on his arm.

"Look I'm sorry about Thursday, Dr. Miller. I definitely reacted to you. I want you to know I finally admitted to myself that I'm gay. I owe you a huge apology and I promise to stay professional."

"Tony, I am happy for you. I would like it if we tried Jon again. I think the boundaries are clear enough."


"It's crunch time. We only have a week left until your classes start. I'm hoping you'll let me work your ass off this week."

"Trust me I could use the distraction and the work. This project has been a god send for me and I have no intention of slowing down now. Things are getting interesting."

The week went by quickly. I texted or talked to Marcus almost every day. On Sunday, he had me over for dinner. We chatted while we ate his homemade lasagna.

"It was a really good week. Jon and I spent most of the week working with a couple of his successful students. I learned a lot about his methods, but more importantly his expectations. I really think this project is perfect for me. Damn, this lasagna is amazing."

"That's great. I am so happy for you. Things are falling into place. You sound so much happier than last weekend..." He got a mischievous look in his eyes.

"Gee I wonder how that could be?" I smiled back at him. Then I gave him a playful slap upside the head.

"Kiddo. I have a question for you. I didn't want to bring this up earlier, but have you thought about Brian at all? I hate bringing it up. I only mention him because he texted, asking how you were doing."

"No, not yet. I haven't had time to think about it."

"That's fine. I can send him a text telling him you are still working it out or that you're not interested."

"What should I do? I really liked spending time with him. He is cute and funny, but I can't forget that feeling of panic. He was way ahead of where I was that night."

"Well, you could always do a group thing and invite him along. That way you can get to know him better without worrying about his getting too physical. How about this? It's Labor Day next Monday, why don't I throw a BBQ and you can invite him. You won't have to worry about being alone with him and you can get to know him. If things work out, you can do a date later in the week. "

"Brilliant! That's an excellent idea! Give me his number, I'll text him and then call him later in the week to give him directions. Marcus, you are awesome!!" I reached over and gave him a big hug.

"Great, it's a plan. Now I think it's time for Mr. Master's Program to go home. You have a new semester to get ready for tomorrow. And I mean to see you keep your nose to the grindstone."

"You're right as always. Marcus, seriously, thank you for everything. I don't know where I would be if we hadn't met. In such a short time, you have become the best friend I've ever had. Thank You."

"Tony, it's nothing. Really, it's nothing. Time to say goodnight, buttercup."

Classes began on Monday. By the end of the week, it was clear this was going to be a tough semester. I was going to really need to stay focused. Between the course load and Jon's project, I almost felt over my head. But I was ready to bury myself in the work.

Marcus's BBQ on Labor Day was fun. Brian showed up at three with a bouquet of flowers in his hand.

"I owe you an apology, these are for you." He walked past me and handed them to Marcus. They both chuckled at the look on my face. I broke into laughter. He sheepishly grinned at me.

"Actually, I don't know what got into me at the picnic. I'm so sorry. I hope..."

I put my finger to his lips, and stuck out my other hand.

"Hey, I'm Tony, it's nice to meet you. You didn't say your name, or is it top secret?"

"I'm Brian, You have a great memory!"

We talked some, but I made sure we stayed in the group. I wasn't afraid to be alone with him; I just needed to get to know him better. I gave Marcus a look and he just nodded. I needed to get some work done before classes the next day so I said my good byes. Brian walked me to my car.

"Could I interest you in going to the movies on Friday night?"

"I'm sorry Brian..." His shoulders sagged. I smiled and said, "I could do Saturday though."

He beamed. "It's a date. I'll text you later in the week to make plans. Thanks for giving me a second chance. You are great and I can't wait to get to know you better."

"Me too. Saturday should be fun."

I texted Marcus as soon as I got home. I told him about my date on Saturday with Brian. He told me to be myself and to not let anyone force me into things I wasn't ready for. I thanked him again and said good night.

The week flew by. Jon kept me busy and classes were kicking my ass. Frankly, I was so busy I didn't have time to stew about things. I needed to remain focused.

Saturday rolled around, it was time for my date night with Brian. We decided on an animated film. It would be light and hopefully funny. We met at the mall for the movie and we would grab a bite after. The movie was ok, not one of Pixar's best but funny at times. We decided on Chinese takeout. We got few things I had never heard of and headed to his place. I was unsure about it, but I wasn't going to let his previous over-enthusiasm cloud the night. We talked, laughed and shared the Chinese food, while sitting at his coffee table. I was having a great time. He leaned in for a kiss. It was great. He suggested we move to the couch and maybe watch some TV.

"Just so there are no misunderstandings," I said. "I have a bunch of school work I need to do tomorrow. So this night ends before midnight."

"Ok, I understand. I might not be happy, but I understand."

"Brian. If you want this to go forward, you have to be clear how important school is to me. I'm already starting to feel the pressure between classes and the project with Dr. Miller and it's only been a couple of weeks. If you can't accept that, then we have a problem."

"No problem, I just like spending time with you. I understand. I was just being flip. I seem to keep putting my foot in my mouth."

"Chill, I just didn't want you to misunderstand later that's all. Now where were we??"

Brian and I usually only got to see each other one night a week. School was really kicking my ass and I needed to concentrate. True to his word he never complained while we were together. The making out was great. He kept trying to move things forward and I kept slowing things down. I wasn't ready to get really intimate with him yet. I knew he was getting frustrated, but it was all so new to me.

Finally, after four dates, he voiced his frustration. "Tony, if I have to jerk off one more night after you leave I will go blind. I know you need to go slow. I really do understand. But there is so much I want to do with you. Can't we just try going a little forward? I promise to stop whenever you say. Really, I want to show you how great things can be..."

"Look I know I've been difficult. But it's all a little scary. I just don't want to disappoint you, especially if I need you to back off. I'm nervous as shit. Hell I was a straight boy just this summer remember. You need to be sure when I say no, you stop."

"Tony, please just relax. I promise you. I can't say I'm sorry enough about the picnic. But just trust me."

I held him at arm's length, "Your word..."

He kissed me. He slowly began to stroke my jaw line. He moved his mouth to my earlobe and began to slowly suck it. I heard a noise in the room. It was my moaning. TJ's face popped in my head and burst like a balloon. Brian started to slowly rub my left nipple through my shirt, with just his fingertips. It was so erotic. He had me panting. I was starting to be overwhelmed with feeling. My dick was so hard it hurt. I thought, "God, stop it now or I won't be able to stop. Please don't stop..." I reached over and started to unbutton his shirt. I wanted him to feel as good as he was making me feel. He took my hand and led me back to his room. We lay on the bed, his hairless chest was great to stroke. It felt smooth, warm, and so firm. I slowly licked from one nipple to the other. I circled his right nipple with my finger. He moaned, it was all the encouragement I needed. I licked my thumb and flicked his other nipple. My boxers were obscenely tented, he reached down to stroke my cock and I grabbed his hand.

"Slow down, you have me so close... I don't want it to end this fast."

He pulled off my boxers and threw off his briefs. He grabbed my hand, placing it on his hard shaft. I started copying his actions. Slowly I licked down to his nipple again and circled it with my tongue. He was writhing under me. I felt his hard abs trembling as I licked further down. My tongue drifted into his navel and then I licked his cock. He gasped. I started by just licking the head. When I tried to take it all in my mouth, I gagged and started to cough.

"Oh baby. That felt amazing! Don't try to go so fast, just lick and stroke. You are so good. It feels wonderful."

I was overwhelmed. He pushed me back and started to suck me. I was lost. I pulled Brian up for a kiss. He rolled on top of me and started to move his hand to my nuts. Then he started going lower...

"No!" I gasped.


His hand went back to my shaft. He started stroking me. I knew it would be quick. I grabbed for his and matched his pace. With my other hand, I grabbed his neck. He met my mouth with his just as I exploded. He followed right after me. I rested my forehead against his. I was still panting. I couldn't believe how intense it felt. In four years with Jen, I had never had an orgasm like that.

Brian smiled. "Babe, that was incredible."

"It was. Thanks for pushing through that wall. And thanks for hearing the no. It means a lot. "

"Can you stay the night, please?"

"Brian, I would love to, but not tonight. If I work hard this week maybe I can swing it on Saturday. That's if you want to see me again."


"Please understand."

"Ok, I do really. You have made it clear before. I forgot. I just look forward to holding you all night. I can't wait until Saturday. I will try to leave you alone this week so you can get your work done. Tonight was unbelievable. "

"If you're good maybe we can do this again..." His eyes twinkled and I gave him a big sloppy kiss. After cleaning up a little, I drove home. I set the alarm for six and crashed. During the night, I had a dream about TJ. In the dream, I told him I was gay and that he was an asshole. He stood there dumbfounded, I was good with that.

I called Marcus on Sunday, and told him Brian and I had a great night. "The best part was when I said no he listened. It was pretty awesome."

"That's super, kiddo. That's really great. It sounds like you had a nice evening. Do I need to have the safe sex talk with you?"

"Very funny, but no"

"You know I volunteer at the AIDS Task Force. I'm just trying to be sure. Seriously, we need to have that talk soon. You ex-straight boys don't have the same info us gay boys have. Please humor me."

"No problem. But just so we are clear. There will be no backdoor playing in my near future."

"TMI, get back to work I know you have tons."

I worked hard all week. Thursday, Jon was getting excited about his data and decided we would take the next week off. "Tony, you and I have earned a week off. Take the time and have some fun for me."

"You know Jon, I have someone I would love for you to meet. Maybe after midterm break you'll come to a party with me..."

"Maybe, let's see how things go."

"Enjoy your week."

I texted both Brian and Marcus with the news, that I had some extra time in the next week. Brian was over the moon. He asked if that meant Saturday night was a go. I assured him it was definitely a go.

Marcus and I made plans to hang Thursday night and just talk. I wasn't going to let him waste a night with the safe sex talk. I got some brochures at the clinic and studied up so he would give it a rest.

Little did I know I would need Marcus's help yet again the next time I saw him.


Thanks for reading.

I would be remiss if I didn't throw some thank yous out there

To Ray, my husband for your love and support'

To Kate and John for your friendship and encouragement

To David for your editing skills

And to Fitz for your patience, mentoring, teaching and friendship